This extensive cruise offers the very best of Holland and Belgium. From medieval Haarlem to scholastic Leiden, from delicate hand painted porcelain to the open waters of Hollands Diep, from an exciting cruise through Antwerp to the world famous cities of Ghent and Bruges – there is never a dull moment. Great tours, fantastic cruising and delicious cuisine make this a week to remember. Avoid the crowds and relax aboard your little piece of heaven.
Sunday – Haarlem to Leiden
Magnificent Cruise across the Lakes to Leiden
You are met at the designated meeting point in Amsterdam and transferred to your ship, moored in Haarlem. Once aboard your Captain welcomes you with a Champagne reception and an introduction to your crew and hotel barge. We then cruise across the lakes to Leiden, where we moor overnight. This quaint town is home to one of the oldest universities in the country and the birthplace of the famous Rembrandt Van Rijn. Leiden is an ancient and impressive historical city (city rights since 1266) full of charm and character. This evening enjoy your first dinner onboard.
Monday – Leiden to Delft
After breakfast, enjoy a peaceful cruise along the canals out of Leiden and through the oldest lock in Holland at Leidschendam. We arrive in Delft after lunch. This afternoon we visit the Hague – visit the Mauritshuis (with works by Rembrandt or Vermeer), Binnenhof (the Parliament and government buildings) or the Peace palace
OR visit Madurodam – a miniature Holland depiction with replicas of historically significant buildings
Return to your ship moored in the center of Delft. Dinner onboard.
Tuesday – Delft to Willemstad
Royal Porcelain, the Port of Rotterdam and Cruising across the Great Estuaries
After breakfast we take a walking tour of the Delft Royal Porcelain Factory where beautiful hand-painted ceramics are still made. After a stroll around the cobbled streets of Delft we join our ship for a cruise through Rotterdam and across the vast Hollands Diep, part of the Dutch estuaries, to the charming old fortress town of Willemstad. This town is preserved in its original state, with windmill dykes, an old church and a 15th century arsenal. Dinner onboard.
Wednesday – Willemstad to Antwerp
Today we leave Holland at dawn to cross the border into Belgium and cruise into Antwerp, the second largest European port outside of Rotterdam. Did you know that Kieldrecht Lock is the largest lock in the world? It is 500 meters long, 68 metres wide and it contains three times the amount of steel it took to build the Eiffel Tower. Art in a lock? Only in Antwerp. The graffiti artist Cazn spent ten weeks working on a 300 metre mural which is submersed part of the time under water. Antwerp is also the home of Rubens, where we can take a tour of Rubens’ house. Rubens is to Antwerp what Gaudi is to Barcelona. Or Warhol to New York. His art has defined the skyline and prestige of Antwerp. The Flemish Baroque master’s role as a painter and diplomat, graphic artist, designer, collector, instructor and leading example means that Antwerp still bathes in the golden light of Rubens’s genius today. Afterwards we can enjoy a walk in the old quarter of this beautiful Flemish city. Dinner onboard.
Thursday – Antwerp to Ghent
Cathedral of Ghent and the Mystic Lamb
We catch the early morning tide and begin our cruise up the winding and tidal “Sea Schelde” towards Ghent. Along the way your chauffeurs will drive you to Ghent where we visit St Bavo’s Cathedral which houses an impressive number of art treasures: the baroque high altar in white, black and red flamed marble, the rococo pulpit in oak, gilded wood and marble, a major work by Rubens, the ‘Calvary Triptych’, attributed to Joos van Wassenhove, alias Justus van Gent, tombs of the Ghent bishops, and much more. However, one work stands out head and shoulders above the rest: the world-famous Adoration of the Mystic Lamb painted by Hubert and Jan van Eyck around 1432. Your tour guide is available to suggest additional tours. Dinner onboard.
Friday – Ghent to Bruges
Bruges – the “Venice of the North”
You cannot pass through this part of the world without a visit to the beautiful city of Bruges, known as the “Venice of the North”. After an early lunch there will be plenty of time to explore the many sites, buy some of the handmade lace or take a boat trip in the small canals that wander through the town. Rejoin your barge late afternoon. Tonight we welcome you all to our Captain’s Dinner. Sparkle and decoration adorn the table alongside of laughter, great cuisine and many a good sea dog tale! What a great conclusion to a great cruise!
Saturday – departure
A Sad Farewell
After breakfast, we disembark and transfer to the designated drop off point in Bruges.
Please note: this is a sample itinerary which may be subject to change depending on local conditions.