Holland & Belgium in Springtime

Highlights & InclusionsItineraryPricing Information Terms & Conditions
Departure Date: April 28, 2017
Duration: 11 Days / 10 Nights
Price from: Sold Out
Single Room Supplement: Sold Out

In order to bring you the greatest selection of destinations and itineraries, Gutsy Women Travel has worked with our partner GCCL to reserve space on this 2017 guided vacation. This trip is open to men and women, and will operate with a larger group size than our traditional Gutsy Women departures.


Highlights & Inclusions

  • Be sure to mention booking code G7-25972 to receive all the Gutsy benefits!
  • Airport transfers are included when you purchase our operator's International air to coincide with trip's day by day agenda.
  • Available Pre-trip: Bruges, Belgium
  • Available Post-trip: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • International airfare, airport transfers, government taxes, fees, and airline fuel surcharges, unless you choose to make your own air arrangements
  • Accommodations for 10 nights aboard a private river ship with wireless Internet access now in all common areas and cabins
  • ALL meals: Daily breakfasts, 10 lunches, 10 dinners—including 1 meal in a local restaurant—plus all onboard house beer & wine, as well as soft drinks
  • 8 included tours with personal headsets and 2 exclusive Discovery Series events—Home-Hosted Op de Koffie • Tulip farm visit
  • Local Program Directors, a Grand Circle Cruise Line exclusive: These dedicated experts are with you (and no more than 47 travelers) every step of the way to provide insider’s knowledge and the perspective that will enrich your experience
  • Gratuities for local guides and motorcoach drivers
  • All port charges: a value of $145 per person
  • Baggage handling for 1 piece of luggage per person, including tips
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit toward your next Grand Circle vacation—an average of $235


Itinerary

Striking landscapes, quaint historic cities, and warm hospitality—all brought to life by the vivid beauty of spring—await on this enhanced Belgium and Holland river cruise. Marvel at countryside vistas, glistening canals, and feel the renewed energy of the season with an excursion to colorful Keukenhof Flower Park and a visit to a tulip farm, plus get a taste of daily life during a Home-Hosted Visit in Enkhuizen, and enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the Kinderdijk Windmills. Holland & Belgium in Springtime’s enhanced itinerary also includes a NEW destination, Arnhem, the Netherlands. This Dutch city had a starring role in both Operation Market Garden—an ill-fated series of Allied World War II maneuvers—and the epic 1977 film the efforts inspired, A Bridge Too Far

DAY 1 Depart U.S.

Depart the U.S. today on your flight to Brussels, Belgium. Please refer to your personal air itinerary for exact departure and arrival times.

DAY 2 Brussels, Belgium • Antwerp • Embark ship

Arrive in Brussels, where you'll be meet you at the airport and assisted with the transfer to your ship in Antwerp to join passengers who took the Bruges, Belgium pre-trip extension.

After an included light lunch, relax aboard your ship or take a stroll around the neighborhood where it’s docked. Back on board, gather for a briefing. During your Holland & Belgium river cruise, whenever you have leisure time at a port along your journey, you’ll receive a briefing about the port area and town prior to arrival so you can make the best use of your free time there.

Join your new travel companions for dinner onboard this evening.
MEALS: L D
OVERNIGHT: Private Grand Circle River Ship

DAY 3 Antwerp

After breakfast, set off on a walking tour of Antwerp. Located on the banks of the Schelde River, Antwerp is Belgium’s major port and has been commercially important in European trade since the eleventh century. Like Amsterdam, it is one of the world centers for diamond trading. In spite of damage suffered during both World Wars, Antwerp remains a city full of beautiful historic architecture dating to the 16th century.

You’ll explore Antwerp’s well-preserved Old Town, built around the Grote Markt (Town Square), and graced by the lovely old Town Hall and guild houses. Marvel at the elegant spires of the Cathedral of Our Lady, graced with masterpieces by the great painter Peter Paul Rubens who lived here in the 17th century. Stroll along the Meir (Antwerp's main shopping street), lined with wonderfully elaborate historic buildings.

Return to the ship for lunch, after which you have the afternoon free to rest or explore on your own.

