Holland & Belgium at Tulip Time

Holland & Belgium at Tulip Time

8 DAYS FROM BRUSSELS TO AMSTERDAM

Note: The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise.

Day 1: Brussels (Embark)

Arrive at Brussels Airport where you will be transferred to the ship. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.

Day 2: Brussels

Brussels, the vibrant capital of Belgium, offers a treasure trove of historic architecture, along with a rich culinary tradition. Food lovers will be lured by the divine aromas drifting from delightful cafés and chocolate shops. After a panoramic tour of Belgium’s historical and contemporary capital city, get an up-close view of the city center with a guided tour on foot. Then, treat yourself to something delicious at Planet Chocolate, which some consider to be one of the finest artisan chocolateries in Brussels.

Brussels city tour with chocolate demonstration and tasting

Day 3: Antwerp

It may be the diamond capital of the world, but Antwerp is also known for many other sought-after cultural gems, including Golden Age art, Belgian beer, waffles, pralines, fries, chocolate and more. Your walking discovery tour of Antwerp features the City Hall, Market Square and the UNESCO-designated Cathedral of Our Lady, which houses four extraordinary works by one of the city’s most beloved sons—Peter Paul Rubens.

Antwerp walking tour with Belgian treats

It may be the diamond capital of the world, but Antwerp is also known for a number of other gems—maybe just not of the rock variety. Step onto the streets of Antwerp and take in the Golden Age art, sip Belgian beer and taste waffles, pralines, fries and chocolates that make Antwerp, Antwerp. This walking discovery tour takes you through the sights, sounds, smells, and yes, even tastes of City Hall, the Market Square and the UNESCO-designated Cathedral of Our Lady, which houses four extraordinary works by one of the city’s most beloved sons—Peter Paul Rubens. Continue on and enjoy tastings of other sorts—a Brussels waffle, local spirit or even the catch of the day as you journey past the Steen Castle, City Hall and the Brabo Fountain, and take an inside visit of the Cathedral all as you walk through the Groenplaats square with its sublime views of the Art Deco Boerentoren.

Day 4: Maastricht

Your first stop in the Netherlands— Maastricht—is a city with more than 1,670 national heritage sites, some of which can be seen on your Old Town walking discovery tour. And not only that, but it’s known as one of the most beautiful and romantic cities of Holland and loved for its convivial lifestyle and historic center, which has long played a strategic role in European politics. Or you can choose to make a pilgrimage to the 65-acre Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial, the final resting place of 8,301 U.S. soldiers who perished during the Second World War. The cemetery is the only American military center in the Netherlands and sits near the famous Cologne-Boulogne highway that was constructed by the Romans for Caesar to use for his conquests. Choose to explore the beguiling banks of the Meuse River, the second oldest river in the world.

“Let’s Go” Maas River biking

Maastricht is the oldest city in The Netherlands and has earned the nicknames “Culinary capital of The Netherlands” and “Europe’s smallest metropolis,” meaning life in Maastricht is full of simple luxuries and what the French would call “joie de vivre.” Part of what makes Maastricht unique is its rich history and change in control. In its existence, Maastricht has been influenced by the Romans, the Spanish, the French and finally the Dutch. Maastricht is just what you’d imagine an old city to be: narrow cobblestone streets, ancient fortifications and town houses from the 17th century. On the other side, in the Wyck-Céramique area, you’ll find all that plus an urban planner’s dream—a mix of contemporary apartment buildings and modern offices. Hop on a bicycle and see the city’s varied past and where other cultures’ influence has remained to this day.

Maastricht walking tour

Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial visit

Day 5: Cuijk, Heusden

Follow in Van Gogh’s footsteps today as you stroll through Nuenen, where the artist once lived and painted “The Potato Eaters.” After lunch in an old water mill, which was even painted by Van Gogh, choose to walk or cycle through Heusden, where you can observe a working mill, learn to make bread at a local bakery, explore the remnants of a 13th-century fortress, and marvel at the memorial in front of town hall dedicated to the Heusden Town Hall Massacre.

Van Gogh “Village Day” in Nuenen with a country lunch at the old mill

Heusden “Village Day”

Day 6: Schoonhoven (Kinderdijk)

Bike around the town of Schoonhoven, best known for its silversmiths, abundant clock makers and quaint shop-lined avenues. Or venture forth to Kinderdijk to see its 19 well-preserved, UNESCO-designated windmills that were originally erected in the 1700s. Learn about the historical significance of these engineering marvels in the Netherlands’ long quest to hold back the sea. If you wish, you’ll have an opportunity to venture inside one of these iconic structures and marvel at Holland’s largest concentration of old windmills.    

