ST. LOUIS, MO, November 29, 2006 – When spring has sprung, Holland is alive with its famous tulips that paint the countryside with brilliant colors. Guests of the 78-guest deluxe Rembrandt will have an easel-side view as they leisurely traverse the legendary rivers and canals between Amsterdam and Antwerp. This April and May, INTRAV is offering four 12-day “Springtime in Holland and Belgium” departures, showcasing some of Europe’s grandest cities as well as charming small towns off the usual well trodden tourist paths.
Reputed as an innovative designer and operator of worldwide river cruises, INTRAV’s inclusive April 1, 11, 21 and May 1 cruise itinerary allows travelers easy access to some off-the-beaten-track areas while immersing them in the destinations visited with an expert team of guides leading all shore excursions, and a series of onboard guest lectures on local history.
After an overnight in Amsterdam aboard the exclusively-chartered, intimate Rembrandt, a full-day of touring features the stately capital’s distinctive 17th and 18th century buildings plus Dam Square, the Portuguese Synagogue and Rijksmuseum, which boasts artwork by Dutch Masters Vermeer, van Gogh and Rembrandt.
Following a morning visit of Holland’s famed floral attraction, Keukenhof Gardens, an afternoon cruise to the fishing village of Volendam takes guests to nearby Edam, a quaint market town renowned for its flavorful cheese.
A shipboard evening Dutch folkloric show entertains before a morning arrival in Hoorn, a Zuider Zee village rich in maritime lore; it was from this harbor that early Dutch explorers sailed the world. Next, in Utrecht, visit the famous Kröller- Müller Museum, which features 278 van Gogh masterworks and sculpture gardens in the surrounding de Hoge Velulwe National Park.
After sailing along the Amsterdam-Rijncanal, INTRAV guides lead a walking tour of the 13th century silversmithing river port town Schoonhoven, before continuing to the 19 Kinderdijk Windmills (UNESCO World Heritage Site). In Gouda, see the monumental de Waag (weighing house) and the striking Stadhuis, reported to be Holland’s oldest town hall. A real highlight is the 15th century St. Janskerk, home to 70 of Europe’s most beautiful stained-glass windows.
Next a full-day excursion begins in Delft, home of the famous blue and white porcelain. Places of interest here include beautiful market square and Nieuwe Kerk (new church) before lunch at a local restaurant. The journey continues onward to The Hague – seat of Dutch government and home of the royal family. A tour here takes guests to the city’s noble houses, mansions, Parliament, International Court of Justice and Palace Noordeinde, plus a stop at the Mauritshuis Museum, with a vast collection of golden-age Dutch masters.
From the tiny harbor of Veere, a visit of the Delta Works showcases one of the world’s largest hydraulic engineering projects designed to avoid catastrophic floods in the southwestern Netherlands. The walking tour concludes in the typically Dutch town of Middelburg, capital of the Zeeland province. In the Middle Ages, the city was the center of English trade in cloth and wool.
A full day is spent in ancient Bruges, a virtual open-air museum with places of worship, mansions, cozy alleyways, small bridges and romantic canals. Behind the historic ramparts and moats, the Old Town has maintained its rich architecture and medieval traditions. Explorations here begin with a canal cruise then continue on foot past the intimate Beguinage, the Town Hall Markt and the belfry’s world-famous 47-bell carillon.
A full day and onboard overnight in Antwerp allows ample time to see the prominent port city’s wide squares and monuments dating from its wealthy medieval and Renaissance periods. The walking tour includes a visit of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, one of Belgium’s oldest and most important museums, features a comprehensive Flemish collection.
Launched in 2003, the 78-guest Rembrandt is intimate and comfortable, featuring spacious public areas and generously sized all-outside guest staterooms and suites. Attentive staff in the single open seating dining room serves hearty regional specialties.
Per person prices for the “Springtime in Holland and Belgium” voyages start at $2,995, double occupancy, plus airfare, and include ten nights aboard the Rembrandt in outside cabins, all meals, shore excursions, port changes, departure fees and the services of an INTRAV cruise director and travel director, onboard guide and experts.
Visitors can also add a pre- or post-cruise two-night extension in Brussels including accommodations at the Le Meridien Brussels and visits to notable sites around the city including Saint Michael’s Cathedral, the Atomium, Place Louise, Royal Place of Laeken and a tour of nearby Ghent. Prices are at $625 per person, double occupancy.
Since its founding in 1959, St. Louis-based INTRAV has built a formidable reputation as an innovative designer and operator of worldwide river cruises, land and safari journeys and small-ship expeditions. With operational experience in more than 90 countries, INTRAV offers more itinerary choices to more destinations around the world. For additional information about INTRAV visit www.intrav.com.