Helene in Between Christmas Market River Cruise!

Come travel with me as we take our chartered Christmas Market Cruise on the Rhine River! The ultimate itinerary awaits with my favorite markets in Germany and France!

The cruise sold out! Ger your name on the waitlist below!

Get on the waitlist!

And find out about upcoming trips!

    *NEW DATE* Cruise Week 1: December 2-8

    The button for week 2 will appear here on Friday:

    Cruise Week 2: December 14-20

    The button for week 2 will appear here on Friday:

    As seen on Travel & Leisure!

    State Room

    $3,399 per person ($650 Deposit per person)

    • 7 days of cruising in a Double Occupancy Stateroom

    • All food and drinks on board the ship
    • One excursion a day plus all gratuities included!

       

    *Panorama Room*

    $3,899 per person ($650 Deposit per person)

    • 7 days of cruising in a Double Occupancy Panorama Room

    • All food and drinks on board the ship

    • One excursion a day plus all gratuities included!

       

    How to secure your spot?

    On March 2nd at 12pm Central Standard Time, slots will open for the cruise. There are 168 spots. We will collect your contact information, deposit, and you will be registered. The $650 deposit is per person. 

    We will then confirm your spot within 24 hours.

    Ultimate Christmas Market River Cruise!

     

    I can barely contain my excitement.

    Come explore the magic of the Christmas Markets in Europe with the Christmas Market queen and king, Helene and Michael Sula of @heleneinbetween!

    We hand-selected each destination, excursion, and the ship, which will be all our own.

    We'll tour through Germany (to Heidelberg, where we lived! and the magical market of Cologne), through France (my all-time favorite market, Strasbourg), and see the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe.

    It's the most glorious festive season, and we'll travel together aboard our very own ship! One of Europe’s most legendary rivers awaits you on this winter wonderland journey along the Rhine River.

    On this custom Christmas Market charter cruise, we designed each stop, activity, and even our food and beverage package to maximize your time and make the PERFECT trip!

    When?

    December 2-8

    OR
    December 14 - 20, 2024

    7-Day Cruise on the Rhine River through Germany and France with Helene and Michael Sula.

    Where?

    Starting off in Cologne, Germany, then heading to Koblenz, Rudesheim,  Heidelberg, the Black Forest, on to Strasbourg, France, and Mainz! Full details below.

    What's Included?

    Your beautifully appointed double occupancy room, and all gourmet food and drinks (top shelf alcohol, soft drinks, beer, and wine are all included) on board, as well as an excursion each day. Gratuities are included, too! We tip on your behalf, removing the stress and anxiety of when and how much to tip.

    How?

    On March 2nd, 2024 at 12pm CST you will be able to sign up on this website (cruiseinbetween.com) and hold your spot with a $650 deposit per person. Limited to 168 people total. 

    What's not included:

    Flight not included. We are starting and ending the trip in Cologne which makes flying easier and more economical. 

    Does not include Travel Insurance but it is required. We recommend World Nomads or Travel Guard

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    Stateroom vs Panorama Room:

    All the rooms are sized and appointed identically. There are 17 rooms on the main deck with porthole windows that are offered at a discounted price. All the other rooms have full, panorama glass windows. We would recommend the Panorama room to get a view from the comfort of your bed! 

    When you purchase, you can either select solo (and you will be paired with a roommate) OR two people and you will put down a deposit for both of you. You can choose to have the beds together or separated.

    All of our trips have offered double occupancy rooms. It's the best to get to know each other and so fun! And, of course, you can travel solo! I would say 95% of the people on past trips have! This is the best way to make friends.

    This is a great price, not only for the cruise, which includes your food/drink, accommodation, tip, transportation, and guided tours every day, but also the chance to have a trip with a community of incredible people from around the world!

    Why a river cruise?

     

    Bottom line: we love them. We think this is hands down the best way to travel together as a group to experience the Christmas Markets in Europe.

    We have hosted group trips throughout Europe, but absolutely nothing beats Christmas. 

    Christmas in Europe is undoubtedly magical. But the best way to experience the markets is to go from place to place, city to city. Unpacking every day, taking trains and public transportation is not only a hassle, it takes away from the time you can be spending exploring.

    We designed the cruise so we mostly cruise at night and wake up each morning in different locations. We hand-picked the destinations and maximized our time at each stop.

    Having attended over 100+ Christmas markets in Europe, we found the best and designed the perfect itinerary- all with the ease, comfort, convenience, and the BEST price on our own chartered ship.

    Christmas Cruise at a Glance:

    We created this itinerary with what we know works best. We maximized time at destinations, offer two excursions per day, and made sure you could do both OR have time to explore on your own. It's up to YOU. 

    Plus an incredible luxury boat, beautiful rooms, delicious food, and the magic of Christmas. There is simply nothing like it!

