Tulips & Windmills
Do” Amsterdam walking tour
See beautiful Amsterdam from its historic waterways via a canal cruise and then choose between the Van Gogh Museum, home to the largest collection of his paintings in the world, or the Rijksmuseum, which offers the world’s largest collection of Dutch and Flemish art. Or take a guided stroll through the heart of Amsterdam’s canal district to the Museum Van Loon, a wonderfully restored 17th-century canal house. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner.
Your senses will be in for a treat as you visit the Keukenhof Gardens, a seventy-acre showcase of over seven million flowers. This is one of the most extraordinary public gardens in the world. Or, visit charming and lively Haarlem. You’ll explore the historic city center on foot before seeing the remarkable Tyler Museum, the oldest extant museum in the Netherlands. You’ll then have some free time to enjoy this captivating city on your own.
*Note: Lunch is not included with the full day at Keukenhof Gardens.
Uncover a rich seafaring history as you tour Hoorn on foot. Your guide will explain the markings on medieval buildings that denote the former inhabitants’ trades. Your next port of call, Enkhuizen, is home to the fascinating Zuiderzee outdoor museum, a reconstructed 19th-century village that lets you see how life was lived in a busy fishing port over a century ago. Prefer some active sightseeing? Enjoy one of the ship’s complimentary bicycles and bike around City Ring, an earthen dike.
Nijmegen, the oldest city in the Netherlands, is your launching point for one of two adventures. You may choose to head to the National Liberation Museum in nearby Groesbeek. During your guided visit, get an eye-opening view of WWII by experiencing the occupation, celebrating the liberation, and witnessing the rebuilding of Europe after the war. Or opt instead to learn about Van Gogh’s years in the village of Nuenen, where his father was the vicar and where he created the character studies that became The Potato Eaters.
Cruise through busy Rotterdam harbor, the third largest port in the world, and explore the city on your own in the morning. Then sail to Kinderdijk, where you’ll discover 19 astonishingly well- preserved, UNESCO-designated windmills dating back to the 1500s. (At one point, there were more than 10 thousand windmills in the country; your guide will explain why they were so important.) You’ll even get a chance to enter one of Kinderdijk’s historic windmills. Climb the set of steep stairs that lead to its upper level, or simply admire the historic structure from the outside.
Note: If docking in Kinderdijk is not possible, the excursion will be arranged by motorcoach from Rotterdam.
Enjoy a visit to the engineering marvel known as the Delta Works, where you’ll learn about the Netherlands’ two-thousand-year-long fight to hold back the sea. Were it not for the mighty windmill, this region would have surrendered to the water a long time ago; here you’ll see how technology has evolved over the centuries. You’ll also havea few hours to explore the charms of Veere and its cozy harbor. You can see the bell tower of the 15th-century Town Hall from almost any point in town. Keep an eye out for the well-known Scottish Houses, which were built early in the 16th century for Scottish wool merchants and in 1896 became the home of a group of English artists. Then you can relax onboard as the ship cruises the picturesque Zeeland area.
Visit Bruges, one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, seeing its handsome old brick buildings from the water. Or explore Ghent, one of the oldest cities in Belgium, with a history dating back to the Stone Age. The beautifully restored medieval city center is made for strolling or biking; its museums house works by artists from Hieronymus Bosch to Joseph Beuys, while St. Bavo Cathedral holds the Ghent Altarpiece, one of the world’s great artistic treasures. A walking tour of the historic center will provide an up-close look at some of Ghent’s most striking and impressive monuments, canals, and architecture.
Choose one of two ways to spend a full day in Antwerp. Walk with your guide to the Cathedral of Our Lady, which houses four masterpieces by Peter Paul Rubens, who spent most of his life in Antwerp. Along the way, see the stunning guild houses and other architectural highlights of this well-preserved city. Or, experience Antwerp “as the locals do.”Catch a metro to the beautiful and historic central station and then walk to the main shopping district, where you’ll stop at a celebrated chocolatier’s for samples. You’ll also have a chance to visit a frietkot to savor one of Belgium’s iconic foods—French fries. Despite their name, French fries were invented in Belgium and there is no better place to try them. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner.