Blue Water Holidays
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Blue Water Holidays - ABTA - ATOL - CLIA
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+44 1756 706500
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Holland and Belgium in the Spring

Holland in springtime is a riot of colour with bright tulip fields set amongst windmills and canals

Discover the spring tulips of Holland and visit fascinating Dutch cities, famous for cheese and pottery. Itineraries to Belgium also explore medieval Bruges and Antwerp, the diamond capital of the world.

  • Tulip Field in Spring
  • Amsterdam
  • Keukenhof Gardens

About Holland & Belgium Cruises

The work of Rembrandt and other Dutch masters can be seen at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, whilst the Van Gogh museum has some of the artist's best-known paintings. A trip along the famous canals and to the red light district is a unique experience. An excursion to the Keukenhof Gardens, 70 acres with seven million flowers, may be included.

Longer itineraries may go north from Amsterdam to the Ijselmeer, the inland sea extending from Amsterdam to a dam built across the North Sea. Visit the seafaring towns of Volendam and Hoorn, and perhaps Edam with its famous round red cheeses. Going south from Amsterdam take the waterways of central Holland to Gouda and on to Rotterdam, perhaps with an excursion to Delft, home of the well-known blue pottery.

Kinderdijk, HollandKinderdijk, Holland

Some routes may include the Belgian port of Antwerp, the diamond capital of the world, and birthplace of the painter Rubens. A highlight is a canal boat trip around Bruges, one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe and a World Heritage site.

Cruise Collection

All of our cruises in Holland and Belgium are shown below. Tick the boxes to filter by date, company, duration and type.

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  • Amsterdam Break

    3 Nights - Amsterdam to Antwerp

    CroisiEurope Ship - Gerard Schmitter Choice of Ships

    Superb value short break in the springtime from Amsterdam to Belgium with unlimited complimentary drinks onboard, plus optional excursions 2018 - Apr

    Amsterdam Cruise Break through Holland and Belgium Blue Water Package
    From £668pp Cruise Only From £418pp
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  • Dutch Bulbfields

    4 Nights - Amsterdam and back

    Riviera Travel Ship - Emily Bronte Choice of Ships

    See the stunning flower displays at the famous Keukenhof Gardens, the iconic windmills of the Kinderdijk and traditional Dutch villages on this 4-night river cruise from Amsterdam. Includes shore excursions and return flights from the UK or Eurostar from London St Pancras 2018 - Apr

    Dutch Bulbfields Fly Cruise Package
    From £699pp
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  • Amsterdam Short Break

    4 Nights - Amsterdam to Antwerp

    CroisiEurope Ship - Gerard Schmitter Choice of Ships

    Discover the beauty of springtime in Holland and visit the magnificent cities of Rotterdam and Antwerp on this fantastic short break, with an optional excursion to Keukenhof Gardens 2018 - Apr

    Amsterdam Short Break Cruise through Holland and Belgium Blue Water Package
    From £827pp Cruise Only From £527pp
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  • Amsterdam at Spring

    4 Nights - Amsterdam and back

    CroisiEurope Ship - Victor Hugo Choice of Ships

    An excellent short break in the spring from Amsterdam with unlimited complimentary drinks onboard, plus optional excursions 2018 - Apr

    Amsterdam Spring Cruise Blue Water Package
    From £874pp Cruise Only From £624pp
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  • Dutch Waterways from Amsterdam

    5 Nights - Amsterdam and back

    CroisiEurope Ship - Gerard Schmitter Choice of Ships

    Journey along the Dutch waterways on this short-break including a cruise on the Ijsselmeer, one of the largest freshwater lakes in Holland 2018 - Apr, May, Aug, Sep

    Short Spring and Easter cruise breaks from Amsterdam through Holland Blue Water Package
    From £985pp Cruise Only From £735pp
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  • Medieval Flanders and Dutch Bulbfields

    7 Nights - Amsterdam and back

    Riviera Travel Ship - Lord Byron Choice of Ships

    Visit the battlefields of World War II and commemorative memorials in Arnhem, Oosterbeek and Ypres, and see the colourful tulips in full bloom at the Keukenhof Gardens. Includes shore excursions and return flights from the UK 2018 - Apr

    Medieval Flanders and Dutch Bulbfields Springtime Cruise Fly Cruise Package
    From £1149pp
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  • Tulip Fields of Holland

    7 Nights - Amsterdam and back

    Choice of AMA Waterways Ships Choice of Ships

    Journey from Amsterdam in the spring and discover the windmills, gardens and tulips of Holland and Belgium. Includes shore excursions and drinks with lunch and dinner 2018 - Mar, Apr
    FREE flights plus 100 Euro OBC per cabin and exclusive £50pp discount!

