Day 1 Arrive in Amsterdam, Holland. Transfer to Haarlem (Embarkation)
Travel to Amsterdam where you will met and transferred to your cruise ship in Haarlem for seven nights. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception. (D)
Day 2 Hoorn - Tulip Fields Excursion - Enkhuizen.
Included today: Tulip Fields Excursion; choice of guided visit to Zuiderzee Museum.
Tulip fields abound in this part of the country. This morning, an excursion takes you along the growing areas that look from afar like carpets of colour. Take pictures and learn more about these flowers and how they were introduced into Holland from the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) in the 17th century. Rejoin your ship and over lunch, sail to Enkhuizen, situated at the most easterly point of North Holland. Enkhuizen is a quintessential fishing town with cobblestoned streets, a quaint town centre, and one of the largest marinas in the Netherlands. It owes its prosperity to the Zuider Zee (now known as the IJsselmeer) during the "Golden Age." This afternoon, visit the ZUIDERZEE MUSEUM, dedicated to the culture and history of this area. The museum focuses on the past and present of the IJsselmeer, and features living history, heritage, and crafts combining works from the past with works from the present. (B, L, D)
Day 3 Enkhuizen - Sneek, Friesland
Included today: Choice of guided walk of Enkhuizen or Friesland excursion, visit the Planetarium.
This morning you have a choice between an included GUIDED WALK of Enkhuizen, or you may wish to join a "DUTCH EXPERIENCE" to meet some locals. Then cruise across the IJsselmeer to south-west Friesland, a province rich in history and legends. As you sail, enjoy the scenic rural landscape along the river. Dock in Lemmer, from where our Friesland excursion departs. Primarily an agricultural region with a long history, Friesland is best known internationally for its famous black-and-white Friesian cattle and black Friesian horses. Visit the 18th-century ROYAL EISE EISINGA PLANETARIUM, which has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rejoin your ship in Sneek, where you dock overnight. (B, L, D)
Day 4 Lelystad - Kampen.
Included today: Visit the Batavia shipyard and the Batavia in Lelystad; Cheese and genever (gin) tasting
Today, enjoy a peaceful morning of cruising through this delightful area of Friesland. Reaching Lelystad, join the guided visit of the Batavia Shipyard, where ships that were important to the Netherland's maritime industry during the 'Golden Age' have been faithfully reconstructed. Later, board the Batavia itself, a reconstruction of a 1628 Amsterdam-built Dutch East India Company ship, wrecked on its maiden voyage on June 4, 1629 off the coast of Western Australia. Later this afternoon, enjoy a local cheese and genever (gin) tasting on board as you sail to Kampen, where you dock overnight. (B, L, D)
Day 5 Gelderse Ijssel - Arnhem.
Included today: Visit Hartenstein Museum.
Another relaxing morning on board as you sail along the IJssel River, also known as the Gelderse IJssel, which is a branch of the Rhine River. Learn more about Holland at an ONBOARD LECTURE and taste a sweet LOCAL SPECIALITY. After lunch, visit the AIRBORNE MUSEUM HARTENSTEIN, dedicated to the Battle of Arnhem, one of the major tragedies of WWII. Alternatively you may prefer to visit the KRÖLLER- MÜLLER MUSEUM. Later, rejoin your ship in Arnhem. (B, L, D)
Day 6 Rotterdam.
Included today: Harbour cruise; choice of excursion to Keukenhof Gardens or to the city of Gouda.
This morning, sail through the HARBOUR OF ROTTERDAM, said to be the world's busiest port. Levelled by German bombs in WWII, Rotterdam now has a modern, high-tech look. After an early lunch you may opt to join a guided excursion to GOUDA, famous for its gouda cheese, syrup waffles, clay pipes, and elaborate city hall. It is a typical Dutch city with many old buildings and pretty canals. Alternatively, you may wish to visit the gardens of KEUKENHOF near Lisse, which encompass over 70 acres of parkland with lakes, sculpture gardens, greenhouses, and a windmill to explore. Every year, 7 million flower bulbs are planted, and you have the opportunity to see the spectacular display of colours not only from the tulips, but also from hyacinths, daffodils, and more. Garden enthusiasts may opt to spend for an extended visit to in Keukenhof, having lunch on their own in the gardens. (B, L, D)
Day 7 Amsterdam.
Included today: Canal cruise in Amsterdam.
After breakfast, arrive in Amsterdam where guided sightseeing is by canal boat. Cruise along elegant grachten lined by stately homes dating back to Amsterdam's Golden Age. This afternoon is at leisure to explore on your own or choose from a selection of optional excursions. (B, L, D)
Day 8 Amsterdam.
Transfer to the airport or station for your journey to the UK. (B)