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Essential Holland & Belgium Culinary Cruise: Tulips in Spring - 2020

9-night river cruise with Amsterdam, Enkhuizen, Arnhem, Antwerp, Ghent, Middelburg, Kinderdijk, Rotterdam, Keukenhof Gardens, Amsterdam
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DAY 1:

Depart home for Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Board an overnight flight to Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

DAY 2:

Arrive in Amsterdam

If you’ve purchased your airfare through Vantage, you’ll be met at the airport upon arrival and assisted with your included transfer to your Deluxe European river cruise ship. Or, if you like, begin your trip earlier with an optional extension in Belgium’s historic capital of Brussels. This afternoon, attend a Welcome Briefing and enjoy a Welcome Drink in the lounge before dinner on board. Afterwards, join us in the lounge to relax to the sounds of classical keys and strings as your ship cruises towards Enkhuizen.

Cultural Connection:

  • Onboard evening entertainment in the lounge
Active Feature:
  • Biking opportunities throughout the duration of your cruise — see your Concierge to sign up for one of the included cycling tours
Vantage Onboard Enrichment:
  • Morning yoga and stretching, offered throughout the duration of your cruise
  • Optional early risers’ breakfast in the Captain’s Club, offered throughout the duration of your cruise
  • Chess, shuffleboard, track, spa, and other amenities

Included Meals:


DAY 3:

A trip to a local tulip farm, followed by an aperitif in a Dutch home

This morning, you’ll already start off with a spring in your step as you begin the day learning about modern Holland during an insightful presentation. Next, discover the trade secrets of tulip harvesting as you visit with some local bulb growers. (Please keep in mind that the flowers may not be in bloom depending on departure date and the seasonal changes that may differ slightly year-to-year. If we are unable to bring you into the field, we will bring you to the greenhouse to do our best to ensure that you see tulips.) In the 17th century, bulb growing was a get-rich-quick scheme that involved frenzied wheeling and dealing of rare tulip bulbs at exorbitant prices — until the bulb market crashed in 1637. But as you’ll learn today, the market is quite different. Later today, enjoy a taste of Dutch hospitality when you're invited into a local home to enjoy some appetizers and an aperitif.

Vantage Exclusive:

  • Home-hosted aperitif with a local Dutch family
Included Feature:
  • Visit a bulbgrower in Julianadorp
Cultural Connection:
  • Lecture on “Modern Holland”

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 4:

Take a step back in history in Arnhem with your choice of tours

Enjoy a tranquil breakfast this morning as your ship arrives in Arnhem, where you’ll have your choice of tours today.

Love Vincent van Gogh? Perhaps you’ll explore the Kröeller-Müller Museum, which houses the world’s second-largest collection of the artist’s paintings, a vast sculpture garden, and an impressive collection featuring masters like Picasso, Monet, Seurat, and Mondrian. Alternately, head to Groesbeek’s Freedom Museum, where you’ll delve into World War II-era history through an interactive experience that re-creates conditions from the pre-war days through the rebuilding of the Netherlands and Europe.

Return to the ship for lunch, then choose how you’ll spend your afternoon. Join a guided bike ride to lovely Zypendaal Park, or embark on a guided walking tour of Arnhem to take in the sights and World War II history, forever immortalized to celluloid in the film A Bridge Too Far. If you opt for the walk, enjoy a stop for a scrumptious cookie tasting.

Included Feature:

  • Your choice of tours: Visit Groesbeek and the Freedom Museum or explore the Kröeller-Müller Museum
Cultural Connection:
  • Cookie tasting during walking tour of Arnhem
Biking Opportunity:

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5:

Explore the architecture and culinary treats of Antwerp

Welcome to Antwerp, one of the world’s most fashion-centric cities, known for its extraordinary style, chocolates, and diamonds. This “gem” is also home to extraordinary Gothic and Baroque architecture and lively cafés. On a morning walking tour, admire the impressive Antwerp Cathedral, which houses four incredible paintings by master Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) and offers services every Sunday — or elect our optional tour to visit Fort Breendonk, the former Nazi prison camp that now serves as a national memorial and museum and honor those who perished here during the Holocaust (if you join this optional tour, you’ll enjoy the city walking tour after lunch on board).

Lunch is on board, followed by an afternoon at leisure to explore on your own or join a delightful optional tour and a culinary walking tour of Antwerp! Your taste buds will thank you as you sample specialties like Belgian waffles, local beers, chocolates and other confections.

Tonight before dinner, head to lounge for more taste temptations during a Belgian chocolate-making demonstration.