    Tulip Fields of Holland Blue Water Package
    From £1528pp Cruise Only From £1228pp
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  • Highlights of Holland and Belgium

    7 Nights - Amsterdam and back

    Choice of Emerald Waterways Ships Choice of Ships

    See acres of colourful tulips and sail past traditional Dutch windmills on this journey along the canals of Holland and Belgium. Includes return flights from the UK, shore excursions and complimentary drinks with lunch and dinner 2018 - Apr
    Save up to £500pp PLUS €250 OBC per cabin or unlimited drinks!

    Highlights of Holland and Belgium Fly Cruise Package
    From £1595pp
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  • The Charms of Holland and Belgium

    7 Nights - Amsterdam and back

    Choice of Emerald Waterways Ships Choice of Ships

    Explore Antwerp's cobbled streets, the WWII sites of Arnhem and the World Heritage-listed Kinderdijk Windmills on this superb river cruise through Holland and Belgium. Includes return flights from the UK, shore excursions and complimentary drinks with lunch and dinner 2018 - Jul, Sep
    Save up to £1400 per couple PLUS 250 Euro on-board credit per cabin or unlimited drinks on board!

    The Charms of Holland and Belgium Fly Cruise Package
    From £1695pp
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  • Dutch Sights and Belgian Delights

    7 Nights - Amsterdam and back

    Scenic Ship - Scenic Jasper Scenic Jasper

    See the iconic windmills of Kinderdijk, colourful Keukenhof Gardens and well-preserved Belgian medieval cities on this cruise through Holland and Belgium. Includes shore excursions, return flights or Eurostar from the UK, butler service, complimentary drinks and all gratuities 2018 - Apr
    Save up to £800 per couple PLUS choose a complimentary extra!

    Dutch Sights and Belgian Delights No Fly Cruise
    From £1895pp
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  • Tulip Time

    7 Nights - Amsterdam and back

    Choice of APT Luxury Cruises Ships Choice of Ships

    Discover the vibrant flowers of Keukenhof Gardens and explore the magnificent cities of Antwerp and Ghent at tulip time on this luxury, all-inclusive voyage from the Dutch capital of Amsterdam. Includes return flights from the UK, home to airport transfers and complimentary drinks with lunch and dinner on board 2018 - Apr
    Save up to £1740 per couple!

    Tulip Time Fly Cruise Package
    From £1925pp
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  • Belgium and Holland at Tulip Time

    9 Nights - Amsterdam and back

    Viking River Cruises Ship - Viking Longships Viking Longships

    Discover the magnificent windmills at Kinderdijk, the vibrant Keukenhof Gardens and spectacular cities of Amsterdam, Antwerp and Ghent on this tulip time itinerary. Includes excursions and travel package from the UK 2018 - Apr

    Belgium and Holland at Tulip Time Cruise Fly Cruise Package
    From £2395pp
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  • Tulips and Windmills

    9 Nights - Amsterdam to Antwerp

    Uniworld Ship - River Duchess Choice of Ships

    See the colourful tulip fields and discover the heritage of Belgium and the Netherlands. Includes guided excursions, unlimited complimentary drinks and gratuities 2018 - Mar, Apr
    Save 10%!

    Tulips and Windmills in Spring Cruise Blue Water Package
    From £2679pp Cruise Only From £2429pp
    View Full Details

Holland & Belgium Highlights

Amsterdam

The cruise terminal in Amsterdam is a short distance from the city centre and its tall merchant houses and tree-lined canals. Chief sights are the prestigious Rijksmuseum and its large collection of important paintings, the Van Gogh Museum and Ann Frank's House. The attractive narrow streets are full of bars, coffee houses, quaint bridges and interesting shops.

Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Antwerp

Antwerp port is adjacent to the Steen and connected by metro to the city, which is an important centre of the diamond trade. Cobbled lanes criss-cross the city leading to art galleries, antique and chocolate shops, and the magnificent cathedral of Notre Dame, which holds paintings by Rubens, the tall Flemish buildings of the Grote Markt and the City Hall. Antwerp is also a fashion capital, and the forthcoming Port Authority HQ was designed by groundbreaking architect, Zaha Hadid.

Antwerp (Belgium)

Arnhem (Netherlands)

Leafy Arnhem was the site of Operation Market Garden, the World War II battle dramatized in A Bridge Too Far. City tours usually include visits to the bridge and the Airborne Museum, and beyond Arnhem is the natural paradise of De Hoge Veluwe National Park and the magnificent Palais Het Loo and its colourful, tiered gardens.

Arnhem

Bruges (Belgium)

Bruges is one of the oldest towns in Flanders, and one of the prettiest. Tranquil canals wind through the city, and the Church of Our Lady houses the sculpture by Michelangelo of the Madonna and Child. In the busy square overlooked by the Town Hall belfry perhaps try local 'moules et frites', buy fine chocolate, take coffee or sample one of the many Belgian beers.

Bruges

Enkhuizen (Holland)

The Drommedaris Tower in Enkhuizen is a reminder of the towns role as a trading centre for the Dutch East India Company, and the Zuiderzee Museum traces its history. The traditional wooden boats of the brown fleet pass through Enkhuizens busy lock and can be seen sailing on the Ijselmeer.

Enkhuizen

Ghent (Belgium)

Charming Ghent escaped World War II bombing, and has over 900 listed buildings commissioned by wealthy merchants in medieval times. Along the canals, there are many small shops selling unusual items, and the Design Museum shows Art Nouveau items and Philippe Starck designs.

Ghent

Gouda (Netherlands)

The city of Gouda is famous for its cheese, which is sold at a weekly cheese market in the square. Here there is often a puppet show celebrating the citys freedom in 1272, performed beneath the handsome Town Hall with its chiming clock. Gouda is also renowned for its silversmiths, smoking pipes and delicious syrup waffles.

Gouda

Hoorn (Holland)

The delightful small town of Hoorn has lovely gabled buildings, constructed during its time as a trading port for the Dutch East India Company. It is well-known for its quaint shops, selling curiosities, antiques and art, and for its famous son who rounded the Southern Cape in 1618 and named it Cape Horn after his birthplace.

Hoorn

Nijmegen (Netherlands)

The oldest city in the Netherlands is enclosed by woods, hills and winding dykes. Nijmegen is a bustling and hospitable city with a pleasant waterfront, historic Grote Markt, pavement cafés and quirky boutiques. There may be visits from Nijmegen to the Liberation Museum at nearby Groesbeek, which commemorates the occupation and liberation of the Netherlands.

Nijmegen

Rotterdam (Netherlands)

Rotterdam is one of the largest ports in the world, and provides excellent transport links to the city 24 miles away. Having suffered heavy bombing in World War II, Rotterdam is an energetic city with an impressive array of modern buildings. Explore on foot to see the remarkable Cube Houses, the Euromast and the Erasmus Bridge. With a large student population there's a lively caf' culture and good galleries, including the Kunsthal.

Rotterdam

Utrecht

The lively city of Utrecht in the heart of Holland was built around the Dom Tower which can be seen from anywhere in the city. Like Amsterdam, it is lined with a picturesque network of canals. The city was built on Roman foundations.

Volendam

The quaint lakeside town of Volendam is a maze of fishermen's houses, small gabled buildings and wooden shops, and was a popular subject for 19th-century artists. Some of its inhabitants still wear traditional Dutch dress, and there is a museum dedicated to Dutch costume and its history. Volendam is close to the historic cheese-producing town of Edam.