Kinderdijk windmills

At one time 10,000 windmills operated in the Netherlands, pumping water away from low-lying lands (much of the country is below sea level) and creating what are known as polders—arable land reclaimed from the water. Though the mighty windmill has been replaced by newer technology, you can see how effective the system was in Kinderdijk, where a group of 19 windmills erected in the 18th century still function. Most are ground-sail windmills (meaning their sails nearly touch the ground as they whirl) and each one was carefully situated to make sure one did not block another’s wind. Each windmill moves the water a little farther, pumping it from field to canal, from canal to river. Climb the steep stairs of a mill and look out over the quiet fields that would be underwater were it not for the ingenuity of the Dutch. (Of course, you can simply admire it from the outside. But if you do that, you won’t see how the mill keeper’s family lived.) These mills are kept in working order partly as a backup in case modern technology fails, and they were used as recently as WWII, when there was no fuel to keep newer pumping stations working.

“Let’s Go” biking the dams and windmills

Get your blood pumping as you take in the majestic sights on this 11-mile bike ride, which takes less than two hours to complete. Bike along the Lek River through provincial towns, past gorgeous flowers in bloom, and finally on to the magnificent 18th-century windmills. See the wooden giants up close, explore the history and technology of the area and smile—you just biked 11 miles after all.

Day 7: Amsterdam

The Netherlands’ largest city, Amsterdam has been an international port and financial center for 400 years, endowing it with a lively cosmopolitan feel to match its historic architecture. The famous Keukenhof Gardens is a 70-acre park planted with millions of tulips and other flowers—an extraordinary sight in the spring. Spend half a day here or enjoy a “Morning with the Masters” at the Amsterdam Hermitage Museum before it opens to the public for the day, followed by a breathtaking Amsterdam canal cruise.

Half-day at Keukenhof Gardens

Rivers of blue hyacinths curve through the trees, and great drifts of brilliantly hued tulips and daffodils carpet Keukenhof’s 70-plus acres (32 hectares). It’s probably the most spectacular flower garden in the world, and it’s only open for a few weeks each spring. Gardeners plant some seven million bulbs on these grounds, making it a showcase for the Netherlands’ legendary flower industry. There’s more to see than just flowers, of course: There are intriguing exhibits in pavilions scattered throughout the estate, as well as concerts and activities for kids. After you’ve seen all of the vibrant blossoms and perhaps even bought some bulbs to grow at home, you’ll meet up with your guide and continue by motorcoach to the ship.

Note: If you’re thinking about buying bulbs from Keukenhof or perhaps having items shipped home, make sure the vendor provides the documentation necessary for the import of bulbs or plants into your home country. Rules for importing flower bulbs and plants vary from country to country.

“Morning with the Masters” at the Amsterdam Hermitage Museum, with Amsterdam canal cruise

The doors open early to give you a crowd-free viewing of an extraordinary collection of Dutch master paintings: 30 monumental group paintings from the golden age that have been called “cousins of The Night Watch.” Drawn from both the Amsterdam Museum and the Rijksmuseum, these works have rarely been displayed because of their enormous size. The Amsterdam Hermitage, however, devotes an enormous gallery space to this exhibit, which reveals the connections and activities of Amsterdam’s power elite in the 17th century. Meet mayors and regents, colonels of the civil guard, wealthy merchants and their wives and learn something of their lives and the lives of the artists who painted these massive portraits.

Next, you'll experience an Amsterdam canal cruise. It’s called the “Venice of the North” for a reason: Canals crisscross the heart of the old city, and bridges link some 90 islands. As the principal city in a newly independent Holland, Amsterdam was a boom town in the early 17th century, rapidly outgrowing its medieval walls. The city’s fathers responded by demolishing most of the old city and building an entirely new one, creating Europe’s first planned city. That “new” district is now 400 years old, and as you glide along the main canals, you’ll pass stately merchants’ houses built centuries ago (some of them are now house museums you can visit on your own). But the canals are not merely scenic; they are essential thoroughfares—people take water buses to work and live in houseboats along the banks—so a canal cruise also gives you a look at the busy modern city. 

