Belgium & Holland River Cruise - Avalon Europe Cruises

Essential Holland & Belgium – Tulips in Spring – Northbound 2016

8 Day River Cruise from Brussels to Amsterdam

2016 Information. Switch to 2017 »

On this tulip time cruise vacation, see some of the highlights of Holland and Belgium. Guided sightseeing shows you the charming towns of Middelburg and Willemstad, as well as the bigger cities of Antwerp and Ghent. Visit the fascinating Delta Works, a windmill in Kinderdijk, and the famous flower gardens of Keukenhof or Delft, the home of “Delft Blue” pottery. So much to see in an experience-filled week!


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Highlights & Sightseeing

Cruise: deluxe 7-night cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM

Day 1 Brussels, Belgium. Transfer to Vilvoorde (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception

Day 2 Antwerp: guided sightseeing

Day 3 Ghent: guided sightseeing

Day 4 Middelburg–Veere: guided visit of Middelburg; Excursion to the Delta Works

Day 5 Willemstad–Kinderdijk:
guided walk in Willemstad; visit a windmill in Kinderdijk;

Day 6 Rotterdam: excursion to Keukenhof Gardens (open until May 26, 2016), or guided visit to Delft (after May 26, 2016)

Day 7 Amsterdam: canal cruise

Day 8 Amsterdam (Disembarkation): your vacation ends after breakfast this morning

Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.

Enjoy an onboard Classical Music Performance.

Meals

  • Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapés
  • Welcome dinner
  • Daily Afternoon Tea
  • Daily Night Fare
  • Farewell dinner
  • Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; soft drinks with lunch; and wine, beer, or soft drinks with dinner are included daily on board your vessel

NOTES:

  • Departure April 12 is offered as an exclusive Beer Tasting Cruise, including special lectures and tastings at no additional cost. A visit to Europe is enhanced when it includes a discovery of the regional beers! Enjoy onboard tastings, visit historic breweries, and learn about European beer-brewing techniques during fascinating onboard lectures. Prost!
  • In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program.
  • Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change becomes necessary, a substitute will be offered.

Day-By-Day Itinerary

Day 1Arrive in Brussels, Belgium (Embarkation)

Welcome to Belgium, seat of the European Union. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. (Dinner)

NOTE:
Flights into Brussels must arrive by 3 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

Day 2Antwerp

Antwerp is Belgium’s second-largest city and one of the world’s most important ancient seaports. It merges the new with the old and offers the attractions and atmosphere you’d expect from a European city—friendly people, fabulous architecture, chic shops, interesting museums, vibrant cafés, charming galleries, and historic monuments. INCLUDED SIGHTSEEING with a Local Guide shows you its superb architecture; the central GROTE MARKT, lined with 16th-century houses; the beautiful city hall, completed in 1566; and the Church of Our Lady, started in 1352 and featuring paintings by Rubens. An optional excursion is available to nearby Brussels, Belgium’s capital and home of the European Union. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 3Ghent

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. Visit ST. BAAF’S CATHEDRAL, which houses remarkable art treasures, including the most important work in Flemish art, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, created by the Van Eyck brothers around 1432. On your own, explore the traffic-free streets in the city center; see Gravensteen, the “castle of the counts,” an imposing castle in the city that was built in 1180; or join an optional excursion to fascinating Bruges with its criss-crossed canals and charming old patrician houses. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 4Middelburg, Holland–Veere. Excursion to the Delta Works

This morning, a WALKING TOUR of Middelburg will acquaint you with this Dutch East India Company trading city, which was originally built as a Zeeland stronghold against 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 15th-century gothic Town Hall. Rejoin your ship for lunch and the short cruise to Veere, where you will visit the nearby DELTA WORKS. After the flood of 1953, during which more than 1,800 people drowned in one night, the Delta Plan was born to prevent a disaster of this magnitude from ever happening again. Taking 30 years to complete, the storm flood barrier stands as the final defense in the battle against the water—almost six miles long and considered a technical miracle. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 5Willemstad–Kinderdijk

