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Bruges, Medieval Flanders, Amsterdam and the Dutch Bulbfields River Cruise with Amsterdam Extension - MS Emily Brontë

Bruges, Medieval Flanders, Amsterdam and the Dutch Bulbfields River Cruise with Amsterdam Extension - MS Emily Brontë

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Bruges, Medieval Flanders, Amsterdam and the Dutch Bulbfields River Cruise with Amsterdam Extension - MS Emily Brontë

11 Days

Visiting: Amsterdam, Arnhem, Antwerp, Belgium, Ghent, Ypres, Bruges, Keukenhof, Haarlem, Rijksmuseum

Tour operator:

Riviera Travel

Tour code:

RCAEX

Trip Styles:

River Cruise

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Tour Overview

First we explore the tiny villages of 'old' Holland from where ships of the 16th century Dutch East India Company set sail in search of silks and spices. Then it's off to Arnhem scene of the famous battle in 1944 before visiting Antwerp, the city of Diamonds and Rubens with its main square lined by the tall step-gabled, merchant's houses so typical of the 'low' countries. Then we explore the very best of Flanders in delightfully medieval Ghent.

From here we see Ypres and one of Europe's finest 'old world' cities, delightful Bruges. Listen to the sound of the carillon emanating wonderfully from the instantly recognisable Bell Tower, sip a coffee in the old market square and reflect on how wonderful life can be. Finally we discover one of nature's most spectacular of floral displays, the kaleidoscope of colour that is the Dutch Bulbfields.

We disembark our first-class vessel to spend our last 3 nights in Amsterdam. During our stay, we discover the historic town of Haarlem in the heart of the Netherlands' tulip-growing region and sample one of the country's most famous export, beer. Explore the highlights of Amsterdam and visit the Rijksmuseum - an art lover's paradise with an extensive collection from the Dutch Golden Age. There'll also be plenty of free time to explore as you wish - or relax in the local bars and cafes. 

Highlights

  • Happy by day two or we'll bring you home with a full refund

  • Seven nights on board in your choice of luxury cabin or suite, with river views 

  • Return scheduled flights from 15 regional airports or seats on Eurostar from London St Pancras International

  • Eight visits and tours including visits to Hoorn, Arnhem and Keukenhof Gardens, a canal cruise in Amsterdam and guided tours of Antwerp, Ghent, Ypres and Bruges

  • All meals on board 

  • from dinner on your day of arrival through to breakfast on your day of departure, including welcome cocktails and the Captain’s Dinner 

  • Packed lunch provided during the full day in Bruges

  • Five-star service from an English-speaking crew and knowledgeable local guides

  • Complimentary on-board tea and coffee 

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Itinerary

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Day 1
Location: Amsterdam

Fly to Amsterdam from a choice of regional airports or take the Eurostar from London St Pancras International, arriving in Brussels approximately two hours later, where you change trains connecting to Amsterdam. On arrival, a coach transfers you to your five-star cruise ship moored near the city centre and railway station. The dedicated crew welcomes you aboard, ensuring you settle in to your extremely comfortable and well-appointed cabin. There’s time to familiarise yourself with your first-class floating hotel before experiencing the chef’s specially chosen menu for your first dinner on board.

Day 2
Location: Amsterdam

Breakfast is an on-board institution and you’re always assured of an enticing range of choices. We’re moored in the heart of delightful Amsterdam, and there’s no better way to explore than taking a classic glass-topped boat tour through the network of canals that infuse every aspect of life here. The tour brings a real insight into the history and everyday life of Amsterdam, a maritime, financial and cultural powerhouse uniquely located facing both the sea and the heartlands of Europe. As we glide over the calm canal waters, you’ll see a fascinating variety of typically Dutch narrow gabled buildings, bustling streets and historic bridges immortalised by the great artists, and learn about its famous canalside residents, from the tragic Anne Frank, who wrote her diaries hidden in a merchant’s house, to Rembrandt, the Dutch Old Master.

A splendid buffet lunch awaits our return as we slip away from the quayside towards the IJsselmeer, the enormous inland lake created when the Zuiderzee was cut off from the North Sea by a series of dykes and dams. Our port of call is Hoorn, once a prosperous port of the Dutch East India Company. Reminiscent of another age, it’s a charming mix of imposing buildings dating from the 15th century onwards, brick-built warehouses, cobbled squares and twisting alleys. Hoorn’s ships traded the world over, with one sailor even naming the southern tip of South America after his home town – Cape Horn. There’s time to explore this intriguing spot and its boat-filled harbour, dominated by the distinctive 16th-century Head Tower, before returning to our cruise ship to enjoy dinner and maybe a nightcap in the lounge.

