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Grand River Voyage I - Highlights of the Low Countries
Explore the rich history and picturesque towns and cities of the heart of the Low Countries, discovering the rural tranquillity of this unspoilt area...

Grand River Voyage I – Highlights of the Low Countries

Amsterdam to Amsterdam

Tuesday 5th April to Tuesday 19th April 2022

From £7,320 per person

14 nights including
4 Gala Dinners

Explore the rich history and picturesque towns and cities of the heart of the Low Countries, discovering the rural tranquillity of this unspoilt area. This cruise of varied interest, through the intricate network of rivers and waterways of The Netherlands and Belgium, offers something for everyone.
Discover delightful Dutch scenery as we visit the spectacular Keukenhof Gardens, and the contrasting highlights of these two enchanting countries including magnificent Amsterdam, with its myriad of canals and unique townhouses, the bustling port of Rotterdam, the famous windmills of Kinderijjk, the silver city of Schoonhoven, and the medieval cities of Ghent and Bruges.
Taste the best of Dutch and Belgian food and drink as you visit key cities to soak up local culture and sample the produce for which this area is renowned. Savour local beer in historic Brussels, enjoy the world-famous Belgian chocolate in Europe's diamond capital of Antwerp, sip award-winning Dutch wines in Limburg and taste one of The Netherlands’ biggest exports, cheese, as we explore the picturesque city of Gouda.
This Grand Voyage will capture the real essence of The Netherlands and Belgium with a perfect mix of cities, riverscapes, local specialities and spring colour - a true feast for the senses.

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Grand Voyage 1 route map

See our itinerary below...

Below you can explore the itinerary for this cruise. Click on the arrows to see more information on each days itinerary. Simply click the ‘Book this Cruise’ button to get booking and embark on ab exciting journey with us…

Guest Speakers: Professor Stefan Buczacki and John Ducker

Royal Crown cruise guest speaker Professor Stefan Buczacki Royal Crown cruise guest speaker John Ducker

Professor Stefan Buczacki: Professor Stefan Buczacki has no less than thirty years experience as a cruise ship lecturer. He is one of the country’s best known and most respected gardening and natural history authors and broadcasters, familiar from his many years as panellist and chairman on Gardeners’ Question Time and as a presenter on Gardeners’ World. Less expectedly, he is a respected historical biographer and is recognised as an authority on Winston Churchill and his social circle.

John Ducker: A freelancer wearing two quite distinct ‘hats’, John is a member of the Association of Wine Educators and the élite Circle of Wine Writers, with many sea and river miles behind him as a lecturer. Happily his interest in wine is completely interlocked with that of food…. and of creating exciting balanced wine/food matches. Not a food professional himself, his main focus has centered around the sheer diversity of European cuisine. Under John’s other ‘hat’ is a professional actor of many years with, in his later years, a world-wide reputation for ‘doggedness’…. Yes, pun intended.

 

Tuesday 5th April

UK / Amsterdam

Accompanied flight from London Heathrow to Amsterdam or rail from St. Pancras to Brussels and road transfer to Amsterdam.

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Wednesday 6th April

Amsterdam - Museum Van Loon - National Maritime Museum.

The colourful buildings of Amsterdam lining the waters edge

Our cruise commences in the unique 17th century capital of The Netherlands. In the heart of the city, on the Keizersgracht, is the former residence of the Amsterdam regent family Van Loon. This extremely wealthy family purchased the house in 1884 which has since been converted into a living museum.

Historical photographs, paintings, personal souvenirs and documents tell the history of the Van Loon family who co-founded the Dutch East India Company, held various positions in the Amsterdam city government and were later ennobled by King William I.

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Thursday 7th April

Utrecht / Keukenhof -  Keukenhof Gardens

Dutch tulips in Keukenhof Gardens

No visit to The Netherlands in spring would be complete without a visit to Keukenhof Gardens to experience the gorgeous views of blooming Dutch tulips and other flowers for which The Netherlands is renowned. The world-famous gardens at Keukenhof encompass over 70 acres of gardens and parkland. Here, we admire the spectacular displays of over seven million bulbs in bloom and over 80 different varieties of trees set amongst shimmering lakes and beautiful water gardens.

The gardens and pavilions show a fantastic collection of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, orchids, roses, carnations, irises, lilies and many other flowers. You will be overwhelmed by a spectacle of colours and perfumes.

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Friday 8th April

Schoonhoven – Walking tour and Silver Museum / Kinderdijk

Windmills in Kinderdijk in the Netherlands

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk, with its 19 historic windmills, plays host to our visit this morning. Boasting the largest concentration of windmills in the world, and dating back to the 1740’s, the windmills are kept in operating condition, forming an iconic Dutch scene. The windmills of Kinderdijk were built to keep the low-lying lands of the Alblasserwaard dry and here, we discover how the Dutch have been using water to their benefit for over 1000 years.

