Holland’s floral splendor only happens in the springtime. Come see the rainbow of colors, and visit some of Belgium’s most beautifully preserved medieval cities for the ultimate 10-day spring journey in the Low Countries. Explore Amsterdam’s cosmopolitan atmosphere and world-famous museums. Experience Belgium’s Golden Age in historic Antwerp and the lovely patrician cities of Ghent and Bruges. Learn more about Holland’s age-old battle against the sea with tours of ingenious windmills and the massive Delta Works project. Plus, enjoy savory Dutch cheeses, delectable Belgian chocolates and Belgium’s exquisite, intricate lace on this delightful cruise. If you are a lover of flowers, a visit to Keukenhof Gardens will be one of your favorite stops.
DAY 1 | AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
Arrive in Amsterdam, then transfer to your ship.* After boarding, the afternoon is yours to relax or explore the city on your own. If your arrival schedule permits, you may wish to visit the Anne Frank House. (D)
DAY 2 | AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
After breakfast, embark on a canal tour by glass-topped boat to see architecture from the city’s Golden Age. Return aboard for lunch, then take free time to visit the Anne Frank House, see the Van Gogh Museum or just explore the city’s charming neighborhoods. As always, your Viking Concierge can help you plan your afternoon. Dine aboard your ship; we depart this evening. (B, L, D)
DAY 3 | HOORN, THE NETHERLANDS
Early this morning, sail across the IJsselmeer (once known as the Zuiderzee) to the ancient shipping village of Hoorn. After breakfast, enjoy a guided walk through Hoorn’s cobbled streets; see age-old cheese warehouses on the town’s main square, which dates back to Holland’s Golden Age. Lunch is served aboard; you have a free afternoon to explore Hoorn, visit a local bakery and shop for souvenirs. Or, take an optional excursion showcasing the small towns and bucolic landscapes of the northern Holland area. Depart during dinner and cruise through the night. (B, L, D)
DAY 4 | ARNHEM, THE NETHERLANDS
After early arrival in Arnhem, visit the 17th-century Paleis Het Loo,† the Dutch royal family’s summer residence for the past 300 years. Take a guided tour through its sumptuously furnished rooms and beautifully landscaped gardens. After an onboard lunch, enjoy free time, or join the optional battlefield tour that also visits the Airborne Museum. Dine aboard as we set sail for Kinderdijk this evening. (B, L, D)
†Closed Mondays; battlefield visit or museum tour will be substituted.
DAY 5 | KINDERDIJK, THE NETHERLANDS & ANTWERP, BELGIUM
Arrive this morning in Kinderdijk and disembark for a tour of this ingenious 18th-century community. Learn why the windmills were built and see how they work to help control flooding, then tour a working windmill to see its pumping mechanism and living quarters at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy an onboard lunch as we sail toward Antwerp. After dining aboard, relax on your ship or spend some time exploring the cafés and brew pubs of this extraordinary Flemish capital. (B, L, D)
DAY 6 | ANTWERP, BELGIUM
This morning, enjoy a half-day tour of Antwerp featuring the Cathedral of Our Lady with its three monumental altarpieces painted by Peter Paul Rubens; the Grote Markt (Grand Square) surrounded by the Golden Age Town Hall and guild halls; and Het Steen (Steen Castle), Antwerp’s oldest building. You have afternoon free time before dining aboard your ship tonight as we sail for Ghent. (B, L, D)
DAY 7 | GHENT & BRUGES, BELGIUM
From Ghent, travel to Bruges, one of the oldest towns in Flanders. Your city walk visits the Church of Our Lady, with its famous Madonna and Child, sculpted by Michelangelo. Also see the Beguinage, a hidden courtyard inhabited by nuns, and the town’s scenic network of canals. Stay in Bruges for lunch on your own, or return to Ghent for lunch aboard and an afternoon exploring this exceptionally charming, canal-filled capital of East Flanders. Enjoy a beautifully lit evening departure from Ghent as we cruise through the night. (B, L, D)
DAY 8 | DELTA WORKS & ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
After breakfast travel to the region of Walcheren, formerly an island of the southwest Netherlands. Stop in Veere and enjoy a walking tour of this engaging, time-honored town. From here, travel to the Delta Works, the ingenious system of enormous doors that can be lowered during spring tides to protect the area from floods while allowing the tides to ebb and flow. Rejoin your ship, which has sailed on to Bruinisse, for lunch and afternoon sailing. Arrive this evening in Rotterdam, the world’s second largest port. After an onboard dinner, you have free time to explore the city. It has been significantly rebuilt after much World War II destruction, and some of its architecture is quite innovative. (B, L, D)
DAY 9 | KEUKENHOF GARDENS & AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
After breakfast, visit the picturesque Keukenhof Gardens, the world’s largest floral park. Admire the stunning beauty at both indoor and outdoor exhibits of millions of vibrant blooms including tulips, hyacinths, croci and daffodils. Return aboard for lunch.
The rest of the day is yours to discover Amsterdam’s hidden treasures. You may choose to explore Museum Square, take a bike ride or shop for colorful clogs and tulip bulbs. Enjoy dinner aboard your ship, followed by free time to enjoy Amsterdam’s nightlife. Your ship remains docked overnight. (B, L, D)
DAY 10 | AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* (B)
Or, you may want to extend your vacation with a few extra days in Amsterdam.
Call me for more details about this Rhine River adventure. You can reach me anytime at 919.708.8217 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact me at facebook.com/cruiselikeavip.
This cruise will be March 27, 2016.
One of the bonuses of this tour – airfare is only $295.00. This is the lowest I have seen for this part of the world.
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