Volendam (Netherlands)

Customer Reviews

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Day One
A direct flight from Leeds/Bradford to Amsterdam took 50 minutes. Once I collected my luggage I was met at the meeting point in the airport (very clear to find). I was shown to the transfer bus where I was taken to the Movenpick hotel at Amsterdam Cruise Terminal. The afternoon was either at leisure (the hotel is very close to walk into Amsterdam) or an optional excursion (extra €34) to visit the tradition Dutch village of Zaanse Schans which was a short coach transfer from Amsterdam - I chose this option. In this charming village I visited a functioning windmill, watched a cheese demonstration and a wooden shoe demonstration.

Around 5pm we arrive at the Avalon Visionary. Wow - what a fantastic looking ship - very clean and crisp with a beautiful modern/contemporary feel about it. My P grade cabin offered spacious accommodation with a wonderful French balcony. I particularly liked the fact the beds faced the balcony so whilst lying in bed you could watch the scenery go by. There is plenty of room in the cabin to invite friends around for a pre-dinner drinks in the cabin.

A welcome meeting and cocktails were held in the early part of the evening. At 7:15pm the Visionary set sail for Volendam whilst I enjoy my 5 course meal including salad, soup, Seabream, dessert and coffee. 

Day Two
This morning we woke up in Volendam, a picturesque fishing town with a unique open harbour and a small timbered church dating back to 1658. The guided excursion took me to Edam. Its cheese of the same name has become famous throughout the world and cheese markets are still held in the summer months. The Old Town centre, especially the Kwakelsteeg, still has lovely characteristic Waterland houses. On the way back to the ship we visited a windmill near Volendam. The guided tour was held in small groups of approximately 30 people and headsets were provided which is great. I could wander around looking at various things (mainly shops) whilst the tour guided talked about the history of the town. This was a very relaxing but informative way of learning about the towns. Just be careful for the locals on their bikes however as they don't like to stop for anyone!

During lunch we sailed on the Markermeer to Enkhuizen, situated at the most easterly point of North Holland. Enkhuizen owes its prosperity to the Zuider Zee (now known as the Ijsselmeer). This afternoon we visited 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. Alternatively if you didn't wish to take part in the museum trip you could take part in the "Dutch Experience" - Home hosted coffee & tea with the locals of Enkhuizen. Groups of 6 people are invited to spend the afternoon at a Dutch home, which the locals are proud to have you as their guest.

Upon returning back to the ship after the excursion I headed for the Port Talk with the cruise director followed by the pre-dinner entertainment of trying Dutch Genever & cheese. Welcome Gala Dinner this evening (7 courses) was followed by the pianist playing quietly in the lounge for after dinner drinks.

Day Three
After breakfast you could choose your excursion: a trip along the "Tulip Road" or visit the town of Alkmaar. I choose to visit Alkmaar. On reaching this charming town we learnt it was the Friday cheese market. I joined a Certified Local Guide (Adam) who took us on a short walking tour (with headsets) to some of the most beautiful spots of the city. We then had a little free time to look around the cheese market and purchase products if we wished.

We rejoined the ship and sailed during lunch across the Ijsselmeer to southwest Friesland. Mid afternoon we docked in Lemmer from where the Friesland excursion departs. Friesland is primarily an agricultural region with a long history, doubtlessly best known internationally for its famous black and white Friesian cattle, and the well-known black Friesian horse. This province is also rich in history and legends, such as the tale of "The Lady of Stavoren". This afternoon excursion takes approximately 5 hours but shows you some amazing scenery on-route and mainly completed by coach.

We rejoined our ship in Sneek late afternoon and I looked forward to the Panorama Bistrot Tapas Dinner, which I had signed up for the night before. This is a NEW concept for 2013 and allows 20 guests to participate in a wonderful Tapas evening. After the Tapas had finished we enjoy an evening of Traditional Frisian Folk Dancers.

Day Four
Today I enjoyed a peaceful morning of cruising through this delightful area of Friesland. After docking in Lelystad we visit the unique shipyard, home of the Batavia. This is where they are building the 17th Century tall ships. The visit started with a movie and then a guide will take you in small groups through the wharf. After the tour we made our way back to the coach to transfer us from Lelystad to Kampen to rejoin the ship.

This evening we had a guest chef onboard preparing dinner for us. After dinner The Avalon Visionary Crew Show was held for our evening entertainment. This was great light-hearted entertainment and a great way to get to know the crew better.

