Day 1 Welcome to Amsterdam & embark riverboat
This most memorable of Belgium and Holland river cruises begins at 4:00 PM in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Upon arrival, a transfer is included from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport or Centraal Train Station to Tauck's ms Swiss Jewel, ms Esprit or ms Treasures. After settling into your cabin, attend a discovery briefing, then enjoy a welcome reception followed by dinner this evening aboard the riverboat. (D)
Day 2 Beauty in Amsterdam & Keukenhof
Awaken on your riverboat today in Amsterdam – a vibrant blend of the historic and the contemporary, from its medieval core and 17th-century canals to the bustling shops, cafés and rich cosmopolitan life of a 21st-century European metropolis. After breakfast aboard ship, go ashore for an excursion to Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, the home of famous show gardens and millions of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, in various stages of bloom and particularly beautiful at this time of the year. A rolling carpet of color, Keukenhof is one of Europe’s most iconic – and fragrant – places to witness springtime in all its glory. Return to the riverboat in Amsterdam for lunch, then set off on some guided exploration of this nearly car-free city of flower-rimmed canals, gracious gabled mansions, and people on bikes – first, on a boat cruise through the network of centuries-old canals at the core of the old city, that offers a refreshing perspective of the Netherlands' capital city. As you'll discover, Amsterdam boasts more canals than Venice... and, as it happens, more museums per kilometer than any other European capital. One of the most famous is the matchless Rijksmuseum – filled with myriad works by the Dutch Masters, including Rembrandt’s The Night Watch and Vermeer’s The Milkmaid – which you'll visit this afternoon with a local guide. Return to the riverboat for cocktail hour followed by a gala dinner in the Compass Rose this evening as the ship sets out for Dordrecht and your cruise begins. (B, L, D)
Day 3 Dordrecht & the windmills of Kinderdijk
Today our Holland river cruises take you to the province of South Holland, where you’ll dock in Dordrecht, a historic island city bordering no less than five rivers. Reflecting the definition of the Dutch word for harbor – "haven" – the city's charming harbor district preserves many historic warehouses, merchants’ mansions and quays, and its role as a major port city from the 15th to 18th centuries. This morning, disembark for an excursion to the nearby village of Kinderdijk, where 19 original 18th-century windmills – preserved today as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – create an iconic polderscape that’s better than any picture-postcard. There's no other place in the world besides Kinderdijk where can you see so many historic windmills together in an authentic setting. During your visit, discover how a windmill works both inside and out, learn about the life of a typical miller centuries ago, and explore the quintessentially Dutch history of windmills. After returning to the riverboat for lunch, a walking tour of Dordrecht views notable architecture and monuments in its medieval inner city, as well as the surrounding ring of 19th-century buildings. Then it's back aboard ship tonight for cocktail hour and dinner as the riverboat continues on to Ghent, Belgium. (B, L, D)
Day 4 Flemish treasures in Ghent or Bruges
Tauck's Belgium and Holland river cruises call early this morning on the historic port city of Ghent, arguably Belgium’s most beautiful city, where you'll have a choice of sightseeing. Upon arrival, you can choose to take an excursion to Bruges, known to many as “the Venice of the North,” for its canals and tiny medieval streets. On your walking tour in cobblestoned, fairy tale-like Bruges, you’ll feel like you’ve walked into a painting by Jan Van Eyck, who captured life in the city during its heyday in the 15th century. The hike up the stairs of the medieval belltower is well worth the effort; you’ll be rewarded with wonderful panoramic views. Alternatively, you can choose to stay in Ghent to explore a bit on your own, then take an old town walking tour; the pedestrian-friendly cobblestoned town center feels like an outdoor museum of early Flemish architecture. Think about climbing to the top of the 14th-century belfry, crowned with a dragon, for the view – Ghent laid out before you is a visual feast of castles, churches, and historic merchants’ houses. Be sure to try the local speciality, Ghent noses, a traditional raspberry candy sold at stands on the street – or a warm waffle with sugar or honey. Return to the riverboat for dinner tonight. (B, L, D)
Day 5 Maastricht, Neercanne & WWII memorials
