Dutch Waterways

Dutch Waterways

Glide through the waterways of the Netherlands and Belgium during a seven-night cruise aboard an exclusively chartered, first-class river ship. This program includes outings in Amsterdam, where a special canal cruiser shows you the city’s highlights; the fairy-tale village of Giethoorn and Antwerp, which has an impressive medieval cityscape. Design the rest of your trip from a selection of included excursions, which range from cycling to chocolate tasting to, of course, tiptoeing through tulips.

Trip Itinerary:

April 29 Depart Gateway City

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

Meals – Appropriate in-flight meal service

April 30 Brussels, Belgium/Antwerp

Arrive at Brussels Airport. 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 designated meeting spot, where an AHI Travel representative will meet them. The meeting location will be provided with your final documents.

Transfer to the MS Amadeus Silver III. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your cabin may not be immediately available.

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.

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.

Enjoy dinner tonight aboard the ship.

The ship remains docked in Antwerp overnight.

Accommodations – MS Amadeus Silver III
Meals – Appropriate in-flight meal service and dinner

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, wander 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.

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 engaging presentation.

Each night, gather in the ship's elegant dining room for a delectable dinner prepared by your welcoming crew. Tonight, the ship overnights in Antwerp.

Accommodation - MS Amadeus Silver
Meals - Appropriate in-flight meal service and dinner

May 1 Bruges/Middelburg, Netherlands/Veere

This morning, travel by motor coach to Bruges. Romantic, medieval Bruges exudes a dreamy ambiance 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 World Heritage designation.

Personalize Your Cruise | 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.
• Bruges and Beer.
Visit the De Halve Maan Brewery. With a strong tradition of brewing from 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. (Active — There are more than 200 stairs in the brewery.)
• 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.

Enjoy some time at leisure for lunch on your own before rejoining the ship in Middelburg, Netherlands. Sail to Veere, where the ship remains overnight.

This evening, become better acquainted with your fellow travelers during a Welcome Reception and Dinner.

Accommodations – MS Amadeus Silver III
Meals – Breakfast and lunch

May 2 Veere/Zeeland Coast/Willemstad

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. Available at an additional cost.

Return to the ship, which sets sail for Willemstad, where it overnights.

Accommodations – MS Amadeus Silver III
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

May 3 Schoonhoven/Kampen

Depart Willemstad early this morning for Schoonhoven, where you will disembark for your excursion.

Personalize Your Cruise | 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. Pass through the Waasenaar neighborhood, a beautiful quarter that the Dutch royal family calls home. Then visit the storied Mauritshuis. Recently renovated, it houses works by Dutch and Flemish masters, most notably Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring.”
• Delft.
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.

Return to the ship for lunch as the ship sets sail for Kampen.

Accommodations – MS Amadeus Silver III
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

May 4 Kampen/Giethoorn

The ship arrives in Kampen early this morning.

Discovery: Giethoorn.
Feel as though you’ve stepped into a fairy-tale in the winsome village of Giethoorn, free of cars and interlaced with footpaths and narrow canals covered by tiny wooden bridges. Experience the pleasures of small-town Dutch life as you meander through its picturesque canals by boat, passing exquisite, 18th-century farmhouses set against the Weerribben Wieden nature preserve. Then explore the village on foot at your own pace.

This afternoon, join your Travel Director for a brief orientation tour of Kampen, which contains a well-preserved historic center, including several imposing medieval gates.

Free Time: Spend the remainder of the afternoon at leisure in Kampen.

The ship departs Kampen tonight.

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 fascinating lecture.

The ship arrives in Amsterdam late this evening.

Accommodations – MS Amadeus Silver III
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

May 5 Amsterdam

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.

Free Time: The afternoon is at leisure to explore Amsterdam on your own. For a look at wartime Amsterdam, visit the Anne Frank House or the Dutch Resistance Museum. Spend some time walking along the canals or stroll through one of the city’s interesting neighborhoods, such as Jordaan. Though its beginnings were humble, the Jordaan neighborhood now is one of Amsterdam’s trendiest. Some of the most interesting features of the homes in the area are the stone tablets that indicated the profession of the original residents. Look for these tablets above the doorways, and see if you can guess who used to live in these homes.

Enrichment: Contemporary Holland.
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.

Elective Activity: Dinner in Amsterdam.
Enjoy a delicious dinner of authentic Dutch cuisine at a restaurant in Amsterdam. Available at an additional cost.

The ship remains docked overnight in Amsterdam.

Accommodations – MS Amadeus Silver III
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

May 6 Amsterdam

Personalize Your Cruise | 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.
• 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.

Free Time: The rest of the day is free to get to know Amsterdam. See the Skinny Bridge that spans the River Amstel, delve into the world of beer at the Heineken Experience or visit the Royal Palace Amsterdam, which started out as the Amsterdam city hall in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Tonight, gather for a Farewell Reception and Dinner.

Accommodations – MS Amadeus Silver III
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

May 7 Amsterdam

After breakfast, 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 Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Meals – Breakfast and appropriate in-flight meal service

NOTE: Itinerary schedule may change due to local conditions. Many excursions in this program involve an element of walking on cobblestones, unpaved paths or other uneven surfaces.

Map:

Testimonials:

"The dinners were great, the guides were terrific, and we loved the excursions, too. As alumni, we just love the continuous history lessons on these trips."

- Tom and Connie Kirkenmeier, 2017

"We were very pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed taking a pre-planned trip like this!"

- Diane Winter, 2016


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