Included Feature:

  • Walking tour of Antwerp with Cathedral of Antwerp
Cultural Connection:
  • Onboard chocolate making demo
Active Features:
  • Tee off at the Royal Antwerp Golf Club, Belgium’s oldest — contact your Concierge in advance for details
  • Option for a more active take on the Antwerp walking tour

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Optional Tour: Fort Breendonk: the Former Nazi Prison Camp,

Fort Breendonk: the Former Nazi Prison Camp

  • Approximate Cost:
  • Approximate Time: 3 hours
  • Location: Antwerp
  • When: Morning Tour (limited availability)

A moving and striking example of the horrors of Nazism, the fortress of Breendonk has been preserved as a symbol to memorialize its victims. Pay your respects to the 3,500 prisoners who passed through this camp between 1940 and 1944 and explore the gruesome history of the site and the Nazi occupation during an emotional guided tour.

Belgian Culinary Delights

Belgian Culinary Delights

  • Approximate Cost: $69 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 hours
  • Location: Antwerp
  • When: Afternoon Tour (limited availability)
Join us on a culinary walking tour through the streets of Antwerp that will allow you to try the signature foods and drinks that are Belgian gastronomic specialties. Try Belgian fries along with mayonnaise! Also taste a true “Belgian waffle,” which is much richer and more dense than the version you’ll find in North America. You will also taste Belgium’s exciting beer style before heading back to the ship!

DAY 6:

Marvel at the wonders of Bruges, by both foot and canal cruise — or enjoy a beer lover’s dream in Ghent

Today, choose between two unforgettable experiences in two of Belgium’s most endearing cities.

Set off for Bruges on a full-day excursion to one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval cities and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A walking tour takes you to Begijnhof area and the historic center, where you’ll see highlights such as the Church of Our Lady and Grote Markt. Next embark on a scenic canal cruise, gliding beneath graceful bridges for different views of the city while deepening your knowledge of Bruges thanks to expert commentary. Enjoy leisure time as well as provided lunch money in the local currency to use at any of the local cafés.

Calling all beer lovers! Our second option whisks you to lively Ghent for a guided walking tour and free time to explore before embarking on a canal ride to the popular Gruut Brewery, where herbs are used instead of hops. Note the difference during a tasting and tour.

Alternatively, golfers have the opportunity to hit a course today; contact your Concierge in advance for details. Back on the ship tonight, unwind in the lounge with more onboard entertainment.

Vantage Exclusives:

  • Your choice of tours: Full-day Bruges tour with canal cruise and provided lunch money or half-day tour to Ghent with canal cruise and beer tasting at a local brewery (lunch on board)
Cultural Connection:
  • Evening entertainment on board provide by Journey to Dixieland
Active Feature:
  • Golfers have the opportunity to hit a course today; contact your Concierge in advance for details

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 7:

Witness the sheer ingenuity of Delta Works, then be charmed in Veere

Dutch ingenuity is on full dramatic display today with a visit to the Delta Works. Constructed in response to the North Sea’s flooding in 1953, this engineering marvel protects low-lying Holland from flooding with several different types of barricades. Afterwards, travel to the idyllic village of Veere and find yourself charmed with its cobblestone paths and harbor. Here, we’ll take a short walk and pause for photos along the colorful waterfront before returning to the ship for lunch.

Looking for something more active today? Join us on a guided bike ride to admire the gorgeous local scenery during afternoon leisure time in Veere, or embark on an active walk to the Zeeuws Museum to explore fashion and regional costume, decorative arts, tapestries, history and more.

Later this afternoon, relax in the ship’s lounge for a lecture on Transatlantic Connections before a cooking demonstration in the Captain’s Club. Learn how to prepare a local specialty so you can re-create the tastes of your journey at home. After dinner, attend an informative lecture onboard about the windmills and waterways of Holland.

Included Feature:

  • Excursion to Veere and Delta Works, one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World
Cultural Connections:
  • Lecture on “Transatlantic Connections”
  • Presentation on "Windmills and Waterways of Holland"
Biking Opportunity:

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 8:

Visit the UNESCO-listed windmills of Kinderdijk

Can you truly claim to have visited the Netherlands without seeing a windmill? Of course, why see just one or two when you can witness the sheer majesty of 19? Kinderdijk’s 19 original working windmills are a UNESCO Worldwide Heritage Site and you’ll see how they work on a canal cruise and by stepping inside to view the inner workings. Alternatively, head off on a bike tour of Kinderdijk, including a cheese making demonstration and delicious tasting at a local farm shop.