    ALL INCLUSIVE: All drinks (including beer, wine, soft drinks, and top-shelf alcohol), food, gala party, tips, and one daily excursion.

    TIME: Having done many cruises, time is always a factor. Which is why we managed the time to a T- creating the perfect itinerary - with time to explore, take guided tours, relax on the boat, and create a trip that is special. 

    Hassle-Free Travel: Unpack ONCE! No stress of packing and repacking, and go from destination to destination, all on a luxury river cruise. No lugging suitcases up and down staircases and across cobblestone streets!

    No sea sickness, because we're on a river and there are no waves! Truly, it feels more like a moving luxury hotel.

    We've combined the best of the Christmas markets, ease of travel, a luxury ship, and unbeatable prices to make this a memorable and accessible trip.

    Full Itinerary:

    *Excursions for week 1 (December 2-8) are subject to minor changes

    Day 1

    Arrival in Cologne & Walking Tour

    • We start off in one of my favorite Christmas Markets and cities in Germany: Cologne!
    • Why Cologne? Because it's the best way to fly from the USA and/or within Europe. It is near Frankfurt Airport or you can fly directly to Cologne.  Flights are very easy and affordable here, plus Cologne has great train connections.
    • Famous for both its enormous gothic cathedral (a UNESCO site! and once the tallest building in the world) housing the relics of the Three Wiseman and tiny (don’t worry, you’re encouraged to enjoy more than one) Kölsch beers always served at the perfect temperature, Cologne is also home to eight of the best Christmas Markets in Europe.
    • Today’s included excursion will be a walking tour of the city center learning about this fascinating Roman city, an introduction to Christmas Markets and ending at the magnificent cathedral.

    Day 2

    Koblenz and Aranfels Castle

    • Discover Koblenz's captivating blend of historic architecture, scenic riverside promenades, and the iconic Deutsches Eck, where the mighty Rhine and Moselle rivers converge; see the Town Hall, Schängel Fountain, and the Church of Our Lady.
    • A walking tour of this riverbound city and all its wondrous sites will be the included excursion for this stop. 
    • Take an optional excursion to Arenfels Castle, a neo-Gothic castle dating back to the 1200s! Situated in picturesque vineyards, with meticulously preserved and beautiful gardens and offering breathtaking panoramic views of the river valley, it feels like stepping in a fairy-tale. There will be an included tasting from their local specialty shop and time to explore their private Christmas Market on the castle grounds.  

    Day 3

    Cruise to Rüdesheim and Winery 

    • Did you know there are more castles on this stretch of the Rhine than nearly anywhere in the world?! All located along the tall cliff sides of the Rhine. We know this guided sailing will be a highlight of the week. Our port city, Rudesheim, is located in the heart of this wine valley with half timbered homes and wine shops almost too cute to believe. 
    • The included excursion is a walking tour throughout town, including the narrow Drosselgasse, ending at the Mechanical Instrument Museum, where guides will demonstrate these fantastic machines for us!
    • The optional excursion will be to a coffee house to try the famous Rudeseheimer coffee, fortified with their local spirit, and then on to a winery to taste some of the best German wine you can find.  

    Day 4

    Heidelberg and Mannheim

    • Today is VERY exciting because we are heading to my favorite city: Heidelberg! I'm biased because Michael and I lived here. But this city is the PERFECT mix of a romantic castle, river, amazing, walkable Christmas Markets, and utter beauty!
    • In our included excursion, we'll take a tour of Heidelberg, explore the LARGEST wine barrel in the world, see the castle, hear the history and find over 100 decorated stalls at the Christmas Market! 
    • Stay at our port and explore Mannheim! Mannheim is a city of Baroque opulence built uniquely on a chessboard grid layout. Carl Benz first successfully demonstrated his car here in 1886, the palace is one of the largest ever covering 14 acres of interior space and the red sandstone water tower and Luisenpark further beautify the city. 
    • Bad Dürkheim is home to both the largest and oldest (dating back to 1417!) wine festival in the world and our optional excursion for the day. This wine region known as the Pfalz is just a few miles from the French border and has actually changed its nationality several times throughout history. This in-depth tasting will feature several wines in addition to sparkling wine and liqueur. Local sausages will complement the wines.    

    Day 5

    Strasbourg and the Black Forest

    • Strasbourg is the Capital of Christmas for a reason! With a 100-foot Christmas tree towering over the main square, over 300 Christmas stalls spread throughout the city, and over-the-top decor wherever you go!
    • Our included excursion will stop at all the major sites in town, including the Notre Dame cathedral with its beautifully complex astronomical clock, picture-perfect Petite France, and free time in town.
    • The fairy tale famous Black Forest will be our optional excursion for the day. We’ll travel through the beautiful wintry mountains to visit the Vogtsbauernhof, an open air historical museum featuring the rich Schwarzwald culture. We’ll learn about the traditional dress, cuckoo clocks, and even try the famous Black Forest cake! On the way back we’ll stop in the beautiful town of Gengenbach to enjoy the world’s largest Advent calendar and a more locals only German Christmas Market.
    • You will be able to do both if you like or have free time to explore!
       
