Avalon Waterways Tulips & Dutch Waterways Review

Sinead at RiverCruising.co.uk has put together a quick overview of her excursions provided by Avalon Waterways on a Dutch Bulbfields and Waterways river cruise.

There is a choice of excursions, but these are the ones I chose. Today's excursion took us to the Delta Works. The Delta Works are a series of construction projects that we're put in place that was put in place in the South-West of the Netherlands to protect the land which surrounds the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt from the Sea. The works are a set of dams, sluiced, locks, dykes, levees and storm surge barriers. The Delta Works are in fact one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World. When we arrived at the Delta Works information centre, we watched a 10 minute documentary on how the delta works were built and how they work. Our tour guide then took us to look around on the Sluices. The afternoon was spent exploring the historical Middleburg. We walked from the ship to the main square in Middleburg which is called the Markt. There was a local flee market in the square on the day we were in town which was busy with both locals and visitors. Also in the square there is the City hall, the Stadhuis. This was built in the Kaye 1452. The twenty five figure sculptures depict various Medieval Counts & Countesses of Holland. Later on in the evening we set sail to Ghent, Belgium.

New Day. This morning we dock in Ghent and are to be taken on a guided walking tour of Ghent. For many years Ghent vied with its Flemish competitors, Antwerp & Bruges for supremacy in both the cloth trade & trading port and still to this day Ghent is still a worthy rival. We took a guided stroll through the historic quays and admired all the medieval guild houses that the town has to offer. The town is also well known as the place where many executions took place. The town has many sights of interest such as the Cathedral of St Barvo, however we didn’t get an opportunity to see this as it was a Sunday and was closed to tourists because mass was taking place. The tour was a little over an hour long and afterwards we were taken back to the ship for dinner. You also had the opportunity to stay in the town and have lunch or look around and shop for souvenirs. This evening we will set sail to Antwerp and after the evening meal the crew will be performing in a show they have put together for our entertainment in the Panorama Lounge.

New Day. Today's final excursion took us on a guided tour around Maastricht. Maastricht is the capital of the Dutch province of Limburg and it's located between Belgium & Germany. We were taken around the pretty presidential streets, squares & lanes during the tour. Our tour guide pointed us to us that if your window frame was crossed then you had to pay more tax on your windows. When napoleon introduced a tax on windowpanes, an enterprising Maastricht gentleman on Wolf Street started a trend for picture windows. He removed the cross frame from his four-pane window, replacing it with a single pane, thus reducing his window tax eligibility from four to one. We were also taken to the Church of our Lady, a church which dates back to about 1000. There many beautiful statues in the church as well has the beautiful stained glass windows. After our guided tour we had an hours free time to explore Maastricht on our own before rejoining the ship for our journey back to Amsterdam.

My overall opinion on the shore excursions that where included was that I enjoyed the places we visited and it was nice to explore them all and learn about their history however some tour guides spoke constantly for the whole duration of the tour which was a low point for me. The reason for this was that there as a lot of information to take and I found myself not remembering all the keys facts. Luckily Avalon Waterways provided us with information sheets of the destinations in our cabins each night before our visit. This was good because I was able to look at back at these and refresh my memory. I have kept all my information sheets in a wallet which was provided so I can always take a look back at them to remind me of my Avalon Waterways river cruise.

Sinead The Cruise Village.