Cruises

Belgian Holiday Markets (2025)

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Brussels to Brussels | 8 Days

Date Range: Dec 2025 - Dec 2025

Ships : S.S. Victoria

Countries: Central Europe

The holiday season in Belgium is something truly special. Each city throws an enchanting winter festival, which could include anything from market stalls and elaborate light displays to Ferris wheels and ice skating rinks.

The holiday season in Belgium is something truly special. Each city throws an enchanting winter festival, which could include anything from market stalls and elaborate light displays to Ferris wheels and ice skating rinks.

The holiday season in Belgium is something truly special. Each city throws an enchanting winter festival, which could include anything from market stalls and elaborate light displays to Ferris wheels and ice skating rinks. Bordered by the bigger tourism magnets France, Germany, and the Netherlands, Belgium is a small country bursting with cultural impact and well worthy of being the highlight of any European trip—whether it’s your first time on the continent or your tenth. Chocolates, french fries, specialty spirits, and beers are amongst the many things this stretch of the Earth is known for doing well. You’ll get to experience it all during Belgium’s most festive time of the year, when you can sip vin chaud and the world’s most delicious cups of hot chocolate between bites of warm liege waffles and spiced gingerbread.


Who will enjoy this cruise: This trip is perfect for those who have been to the classic markets of Germany and are looking for something new, for anyone looking to explore a different side of Belgium than most tourists see, or for those excited to lean into a holiday extravaganza for their next winter season.


Please note that some of the winter festivals we visit may not be open during the sailing departing on the 2nd of December.

Brussels to Brussels | 8 Days
Note: The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise.

DAY 1 Brussels (Embark)
Arrive at Brussels Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer, or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.
DAY 2 Ghent
Visit one of two national gems: beautiful Bruges, the capital of West Flanders and one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe, or fascinating Ghent, the capital city of East Flanders, whose long history does not weigh on its vibrant present. Belgium’s second-largest city, Ghent abounds in medieval architecture, which makes for a particularly magical canvas for the town’s Christmastime decorations.

Other Excursions:

Walk through the UNESCO-designated city center of Bruges with a local guide to see why this lovely city is a popular favorite of visitors to Belgium. The town grew up around a fort built by the first Count of Flanders to defend against Viking invaders. By the 14th century, Bruges had become the center of the international cloth trade. Merchants and traders worldwide came to Bruges for Flemish cloth, and the town’s bounty of beautiful churches and mansions testify to its prosperity. It's even more wonderful in the wintertime, when the crowds of tourists have dwindled and locals decorate the city in festive fashion. Christmas trees, twinkling lights and the sweet scent of holiday treats fill the streets.

Your guide will bring the tour to a close at the wonderful Christmas market of Bruges, which you’ll have some free time to explore before returning to the ship.

Bruges Walking Tour with Christmas Market
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Since cars are completely banned in Ghent’s historic center, it’s a particularly pedestrian-friendly area. Stroll with your guide from the Church of Saint James, with its two Romanesque towers, to the Friday Market square, which, as its name suggests, was the site of a huge market every Friday in the Middle Ages. You’ll pass the magnificent 15th-century Great Butchers’ Hall and the elegant medieval trading houses that line Graslei and Korenlei streets. Your last stop is the Belfort, the great bell tower that rises above the Old Town.

You’ll have time to explore Ghent’s winter festival, complete with well over a hundred Christmas market stalls following your tour. Breathe in the wintry smell of pine that distinguishes this town’s holiday festivities.

Please note: the Christmas market in Ghent will not be available on the December 2 departure of this itinerary.

Ghent Walking Tour with Christmas Market

A special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.
DAY 3 Antwerp
You’ll find a penchant for all things high quality in the country’s biggest port city. Diamonds, art, fashion, and more compete for attention here, so you’re sure to find just the thing to make your time in Antwerp memorable.

Other Excursions:

Once named the World Book Capital by UNESCO, Antwerp has a dedicated relationship with literature. The Nottebohm Room of the Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library illustrates this well. Walk in to see two open stories of wooden bookshelves, filled to the brim with leather bound volumes. A wrought metal balustrade bisects the two, giving librarians access to the incredible collection of rare items inside. Some particularly exciting members of this collection are accessible to you on the ground floor, including an iconic pair of globes by Dutch cartographer Willem Blaeu.

The Nottebohm Room
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In the center of Antwerp, you’ll find a whole museum dedicated just to Belgian chocolate. Walk inside to discover the love story that is Belgium’s relationship with the sweet treat, follow the path of the cocoa bean from the farms of Ecuador to the world’s largest cocoa storage port in Antwerp, and of course, you’ll sample a variety chocolates during your time here.

Chocolate Nation
DAY 4 Hasselt
Today, you’ll explore the trendy-yet-quaint town of Hasselt. A blend of city interest—with plenty of cafés and shopping—and an easygoing, small-town atmosphere, the mostly car-free Hasselt is a charming place to explore on foot.