Lunch is back on the ship before a guided walking tour of Rotterdam, well-known for its uniquely modern landscape. One of the city’s most dynamic structures is the bustling Market Hall, and we’ll stop here to savor a sampling of local specialties.

Later, channel your inner artist with an exclusive painting lesson on board. Tonight, be our guest of honor at the Captain’s Gala Dinner, followed by an evening of onboard entertainment.

Included Features:

  • Guided walking tour of Rotterdam
  • Guided excursion to UNESCO-listed Kinderdijk with canal cruise
Cultural Connections:
  • Local product tasting in Rotterdam’s Market Hall
  • Onboard painting lesson
  • Henri Willig cheese tasting
  • Evening entertainment on board: "Netherlands Night Fever"
Biking Opportunities:
  • Join your Concierge on an easy-paced bike tour of Kinderdijk, including a delicious cheese tasting at a popular local farm shop. Click here for details
  • Explore Rotterdam by bicycle on an easy and flat 6-mile route that takes you across the Willemsbrug and Erasmus Bridge. Click here for details

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9:

Flower power: Explore the 7 million bulbs of Keukenhof Gardens

Experience the ultimate garden party today at Keukenhof Gardens, lovingly referred to as the “Garden of Europe.” With 7 million bulbs planted each year — making it the world’s largest flower field — Keukenhof elevates gardens into works of art with a staggering variety of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, orchids, roses, lilies, and myriad plants dotted along various pavilions and lush landscapes. You’ll have leisure time to explore the garden on your own and receive a voucher for lunch. Back on the ship this evening, join your fellow travelers for a Farewell Drink before dinner.

Included Feature:

  • Excursion to Keukenhof Gardens with voucher for lunch

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 10:

Amsterdam: A scenic canal cruise, De Kookfabriek cooking workshop, and more

Discover historic homes and Amsterdam’s timeless, fairy-tale beauty as you embark on a scenic canal cruise along the city’s 17th-century canal ring, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. After, work up an appetite with an exclusive cooking workshop at De Kookfabriek*. Here, you’ll learn how to whip up your own lunch of Dutch specialties before an afternoon at leisure to explore on your own. Or, perhaps you’ll join us for an optional Jewish Cultural Walk through the historic former Jewish district. Highlights include the Hollandsche Schouwburg and Portuguese Synagogue.

Back on board, gather for a lecture on Dutch Royals. And after dinner, enjoy free time on board the ship.

Vantage Exclusive:

  • De Kookfabriek cooking workshop*
Included Feature:

  • Cruise Amsterdam’s UNESCO-listed Canal Ring

Cultural Connection:

  • Lecture on the Dutch Royals

*Please note, this workshop may not be available on the 3/28/20 departure. Instead, you'll enjoy a visit to Amsterdam's Rijksmueum. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Optional Tour: Jewish Cultural Walk

Jewish Cultural Walk

  • Approximate Cost: $89 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 hours
  • Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • When: Afternoon Tour

During centuries of persecution in Europe, Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews fled to Amsterdam in order to live and worship in peace. That changed during World War II, when the Nazis invaded Holland and turned a theater in the Jodenbuurt Quarter into a deportation center and this once-prosperous area into the infamous Jewish Ghetto. On this tour, you’ll visit this theater as well as the rest of the Jewish Cultural Quarter, which includes the Portuguese Synagogue and other monuments in this historic section of the city. Join us on this tour that highlights the powerful story of this unique part of Amsterdam.

Please note: On Saturdays, the synagogue is not available for visits and will be replaced by the Jewish Historical Museum.

The Hollandsche Schouwburg will temporarily close its doors for renovation from June 2020 and is expected to re-open in September 2022. During this period, groups will visit the Jewish Historical Museum.

DAY 11:

Transfer to the Amsterdam airport for your flight home or join your optional extension

Enjoy a final breakfast on the ship before disembarking and transferring to the airport for your return flight home. Or remain in Amsterdam to enjoy your post-trip extension.

Included Meals:


Important Notice:The above day-by-day itinerary is preliminary and subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert. In addition, should there be an extreme change in water levels, Vantage will do everything possible to provide either the included excursion or an alternate excursion at Vantage’s discretion.

Please Note: Port Times & Itineraries are subject to change. Fluctuating water levels may affect itinerary.

Contact Vantage

CALL 1-888-514-1845

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Essential Holland & Belgium Culinary Cruise: Tulips in Spring - 2020

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