Day 3
Location: Arnhem

One of the delights of river cruising is the enchanting experience of waking somewhere new, the water gently lapping as the ship glides almost imperceptibly along. We’re now deep in the heart of Holland, passing flower-bedecked houseboats, flocks of wildfowl and, of course, windmills! We soon arrive in Arnhem, synonymous with the ill-fated 1944 aerial assault depicted in the film A Bridge Too Far. We visit the battle HQ of the British 1st Airborne Division at Oosterbeek, now an excellent museum, and the Commonwealth War Cemetery, the final resting place of so many. Back on board, we continue our passage along the mighty River Rhine, one of Europe’s most important arterial waterways, before enjoying another sumptuous dinner on board, as distant lights glint on the waterfront as we silently slip by.

Day 4
Location: Antwerp, Belgium

This morning there’s a chance to marvel at the Captain’s skill as he calmly navigates the busy River Scheldt and moors in Antwerp, birthplace of the Baroque master Peter Paul Rubens. This morning we enjoy a tour led by a local guide taking in its numerous highlights and lesser-known features. Once part of the Spanish Empire, Antwerp grew wealthy during its 16th-century Golden Age, when it was Europe’s largest port north of the Alps, with profits invested in the city’s Flemish art and architectural heritage, and later it became the world’s diamond trading centre. At its heart is the captivating main square – the Grote Markt – dominated by ornately gabled guildhouses, the Renaissance town hall and opulent Brabo Fountain.

This afternoon is free to explore as you wish, perhaps visiting Rubens’ extravagant former home and studio, the magnificent Gothic cathedral or even the painstakingly restored train station, of such architectural splendour it is often called the ‘Railway Cathedral’.

Day 5
Location: Ghent, Ypres

Today we awake in picturesque Ghent, once Western Europe’s second largest city after Paris. Fortunate to escape the ravages of the 20th century and often overlooked by tourists, Ghent is a medieval gem we explore in the company of an experienced guide. Highlights include a gorgeously unspoilt waterfront, the 13th-century skyline punctured by soaring belfries, the 12th-century Gravenstein fortress towering above the river, and one of the world’s foremost art treasures – the van Eyck brothers’ Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, the altarpiece adorning Saint Bavo’s Cathedral.

After lunch on board, there’s the option to spend the afternoon in Ghent, maybe taking a horse-drawn carriage ride or finding a cosy spot in a quintessential Flemish café.

Alternatively, you can join our tour to Ypres, a name synonymous with the horrors of the Great War. Almost totally destroyed during a series of battles, Ypres is now a place of peace, reverence and reflection. You may wish to visit the award-winning In Flanders Fields Museum that tells the haunting story of the conflict, providing a thought-provoking insight into the extraordinary lives of the soldiers and civilians; it’s located in the Cloth Hall in the heart of Ypres’ beautifully restored town centre. Nearby are many battlefields synonymous with the horrors of trench warfare, including Passchendaele, where around 600,000 perished. In addition we visit Tyne Cot, the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world. Ypres is also the home of the Menin Gate, the deeply moving memorial to the missing where the ‘Last Post’ is played every evening.

Day 6
Location: Bruges

After breakfast we take the short drive to Bruges and have a guided walk of this beautiful town, which really does carry its remarkable medieval legacy with charm and to perfection. The atmosphere here is pure romance and its streets are crammed with fascination. Exquisitely compact, its entire historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site made up of serene canals, narrow cobbled streets, romantic gabled houses, exquisite churches and myriad shops selling artisan goods – including its legendary chocolate! Its main square is dominated by the soaring Belfry, whose 47 bells chime to create an idyllic atmosphere. It’s a 366-step climb to the top, but the breathtaking views are well worth it. You’ll also see the City Hall and the Basilica of the Holy Blood, home to a venerated relic – a phial of Jesus’s blood reputedly brought back from the Crusades. Another must is the Church of Our Lady, where you can see Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child, a work of incomparable beauty carved in white Carrara marble. You’ll be reluctant to leave this enchanting place, although the promise of more first-class dining in the ship’s restaurant will lure you back.

The ship will provide a packed lunch for today's full day trip to Bruges.

