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Day by Day Itinerary

Beautiful countryside, quaint historic cities, and warm hospitality are all yours to discover year-round in the Netherlands, but spring is an especially lovely time to experience the waterways of Holland and Belgium. Now you can in 2015 on our Holland & Belgium in Springtime River Cruise, a perennial favorite of our travelers. An array of delights—a Home-Hosted Visit in Enkhuizen, an excursion to colorful Keukenhof Flower Park, a visit to the famous Aalsmeer Flower Auction, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Kinderdijk Windmills, and a visit to a tulip farm near Amsterdam—await you on this 10-night Holland river cruise, which includes ALL meals and wine with dinner, and personal headsets on all included and optional tours. Settle in, enjoy the camaraderie of fellow travelers, and watch Holland and Belgium come alive!

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    Depart the U.S. today on your flight to Brussels, Belgium. Please refer to your personal air itinerary for exact departure and arrival times.

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    Explore the Medieval and Renaissance buildings of Ghent

    Arrive this morning or afternoon in the Belgian capital of Brussels. A Grand Circle representative will meet you at the airport and assist with the transfer to your ship in Antwerp to join passengers who took the Bruges, Belgium pre-trip extension.

    After an included light lunch, relax aboard ship or take a stroll around the neighborhood where it's docked. Back on board, gather for a briefing. During your River Cruise, whenever you have leisure time at a port along your journey, you'll receive a briefing about the port area and town prior to arrival so you can make the best use of your free time there.

    Join your new travel companions for dinner onboard this evening.

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    Encounter local folk dancers while touring Antwerp

    After breakfast, you'll participate in a briefing and have the opportunity to learn about optional tours. Then join a walking tour of Antwerp.

    Located on the banks of the Schelde River, Antwerp is Belgium's major port and has been commercially important in European trade since the eleventh century. Like Amsterdam, it is one of the world centers for diamond trading. In spite of damage suffered during both World Wars, Antwerp remains a city full of beautiful historic architecture dating to the 16th century.

    You'll explore Antwerp's well-preserved Old Town, built around the Grote Markt (Town Square), and graced by the lovely old Town Hall and guild houses. Marvel at the elegant spires of the Cathedral of Our Lady, graced with masterpieces by the great painter Peter Paul Rubens who lived here in the 17th century. Stroll along the Meir (Antwerp's main shopping street), lined with wonderfully elaborate historic buildings.

    Return to the ship for lunch, after which you have the afternoon free to rest or explore on your own.

    On board this evening, meet the crew over a Welcome Drink and sit down together for a Welcome Dinner. Cruise toward your next port, Ghent, this evening.

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    This morning, visit one of Belgium's oldest cities and its fourth-largest, Ghent, known as "the jewel of Flanders." Enjoy an included walking tour here that will immerse you in the city's rich history.

    Medieval and Renaissance buildings tell the story of Ghent's past reign as a textile capital from the eleventh century onward, both more populous and wealthier than London for several centuries. When the people of Ghent were under Spanish rule and rose up against Charles V to protest taxes, he punished the city by making its nobles parade before him wearing nooses around their necks. This led to the term stroppendragers—noose-wearers—becoming the nickname for Ghent-dwellers ever since. We'll enjoy free time in this Flemish treasure before returning to the ship for lunch.

    Explore the Medieval and Renaissance buildings of Ghent

    This afternoon, make discoveries at your own pace, or join your Program Director on an optional Belgian Beer & Flowers tour. Tulips aren't the only popular blooms in this region, and you'll learn about Ghent’s role as the world’s largest exporter of azaleas at a farm visit. Then discover one local family-owned brewery's methods of producing beer called gruut (meaning "made with spices")—and enjoy samples.

    This evening, enjoy dinner onboard the ship.

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    See the Delta Works during an optional tour

    After breakfast onboard, disembark in Veere. You’ll get to know this picturesque village during a stroll this morning. Your Program Director will share information about this artist-friendly town of 1,500 and its past as a walled trading city in the Middle Ages.

    Enjoy free time here before returning to the ship for lunch onboard.

    You may spend the afternoon relaxing aboard the ship or exploring Veere at your own pace.

