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The Leader in Enriching Cultural Experiences since 1958

Worldwide Discovery at Extraordinary Value

2017 Holland & Belgium in Springtime

Belgium: Antwerp, Ghent • The Netherlands: Veere, Kinderdijk, Rotterdam, Arnhem, Enkhuizen, Amsterdam

ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 140- TO 162-PASSENGER SHIPS DESIGNED FOR AMERICAN TRAVELERS
87% Traveler Excellence Rating Read reviews

Sold out in 2017 , Join us in 2018

Courtesy CNN
Amsterdam's Mouth-Watering Street Food

Get a unique look into what makes Amsterdam special, from the best casual cuisine to local hangouts and more.

Trip Itinerary

Get more information about your detailed itinerary, like optional tours, exclusive Discovery Series events, and more.

Courtesy Small World Productions
Brussels and Belgium

Experience Belgium’s medieval elegance and modern sophistication with travel expert Rudy Maxa.

Trip Extension: Bruges

Watch travelers on a canal tour of Bruges and visiting a local lace-maker shop on their optional extension.

Courtesy Small World Productions
Berlin

Join travel expert Rudy Maxa for an in-depth exploration of Berlin, which you can experience for yourself on our optional trip extension.

Sold out in 2017 , Join us in 2018
Extend Your Trip
 

Hear the colorful story of the
world’s largest flower park
Learn more >>

 
 

Extend your discoveries and time abroad in Berlin
See More Options »

NEW: Activity Level

Our NEW Activity Level rating system ranks our trips on a scale of 1 (easiest) to 5 (most difficult) to help you determine if a trip is right for you. The information below is a general guide to our rating system, but see our itineraries for much more detailed physical activity information about each trip.

Activity Level 1:

1 2 3 4 5

Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 25 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 1-2 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last at least 1-2 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 2:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 40 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 2-3 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for at least 2-3 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 3:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderate

Travelers should be able to climb 60 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 3 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 3 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.

Activity Level 4:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 80 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 4 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 7,000 to 9,000 feet.

Activity Level 5:

1 2 3 4 5

Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 100 or more stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 8 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 10,000 feet or more.

Itinerary Overview

Striking landscapes, quaint historic cities, and warm hospitality—all brought to life by the vivid beauty of spring—await on this enhanced Belgium and Holland river cruise. Marvel at countryside vistas, glistening canals, and feel the renewed energy of the season with an excursion to colorful Keukenhof Flower Park and a visit to a tulip farm, plus get a taste of daily life during a Home-Hosted Visit in Enkhuizen, and enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the Kinderdijk Windmills. Holland & Belgium in Springtime’s enhanced itinerary also includes a NEW destination, Arnhem, the Netherlands. This Dutch city had a starring role in both Operation Market Garden—an ill-fated series of Allied World War II maneuvers—and the epic 1977 film the efforts inspired, A Bridge Too Far. Get on board for this truly relaxing and rewarding river cruise—all for an incredible value, with prices reduced $200-$300 per person on most 2017 departures.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

  • 3 nights from only $595

    Originally a ninth-century fortress built to protect the Flemish coast from marauding Vikings, Bruges today retains its reputation as one of Europe's best-preserved Old-World cities. Bruges’s centuries-old canal system, which was essential to its once thriving textile industry, has beckoned tourists to meander its narrow, winding streets in search of art, history, and fine chocolates for nearly two centuries. 

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

  • Brussels and Belgium

    Experience Belgium’s medieval elegance and modern sophistication with travel expert Rudy Maxa.

    Arrive in Brussels, where you'll be meet you at the airport and assisted 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 your ship or take a stroll around the neighborhood where it’s docked. Back on board, gather for a briefing. During your Holland & Belgium 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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. Enjoy free time in this Flemish treasure before returning to the ship for lunch.

    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 (made with spices)—and enjoy samples.

    This evening, enjoy dinner onboard the ship.

  • 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. Then, spend the afternoon relaxing aboard the ship or exploring Veere at your own pace. Or, join an optional excursion to the Delta Works, an engineering marvel designed to protect Holland from floods.