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Day 1 - 24th April

Following our short hop over to Amsterdam by direct flight from Leeds Bradford with KLM, we were greeted by an Avalon representative and shown to our coach which would take us to the Movenpick Hotel. Here we had use of the hospitality room including free tea, coffee and soft drinks and also met our cruise director, a lovely lady named Nynke, who would accompany us for the duration of the cruise.

With time to spare in Amsterdam we took the optional excursion to the charming village of Zaanse Schans, a quaint village showcasing Dutch traditions such as a visit to a working windmill, cheese making demonstration followed by a wooden shoe demonstration; complete with shopping in the fabulous wooden shoe shop offering every size and colour imaginable, great souvenir opportunity!

Back to the coach for a short transfer to Haarlem to meet Avalon Visionary, can't wait to step aboard!....and I was not disappointed; our accommodation was a spacious category P stateroom offering fantastic views from the wall to wall panoramic sliding glass doors with comfortable seating area. Our twin beds even faced the sliding doors, perfect for watching the world go by! A very nice bathroom with shower and premium products - ideal for two ladies sharing a cabin and flat screen TV with entertainment system.

Once the mandatory safety exercise was over we had a welcome meeting with cocktail including an introduction of the staff and crew, hosted by Nynke. We then set sail for Volendam whilst enjoying our first dinner onboard. The modern dining room offers open seating allowing you to talk amongst your fellow travellers with tables of various sizes. The 5 course A La Carte menu offers a tempting choice! Bon Apetit!

After dinner we enjoy a cocktail or two in the lounge which offers panoramic views all around and outside seating area, whilst Stefan the onboard musician plays live music for us.

Day 2 - 25th April

We awake today in the port of Volendam after a wonderful night's sleep in the very comfortable beds and head down for buffet breakfast which offers a wide choice of continental options and cooked breakfast including omelette station prepared there and then by the chef.

Our first excursion of the day is a visit to Edam, a beautiful village which strangely has the largest church in the whole of the Netherlands! Felt almost as though we had gone back in time with the beautiful small houses and quiet way of life, very much enjoyed meandering through the streets listening to our guide tell us many a fascinating tale about the history of Edam.

Then back to Volendam and some free time to visit the souvenir shops including a huge cheese shop and various kiosks offering local speciality fish.

Time for lunch onboard the ship whilst we sail onto Enkhuizen, a tasty array awaits us at the buffet including some amazing waffles - not sure my waistline can take much more!

We then depart for our afternoon excursion to the open air Zuiderzee museum which shows the traditional way of life in the 1800's and early 1900's. The staff dressed up and even played out a typical day in the fishing village and we looked around a typical family home which were very small box houses. A very interesting excursion!

An alternative excursion offered included "The Dutch Experience" which was home hosted coffee and tea with the locals in Enkhuizen. Small groups invited to spend the afternoon at a Dutch home. The locals are proud to have you as their guests.

Back to the ship and time to get ready for the welcome gala dinner - seven courses tonight!

Day 3 - 26th April

The ship stayed moored in Enkhuizen last night so following our buffet breakfast we enjoyed a short excursion to Alkmaar with cheese market and souvenir stalls.

Then back to the ship and all aboard for sailing to Lemmer in Friesland. Lunch onboard with a choice of A La Carte menu or light lunch in the lounge. I decided to try the light lunch today which offered a simple choice of sandwiches and soup.

This afternoon a longer Friesland excursion, mostly by coach to the planetarium and a working windmill; meanwhile the ship moves to Sneek where we re-join after our excursion ends.

Tonight dinner with a difference - optional Tapas night (as well as the usual A La Carte option in the main restaurant) I signed up for this and very pleased I did, a welcome change and delightful food!

This evening's onboard entertainment includes traditional Frisian folk dancers; much to my embarrassment I was picked out of the audience to try this!

Day 4 - 27th April

This morning the ship sails early for our next stop which is Lelystad. We enjoyed a later buffet breakfast whilst sailing and some time for relaxation in the Club Lounge enjoying a coffee and a good book. On arrival in Lelystad we briefly visited the unique Batavia Shipyard where they are building 17th century tall ships.