    Or, join us for an optional excursion to the Delta Works, an engineering marvel designed to protect Holland from floods. Terrible floods in 1953 made clear that low-lying Holland, ever at the mercy of flooding, needed a plan to protect itself from future weather events. Over the next 40 years, a complex plan led to the damming of four major estuaries, and the coordination of an extensive network of locks, sluices, channels, bridges, and gates. You'll learn about this challenge in a film at the site before enjoying time to explore at your leisure. Then, discover the final step of the Delta Works plan, the Storm Surge Barrier, comprised of two huge doors which can close off the New Waterway in times of extreme weather. Return to the ship late this afternoon.

    Cruise toward Rotterdam this evening and enjoy dinner onboard the ship.

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    View the Netherlands famous windmills while touring Kinderdijk

    Early this morning, we arrive in Rotterdam. After breakfast, discover Rotterdam on an included walking tour, followed by free time on your own.

    Or join us for a Delft optional tour. Dating to the 13th century, Delft was a long-time home port to the Dutch East India Company. It is well-known for its blue and white pottery called Delftware, which was first produced in the 17th century and styled after imported Chinese porcelain. You’ll learn more about the unique pottery during a visit to a local porcelain factory. You’ll also enjoy a guided walking tour of the city.

    We enjoy lunch together today. This afternoon, explore at your own pace, or join the included walking tour of Rotterdam if you enjoyed the Delft Optional Tour this morning.

    Enjoy dinner onboard your ship tonight.

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    View the Netherlands famous windmills while touring Kinderdijk

    This morning, head for Kinderdijk for an exclusive Discovery Series event, a tour of the windmills that have made this city a UNESCO World Heritage site. Kinderdijk takes its name from a 16th-century legend involving a baby (or kinder), a cradle, and a cat that all survived being tossed into raging waters. For centuries, the Dutch were at the mercy of frequent floods. Around 1740, 19 windmills were built in the village of Kinderdijk. These innovative structures drain the excess water from polders—the reclaimed land that is situated below sea level—and pump it into nearby rivers and canals. This helps to evenly distribute water levels and lessen the threat of devastating floods. Nowadays, modern engines do the job of turning the paddle wheels, forcing them to scoop up the water, yet the country still has a unique bond with, and affection for, its many windmills.

    The windmills, supported in part by Grand Circle Foundation, have been well-preserved, and the historic structures became protected by UNESCO in 1997. You'll walk to the famed windmills and have time at the site to take some photos of these nostalgic, yet pragmatic creations.

    You’ll have free time to make your own discoveries here, then enjoy lunch onboard your ship. This afternoon, you’ll enjoy scenic sailing, or you may join us for an optional Gouda tour.

    In a 90-minute walking tour of Gouda with a local guide, you’ll get to know the city from a new perspective, then enjoy time on your own to explore. And you'll enjoy a pause for a tasting of the cheese for which the city is best known.

    This evening, sail toward Amsterdam and enjoy dinner onboard.

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    View Holland's beautiful flowers at a flower auction in Lisse

    This morning, you can get acquainted with the Netherlands’ cultural capital on an exclusive Grand Circle Cruise Line canal cruise with a local guide. While traversing these 400-year-old canals— a UNESCO World Heritage Site—you’ll view such landmarks as the 17th-century Royal Palace and the Mint Tower, which has retained its name even though gold and silver coins were minted here for only a couple of years. You'll also see the wooden double drawbridge, known as the "Skinny Bridge," that may remind you of Van Gogh's paintings.

    You return to the ship and have lunch on board before setting off on a true "Netherlands in Springtime" experience. Board your motorcoach and ride to the Keukenhof Flower Park in the heart of the western Netherlands' tulip-growing region. You have the opportunity to stroll through the park—70 acres of lovely, tree-shaded grounds with ponds, winding paths, streams, and fountains. Once the kitchen garden of a medieval castle, today it is known as the "greatest flower show on Earth," featuring more than seven million tulips and a variety of other flowers in both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

    We continue our afternoon with a visit a tulip farm, an exclusive Discovery Series event. The Netherlands have more than 23,000 acres set aside for the cultivation of their famous blooms, and during the spring season, the area's landscape is rich with vibrant colors as the tulips come to life. During your visit, you'll see these brightly colored flowers, and learn how farmers prepare the tulips to be picked and sold.

    Please note: Weather conditions and seasonal fluctuations may affect flower-blooming season. The lush blooming of the park peaks in mid-April. Not all blooms will be visible in March.

