A rainbow of colors glide past you on a springtime tulip cruise — hues of red, blues, purples, lavenders, golds and yellows, a contrast to the dreary shades of winter gray back home. A tulip cruise on some of Europe’s rivers and waterways is the perfect way to welcome spring. Enjoy a kaleidoscope of colorful flower beds and the tranquil atmosphere of small river towns and quaint villages that give these river cruises a magical feel.
Luxury river cruise ships ply the rivers and canals of the Netherlands and Belgium. Tulip time cruises present an amazing opportunity to explore this vibrant area. A tulip cruise in the spring offers ribbons of color, history, culture and landscapes ablaze with rainbows of flowers spanning the horizon.
In addition to the beautiful flowers, a Dutch waterway cruise also offers visitors the chance to see the incredible works of art by the Dutch masters, inspiring history and a unique perspective into the local culture and customs.
Tulip cruises, typically offered between late March and early May, sail through the inland waterways of the Netherlands and Belgium and usually range from 7 to 9 days. Back to back cruises can also be combined to create a unique experience and offer additional insights into the history, culture, culinary delights and sights.
Often sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam, these cruises take you in luxury to such historic places as Hoorn, Arnhem, Kinderdijk, Middleburg, Rotterdam and Veere. Explore history-rich medieval cities, including Antwerp, Bruges and Ghent. All the while, you enjoy the luxury of being pampered onboard, as you glide from one glorious place to another. A variety of shore excursions allow you to explore the various towns and villages and many cruises offer complimentary excursion in each port.
A Must for Garden Enthusiasts
Spring in Holland welcomes an abundance of beautiful colors and textures that dot the countryside. The jewel of any visit is the world renowned Keukenhof Gardens. In the spring, Kuekenhof comes alive with over 7 million flowers and over 100 varieties of tulips covering more than 70 acres. Each bulb is carefully planted by hand and the end results are breathtaking.
In addition to the incredible array of flowers, Keukenhof also boasts a beautiful sculpture garden, featuring over 150 pieces of work from more than 50 artists, making it the largest sculpture park in the Netherlands. A visit to this unique and inspiring garden is not to be missed.
Charming Windmills & Canals
For hundreds of years, windmills have played a role in Holland’s history, as the Dutch harnessed the power of the wind to help dry the land. Like wooden clogs and tulips, windmills are synonymous with Holland, and are another beautiful sight on these cruises. About 19 of these Dutch icons still exist, dating back to the 17th century. The historic windmills of Kinderdijk are now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Dutch canals are equally famous and Amsterdam offers a number of scenic glass-topped boat tours. Amsterdam is often referred to as “Venice of the North” due to its many canals that divide the city into 90 small islands linked by thousands of lovely curved bridges. Here you can spend a delightful afternoon winding through these enchanting waterways taking in the city’s architecture, admiring the lovely bridges and enjoying the pastime of people watching.
These popular boat tours include the Prinsengracht or Prince’s Canal, the fourth and longest of Amsterdam’s main canals, named after the Prince of Orange. Interesting sights along here include Noorderkerk (Northern Church), Noordermarket, Amsterdam’s tallest church called Westerkerk or Western Church and the Anne Frank House.
Dutch and Belgian Highlights
River cruises in Holland also give you the opportunity to visit the region’s many museums showcasing diverse exhibits ranging from the early works of the grand masters to the Dutch Resistance Movement. Throughout your journey you can explore history-rich towns and quaint villages, many dating back to medieval times. The beautiful architecture, cobblestone streets and open markets give a glimpse into what daily life may have been like.
Some of Amsterdam’s must see museums include the 350-year-old neoclassical Royal Palace on Dam Square, the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmsmuseum, the Anne Frank House and the Jewish Historical Museum. The Dutch Resistance Museum takes you back to the 1940s when the Dutch fought back against the Nazi occupation, housing fascinating artifacts, such as false identity documents and spy paraphernalia.
If you are looking for the perfect gift to bring home then head to Amsterdam’s Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets) district. These streets connect the city’s four main canals and are a shopper’s paradise filled with a variety of restaurants and cafés, jewelry stores, craft shops, art galleries and boutiques.
The second largest city in Belgium, Antwerp, was the capital of the diamond industry for hundreds of years and you can still watch gems being cut and polished at Diamondland. You can get a feel for the past as you stroll through the centuries-old cobbled streets of the Medieval Old Town and view the magnificent Renaissance architecture flanking the market square. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts houses one of the largest collections of paintings by Rubens, who was born here. The Antwerp Zoo, one of the oldest in the world, is an ideal choice for animal lovers.
A walking tour through the medieval village of Gent, (Ghent), presents beautiful gothic buildings and a lovely historic center. A must see here is the famous painting “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” by brothers Jan and Hubert Van Eyck, in St. Bavo Cathedral.
Romantic Bruges (Brugge) is considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful towns. It still maintains its medieval appearance and is truly Belgium’s crown jewel. Here you can take a boat trip along the lovely canals and explore the Grote Markt. One of its most famous landmarks is the 13th-century belfry, with a carillon of 48 bells. Shops offer for the beautiful lace that Bruges is famous for.
Chocoholics should head to the Bruges’ Choco-Story Museum, to learn about this delicious treat, and get to sample mouth watering creations. Bruges is a true chocolate-lover’s haven. Its many confectionery stores, bakeries and pastry shops can satisfy even the most discerning chocolate aficionado with a wide variety of decadent sweets.
Another stop for many Dutch Waterways cruises is the lovely medieval town of Edam. World famous for its namesake cheese, it is still very much a charming village, filled with petite romantic bridges and lots of local character. You can get a real feel for this place by strolling the old streets past quiet canals and authentic 17th century architecture. Many of the well preserved monuments, bridges, town squares and gables date back as early as 1530.
Arnhem, the site of one of World War II’s most famous battles, features the Airborne Museum and the National Liberation Museum. The past will come to life here, with the historical displays, original film footage, lectures and much more that will enable you to experience the liberation of the Netherlands and the rest of Europe first hand.
The 310-foot-tall Euromast in Rotterdam offers incredible views of the city. The Cube Houses are known worldwide for their innovative design. Each of the houses represents a tree and all together, a forest.
Founded in 1100, Delft is known worldwide for its traditional blue and white ceramic pottery and is also one of Holland’s prettiest towns. Lovers and collectors of Delft Blue Porcelain flock to the Royal Delft Factory, which along with Delft Pottery, are the only two remaining factories producing original Delftware.
A tulip cruise on the Dutch waterways offers a wide variety of places to visit. From the area’s beautiful flowers, enchanting canals, vibrant history and culture all come together to create a truly unforgettable and enjoyable vacation.
To book your amazing Tulip Cruise and other Dutch Waterways cruises, visit Cruise.com or contact one of our cruise experts at 888-776-0659.