After lunch, we embark on a walking tour of Schoonhoven, with its preserved medieval parts and
delightful canals. Schoonhoven is renowned for its silver tradition and has been home to Gold and Silversmiths since the Middle Ages. We have the opportunity to discover more of this traditional art at the Dutch Silver Museum.

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Saturday 9th April

Rotterdam – City tour.

Oude Haven in Rotterdam

Known as Manhattan on the Meuse, due to its impressive skyline, Rotterdam has a fantastic reputation for architecture. The city centre was largely rebuilt after World War II and the buildings, skyscrapers and bridges have been designed with a daring, forward-thinking approach. The Erasmus Bridge (referred to locally as ‘The Swan’), the towering Euromast and the modern skyscrapers along the Wilhelminakade pier are particularly striking examples of the distinctive architectural style.

The afternoon is spent cruising over the border into Belgium on passage to Ghent

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Sunday 10th April

Ghent - Castle Loppem private tour and reception. / Ghent - Bruges canal cruise and chocolate tasting.

The old buildings of Bruges in Belgium lining the canal

This morning we travel to the romantic Castle Loppem, built in 1856 by Baron Charles
van Caloen and his wife Countess Savina de Gourcy Serainchamps. The architecure and interiors are preserved in their original state and the castle is home to a rich art collection.

The Countess Isabelle van Caloen, current owner of Castle Loppem, will be in residence to welcome our group personally, followed by a private tour of the castle and grounds and an exlcusive Champagne reception.

Onwards to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bruges, one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe, where we board a canal boat to discover why Bruges is often called ‘the Venice of the North’. Our picturesque city tour of the historic centre bypasses charming medieval step roofed houses and imposing churches reflected in the still waters of the canals, as well as the main market square with its 83 metre high 13th century belfry.

We conclude our tour by sampling the traditional chocolate craft of Bruges, considered to be the best in the world.

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Monday 11th April

Ghent – City tour.

The old town of Ghent in Belgium by the river

After breakfast the beautifully restored medieval centre of Ghent, one of the oldest cities in Belgium with a history dating back to the Stone Age, awaits. The old city is a picturesque array of alleyways rimmed by quaint steeple-roofed buildings running along pretty canals. Our tour takes in St. Bavo’s Cathedral, which houses an impressive number of art treasures including a major work by Rubens and the world-famous Adoration of the Mystic Lamb painted by Hubert and Jan van Eyck around 1432.

We depart from Bruges at lunchtime and spend our final afternoon sailing the Belgian waterways bound for Antwerp.

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Tuesday 12th April

Antwerp

Antwerp – Rubens House.

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Wednesday 13th April

Antwerp - City tour and chocolate tasting at Palace op de Meir / Plantin Moretus Museum

Inside the Palais op de Meir Chocolate Shop in Antwerp

Spending the day in Antwerp, Belgium’s largest port and second largest city, we explore the diamond capital of the world. A guided tour of the city centre introduces us to its medieval heart allowing us to admire the Renaissance Town Hall, the Market Square, Brabo Fountain and the unique Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady which houses four works by Peter Paul Rubens.

A wealthy Antwerp entrepreneur built the Palais op de Meir in 1745. Today the palace is home to only one of two chocolatiers mentioned in the Michelin Guide, Dominique Persone of the Chocolate Line.

We enjoy a tasting of his quality, artisan chocolate in an authentic empire setting, whilst visiting the ‘chocolate kitchen’ where we can watch the chocolatiers at work.

After lunch, we enjoy free time in the city before entering the printing office and house of the Plantin Moretus family. The original residence and workshop of this influential publishing dynasty offers you a unique historical experience to discover in the history of books, the art of printing and the story of a family’s entrepreneurial flair. The oldest printing presses in the world can be found here, and this is the only museum in the world to be recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Our private, out-of-hours tour will discover the magic of the museum and we will experience how, long before our digital age, words and images were spread around the world, ahead of our exclusive reception of canapés and sparkling wine.

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Thursday 14th April

Brussels - City tour and beer tasting.

Historic Brussels, capital of Belgium, principal seat of the Belgian Royal Family, and capital of the European Union, is full of hidden architectural treasures. Art deco facades and regal 19th century mansions contrast with the city’s medieval core, where the Grand Place is considered one of the world’s most beautiful squares.

Belgium is the fatherland of quality beer brewing, creating a huge variety of different styles. With such a rich history, Belgium is a must for any true beer lover wanting to sample the delights of regional craft ales.

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Friday 15th April

Maastricht – Old town walking tour / Hoeve Nekum private vineyard tour and wine tasting.