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    Early this morning, immerse yourself in the spectacle of the Aalsmeer Flower Auction (the world's largest). Holland produces more than nine billion flower bulbs annually, and throughout the country more than 23,000 acres of land are dedicated to greenhouse production.

    In Aalsmeer, the auction house itself comprises about 160 acres. Stationed at the visitors' gallery, you'll witness buyers from all over the world making deals at a lightning pace. Each day more than 19 million fresh flowers are sold during a computerized auction. As the clock for a group of flowers to be auctioned ticks down, the price lowers with it. Bidders bid by pressing a button (which is linked to the main computer) when the price of the flowers reaches what they are willing to pay—if someone hasn't already pressed his button first. So there is only one bid: the highest. Once purchased here, they are loaded onto airplanes and transported to florist shops across Europe and the U.S., usually to be sold the same day. Please note: The Aalsmeer Flower Auction is only open on weekdays, so the day of your visit may vary.

    This afternoon, enjoy exploring the cosmopolitan neighborhoods and historic lanes of Amsterdam at your own pace, before we set sail for Enkhuizen. Dinner is aboard ship this evening.

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    Explore the port city of Hoorn

    Begin your day with a walking tour of Enkhuizen (pronounced "enk-HOW-zen")—a striking, magnificently preserved town established between AD 1000 and 1200. Enkhuizen became a city in 1355, prospering due to its herring fishing industry and trade from the East and West India companies. Enkhuizen reached its peak in the 17th century when it boasted the largest herring fleet in Holland. The tour concludes at St. Pancras Church, where you’ll enjoy a discussion on the famous murals, as well as a brief organ concert.

    The thriving port sat on the edge of the Zuider Zee, an inlet of the North Sea until it was enclosed in 1932. Now, Enkhuizen sits on the Ijsselmeer, the large inland lake created by the damming of the sea outlet. With a population of about 16,000, this historic city retains its old charms, and its harbors attract thousands of pleasure boats. You'll also see the Drommedaris, an old defense tower at the entrance to the harbor, and the many warehouses originally used by both the East and West India Company.

    This afternoon, enjoy a visit with a local family, an exclusive Discovery Series event. They'll be your hosts for coffee, cake, and conversation. Along with a friendly intercultural exchange, you might enjoy tasting a stroopwafel—a thin, waffle-like sandwich cookie with a sweet, chewy center.

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    Explore the port city of Hoorn

    After breakfast, disembark for a walking tour of Hoorn, once one of Holland's richest port cities.

    After lunch, enjoy some time at leisure to explore the city,  the main market town for the West-Friesland region. Once the headquarters of the Dutch East India Company, Hoorn dates back to 1357 and its history will be on abundant display as you walk its lanes.

    Return to your ship for a Farewell Drink and Dinner with your fellow travelers.

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    • Meals included:

    After breakfast, your Program Director will assist you in transferring to the airport for your flight home. Or, experience more of this region on our optional extensions: Amsterdam, the Netherlands or Berlin, Germany.

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    Depart the U.S. today on your flight to Amsterdam. Please refer to your personal air itinerary for exact departure and arrival times.

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    Explore Amsterdam on foot and discover impressive museums and markets

    Arrive today in the Dutch capital, where you’ll be greeted at the airport and transferred to your ship to meet up with those who took our optional pre-trip extensions to Amsterdam, the Netherlands or Berlin, Germany. After an included light lunch, relax aboard ship or take a stroll around the neighborhood where it’s docked.

    In the late afternoon, gather in the lounge for an informative ship embarkation and safety meeting, followed by dinner onboard.

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    Explore Amsterdam on foot and discover impressive museums and markets

    After breakfast, disembark for a walking tour of Hoorn, once one of Holland's richest port cities.

    After lunch, enjoy some time at leisure to explore the city, the main market town for the West-Friesland region. Once the headquarters of the Dutch East India Company, Hoorn dates back to 1357 and its history will be on abundant display as you walk its lanes.

    Return to your ship for dinner with your fellow travelers.

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    Explore the port city of Hoorn

    Enjoy breakfast as you sail this morning from Hoorn to Enkhuizen, a striking, magnificently preserved town established between AD 1000 and AD 1200. This morning you'll enjoy a walking tour of Enkhuizen, which became a city in 1355, prospering due to its herring fishing industry and trade from the East and West India Companies. Enkhuizen reached its peak in the 17th century when it boasted the largest herring fleet in Holland.