This morning, dock in Willemstad and join a Local Guide for a GUIDED WALK of this small historical town with well-preserved fortifications. One of the oldest buildings in town is the old gatehouse at the entrance of Willemstad, and as you walk around you will notice a wide variety of building styles. The town even has its own windmill towering high above the marina and in the very center of the seven pointed, star-shaped town, stands the Koepelkerk (Rounded Church). This afternoon, visit Kinderdijk, whose 19 windmills were built in 1740 as part of the water management system to help prevent floods. Visit a WINDMILL and learn how they played a vital role in the development of the country, becoming a symbol of Holland. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6Excursion to Keukenhof Gardens or Delft

Enjoy a leisurely morning on board before an included excursion takes you to the gardens of KEUKENHOF near Lisse—over 70 acres of parkland with lakes, sculpture gardens, greenhouses, and a windmill to explore. Every year, 7 million flower bulbs are planted, and you have the chance to see the spectacular display of colors from the tulips, daffodils, crocuses, and more. If you’re a garden enthusiast, you may opt for an extended stay in Keukenhof, going in the morning, and lunching in the gardens on your own before rejoining the ship with the rest of the guests in the later afternoon. After May 26 when the Keukenhof Gardens are no longer open, a guided excursion takes you to the city of Delft. Most famous for its distinctive Delft Blue pottery, the city with its historic town center and canals was also home to the painter Johannes Vermeer. Join your local expert for a GUIDED WALK to see the City Hall, the Old Church, and hear the story of the “Delft Explosion.” (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 7Amsterdam

Holland’s sophisticated, modern capital has a rich and fascinating history. This delightful 700-year-old city with its elegant and classic architecture, cafés, and restaurants has a distinct ambiance. The streets, squares, and canals—not to mention the bike paths throughout the city—make for a vibrant atmosphere, and with over 60 museums, Amsterdam has the highest museum density in the world. There is no better way to see Amsterdam than by CANAL BOAT, cruising through the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.” There’s free time this afternoon—your Cruise Director will have suggestions for things to do. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8Amsterdam (Disembarkation)

Your vacation ends after breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

Ship Details

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Hotels

Brussels
Amsterdam

Brussels

Radisson Blu Royal

Radisson Blu Royal Rue D.Fosse-Aux-Loups 47, Brussels,   Belgium Rue D.Fosse-Aux-Loups 47
Brussels, Belgium

Free WifiFree Wifi

Hotel as shown or similar
Deluxe

Just 14 kilometers from the airport, the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Brussels welcomes guests with a signature art deco façade designed by famed city architect Michel Jaspers. Easily discover the best of the capital's vibrant culture, food, commerce and architecture from this city center hotel. Brussels visitors should be sure to visit nearby Grand Place, Manneken Pis and Magritte Museum, among other attractions. Rooms well-designed in their own right, award-winning restaurants and first-class facilities await enjoyment upon guests' return.

Hotel Amenities

Elevator
Restaurant On-Site
Ice Machine
Business Center
Free WiFi
Luggage Storage
Concierge desk
Currency Exchange
Fitness Room
Parking/Valet
Dry Cleaning
Room Amenities

Room Service
Air Conditioning
Non-smoking Rooms
Mini-bar
Hair Dryer
Coffee Maker
Climate Control
Iron/Ironing Board
Television
Phone
Internet Access
Disabled Access / Rooms
In-Room Safe
Cable/Satellite

Amsterdam

Moevenpick Amsterdam City

Moevenpick Amsterdam City Piet Heinkade 11, Amsterdam,  Netherlands Piet Heinkade 11
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Free WifiFree Wifi

Hotel as shown or similar
Superior First-Class

A stylish 408-room hotel in the perfect location, this waterfront property offers Free Wi-Fi internet access throughout. The chic restaurant serves creative international cuisine and there is a fabulous bar serving drinks and light snacks which is also a great spot for a nightcap. For relaxation there is a Lifestyle Studio featuring a gym, Finnish sauna, bio sauna & ice fountain.