Day 8: Amsterdam (Disembark)

Disembark the ship and transfer to Amsterdam Schipol Airport for your flight home.
Note: The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise.

Day 1: Amsterdam (Embark)

Arrive at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.

Day 2: Amsterdam

The Netherlands’ largest city, Amsterdam has been an international port and financial center for 400 years, endowing it with a lively cosmopolitan feel to match its historic architecture. The famous Keukenhof Gardens is a 70-acre park planted with millions of tulips and other flowers—an extraordinary sight in the spring. Spend half a day here or enjoy a “Morning with the Masters” at the Amsterdam Hermitage Museum before it opens to the public for the day, followed by a breathtaking Amsterdam canal cruise.

Half-day at Keukenhof Gardens

Rivers of blue hyacinths curve through the trees, and great drifts of brilliantly hued tulips and daffodils carpet Keukenhof’s 70-plus acres (32 hectares). It’s probably the most spectacular flower garden in the world, and it’s only open for a few weeks each spring. Gardeners plant some seven million bulbs on these grounds, making it a showcase for the Netherlands’ legendary flower industry. There’s more to see than just flowers, of course: There are intriguing exhibits in pavilions scattered throughout the estate, as well as concerts and activities for kids. After you’ve seen all of the vibrant blossoms and perhaps even bought some bulbs to grow at home, you’ll meet up with your guide and continue by motorcoach to the ship.

Note: If you’re thinking about buying bulbs from Keukenhof or perhaps having items shipped home, make sure the vendor provides the documentation necessary for the import of bulbs or plants into your home country. Rules for importing flower bulbs and plants vary from country to country.

“Morning with the Masters” at the Amsterdam Hermitage Museum, with Amsterdam canal cruise

The doors open early to give you a crowd-free viewing of an extraordinary collection of Dutch master paintings: 30 monumental group paintings from the golden age that have been called “cousins of The Night Watch.” Drawn from both the Amsterdam Museum and the Rijksmuseum, these works have rarely been displayed because of their enormous size. The Amsterdam Hermitage, however, devotes an enormous gallery space to this exhibit, which reveals the connections and activities of Amsterdam’s power elite in the 17th century. Meet mayors and regents, colonels of the civil guard, wealthy merchants and their wives and learn something of their lives and the lives of the artists who painted these massive portraits.

Next, you'll experience an Amsterdam canal cruise. It’s called the “Venice of the North” for a reason: Canals crisscross the heart of the old city, and bridges link some 90 islands. As the principal city in a newly independent Holland, Amsterdam was a boom town in the early 17th century, rapidly outgrowing its medieval walls. The city’s fathers responded by demolishing most of the old city and building an entirely new one, creating Europe’s first planned city. That “new” district is now 400 years old, and as you glide along the main canals, you’ll pass stately merchants’ houses built centuries ago (some of them are now house museums you can visit on your own). But the canals are not merely scenic; they are essential thoroughfares—people take water buses to work and live in houseboats along the banks—so a canal cruise also gives you a look at the busy modern city. 

Day 3: Schoonhoven (Kinderdijk), Heusden

Bike around the town of Schoonhoven, best known for its silversmiths, abundant clock makers and quaint shop-lined avenues. Or venture forth to Kinderdijk to see its 19 well-preserved, UNESCO-designated windmills that were originally erected in the 1700s. Learn about the historical significance of these engineering marvels in the Netherlands’ long quest to hold back the sea. If you wish, you’ll have an opportunity to venture inside one of these iconic structures and marvel at Holland’s largest concentration of old windmills.    

Kinderdijk windmills

At one time 10,000 windmills operated in the Netherlands, pumping water away from low-lying lands (much of the country is below sea level) and creating what are known as polders—arable land reclaimed from the water. Though the mighty windmill has been replaced by newer technology, you can see how effective the system was in Kinderdijk, where a group of 19 windmills erected in the 18th century still function. Most are ground-sail windmills (meaning their sails nearly touch the ground as they whirl) and each one was carefully situated to make sure one did not block another’s wind. Each windmill moves the water a little farther, pumping it from field to canal, from canal to river. Climb the steep stairs of a mill and look out over the quiet fields that would be underwater were it not for the ingenuity of the Dutch. (Of course, you can simply admire it from the outside. But if you do that, you won’t see how the mill keeper’s family lived.) These mills are kept in working order partly as a backup in case modern technology fails, and they were used as recently as WWII, when there was no fuel to keep newer pumping stations working.