    The thriving port sat on the edge of the Zuider Zee, an inlet of the North Sea until it was enclosed in 1932. Now, Enkhuizen sits on the Ijsselmeer, the large inland lake created by the damming of the sea outlet. With a population of about 16,000, this historic city retains its old charms, and its harbors attract thousands of pleasure boats. You’ll also see the Drommedaris, an old defense tower at the entrance to the harbor and the many warehouses originally used by both the East and West India Company.

    Enjoy free time and lunch onboard before walking to the home of a local family who’ll be your hosts for coffee, cake, and conversation. Along with an eye-opening intercultural exchange, you might enjoy a stroopwafel—a thin, waffle-like cookie sandwich with a sweet, chewy center.

    This evening, enjoy dinner onboard.

  • hidden

    View the Netherlands famous flower gardens

    You'll enjoy a morning of sailing, then enjoy lunch aboard ship before setting off on a true “Netherlands in Springtime” experience. Board your motorcoach and ride to the Keukenhof Flower Park in the heart of western Netherlands’ tulip-growing region.

    You’ll have the opportunity to stroll through the park—70 acres of lovely, tree-shaded grounds with ponds, winding paths, streams, and fountains. Once the kitchen garden of a medieval castle, today it is known as the “greatest flower show on Earth,” featuring more than seven million tulips and a variety of other flowers.

    We continue our afternoon with a visit a tulip farm, an exclusive Discovery Series event. The Netherlands have more than 23,000 acres set aside for the cultivation of their famous blooms, and during the spring season, the area's landscape is rich with vibrant colors as the tulips come to life. During your visit, you'll see these brightly colored flowers, and learn how farmers prepare the tulips to be picked and sold.

    Return to the ship for dinner this evening.

    Please note: Weather conditions and seasonal fluctuations may affect flower-blooming season. The lush blooming of the park peaks in mid-April. Not all blooms will be visible in March.

  • hidden

    View Holland's beautiful flowers at a flower auction in Lisse

    Early this morning, immerse yourself in the spectacle of the Aalsmeer Flower Auction (the world’s largest). Holland produces more than nine billion flower bulbs annually, and throughout the country more than 23,000 acres of land are dedicated to greenhouse production.

    In Aalsmeer, the auction house itself comprises about 160 acres. Stationed at the visitors’ gallery, you’ll witness buyers from all over the world making deals at a lightning pace. Each day more than 19 million fresh flowers are sold during a computerized auction. As the clock for a group of flowers to be auctioned ticks down, the price lowers with it. Bidders bid by pressing a button (which is linked to the main computer) when the price of the flowers reaches what they are willing to pay—if someone else hasn’t pressed his button first. So there is only one bid: the highest. Once purchased here, they are loaded onto airplanes and transported to florist shops across Europe and the U.S., usually to be sold the same day. Please note: The Aalsmeer Flower Auction is only open on weekdays, so the day of your visit may vary.

    Back in Amsterdam we embark on a local canal boat for tour of its canals. During your tour, you'll view Amsterdam’s landmarks, such as the 17th-century Royal Palace and the Mint Tower, which has retained its name even though gold and silver coins were minted here for only a couple of years. Along the waterways of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll also see the wooden double drawbridge, known as the “Skinny Bridge,” that may remind you of Van Gogh's paintings.

    The balance of the afternoon is at leisure. Enjoy dinner on board this evening.

  • hidden

    View the Netherlands famous windmills while touring Kinderdijk

    This morning, you head for Kinderdijk to tour the windmills that have made this city a UNESCO World Heritage site. Kinderdijk takes its name from a 16th-century legend involving a baby (or kinder), a cradle, and a cat that all survived being tossed into raging waters. For centuries, the Dutch were at the mercy of frequent floods. Around 1740, 19 windmills were built in the village of Kinderdijk. These innovative structures drain the excess water from polders—the reclaimed land that is situated below sea level—and pump it into nearby rivers and canals. This helps to evenly distribute water levels and lessen the threat of devastating floods. Nowadays, modern engines do the job of turning the paddle wheels, forcing them to scoop up the water, yet the country still has a unique bond with, and affection for, its many windmills.