On board this evening, meet the crew over a Welcome Drink and sit down together for a Welcome Dinner. Cruise toward your next port, Ghent, this evening.
MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Private Grand Circle River Ship

DAY 4 Ghent • Optional Belgian Beer & Flowers tour

This morning, visit one of Belgium’s oldest cities and its fourth-largest, Ghent, known as "the jewel of Flanders." Enjoy an included walking tour here that will immerse you in the city’s rich history.

Medieval and Renaissance buildings tell the story of Ghent’s past reign as a textile capital from the eleventh century onward, both more populous and wealthier than London for several centuries. When the people of Ghent were under Spanish rule and rose up against Charles V to protest taxes, he punished the city by making its nobles parade before him wearing nooses around their necks. This led to the term stroppendragers (noose-wearers) becoming the nickname for Ghent-dwellers ever since. Enjoy free time in this Flemish treasure before returning to the ship for lunch.

This afternoon, make discoveries at your own pace, or join your Program Director on an optional Belgian Beer & Flowers tour. Tulips aren’t the only popular blooms in this region, and you'll learn about Ghent’s role as the world’s largest exporter of azaleas at a farm visit. Then discover one local family-owned brewery’s methods of producing beer called gruut (made with spices)—and enjoy samples.

This evening, enjoy dinner onboard the ship.
MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Private Grand Circle River Ship

DAY 5 Veere, the Netherlands • Optional Delta Works tour

After breakfast onboard, disembark in Veere. You’ll get to know this picturesque village during a stroll this morning. Your Program Director will share information about this artist-friendly town of 1,500 and its past as a walled trading city in the Middle Ages.

Enjoy free time here before returning to the ship for lunch onboard. Then, spend the afternoon relaxing aboard the ship or exploring Veere at your own pace. Or, join an optional excursion to the Delta Works, an engineering marvel designed to protect Holland from floods.
MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Private Grand Circle River Ship

DAY 6 Kinderdijk • Rotterdam

Spend the morning Kinderdijk, discovering its famed 19 windmills. These well-preserved, historic structure, supported in part by Grand Circle Foundation, became protected by UNESCO in 1997. Stroll around the site, with plenty of time to take some photos of these nostalgic, yet pragmatic creations.

Kinderdijk takes its name from a 16th-century legend involving a baby (or kinder), a cradle, and a cat that all survived being tossed into raging waters. For centuries, the Dutch were at the mercy of frequent floods. Around 1740, 19 windmills were built in the village of Kinderdijk, innovative structures that drain the excess water from polders—the reclaimed land that is situated below sea level—and pump it into nearby rivers and canals. This helps to evenly distribute water levels and lessen the threat of devastating floods. Nowadays, modern engines do the job of turning the paddle wheels, forcing them to scoop up the water, yet the country still has a unique bond with, and affection for, its many windmills.

Embark the ship for a short cruise to Rotterdam—setting off after lunch for a walking tour of the city, which was almost completely destroyed during World World II. The reconstructed city is now known for its crisp, modern architecture. Following your walking tour, enjoy the rest of the afternoon to pursue your own interests in Rotterdam.
MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Private Grand Circle River Ship

DAY 7 Arnhem

Explore Arnhem today, set across the banks of both the Nederrijn and Sint-Jansbeek rivers, starting with a morning walking tour.

One of the largest cities in the Netherlands, Arnhem's center was nearly leveled during World War II—and the rebuilt city has since established itself a lively cultural center with an eye for fashion and design. Continue your discoveries this afternoon on your own.

This evening, begin cruising to Enkhuizen.
MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Private Grand Circle River Ship

DAY 8 Enkhuizen • Home-Hosted Op de Koffie

Begin your day with a walking tour of Enkhuizen (pronounced "enk-HOW-zen")—a striking, magnificently preserved town established between AD 1000 and 1200. Enkhuizen became a city in 1355, prospering due to its herring fishing industry and trade from the East and West India companies. Enkhuizen reached its peak in the 17th century when it boasted the largest herring fleet in Holland.

The thriving port sat on the edge of the Zuider Zee, an inlet of the North Sea, until it was enclosed in 1932. Now, Enkhuizen sits on the Ijsselmeer, the large inland lake created by the damming of the sea outlet. With a population of about 16,000, this historic city retains its old charms, and its harbors attract thousands of pleasure boats. You’ll also see the Drommedaris, an old defense tower at the entrance to the harbor, and the many warehouses originally used by both the East and West India Company.