Day 7
Location: Keukenhof, Amsterdam

Early risers discover the ship making effortless progress along the delightful waterways and you experience the somewhat surreal effect of cruising above the surrounding reclaimed polders – it’s almost like flying! Today we visit Keukenhof, the heart of the glorious Dutch bulbfields. On arrival, nothing prepares you for the dazzling spectrum of colours stretched out before you in the world’s largest flower garden, covering nearly 80 acres. The art of flower planting reaches breathtaking heights at Keukenhof, a gardener’s heaven created by more than seven million tulips, daffodils and other blooms set among a beautiful landscape of shimmering lakes, ancient trees, flowering shrubs and water gardens.

We re-join our ship in Amsterdam and after lunch you’re free to explore as you wish. Amsterdam is an art-lover’s dream. The Rijksmuseum is an architectural marvel itself, but it holds a magnificent collection of works by Dutch masters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer, while admirers of Post-Impressionism might prefer the Van Gogh Museum, housing the world’s greatest collection of works by this genius of a man. Or relax in a pavement café, absorbing Amsterdam’s special atmosphere over a rich Dutch coffee, browse the many shops or perhaps just stay on board to catch up on some reading. Tonight there’s another culinary highlight – the Captain’s Dinner, when the chef prepares his superb ‘signature’ dishes for you to enjoy in the splendid surroundings of the ship’s restaurant, with a chance to reflect on the fascinating places you have discovered, poignant stories you have heard and the new friends you have made.

Day 8
Location: Haarlem

We'll say goodbye to our fellow explorers today and disembark our first-class ship to explore more of the Netherlands. Our first visit is to Haarlem, a charming, historic city at the heart of the Netherlands' tulip-growing region. With famous museums, stores, restaurants and a nearby beach, being bored here is simply not an option.

Haarlem is famous for art as the home to renowned Dutch Golden Age painters, including Frans Hals and Jacob Van Ruisdael, whose work now hang in the city's Frans Hals Museum. There are more than ten museums in the city's museum district, offering exhibits on everything from scientific treasures to contemporary art. And towering above the skyline is the medieval Gothic church, known simply as Grote Kerk, or big church. Its striking 246-foot spire rises higher than any other building in the city, but it's best known for the famous Müller organ, a giant gilded instrument designed by the renowned Amsterdam organ builder Christian Müller. Here we'll enjoy a guided walking tour of Haarlem's highlights before free time for lunch in one of the city's many restaurants.

After lunch, taste the flavours of Haarlem with one of the Netherlands' most famous exports - beer. Enter a beer-lovers heaven with a visit to a charming brewery. Here we’ll sample locally brewed craft beers so good you’ll want to take home bottles for all your friends – don’t worry, there'll be lots of delicious snacks on hand to help soak up the beer. 

In the afternoon, we return to Amsterdam and check into our centrally located four-star hotel, where we stay for three nights. Spend the evening settling in and exploring the local area at leisure.

Day 9
Location: Amsterdam

Amsterdam, once a small fishing village, grew into a bustling trade hub and became one of the wealthiest cities in the world during the Dutch Golden Age. Today, the capital of the Netherlands is a captivating city combining its rich history with a modern and progressive atmosphere.  With its vibrant, welcoming atmosphere and diverse culinary scene, Amsterdam is a must-visit destination for travellers seeking a blend of history, art, and contemporary charm.

This morning our walking tour starts with the 13th-century Dam Square, home to Koninklijk Palace, a grand 17th-century palace that is still used to hold official receptions. Other must-sees in Dam Square are Madame Tussauds, the world-famous wax works museum, the New Church (Nieuwe Kerk) - often used for art exhibitions - and Beurs van Berlage, an old stock exchange building now used as a concert hall and an exhibition space.

Next, the Amsterdam flower market, the only floating flower market in the world - and the most fragrant. Here, we explore the multitude of stalls spread across houseboats, a tradition carried over from the old days when the market was supplied by boats. We'll then journey through the UNESCO-listed canal belt, admiring the beautiful canal houses with their distinctive gabled roofs.

This afternoon, we experience a delectable cheese-tasting experience in the charming Jordaan District. Explore this fascinating country through the distinctive flavours of traditional Dutch cheeses, such as Gouda, Edam and Maasdam, complemented by perfectly paired wines to enhance the tasting journey.

The rest of the day is at leisure to explore Amsterdam as you choose.

Day 10
Location: Rijksmuseum

Enjoy a captivating journey through the art and history of the Netherlands with a visit to Rijksmuseum. The museum houses an extensive collection of masterpieces from the Dutch Golden Age, including works by renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals. To enhance your experience, the museum offers guided tours, audio guides, and informative displays that provide valuable insights into the artworks and historical context.