    The windmills have been well-preserved, and the historic structures—supported in part by Grand Circle Foundation—became protected by UNESCO in 1997. You'll walk to the famed windmills and have time at the site to take some photos of these nostalgic, yet pragmatic creations.

    The afternoon is at leisure. Or join us for an optional Gouda tour. In an hour-long walking tour of Gouda with a local guide, you’ll get to know the city from a new perspective, then enjoy time on your own to explore. Along the way, you'll sample the cheese for which the town is well-known.

    Enjoy dinner onboard your ship tonight.

  • hidden

    This morning, discover Rotterdam on an included walking tour, followed by free time on your own.

    Or join us for a Delft optional tour. Dating to the 13th century, Delft was a long-time home port to the Dutch East India Company. It is well-known for its blue and white pottery called Delftware, which was first produced in the 17th century and styled after imported Chinese porcelain. You’ll learn more about the unique pottery during a visit to a local porcelain factory. You’ll also enjoy a guided walking tour of the city.

    This afternoon, explore at your own pace, or join the included walking tour of Rotterdam for those who enjoyed our morning Optional Delft tour.

  • hidden

    See the Delta Works during an optional tour

    After breakfast on board, disembark at Veere, where you’ll get to know this picturesque village during a morning stroll. Your Program Director will share information about this artist-friendly town of 1,500 and its past as a walled trading city in the Middle Ages.

    Enjoy free time here before returning to your ship for lunch onboard.

    Or, join an optional excursion to the Delta Works, an engineering marvel designed to protect Holland from floods. Terrible floods in 1953 made clear that low-lying Holland, ever at the mercy of flooding, needed a plan to protect itself from future weather events. Over the next 40 years, a complex plan led to the damming of four major estuaries, and the coordination of an extensive network of locks, sluices, channels, bridges, and gates. You’ll learn about this challenge in a film at the site and free time to explore. Then, we’ll take in the final step of the Delta Works plan, the Storm Surge Barrier, comprised of two huge doors which can close off the New Waterway in times of extreme weather.

    This evening, enjoy dinner onboard your ship before departing for Ghent, where you'll dock overnight.

  • hidden

    Explore the Medieval and Renaissance buildings of Ghent

    This morning, visit one of Belgium's oldest cities and its fourth-largest, Ghent, the jewel of Flanders. Enjoy an included walking tour here that will immerse you in the city’s rich history.

    Medieval and Renaissance buildings tell the story of Ghent’s past reign as a textile capital from the eleventh century onward, both more populous and wealthier than London for several centuries. When the people of Ghent were under Spanish rule and rose up against Charles V to protest taxes, he punished the city by making its nobles parade before him wearing nooses around their necks. This led to the term stroppendragers—noose-wearers—becoming the nickname for Ghent-dwellers ever since. Enjoy free time in this Flemish treasure before returning to the ship.

    This afternoon, make discoveries at your own pace, or join your Program Director on an optional Belgian Beer & Flowers tour. Tulips aren't the only popular blooms in this region, and you'll learn about Ghent’s role as the world’s largest exporter of azaleas at a farm visit. Then discover one local family-owned brewery's methods of producing beer called gruut (meaning "made with spices")—and enjoy samples.

    This evening, enjoy dinner onboard before sailing to Antwerp, our final port-of-call.

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    Encounter local folk dancers while touring Antwerp

    After breakfast, set off on a walking tour of Antwerp. Located on the banks of the Schelde River, Antwerp is Belgium’s major port and has been commercially important in European trade since the eleventh century.

    Like Amsterdam, it is one of the world centers for diamond trading. In spite of damage suffered during both World Wars, Antwerp remains a city of beautiful historic architecture dating to the 16th century.

    You’ll explore Antwerp’s well-preserved Old Town, built around the Grote Markt (Town Square), and graced by the lovely old Town Hall and beautiful guild houses. Marvel at the elegant spires of the Cathedral of Our Lady, graced with masterpieces by the great painter Peter Paul Rubens who lived here in the 17th century. Stroll along the Meir (Antwerp’s main shopping street), lined with wonderfully elaborate historic buildings.

    Return to the ship for lunch, after which you have the afternoon free to rest or explore on your own. Later, join your ship's captain for a Farewell Drink and Dinner.

