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Excursions in Holland & Belgium

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

We'll visit the Rijksmuseum, Holland's ultimate national museum retracing the country's history from the Middle-Ages to the present day. The collection contains more than 2,000 paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, among which you'll get to admire Rembrandt's "The Night Watch" as well as Johannes Vermeer's "The Milkmaid".

PLEASE NOTE

  • Headsets are included.
  • The order of the excursions can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Haarlem and the Flower Auction

We’ll set out very early this morning for Aalsmeer and a tour of the famous Dutch flower auction. The action happens fast here, with bidders having only a few seconds to complete the sale. The prices start high and move lower, so it is a true Dutch auction in all senses. More than 20 million flowers and plants are sold every day to buyers from all over the world. We’ll watch the veritable ballet of colors as the plants and flowers come and go in the hall, and we’ll peer down on the action in the bustling warehouse. Our next stop will be a tour of Haarlem, a haven for artists since the 17th century when it was the center of the Dutch Golden Age as Flemish artists flocked here. Today’s tour follows the footsteps of Frans Hals and Dutch Renaissance architecture.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the excursions can change.
  • Times are approximate.
The Hague and the Mauritshuis

We'll leave Rotterdam for The Hague, the seat of the Dutch parliament and the only major city with a beach on the North Sea. We’ll take a brief panoramic tour to see the important monuments and impressive sites, including the historic Binnenhof, where the government convenes. We’ll then head over to the Mauritshuis for an audio tour of the most renowned Dutch painters. The collections include Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring,  Rembrandt's The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, and Fabritius’ The Goldfinch, as well as works by Rubens, Steen, and Hals.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the excursions can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Guided tour of Brussels and touring a chocolate factory

Our visit of the Belgian capital will begin with a panoramic tour to see the famous monuments such as the Royal Palace of Laeken and the Atomium, a building originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels World Fair. We'll then head for the city center to admire the Royal Palace of Brussels - the King's workplace, as well as numerous Art Nouveau style buildings and the European Institutions. The visit will continue on foot to discover the Grand Place and its impressive Gothic town hall dating from the 14th century, as well as the iconic landmark Manneken Pis. We'll stop in a chocolate factory to learn what makes Belgian chocolates so delectable. Of course, we'll enjoy a tasting of these indulgent treats. Afterwards, we'll return to the ship.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Panoramic tour by coach with stops to take pictures.
  • Good walking shoes are recommended: the visit of the old town is on foot and the streets are cobblestoned.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Excursion to the Kinderdijk windmills

Departure on foot towards the famous Kinderdijk windmills. This unique place combining a large number of windmills has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1997.
You'll be able to admire no less than 19 windmills coming from different areas such as Nederwaard, Overwaard, Nieuw-Lekkerland and Blokweer, all with their specificities - either made out of stone, wood, or having been built on polders. The 1521 windmill from Blokweer was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1997, though every effort has been made to rebuild it to its original state. A film will tell you all about this remarkable site and a visit to one of the mills will give you an insight on the life and everyday work of a miller. Weather permitting, you may be lucky enough to see the sails in action! We'll walk back to the boat along the seawall.

PLEASE NOTE

  • In case of bad weather, we won't be able to visit the windmill.
  • If the ship is moored in Rotterdam or any location other than Kinderdijk, a supplement will be required (to be paid on board).
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Amsterdam and its Diamonds merchants

We’ll leave by coach for a guided tour of the city. Amsterdam is one of the most unique and extraordinary cities in the world. From its romantic canals to its world-renowned museums and historical significance, it’s a city that never ceases to surprise. Our first stop will be the De Gooyer Windmill, the tallest wooden mill in the Netherlands at 26.6 meters high. It is the last of a large group of corn mills built between the 17th and the end of the 19th centuries on the bastions of the walls of Amsterdam. The location of the mills was at that time very favourable as the outskirts of town provided ample wind. Afterwards, we’ll head to the Diamond District to observe how the talented cutters facet the raw diamonds into the jewels we buy. Our guide will explain in detail how a diamond is valued. After our tour, you’ll be able to spend some time browsing the shop. Our coach will then take us to the Bloemenmarkt, the famous floating flower market. One of the most fragrant places in Amsterdam in any seasons thanks to its thousands of flowers and multitude of varieties, this unique market will make your head spin! At the end of our visit, we’ll return to the ship by coach.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
The Hague and its hidden courtyards

We'll leave by coach for The Hague, the seat of the Dutch parliament and one of the most beautiful cities in the country. The Hague is also known as the "Royal City by the Sea,” since the Royal Family enjoys the location for many of their vacations. The Hague counts no less than 155 courtyards, making it the courtyard capital of Holland. Your guide will show you some of the most splendid, including the Hof van Wouw, Hofje van Nieuwkoop and the Hofje Rusthof. We'll also stroll through the Binnenhof, where the House of Representatives meets, the prime minister works and the ministers hold their weekly consultations. It has been the seat of the Dutch government for over 400 years. Our guide will also show us royal monuments, including the Lange Voorhout Palace which houses the Escher Museum. Lastly, we'll pass by the iconic Hotel des Indes, the International Court of Justice, and the Kloosterkerk.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Times are approximate.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes.
Excursion to Volendam and Zaanse-Schans