Then it is time for us to bid a fond farewell to Avalon Visionary and head back to the airport for our journey back to Leeds Bradford with KLM. 

"Amsterdam Spring Cruise" by R.Broscomb5 star
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Short Break Cruise from Amsterdam on Modigliani with CroisiEurope

Other than my wife and I all the passenger were French. All were friendly and, with our school French, we were able pass the normal pleasantries.

As I was told beforehand, the ship had definite French style furnishings and decoration. It was attractive and a little different to other river cruise boats we have been on.

The Cruise Director and Purser, in fact the whole crew from deck staff to cabin staff and waiters could not have been kinder. All were cheerful and enthusiastic which cannot be easy as their work is very repetitive. The food presented was absolutely fabulous. We even found an English copy of the daily newssheet on our breakfast table every morning! The food was absolutely first rate and the free wine helped it go down. The evening entertainment was quite adequate with a couple of simple games and music for live dancing. The cabins were well serviced and maintained. Also the cashless system in the bar worked very well - a card was purchased for €30 with money being crossed off when buying drinks. Any outstanding credit was refunded at the end of the cruise.

It was the best river cruise boat we have experienced having holidayed with at least 3 other companies.

While booking the cruise we were advised that a problem with travelling to Amsterdam by road would be car parking. No trouble whatsoever! I unloaded our luggage at the ship then a 10 minute drive to the Zeeburg Park and Ride where I registered and received complimentary tram tickets to and from the city centre.   The parking charge €56 (£47.64). The tram stop is conveniently close to where the ship moors. Dependent on where you're travelling from I would thoroughly recommend the journey by private car. From Norfolk and return the cost was £112 cross channel ferry and 2 tanks of petrol. I can enlarge upon this information if anyone is interested.

"Bulbfield Cruise" by richard5 star
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This was the first time we had tried a river cruise and our experience was excellent.   The boat, Douce France, was very comfortable, the food was very good and the staff were quite charming, particularly Nadia, our 'hostess'.   We were the only English couple on board - everyone else was French but this didn't matter one bit as Nadia translated anything we didn't understand.     The cruise itself was most interesting and we will definitely be trying another cruise in due course!    Well done everyone.

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 This mini cruise was over the Xmas period 22 - 25 December 2013 with the itinerary Brussels - Antwerp - Ghent - Brussels. In the event a bad storm on 23/24 December prevented the boat from sailing but coach trips to Antwerp and Ghent were arranged instead. All meals were taken onboard and the Croisieurope standard was excellent, one of the reasons this was our seventh cruise with this French company. The boat was decorated for the festive season and Santa Claus had a gift for every passenger.

We were the only English passengers on board but the purser  organised the dinner table so that we sat with other English speakers, as has been the case on previous occasions.  However, one of the drawbacks is that the excursion guide tends to make the commentary in the majority language (French) so that we left the group to 'do our own thing' in Antwerp and Ghent.

Travel to Brussels is so easy via Eurostar being only 2hrs. 5mins. from St Pancras. Transfer to the dock is some £40 by taxi (return) or £7 for two by Line 3 metro to Pont Van Praet (500yards from the dock) The cruise terminated on 26 December and of course being Boxing Day no trains run in the UK such that we had an overnight stay at the Radisson Park Inn Hotel opposit Brussels Midi starion, this being the Eurostar station with good shopping and eating establishments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Super Holiday" by steve0 star
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A very nice experience. We were looked after like royalty

We booked a 6-day, 5-night cruise with Blue Water Holidays in April this year. The Cruise was on the Douce France, a CroisiEurope Boat and went from Amsterdam on the IJsselmeer, to Volendam, Hoorn and Enkhuisen and back. We also went on the trip to Keukenhof Floral Park, which was really enjoyable and the only criticism is we didn't get long enough to see all the Park, but what we did see was well worth the trip and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to see and smell a vast amount of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and other beautiful plants.


The service we received from Blue Water Holidays, when booking the holiday, was very efficient and the communication was excellent. The boat was comfortable, but not luxurious, though this was more than made up for by the fact the food was very good and the staff were very hard working and always willing to help. As this was a French Boat, our party of 6 were the only English Speaking passengers, but the Staff were able to translate any announcements for us, when our level of French wasn't up to it!