  • Spend the morning Kinderdijk, discovering its famed 19 windmills. These well-preserved, historic structure, supported in part by Grand Circle Foundation, became protected by UNESCO in 1997. Stroll around the site, with plenty of time to take some photos of these nostalgic, yet pragmatic creations.

    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, innovative structures that 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.

    Embark the ship for a short cruise to Rotterdam—setting off after lunch for a walking tour of the city, which was almost completely destroyed during World War II. The reconstructed city is now known for its crisp, modern architecture. Following your walking tour, enjoy the rest of the afternoon to pursue your own interests in Rotterdam.

  • Today, set across the banks of both the Nederrijn and Sin-Jansbeek rivers for a morning walking tour of Arnhem. Afterwards, enjoy lunch onboard your river ship.

    One of the largest cities in the Netherlands, Arnhem's center was nearly leveled during World War II—and the rebuilt city has since established itself a lively cultural center with an eye for fashion and design. Continue your discoveries this afternoon on your own.

    This evening, begin cruising to Enkhuizen.

  • 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 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, during a Home-Hosted Op de Koffie. Along with a friendly intercultural exchange, you might enjoy tasting a stroopwafel—a thin, waffle-like sandwich cookie with a sweet, chewy center.

  • Get acquainted with the Netherlands’ capital this morning on an Amsterdam canal cruise. 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.

    The rest of the day is yours to continue exploring Amsterdam on your own.

  • Enjoy a quintessential Netherlands in springtime experience this morning—the Keukenhof Flower Park. Set in the heart of the western Netherlands’ tulip-growing region, you'll have the opportunity to stroll through the park's 70 acres of lovely, tree-shaded grounds with ponds, winding paths, streams, and fountains, and enjoy lunch on the grounds. 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.

    Continue your springtime explorations with a visit to a tulip farm. The Netherlands have more than 23,000 acres set aside for the cultivation of their famous blooms, and throughout the peak season, farmers are kept busy as they prepare tulips to be picked and sold. Learn about the daily life of modern tulip farmers as you meet with a local family during this exclusive Discovery Series event.

    Return to the ship for a late afternoon of scenic sailing to Zaandam, where you'll arrive this evening.

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

  • A Famous Flower Auction Fades

    Hear how globalization is threatening a famous Dutch Flower Auction, which you can visit on our optional tour.

    Early this morning, you can choose to immerse yourself in the spectacle of the Aalsmeer Flower Auction (the world’s largest) during an optional outing.

    Then embark on a scenic mid-morning cruise back to Amsterdam, reveling in the springtime scenes that line the riverbanks. Arrive early this afternoon, and spend it pursuing your own interests in the city.

    Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers for your Captain's Farewell Dinner.

    • Meals included:

    Disembark the ship this morning and transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or, experience more of this region on our optional Amsterdamthe Netherlands or Berlin, Germany extensions.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Amsterdam, the Netherlands

    3 nights from only $595

    Extend your time in Amsterdam to experience the many delights of this fascinating city. Included tours introduce you to the historic neighborhood known as Zaanse Schans—an old hamlet on the River Zaan—as well as culturally rich Haarlem. Then spend time exploring on your own, with expert suggestions from your Grand Circle Program Director—or join an optional tour of charming Volendam. Whether you choose to admire Van Gogh originals, browse an amazing variety of markets (from a floating flower market to elegant antique shops), or simply stroll along narrow canals, you'll find something to suit every traveler.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Berlin, Germany

    3 nights from only $795

    Berlin
    Produced by Small World Productions
    This independent film features destinations you can visit on this trip extension.

    Divided after World War II, blockaded by the Soviets, wedged apart by an imposing wall, and finally liberated by the sledgehammers of freedom fighters in 1989, Berlin is, once again, unified. In a three-night stay, you’ll discover gems of the city’s history from the 19th century through the Cold War and beyond. And you’ll revel in ample opportunity to explore at your leisure and see for yourself how this city has become a European cultural capital.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • 3 nights from only $595

    Extend your time in Amsterdam to experience the many delights of this fascinating city. Included tours introduce you to the historic neighborhood known as Zaanse Schans—an old hamlet on the River Zaan—as well as culturally rich Haarlem. Then spend time exploring on your own, with expert suggestions from your Grand Circle Program Director—or join an optional tour of charming Volendam. Whether you choose to admire Van Gogh originals, browse an amazing variety of markets (from a floating flower market to elegant antique shops), or simply stroll along narrow canals, you'll find something to suit every traveler.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • 3 nights from only $795

    Berlin
    Produced by Small World Productions
    This independent film features destinations you can visit on this trip extension.

