Day 1: Brussels, embark
Arrive at Brussels Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.
Day 2: Brussels
Brussels, the capital of Belgium, offers a treasure trove of historic architecture, along with a rich culinary tradition and a vibrant culinary capital. Food lovers will be lured by the divine aromas drifting from delightful cafés and chocolate shops. After a panoramic tour of Belgium’s historical and contemporary capital city, get an up-close view of the city center with a guided tour on foot. Then, treat yourself to some delicious Belgian waffles.
In the evening, a special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you.
Brussels City Tour & Belgian Waffles:
On our way into the city center, we'll take you on a panoramic tour of the major sightseeing spots in Brussels, such as the Royal Residence, Chinese Pavilion, and Japanese Pagoda and more!
Day 3: Antwerp
It may be the diamond capital of the world, but Antwerp is also known for a number of other sought-after cultural gems, including Golden Age art, Belgian beer, waffles, pralines and fries, chocolate, and more. Your walking tour of Antwerp, complete with Belgian treats, features the City Hall and Market Square.
In the center of Antwerp, you’ll find a whole museum dedicated just to Belgian chocolate. Walk inside to discover the love story that is Belgium’s relationship with the sweet treat, follow the path of the cocoa bean from the farms of Ecuador to the world’s largest cocoa storage port in Antwerp, and of course, you’ll sample a variety of chocolates during your time here.
Antwerp Walking Tour with Belgian Treats:
It may be the diamond capital of the world, but Antwerp is also known for a number of other gems—maybe just not of the rock variety. Step onto the streets of Antwerp and take in the Golden Age art, sip Belgian beer, and taste the waffles, pralines, fries, and chocolates that make Antwerp, Antwerp. This walking discovery tour takes you through the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the city. Continue on and enjoy tastings of other sorts—perhaps a local spirit or even the catch of the day as you journey past the Steen Castle, City Hall, and the Brabo Fountain.
Day 4: Maastricht
Your first stop in The Netherlands—Maastricht—is a city with more than 1,670 national heritage sites, some of which can be seen on your Old Town walking tour. And not only that, but it’s known as one of the most beautiful and romantic cities of Holland and loved for its convivial lifestyle and historic center, which has long played a strategic role in European politics. Or you can choose to make a pilgrimage to the 65-acre Netherlands American Cemetery and memorial, the final resting place of 8,301 U.S. soldiers who perished during the Second World War.
Maastricht Walking Tour:
Meander through the historic city center of Maastricht with your local guide and take in all of the city’s prettiest sites. During your walk, you’ll discover the picturesque streets of the Stokstraat Quarter and various charming promenades across the old and new city centers. You’ll take a peek into City Hall to see the wall tapestries, stucco, ceiling paintings, and mantelpieces inside. As you go, you’ll hear the fascinating stories and amusing anecdotes of Maastricht history, its progression from Roman settlement to early industrial powerhouse, and the Mestreechter Geis (or “the Spirit of Maastricht”, which is what they call their local way of life).
Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial Visit:
More than 8,000 American soldiers lie under white crosses and Stars of David among the rolling hills of Limburg. They died fighting in this area following the Normandy invasion, earning, as the commemorative inscription says, "praise that will never die." A memorial is inscribed with the names of another 1,723 whose remains were never found or identified. It's the only American battlefield cemetery in the Netherlands; infantrymen and pilots, mechanics and bombardiers are interred in this serene and surprisingly uplifting place. Not only Americans visit this memorial. Thousands of families from the Netherlands and surrounding nations come to honor those who fell liberating their countries from the Nazi occupation.
Day 5: Cuijk (Nuenen), Heusden
Follow in Van Gogh’s footsteps today as you stroll through Nuenen, where the artist once lived and painted “The Potato Eaters.” After a delicious lunch, you may choose to walk or cycle through Heusden, or choose from a panoply of other ways in which you can experience this charming region.
