Celebrate spring in the Netherlands and Belgium when the Keukenhof Gardens and Floralia come alive. Experience Amsterdam’s colorful canals, the whimsical Kinderdijk windmills and the art of Rubens and Michelangelo. Discover the timeless traditions of Delft porcelain and revel in the medieval architectural treasures of Bruges, Middelburg and Ghent. Throughout your journey indulge in Belgian chocolates, warm waffles and delicious cheeses—all while savoring the storybook atmosphere of the region.
ARRIVE IN AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS – EMBARKATION. Welcome to Amsterdam, where you’ll board your luxurious river cruise ship.
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 visit the Dutch East India Museum, providing insight into the Dutch Golden Age between 1500 and 1800. 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.
GHENT, BELGIUM. There are several choices of excursions, depending on your interests. For those who wish to discover two medieval cities, Ghent and Bruges, you’ll wish to go on a highlights tour. Admire Ghent’s canal-side architecture and some of its famous sights, including the Castle of the Counts and Ghent Cathedral, and then visit Bruges, one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe. Alternatively, you may go on a full-day excursion to Bruges, which includes a visit to the Church of Our Lady, home to the beautiful Carrara marble Madonna and Child sculpture by Michelangelo. Those more inclined to learn about the art of Belgian chocolatemaking can join a master chocolatier as he shares his insights. And for those who wish to enjoy more free time, join a walking tour of Ghent, followed by leisure time.
ANTWERP. 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 roam through the Floralia, an annual spring flower show featuring approximately one million bulbs that are handplanted each year by the castle staff.
ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS – KINDERDIJK. During the morning, you can go on a walking tour of Rotterdam, nicknamed the "Gateway to Europe,” and taste local specialties. Or visit Delfshaven, where, on August 1, 1620, the Pilgrim fathers departed on their epic journey aboard the Speedwell. Stopping in Southampton, many then boarded the Mayflower and concluded their journey at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. Alternatively, go on an excursion to Delft, known as the home of the painter Johannes Vermeer, Delft Blue earthenware and the Royal House. While here, you’ll visit the Royal Delft Porcelain Factory and Museum. If you prefer a more active adventure, then go on a bike ride through Rotterdam and past some of its famous landmarks and architecture. In the afternoon, venture to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk, a lovely village renowned for having the country’s greatest concentration of windmills, all dating from the 18th century. You may also pedal past the windmills from the seat of a bike. In the evening, head to Schoonhoven, the “Silver City,” known for its silversmiths and clock makers, and enjoy free time to stroll among its shops and boutiques, or along the charming canal.
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, admire Amsterdam’s historic harbor and canals, where you’ll see beautiful homes lining the water and the fabled Skinny Bridge. (B,L,D
DISEMBARKATION – DEPART AMSTERDAM. Disembark the ship and prepare for your flight home.