Day 1 Arrive Brussels / Embark Riverboat
Tour begins at 4:00 PM in Brussels. A transfer is included from Brussels Airport directly to your riverboat, where embarkation begins at 4:00 PM. Settle in aboard ship and then meet your fellow river cruisers this evening at a welcome cocktail reception followed by dinner. (D)
Day 2 Exploring Brussels
Morning guided sightseeing today in Brussels, Belgium's capital and a key center of European trade and culture since the 13th century, begins with a city tour that takes in the Atomium, a 338-foot-tall structure resembling atoms, built for the 1958 World's Fair and winds up at Grand-Place, one of Europe's loveliest city squares, boasting a Gothic town hall surrounded by Renaissance-era guildhalls. Return to the riverboat for lunch; this afternoon, you might choose to participate in a demonstration by a local chocolatier. Then, cruise to Antwerp this evening. (B, L, D)
Day 3 Discover Antwerp's specialties
Antwerp is Belgium's second largest city, the capital of the province of Flanders, also known as the Low Countries, where Dutch is the official language. Go on an orientation tour of the city and take a guided walk through the historic center. As you stroll along the cobbled streets, hearing stories and insights from your local guide, discover Grote Markt, the old market square... the lavishly decorated Flemish Renaissance City Hall... 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; the 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 here at the Red Star Line headquarters in Antwerp. After lunch onboard, enjoy a brewery tour and some free time in Antwerp; sail on to Maastricht in the Netherlands. (B, L, D)
Day 4 Maastricht, Neercanne & WWII memorials
One of 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 this morning takes you to the remains of the city's medieval fortifications and Helpoort, a steep-roofed gateway built in 1229. Look for hidden alleys and gracious squares. On beautiful cobblestoned Vrijthof Square, visit the Museum aan het Vrijthof, set within the 16th-century Spanish Government House, where Spanish kings used to stay when they visited Maastricht. Focusing on the decorative arts and crafts that have flourished in this city of artisans for 500 years, the museum's collection includes paintings, silver, pistols, furniture, and timepieces. See period rooms that create a vision of how the Dutch lived in the 17th and 18th centuries. Then get ready for an experience that is sure to be a highlight of your river cruise, a Tauck Exclusive lunch in the Roman grottoes of 17th-century Château Neercanne, a terraced castle with scenic views and Baroque gardens. The castle is right on the border of the Netherlands and Belgium, so you can literally walk from one country into the other. Enjoy a tantalizing culinary presentation capped off by a fabulous meal. Following lunch you'll depart and make a poignant visit to the village of Margraten and the Netherlands American Cemetery, the only cemetery for fallen US World War II troops in the Netherlands. (B, L, D)
Day 5 Flemish Treasures in Bruges or Ghent
Spend the morning cruising west through Belgium along the Albert Canal and on into Zeeland, the Dutch province in the southwestern corner of the Netherlands, on the North Sea; relaxing onboard your riverboat is the perfect way to take in the changing scene. Your ship arrives in the port city of Terneuzen midday. Disembark for your choice of excursions this afternoon. One possibility is a visit to the historic city of Ghent, arguably Belgium's most beautiful city, for 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. Your other possibility for the afternoon is a visit to Bruges, known to many as "the Venice of the North," for its canals and tiny medieval streets. On your walking tour in cobblestoned Bruges, you'll feel like you've walked into a town in a fairy tale, or a painting by Van Eyck, who captured life in Bruges during its heyday. The hike up the stairs of the medieval belltower is well worth the effort; you'll be rewarded with wonderful panoramic views. After dinner onboard your riverboat, a classical music group performs for you; the ship sets a course for Dordrecht tonight. (B, L, D)
Day 6 Dordrecht & the windmills of Kinderdijk
Dock today in Dordrecht, an island city bordering five rivers in the province of South Holland. The Dutch word for harbor is haven - and in Dordrecht the harbor quarter by happy coincidence lives up to the English definition of haven. Filled with charm, many of the quarter's historic warehouses, merchants' mansions, and quays are nicely intact. On a walking tour you'll discover Dordrecht's notable architecture and monuments in its medieval inner city and the surrounding ring of 19th-century buildings. After lunch on your riverboat, you're off to the nearby village of Kinderdijk, where 19 original windmills create an iconic polderscape that's better than any picture postcard - nowhere else in the world can you see so many windmills together in an authentic setting like this. Discover how a windmill works both inside and out, and learn about the life of a miller and the quintessentially Dutch history of windmills. Enjoy some local entertainment aboard your riverboat tonight. (B, L, D)
Day 7 Art & Flowers 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. Head back to your riverboat for your final night aboard ship; the crew will bid you a warm farewell at a shipboard reception this evening, followed by dinner onboard. (B, L, D)
Day 8 Journey home
Tour ends: Amsterdam. Fly home anytime; a transfer from your riverboat to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport or Centraal Train Station is included. Allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in at the airport. For additional nights in Amsterdam after the cruise - or in Brussels pre-cruise - ask at booking. (B)
River Cruise Highlights
All-inclusive 7-night river cruise; exclusive lunch at Chateau Neercanne; visits to Keukenhof Gardens
Netherlands American Cemetery
Antwerp's Red Star Line Museum
Towns of Dordrecht and Maastricht
Choice of excursions to medieval Flemish cities of Bruges or Ghent
Rijksmuseum & canal cruise in Amsterdam
All This Included
Tauck 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 Esprit or ms Grace. 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 Dordrecht 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
Accommodations on this Tour
Cruising: Cabin onboard MS Grace or MS Esprit
Cabin upgrades are available.
Although not expected, Tauck reserves the right to alter the sequence of ports or omit or substitute scheduled ports or attractions at any time without prior notice. North and south itineraries are similar.
Museums and attractions may be subject to closure due to state, local or religious holidays. This river cruise includes a fair amount of walking.
Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
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.