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    • Meals included:

    After breakfast, transfer to the airport in Brussels for your return flight home. Or, transfer to Bruges, Belgium to begin your 4-day optional extension.

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Ratings based on percentage of travelers who rated these features "Excellent".

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Overall Trip Excellence
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Weather & Regional

Before you travel, we encourage you to learn about the region of the world you'll discover on this trip. From weather and currency information to details on population, geography, and local history, you'll find a comprehensive introduction to your destinations below.

Visit our “What to Know” page to find information about the level of activity to expect, vaccination information resources, and visa requirements specific to this vacation.

What to Know

For more detailed information about this trip, download our Travel Handbook below. This document covers a wide range of information on specific areas of your trip, from passport, visa, and medical requirements; to the currencies of the countries you’ll visit and the types of electrical outlets you’ll encounter. This handbook is written expressly for this itinerary. For your convenience, we've highlighted our travelers' most common areas of interest on this page.

Download the Travel Handbook

What to Expect

Pacing

  • 11 days, with 10 nights aboard a private Grand Circle river ship

Physical requirements

  • Not accessible for travelers using wheelchairs or scooters
  • Travelers using walkers, crutches, or other mobility aids must travel with a companion who can assist them throughout the trip.
  • You must be able to walk 2 miles unassisted and participate in 2-3 hours of physical activities each day, including stairs
  • Agility and balance are required for boarding canal boats in Amsterdam

Climate

  • Spring daytime temperatures range from 48-70°F
  • March weather can be unpredictable and change quickly within a short period of time
  • Brisk breezes should be anticipated in Holland

Terrain

  • Travel over uneven walking surfaces, including unpaved paths, hills, stairs, and cobblestones

Transportation

  • Travel by 47-passenger coach, canal boat, and 140- to 164-passenger river ship

River Cruising

  • Throughout the River Cruise season, weather conditions and tides affect European river depths; water levels may require adjustments to your itinerary, including your Amsterdam canal cruise

Cuisine

  • Meals will be a mix of local specialties and familiar American standards
  • Meals onboard feature a variety of entrée options, including vegetarian

Travel Documents

Passport

Your passport should meet these requirements for this itinerary

  • It should be valid for at least 6 months after your scheduled return to the U.S.
  • It should have the recommended number of blank pages (refer to the handbook for details).
  • The blank pages must be labeled “Visas” at the top. Pages labeled “Amendments and Endorsements” are not acceptable.

Visas

U.S. citizens do not need a visa for this trip.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, do not travel with a U.S. passport, or will be traveling independently before/after this trip, then your entry requirements may be different. Please check with the appropriate embassy or a visa servicing company. To contact our recommended visa servicing company, PVS International, call toll-free at 1-800-556-9990.

Vaccinations Information

For a detailed and up-to-date list of vaccinations that are recommended for this trip, please visit the CDC’s “Traveler’s Health” website. You can also refer to the handbook for details.

Before Your Trip

Before you leave on your vacation, there are at least four health-related things you should do. Please check the handbook for specifics, but for now, here’s the short list:

Step 1: Check with the CDC for their recommendations for the countries you’ll be visiting.
Step 2: Have a medical checkup with your doctor.
Step 3: Pick up any necessary medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
Step 4: Have a dental and/or eye checkup. (Recommended, but less important than steps 1-3.)

What to Bring

In an effort to help you bring less, we  have included checklists within the handbook, which have been compiled from suggestions by Program Directors and former travelers. The lists are only jumping-off points—they offer recommendations based on experience, but not requirements. You might also want to refer to the climate charts in the handbook or online weather forecasts before you pack. Refer to the handbook for details.

Insider Tips

Accommodations

Main Trip

  • Private Grand Circle River Ship

    All of our Rhine, Main & Danube river ships made Condé Nast Traveler’s “Top 40 River Cruise Ships in the World” 2014 Readers’ Poll.

    Custom-built for Grand Circle with our travelers’ needs in mind, your private river ship has a passenger capacity of 140-164, with all outside cabins. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available in select common areas, but connectivity is limited in certain locations. Your cabin features a flat-screen TV, direct-dial telephone, individual heating and air-conditioning controls, twin beds that convert to sofas, and private bath with shower and hair dryer.

