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    Explore picturesque Sneek
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    The scenic town of Leeuwarden
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    Windmills everywhere!
River Cruise
River Cruise

Discovering the Northern Dutch Waterways

Dutch Waterways

  • No fly No fly
  • VIP travel service included on selected European tours VIP on selected river cruises
  • Full Board Plus Full board plus

Discover fabulous maritime history and tranquil polder scenery

This eight-night cruise aboard the Dutch Melody will steer you away from the tourist trail to discover hidden highlights of the Netherlands which you might not know. Set sail from Amsterdam and cruise to Zaandem from where an included tour visits the historic windmill village of Zaanse Schans, which once caught the eye of Napoleon. 

Spend a day exploring Lelystad, a city built on land reclaimed from the sea and where you can discover the National Centre for Maritime History, and head to Lemmer, home to the Wouda pumping station which you can see on an optional excursion. Enjoy an included tour of the pretty village of Sneek and explore Leeuwarden – European Capital of Culture in 2018 – before sailing into Harlingen, from where an optional excursion visits the world’s oldest working planetarium in the university city of Franeker. Call at the resort of Oudeschild on the lovely island of Texel and the fishing town of Enkhuizen before your cruise concludes in Kampen.


23 meals: 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 8 dinners


  • Visit to Zaanse Schanse Windmill Village
  • Tour of Sneek

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK to Amsterdam to Zaandam

Amsterdam canal at sunset

Travel by coach from Folkestone to Amsterdam via Eurotunnel or ferry and embark Dutch Melody. Enjoy a welcome reception and dinner as you depart early this evening for Zaandam where you moor overnight.

Zaandam Netherlands Europe

Day 2 Zaandam to Lelystad

Zaanse Schans, Zaandam

This morning an included tour explores the historic village of Zaanse Schans. The Zaan region was an industrial area and its hundreds of windmills were used in the production of a wide variety of different items. See the traditional houses, warehouses, workshops and reconstructed windmills and you'll get an idea of what it was like to live here in the 18th and 19th centuries. Depart during lunch for Lelystad arriving late afternoon and mooring overnight.

Lelystad Netherlands Europe

Day 3 Lelystad

Lelystad, Netherlands

You have the day to explore Lelystad, a city built on land reclaimed from the inland sea, the Zuiderzee, in 1967. It is the capital of the province of Flevoland which is essentially a man-made island joined to the mainland by bridges. This land wasn't always under water, but gradually the peat was washed away creating the Zuiderzee (Southern Sea). Making the best of the situation, the Dutch traders of the time used this as a route between Amsterdam and the cities of the Hanseatic League which dominated trade between the 13th and 15th centuries. This maritime history is celebrated in the National Centre for Maritime History museum in Lelystad, although the stretch of water was also famous for shipwrecks! 

You may like to join an optional visit to the Bataviawerf shipyard, part of the Maritime History museum. Your ship departs late tonight.

Lelystad Netherlands Europe

Day 4 Lemmer to Sneek

Waterpoort in Sneek, The Netherlands

Arrive in the early hours and spend the morning here. You have the morning to explore the small town of Lemmer, a popular water sports town in the province of Friesland, or perhaps relax in a waterside cafe. Alternatively, head off to see its biggest attraction – the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Wouda pumping<0x00A0>station – on an optional excursion. The largest in the world, it was built to pump vast quantities of excess water from reclaimed land at Friesland.

Depart at midday and sail to Sneek arriving later this afternoon. Enjoy an included tour of the pretty village of Sneek, pronounced ‘snake’. It was already an important shipbuilding centre by the fifteenth century, and by the seventeenth-century had been protected by town walls and moats. The Waterpoort at the end of Koemarkt, is all that remains now, and has become a symbol of the city. During your visit you should be able to see a selection of the fountains designed for the 2018 City of Culture exhibition. Your ship remains moored here overnight.

Sneek Netherlands Europe

Day 5 Sneek to Leeuwarden

Leeuwarden: European Capital of Culture for 2018

Depart Sneek early this morning for Leeuwarden, where you arrive around lunchtime. Leeuwarden is the capital of the province of Friesland. Along with Valletta in Malta the city has been designated a European Capital of Culture for 2018. Throughout the year, a variety of events will be held throughout the province and its 11 cities. International artists have been selected to design a special fountain for each of the cities to encourage cultural tourism and demonstrate Friesland’s expertise in innovative water technology. The Spanish artist Jaume Plensa is creating a fountain entitled Love – comprising the heads of a boy and a girl in the mist – for Leeuwarden, inspired by morning mist over the Friesian countryside…

Your ship remains moored here overnight.

Leeuwarden Netherlands Europe

Day 6 Leeuwarden to Harlingen

Harlingen, Netherlands

Depart after breakfast and arrive in Harlingen at midday for an overnight mooring. This afternoon, an optional excursion visits the oldest working planetarium in the world at the university city of Franeker. Alternatively you can explore historic Harlingen independently on foot. This harbour town, the most northerly on the mainland, prospered thanks to fishing and trade with Scandinavia. You can see the merchants’ houses alongside the canals, where the gable stones indicate the resident’s trade, before house numbers were thought of! Your ship remains moored here overnight.

Harlingen Netherlands Europe

Day 7 Harlingen to Oudeschild to Enkhuizen

Oudeschild village, Netherlands

Depart Harlingen in the early hours and arrive in Oudeschild, on the island of Texel. The village is a popular holiday resort on the south-east coast of the island, with fine sandy beaches nearby. The largest and most southerly of the Wadden Islands, Texel is part of the province of North Holland and is just 24 kilometres long and nine kilometres wide. Perhaps join an optional island tour – with its fields, pine forests, sand dunes and windmills, Texel is like Holland in miniature and many rare and unusual birds have been spotted here.

Depart later this afternoon and arrive in Enkhuizen this evening for an overnight mooring.

Please note: On the August 24, 2020, departure, rather than moor in Oudeschild, the ship will moor in Den Helder, from where passengers can take a ferry to Texel Island to join the optional tour.

Enkhuizen Netherlands Europe

Day 8 Enkhuizen

Enkhuizen, Netherlands

Spend the morning in the former fishing port of Enkhuizen.

Once known as Herring Town, Enkhuizen was one of the Dutch East India Company's main operational ports in the 17th century and rivalled Amsterdam in status. Stroll the prettily preserved streets, indulge in some retail therapy or visit the fascinating Zuiderzee Museum. There is also a delightfully quirky bottle ship museum – home to the world's largest collection of ships in bottles!

You may like to explore Hoorn this afternoon. This region of Friesland is largely agricultural and particularly famous for its black-and-white Friesian cattle. When the Dutch navigators Willem Schouten and Jakob Le Maire first sailed past Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America back in 1616, Schouten named it after this, his home town of Hoorn. Transfer by coach from Enkhuizen and perhaps join an optional walking tour before returning to your ship in Enkhuizen and moor until late tonight.

Please note: On the August 24, 2000 departure you will cruise to Hoorn where you will moor until the early hours.

Enkhuizen Netherlands Europe

Day 9 Kampen to UK

Disembark your ship after breakfast for your return journey to the UK.

Please note

Some of the highlights may only be seen on optional excursions at an additional cost, or by exploring independently.

Discovering the Northern Dutch Waterways

Dutch Waterways

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Discovering the Northern Dutch Waterways

Dutch Waterways