- Immerse yourself in a sea of colorful tulip blooms at Holland’s Keukenhof, and discover these world-famous gardens with guidance from a National Geographic photographer.
- Take a private tour of the “Delta Works,” an elaborate network of dams and barriers built to prevent the flooding of Holland’s Zeeland province.
- Learn about the history of the Low Countries while touring storied cities like Veere, Arnhem, and Brugge, Belgium with a National Geographic historian or geographer.
- Delve into local culinary traditions, from Dutch cheese to Belgian beers; and sit down to a special dinner with residents of a small fishing village in the Netherlands.
Discover Holland and Belgium at the height of spring—when fields of tulips blanket the low country and trees burst with blossoms. On an 8-day cruise, glide past scenic villages and historic cities. In Holland, stroll through a patchwork of flowers at the Keukenhof gardens, and meander past the windmills of Kinderdijk. Gain insight into Dutch traditions during a festive dinner with local residents, and meet engineers for an inside look at the Delta Works. Venture into stunning cathedrals and town halls, and trace the colorful histories of Veere and Arnhem in the Netherlands and Brugge, Belgium from the medieval era to World War II. As we sail these storied waterways, enjoy the freedom and flexibility to tailor the itinerary to your interests, choosing from a variety of available excursions at each port of call—and benefit from the insights provided by the National Geographic Expert and the National Geographic photographer who accompany us on the journey.
Arrive in Amsterdam and board our Scenic Spaceship. Toast the journey ahead at this evening’s welcome reception and dinner.
Scenic Jade or Scenic Pearl for the entire voyage
Sail to the busy port of Rotterdam and set out on a walk through the city, viewing the striking contemporary architecture that stands in contrast to older neighborhoods. Or choose to explore Delft, where world-famous blue-and-white pottery has been produced since the 17th century. Here, we’ll visit a pottery factory and a museum to learn about the city’s celebrated ceramics. Alternatively, discover the World Heritage site of Kinderdijk-Elshout, where 19 windmills were built around 1740 to drain the Netherlands' marshy lowlands. As we sail out of the city, take in the sights and sounds of the largest port in Europe alongside our National Geographic Photographer and Expert.
This morning, cruise into Holland’s Zeeland province. Set out on a private tour of a portion of the Delta Works, dams and barriers built as part of an elaborate engineering project begun in the mid-20th century to prevent flooding in the region. Alternatively, visit the charming village of Veere, once an important seaport. Here you have the option to stroll along the bustling harbor and admire elegant, gabled architecture; or embark on a guided cycling tour of the town and its surroundings.
Dock at the medieval port city of Antwerp and continue to Brugge, known for its Gothic architecture and picturesque market squares linked by cobbled streets and serene canals. Set out on a tour of its World Heritage-listed old town, then in your free time, step into one of Europe’s largest surviving medieval town halls and the 12th-century Basilica of the Holy Blood.
Alternatively, stay in Antwerp, located on the banks of the Schelde River and known as the diamond capital of the world. Venture into the Cathedral of Our Lady, a Gothic gem that harbors four masterpieces by artist Peter Paul Rubens. We'll also see the city hall, a fine example of Flemish architecture; and the Grote Markt, Antwerp’s lovely main square.
*Please note, in 2021 Brugges will be offered as an extension, not part of the main itinerary.
Cruise to Arnhem, once an important trading center in the Hanseatic League—and later the site of a historic Allied assault during World War II. Visit the Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein,’ dedicated to the Battle of Arnhem, and view weapons, videos, and photos that bring this famed battle to life. Alternatively, visit the Netherlands Open Air Museum, encompassing acres of historic houses, farms, and windmills where travelers can witness authentic Dutch customs and traditions. Or visit nearby De Hoge Veluwe National Park, one of the largest nature reserves in Holland, and view artistic works inspired by the park’s beautiful landscapes at the Kröller-Müller Museum—home to the second largest Van Gogh collection in the world. This evening, unwind with cocktails on deck while taking in splendid views of the Dutch countryside.
Discover the charming town of Hoorn with a guide, and taste some of the local delicacies. If you wish, bike to a nearby tulip farm, where we’ll learn about the flower production process from bulb to auction market, or visit a sustainable pepper farm working to offset its environmental impact using technological innovations. This evening, join local residents for a special dinner, enjoying traditional food, friendly conversation, and insights into life in the Netherlands.
Our trip culminates on the outskirts of Amsterdam at the legendary Keukenhof gardens, named by National Geographic Travel as one of the world’s “top ten magnificent gardens.” During our springtime visit, more than seven million blossoms blanket the landscape in a kaleidoscope of vibrant hues. Immerse yourself in a riot of colors and fragrances, and document the neat rows and mesmerizing swirls of tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils with guidance from our National Geographic photographer.
After breakfast, disembark our ship and transfer to the airport for your flight home.