  • M/S River Concerto

    The M/S River Concerto was ranked #14 in Condé Nast Traveler’s “Top 40 River Cruise Ships in the World” 2014 Readers’ Poll

    The M/S River Concerto was launched in 2000. This ship has a capacity of 140 passengers in 70 cabins, all with outside views. Ship amenities include an elevator, restaurant, bar and lounge, library, Sun Deck, fitness center, and sauna. Your ship has an international crew of 34 and three English-speaking Program Directors.

  • M/S River Harmony

    The M/S River Harmony was ranked #26 in Condé Nast Traveler’s “Top 40 River Cruise Ships in the World” 2014 Readers’ Poll

    The M/S River Harmony was launched in 1999. This ship has a capacity of 140 passengers in 70 cabins, all with outside views. Ship amenities include an elevator, restaurant, bar and lounge, library, Sun Deck, fitness center, and sauna. Your ship has an international crew of 34 and three English-speaking Program Directors.

  • M/S River Melody

    The M/S River Melody was ranked #13 in Condé Nast Traveler’s “Top 40 River Cruise Ships in the World” 2014 Readers’ Poll

    The M/S River Melody was launched in 1999. This ship has a capacity of 140 passengers in 70 cabins, all with outside views. Ship amenities include an elevator, restaurant, bar and lounge, library, Sun Deck, fitness center, and sauna. Your ship has an international crew of 34 and three English-speaking Program Directors.

  • M/S River Rhapsody

    The M/S River Rhapsody was ranked #19 in Condé Nast Traveler’s “Top 40 River Cruise Ships in the World” 2014 Readers’ Poll

    The M/S River Rhapsody was launched in 1999. This ship has a capacity of 140 passengers in 70 cabins, all with outside views. Ship amenities include an elevator, restaurant, bar and lounge, library, Sun Deck, fitness center, and sauna. Your ship has an international crew of 34 and three English-speaking Program Directors.

  • M/S River Aria

    The M/S River Aria was ranked #35 in Condé Nast Traveler’s “Top 40 River Cruise Ships in the World” 2014 Readers’ Poll

    Launched in 2001, the M/S River Aria has a capacity of 164 passengers in 82 cabins, all with outside views. Ship amenities include an elevator, restaurant, bar and lounge, library, and Sun Deck. Your ship has an international crew of 38 and up to four English-speaking Program Directors.

SEE THE ENTIRE GRAND CIRCLE FLEET

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  • Grand Hotel Casselbergh Bruges

    Bruges, Belguim | Rating: First Class

    Situated in the Old Town of Bruges, the First-Class Grand Hotel Casselbergh Bruges allows you to enjoy the historic charm of Belgium’s best-preserved medieval city. Amenities include 24-hour concierge service, a library, wellness center with sauna and steam room, and a cozy bar and lounge. The hotel’s 118 rooms each offer air-conditioning, flat-screen TV, coffee- and tea-making facilities, and a spacious private bath with hair dryer.

    Please Note: Select departures feature similar accommodations.

  • Moevenpick Amsterdam City Center

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Rating: Superior First Class

    Amsterdam's contemporary, Superior First-Class Moevenpick Hotel sits on the edge of a canal, just a short train or bus ride away from Amsterdam’s Old Town and city center. Your air-conditioned room features coffee- and tea-making facilities, refrigerator, safe, cable TV, and telephone with voicemail.

    Please Note: Select departures feature similar accommodations.

  • Andel's Hotel Berlin

    Berlin, Germany | Rating: Superior First Class

    This modern, Superior First-Class hotel includes three restaurants, spa and fitness center, and relaxation terrace, plus panoramic views of Berlin on the twelfth and 14th floors. Each of the 557 rooms and suites features a telephone, TV, high-speed Internet access, coffee- and tea-making facilities, minibar, safe, and private bath with hair dryer.

Flight Information

Flight Options to Personalize Your Trip

You can choose to stay longer before or after your trip on your own, or combine two vacations to maximize your value.

  • Extend your vacation and lower your per day cost with our optional pre- and post-trip excursions
  • Choose our standard air routing, or work with us to select the airline and routing you prefer
  • Make your own international flight arrangements directly with the airline, applying frequent flyer miles if available
  • International airport transfers to and from your ship or hotel, including meet and greet service, are available for purchase
  • Stay overnight in a connecting city before or after your trip
  • Request to arrive a few days early to get a fresh start on your vacation
  • Choose to "break away" before or after your trip, spending additional days or weeks on your own
  • Combine your choice of Grand Circle Cruise Line vacations to maximize your value
  • Upgrade to business or premium class

The air options listed above may involve additional airfare costs based on your specific choices.