All in all a very enjoyable holiday and we would certainly use Blue Water Holidays again and go on another CroisiEurope Boat.

We are just home from a superb "Holland and Belgian Delight" river cruise with Scenic Tours. On entering the ship the ladies were presented with a beautiful yellow rose which could be put in the already provided vase in our cabin! There were approximately 140 passengers with 40 staff and this really does give a friendly atmosphere on board. Our ship (Scenic Pearl) had 5 star luxury accommodation in all areas - cabins, dining room and passengers lounge. Most of the cabins had a balcony which was lovely to sit in while cruising. The food was excellent with a tremendous variety covering all tastes - buffet style breakfast and lunch - and usually an a la carte menu for dinner. Scenic Tours are "all inclusive" and that of course covers bottled water in your cabin, all tea and coffee, all white/red wine and most alcoholic drinks - throughout the day! Maybe you would have to pay for champagne!

The cabins were always immaculately cleaned and provided with L'Occitane accessories, plus lovely white fluffy bath robes, and of course beds turned down every night with the obligatory chocolate on each pillow! Every evening we found on our beds a time table with travel arrangements of the next days events - very efficient!

I would like to emphasise that the guided tours included in the itinerary sometimes involve quite a bit of walking so do take sensible walking shoes. The Scenic Tours brochure does mention this. Of course these walking tours are not obligatory -you can always stay on board - have your hair done - go the gym room - or just relax and read with a lovely glass of wine!

Finally I would like to add that Blue Water Holidays organised our trip for us - and along with Scenic Tours - the two words that come to mind for both companies are Politeness and Efficiency. We will definitely use both companies again.

"Tulip Time Cruise" by S.Meyer4 star

A very BIG thank you for the wonderful trip that I have had the absolute privilege of joining, on Avalon Tranquility!

We departed Amsterdam on the 22nd April on the Windmill and Tulip cruise for 7 wonderful nights.  The crew were outstanding and an absolute pleasure.  Not one thing could be faulted besides the weather and I honestly believe that if the crew could have changed that they would have.

The food (which there had been previous negative write ups about) was of a very high standard and plenty of it, and the glass of local wine I had each evening totally complimented all these delights. Mm mm

The cabins were of a decent size and it was wonderful to crawl into a lovely ‘turned down' bed every night, eat the chocolate that had been kindly left on my pillow, snuggle down and have wonderful dreams about what we would do and see the next day.

All the excursions were well planned (even though we were left behind in Bruges) and the optional excursions were well worth the addional expense.

Keukenhof as my hi-lite and would have been most disappointed had I not been able to spend this very special time amongst the ‘Tulips from Amsterdam'.  Everyone should put Keukenhof on their bucket list!

Another negative I had read about was the entertainment - well quite frankly, I found it most pleasant having the piano in the evening and very restful.  The days were so very busy, therefore relaxed evenings were just what I needed.

So, compliments to each and everyone involved with the Tranquility, our booking agent Blue Waters and especially the delightful passengers on-board.

I sincerely hope that I will be able to afford this privilege again in my life time.

Blue Water Reviews

Exclusive Review of Scenic Jasper's Inaugural Sailing

Weds 20 May 2015

In April 2015, all-inclusive luxury operator Scenic Tours rebranded, dropping the "Tours" to become known simply as Scenic. The new name reflects the company's extensive portfolio, from escorted coach tours to all-inclusive river cruises on state-of-the-art ships.

Scenic is committed to expanding its river cruise offering, from new destinations to brand new ships, the most recent being Scenic Jasper. Samantha, one of our Cruising Specialists was lucky enough to be invited on its inaugural sailing from the cosmoplitan capital of Amsterdam along the beautiful Dutch waterways.

Cruising on board Scenic's brand new Space-Ship Scenic Jasper

I have been on several river cruises before, but was very excited to be invited to experience Scenic's brand new ship, the Scenic Jasper, on an ultra-luxury, all-inclusive cruise through Holland and Belgium.