Village Day: Van Gogh in Nuenen, with a Country Lunch:
Vincent van Gogh produced 195 paintings and numerous watercolors and sketches in the two years he lived in Nuenen, where his father was vicar; among the work he did here is The Vicarage at Nuenen. His studio was the converted laundry room in that vicarage, which his father did not think was suitable, though he assured Theo van Gogh that they had installed a wood stove, if not a large window (Vincent didn't want one).
Village Day - Heusden:
The pretty squares and harbors where pleasure craft bob give little hint of Heusden's exciting past. A water fortress was first erected here in the 12th century, and many a medieval battle was fought in this region. The characteristic star shape of the fortress dates much sooner though, to when the town was founded in 1649 at the end of the Eighty Years’ War that won Holland its independence from Spain.
Day 6: Schoonhoven ( Kinderdijk )
Bike around the silversmithing town of Schoonhoven, best known for its abundant silversmiths, clock makers, and quaint shop-lined avenues. Or venture forth to captivating Kinderdijk to see its 19 well-preserved, UNESCO-designated windmills.
At one time 10,000 windmills operated in the Netherlands, pumping water away from low-lying lands (much of the country is below sea level) and creating what are known as polders—arable land reclaimed from the water. Though the mighty windmill has been replaced by newer technology, you can see how effective the system was in Kinderdijk, where a group of 19 windmills erected in the 18th century still function. Most are ground-sail windmills (meaning their sails nearly touch the ground as they whirl) and each one was carefully situated to make sure one did not block another’s wind.
Schoonhoven Walking Tour:
The charming little town is well known for its tradition of silverwork, which thrives to this day. There have been silversmiths in Schoonhoven since the Middle Ages, and their influence can be found reflected in the current streets and the ancient monumental silversmithing sites. The town is home to several silversmith houses and more than 30 galleries, jewelers, and workshops. In Schoonhoven you can also find a Dutch Silver Museum and a craft center where you can admire an impressive collection of old silverware from Schoonhoven. There’s more than just silver, too. Visitors love the picturesque center full of characteristic shops, the beautiful city gate, and charming terraces along the Lek river.
Let’s Go: Biking the Dams and Windmills
Set out on an invigorating bike ride through quintessential Dutch scenery. Beginning and ending in Schoonhoven, you’ll ferry across the Lek river, pedal through the quaint countryside, and pass the unique windmills of Groot-Ammers.
Day 7: Amsterdam
The Netherlands’ largest city, Amsterdam has been an international port and financial center for 400 years, endowing it with a lively cosmopolitan feeling to match its historic architecture. The famous Keukenhof Gardens is a 70-acre park planted with millions of tulips and other flowers—an extraordinary sight in the spring.
In the evening, a special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you.
Rivers of blue hyacinths curve through the trees, and great drifts of brilliantly hued tulips and daffodils carpet Keukenhof’s 70-plus acres (32 hectares). It’s probably the most spectacular flower garden in the world, and it’s only open for a few weeks each spring. Gardeners plant some seven million bulbs on these grounds, making it a showcase for the Netherlands’ legendary flower industry.
Respect in the Red Light District:
The Red Light District—or, as it is referred to locally, De Wallen—has been the center of Amsterdam’s sex work industry for several hundred years. It’s famous for the neon lights, partygoers, and “coffeeshops” that proliferate in the area, as well as the windows where some of the sex workers stand to attract clients. Today, you’ll visit the Prostitution Information Center to discover the important work they’re doing to educate visitors on the lives of sex workers for a respectful take on the popular Red Light District tour.
Nights Out: Lookout Tower Amsterdam:
How does an after-dinner nightcap with a view sound? Step off the ship and into the rooftop bar of A’DAM, which offers an unparalleled 360° panoramic view of Amsterdam and its surroundings. Sip your drink while you take in the city from above and admire the evening sky.
Day 8: Amsterdam
Disembark the ship and transfer to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for your flight home.