Immerse yourself in spring's vibrant colors
on a voyage along the waterways of the Netherlands and Belgium. Board the elegant M.S. Swiss Jewel and glide past vivid blankets of tulips and age-old windmills; dock in charming waterfront villages and the majestic cities of Antwerpen, Maastricht, and Amsterdam; and experience the culinary and musical traditions of the region. Trace the evocative histories of Arnhem, Brugge, and Hoorn from the thriving medieval era through the Dutch Golden Age to World War II.
Explore two UNESCO World Heritage sites: Brussels' splendid Grand' Place and the medieval gem of Brugge.
Stroll through the spectacular gardens of Keukenhof, and sit down to a sumptuous meal in a castle's private wine cellar.
Take a private boat ride on Amsterdam's famous canals, and view the renowned works of Dutch masters.
Itinerary - 11 Days
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Brussels, Belgium
Depart on an overnight flight to Brussels. Upon arrival, transfer to our elegant hotel, located just steps from the Grand' Place, one of Europe's most beautiful market squares. After time on your own, meet fellow travelers for a welcome reception and dinner.
Hotel Amigo (D)
Day 3 — Brugge
Journey to Brugge, the birthplace of Flemish painting, where much of the remarkably preserved old town dates back to the 13th century. On a walking tour, admire celebrated Gothic architecture, venture down narrow cobbled lanes, and cross arched bridges over canals dotted with swans. Stop to see Michelangelo's "Madonna and Child" sculpture at the Church of Our Lady. Enjoy time to explore Brugge on your own before continuing to Antwerpen, where our riverboat awaits. Sample Belgian ales and local specialties at dinner on board tonight.
M.S. Swiss Jewel (B, D)
Day 4 — Antwerpen/Albert Canal
Spend the morning exploring Antwerpen, from the ornate railway station--considered one of the finest in Europe--to the opera house and City Hall. Visit the Rubenshuis, a museum in the home of 17th-century artist Peter Paul Rubens. Then learn about Belgian chocolate making and enjoy a tasting at a local chocolatier. This afternoon, cruise
the Albert Canal and join the captain for
a welcome reception and dinner on board. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Maastricht, the Netherlands
In charming Maastricht, our walking tour includes Vrijthof Square and the 16th-
century Spanish Government House. Pass through Helpoort, an imposing gateway built in 1229, and visit the Basilica of St. Servatius, where portions of the church date back 1,000 years. Pay your respects at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial, final resting place of some 8,300 U.S. soldiers who lost their lives during World War II. Then head into the countryside for a specially arranged culinary experience at Chateau Neercanne, a 17th-century castle set among renowned terraced gardens. Meet the chef in the kitchen before sitting down to an extraordinary meal in the
castle's wine cellar. Later, enjoy time to explore Maastricht on your own. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Nijmegen
Sail the Maas River north to Nijmegen, one of the country's oldest towns. Stroll among the ruins of the Valkhof, Charlemagne's
8th-century stronghold, and see art and ancient artifacts at the Museum Het Valkhof. Visit St. Stevenskerk, a 14th-century church, and wander through the Grote Markt. Cruise to Arnhem, where local performers come aboard for an evening of traditional music and dance. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Arnhem
Choose between two excursions today. Delve into the
history of the World War II Allied airborne assault on Arnhem and visit the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek. Or spend the day in De Hoge Veluwe National Park and examine works by Vincent van Gogh and other renowned artists at the park's Kroller-Müller Museum. Later, meet the ship at Deventer and glide along a branch of the Rhine called the IJssel River, enjoying a performance of classical music as you go. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Enkhuizen/Hoorn or Alkmaar
The day begins in the picturesque seaside town of Enkhuizen. Step back in time at the Zuiderzee Museum and see a reconstructed 19th-century fishing village. Continue to the legendary port of Hoorn, which saw its heyday during the Golden Age of Dutch exploration. Learn about the city's rich maritime legacy on a walking tour, or take an excursion to the Alkmaar region to visit the Schermer Museum Mill and watch a cheese-making demonstration at a local farm. (B,L,D)
Days 9 & 10 — Keukenhof/Amsterdam
Dock in Amsterdam, and journey overland to the gardens of Keukenhof. Once the tidy herb garden for a castle kitchen, Keukenhof is now known for its dazzling patchwork of tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. In the afternoon, discover the treasures of Amsterdam on your own. The following day, gaze at the works of Rembrandt and other Dutch masters at the world-renowned Rijksmuseum before a luncheon cruise along the city's canals. After a final afternoon to explore Amsterdam, enjoy a festive farewell reception and dinner on board.
(B, L, D daily)
Day 11 — Amsterdam/U.S.
Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)