Arrive in Amsterdam, then transfer to your ship.* After boarding, you have free time to get acquainted with this canal-laced city—or join our “welcome walk” to stretch your legs and start getting oriented. (D)
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, the Van Gogh Museum, or just explore the city’s charming neighborhoods—as always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Dine aboard; evening departure. (B, L, D)
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)
After early arrival in Arnhem, take a journey to 17th-century Paleis Het Loo,† for 300 years the Dutch royal family’s summer residence. Take a guided tour through its sumptuously furnished rooms and beautifully landscaped gardens. After lunch aboard, enjoy free time, or join the optional battlefield tour that also visits the Airborne Museum. Dine aboard and set sail to Kinderdijk this evening. (B, L, D)
†Closed Mondays; battlefield visit or museum tour will be substituted.
Day 5Kinderdijk & Antwerp
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 an actual working windmill to see its pumping mechanism and living quarters at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lunch aboard as we sail toward Antwerp. After dinner aboard, relax on your ship or spend some time exploring the cafés and brew pubs of this extraordinary Flemish capital. (B, L, D)
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; sail tonight for Ghent. (B, L, D)
Day 7Ghent & Bruges
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 extraordinarily charming, canal-filled capital of East Flanders. Enjoy a beautifully lit evening departure from Ghent and cruise through the night. (B, L, D)
Day 8Delta Works & Rotterdam
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 charming, historic 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; after dinner on board, you have free time to explore the city—the world’s second largest port, it has been significantly rebuilt after much World War II destruction, and some of its architecture is quite innovative. (B, L, D)
Day 9Keukenhof Gardens & Amsterdam
After breakfast, take a journey to picturesque Keukenhof Gardens, the world’s largest floral park. Admire the stunning floral 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. Dinner is served aboard, followed by free time to enjoy Amsterdam’s nightlife. Your ship remains docked overnight. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* (B)