We'll leave by coach with our guide for Volendam, a charming village that has preserved its character for over six centuries thanks to the tough vitality of its fishermen. We'll then visit a cheese factory in the area to discover how the famous Gouda cheese is made. We'll enjoy tasting the different flavors and ages available of one of the most popular cheeses in the world. We'll then head for Zaanse Schans, an open air museum with wooden windmills, barns, and houses. Take a walk through the stunning buildings and the unique peat landscape or watch traditional clog making techniques. Don't miss the small but impressive clog museum that features one of the largest and most attractive collections of wooden shoes in the Netherlands: painted, carved, ice clogs with iron trimmings, horse clogs, and decorative clogs. Take advantage of some free time on this excursion to indulge in authentic Dutch traditions. We'll return to our ship in Amsterdam by coach.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Good walking shoes are recommended: guided visit on foot at Volendam and Zaanse Schans.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Excursion to the Keukenhof Gardens

Departure by coach in the company of your hostess towards Keukenhof. Upon arrival, your hostess will give you an entry ticket that will allow you to stroll freely inside this beautiful flower garden extending on 32 hectares (79 acres). You'll be delighted by its wonders, from the enchanting colors and fragrances of the many tulips, narcissus, daffodils and other ornamental bulbs to the orchid pavilion and the Japanese country garden. Do not miss the breathtaking view over the tulip fields from the 1892 windmill located at the back of the garden!
In the 15th century, the garden as we know it today was nothing but hunting grounds where aromatic herbs were grown for the kitchens of the castle belonging to Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut, hence its current name, "Keukenhof” - "kitchen garden” in English.
Return on board in Amsterdam by coach.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Only on pre-booking.
  • Good walking shoes are recommended.
  • Free visit in the park; open from March 21st to May 12th 2024. The opening dates are subject to change by Keukenhof Flower Park. 
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
  • Wheelchairs are available through online booking on the Keukenhof website (passengers will have to use their own credit card).
Amsterdam

We’ll leave by coach for a guided tour of the city. Amsterdam is one of the most unique and extraordinary cities in the world. From its romantic canals to its world-renowned museums and historical significance, it’s a city that never ceases to surprise. Our first stop will be the Riecker Windmill, a windmill located on the riverbanks of the Amstel River, south of the city. This mill was built in 1636 in the village of Sloten and was used as a polder mill for the polder of the same name (Riekerpolder). The pumping of the polder water was taken over by an electric pumping station in 1932 and, when the polder was dug, the mill was then dismantled to create, among other things, Lake Het Nieuw Meer. The mill was rebuilt in 1961 on the riverbanks of the Amstel, around 8 km (approx. 5 miles) away, between the roads leading to Kalfjeslaan and Borcht. This part of the Amstel banks, very popular with tourists and walkers, is a prime location for an old Dutch windmill. A statue of Rembrandt was erected close to this mill to remind us that the painter made many drawings on the banks of this river. Afterwards, we’ll continue on towards the Bloemenmarkt, the famous floating flower market. One of the most fragrant places in Amsterdam in any seasons thanks to its thousands of flowers and multitude of varieties, this unique market will make your head spin! At the end of our visit, we’ll return to the ship by coach.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Panoramic tour with stops to take pictures and free time.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Visiting Delft and its pottery factories

We'll leave by coach with our guides for the city of Delft.
We'll discover this charming city made famous by its blue and white ceramics, Delftware, as well as its connections to the Dutch Royal Family and the renowned painter Johannes Vermeer. We'll stroll through the enchanting city center—where you'll be able to experience a bit of authentic Dutch living: calm canals shaded by trees, petite bridges, and historical buildings. We'll also visit a delft pottery factory in the city (or nearby) where you'll discover the secrets of making this famous imitation porcelain. We'll then head to the Oude Kerk, Nieuwe Kerk, and the Prinsenhof - where William of Orange was assassinated in 1584. Afterwards, we'll travel by coach to Rotterdam. We'll then return on board. 

PLEASE NOTE

  • Good walking shoes are recommended.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Gouda Cheese and Crafts Museum

We’ll leave on foot for the Goudse Waag, a museum located in a 1668 building designed by architect Pieter Post. The ground floor was formerly used to weigh cheese. Today, it has been transformed into the Cheese and Crafts Museum—where you can learn about the building’s history, the products once traded here, and how Gouda cheese is made. After our tour, we’ll return to the ship on foot.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Amsterdam by bike

You'll leave on foot to head to the bike rental office. This guided bike tour will last about 2.5 hours, and you'll be able to explore and learn about all the must-see and out-of-the-way sites in Amsterdam. Enjoy some free time at the Flower Market or at the Albert Cuypmarkt.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Good walking shoes are recommended.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
  • Attention: children are under the responsibility of their parents and must be autonomous by bike.
Amsterdam by night

We'll leave on foot with our host/hostess for a canal tour. We'll travel along the famous Port of Amsterdam and continue along the legendary canals. Even today, they continue to define the city's landscape, and in 2010 Amsterdam's canal ring was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Besides providing a stunning backdrop to the city's historical center, cruising the canals is one of the most memorable ways to discover the city. So come aboard with us and take a relaxing trip through the Dutch capital. After our tour, return to the ship with our host/hostess or spend some free time on your own in the city.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Guided tour of Haarlem

Departure by coach in the company of your guides towards Haarlem.
Known as the "City of Tulips”, Haarlem has for centuries been the main production and export center for tulip bulbs. This charming town has been an inspiration for generations of painters throughout the centuries. We'll discover the Amsterdamse Poort (Amsterdam Gate) built in 1400 and the only vestige from the city's fortifications, the Grote Markt (Main Square), the Corrie Ten Boom House, used as a hiding place during World War II and the impressive Gothic Cathedral of St Bavo dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. In Haarlem, you'll get the chance to see a great number of "beguinages”, with the oldest dating back to 1395. Before heading back to Amsterdam, you will have some free time.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.