This afternoon, enjoy a visit with a local family, an exclusive Discovery Series event. They’ll be your hosts for coffee, cake, and conversation. Along with a friendly intercultural exchange, you might enjoy tasting a stroopwafel—a thin, waffle-like sandwich cookie with a sweet, chewy center.
MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Private Grand Circle River Ship

DAY 9 Amsterdam

Get acquainted with the Netherlands’ capital this morning on an Amsterdam canal cruise. While traversing these 400-year-old canals—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—you’ll view such landmarks as the 17th-century Royal Palace and the Mint Tower, which has retained its name even though gold and silver coins were minted here for only a couple of years. You'll also see the wooden double drawbridge, known as the "Skinny Bridge," that may remind you of Van Gogh's paintings.

The rest of the day is yours to continue exploring Amsterdam on your own.
MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Private Grand Circle River Ship

DAY 10 Amsterdam • Keukenhof Flower Park • Tulip Farm visit • Zaandam

Enjoy a quintessential Netherlands in springtime experience this morning—the Keukenhof Flower Park. Set in the heart of the western Netherlands’ tulip-growing region, you'll have the opportunity to stroll through the park's 70 acres of lovely, tree-shaded grounds with ponds, winding paths, streams, and fountains, and enjoy lunch on the grounds. Once the kitchen garden of a medieval castle, today it is known as the "greatest flower show on Earth," featuring more than seven million tulips and a variety of other flowers in both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Continue your springtime with a visit a tulip farm, an exclusive Discovery Series event. The Netherlands have more than 23,000 acres set aside for the cultivation of their famous blooms, and during the season, the area's landscape is rich with vibrant colors as the tulips come to life. Witness these brightly colored flowers, and learn how farmers prepare the tulips to be picked and sold.

Return to the ship for a late afternoon of scenic sailing to Zaadam, where you'll arrive this evening.

Please note: Weather conditions and seasonal fluctuations may affect flower-blooming season. The lush blooming of the park usually peaks in mid-April. Not all blooms will be visible in March.
MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Private Grand Circle River Ship

DAY 11 Zaandam • Optional Aalsmeer Flower Auction • Amsterdam

Early this morning, you can choose to immerse yourself in the spectacle of the Aalsmeer Flower Auction (the world’s largest) during an optional outing.

Then embark on a scenic mid-morning cruise back to Amsterdam, reveling in the springtime scenes that line the riverbanks. Arrive early this afternoon, and spend it pursuing your own interests in the city.

Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers for your Captain's Farewell Dinner.
MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Private Grand Circle River Ship

DAY 12 Amsterdam • Disembark ship • Return to U.S.

Disembark the ship this morning and transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or, experience more of this region on our optional Amsterdam, the Netherlands or Berlin, Germany extensions.
MEALS: B






Pre-Trip Extension: Bruges, Belgium

Originally a ninth-century fortress built to protect the Flemish coast from marauding Vikings, Bruges today retains its reputation as one of the best-preserved Old-World cities on the continent. Its museums hold some of the oldest and finest collections you will find anywhere, and its narrow, winding streets meander through the city beside a centuries-old canal system.

It's Included:

  • Accommodations for 3 nights
  • All breakfasts
  • Included tour: Bruges
  • Dedicated services of a local Program Director
  • Gratuities for local guides and motorcoach drivers
  • All transfers

DAY 1 Depart U.S.

Leave the U.S. today on your flight to Brussels, Belgium. Please refer to your personal air itinerary for exact departure and arrival times.

DAY 2 Brussels, Belgium • Bruges


OVERNIGHT: Grand Hotel Casselbergh Bruges or similar Arrive this morning or afternoon in Brussels. A Grand Circle representative will meet you at the airport and assist with the transfer to your hotel in Bruges.

The balance of the day is at leisure to relax after your overseas flight. You are invited to join an orientation walk that will acquaint you with both the neighborhood around your hotel and your travel companions. Lunch and dinner are on your own today.

DAY 3 Bruges


MEALS: B
OVERNIGHT: Grand Hotel Casselbergh Bruges or similar

It is often said that the best way to see Bruges—where almost every street is lined with historic buildings—is on foot. So after breakfast, you’ll set off on a walking tour of this city of canals, the former capital of West Flanders, and Europe’s best-preserved medieval city. From the 13th to the 15th centuries (until the Zwin River silted over), Bruges was northern Europe's leading trade center, owing its prominence largely to thriving wool and textile industries. You’ll see signs of this mercantile history in the beautiful houses built by the wealthy textile merchants.