       

     

    Day 6

    Mainz & Wiesbaden

    • Mainz's 2000-year-old history is highlighted by one famous individual, Johannes Gutenberg. The man who invented the modern printing press (creating the original information age) changed the world, and not one but two of his original Bibles can be found in his hometown museum.
    • Strolling Mainz’s historic center with its medieval market squares is a delight, and that’s just what we’ll do along with our entertaining guide for our included excursion of the day. We’ll learn all about the 1,000-year-old cathedral as we pass beautiful Christmas Markets. Mainz is surrounded by gorgeous half-timbered architecture and unique Christmas Markets! There's the main town square and one just next to the cathedral that reminds me of Cinderella!
    • Our optional excursion for the day will be a visit to nearby Wiesbaden. One of the most beautiful cities in Germany, it was designed as such with wellness and luxury in mind. This spa town has spectacular architecture with grand spires reaching to the sky all across town. Your guide will teach you all about it as well as provide free time to explore on your own.

      Read more at: https://europe.stripes.com/travel/the-christmas-markets-of-mainz-and-wiesbaden.html
      Source - Stars and Stripes

    Day 7

    Cologne

    • All good things must come to an end. You can decide whether your trip does now or not! We decided to start and end our trip in Cologne because (its own well-connected airport aside) it’s only a 45-minute train ride to Frankfurt Airport, one of the largest airports in the world. Plus, there is so much to see and do in Cologne; we wanted to ensure you had maximum time here! This is the biggest city on our trip, and there are so many markets to explore (Angel's Market is my favorite!). 
    • I brought my Mom here last year, and she was blown away. Multiple markets throughout the city, music, great food, and Christmas joy all around! The markets are large, and each one is themed differently.
    • We will say "Auf Wiedersehen" but will have memories that last a lifetime!

     

    Christmas Cruise Goes on Sale!

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    The Ship

    Michael and I have taken dozens of cruises, and our favorite way to travel is a river cruise!

    You don't feel like you're on a ship (no motion sickness!). They are small - only 170 passengers, and intimate but large enough to have multiple dining areas.

    We've partnered with Nicko Cruises to make a CUSTOM, unique itinerary with our favorite destinations, excursions, and drink packages! The ship itself is a new, modern design, built in 2021, with three restaurants, elegantly styled bedrooms and interiors, and panoramic windows. There is also a spa and a gym with a sauna for workouts and additional relaxation.

    Each room offers panoramic windows, double beds - king beds that can easily be split into two twins, and a bathroom.

    The upper deck offers a lounge and bar as well as informal dining and Mario's dining. The Middle deck offers more formal dining (but no dress code enforced!), concierge and the ship shop. The main deck is the spa and sauna. There's a sun deck for incredible outdoor views.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    SO...

    Who is this trip for?!

    YOU!

    We've had people from all over the world travel with us. First time to Europe, seasoned travelers, solo female travelers, mom and daughter duos, best friends, husbands and wives!

    Hands down, one of the best parts of these trips is the people you meet. Truly, these friendships last a lifetime!

    This year, my parents are joining the trip - both my Mom and Dad! This trip is for adults only. Must be 21+.

    One of the best parts of this experience are the other travelers. We will have a group set up before the cruise, and we will also have Zoom meetings to get to know each other! I'll also be sending out information like a packing list!

    Hi! We're Helene and Michael!

    We've lived in Germany (and now in Oxford, England) and have attended over 100 Christmas Markets. You can say we're obsessed.

    We are full-time travel bloggers and have traveled Europe extensively for the better part of a decade. We've made it our mission to bring you the best travel experiences, and nothing can top Europe's magical markets!

    Michael and I are both from Dallas, Texas, but we lived in Heidelberg, Germany, from 2016 to 2019 with our two dogs, Hugo and Millie. I just published my debut novel (here).

    We cannot wait to show you the beauty, excitement, and joy of Christmas Markets in Europe!

    Why did we charter a ship?

    The truth is, Michael and I have been traveling Europe for a decade and absolutely love the Christmas Markets. Having been to so many and explored them in so many ways, we loved the river cruise best.

    However, the issue was many of these itineraries were not designed for how many might like to travel. We know what we like: maximize time at each destination, offer time to explore on your own, and be able to do MULTIPLE excursions in one day.