Hotel Amenities

Restaurant On-Site
Luggage Storage
Fitness Room
Currency Exchange
Free WiFi
Bar/Lounge
Business Center
ATM
Parking/Valet
Gift Shop
Concierge desk
Dry Cleaning
Spa Services
Elevator
Room Amenities

Air Conditioning (Seasonal)
In-Room Safe
Disabled Access / Rooms
Non-smoking Rooms
Smoking Rooms
Wake-Up Calls
Television
Room Service
Climate Control
Pay Movies
Internet Access
Coffee Maker
Desk
Hair Dryer
Mini-bar
Window Opens
Air Conditioning
Phone
Voicemail
Iron/Ironing Board
Cable/Satellite
Complimentary Toiletries

 Optional Excursions

The following list of optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These optional excursions might or might not be offered. Whether it's a special dinner, a local show or a special behind-the-scenes glimpse into an historical site, optional excursions are a wonderful way to enrich your vacation even further. Plus, they give you flexibility. We include the must-see sites and experiences, and we also understand that people take interest in different activities and may want to craft a more personal vacation by hand-picking optional excursions that appeal to them.

We know that many times travelers celebrate special occasions on vacation and you can now pre-purchase celebration packages before your cruise departure. We offer special birthday, anniversary and wedding vow packages. These packages include all the elements you need to celebrate with family & friends.

Availability of optional excursions is subject to sufficient participation, weather conditions, seasonal suitability, days of operation, group interests, and general feasibility for your vacation. The approximate value listed gives you a good, general idea of what you can expect to pay but may vary once you are on your vacation. Some information provided might be in a foreign currency; to get an estimated price, use a currency converter for exchange rate information (pricing may vary at the time of booking).

Once you have booked your vacation, Avalon Waterways provides the ability to pre-purchase excursions and packages, register for your cruise and provide emergency contact information online.

Brussels
Antwerp
Ghent
Amsterdam
Celebration

Brussels

Brussels Walking Tour

Brussels Walking Tour

Brussels is the capital of Flanders, Belgium and Europe, a francophone enclave in the Flemish northern part of Belgium. The Lower Town is centered around the magnificent Grand' Place and still follows a vaguely medieval form, with its narrow, atmospheric streets. The Grand' Place itself, a wide-open cobble- stoned medieval square of elegant guild houses, is one of Brussels' few set-piece attractions with the Town Hall as its landmark building; its spire will be your point of reference as you weave through the Lower Town streets. The daily business of Brussels takes place here, in the many local bars and cafes whose character and quality are the stuff of legends. South, amid the tourist shops in rue de l'Etuve, is the little statue of a naked little boy, a perfect representative of the irreverent Belgian humor. The unique Brussels icon has been amusing visitors since 1619. Brussels, the capital of 500 million Europeans, is waiting to share its treasures with you.

Approximate value: €31 EUR per person

Antwerp

Red Star Line Museum Tour

Red Star Line Museum Tour

Between 1873 and 1934, 2.6 million people sailed from Europe to the "promised land" looking for a better life. For many people, the trip began in this warehouse in Antwerp. Europeans, who left their old life behind and looked for a better existence, had high expectations and for some of them, the dream became reality. Among the passengers are some famous names. Albert Einstein was a frequent client of the Red Star Line. He famously wrote his resignation letter, to the Prussian Academy for the Sciences, on RSL stationery. He and his wife, Elsa, made their final escape to America on the RSL ship, Westernland. Irving Berlin, the composer of "White Christmas" and "God Bless America," sailed to America on the Rhynland, at age five. The Red Star Line Museum tells a powerful and important story in a beautiful and moving way. It should be on the 'must visit' list for all expats and descendants of immigrants, so we never forget the struggle our ancestors made on our behalf.

Approximate value: €32 EUR per person

Ghent

Medieval Bruges

Medieval Bruges

Bruges is called: "the Venice of the North". This splendid medieval city is one of Belgium's crown jewels. In no other European city the feel and the look of medieval times are as present as here in this city close to the North Sea. Bruges is not a tiny miniature city. It ranks, even today, among the important cities of Belgium. It is also the capital of the Belgian province of West-Flanders. When one is lucky with the weather, a stroll through the narrow medieval streets or a canal cruise can be an enchanting experience. Bruges is unique, in the sense that here the town authorities have done their utmost to preserve the medieval-looking image of the city. Of course, not every stone in Bruges has come to us straight from the Middle-Ages. The 19th century neo-gothic style is more present than one would think. Nevertheless, the combination of old, not so old and new fascinates everyone who first sets foot in Bruges.

