This itinerary adds a contemporary flair to the classic tulip time experience, where you’ll find an ideal mix of old and new, historic and modern, in some of Europe’s liveliest cities. You’ll spend time in Amsterdam and Maastricht, allowing you to discover great shopping, countless active options and mouthwatering foodie destinations. Explore Belgium’s historical and contemporary capital city of Brussels, home of a rich and vibrant culinary tradition. Discover Antwerp’s penchant for tasty treats, including Belgian waffles, beer, pralines and chocolate on a walking discovery tour of the diamond capital of the world. In splendid Maastricht, a city with hundreds of national heritage sites, you’ll uncover why it’s known as one of the most beautiful cities in all of Holland. Follow in Van Gogh’s footsteps with a stroll through Nuenen, where you’ll wander through the sites that inspired much of his art. Or venture into the town of Heusden and marvel at a historic working mill, learn to make bread at a local bakery, or wander through the remnants of a 13th-century fortress. Delight in a visit to Kinderdijk to see it’s 19 well-preserved windmills that have stood the test of time. In colorful Amsterdam, you’ll be treated to an exclusive “Morning with the Masters” visit without crowds to the Amsterdam Hermitage Museum–the perfect bookend to an unforgettable journey.
Arrive at Brussels Airport where you will be transferred to the ship. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.
Brussels, the vibrant capital of Belgium, offers a treasure trove of historic architecture, along with a rich culinary tradition. Food lovers will be lured by the divine aromas drifting from delightful cafés and chocolate shops. After a panoramic tour of Belgium’s historical and contemporary capital city, get an up-close view of the city center with a guided tour on foot. Then, treat yourself to something delicious at Planet Chocolate, or visit Castle Groot-Bijgaarden, a magnificent Renaissance castle just outside of Brussels, where beautiful gardens open to the public for a few months each year–attracting some 50,000 plant lovers annually.
It may be the diamond capital of the world, but Antwerp is also known for many other sought-after cultural gems, including Golden Age art, Belgian beer, waffles, pralines, fries, chocolate and more. Your walking discovery tour of Antwerp features the City Hall, Market Square and the UNESCO-designated Cathedral of Our Lady, which houses four extraordinary works by one of the city’s most beloved sons—Peter Paul Rubens. At the old riverside dock area, there is a 19th-century warehouse that has been transformed into a restaurant and brewery where you can enjoy a beer tasting, specifically, Pakhuis’ unfiltered blonde beer.
Your first stop in the Netherlands— Maastricht—is a city with more than 1,670 national heritage sites, some of which can be seen on your Old Town walking discovery tour. And not only that, but it’s 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. Or you can choose to make a pilgrimage to the 65-acre Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial, the final resting place of 8,301 U.S. soldiers who perished during the Second World War. The cemetery is the only American military center in the Netherlands and sits near the famous Cologne-Boulogne highway that was constructed by the Romans for Caesar to use for his conquests. Choose to explore the beguiling banks of the Meuse River, the second oldest river in the world.
Follow in Van Gogh’s footsteps today as you stroll through Nuenen, where the artist once lived and painted “The Potato Eaters.” After lunch in an old water mill, which was even painted by Van Gogh, view the Hieronymus Bosch exhibit at the Noordbrabants Museum, or choose to walk or cycle through Heusden, where you can observe a working mill, learn to make bread at a local bakery, explore the remnants of a 13th-century fortress, and marvel at the memorial in front of town hall dedicated to the Heusden Town Hall Massacre.
Bike around the town of Schoonhoven, best known for its silversmiths, abundant clock makers and quaint shop-lined avenues. Or venture forth to Kinderdijk to see its 19 well-preserved, UNESCO-designated windmills that were originally erected in the 1700s. Learn about the historical significance of these engineering marvels in the Netherlands’ long quest to hold back the sea. If you wish, you’ll have an opportunity to venture inside one of these iconic structures and marvel at Holland’s largest concentration of old windmills.
The Netherlands’ largest city, Amsterdam has been an international port and financial center for 400 years, endowing it with a lively cosmopolitan feel to match its historic architecture. The famous Keukenhof Gardens is a 70-acre park planted with millions of tulips and other flowers—an extraordinary sight in the spring. Spend half a day here or enjoy a “Morning with the Masters” at the Amsterdam Hermitage Museum before it opens to the public for the day, followed by a breathtaking Amsterdam canal cruise.
Disembark the ship and transfer to Amsterdam Schipol Airport for your flight home.