Christmas and New Year’s Day-Cruises on the Rhine from Cologne in Germany

Köln-Düsseldorfer (KD) offers many day-trip sightseeing pleasure cruises on the Rhine during the Advent and Christmas market period while special New Year’s Eve party boats also depart from Cologne (Köln).

Rhine Boat on the Rhine in Cologne during Christmas
Rhine Boat on the Rhine in Cologne during Christmas – © KD

Köln-Düsseldorfer (KD), the largest operator of riverboats on the Rhine River in Germany, has many day-trip excursion cruises during the pre-Christmas advent period, New Year’s Eve, and some winter weekends. Most advent Rhine River sightseeing cruises depart from Cologne but boat excursions are also possible from Düsseldorf, Rüdesheim to the Loreley Valley, as well as Frankfurt on the Main River. Book afternoon cruises online.

In 2023, Christmas market period cruises (18 November to 18 December) as well as New Year’s Eve dinner cruises operate from Cologne with cruises possible almost daily, except on Mondays.

Advent and Christmas Market Rhine Cruises from Köln / Cologne

Cologne (Köln) is a popular city in Germany to visit for its Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmarkt), old town, famous Gothic cathedral, and easy-going nightlife. Cruise excursions from Cologne on the Rhine River (Rhein) are possible on KD riverboats during much of the pre-Christmas advent period.

KD offers the following Rhine River boat day-trip excursion cruises from Cologne during the run-up to Christmas:

  • Two-hour sightseeing cruises (Nachmittagsfahrten) on advent afternoons – in 2023, from Tuesday to Sunday. (Around €25 / €8 for children – food & drink optional.)
  • Three-hour romantic evening cruises (Abendfahrten) from Tuesday to Saturday nights (8 to 11 pm) with live music. (Around €80 all-inclusive with buffet and drinks included.)
  • Christmas-Advent brunch (Weihnachtlicher Adventsbrunch) cruises on Sunday mornings. (Around €82 /children €22 – food and glass of Sekt included.)
MS Wappen von Köln Christmas Market on a Rhine Boat
© KD

Christmas-time Rhine cruises are available from mid-November to the last weekend before December 24. Cruises are never available on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Unfortunately, the popular floating Christmas market on the MS Wappen von Köln boat is no longer operated.


New Year’s Eve Rhine River Party Cruises from Cologne (Köln), Germany

KD has several boats sailing on the Rhine River from Cologne (Köln) on New Year’s Eve to welcome New Year’s Day. These Silvester party boats offer mostly live music and all-inclusive buffets, or disco with free beer (and soft drinks). Boats leave Cologne around 8 pm on New Year’s Eve and return to port around 1 or 2 am on New Year’s Day.

Prices for an all-inclusive New Year’s Eve party cruise on the Rhine from Cologne are around €220 and include buffets, free unlimited drinks, and Sekt at midnight.

A cheaper alternative is the party boat with a disco that includes unlimited Sion beer and soft drinks for around €130. Further snacks and drinks are available. The disco party boat leaves around 8 pm and returns around 1 am to Cologne.

Winter Rhine River Sightseeing Cruises from Cologne (Köln)

KD MS Rheinfantasie at night on the Rhine River in Cologne
© KD Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt GmbH

For the rest of the winter season – end October to early April – regular sightseeing cruises are available from Cologne on some weekend afternoons. Reservations are essential, as the boat only departs if sufficient people made bookings. (Phone +49-221-2088-318 or any ticket window.) Food and drink are often not available on these cruises.

Sightseeing excursion cruises may be available most winter days to see the Loreley Valley with boats departing from Rüdesheim and St Goar / St Goarhausen.

Winter and Christmas market cruises on the Rhine River are also available from Düsseldorf, Rüdesheim, and Frankfurt (for the Main River).


More on the Rhine River in Germany

Day-Trip Excursions and Pleasure Cruises on the Rhine River:

Tips and Savings on Day-Trip Rhine Cruises

Henk Bekker in armor

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance travel writer with over 20 years of experience writing online. He is particularly interested in history, art, and culture. He has lived most of his adult life in Germany, Switzerland, and Denmark. In addition to, he also owns a travel website on the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland and maintains statistical websites on car sales and classic car auction prices. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Development Finance from the University of London.

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