    I'll never forget one woman on my trip, distraught because she couldn't possibly choose between the Black Forest or Strasbourg. And honestly? I wouldn't want to choose either! So, we personally customized the itinerary for well over a year.

    This is the best Christmas Market itinerary... ever. And I have no doubt this journey will be a trip of a lifetime!

    The Ship Amenities:

    • All food and drinks included (including cocktails, top shelf alcohol, beer, wine, and soft drinks)! Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Michael has been known to order 3 entrees at dinner. LIVE IT UP!
    • Three Restaurants: seated dining, casual dining, and Mario's Grill
    • Flexible table times (meaning, go when YOU want!) with a free choice of tables that fit perfectly into your own daily rhythm. Whether multi-course menus or the large selection of theme buffets. The choice is yours!
    • Expert Cruise Director who knows the Rhine like the back of their hand!
    • Sun Deck
    • Sauna and Fitness area
    • Dining Options: Dine al fresco in the panoramic “garden” on the bow, the main restaurant on the middle deck, or on the terrace at the aft of the upper deck. All incredible views!
    • Panorama windows throughout the ship with a stunning lounge, upscale bar, and reception area
    • Rooms are designed for maximum space and lovely panoramic windows.
    • All king beds can be separated into two twins, plus a spacious wardrobe as well as convenient shelves in every bathroom.
    • The glazed bow of the ship offers excellent views! There are so many areas to relax, read, or enjoy the view with coffee, tea, or something stronger.
    • We will also host a gala dinner!

    Food and Drink on Board

    The food is truly one of the best parts of our river cruise! Everything is included - including beer, wine, soft drinks, cocktails, and top-shelf alcohol! You'll get to try foods inspired by the local cuisine of each destination we are sailing to!

    There are multiple options for dining: seated menu, casual dining and Mario's Grill. Each one offers impeccable service. Most cruises offer only a selection of beer and wine each day. We wanted you to feel free to try whatever suits your fancy! There is also coffee, tea, and snacks always available!

    State Room

    $3,399 per person ($650 Deposit per person)

    • 7 days of cruising in a Double Occupancy Stateroom

    • All food and drinks on board the ship
    • One excursion a day plus all gratuities included!

       

    *Panorama Room*

    $3,899 per person ($650 Deposit)

    • 7 days of cruising in a Double Occupancy Panorama Room

    • All food and drinks on board the ship

    • One excursion a day plus all gratuities included!

       

    How to secure your spot?

    On March 2nd at 12pm Central Standard Time, slots will open for the cruise. There are 168 spots. We will collect your contact information, deposit, and you will be registered.

    We will then confirm your spot within 24 hours.

    Be the first in line!

    I'll send an email as soon as the sale goes live!

      "I’ve been on two group trips with Helene and Michael (Italy and the first Christmas Market cruise) and each one was incredible. You can tell from the start that they find so much joy in showing you their favorite places and they genuinely want you to have the best time. She obviously knows how to plan an epic adventure, but my favorite thing about traveling with Helene is her ability to being people together. As a natural introvert, I really appreciate when people go out of their way to strike up a conversation and whether it’s a random question to the group to get people talking, or a 1:1 check in, both Helene and Michael do an AWESOME job at making sure everyone feels included. Also, she isn’t kidding when she says you can meet friends on her trips. I still talk to several people from both trips and consider my Florence roomie to be one of my best friends. I will always always always recommend a Helene group trip, and I hope to never stop taking them, myself!"

       
      Sarah Arnstein sarahseeksadventure.com

      "Thank you so much, Helene and Michael, for hosting the trip of a lifetime! I loved every second of it. It was great to see so many different Christmas markets - they were pure magic! I also liked how we mixed things up by going to palaces, cathedrals, and the classical music performance. I enjoyed the attention to detail that was put into the trip, and felt welcomed by everyone. I can't wait to keep in touch with everyone and travel with you again in the future. Thank you!"

       
      Jessica Rust

      "I’ve been on 3 of Helene and Michael’s group trips and each one has been 10/10 because the itineraries are incredible, the people you meet are lovely, and traveling with Helene just makes everything more fun!”

      Laurel Wilson @lostinlaurelland

      "I thought I would really just be hanging out with the group on tours but mostly doing my own thing in a country I’ve never been to. In reality, I couldn’t have imagined doing what I had planned. This group of travelers have been the most inspiring, intelligent, and genuine people I could only have hoped to meet. I’m so thankful for this journey that has pushed me outside of my normal and for the friends I now have in my life.”

      Julie Holder

      The fine print:

      $650 deposit is non-refundable. No spot is guaranteed until I, Helene, email you from [email protected]. Ports subject to change based on weather and unforeseen circumstances. You will be responsible for booking your flight and travel insurance. 

       

      Questions? Email: [email protected] 

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      Be the first in line!

      I'll send an email as soon as the sale goes live!