Waterways of Holland and Belgium
Cruise Holland and Belgium's canals and waterways as you take in their magnificent art collections, spellbinding gardens, and enchanting medieval villages.
WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY
Our Smithsonian tour was amazing. It was educational, scenic and fun. All the guides were exceptional and truly gave us insight into our destination.”
The tour "Waterways of Holland and Belgium" was a truly wonderful, joyous experience - the places visited were interesting and often awe-inspiring; the ship was a lovely "base" and the leaders all were marvelous - and, I might add, we had a thoroughly delightful group of fellow travelers!”
- A Q&A with Expert Francesca Casertano
- A Tale of Two Monuments (and Three Centuries of Tourists)
- A Magical Tour of the City of Light
- Incredible, unforgettable India!
Our glorious cruise of Holland and Belgium showcases magnificent art collections, spellbinding gardens, and enchanting medieval villages. Join us this spring and enjoy the dramatic floral displays of the renowned Keukenhof Gardens, featuring more than a million tulips. You’ll see masterpieces of Dutch art in Amsterdam’s recently refurbished Rijksmuseum, and works by Van Gogh at Arnhem’s Kröller-Müller Museum. Learn about fascinating architectural and engineering details during a private cruise along Amsterdam’s canals (lined with 16th- and 17th-century gabled row houses), and visits to the legendary 18th-century windmills of Kinderdijk and impressive 20th-century Delta Works. In Belgium, explore the World Heritage site of Bruges and the charming medieval cities of Ghent and Antwerp. Plus, art historian Valerie Hedquist provides insights during your cruise, and local residents offer a personal perspective on modern life and cultural heritage. An optional extension to Amsterdam is also offered.
Day 1-2 — U.S., Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Board a private canal cruise for a unique firsthand look at the integral role waterways and canals have played for centuries in the life of Amsterdam. Ringed by concentric canals lined with 16th- and 17th-century merchant row houses, charming houseboats, and world-renowned museums, Amsterdam’s canal district, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is brimming with history and artistic wealth. Embark AmaLyra and, later this evening, join the Captain for a Welcome Reception and dinner. (R,D)
Day 3 — Amsterdam, Volendam
Quaint 18th-century houses, historic canals, and a picturesque waterfront typify the beauty and charm of the Dutch fishing port of Volendam, where many residents still don the traditional dress of the region. Walk along the village’s primary thoroughfare, lined with colorful cafés and purveyors of fresh fish, handmade cheeses, and a myriad of traditional crafts.
Enjoy a guided tour of the Rijksmuseum’s prestigious collection of Dutch master paintings. Then, engage local plaatselijke (residents) during the exclusive River Life Forum®, where they share their candid perspectives on daily life in Holland. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Arnhem for Kröller-Müller Museum, Nijmegen
Marvel at the picturesque De Hoge Veluwe, The Netherlands’ largest national park. Visit the world-class Kröller-Müller Museum, lauded for its chronological collection of van Gogh’s masterpieces. The museum also exhibits works by Picasso, Renoir and Manet as well as captivating late 19th- to 21st-century sculptures in its unique 60-acre garden.
Visit scenic Nijmegen, widely regarded as the oldest city in The Netherlands and settled in the 1st century B.C. The walking tour of Valkhof Hill downtown features an impressive 9th‑century Carolingian chapel overlooking the River Waal. Among the well‑preserved historic buildings are the 15th‑century town hall and Latin school, the 16th‑century, Renaissance‑style Waag (weighing hall) and a series of quaint 17th‑century houses. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Antwerp, Belgium
Antwerp preserves its Flemish culture and charm in its Old Town. A labyrinth of squares and narrow passages leads into the spectacular Grote Markt, where beautifully preserved guildhalls once bustled with Antwerp’s 17th-century merchants and tradesmen. In the Cathedral of Our Lady, the pride of Belgium with a remarkable 47-bell carillon and soaring 404-foot, delicately ornamented spire, you will see the 17th-century Baroque masterpieces of the city’s native son, Peter Paul Rubens’ paintings of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, The Raising of the Cross and The Descent from the Cross. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Ghent for Bruges
Ghent's rich history and commercial heritage are reflected in the splendid 12th- to 17th-century guildhalls lining the quay. In St. Bavo's Cathedral, see the Van Eyck brothers' magnificent polyptych, the altarpiece of the Adoration of the Mystical Lamb.
Timeless Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage site of treasured architecture, virtually untouched since the 15th century and one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. It is built around a double ring of picturesque canals and connected by charming arched foot bridges. From the Market Square to the Chapel of the Holy Blood, see Bruges’ magnificent deftly crafted stone guildhalls and opulent churches from the very best perspective—aboard your private canal cruise. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Willemstad, the Netherlands, for Delta Works, Kinderdijk
In the southern Netherlands, see one of the most impressive feats of hydraulic engineering in the world, the famous Delta Works. Developed over the past 60-plus years, this vast and complex system of locks, sluices, channels, bridges, slides, and storm-surge barriers was built to protect the southwestern Netherlands from the encroaching North Sea and to reclaim polder lands, otherwise below sea level.
Visit Kinderdijk, a national monument and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here, Holland’s greatest concentration of traditional windmills provides an opportunity to see firsthand the internal workings of an authentic windmill. Little has changed here since the mid-18th century, when 19 tall, wooden windmills were erected side by side at Kinderdijk to drain the Alblasserwaard, one of many regions in the Netherlands located below sea level. Though no longer used to monitor water levels, the windmills are still one of Holland’s most picturesque sights and represent examples of the exceptionally advanced achievements of 18th-century Dutch engineering.
Enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Reception this evening. (B,L,R,D)
Day 8 — Utrecht for Keukenhof Gardens, Amsterdam
A brilliant and breathtaking tapestry of colors and fragrance when in full bloom, the gardens of Keukenhof are deservedly known as the “Greatest Flower Show on Earth.” Walk through this 77-acre wooded park during the height of Holland’s spectacular spring flower season, when more than seven million flowers are expected to be in bloom in a dazzling display of color, weather permitting. “Keukenhof” translates to “kitchen garden” and was inspired by the early 15th-century Countess Jacoba of Bavaria, who resided in a nearby castle and tended an herb garden on this site. Today a showcase for Dutch bulb growers, Keukenhof Gardens features more than 1,000 varieties of tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths, which are meticulously planted and landscaped amidst an idyllic setting complete with tranquil ponds, gently flowing streams, and winding, tree-shaded paths.
Continue to Amsterdam to overnight on the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Amsterdam, U.S.
Disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S. (B)
Pre-Cruise Option is available at additional cost. Details will be included with your reservation confirmation.
All program features are contingent upon final brochure pricing.