Beyond paintings, the museum also features an impressive collection of historical artefacts, including intricate Delftware ceramics, period furniture, and silverware. These objects offer a glimpse into the daily lives and craftsmanship of the past. The museum shop is also worth a visit, offering a range of art-related souvenirs, books, and unique gifts to commemorate your visit.

Discover Amsterdam at your own pace with an afternoon at leisure. You may opt to visit any of the city's famous museums and galleries - such as the Van Gogh and Anne Frank Museum - take a leisurely bike ride or unwind in one of the cosy cafes in De Negen Straatjes (or The Nine Streets). The choice is yours.

Day 11
Location: Amsterdam

After breakfast, it’s time to say goodbye to your crew and start the journey home.

What's Included

  • Prices are per person, based on two people sharing a twin cabin with a limited number of single cabins available on all decks, at the relevant supplement. The price includes: All meals on board (except one lunch), including welcome cocktails and the Captain's Dinner Packed lunch provided during the full day in Bruges. Anyone choosing to stay on the ship may of course have lunch in the restaurant Complimentary on-board tea and coffee All visits and excursions as mentioned in the brochure Airport transfers Coach travel as mentioned Travel to and from port of embarkation The services of a Riviera Travel cruise director and concierge

  • Prices are per person, based on two people sharing a twin cabin with a limited number of single cabins available on all decks, at the relevant supplement. The price includes: All meals on board (except one lunch), including welcome cocktails and the Captain's Dinner Packed lunch provided during the full day in Bruges. Anyone choosing to stay on the ship may of course have lunch in the restaurant 3 nights in a centrally located hotel in Amsterdam with breakfast Complimentary on-board tea and coffee All visits and excursions as mentioned in the brochure Airport transfers Coach travel as mentioned Travel to and from port of embarkation The services of a Riviera Travel cruise director and concierge

Check out our Q&As

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    For almost 40 years

  • I have reduced mobility; can I still travel?

    We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to contact us to discuss these concerns

  • Do I require travel insurance?

    It is a condition of booking that you carry suitable travel insurance.

  • What is my luggage allowance?

    You will receive details of your luggage allowance with your final travel documents, which are sent approximately 10 days prior to your date of departure.

Reviews of this Operator

David Clarke (Google Reviewer)  

This review is for the...

08-Aug-2023

This review is for the italian Lake Como trip Aug 1-8 Wow what a trip. Riviera from start to finish were excellent the booking and help line answering questions were very good and clear. The travel booklet you get is laid out that it is simple to read and follow with step by step info from booking in to flights to meeting the guides. Our guide Matt Purse was just the best guide and real credit to Riviera with his knowledge and straight forward approach to running the trips. Matt kept us informed and told us all the sort of info you want to know without going over the top....This chap should teach other reps ..thank you so much. The coaches they use are all clean and well equipped with usb chargers and have aircon. The places chosen to visit were well researched even down to where coaches park or drop you off. The Bernina Express was the highlight for our family and matts photo tip was welcomed. The only down point was the hotel,a little dated and evening meal in main restuarant was a bit of a let down. I think we were lucky with our room on level 7 and with balcony as the walls are very thin and noise travels. We would book again with riviera

Barbara Shillaker (Google Reviewer)  

I have been on three...

11-Jan-2024

I have been on three trips with Riviera Travel so far, with two more booked during 2024. Highly recommended. Excellent tour guides. Great program of visits. Great hotels used.

Valerie Pascoe  

We would go again in a heartbeat

22-Jan-2022

Oh my goodness, what a relief it was to actually get away! Full marks to all at Riviera for keeping us up to date before our trip and for the help so cheerfully and patiently given with the extra admin that Covid brought our way. We felt totally safe with the measures taken on board, thank you very much for this. Without exception, Staff were fantastic and our every need was attended to. The additional Covid testing ran smoothly, organised by our Riviera Reps. The guided tours were most interesting: the guides very knowledgeable and more importantly, interesting to listen to. We loved this trip and would do it again in a heartbeat. Thank you again Riviera, you were FAB!

Chris Wilson (Google Reviewer)  

Second escorted tour with this...

25-Jul-2022

Second escorted tour with this company. Did 5 days in Iceland tour. Everything went smoothly, excellent tour guide, Per. Extremely knowledgeable and interesting guy. Very friendly too. Highly recommend. Just let down by the room given at the hotel, but I guess the travel company doesn't have control over this.