Your walking tour takes you to the Church of Our Lady and to Market Square, with its distinctive belfry tower and carillon of 47 bells. You’ll also see the Holy Blood Chapel, containing relics from the Crusades.

You then have a chance to see Bruges from another perspective—from onboard a boat navigating the city’s winding canals. Back on terra firma, your tour continues with a visit to a local lace shop, where you'll learn about the artistry and craft involved in this traditional creation of Belgium. Lace-making has a long history but came into its own in the 15th century. Belgium soon gained a peerless reputation for fine lacework, and Bruges became a world center for lace.

After the morning tour, you have the remainder of the day at leisure. If you like, you can remain in town for shopping and independent exploration. Perhaps you'll spend some of your time taking part in one of the pleasurable pursuits of travel—finding an enticing restaurant for local cuisine. Seek out interesting spots to dine on your own for lunch and dinner today.

DAY 4 Bruges • Optional Flanders Fields tour OPTIONAL TOUR


MEALS: B
OVERNIGHT: Grand Hotel Casselbergh Bruges or similar

Enjoy the day in Bruges to spend as you please. No other European city has the medieval look and feel of Bruges. Even its 19th-century neo-Gothic restorations add to the ambiance of the Middle Ages.

This afternoon, choose to join an optional Flanders Fields tour to visit Ypres, the site of three great battles of World War I, and the World War I Memorial Museum..

DAY 5 Bruges • Optional Scenic Belgium tour • Antwerp OPTIONAL TOUR


MEALS: B

This morning is yours to relax and explore at your own pace.

Or, join us for an optional Scenic Belgium tour. Travel to the coastal region and the town of Raversijde, where you’ll tour the remnants of the Atlantikwal, the fortifications Germany set up to protect its western front. The Atlantikwal ran effectively from coastal France to Norway's most northernmost city. You'll find some of the best-preserved examples of bunkers and buildings here, often restored with period furniture and equipment.

Continue by bus through Western Flanders’ flat fields and low-lying canals, past villages nestled among clusters of poplars, and we arrive in the former fishing village of Damme. In the 13th century this was the region’s busiest port; but like Bruges, its fate was sealed when the Zwin silted up. Along Kerkstraat, you'll find the main sights of this medieval town: the Gothic Town Hall and the twelfth-century Our Lady’s Church. After a leisurely stroll, you'll board the local barge De Lamme Goedzak and enjoy a 40-minute cruise past the poplar-lined Damse Vaart, a canal linking Damme with Bruges. While cruising, you'll even savor one of Belgium's magnificent locally brewed beers.

Then check out of your Bruges hotel and transfer to Antwerp, where you'll board your ship on Day 2 of your Holland & Belgium in Springtime River Cruise.






Post-Trip Extension: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Extend your time in Amsterdam to experience the many delights of this fascinating city. Included tours introduce you to the historic neighborhood known as Zaanse Schans—an old hamlet on the River Zaan—as well as culturally rich Haarlem. Then spend time exploring on your own, with expert suggestions from your Grand Circle Program Director—or join an optional tour of charming Volendam. Whether you choose to admire Van Gogh originals, browse an amazing variety of markets (from a floating flower market to elegant antique shops), or simply stroll along narrow canals, you'll find something to suit every traveler.

It's Included:

  • Accommodations for 3 nights
  • All breakfasts
  • Included tours: Zaanse Schans • Haarlem
  • Dedicated services of a local Program Director
  • Gratuities for local guides and motorcoach drivers
  • All transfers

DAY 1 Amsterdam • Zaanse Schans


OVERNIGHT: Moevenpick Amsterdam City Center or similar

After breakfast this morning, as your Holland & Belgium in Springtime trip ends, visit Zaanse Schans—an old hamlet on the banks of the River Zaan. Some of the buildings are original to the site while others have been moved here. You’ll find eight windmills along the river—a far cry from the original 200, when the region was heavily industrialized. Some of the buildings are open for viewing and you’ll find a cheesemaker’s store, a wooden shoemaker’s shop, and a variety of restaurants.