Having checked in at reception I was shown to my cabin, a Deluxe Balcony Suite on the Diamond Deck (upper deck). My first reaction was WOW. The comfiest double bed with crisp white bedding and big fluffy pillows sat in the middle of a very contemporary styled cabin, decorated in tones of grey with accessories of silver and a lovely black granite dressing table. The floor to ceiling wardrobe had more than adequate space for my clothes (and 8 pairs of shoes ' I'm a woman it's obligatory!) This was also where I found the complimentary mini-bar (re-stocked daily), safety deposit box, umbrella and Nordic walking sticks all for my use whilst out and about and all included in the price of the cruise.

All of the suites on the middle and upper decks have private balconies which span the full width of the cabin. These balconies are quite a unique design, with bi-folding glass panels which open onto a decked balcony area with 2 woven chairs and a small drinks table. The best part is that at the touch of a button, the top half of the outer glass lowers to waist height providing an instant open air balcony ' very impressive!

Next I checked out the en-suite bathroom, and again another WOW! Perfectly folded huge fluffy white towels embossed with the brand new Scenic logo ' similar for the complimentary bath robe and slippers. There was a full range of L'Occitaine products (replenished with use), a hairdryer and shaver point. The shower was fantastic, 3 adjustable shower heads and wait for it' changeable coloured lights ' I had my very own disco shower!

The rest of the ship did not disappoint either, decorated similarly to the suite in black, white and silver. The lounge was located on the middle deck at embarkation level and was very spacious with plenty of comfortable seating for all onboard. The bar was well-stocked and the bartenders were happy to serve you from breakfast until 2am ' all complimentary of course. Also in the lounge was a state of the art coffee machine and tea making facilities which were available for guests to enjoy 24 hours a day.

Scenic's brand new logo Explore the Dutch capital of Amsterdam Explore the city by bike Bruges Bruges City Hall Bruges Church of Our Lady, Bruges Cheesemaking demonstration Edam cheese Royal Balcony Suite Bathroom in a Royal Balcony Suite Deluxe Balcony Suite Pool on the Sun Deck

There are three dining options on the Scenic Jasper. The Crystal Dining room is where buffet breakfast, lunch and 5 course dinner are served (lighter options are also available). At the rear of the lounge is Portobello's, an Italian inspired restaurant which seats around 30 and at the rear of the main dining room you will find Table La Rive, a unique and intimate dining experience where guests can enjoy fine wines perfectly matched to the culinary delights of the region. All guests are invited to dine at least once during their stay in both Portabello's and Table La Rive, with no cover charge. Once again the benefit of ultra-inclusive cruising!

Many excursions are included, but Scenic also have 'FreeChoice' options so you can tailormake your own itinerary, choosing the excursions which suit you best. On day 3 of my trip I opted to take a guided walking tour of Bruges as opposed to a tour of Antwerp. An English-speaking guide accompanied us in an air-conditioned coach and walked with us on our excursions. All guests have their own Tour Personaliser, a headset device which can either be linked to the guide's microphone or if you prefer to spend free time rather than take part in an organised activity, you can listen to pre-recorded information about the local sights. While in Hoorn you could take a walking tour, spend free time or take a cycling tour of the town. Scenic have about 25 very modern electric bikes which are carried onboard at all times.

Something else which makes Scenic really stand out from some other cruise providers is their Enrich programme. These are very special experiences which really take you to the heart of the destination. Whilst in Hoorn we where privileged to come together with very hospitable locals of this quiet pocket of Northern Holland and dine with them in the magnificent Oosterkerk, a 17th Century Dutch Reformed church, designed by the architect Daniel Stalpaert. Each table of 8-10 was hosted by a local who was more than happy to indulge in conversation about his much beloved town and country. A very special evening was had by all and one that will not be forgotten.

Gratuities are included in the cruise cost, but had they not been I would have very happily opened my wallet. Every single member of staff onboard, including our Cruise Director Kurt, my butler Natalia and the very talented chefs, are worth every penny.

I had THE best river cruise experience and one which I would not hesitate to recommend to friends, family and customers alike. From start to finish I was made to feel quite special and the best part of it all ' it was all included in the price!!!!

Review by Samantha, Blue Water Holidays

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