Approximate value: €50 EUR per person

Amsterdam

Anne Frank House

Anne Frank House

Visit the hiding place where Anne Frank wrote her diary during the Second World War. For more than two years, Anne Frank, her family, and four others lived secretively in the back part of her father's office building at #263 Prinsengracht, before being betrayed and turned in to the Nazis. If you have read the famous diary much of this will be familiar to you, but even if you haven't this can be a thought provoking place to see. The Anne Frank House/Museum, open since 1960, is probably the most famous attraction in town for new visitors. Take advantage of our tailor made tour, with an introduction by our local escort, hassle free transport and priority entrance.

Approximate value: €44 EUR per person

Can Buy Me Love - Amsterdam by Night

Can Buy Me Love - Amsterdam by Night

Experience Europe's most famous Red Light District at its best during the evening. Amsterdam has always cherished the ideas of tolerance and worldliness. The city takes on an entirely new and fascinating character at night: many of its bridges, along with numerous historic buildings and monuments are almost extravagantly illuminated. A night-time boat tour of the city is highly recommendable. Take an expertly guided private cruise and walking tour through the famous Red Light District, learn about the customs and traditions of this provocative and alluring aspect of life in Amsterdam. Enjoy the city's night life and collect memories and stories to take home (Excursion not suitable for children).

Approximate value: €53 EUR per person

Cycling through the Dutch Countryside like a Local

Cycling through the Dutch Countryside like a Local

The Netherlands is known for being the perfect country to go for a bike ride. After a short bike ride from your ship, a ferry takes you out of the hectic city. Then continue your biking tour into the beautiful and green nature reserve called "Waterland". Your local guide will take you through centuries old picturesque villages with typical wooden houses, past countless brooks and waterways, across old wooden bridges, along the Ijsselmeer, through green pastures. Designated bicycle paths connect the entire region. On a nice spring or summer day, the green fields are full of flowers, sheep and cows are in the meadows. Comfortable bicycles, helmets and refreshment in a typical Dutch Inn are provided and of course all these experiences under guidance of a local guide. A different way to experience Holland.

Approximate value: €59 EUR per person

Fishermen's Villages on the Former Zuiderzee

Fishermen's Villages on the Former Zuiderzee

Anyone who wants to see the real beauty of Holland, should visit Edam and its neighbor, Volendam. Famous for its cheese, Edam is the perfect picture of a Dutch city, which has maintained it`s old-world atmosphere. Full of charm it is a unique example of a Zuiderzee harbor city with its gabled, red brick houses. Together with your local expert you are going to explore this town on a walking tour. "The pearl of the Zuiderzee" Volendam is your typical Zuiderzee fishing village; as a result of its completely isolated location, this village preserved its character for six centuries, also because of the tough vitality of the fishermen. The characteristic small houses, which together with the canals and the drawbridges form the most picturesque spots, present the visitor with an atmosphere of geniality and romance. Nowadays it is a shopping paradise for any tourist, and you will have free time to indulge.

Approximate value: €36 EUR per person

Celebration

Anniversary Celebration Cake

Anniversary Celebration Cake

Want to celebrate your anniversary during your cruise? Avalon can help. Our crew can surprise your loved one with a special anniversary cake presented during dinner. Make this a cruise like no other.

Approximate value: €60 EUR per group

Anniversary Celebration Package - Basic

Anniversary Celebration Package - Basic

Want to celebrate your anniversary during your cruise? Avalon can help. Our crew can surprise your loved one with a special anniversary package that includes the following in your stateroom on your anniversary day: decoration of stateroom, bottle of sparkling wine, small floral bouquet, chocolates, fruit plate and anniversary card. Personalized invitations will also be delivered to the staterooms of 4 other guests with whom you wish to celebrate. Later that evening in the ship dining room you will find a specially decorated table reserved for you, your spouse and 4 other guests of your choice, and an anniversary cake presented by the ship's crew during dinner. Let your spouse know how much they still mean to you.

