Dutch Waterways ~ featuring Floriade

Dutch Waterways ~ featuring Floriade

Discover Old World cities, picture-perfect towns and centuries of history along the intimate waterways of the Netherlands and Belgium! On this seven-night, first-class cruise, take in Amsterdam’s gabled houses from the Dutch Golden Age, and meander in Bruges’ romantic old town and along Antwerp’s colorful lanes. Best of all, be inspired by the beautiful profusion of trees, plants and flowers blossoming at Floriade Expo 2022, the world’s premier gardening festival held every 10 years! You’ll also enjoy a choice of included excursions. In Amsterdam, stroll amid a sea of cheerful tulips at Keukenhof Gardens, behold the Rijksmuseum’s masterpieces or bike through quaint villages. Explore The Hague and the Mauritshuis’ treasures, or watch artisans at the Royal Delft porcelain factory. In Bruges, visit a chocolaterie, discover the beer culture or admire fine Belgian art. Savor the ever-changing panoramas and carefree comforts that make river cruising so enticing. A generous meal plan with wine and beer at lunch and dinner complements your experience. No single supplement!


Trip Itinerary:

April 18 Depart Gateway City

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Amsterdam, Netherlands. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: AMS.

April 19 Amsterdam, Netherlands

Arrive at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Cruise Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where an AHI Travel representative will meet you.

Transfer to the pier and embark the MS Douce France. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your cabin may not be immediately available.

Enrichment: Contemporary Netherlands. Delve into current affairs in the Netherlands, a constitutional monarchy and one of the original six countries that created what is now the 28-member European Union.

Discovery:Canals of Amsterdam. Board a canal cruiser for a unique tour of Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands and the center of the country’s culture and commerce. Named after the city’s origin as a dam in the river Amstel, today Amsterdam is known the world over for its more than 60 miles of tree-lined canals and waterways that make this romantic city truly unforgettable. The three main canals were dug during the Golden Age of the 17th century, and that central area is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Admire some of the city’s 1,500 bridges, dozens of islands, charming Dutch homes and the architectural gems of the bustling city harbor during a guided cruise with a local expert. (Mild)

Enjoy dinner on board.

The ship remains docked overnight in Amsterdam.

April 20 Amsterdam, Netherlands

Personalize Your Journey | Choose one of the following excursions.

Keukenhof Gardens. Journey through Dutch flower fields to the renowned Keukenhof Gardens, an 80-acre paradise of brightly colored tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and other gorgeous blooms. More than nine miles of footpaths crisscross the grounds, allowing you to immerse yourself in this enchanting setting. Explore this magnificent garden with your expert guide and learn more about its origins. (Moderate)
Waterland Bicycle Ride. Take a guided bike tour of scenic Waterland, an iconic wetland north of Amsterdam that is composed of nine villages and boasts stunning views as well as hundreds of official monuments. Also pass through the towns of Zunderdorp, Ransdorp, and Durgerdam. Enjoy a stop for pastry and coffee along the way. (Active)
Rijksmuseum. Take an audio tour of the Rijksmuseum, home to masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer and other renowned artists. After the tour, enjoy free time to explore the museum on your own; linger in front of your favorite paintings or maybe stop for refreshments in the museum’s café. (Moderate)
As the ship cruises to Kampen this evening, become better acquainted with your fellow travelers during a Welcome Reception and Dinner.

April 21 Kampen | Almere

The ship arrives in Kampen this morning. Disembark and travel by motor coach to Floriade Expo 2022 in Almere.

Discovery: Floriade Expo 2022. Be inspired by the beautiful gardens and innovative green solutions blossoming at this premier horticultural event held every ten years. Enter the Green City Arboretum, a flourishing natural wonderland that covers the 148-acre grounds, and marvel at the amazing abundance of unique trees, plants and flowers. It’s also designed as a living library, planted in alphabetical order by botanical name! Immerse yourself in the Green City of the Future with imaginative solutions for a healthier planet, and learn about “Growing Green Cities” with districts focused on food, energy and health. (Moderate)

Enrichment: The Dutch Masters. From 1605 to 1680, Dutch Golden Age artists, such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, and Jans Steen, endeavored for detailed realism in their portraits, landscapes and still lifes. Consider the lasting impact of their creations in this engaging lecture by a local expert.

Discovery: Kampen. Join in a brief orientation tour of Kampen, which contains a well-preserved historic center, including several imposing medieval gates. (Moderate)

The ship departs Kampen this evening.

April 22 Utrecht | The Hague/Delft

The ship docks in Utrecht early this morning.

Personalize Your Journey | Choose one of the following excursions.