After lunch on your own, enjoy the rest of the day to relax or to explore independently. If you choose the latter, you’ll find that Amsterdam, like so many of Europe’s most inviting cities, truly rewards the walker. If you wish, you can join a guided walk in mid-afternoon to get acquainted with the vicinity around the hotel. You can then choose among Amsterdam’s vast variety of restaurants for dinner on your own this evening; your Grand Circle Program Director can offer helpful suggestions.

DAY 2 Amsterdam • Haarlem • Optional Volendam tour OPTIONAL TOUR


MEALS: B
OVERNIGHT: Moevenpick Amsterdam City Center or similar

After breakfast this morning, you'll transfer by motorcoach to the nearby city of Haarlem. Upon arrival, enjoy a guided walking tour that showcases Haarlem's rich history and features notable sights like the 14th-century City Hall and Amsterdamse Poort, the former gateway to the city of Amsterdam. Learn about Haarlem's proud tradition of beer brewing, as well as its present-day prominence as a major trading center for tulips. Then take some time at leisure to explore before returning to Amsterdam.

Then perhaps you'll choose to enjoy a timeless taste of Dutch traditional life on an optional tour of Edam-Volendam and nearby Marken peninsula. Travel overland to Volendam, a fishing village that has preserved centuries of tradition. As your Program Director leads a guided stroll through the quaint streets, you might note some of the local women still wearing the pointed white bonnet of their ancestors. With its small houses, canals, and drawbridges, Volendam is only half of a municipality; the remainder is charming Edam, home to a market best known for the flavorful cheese that bears the same name.

Leaving the red-roofed skyline of Volendam's harbor behind, you'll enjoy a ferry ride to Marken, where clusters of traditional wooden homes form little villages on what once was an island.

DAY 3 Amsterdam


MEALS: B
OVERNIGHT: Moevenpick Amsterdam City Center or similar

After breakfast, enjoy a final day to explore Amsterdam. Perhaps you will explore the Van Gogh Museum, which also offers masterpieces by Gauguin, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, and others. The Old Church (De Oude Kerk) is one of the city's historic highlights, with beautiful painted wooden vaults, an 18th-century organ, and the gravestone of one of the Dutch founders of New York City, Kiliaen van Rensselaer. An architectural treasure with artworks spanning centuries, the church also hosts frequent exhibitions and concerts.

In early evening, enjoy an included Farewell Drink with your fellow travelers to celebrate your adventures. Then you can seek out a new restaurant or revisit a favorite for dinner on your own.

DAY 4 Amsterdam • Return to U.S.


MEALS: B

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Accommodations

Pricing Information

View Specials & Promotions
Arrival DateSingleSharedDouble
Apr 28, 2017 $3,590 n/a $2,995
Air from JFK $900
Pre-Trip to Bruges, Belgium $645
Post-Trip to Amsterdam $645

Be sure to mention booking code G7-25972 to receive all the Gutsy benefits!

Savings have been reflected in pricing noted online & subject to availabilty, so book soon!

Pricing is based on lowest priced cabin category, is subject to change as this price is a lead in price that is subject to availability. Upgrade opportunities are available and will be added to inquiry cabin selection request shortly. Please call (866) 464 8879 to discuss single supplement discounts available to GWT customers.

For pricing on cabin upgrades please speak to our river cruise specialist at time of booking.

In order to qualify for the GWT Past Traveler Discount of 5% on the land portion of the trip, you must advise the reservation specialist at time of depositing on your 2017 trip which GWT trip you traveled on (date/name of departure and year) over the past 5 years.

Please note this departure is not exclusive to women but will be comprised of Gutsy Women Travel participants co-sharing the overall trip capacity with members of GCCL resulting in a larger group size compared to the traditional Gutsy Women Travel trips designed exclusively for women.

Single Room - one person, traveling solo in single accommodation
Double Room - two people, traveling together in same accommodation

Air travel arrangements for Gutsy Women's trip participants are made independently as most women are traveling from various gateway cities within or outside North America. Our river cruise specialist can assist you in securing the best airfare routing available as well as travel protection.

For further information and reservations call (866) IM GUTSY (464 8879) or
email reservations@gutsywomentravel.com.
For online 24/7 booking capability go to gutsywomentravel.com.

Please note: Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.