    Divided after World War II, blockaded by the Soviets, wedged apart by an imposing wall, and finally liberated by the sledgehammers of freedom fighters in 1989, Berlin is, once again, unified. In a three-night stay, you’ll discover gems of the city’s history from the 19th century through the Cold War and beyond. And you’ll revel in ample opportunity to explore at your leisure and see for yourself how this city has become a European cultural capital.

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

  • 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. During your Holland 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.

    This evening, you'll enjoy dinner onboard.

  • Get acquainted with the Netherlands’ capital this morning on an Amsterdam canal cruise. 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.

    The rest of the day is yours to continue exploring Amsterdam on your own.

  • Enjoy a quintessential Netherlands in springtime experience this morning—the Keukenhof Flower Park. Set in the heart of the western Netherlands’ tulip-growing region, you'll have the opportunity to stroll through the park's 70 acres of lovely, tree-shaded grounds with ponds, winding paths, streams, and fountains, and enjoy lunch on the grounds. 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.

    Continue your springtime explorations with a visit to a tulip farm. The Netherlands have more than 23,000 acres set aside for the cultivation of their famous blooms, and throughout the peak season, farmers are kept busy as they prepare tulips to be picked and sold. Learn about the daily life of modern tulip farmers as you meet with a local family during this exclusive Discovery Series event.

    Return to the ship for a late afternoon of scenic sailing to Zaandam, where you'll arrive this evening.

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

  • A Famous Flower Auction Fades

    Hear how globalization is threatening a famous Dutch Flower Auction, which you can visit on our optional tour.

    Early this morning, you can choose to immerse yourself in the spectacle of the Aalsmeer Flower Auction (the world’s largest) during an optional outing.

    The morning is yours to spend as you please in nearby Amsterdam. Then, embark on a scenic afternoon cruise to Enkhuizen, reveling in the springtime scenes that line the riverbanks before arriving this evening.

  • 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 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, during a Home-Hosted Op de Koffie. Along with a friendly intercultural exchange, you might enjoy tasting a stroopwafel—a thin, waffle-like sandwich cookie with a sweet, chewy center.

  • Today, set across the bank of both the Nederrijn and Sin-Jansbeek rivers for a morning walking tour of Arnhem. Afterwards, enjoy lunch onboard your river ship.

    One of the largest cities in the Netherlands, Arnhem's center was nearly leveled during World War II—and the rebuilt city has since established itself a lively cultural center with an eye for fashion and design. Continue your discoveries this afternoon on your own.

  • Spend the morning Kinderdijk, discovering its famed 19 windmills. These well-preserved, historic structure, supported in part by Grand Circle Foundation, became protected by UNESCO in 1997. Stroll around the site, with plenty of time to take some photos of these nostalgic, yet pragmatic creations.

    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, innovative structures that 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.

    Embark the ship for a short cruise to Rotterdam—setting off after lunch for a walking tour of the city, which was almost completely destroyed during World World II. The reconstructed city is now known for its crisp, modern architecture. Following your walking tour, enjoy the rest of the afternoon to pursue your own interests in Rotterdam.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Brussels and Belgium

    Join travel expert Rudy Maxa to preview the medieval and modern charm awaiting on our optional Belgium extension.

    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.

    • 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.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Bruges, Belgium

    3 nights from only $595

    Originally a ninth-century fortress built to protect the Flemish coast from marauding Vikings, Bruges today retains its reputation as one of Europe's best-preserved Old-World cities. Bruges’s centuries-old canal system, which was essential to its once thriving textile industry, has beckoned tourists to meander its narrow, winding streets in search of art, history, and fine chocolates for nearly two centuries. 

    View Extension Itinerary

Click below to read our Travel Planning Guide on Holland & Belgium in Springtime

Read Travel Planning Guide

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