Day 1: OSTEND
Passengers are welcome to board our ship in Ostend starting at 6:00 p.m. After you've comfortably settled in your cabin, we'll introduce our crew during our welcome cocktail party and have dinner on board.
Day 2: OSTEND - BRUGES
We'll spend the morning cruising before arriving late morning in Bruges. We'll set off for an excursion to this picturesque city. Well-known for its lace production and filled with a quaint, old-fashioned charm, Bruges has been one of the most important cultural centers in northern Europe for some 200 years. The visit ends with a trip along the town's canals on board small motor boats (1) where you will be able to see the town's most important buildings and monuments from a different perspective. Enjoy a free evening after dinner or join us in the lounge for entertainment.
Day 3: BRUGES - KORTRIJK
We'll spend the morning cruising. In early afternoon, we'll set off on an excursion to Diksmuide(2). A town located near the Yser, Diksmuide was the scene of bloody confrontations during World War I and had to be completely rebuilt. We'll visit the “Trench of Death”, which preserves the trench setting of the Belgian front during World War I. After observing the view over the Yser plain around the “Trench of Death”, we'll visit the actual trenches themselves. We'll then head to the Vladslo German War Cemetery and an unaccompanied visit of the Yser Tower Memorial, which, at 275.5 feet high, is the tallest monument to peace in Europe. In the tower there is a museum dedicated to war, peace and Flemish emancipation. We'll return to the ship in Kortrijk. After dinner, enjoy an evening of music and dancing.
Day 4: KORTRIJK
Set off for a full day excursion which will begin with a visit to the Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing, the largest for Commonwealth forces in the world. Continue with a visit to Passchendaele Museum, located in Zonnebeke Castle, which offers an overview of the deadly battle of 1917. An underground tunnel gives an idea of what the life of a British soldier must have been like. Before lunch in a restaurant, we will taste some regional cheeses. This afternoon, we'll head for Ypres where you can take a walking tour of the ramparts (approx. 1.8 miles), followed by a visit of the In Flanders Fields Museum, which presents the history of the First World War in the region of the Western Flanders Front. We'll also stop at Hill 60 and visit the Australian memorial. Before rejoining the boat, we'll attend the Last Post Ceremony (3). The “Last Post” was the call of the bugle played particularly in the British Army to mark the end of the day's work and the beginning of the evening's rest. After our tour, we'll return on board.
Day 5: KORTRIJK - COMINES
We'll then leave by coach to Poperinge to discover this charming town. Poperinge was one of only two towns not to have been occupied by the Germans during WWI. We'll continue on to the military cemetery at Lijssenthoek. From 1915 to 1920, this was also the location of the largest evacuation hospital from the Saillant d'Ypres battle zone. The visitor center tells the story of this unique site through the use of interactive exhibits. We'll return to the boat in Kortrijk for lunch. You'll have a free afternoon. Tonight's entertainment will be provided by the crew.
DAY 6: COMINES – LILLE
Our first excursion will be to Arras. Each year, Arras attracts thousands of visitors to explore the city's architecture and historic buildings. We'll visit the Wellington Quarry (4), an enormous underground network of tunnels used by forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the First World War. After descending some 65 feet in a glass elevator, you will learn about the memorial to the Battle of Arras of 1917 through use of an audio guide. The afternoon will be spent cruising to Lille. Tonight, enjoy our gala evening and dinner on board.
Day 7: LILLE
Enjoy one last buffet breakfast on board before disembarking around 9:00 a.m.