Featured Excursions:
DAY 5 Maastricht
Venture into the Netherlands to visit Maastricht, known as one of the most beautiful and romantic cities of Holland and loved for its convivial lifestyle and historic center, which has long played a strategic role in European politics. Not only will you explore this city’s Christmas market, but you will also have the opportunity to head into Germany to visit the famous Aachen Christmas Market.

Featured Excursion:

Other Excursions:

Here’s your chance to experience something utterly unique: the underground Christmas market of Valkenburg. Cozy stalls and twinkling lights line the stone walls of this enchanting cave, where you can shop for classic holiday gifts and treats while escaping the weather. And if you venture outside, you’ll find even more Christmas spirit spreading out from the cave across the entire festively-decked town.

Christmas in the Caves
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The only German Christmas market we’ll visit on this itinerary, Aachen's market has frequently been named among the best in Europe. The area surrounding the Aachen Cathedral turns into a bustling Christmas village every year, known foremost for its local take on gingerbread. Aachen Printen, as it is known, has many varieties, so make sure to try as much as you can during your time here!

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.

Aachen Christmas Market
DAY 6 Antwerp
Discover an eclectic mix of historic and modern in Belgium’s “Second City,” Antwerp, a town where well-preserved medieval buildings are interspersed with artful modern architecture. After your included explorations today, you may find your final Christmas market for this journey centered in Antwerp’s Old Town, lighting up nostalgic facades and the local castle to create the perfect backdrop for this festive event. Please note that Antwerp’s Christmas Market will not be open during the December 2 sailing of this itinerary.

Featured Excursion:

A special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.
DAY 7 Brussels
Brussels, the capital of Belgium, offers a treasure trove of historic architecture, along with a rich culinary tradition—chocolate!—and a vibrant culinary capital. Food lovers will be lured by the divine aromas drifting from the many holiday market stalls, while others will be attracted to the city’s enchanting architecture and elaborate Christmas displays.

Featured Excursion:

Other Excursions:

On our way into the city center, we'll take you on a panoramic tour of the major sightseeing spots in Brussels, such as the Royal Residence, Chinese Pavilion and Japanese Pagoda. From there, we'll set out on foot to see the city up close—and taste some iconic Belgian chocolates along the way!

Brussels City Tour with Chocolate Treats
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Take in the top sights of Brussels on an engaging walking tour with a local guide, during which you’ll see La Grand-Place and enter the old stock exchange. Here you’ll find the Belgian Beer Museum, where you’ll learn all about one of the country’s most iconic products. This museum isn’t just educational though, it’s also interactive. You’ll sample as you go, getting to know a variety of different Belgian beer varieties to see which suits your tastes best.

Brussels Walking Tour with Belgian Beer Museum
DAY 8 Brussels (Disembark)
Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer, or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Brussels Airport for your flight home.
Cruise Departure Double Occupancy Pricing Ship
Tue, 02 Dec 2025
(Brussels to Brussels)
$0.00 S.S. Victoria
Select this date
Tue, 09 Dec 2025
(Brussels to Brussels)
$0.00 S.S. Victoria
Select this date
Tue, 16 Dec 2025
(Brussels to Brussels)
$0.00 S.S. Victoria
Select this date
  • All fares are per guest in US Dollars based on double occupancy unless otherwise noted.
  • Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change at any time without notice.
  • Availability of all stateroom categories cannot be guaranteed.
  • Single Supplement applies for single accommodation.
  • Itineraries, hotels, and vessels may change, and substitute visits to other sites may occur during your trip due to water level fluctuations and other uncontrollable factors.
  • The order of sightseeing and docking ports are subject to change according to port authority assignments.
  • Prices exclude additional port charges of $230 per person

Dining

  • All meals onboard, prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients
  • 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions
  • Welcome and Farewell Gala Dinners
  • Unlimited beverages onboard, including fine wine, beer, spirits, specialty coffee and tea, soft drinks, and mineral water

Dining

Excursions

  • 6 days of excursions, all fully hosted by English-speaking local experts
  • State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audio-headset system on all excursions
  • Use of bicycles and Nordic walking sticks

Excursions

Accommodations

  • 7-night cruise in a riverview stateroom on the elegant S.S. Victoria
  • Lavishly appointed riverview staterooms and suites have handcrafted Savoir® Beds of England, high thread count 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and European duvets, and a menu of pillow options
  • Free Wi-Fi

Accommodations

Experiences

  • 3 countries: Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany
  • 2 UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise Manager
  • Cultural enrichment, including captivating onboard local entertainment
  • Group Transfers are included on arrival and departure days (please see terms and conditions for transfer guidelines)
  • Gratuities for onboard personnel (ship staff, crew, Cruise/Tour Manager) are included during the cruise/tour

Experiences