Tulip Time Cruise Cruise through Holland & Belgium in the Spring
Discover picturesque Holland and Belgium in the spring on this river cruise vacation! See the sights in Arnhem, Middelburg, and Rotterdam, as well as Antwerp and Ghent. Enjoy a canal cruise in Amsterdam. Also, explore the quaint fishing village of Volendam; take an excursion to Edam, famous for its cheeses; and drink in the colorful blooming beauty of famous Keukenhof Gardens.
Day 1 Depart USA
Day 2 Amsterdam, Holland (Embarkation)
Welcome to Amsterdam! Holland’s capital is sophisticated and modern, with a rich and fascinating history. This delightful 700-year-old city with its elegant and classic architecture, cafés, restaurants, and lively marketplace has a distinct ambience. The works of famous Dutch masters can be seen in world-renowned museums such as the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at a WELCOME RECEPTION. (D)
Day 3 Arnhem–Dordrecht. Excursion to Kinderdijk
One of the major tragedies of World War II was the Battle of Arnhem, featured vividly in the AIRBORNE MUSEUM HARTENSTEIN and the inspiration for the movie A Bridge Too Far. Sitting between two branches of the Rhine, charming Dordrecht inspired many painters in the 17th and 18th centuries. Visit nearby KINDERDIJK with its picturesque row of windmills. A special treat: after dinner on board, enjoy a DIAMOND PARTY. (B,L,D)
Day 4 Antwerp, Belgium
Antwerp is Belgium’s second-largest city and one of the world’s most important ancient seaports. Included sightseeing shows you its superb architecture, and the GROTE MARKT with its beautiful city hall and the Church of Our Lady make this city well worth a visit. An optional excursion to nearby Brussels, Belgium’s capital and home of the European Union, is available. (B,L,D)
Day 5 Ghent
In a unique way, Ghent, the “diamond” of Flanders, has managed to preserve its medieval charm and power while keeping up with the times. A Local Guide will proudly point out that the city center alone is a showcase of medieval Flemish wealth and commercial success, and will take you into ST. BAAF’S CATHEDRAL. From here, an optional excursion to fascinating Bruges, with its criss-crossed canals and charming old patrician houses, is available. (B,L,D)
Day 6 Middelburg, Holland–Veere–Delta Works
It is certain that Middelburg was originally built as a stronghold to protect the population of Zeeland from the water and from enemies. Later, it became a prosperous merchant city that spent great wealth on the construction of important buildings such as the town hall. The eye-catching high tower of the town hall dominates the charming town of Veere, which was once an important wool-trading center. Take your photos before continuing to one of the world’s most complex engineering projects, the DELTA WORKS, located nearby. After the flood of 1953, during which more than 1,800 people drowned in one night, the Delta Plan was born to prevent another disaster of this magnitude. The final defense in the battle against the water is the storm flood barrier, almost six miles long and considered a technical miracle. The project took 30 years to complete. (B,L,D)
Day 7 Rotterdam. Excursion to Keukenhof Gardens
Rotterdam is a bustling port city that was leveled by German bombs in WWII. Now, it has a modern, high-tech look and it boasts the world’s busiest port. Today’s highlight: the gardens of KEUKENHOF near Lisse, which encompass over 70 acres of parkland with lakes, sculpture gardens, greenhouses, and a windmill to explore. Millions of flower bulbs are grown here that present a spectacular display of blooms every year. (B,L,D)
Day 8 Amsterdam–Volendam. Excursion to Edam
There is no better way to see Amsterdam than by CANAL BOAT, cruising through the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” An excursion takes you north of the city to Volendam on the IJsselmeer, a maze of fishermen’s houses built on poles and a unique open harbor. The small, timbered church dates back to 1658. Continue to Edam, whose cheese of the same name has become famous worldwide and where cheese markets are still held in the summer months. The old town center, especially the Kwakelsteeg, still has lovely characteristic Waterland houses. (B,L,D)
Day 9 Amsterdam (Disembarkation)
The minute you step on board the Avalon Artistry®, you know she's different. The gleaming two-story lobby, lit by a central glass skylight, is a preview of the light, airy feel and the spectacular views you'll enjoy on this modern, spacious vessel. And the friendliness and unsurpassed personal service of the English-speaking staff on board and on shore always make you feel welcome.
All rooms are designed by the famous architect Hans Sabert. There are two junior suites (258 square feet) and the vessel boasts some of the largest staterooms (at 172 square feet) of any river cruiser; they are all outside staterooms. Some have picture windows, while 70% have a unique French balcony from which to enjoy the passing scenery. The Avalon Artistry® accommodates 178 passengers in 87 staterooms and two junior suites.
The dining room, lounge and other recreation areas are spacious and airy with both the dining room and lounge offering glass from floor to ceiling so passengers can enjoy panoramic views. Unique to the Avalon Artistry® is the glazed lobby that is open through to the Sky Deck with a central glass cupola sparkling welcome to passengers. The exercise room is outfitted with fitness equipment and a whirlpool that can accommodate six people. Massages are also offered.
Features exclusive to the Avalon Artistry® staterooms:
Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors in most staterooms
With the decrease in the value of the dollar and the high price of fuel the cost of hotels and meals have doubled in European during the last three years. Savy travelers have come to understand that a river cruise offers the best value for a European Vacation. Accommodations, all meals on board and shore excursions are included in the price and some companies even include wine with dinner. Because of this, you do not have to live in fear of the $300 per night hotel bill, the $100 not so wonderful restaurant meal and the $10 cup of coffee with no free refills. Many people believe that by dealing directly with the cruise line, they cut out the expense of a middleman. But when it comes to cruising, this is never the case. The cruise lines depend on travel agents to sell their product, and so it is the cruise lines who pay the agent's commission, not the customer. The lines also offer agents various extra incentives, bonus commissions and value-added perks, giving the travel agents more pricing leverage and the ability for us to offer you lower rates: There are many superb and well-trained travel agents, but there are not many who know as much as we do about river cruising.