Highlights of the Netherlands & The Beauty of Belgium
Welcome to Amsterdam, you’ll be met at the airport by an Emerald Waterways representative and transferred to your award-winning river cruise ship where a warm welcome awaits from your Captain and crew. Tonight you’re invited to join your fellow travellers for a fabulous Welcome Buffet dinner. Your Cruise Director will also hold a port talk to tell you all about the exciting activities you have to look forward to. Finally enjoy an orientation tour of the red light district.
You’ll board your coach for a tour to the Zaanse Schans, a highlight of the Netherlands dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries featuring traditional style windmills, farms, and Dutch wooden architectural style. Along the way you’ll get to delight your taste buds while stopping at different traditional cheese farms with a variety of flavours common to the Netherlands. Afterwards, you’ll return to the ship for lunch and enjoy the beautiful scenery as we sail to Antwerp. To celebrate your first evening of sailing, you’re invited to a Captain Welcome dinner where you can get better acquainted with your fellow guests.
Today you’ll arrive in Veere where you’ll enjoy a guided tour or choose to grab a bicycle and enjoy the sites on your own. In 1953, Veere was heavily flooded which led the Dutch government to commission the Delta Works to protect the province from the open sea by a series of dikes, sea walls and locks all the way up to Rotterdam in South Holland. We continue with a tour of the outer wall of the Delta Works project, known as the Storm Surge Barrier. Afterwards, you’ll return to the ship for lunch and enjoy an afternoon of sailing as you journey towards Arnhem.
This morning we arrive In Antwerp – Belgium’s biggest port, positioned on the River Sheltz with a large harbor linking to the sea. After breakfast you’re free to explore Antwerp, Belgium’s second largest city. Home to the famous Baroque artist Pieter Paul Rubens, it attracts art lovers and diamond dealers from all over the world. Having been decimated in WWII, the city today is very modern and yet retains an intriguing Medieval Heart. Here, you’ll enjoy a guided walking tour of the city center through its café-filled cobbled lanes, admiring the Renaissance Town Hall and the unique Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady, the symbol of Antwerp. You’ll also pass through the charming 16th century inner yard, the ‘Vlaeykensgang’, as well as a number of guild halls. Alternatively book a Discover More excursion to Bruges. Once in Bruges you have free time to explore this fantastic Medieval town. Witness sights such as the famous 13th century Belfry, historic churches and whitewashed almshouses. After your included lunch, the ship will depart for Veere.
After a relaxing morning spent sailing through the Dutch waterways, passing its wonderful windmills and quaint traditional villages, you’ll arrive in Arnhem.
Most famous for its great battle during World War II, its iconic bridge – the sight where the British forces were captured – has been replaced by a third almost identical bridge. The Dutch Army destroyed the first bridge when the Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940, and the second bridge was destroyed by the US Army Air Forces shortly after the 1944 battle.
Your tour with a local guide includes the main sights of the city such as the Town Hall, as well as the Airborne Museum Hartenstein, which is dedicated to the Battle of Arnhem In 1944. The main building was the headquarters of the British command during the battle and now houses exhibits of military uniforms and weapons.
This morning you’ll enjoy an orientation walking tour of Edam – a town known all over the world for its cheese. Edam was also made famous for its ship building, where it was once home to a total of 33 shipyards. On your walking tour, you’ll get to browse the city’s many cheese shops, authentic 17th century architecture, monuments and quiet canals – and discover the Great Church, one of the largest churches in the Netherlands.
Afterwards, take a guided tour of the fishing village of Volendam, where you’ll also enjoy free time exploring the small fishing port and the old center where some residents still wear traditional Dutch costume. You’ll then return to your ship for lunch as you sail towards Hoorn. In the Golden Age, Hoorn was a base for the Dutch East India Company, making it a prosperous and powerful trading town. Today, this 13th century town is home to many listed buildings and the former Oostereiland prison. You’ll then have free time to walk or use a bicycle through the city’s small and intimate boutiques, stylish home and interior shops.
After breakfast board your coach for a short journey to Keukenhof Gardens – the most beautiful spring garden in the world and Europe’s largest. Situated in the heart of the tulip farm area of Holland, it has incredible displays of different flowers and plants, with more than seven million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths filling over 79 acres with color and fragrance. Afterwards, you’ll return to the ship for a late lunch. Once you’ve refueled, get ready for an included orientation tour around Amsterdam. You’ll then have free time to explore. To celebrate your final evening on board, you’re invited to a special Captain Farewell dinner for you to enjoy in the company of your fellow guests