Top 10 Reasons to Take a River Cruise
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Tulip Time river cruises. Blending vibrant colors with brilliant destinations.


The magic of a Springtime cruise through Holland and Belgium is not to be missed.
What’s the first image that comes to mind when you think of a Tulip Time or Holland river cruise? Is it wooden shoes worn by cute kids in Dutch garb? Is it tulips? Or, is it the whitewashed windmills that dot the horizon throughout Holland? No matter what your perception of Holland may be, once you return from your “Tulips & Windmills” river cruise through the beautiful waterways of Holland and Belgium your perspective will be forever changed. As discussed in our Tulips and Windmills article, the visual imagery you’ll experience on this river cruise is like a Fall foliage car trip through New England, but on steroids. Fields of brightly hued tulips and other regional flowers are layed out upon the landscape like a lush, multi-hued carpet made up of unimaginably vibrant colors. Then there are Holland and Belgium’s colorful canals, rich maritime history, art of the great European Masters, and, of course, great food to sample throughout (Amsterdam is foodie central!). As if that isn’t enough, there’s also the remarkable historical significance the region played during WWII.

Planning your waterways river cruise.
These cruises are some of the most enjoyable and relaxing of any Europe river cruise itineraries. You’ll be able to partake of all the elements that make a river cruise the best travel value in all the world (Actually, no matter which destination you choose a river cruise is ALWAYS the best travel value!). You’ll experience luxurious staterooms and suites, gourmet cuisine including complimentary regional wines and beers at dinner, and of course a full array of delightful complimentary shore excursions in each port you visit.

Best of all, the ships generally dock right in the center of town, thus avoiding long bus rides to get to the major sights; merely step off the boat and you’re ready to go. Because these 8-10 day cruises combine many of the best attributes of any European vacation, they’re also one of the best for a first-time river cruise experience! When planning your cruise, make sure you choose one (see our recommendations below) that provide for a day or two in Amsterdam or Brussels prior to the cruise departure. This will allow you ample time to recover from jetlag so that you’re ready to experience all the beauty and charm during your wonderful vacation.



Amsterdam. The bestest, funnest city in Europe!
All cruises begin or end in Amsterdam which you’ll quickly discover is far more enjoyable and entertaining than just visiting its fabled Red Light District and Anne Frank’s House. Amsterdam is a distinctly charming city with fabulous architecture, cool bridges, wonderful museums, about a million bicycles, delightful shopping in stores located along the hundreds of narrow, cobblestoned alleys, and a network of picture-perfect canals. Since the canals are far too narrow for a river cruise ship, you’ll enjoy an in-depth cruise via glass-top boat through picturesque canals lined with extraordinary homes and buildings. This is definitely a photographer’s paradise, and all part of your free shore excursion package. Be sure to bring along a mini-tripod for the best shots. When you get a chance, please read our Spotlight on Amsterdam for a more indepth look at this wonderful city.

Belgium’s jewels… Ghent and Bruges.
The walking city of Ghent is a delight! It has a medieval charm that cannot be denied. Make sure to visit the fully restored gothic castle dating before the 10th century and the bustling port areas that send out many of the cut flowers throughout Europe. Ghent is what we like to call a “feel-good” city. While it dates far back in time, there aren’t too many noteable attractions beyond the castle. That’s actually good news because Ghent demonstrates why we want to go to Europe in the first place and why a European river cruise is so great — there’s enough time to let all of our senses soak up and enjoy the beauty and charm of a medieval city as we stroll about, enjoy a cup of coffee at a table set around a cobblestoned square, and vaguely remember the freeways and crowds we left behind in the States.

While Ghent is a wonderful place, we felt that our visit to Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, may be one of the most picturesque and charming cities in all Europe. Here’s why…

Bruges' nickname is the “Venice of the North.” It is aptly named for it has almost as many navigable canals as does Venice, Italy. It’s hard to put one’s finger on exactly what stands out most in our memories from visits to Bruges… maybe it’s the narrow cobblestoned streets, the mind-altering images that become indelibly etched on one’s mind as we walked along the canals, or the blend of medieval and Flemish architecture as seen from atop one of the many hundreds of bridges crossing the canals; it’s really hard to say.


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