This morning, disembark for a visit to Maastricht. Among the Netherlands’ oldest cities, Maastricht is said to contain more than 1,400 historic buildings and monuments dating back to the 13th century. An Old Town walking tour with your local guide includes the remains of the city’s medieval fortifications and Helpoort, a steep-roofed gateway built in 1229. On beautiful cobblestoned Vrijthof Square, visit the Museum aan het Vrijthof, set within the 16th-century Spanish Government House; focusing on the arts and crafts that have flourished in this city of artisans for 500 years, the museum’s collection includes paintings, silver, pistols, and timepieces. Then get ready for what is sure to be a highlight of all Holland cruises –- a Tauck Exclusive lunch in the Roman grottoes of the 17th-century Château Neercanne, a terraced castle with scenic views and Baroque gardens. Topped by a chef’s hat, you are included in a lively and ultimately delectable culinary presentation and an extraordinary meal. Afterwards, depart for Margraten to visit the Netherlands American Cemetery, the only World War II cemetery for fallen US troops in the Netherlands, before rejoining your ship in Maastricht to continue this most memorable of Holland river cruises. (B, L, D)
Day 6 Antwerp & the Age of Exploration
After a morning's cruise, your riverboat arrives this afternoon in the major port city of Antwerp for a day in the capital of the Belgian province of Flanders. Take an orientation tour of the city and a guided walk through the city's historic center. As you stroll and hear stories and insights from your local guide, take in Grote Markt, the old market square; City Hall; the Cathedral of Our Lady; and numerous restored merchants’ houses, harkening back to the days of the 16th-century Age of Exploration when Antwerp – at the time a powerful center of international commerce – was the richest city in Europe. You’ll also visit the Red Star Line Museum, where interactive exhibits in the former warehouses of the Red Star Line shipping company tell the story of the more than two million immigrants from all over Europe whose long journey to a new life in North America began right here. Enjoy some free time before returning to the ship for dinner and an onboard classical music performance. (B, L, D)
Day 7 Discover Antwerp's specialties
If diamonds are your best friend, you’ll be interested to learn that most of the world’s diamonds pass through the hands of the diamond merchants of Antwerp, still a center of commerce in Europe to this day. You’ll have time to explore such treasures today, if you like... and to discover some everyday Flemish pleasures with your Tauck Directors. Antwerp is known for its flourishing beer culture, the diversity of which stems from the city’s location near France, Germany, and the Netherlands – all three countries have had an influence. A visit to a local brewery may reveal some of the secrets of making local beer; wet your whistle with a tasting and savor some local delicacies. Join us for a farewell reception and dinner this evening marking the end of this fabulous spring river cruise! (B, L, D)
Day 8 Disembark for your journey home
Your river cruise ends in Amsterdam. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included; allow 3 hours for flight check-in.
auck treats you to a ringside seat for nature's spectacular annual springtime show on a memorable 8-day trip including a 7-night riverboat cruise through the inland waterways of the Netherlands and Belgium aboard Tauck's ms Swiss Jewel, ms Esprit or ms Treasures. Everywhere, a spot of local color... throughout your Holland and Belgium river cruise... from tulips, daffodils and hyacinths abloom in flower boxes or in grand gardens... in historic windmills preserving a vanished way of life... at a chef-topped lunch in a terraced countryside castle... in gabled houses dressed in maritime lore along Amsterdam’s tree-lined canals... in Dutch paintings... and more. Check out Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands' bulb country. Take a scenic boat cruise through Amsterdam's canals. View the medieval treasures of Bruges or Ghent in Flanders. Visit a World Heritage Site showcasing 19 windmills from the 18th century. Tour renowned art museums and World War II memorials. Explore Amsterdam, Maastricht, Antwerp, Dordrecht, Kinderdijk and more on one of our most popular European river cruises... and enjoy Tauck Exclusives such as an interactive culinary experience at the fabulous Château Neercanne.
Gratuities to ship staff, drivers, local guides, Tauck Directors and Tauck Cruise Director
All private Tauck shore excursions – $1734 Value!
Tauck Exclusive: Memorable culinary experience at Château Neercanne, a UNESCO?World Heritage Site
Visits to Keukenhof Gardens, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Museum aan het Vrithof in Maastricht, the recently opened Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, and the WWII Netherlands American Cemetery
A scenic cruise along the beautiful 17th-century canals of Amsterdam
Visits to Dordrect and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk's 18th-century windmills
Choice of excursions to the well-preserved medieval Flemish cities of Bruges or Ghent
A visit to a local brewery for a "bier" tasting in Antwerp
Unlimited complimentary beverages aboard ship include regional wine, beer and premium spirits in addition to specialty coffee, water and soft drinks
Airport and train transfers upon arrival and departure as noted
20 meals (7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners); service charges, taxes, porterage, and applicable fuel surcharges
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.