Savor springtime in Holland and Belgium on a cruise/land tour that is sure to leave lasting impressions of colorful tulip fields, canals and numerous windmills. Winding waterways lead you to such well-known cities as Ghent and Antwerp. Your tour begins in Amsterdam, the 700-year old thriving capital of Holland and where you'll have time to absorb its most important sights on a city tour. Unpack just once on your relaxing 7-night river cruise aboard the MS Amadeus Princess and enjoy excellent cuisine and outstanding service. Explore the quaint town of Edam, known for the delicious cheese that bears its name and later cruise to Arnhem, the location of the favorite summer retreat of the Dutch royal family. From Holland, it's on to Belgium where your first port of call is Antwerp, best known for diamonds and Peter Paul Rubens. A local expert will make sure you see all the historic sights and still leave time for independent exploration or shopping. Visit Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and where you'll find the largest concentration of Holland's windmills. Here, dinner, music and dancing by a local Dutch folklore group are included. Near the end of your tour, see a kaleidoscope of color at the world-famous Keukenhof Gardens where more than seven million tulips and flowers are on exhibit.
Day #1 Overnight Flight - Savor springtime in Holland and Belgium with a cruise that is sure to leave truly memorable impressions. Admire the colorful glory of the blooming Dutch tulip fields and be astonished by the number of windmills. Winding waterways lead you to such well-known Belgian cities as Ghent and Antwerp. Your tulip time cruise begins with an overnight flight to Amsterdam, a city filled with classic architecture, cafes, restaurants and canals.
Day #2 Amsterdam, Netherlands - Board Ship - Tour Begins - Your tour begins today in Amsterdam, the 800-year-old thriving capital of Holland. All aboard as you unpack once for a relaxing 7-night river cruise aboard the MS Amadeus Princess. This beautiful ship offers the newest technology, panoramic deck, panorama salon and bar, fitness center, excellent cuisine including regional wines with every dinner, and outstanding service. Tonight, a cocktail is served in the Panorama Bar offering you a chance to meet your fellow travelers before a lovely welcome dinner. Enjoy an overnight stay on the ship in Amsterdam.
Day #3 Amsterdam - Volendam - After breakfast, absorb Amsterdam’s most important sights and diverse architecture on a morning city tour. In celebration of Rembrandt’s genius, a special stop is made at the world-renowned Rijksmuseum for a tour of the Dutch master painter’s famous collection, "The Masterpieces". Mid-day you travel to the little fishing town of Volendam where you can still find fishermen dressed in traditional caps and baggy-legged trousers. A visit to a local cheese farm illustrates the process of how cheese from the area is made and also allows you the opportunity to sample some of the delicious results! Next, visit the former island of Marken. Connected to the mainland by a causeway in the 1950s, Marken’s remoteness allowed many of the local customs and traditions to remain intact up to the present day. During dinner, the ship resumes its cruise to the river Ijssel. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride as you enjoy a typical Dutch folklore show.
Day #4 Arnhem - Late this morning you arrive in Arnhem, location of the favorite summer retreat of the Dutch royal family. An optional excursion provides an opportunity to see the town and follow the course of the battle that took place here in September 1944, one of the major tragedies of World War II. Also, in the open-air museum, gain insight into the daily life of Arnhem’s people from 1700 to 1970. If you prefer, you may take an alternate optional excursion to the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek, former headquarters of the British divisional commander. Here you will be able to follow the events of the battle, including the air landings and the fierce fighting in both Arnhem and Oosterbeek. This afternoon your journey continues through the lovely Dutch scenery.
Day #5 Middelburg - Cruising - Today, your ship docks in Middelburg, the capital of the Dutch province Zeeland. The city is known as “monumental city” because over 1,100 monuments dot its landscape. This afternoon you may choose between one of two included excursions. You could stay in Middleburg for a locally guided city tour which shows off the medieval atmosphere of this town, including the smallest university in the Netherlands, the grand abbey, the impressive city hall and wonderful fronts of old trading houses. Or, you may choose instead to visit the Deltaworks Project located at Neeltje Jans. This is an amazing example of how the Dutch have truly tamed the enviroment in which they live. After the Deltaworks, you will stop at the lovely town of Veere, a prosperous trading port in the Middle Ages due to the wool trade with Scotland and today, a favorite spot for visitors.
Day #6 Ghent, Belgium - Bruges - This morning you arrive in the Imperial city of Ghent. Lined with typical patrician houses in its city center, Ghent conveys the splendor of by-gone days. Perhaps you will join an optional sightseeing tour that includes St. Bavo Cathedral with its world-famous painting of the altar of the citizens of Ghent and the "Belfried" with its bell tower. This afternoon, allow yourself to be transported back into medieval times with a leisurely-paced walking tour of Bruges, one of Europe’s most perfectly preserved medieval cities.
Day #7 Antwerp - Today the ship docks in Antwerp, Belgium’s second-largest city, boasting beautiful Gothic and Baroque architecture and lively cafes. Antwerp is best known for its diamonds and also as the city of Peter Paul Rubens, who spent much of his life here. Join a local expert exploring Antwerp’s historical sights including the "Liebfrauenkirche", Belgium’s largest Gothic church; the legendary "Brabo" fountains; and Rubens’ house. The afternoon is at leisure for shopping, independent exploration or an optional excursion to the Belgian capital of Brussels. Tonight, the captain welcomes you to the elegant Captain’s Gala Dinner, immediately followed by an evening of dancing.
Day #8 Kinderdijk - Utrecht - Amsterdam - A morning stop in Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage site, allows you to experience Holland’s largest concentration of windmills, many still operating, and get a revealing glimpse into Holland’s age-old battle with the sea. After lunch, visit the world-famous Keukenhof Gardens, spanning more than 70 acres within a beautiful park of tranquil ponds and tree-shaded paths. With more than seven million tulips and other flowers on exhibit, Keukenhof is a kaleidoscope of color in bloom. Your day concludes with a farewell dinner celebrating the end of an unforgettable river cruise through Holland and Belgium.
Day #9 Amsterdam - Tour Ends - Your tour ends today, leaving you with many pleasant memories of a wonderful vacation.