Bruges, Medieval Flanders, Amsterdam & the Dutch Bulbfields-MS Emily Bronte-content

8 Days - River Cruise

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Amsterdam is one of the world’s most unique cities, famous for its stunning art from Rembrandt to Van Gogh and is where this stunning cruise commences. First we explore the tiny villages of ‘old’ Holland from where ships of the 16th century Dutch East India Company set sail in search of silks and spices. Then it’s off to Arnhem scene of the famous battle in 1944 before visiting Antwerp, the city of Diamonds and Rubens with its main square lined by the tall step-gabled, merchant’s houses so typical of the ‘low’ countries. Then we explore the very best of Flanders in delightfully medieval Ghent. From here we see Ypres and one of Europe’s finest ‘old world’ cities, delightful Bruges. Listen to the sound of the carillion emanating wonderfully from the instantly recognisable Bell Tower, sip a coffee in the old market square and reflect on how wonderful life can be. Finally we discover one of nature’s most spectacular of floral displays, the kaleidoscope of colour that is the Dutch Bulbfields. Drinks Package For all 2018 departures we now offer a drinks package, at a cost of £99 per person for this cruise. This includes the following with lunch and dinner: draught beer; non-alcoholic beer; soft drinks; juices; red, white and rose house wines; and wine recommendations from the menu. The drinks package must be added to your booking prior to departure you can do this by calling the reservations team. If you choose not to purchase a drinks package, or you are travelling in 2017, there is a vast selection of drinks on board each ship available for individual purchase. 

Itinerary

Day 1

You fly to Amsterdam or take a late morning Eurostar from London, St Pancras International,arriving in Brussels approximately 2 hours later, where you change trains connecting to Amsterdam. A coach will take you to the ship where the dedicated crew welcome you aboard ensuring you settle in to your comfortable and extremely well appointed cabin, and familiarise yourself with the ship, your first-class floating hotel.

Day 2

Moored in the heart of fascinating Amsterdam, we take a delightful sightseeing cruise around its picturesque canals – in classic glass-topped boats. The tour brings a real insight into Amsterdam’s history, art and people, throughout history at the heart of European culture and commerce.  A splendid buffet lunch awaits your return as we slip away from the quayside towards the Ijsselmeer the lake created when the Zuiderzee was dammed, then on to Volendam, a delightful fishing village preserved almost as it was centuries ago! Next we cruise to historic Hoorn, once a prosperous port of the Dutch East India Company. There’s time to explore this intriguing spot before another splendid dinner.

Day 3

One of the delights of river cruising is the enchanting experience of awaking in a new world. We are now deep in the heart of Holland passing flower bedecked houseboats, flocks of wildfowl and of course windmills! We soon arrive in Arnhem, once a member of the Hanseatic League. We visit the former British HQ at Oosterbeek, now an excellent museum and the poignant Commonwealth War Cemetery, the final resting place of so many. Back on board, we cruise along the mighty River Rhine, one of Europe’s foremost waterways before enjoying another sumptuous dinner on board, as the riverside lights twinkle on.

Day 4

This morning there’s a chance to marvel at the Captain’s skill as he calmly navigates the busy River Scheldt and moors in Antwerp, birthplace of the Baroque master Peter Paul Rubens. This morning we enjoy a tour led by a local guide taking in its numerous highlights and lesser-known features. Once part of the Spanish Empire, Antwerp grew wealthy during its 16th-century Golden Age, when it was Europe’s largest port north of the Alps, with profits invested in the city’s Flemish art and architectural heritage, and later it became the world’s diamond trading centre. At its heart is the captivating main square – the Grote Markt – dominated by ornately gabled guildhouses, the Renaissance town hall and opulent Brabo Fountain. This afternoon is free to explore as you wish, perhaps visiting Rubens’ extravagant former home and studio, the magnificent Gothic cathedral or even the painstakingly restored train station, of such architectural splendour it is often called the ‘Railway Cathedral’.

Day 5

Today we awake in medieval Ghent, and our base for the next two days. Ghent is a perfectly preserved medieval gem boasting: a gorgeously unspoilt waterfront; the imposing Gravenstein fortress towering above the river. This morning we have a sightseeing tour and after lunch we visit Ypres, a name synonymous with the horrors of the Great War. You may wish to visit the excellent, ‘In Flanders Fields’ Museum’. We also visit Tyne Cot Cemetery and the infamous battlefield of Passchendaele. Ypres is the home of the Menin Gate, the incredibly moving memorial to the missing where the last post is played every evening. However, this excursion is not compulsory so you could choose to have free time in Ghent.

Day 6

After breakfast we take the short drive to Bruges, one of Europe’s most perfectly preserved medieval cities and have a guided walk of this beautiful town. Centred on the main square, dominated by the soaring Belfry and when the unique old Flemish chimes are heard, the atmosphere is idyllic. You can climb this tower and if you can face the 366 steps, the view is breathtaking. You will also see the City Hall, the old Law Courts and the Basilaic of the Holy Blood. Another must is the Notre Dame Church which houses Michelangelo’s beautiful Madonna and Child, plus of course the legendary chocolate shops! This evening we leave Ghent returning to Holland.

Day 7

After breakfast we take the short drive to Bruges, one of Europe’s most perfectly preserved medieval cities and have a guided walk of this beautiful town. Centred on the main square, dominated by the soaring Belfry and when the unique old Flemish chimes are heard, the atmosphere is idyllic. You can climb this tower and if you can face the 366 steps, the view is breathtaking. You will also see the City Hall, the old Law Courts and the Basilaic of the Holy Blood. Another must is the Notre Dame Church which houses Michelangelo’s beautiful Madonna and Child, plus of course the legendary chocolate shops! This evening we leave Ghent returning to Holland.

Day 8

After breakfast this morning your friendly crew bid you farewell before you return home.

Extra Information

Return standard class Eurostar and transfers, or flights from a selection of airports (at a supplement)
Full-board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day

  Cost per person: €1,679pp
  Number of nights: 7
  Dates available from: Apr 2019

Tour supplied in Partnership with:

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  Call:  01 905 6300