Or, when you make your reservation, you can choose our standard air routing, for which approximate travel times are shown below.

Standard Air Routing

w/out standard air $1995
w/ standard air $2995
Approximate travel times

Photos From Our Travelers

On location in The Netherlands

Here’s how Grand Circle travelers have captured moments of discovery, beauty, friendship, and fun on previous departures of our Holland & Belgium in Springtime vacation. We hope these will evoke special travel memories and inspire you to submit your own favorite Grand Circle Travel trip photos.

  View the tulip display in the Keukenhof Flower Gardens  

A sea of tulips—along with acres of hyacinths and daffodils—is a sure sign of spring in the famed Keukenhof Flower Gardens, situated between Amsterdam and The Hague. Photographer Joseph Casoria, 4-time traveler of Northport, New York, found just the right angle at eye-level.

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How to submit your photos:

Please submit individual photos in jpeg format to: GCTtravelerphotos@gct.com.

Please be sure to include the name of your OAT adventure, along with the travel dates. Tell us where you took the photo and, if you’d like, tell us why. And don’t forget to include your name and contact information.

Please note: By submitting a photo, you (i) represent and warrant that the photo is your original work created solely by yourself and does not infringe the intellectual property rights of any party; (ii) grant to Grand Circle LLC and its affiliates a worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, transferable, irrevocable, non-exclusive and fully sublicensable right and license to use, in any and all related media whether now known or hereafter devised, in perpetuity, anywhere in the world, with the right to make any and all commercial or other uses thereof, including without limitation, reproducing, editing, modifying, adapting, publishing, displaying publicly, creating derivative works from, incorporating into other works or modifying the photo and (iii) hereby release and discharge Grand Circle LLC and its affiliates, officers and employees from and against any and all claims, liabilities, costs, damages and expenses of any kind arising out of or relating to the use by Grand Circle LLC of any photo submitted.

Keukenhof: the Greatest Flower Show on Earth

The colorful story of the world’s largest flower park

by Steven Marinot, Program Director, The Netherlands

Remarkably, the gardeners at Keukenhof hand plant some seven million flower bulbs in more than 1,600 varieties each year.

Although it’s open only eight weeks each year, Keukenhof is the ideal setting to take in spring with all of your senses. Revel in endless waves of ethereal colors. Listen to tranquil birdsong. Savor the intoxicating aromas of millions of fragrant blossoms. A visit to the world’s largest flower park in full bloom is an experience you won’t soon forget.

Situated on nearly 80 acres of what were once 15th-century hunting grounds in Lisse, Holland, Keukenhof (literally, “kitchen garden”) earned its name when the area became a source of herbs and vegetables for the castle kitchen of Countess Jacoba van Beieren. In 1949, flower growers and exporters held the first outdoor flower exhibition here and it has been an annual event ever since.

Hand-planted beauty

Remarkably, the gardeners at Keukenhof hand plant some seven million flower bulbs in more than 1,600 varieties each year. In an intricately layered gardening process, crocuses are planted on top of early-blooming tulips atop late-blooming tulips. This way, the gardens are planned to remain full throughout the season—though sometimes nature has other things in mind.

Numbering 4.5 million, tulips clearly dominate at Keukenhof, but each year a changing array of other plant species also raise their petals to the sky—including daffodils, hyacinths, azaleas, rhododendron, dahlias, begonias, amaryllis, crocuses, and alstroemerias.

The show indoors

Specially designed pavilions showcase a stunning kaleidoscope of blossoms—from freesia, chrysanthemums, iris, and roses, to the more exotic orchids and bamboo. During the exhibition’s final week, Keukenhof unveils the world’s largest indoor display of lilies in 300 colorful varieties.

Trees are another important aspect of Keukenhof. Beech Lane, an avenue of beech trees dating to the 1840s, represents the legacy of German landscape architect J.D. Zocher. You might try to find your way through a hedge maze with ten-foot-high shrub walls or the 700-tree labyrinth.

Mother Nature isn’t the only artist at Keukenhof. A sculpture trail, windmill, sundials, and fountains add a human touch to the beauty of the surroundings.