“Let’s Go” biking the dams and windmills

Get your blood pumping as you take in the majestic sights on this 11-mile bike ride, which takes less than two hours to complete. Bike along the Lek River through provincial towns, past gorgeous flowers in bloom, and finally on to the magnificent 18th-century windmills. See the wooden giants up close, explore the history and technology of the area and smile—you just biked 11 miles after all.

Day 4: Heusden, Cuijk

Today, choose to walk or cycle through Heusden, where you can observe a working mill, learn to make bread at a local bakery, explore the remnants of a 13th-century fortress, and marvel at the memorial in front of town hall dedicated to the Heusden Town Hall Massacre. Later, follow in Van Gogh’s footsteps as you stroll through Nuenen, where the artist once lived and painted “The Potato Eaters.” Then enjoy a particularly memorable lunch in an old water mill, which was even painted by Van Gogh.

Heusden “Village Day”

Van Gogh “Village Day” in Nuenen with a country lunch at the old mill

Day 5: Maastricht

Your next stop in the Netherlands— Maastricht—is a city with more than 1,670 national heritage sites, some of which can be seen on a walking tour of the town. And not only that, but it’s known as one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in Holland and is loved for its convivial lifestyle and historic center, which has long played a strategic role in European politics. Or you can choose to make a pilgrimage to the 65-acre Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial, the final resting place of 8,301 U.S. soldiers who perished during the Second World War. The cemetery is the only American military center in the Netherlands and sits near the famous Cologne-Boulogne highway that was constructed by the Romans for Caesar to use for his conquests.

“Let’s Go” Maas River biking

Maastricht is the oldest city in The Netherlands and has earned the nicknames “Culinary capital of The Netherlands” and “Europe’s smallest metropolis,” meaning life in Maastricht is full of simple luxuries and what the French would call “joie de vivre.” Part of what makes Maastricht unique is its rich history and change in control. In its existence, Maastricht has been influenced by the Romans, the Spanish, the French and finally the Dutch. Maastricht is just what you’d imagine an old city to be: narrow cobblestone streets, ancient fortifications and town houses from the 17th century. On the other side, in the Wyck-Céramique area, you’ll find all that plus an urban planner’s dream—a mix of contemporary apartment buildings and modern offices. Hop on a bicycle and see the city’s varied past and where other cultures’ influence has remained to this day.

Maastricht walking tour

Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial visit

Day 6: Antwerp

It may be the diamond capital of the world, but Antwerp is also known for many other sought-after cultural gems, including Golden Age art, Belgian beer, waffles, pralines, fries, chocolate and more. Your walking discovery tour of Antwerp features the City Hall, Market Square and the UNESCO-designated Cathedral of Our Lady, which houses four extraordinary works by one of the city’s most beloved sons—Peter Paul Rubens.

Antwerp walking tour with Belgian treats

It may be the diamond capital of the world, but Antwerp is also known for a number of other gems—maybe just not of the rock variety. Step onto the streets of Antwerp and take in the Golden Age art, sip Belgian beer and taste waffles, pralines, fries and chocolates that make Antwerp, Antwerp. This walking discovery tour takes you through the sights, sounds, smells, and yes, even tastes of City Hall, the Market Square and the UNESCO-designated Cathedral of Our Lady, which houses four extraordinary works by one of the city’s most beloved sons—Peter Paul Rubens. Continue on and enjoy tastings of other sorts—a Brussels waffle, local spirit or even the catch of the day as you journey past the Steen Castle, City Hall and the Brabo Fountain, and take an inside visit of the Cathedral all as you walk through the Groenplaats square with its sublime views of the Art Deco Boerentoren.

Day 7: Brussels

Brussels, the vibrant capital of Belgium, offers a treasure trove of historic architecture, along with a rich culinary tradition. Food lovers will be lured by the divine aromas drifting from delightful cafés and chocolate shops. After a panoramic tour of Belgium’s historical and contemporary capital city, get an up-close view of the city center with a guided tour on foot. Then, treat yourself to something delicious at Planet Chocolate, which some consider to be one of the finest artisan chocolateries in Brussels.

Brussels city tour with chocolate demonstration and tasting

Day 8: Brussels (Disembark)

Disembark the ship in Brussels. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Brussels International Airport for your flight home.

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Holland & Belgium at Tulip Time

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