The Hague and the Mauritshuis. See The Hague’s landmark buildings, including the Binnenhof, home of the Dutch parliament, and the Peace Palace, seat of the United Nations’ International Court of Justice. Then visit the storied Mauritshuis. Recently renovated, it houses works by Dutch and Flemish masters, most notably Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” (Moderate)
Old Delft and the Porcelain Factory. Explore historic Delft and its Market Square on a walking tour before visiting the Royal Delft porcelain factory, founded in 1653 and the last of the original 32 earthenware factories established in the 17th century. In the early 1600s, Chinese porcelain became a favorite of the Dutch after it was introduced by tradesmen from the Dutch East India Company. Dutch potters responded by developing their own version, the iconic blue and white delftware so associated with the Netherlands. See the fascinating production process firsthand, watch a master artisan at work hand-painting pieces, and view Royal Delft’s splendid porcelain collection in their showroom. (Moderate)
Return to the ship for lunch and a day of sailing to Veere via Willemstad, where the ship is moored late this evening.

April 23 Veere | Zeeland Coast

The ship arrives in Veere this morning.

Free Time: Join the half-day Elective Activity this morning or enjoy exploring the full day in Veere, a charming seaside town, on your own. Yachts have replaced the fishing boats and trading boats that once filled the harbor. De Schotse aan de Kaai is a museum devoted to Veere’s unique relationship with Scotland. This tiny port town once was the staple port for Scotland, meaning it was the entry port into Europe for Scottish wool and other items being brought to the European mainland. Stroll by the 15th-century town hall and browse through the charming shops.

Elective Activity: The Zeeland Coast and the Dutch Battle Against the Sea. Travel along the Zeeland coast to the artificial island of Neeltje Jans and its Delta Expo. Learn about the Delta Works, a series of massive dams and storm surge barriers, conceived after the 1953 North Sea flood and built over a period of 30 years. These 65 enormous gates can be slammed shut on the North Sea when powerful storms strike. They are an engineering masterpiece that now protects the third of the landmass of the Netherlands that sits below sea level. A moving panoramic 3-D exhibit allows you to experience how the North Sea waves wiped out part of the country in February 1953. (Moderate) Available at an additional cost.

The ship remains in Veere overnight.

April 24 Middelburg | Bruges, Belgium | Antwerp

This morning, cruise to Middelburg. Disembark and enjoy a scenic drive to Bruges, Belgium. Romantic, medieval Bruges exudes a dreamy ambience that has earned it the nickname, “Venice of the North.” Tranquil canals, serving as the city’s arteries, are connected by winding cobbled lanes and sturdy stone bridges. The beautiful, well-preserved Gothic architecture of its historic center has also earned it a UNESCO World Heritage designation.

Personalize Your Journey | Choose one of the following excursions.

All excursions include a guided walking tour of Bruges. Stroll through the grand Market Square and see the medieval guild hall buildings, the exquisite 12th-century Basilica of the Holy Blood and the stately Belfry Tower that looms over the square. After this excursion through the Old Town, continue with your selected tour.

Cultural Bruges. Admire the outstanding artwork at the Groeninge Museum, known for its Flemish Primitive paintings and Flemish expressionist masterpieces. After your museum visit, spend time exploring Bruges on your own. (Active)
Bruges and Beer. Visit the De Halve Maan Brewery. With a strong tradition of brewing connecting back to the 12th century, Belgium embraces beer as its beloved national drink, and hundreds of varieties are produced annually. At the brewery, learn about this family business and the history of Belgian brewing. Take in the panoramic view of Bruges from the roof of the building, then enjoy a glass of freshly brewed beer. Three floors and many stairs (Active)
Bruges and Belgian Chocolate. Explorers returning from South America introduced cocoa beans to Belgium in the 17th century, and today Belgium is recognized worldwide for its creamy chocolates. Visit one of Belgium’s more than 2,000 chocolatiers and learn about the art and history of Belgian chocolate-making, talk with the chocolate experts, and enjoy a sample. (Active)
Enjoy time for lunch on your own in Bruges before returning to the ship.

Rejoin the ship in Antwerp, where it remains overnight.

April 25 Antwerp

Enrichment: Contemporary Belgium. Belgium is a bilingual country with deep cultural, geographic, and linguistic divisions between the Dutch speakers of Flanders and the French speakers of Wallonia. Gain insights about its culture during this fascinating presentation by a local expert.

Discovery: Antwerp. Located along the Scheldt River, just 55 miles from the North Sea, Antwerp has a rich legacy as an important seaport and center of trade. On a guided walking tour, meander through Antwerp’s quaint squares and cobblestone streets to view its wealth of medieval architecture. Among its notable landmarks, see the Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady that soars over the skyline, which was under construction for 169 years and completed in 1521; the elegant 16th-century town hall festooned with colorful flags; and the Grote Markt, or Great Market Square, with its row of narrow guild halls. (Moderate)

Free Time: Spend the afternoon at leisure in Antwerp. Perhaps you’ll relax at a café on the bustling Groenplaats, or stroll through beautiful Antwerp Zoo, a wonderful oasis in the heart of the city, founded in 1843.

Tonight, gather for a Farewell Reception and Dinner to commemorate your journey.

April 26 Depart for Gateway City

After breakfast, disembark the ship in Antwerp.

AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Cruise Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Brussels Airport for your return flights home. Passengers departing independently to the airport must disembark the ship by 9 a.m. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Meals – Breakfast

NOTE: Itinerary may change due to local conditions.


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