Amsterdam has much to offer visitors but, in April, when the flowers are at their best, you simply can’t miss out on seeing the colourful fields full of blooming tulips.
On this eight-day river cruise, you’ll discover the cuisine and heritage of this historic corner of northern Europe and making your stay extra special are exclusive events in the company of BBC Gardeners’ World presenters Carol Klein and Joe Swift.
Together, you will explore the renowned Keukenhof gardens, one of the largest and most beautiful of its kind in the world.
You will also hear Carol and Joe’s tips and stories from both of their careers during a private talk and Q&A session.
Holland in the spring is a truly memorable sight, and the perfect introduction to any river cruising itinerary that touches on the traditional side of Dutch life.
You will be met and transferred from the airport to your luxurious Emerald Waterways Star-Ship.
Day 2 - Amsterdam & Zaansen Schans
This morning, you will have the opportunity to experience one of Holland’s many highlights as you venture to Zaanse Schans.
Relax on board your Star-Ship, as your delightful EmeraldPLUS experience this afternoon involves welcoming a local clog painter for a demonstration and the opportunity to try your hand at this unique craft.
Your tour to the Zaanse Schans historic windmills will highlight the distinctive wooden houses and artisan workshops that make up the quintessentially Dutch town, where the smell of freshly baked goods and the sight of spinning windmills offers a truly memorable experience.
Alternatively, enjoy a guided bike tour to Waterland, passing picturesque scenery and iconic fields of tulips.
EmeraldPLUS: Clog painting on board
EmeraldACTIVE: A guided bike tour to Waterland
EmeraldEXCURSION: A tour to Zaanse Schans windmills
Day 3 - Rotterdam
Rotterdam is a unique example of a Dutch city because it had to be reconstructed following the air raids of WWII, leaving behind a patchwork of different styles.
Today you will have the opportunity to explore this contemporary city, perhaps trying to imagine how the gabled houses of Amsterdam would have once sat here.
EmeraldEXCURSION: A tour of Rotterdam
DiscoverMORE: A visit to a Delft pottery factory (extra expense)
Day 4 - Veere
Today, you will arrive in Veere, a delightful historic town where normal houses are adorned with miniature classical palace gardens and elegant architecture adorns the surprisingly quiet streets that you will stroll down during your guided tour.
Afterwards, visit the Dutch Delta Works.
Witness the sheer enormity of the world’s biggest storm surge barrier and be left awe-inspired by the immense feat of engineering.
If you are feeling active, then you can also enjoy a guided bike tour of Veere, stopping to learn about how it encapsulates the opulence of a by-gone era.
EmeraldPLUS: Visit the Dutch Delta Works EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided tour of Veere EmeraldACTIVE: A guided bike tour of Veere
Day 5 - Antwerp
This morning you’ll arrive in Antwerp, Belgium’s biggest port, positioned on the River Scheldt with a large harbour linking to the sea.
Home to the famous Baroque artist Pieter Paul Reubens, it attracts art-lovers and diamond dealers from all over the world. Enjoy a guided tour of the city centre, with its café-filled cobbled lanes, admiring the Renaissance City Hall and Hat Steen, a medieval fortress that was built during the early Middle Ages and one of the oldest buildings in the country.
Afterwards, enjoy free time to explore Antwerp at leisure.
Exclusive Event: This morning, visit the Botanical Gardens which lies in the centre of Antwerp. It is home to an array of exceptional trees, shrubs, cactuses, foreign plants and over 2000 herbs. With over 200 years of history, it was originally built to grow medicinal plants to supply St Elisabeth’s hospital next door.
EmeraldEXCURSION: A tour of Antwerp
DiscoverMORE: An excursion to the medieval town of Bruges (extra expense) Exclusive Event:
This evening, join Joe Swift in the lounge for an informal talk and Q&A.
Day 6 - Arnhem
Relax in the comfortable surrounds of your Star-Ship this morning as you sail down Dutch waterways, passing wonderful windmills and quaint traditional villages.
Arnhem is most famous for its great battle during World War II, its iconic bridge – the sight where the British forces were captured.
Today you will tour the Airborne Museum Hartenstein which is dedicated to the Battle of Arnhem In 1944. The main building was the headquarters of the British command during the battle, and now houses exhibits of military uniforms and weapons.
Alternatively, embark on a guided bike tour of Arnhem, famous for its postcard-worthy streets, scenic parks and fine museums.
EmeraldACTIVE: A guided bike tour of Arnhem EmeraldEXCURSION: A visit to the Airborne Museum
Day 7 - Amsterdam
Exclusive Event: This morning, meet Carol & Joe at Keukenhof Gardens – the most beautiful spring garden in the world and Europe’s largest.
Situated in the heart of the tulip farm area of Holland, it boasts incredible displays of different flower and plants, with more than seven million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths filling over 79 acres with colour and fragrance.
Exclusive Event: This evening, join Carol Klein in the lounge for an informal talk and Q&A.
EmeraldPLUS: A visit to Keukenhof Gardens
Day 8 - Amsterdam
After breakfast, it’s time to bid farewell to your fellow guests and quintessential Holland as you disembark the ship for your transfer to the airport, taking memories of wooden windmills and spring-blooming flowers with you.
Carol began exhibiting at RHS shows in 1990 and was awarded the RHS Victoria Medal of Honour last year. A regular presenter of Gardeners’ World, she wrote the bestselling book, Grow Your Own Veg.
Gardeners’ World presenter Joe studied garden design at The English Gardening School in 1990. The author of three books, he also writes regularly for a variety of publications.
Emerald Waterways’ fleet of Star-Ships perfectly marry modern design with deluxe comfort for their guests. The fleet has been responsibly designed to match and complement the eternal flow of the rivers. The Emerald Sun built in 2015 benefits from 72 generously-proportioned suites and 20 staterooms. The five sister vessels (Sun, Sky, Star, Dawn, Destiny), boast a capacity of 182 guests apiece, 47 crew and all contain a selection of excellent amenities and features. The Sun Deck of the ships also boasts a retractable glass roof which provides seasonal protection for the pool, cinema and Riverview Lounge below. Whether you wish to undertake a few lengths before breakfast in the heated pool or enjoy a Hollywood classic in the cinema, the choice is yours. Book one of the Balcony Suites, found on the Vista and Horizon Decks, and you’ll enjoy unparalleled views from the spacious private balconies – a truly invigorating start to another day on Europe’s beautiful waterways.
92 elegantly appointed staterooms and Suites range in size from 162-310 ft². Most accommodations have a open air balcony. Try one of the 4 One-Bedroom Owner’s Suites at 310 sq ft² with their very own bedroom which closes off from the rest of the suite. An outdoor balcony, complete with open-air system, allows you to enjoy the views of your surroundings whatever the weather so you can enjoy the ever-changing scenery however you wish. Suites feature added enhancements such as in suite breakfast and canapes, a larger sitting area with two chairs. All staterooms include amenities such ensuite bathroom with shower, Infotainment, free high-speed Internet access, climate-controlled air conditioning; and an in-room safe, fridge and complimentary bottled water replenished daily.
Emerald Waterways are a new entrant to the river cruise market and sit as Scenic’s premium river cruise sister company. Ships are brand new and very contemporary in style and the river cruising is very relaxed. A very welcome inclusion to the premium, luxury market. A holiday to enjoy.