Spend the holidays taking in all the seasonal charms and delights of the Dutch and Belgian Waterways. Taste rich Belgian chocolates and listen to the distinctive clanks and charms of mechanical instruments at Utrecht’s Museum Speelklok. Admire the beautiful architecture and artistry of castles that include Utrecht’s De Haar, Brussels’ Beersel and Ghent’s Castle of the Counts of Flanders. With the Holiday season in full swing, experience the glowing waterways of Amsterdam, Brussels and more as cities come to life with strings of lights, festive music and photo-worthy decorations. Indulge in an onboard Christmas dinner and local holiday traditions as you sail on the most elegantly decorated ship on the river. As a diverse array of knowledgeable and gracious local guides share each destination’s unique history with you, you’ll return from this cruise having experienced the best of Holland and Belgium during the magical wintertime!
Best of Holland & Belgium (Christmas)
At A Glance
On our river cruises, you will enjoy an extensive lineup of included tours. In many cases, you will have a choice of excursions, such as standard tours, bike tours, hikes and Special Interest Tours. We always include a large variety of activities so that you can choose how you want to explore. No matter your preference, your days will be full of discovery and wonder.
Board the ship in Amsterdam for your Best of Holland & Belgium cruise.
|Amsterdam Canal Cruise
|Scenic cruising out of Amsterdam
|Walking tour with Museum Speelklok (organ museum) visit
There are 165 canals in Amsterdam, and you’ll get enjoy some of them on your canal cruise. Later in the day, enjoy a scenic cruise through the IJsselmeer to Utrecht, the religious center of the Netherlands since the 8th century and a far-reaching city boasting a medieval old town, canals and a beautiful Gothic cathedral, some of which you may see on your walking tour, which includes a visit to the whimsical collection of automatically playing musical instruments at Museum Speelklok. Alternatively, marvel at the largest castle in Holland, De Haar. Straight out of your fairytale dreams, this castle inspires awe with its turrets, moats and suspension bridges as well as its luxurious interior. (B,L,D)
|Cruising the Delta
|Zierikzee “Medieval Harbor Town” walking tour
|OR Delta Works Flood Museum Tour
|OR Traditional Dutch Flat Bottom Boat visit
Enjoy a scenic morning cruise through the delta before arriving in Hellevoetsluis, an island metropolis of South Holland. During your time here, you can tour of this medieval harbor town and see enchanting sites such as its iconic working De Hoop windmill and witness the charming wharf houses. Alternatively, you may discover the intriguing history of how the Delta Works, a unique storm surge barrier, came to be while visiting the Flood Museum. More than half of the Netherlands lies below sea level and the Delta Works were built to prevent a recurrence of the 1953 flood disaster. You may also choose to visit a traditional Dutch flat bottom boat. For those who prefer an active adventure, pedal from Hellevoetsluis, with its cobblestone streets and charming harbor, across the Haringvlietdam and back. (B,L,D)
|Ghent “Capital of East Flanders” walking tour
|OR Full-day Bruges “Capital of West Flanders” walking tour and Church of Our Lady visit*
|Highlights of Bruges tour
|OR Castle of the Counts of Flanders
There are several choices of excursions in Ghent, depending on your interests. Stroll through the Capital of East Flanders, learning about its unique history on your walking tour, or pedal through the spellbinding town on a guided bike tour. Alternatively, visit Bruges, one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe, on a full-day excursion that includes the renowned Church of Our Lady, home to the beautiful Carrara marble Madonna and Child sculpture by Michelangelo. If you prefer a shorter excursion in Bruges, visit the town later in the day or spend your afternoon at Ghent’s moated Castle of the Counts, which boasts an eye-catching design as well as a ghoulishly interesting collection of medieval torture devices. (B,L,D)
*Not combinable with other tours on this day.
|“Capital of Belgium” tour
|OR Belgian chocolate tasting
Explore Belgium’s captivating capital on your guided walking tour or pedal through Brussels on a guided bike ride that takes you into Laeken Park, where you will see the unique architecture of the Far East Museums as well as the jaw-dropping iron molecule sculpture known as the Atomium. In the afternoon, visit Beersel Castle, one of the oldest and authentic moated castles in Flanders, south of Brussels. Alternatively, delight your palate with a Belgian chocolate tasting (B,L,D)
|“City of Diamonds” walking tour and cathedral visit
|OR Bike tour with Red Star Line Museum
Explore Belgium’s trendy “City of Diamonds” on a walking tour where you’ll see Antwerp’s Steen Castle, Grote Market and Brabo Fountain, along with the UNESCO-designated Cathedral of Our Lady. Active travelers may prefer instead to bike through Antwerp. Later in the day, beer enthusiasts will appreciate a tasting of the local brew while foodies may prefer our excursion to sample some of Belgium’s famous chocolates and waffles. An afternoon bike tour is also available for those who prefer to get their heart beating later in the day, and it includes an opportunity to visit the Red Star Line Museum, highlighting the historic shipping line responsible for transporting three million immigrants to America. (B,L,D)
|“Holland’s Oldest City” walking tour
|OR Rotterdam tour and Delfshaven
|Kinderdijk UNESCO Windmills
Established in 1220, Holland’s oldest city was virtually destroyed by a devastating flood in the 15th century that essentially created the city’s wetlands. Learn more about Dordrecht’s fascinating history on your walking tour, or visit Rotterdam, the “Gateway to Europe,” as well as Delfshaven, where, on August 1, 1620, the Pilgrim fathers departed on their epic journey aboard the Speedwell. Stopping in Southampton, many then boarded the Mayflower and concluded their journey at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. If you prefer to venture off the beaten path, head to the smaller town of Gorinchem with its picturesque Old Town or go on an architectural bike tour through Rotterdam. In the afternoon, venture to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk, a lovely village renowned for having the country’s greatest concentration of windmills, all dating from the 18th century. You may also pedal past the windmills from the seat of a bike. (B,L,D)
Disembark your ship and bid farewell to Amsterdam as you prepare for your return flight home. (B)
(B,L,D) – Indicates Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner are included on this day.