Amsterdam, Kinderdijk & Dutch Bulbfields Riviera Travel River Cruise
Experience historic maritime cities, where innovation meets the traditions of the past, plus the authenticity of iconic windmills and the floral masterpiece of the colourful Dutch bulb fields.
Fly to Amsterdam from a choice of regional airports or take the Eurostar from London St Pancras International to Brussels, where you change trains and continue to Amsterdam. On arrival, transfer by coach to your five-star cruise ship moored near the city centre and railway station. The friendly crew welcomes you on board, helping you settle into your spacious and exquisitely furnished accommodation – you’ll feel immediately at home.
Overnight the ship has gently steered a course north. As dawn breaks, you’re greeted by views of Enkhuizen, a picturesque port nestling at the edge of the former Zuiderzee. It is also home to the Zuiderzee Museum, which you will experience on your visit this morning. Found in the historic centre of Enkhuizen, it superbly recreates the 19th-century heritage of Holland’s inland bay and combines interesting exhibits with demonstrations of the artisan skills of yesteryear, such as sailmaking, fish curing and blacksmithing. The open air museum is particularly captivating, as the era is brought to life with a charming village atmosphere, where the likes of bakers, shopkeepers and smokehouse workers don traditional clothing and serve you their wares, just as they would have done all those years ago.
During the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th-century, the Netherlands dominated world maritime trade, becoming fabulously prosperous. Enkhuizen, as one of the country’s principal ports specialising in trade in the East Indies, flourished. Merchants keen to display their wealth created this town of gabled houses, narrow streets, bridges and waterways.
It’s a delight to explore, taking in the atmosphere of its little streets and jumble of sailing boats in the harbour. After a delicious lunch on board, cruise along the Markermeer, the southwestern part of the IJsselmeer, the great freshwater lake created when the Zuiderzee was separated from the North Sea by a series of dams and dykes built during the 1920 and ’30s. This mammoth engineering achievement now protects low-lying areas from flooding and has allowed the reclamation of 626 square miles of fertile land. Before long, thoughts turn to tonight’s à la carte dinner, served with panache by the restaurant staff, after which why not unwind with a digestif at the bar to the soothing sound of the ship’s pianist.
During lunch on board you can enjoy a kaleidoscope of views through the restaurant’s panoramic windows as you leave Rotterdam’s skyline behind. A significant part of the Netherlands lies up to 22 feet below sea level, but an intricate network of dykes and polders, the Netherland’s unique drainage systems, has kept the seawater at bay and allowed land reclamation.
At the very heart of this fascinating reclaimed region is Kinderdijk, our next port of call. Here, you can witness a truly iconic polder scene – a series of 19 authentic windmills lining the canal banks, set against a starkly beautiful backdrop of pancake-flat marshland. Windmills are symbolic of Dutch history and the never-ending battle with the sea, and visiting these beautifully preserved structures is like stepping back in time. So impressive in fact, that the windmills have held UNESCO World Heritage status for over 220 years. Later return to the cruise ship, where the chef has prepared a sumptuous dinner.
A long spring season and the polders’ well-drained soil create the perfect environment for growing the Netherlands’ world-famous tulips, first imported into the country from the Ottoman Empire in the late 16th century. This morning you drive through the scenic bulb fields to Keukenhof, the world’s largest flower garden, covering nearly 80 acres. Nothing prepares you for the dazzling carpet of colours created by the seven million tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and other blooms arranged in rows, swirls and every other imaginable shape. The art of flower planting reaches breathtaking heights in Keukenhof’s themed areas, and wandering among this dramatic pageant of hues set in a landscape of lakes, trees, pavilions and water features is magical – and provides gardeners with a wealth of inspiration to take home!
Return to Amsterdam to explore this beautiful city on a classic glass-topped canal cruiser. A network of 165 canals built in rings during the 17th century defines life in its centre, and your ‘water’s-eye view’ is the best way to absorb Amsterdam’s history. Relax and watch this unique cityscape unfold as our guide explains the many intriguing aspects of life here. You’ll see moored houseboats, quirky bridges, cobbled streets lined with tall, narrow merchants’ houses, gabled civic buildings and homes of famous former residents such as Rembrandt, the greatest Dutch Golden Age artist, and Anne Frank, whose diaries tell a poignant tale of life under the Nazis.
Amsterdam is the ideal walking city and we remain moored dockside so you can explore its characterful streets at your leisure. Exceptional art is always close by, from small galleries to the world-class Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, both holding huge collections. You might choose to discover the interior of Anne Frank’s house, rummage through the Waterlooplein flea market or relax at a café sipping a rich Dutch coffee and watching the locals trundle over cobbles along the canals on their high-handlebar bicycles. Wrapping up a memorable day is the lavish Captain’s Dinner in the ship’s restaurant, as evening falls and the lights of this unforgettable city sparkle in the night.
This morning at the appropriate time, transfer to the train station or airport for your return journey.
|1 April 2021||£1,079|
|5 April 2021||£979|
|7 April 2021||£1,209|
|9 April 2021||£1,029|
|11 April 2021||£1,209|
|15 April 2021||£1,259|
|19 April 2021||£1,129|
|23 April 2021||£1,129|
- Deposit of only £250pp
- Return flights from the UK - regional airports/Eurostar are available but may carry a supplement.
- 4 nights on board MS Geoffrey Chaucer or MS George Elliot
- All meals on board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your day of departure, including welcome cocktails and dinner, plus the Captain’s Dinner
- 5 visits and tours including visits to the Keukenhof Gardens, Enkhuizen, Kinderdijk and Rotterdam, and a canal cruise in Amsterdam
- Complimentary on-board tea & coffee
- Five-star service from an English-speaking crew and knowledgeable local guides
- Complimentary on-board Wi-Fi
- Services of a Riviera Travel cruise director and tour manager
- All port charges, airport taxes and overseas transfers
- No surcharges guaranteed
Dining Drinks Package
- You can now purchase a dining drinks package, at a cost of £109 per person.
- Draught beer; non-alcoholic beer; soft drinks; juices; red, white and rose house wines; and wine recommendations from the menu are included with lunch & dinner.
- The drinks package must be purchased prior to departure. Ask the team for more information