ARRIVE IN AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS – EMBARKATION. Welcome to Amsterdam, a modern city with a rich and fascinating 700-year old history. This evening, meet your fellow travelers on board.
AMSTERDAM – HOORN. Enjoy a scenic cruise through the Ijsselmeer to Hoorn, where you have a choice of three excursions. Visit a family-run tulip farm with over one million tulips, each in different phases of growth and in many species and colors. For those seeking to travel back in time, you can tour De Halve Maen, a replica of the Dutch East India Company’s most famous ship and then stroll through Hoorn’s beautiful old harbor. And for more active adventurers, go for a guided bike ride through the Dutch countryside.
MIDDELBURG. After enjoying a scenic cruise through the Delta, you can explore medieval Middelburg, which was the second largest trading city of the Dutch East India Company. Or, if you feel like exploring the city on two wheels, a guided bike ride is the perfect choice. Alternatively, you may venture off to the Delta Works storm surge barrier, an impressive series of dams and Dutch hydraulic engineering. More than half of the Netherlands lies below sea level and the Delta Works were built to prevent a recurrence of the 1953 flood disaster.
ANTWERP, BELGIUM. Explore this trendy city on a walking tour where you’ll see Antwerp’s Steen Castle, Grote Market and Brabo Fountain, along with the UNESCO-designated Cathedral of Our Lady. For a more active exploration of the area, join a guided bike tour. Or you can visit the Rubens House, the former home of the famous 17th-century Flemish Baroque painter. Later in the afternoon, you have a choice of two excursions. Foodies will want to go on a culinary tour to indulge in chocolate, waffles and beer. Flower lovers and gardeners can tour the Floralia, an annual spring flower show featuring approximately one million bulbs that are hand-planted each year by the castle staff.
GHENT. Discover medieval Ghent on a walking tour. Admire the canal-side architecture and some of its famous sights, including the Castle of the Counts and Ghent Cathedral. Those more inclined to learn about the art of Belgian chocolate making can join a master chocolatier as he shares his insights. Alternatively, you may also visit one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe, Bruges, on a full-day excursion that includes a visit to the Church of Our Lady, home to the beautiful Carrara marble Madonna and Child sculpture by Michelangelo. And for those who wish to see both Ghent and Bruges, join a highlights tour showcasing them both.
ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS – KINDERDIJK – SCHOONHOVEN. Choose from three enticing excursions that each begin with a Rotterdam panoramic tour: first, a Gouda tour, during which you’ll see the turreted, castle-like cathedral; enjoy a taste of Siroopwafelen, a Dutch treat created in Gouda; and the Weigh House, where Gouda cheeses were once weighed, where you’ll have free time to explore historical items within the Gouda Museum and taste deliciously rich Gouda cheese. Your second option is a walking tour of Delft, where you’ll see the towering Gothic Oude Kerk (Old Church) and equally impressive Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) as well as City Hall, then admire the Royal Delft Porcelain inside the Royal Delft Museum. If you prefer art and photography, the Hague Tour takes you to the beautiful International Court of Justice for a few pictures, as well as Lange Voorhout, a tree-lined street of hundred-year-old buildings steeped in history, before heading into the Mauritshuis Museum, home of artist Vermeer’s legendary “Girl with the Pearl Earring.” A fourth option skips the Rotterdam panoramic tour for an invigorating guided bike tour through scenic Rotterdam, nicknamed the "Gateway to Europe."
AMSTERDAM. One of the most impressive public gardens in the world, Keukenhof, presents a spectacular display of millions of flowering tulips spread out over 70 acres. Spend time ambling through this legendary garden, open only nine weeks a year and sometimes referred to as the "Garden of Europe." Later in the day, board a canal boat to admire Amsterdam’s historic harbor and canals, where you’ll see beautiful homes lining the water, the fabled Skinny Bridge and the Anne Frank House.
DISEMBARKATION – DEPART AMSTERDAM. Disembark the ship and prepare for your flight home.