Kathryn Jurin, GB  

Riviera South Africa tour - awesome

21-May-2021

Riviera have amazing holidays and tours to choose from. The one we chose was South Africa and wow! It turned out to be our best trip ever - incredible memories we will never forget. We’ve been all over the world which was because of all our experiences, this one was awesome. The organisation of the holiday, the guide and the travel was e cells that. The choice of hotels, meals, restaurants, trips was absolutely fantastic - very good quality and character - nothing bland or boring! The Riviera guide was permanently with us along with a South Africa guide and they were both extremely friendly, professional, informative and you could ask any questions you want! I would massively recommend this holiday/trip and when you’ve experienced it, you realise how reasonable the price is. We reflect on this trip a lot and thank you Riviera for giving us such a wonderful experience.

Trustpilot
Barry, GB  

Rhine Christmas markets cruise

09-Dec-2019

Just completed a 5 day trip on the Rhine. Our first river cruise and a tester for future cruises. The boat was well appointed and the cabin and public areas were spotlessly clean. The staff were attentive and contributed to the very relaxed atmosphere on the boat. The quality of the food surpassed that which we have experiened on sea cruises in recent years. I have written little because it was a faultless experience. We have booked a further cruise (in France) on the basis of our experience.

Trustpilot
Joan Yarker (Google Reviewer)  

My first cruise and I...

23-Sep-2023

My first cruise and I couldn’t have done better than my recent Seine River cruise. Carmen the tour organiser was excellent and always willing to go the extra mile to sort out any problems. The crew were amazing , friendly and helpful, the captain was great when explaining the controls on the bridge. Everything was very clean, food truly delicious and the pianist a delight and I was able to indulge my passion for dancing. My fellow guests were a delight and I made many new friends. Thank you Riviera

Peter Blundell  

An amazing trustworthy company.

06-Nov-2021

By the law of averages, there will occasionally be dramas with holidays when hundreds of people are on a package trip. It’s a fact of life. However a true rating measure of a travel company is how they look after the customer in these circumstances. Riviera Travel are, in my opinion, totally trustworthy and will do whatever they can within their power when there is a problem. In fact, to a degree that is actually above and beyond the call of duty. I would thoroughly recommend them, and look forward to our next Riviera holiday in 2022.

Rob Steele (Google Reviewer)  

My 3rd Riviera trip within...

16-Feb-2024

My 3rd Riviera trip within a year and I wasn't disappointed 😁 This time it was https://www.rivieratravel.co.uk/escorted-tours/southern-india-coastal-route-solo-travellers This trip, although not cheap, it really offers exceptional value for money as you see a lot of Tamil Nadu and Kerela, stay in fantastic hotels, excellent breakfasts every day as well as some lunches and dinners also included. George Bareham, our "Tour Manager" was brilliant, very professional, but also friendly and diligent. Satheeshan, our local guide was helpful and picked me up antibiotics when I got ill, he was a nice chap, if (for my taste) went on a bit and used 20 words when 1 would suffice. Mr Sweeny, our coach driver was fantastic,really professional and an exceptionally good driver. His assistant, Murgon wad a delight, always smiling and attentive. This is a full on trip, early morning starts and quite a packed itinerary, but still leaving time to laze around some brilliant hotel swimming pools. Only a couple of suggestions to improve the holiday. More shopping time in Cochin and change carriers from Etihad who, unfortunately aren't the excellent airline they used to be. But, will I use Riviera Travel again - Yes 😁

Barbara Parkes (Google Reviewer)  

Presently in Croatia staying at...

22-Sep-2023

Presently in Croatia staying at Arauana Hotel, supposedly a 4 star property, but wouldn't give it any star rating. Rooms are small and dirty. Wallpaper blistering. Meals served in a shed like lean-to. Food like warm, greasy and always self service. Second holiday with Riviera this year and neither at standard advertised. Have travelled with them previously and everything was fine, but standards have really dropped. Have booked a holiday with them next year and now dreading it. Certainly don't provide the standard advertised. We have never stayed in such a hovel and have visited youngsters in back packers accommodation which was far better than this supposedly 4 star accommodation. There are no indoor bars or lounges only a shed as a so called restaurant. Absolutely disgusting. Won't be boking with them again

Dates & Availability

Sunday - Wednesday

Apr 14, 2024 - Apr 24, 2024
$3478 (USD)

Including UK Flights

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  • Low Deposit

    Riviera Travel requires a minimum deposit of 200 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 75 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of riviera travel charges.

    Up to 75 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 74 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 70% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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