Approximate value: €161.50 EUR per group

Anniversary Celebration Package - Deluxe

Anniversary Celebration Package - Deluxe

Want to celebrate your anniversary during your cruise? Avalon can help. Our crew can surprise your loved one with a special anniversary package that includes the following in your stateroom on your anniversary day: decoration of stateroom, bottle of sparkling wine, a floral bouquet, chocolates, fruit plate and anniversary card. Personalized invitations will also be delivered to the staterooms of 4 other guests with whom you wish to celebrate. Later on, enjoy a 30 minute cocktail party with wine, beer and soft drinks on the Sky Deck/Club Lounge or in the lounge to celebrate the special day. Our crew will be on hand to take pictures with your camera, which later will be downloaded onto a special memory stick for you to keep. Later that evening in the ship dining room you will find a specially decorated table reserved for you, your spouse and 4 other guests of your choice, and an anniversary cake presented by the ship's crew during dinner. Sparkling wine will top off the evening. Let your spouse know how much they still mean to you.

Approximate value: €362.50 EUR per group

Birthday Celebration Package - Basic

Birthday Celebration Package - Basic

Let Avalon help you celebrate a birthday on your cruise. Our special birthday package includes the following presented in your stateroom on your birthday: decoration of stateroom, bottle of sparkling wine, small floral bouquet, chocolates, fruit plate and birthday card. Personalized invitations will also be delivered to the staterooms of 5 other guests with whom you wish to celebrate. Later that evening in the ship dining room you will find a specially decorated table reserved for 6 (you and 5 other guests of your choice), and a birthday cake presented by the ship's crew during dinner.

Approximate value: €142 EUR per group

Birthday Celebration Package - Deluxe

Birthday Celebration Package - Deluxe

Let Avalon help you celebrate a birthday on your cruise. Our special birthday package includes the following presented in your stateroom on your birthday: decoration of stateroom, bottle of sparkling wine, a floral bouquet, chocolates, fruit plate and birthday card. Personalized invitations will also be delivered to the staterooms of 5 other guests with whom you wish to celebrate. Later on, enjoy a 30 minute cocktail party with wine, beer and soft drinks on the Sky Deck/Club Lounge or in the lounge to celebrate the special day. Our crew will be on hand to take pictures with your camera, which later will be downloaded onto a special memory stick for you to keep. Later that evening in the ship dining room you will find a specially decorated table reserved for 6 (you and 5 other guests of your choice), and a birthday cake presented by the ship's crew during dinner. Sparkling wine will top off the evening.

Approximate value: €344 EUR per group

Wedding Vow Renewal Celebration Cake

Wedding Vow Renewal Celebration Cake

Avalon wants to help you celebrate your wedding vow renewals. Let your spouse know how much they still mean to you. Our crew will prepare a special cake and present it to you during dinner. Make this a cruise that you will never forget.

Approximate value: €60 EUR per group

Wedding Vow Renewal Celebration Package - Basic

Wedding Vow Renewal Celebration Package - Basic

Avalon wants to help you celebrate your wedding vow renewals. Let your spouse know how much they still mean to you. Our crew will prepare a special anniversary package that includes the following in your stateroom on your wedding day: decoration of stateroom, bottle of sparkling wine, small floral bouquet, chocolates, fruit plate and wedding card. Personalized invitations will also be delivered to the staterooms of 4 other guests with whom you wish to celebrate. Later that evening in the ship dining room you will find a specially decorated table reserved for you, your spouse and 4 other guests of your choice, and a wedding cake presented by the ship's crew during dinner. Make this a cruise you will never forget.

Approximate value: €207 EUR per group

Wedding Vow Renewal Celebration Package - Deluxe

Wedding Vow Renewal Celebration Package - Deluxe

Avalon wants to help you celebrate your wedding vow renewals. Let your spouse know how much they still mean to you. Our crew will prepare a special anniversary package that includes the following in your stateroom on your wedding day: decoration of stateroom, bottle of sparkling wine, a floral bouquet, chocolates, fruit plate and wedding card. Personalized invitations will also be delivered to the staterooms of 4 other guests with whom you wish to celebrate. Later on, enjoy a 30 minute cocktail party with house wine, beer and soft drinks on the Sky Deck/Club Lounge or in the lounge to celebrate the special day. Our crew will be on hand to take pictures with your camera, which later will be downloaded onto a special memory stick for you to keep. Later that evening in the ship dining room you will find a specially decorated table reserved for you, your spouse and 4 other guests of your choice, and an wedding cake presented by the ship's crew during dinner. Make this a cruise you will never forget.

Approximate value: €362.50 EUR per group

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