The historic city of Maastricht in the Netherlands

Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in The Netherlands, as you will discover when strolling through the historic inner city. Until the second half of the 19th century, Maastricht was a fortified city. Churches, city walls, monumental merchant houses and big squares merge seemlessly. A wide variety of architectural styles range from Roman excavations to the modern designs.

Just outside Maastricht, various vineyards grace the slopes of the Limburg hills. The vineyards of Maastricht are some of the oldest in The Netherlands, initially planted back in Roman times. Hoeve Nekum has been home to the Bollen family since 1934 and the first vines
were planted on their farmlands in 1988. We sample the prize-winning wines produced from the lime-rich soil which gives a fresh and fruity style with a distinct mineral taste.

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Saturday 16th April

Cuijk / Neunen - Neunen van Gogh village experience.

An old watermill in Nuenen, the Village of Van Gough, in the Netherlands

Learn how Vincent van Gogh lived and worked and what inspired him during his first years as a painter at the Van Gogh Village of Nuenen. At 30 years of age, in 1883, Vincent van Gogh moved back in with his parents in Nuenen and stayed there for two years. During this period, he focused entirely on his art, and created over one quarter of his total works. He was inspired by the beautiful landscape and the simple life of people living near Nuenen and recorded both on his canvases.

We spend the afternoon relaxing on board as we sail the scenic Dutch waterways to Schoonhoven.

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Sunday 17th April

Schoonhoven – Gouda walking tour and cheese museum. / Gouda

Inside the cheese museum in Gouda

Learn how Vincent van Gogh lived and worked and what inspired him during his first years as a painter at the Van Gogh Village of Nuenen. At 30 years of age, in 1883, Vincent van Gogh moved back in with his parents in Nuenen and stayed there for two years. During this period, he focused entirely on his art, and created over one quarter of his total works. He was inspired by the beautiful landscape and the simple life of people living near Nuenen and recorded both on his canvases.

We spend the afternoon relaxing on board as we sail the scenic Dutch waterways to Schoonhoven.

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Monday 18th April

Amsterdam / Keukenhof – Keukenhof Gardens.

Dutch tulips in Keukenhof Gardens

Gouda cheese is famous throughout the world and is now one of The Netherlands’ biggest exports, despite its humble origins from this picturesque city in the province of Zuid-Holland. Today, 60% of Dutch cheese is produced in the region surrounding the city of Gouda, also known as Cheese Valley. The Cheese and Craft Museum, located in the Gouda Weigh House, reveals local history, tells how the cheese is made and how the products have been weighed and traded for centuries.

Our walking tour of Gouda’s centuries-old historic centre features splendid monuments, such as the Sint Janskerk. This church, measuring 123 metres long, is the longest church in The Netherlands and is world-famous for its Gouda windows. Another must-see is the old City Hall, a beautiful monument dating back to 1450.

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Tuesday 19th April

Amsterdam / UK

Transfer to Amsterdam airport or Brussels Midi railway station for the return journey to the UK.

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Our decks and Cabins

Below you can see our decks and what cabins are on each of them. If you click the arrow you can see further information on each cabin and what it has to offer. So get exploring and get booking. We look forward to you joining us on board for an experience of a lifetime…

Suite
RS

Royal Suites

Panorama Deck

The Royal Suite cabin on the Royal Crown cruise ship of Hebridean Island Cruises

Panorama Deck
Picture windows
King-size bed

The Royal Suites are centrally located on the Panorama Deck, each with a king-size bed comprising two single mattresses in one solid bed frame with two duvets; the beds cannot be split into twin format. The suites also comprise a separate seating area with sofa, easy chair and dressing table/writing desk.

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Cabins With Double Twin Beds
PS

Premium Cabins

Select Deck

The Premium Suite cabin on the Royal Crown cruise ship of Hebridean Island Cruises

Select Deck
Portholes
Queen-size bed

The Premium Cabins are located on the Select Deck, each with a queen-size bed comprising two single mattresses in one solid bed frame with two duvets; the beds cannot be split into twin format.

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DC

Deluxe Cabins

Select Deck

The Deluxe cabin on the Royal Crown cruise ship of Hebridean Island Cruises

Select Deck
Portholes
Twin beds (2 single beds)

The Deluxe Cabins are located on the Select Deck each with twin beds; the beds cannot be arranged as a double.

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Single Cabins
DS

Deluxe Single

Select Deck

The Deluxe cabin on the Royal Crown cruise ship of Hebridean Island Cruises

Select Deck
Portholes
Twin beds (2 single beds)

The Deluxe Cabins are located on the Select Deck each with twin beds; the beds cannot be arranged as a double.

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CONTACT US

Please feel free to get in touch with us if you have any queries regarding our Cruise or booking. We would be delighted to hear from you and help you on your way to enjoying a wonderful cruise with us...

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