- Haarlem’s flower fest...
- The Floralia Show, Groot-Bijgaarden Castle
- Utrecht Botanical Gardens
Flowers on Parade
Dutch and Belgian Waterways
- VIP on selected river cruises
- All Inclusive
Discover the floral highlights of the lowlands
Step aboard Spirit of the Rhine for a seven-night river cruise timed to coincide with the most spectacular floral displays in Holland and Belgium.
Join Garden Rescue star Charlie Dimmock on a holiday which includes included visits to the 17th annual Floralia flower show in Brussels and the magnificent gardens of Keukenhof and Utrecht at a time when they are at their most breathtaking, when millions of tulips and daffodils are in full bloom.
In addition to several interesting talks from your expert host Charlie, your cruise has also been planned to allow you to admire the fantastic floral displays of Holland’s annual Flower Parade as it arrives in Haarlem. You might wish to visit Amsterdam’s glorious Botanic Gardens or Vondelpark too to ensure you don’t miss any of the floral highlights of the lowlands.
20 meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners
Free bar open 15 hours a day†
Wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
- Expert Host
- Drinks reception and Captain’s dinner
- Complimentary Wi-Fi on board
- All gratuities on board
- Return coach travel via Eurotunnel or ferry
- Floralia Brussels
- Utrecht Botanical Gardens
- Keukenhof Gardens
- Amsterdam City and Canals OR Amsterdam Culinary Walking Tour
Interactive maps and audio headsets for independent exploration
†The free bar available in 2023 is open from 9am to midnight and serves alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Charlie Dimmock is one of Britain’s best known and best loved gardeners, specialising in water features. Having first come to the nation’s attention on BBC1’s popular Ground Force, Charlie has gone on to present programmes including Cheer for Charlie, Garden Invaders and the Chelsea Flower Show coverage, for the BBC, and can currently be seen on BBC 1’s Garden Rescue.
Her books include Enjoy Your Garden and Container Gardening.
Charlie has regularly performed in pantomime and is undertaking several gardening theatre talks around the country as well as attending many gardening shows.
17/04/2023 UK to Amsterdam
Travel to Amsterdam - a journey from Calais of approximately five hours plus comfort stops - and embark Spirit of the Rhine.
Enjoy a welcome reception and dinner on board as you moor here overnight.
18/04/2023 Amsterdam 🎧
The day is yours to seek out the delights of the Dutch capital.
Why not accompany your expert gardens host on an optional excursion to Hortus Botanicus – Amsterdam’s botanical gardens, one of the oldest in the world. A peaceful retreat from the hubbub of the city, the attractive grounds incorporate three impressive greenhouses: the Palm House where some of the world’s oldest plants are kept, the three-climate greenhouse with its subtropical plants, and the butterfly house.
Alternatively, you can join an excursion to Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s largest park, or just do your own thing – exploring the tree-shaded canals, colourful cafes and historic buildings of this lively city.
Arrive in Antwerp after breakfast and look forward to an included half-day excursion to take in the splendour of the 17th annual Floralia Brussels flower show in the grounds and greenhouses of the castle of Groot-Bijgaarden.
The 14 hectares incorporates more than one million bulbs with nearly 400 types of tulips on display. The rest of the day is at leisure in Belgium’s second city. Perhaps wander the cobbled lanes of the Medieval quarter or seek out a museum dedicated to local son and acclaimed painter Rubens.
Your ship remains moored here until late tonight.
20/04/2023 Antwerp to Utrecht to Zaandam
Enjoy a relaxing morning on board Spirit of the Rhine, arriving in Utrecht after lunch for an included half-day trip to Utrecht Botanical Gardens.
Originally called Hortus medicus, the gardens were first laid out in 1639 and are one of the oldest university gardens in the Netherlands. They were installed for students of medicine and played an important role in the development of systematic botany in the Netherlands. The gardens incorporate six different areas, including a Rock Garden said to be one of Europe’s finest, Tropical Greenhouses and an Outer Fort where marsh marigold and huge skunk cabbage flourish in the spring.
At dinner sail on to moor in Zaandam overnight.
Look forward to an included full-day excursion to the famous Keukenhof gardens, also known as the ‘Garden of Europe’.
More than seven million bulbs fill the park with vibrant colour and fragrance. The park is on land originally attached to a castle (which is opposite the current gardens) and used for hunting and growing herbs for the castle kitchen – hence the name which translates as 'kitchen garden'. The first open-air exhibition, to promote the region's bulb growers and flower exporters, was held here in 1949. Now the exhibition is an annual event lasting eight weeks and featuring various events and themed displays.
During your visit you can admire dazzling displays of millions of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths and visit flower and plant shows in the pavilions. Perhaps pick up ideas for your own garden…. Of course, the tulip displays are weather dependent, but they're normally in bloom from mid-March to mid-May.
22/04/2023 Zaandam to Amsterdam 🎧
Continue your cruise to the vibrant city of Amsterdam this morning, arriving at lunch time.
Explore at leisure this afternoon before transferring to Haarlem where this evening the annual Flower Parade that begins in Noordwijk will arrive.
You can feast your eyes on a procession of floats carrying magnificent displays before returning to your ship, which remains moored in Amsterdam.
23/04/2023 Amsterdam 🎧
Today you’ll be transferred back to Haarlem city centre to take a closer look at the colourful floral displays.
This afternoon, you’ll have the choice of either an included Amsterdam city and canals tour or an included culinary walking tour.
24/04/2023 Amsterdam to UK
Disembark Spirit of the Rhine after breakfast ahead of your return journey to the UK.
Alkmaar and the Cheese Museum
The city of Alkmaar is best known for its popular Cheese Market, which is held every Friday between April and September.
Enjoy a walking tour of the historic city centre before visiting the Cheese Museum to learn about the age-old method of creating, storing and selling cheese. Look forward to a tasting session at the end of your visit.
Walking Grade 3
3 hours and 30 minutes
Optional on 7 nights itinerary
🎧 Interactive maps and audio headset tours available for exploring independently in Amsterdam.
Some of the highlights may only be seen on optional excursions at an additional cost, or by exploring independently.
1 – Walking at your own discretion. For example, on panoramic coach tours when the only walking is at photo stops.
2 – Minimal walking. Up to approximately 1,640 feet (500 metres) on mainly flat terrain.
3 – Moderate walking. Between 1,640-4,920 feet (500-1500 metres) over mixed terrain with the possibility of some steps.
4 – Considerable walking. More than 4,920 feet (1500 metres) over uneven terrain with many steps.
5 – Strenuous walking. Long distances over rough terrain with climbing, steps and trekking.