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TAUCK RIVER CRUISES
10 Days | Holland and Belgium in the Spring
Northbound


BRUSSELS TO AMSTERDAM

Day 1 | Brussels, Belgium. Welcome to Brussels. Tour begins at 7:00 PM at Hotel Amigo. Upon arrival, a transfer is included from Brussels Airport, Centraal Station or Brussels Midi Station to the elegantly stylish Hotel Amigo, located in the heart of the city. Join us for a welcome cocktail reception and dinner to kick off one of our enjoyable European river cruises. (D)

Day 2 | Brussels. Embark.
Begin your day in Brussels with morning sightseeing in Belgium's capital city, a key center of European trade and culture since the 13th century. Discoveries include the Atomium, a 338-foot-tall structure representing atoms in an iron crystal, built for the 1958 World's Fair; the adjacent Mini-Europe park featuring miniatures of renowned European buildings; Grande-Place, one of Europe's most beautiful city squares and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its Gothic town hall surrounded by Renaissance-era guildhalls; and the venerable 17th-century bronze fountain sculpture and symbol of the city, the famous Manneken Pis, whose wardrobe traditionally changes several times a week. Drive from Brussels to Margraten in The Netherlands to pay your respects at the Netherlands American Cemetery, final resting place of thousands of U.S. soldiers who fell in battle here during World War II. As a Tauck Exclusive, lunch today is a memorable culinary experience at Château Neercanne, a castle whose terraced gardens are protected by UNESCO; you'll don a chef's hat, visit the kitchen where your meal is being prepared, and dig into an extraordinary lunch served in a Roman grotto within the castle. This evening, arrive in Maastricht, another of the Netherlands' oldest cities, where you'll board your riverboat, sample Lambic beer and enjoy an onboard dinner of regional delights; the ship is docked in Maastricht for the evening. (B,L,D)

Day 3 | Maastricht. Cruise the Albert Canal. Antwerp. 
One of the Netherlands’ oldest cities, Maastricht is said to contain more than 1,400 historic buildings and monuments dating back to the 13th century. An Old Town walking tour with your local guide this morning includes the remains of the city’s medieval fortifications and Helpoort, a steep-roofed gateway built in 1229. On lively Vrijthof Square, visit the Museum aan het Vrijthof (closed Mondays), set within the 16th-century Spanish Government House; focusing on the arts and crafts that have flourished in this city of artisans for 500 years, its collection includes Maastricht painting, silver, pistols and timepieces. Reboard the riverboat and attend a lecture and other onboard activities as you set off on a cruise along the Albert Canal, bound for Antwerp, Belgium. Please join us this evening for the Captain’s welcome reception and dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 4 | Antwerp. Middelberg, Holland.
Arise aboard ship in Antwerp for a taste of daily life in this key Belgian port city and capital of Flanders. Take an orientation tour and walk through Antwerp's historic center, including Grote Markt (the old market square), the Cathedral of Our Lady, and numerous restored merchants' houses. Taste fine Belgian chocolate on a delicious visit to a local chocolatier and sample locally produced “bier” at a specialty beer pub known for its beer expertise. Your day also includes a visit to the newly opened Red Star Line Museum (closed Mondays), whose interactive exhibits in the historic warehouses of the Red Star Line shipping company tell the story of immigrants from all over Europe who began their journey to a new life here. After lunch, travel early this evening to the city of Ieper (Ypres) in Flanders for a Tauck Exclusive in observation of the 2014 centennial of the start of World War I: dinner and a private visit to the In Flanders Fields Museum, set within the reconstructed Cloth Hall, commemorating the battles fought here between 1914 and 1918. Return to the ship in Antwerp to continue this most remarkable of European river cruises through Zeeland to Middelburg. (B,L,D)

Day 5 | Middelburg. Veere.
Your riverboat cruises through the Dutch province of Zeeland this morning, arriving in Middelburg; with roots dating back to the 8th century, the city became one of the most important trading centers for the Dutch East India Company during the country's 17th-century "Golden Age." Although about a third of the city's original Old Town was destroyed during WWII, much of it has been rebuilt and restored, and many historic buildings remain for you to discover on your city tour – including a visit to the Middelburg Abbey complex, whose main structure dates to 1125 and is surrounded by church buildings added over the centuries; its tower is known to locals as Lange Jan ("Long John"). After lunch, the riverboat departs Middelburg and continues to the small Dutch city of Veere, on what had once been the Zeeland island of Walcheren. Following its founding as a 13th-century ferry site ("Veere" translates to "ferry"), the city was a key trading port, serving as the "staple port" for goods from Scotland from the 16th to 18th centuries. Take a tour of Veere and the surrounding countryside, dotted with idyllic windmills; enjoy dinner aboard the riverboat as it spends the evening and night docked in Veere. (B,L,D)

Day 6 | Rotterdam or a visit to Delft.
Depart Veere and spend the morning cruising through South Holland, arriving after lunch in Rotterdam, the Netherlands' second-largest city and one of the biggest and busiest ports in the world. Rising from the ashes after most of its historic center was destroyed by Luftwaffe bombing in WWII, Rotterdam was gradually rebuilt into what is now a thriving 21st-century commercial center and transportation hub known for its innovative architecture and rich cultural life, often referred to as the "Gateway to Europe." Get to know the city with visits to some of its renowned museums or to the famed Delta Works – a remarkable series of dams, dikes, levees and other barriers designed to protect the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta from North Sea storm surges like one that devastated the area in the 1950s. Or you may choose an excursion to the historic city of Delft, with its canals and medieval center; return to the riverboat for dinner this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 7 | Nijmegen. Arnhem.
Upon the ship's arrival in Nijmegen – one of The Netherlands' oldest cities – you have your choice between two shore excursions today. You can travel to tour battle sites associated with the World War II airborne assault on Arnhem and visit the Airborne Museum, located in a former Allied divisional headquarters in Oosterbeek. Alternatively, you may choose to explore De Hoge Veluwe National Park in Arnhem, the country’s largest nature reserve, and then peruse works by Vincent van Gogh and others at the Kröller-Müller Museum set right within the park. Rejoin your riverboat at Arnhem, and a classical music performance by La Strada followed by dinner as your cruise continues to Enkhuizen. (B,L,D)

Day 8 |Enkhuizen & Hoorn or cheese & windmills in Alkmaar.
Cruise to lovely Enkhuizen for a walking tour and a visit to the open-air Zuiderzee Museum, recreating life in a Zuiderzee (south sea) fishing village between the 1880s and the 1930s. Continue on to the 650-year-old port city of Hoorn in the Netherlands’ farming region – birthplace of explorer Willem Schouten, who named South America’s southern tip Cape Horn in honor of his hometown. Choose from a guided walking tour of Hoorn and its many intact 16th- and 17th-century house facades, or a journey to Alkmaar in the Schermer polder. In Alkmaar, visit the Schermer Museum Molen (windmill), dating from 1634, for a look at how windmills created the polder, and the family-owned Zeilzicht cheese farm for a tasty cheese-making demonstration and tour. This most memorable of European river cruises continues to Amsterdam, founded in 1200 as a small fishing village, arriving in the Dutch capital late tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 9 |Amsterdam.
Wake up aboard your riverboat in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, a vibrant blend of the historic and the contemporary, from its medieval core to the bustling shops, cafés and rich cosmopolitan life of a 21st-century European metropolis. Depart the city this morning for a journey to Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, where millions of blooming tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, lillies, crocuses and bluebells create colorful carpets of flowers every spring. After returning to the riverboat for lunch, a canal cruise through Amsterdam’s network of Renaissance-era canals promises coffee, cake and a different view of the Netherlands' capital. Admire masterpieces by Rembrandt – including his celebrated The Night Watch – and works by other Old Dutch Masters on an afternoon visit to the world-renowned Rijksmuseum on Amsterdam's Museumplein. Later, head back to the riverboat, where the Captain and crew will be waiting to bid you farewell at a shipboard reception and dinner during your last night onboard. (B,L,D)

Day 10 | Amsterdam. Disembark.
This most remarkable of European river cruises ends in Amsterdam, Netherlands. After disembarking and bidding your Captain and crew adieu this morning, a transfer is included from the riverboat to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport or Centraal Train Station. Fly home anytime; allow 3 hours for departure flight check-in. (B)

NOTE: Itinerary is subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the itinerary schedule you receive with your final documents.)

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NORTHBOUND ITINERARY
10 DAYS | BRUSSELS TO AMSTERDAM
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