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    Amsterdam overview
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    Windmills everywhere!
River Cruise
River Cruise

Undiscovered Treasures of the Netherlands

Dutch Waterways

  • VIP travel service included on selected European tours VIP on selected river cruises
  • Full Board Full board

Discover fabulous maritime history and tranquil polder scenery on a cruise on northern and southern Holland's waterways

Discover the contrasting highlights of the north and south Netherlands on this two-week cruise aboard the Dutch Melody.


41 meals: 14 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 14 dinners


  • Visit to Zaanse Schanse Windmill Village
  • Tour of Sneek
  • Visit to Giethoorn
  • Amsterdam tour and canal cruise

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 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.

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 Deventer

Historical center of Kampen, Netherlands

Arrive in Kampen in the early hours. After breakfast an included excursion visits Giethoorn, a pretty lake town likened to Venice – really just due to its many canals and bridges rather its architectural merit. But it is undoubtedly a charming place, set in the National Park of De Wieden, the largest fen in North-West Europe. The canal-threaded landscape here at the heart of the province of Overijssel was a result of flooding after extensive peat cutting in the 14th century. Many of the houses and thatched cottages can only be reached by boat or on foot by criss-crossing little wooden bridges. Locals get around in punts, as will you on your voyage of exploration. Afterwards, your ship departs for Deventer, arriving early evening and mooring overnight.

Deventer port Netherlands Europe

Day 10 Deventer

Deventer, Netherlands

You have the day in Deventer. An optional excursion visits Arnhem. You will travel by coach to the John Frost Bridge and monument, the famous site of Operation Market Garden. You will then visit the Airbourne Museum and stop at the Airborne Cemetery on your return journey to the ship.

Depart late afternoon and cruise overnight towards Kinderdijk.

Deventer port Netherlands Europe

Day 11 Kinderdijk to Willemstad

Floating bridge in Willemstad

You’ll arrive at Kinderdijk, the extraordinary location of 19 windmills dating from the 15th century, this morning. On an optional excursion you can go ashore and inspect the different models designed for pumping water from the land. Reboard Dutch Melody mid-morning and cruise to Willemstad.

After lunch you can join an optional walking tour of this fortified town set within star-shaped walls. It was William 1 of Orange who ordered the fortifications to be built to protect the town’s strategic position on the River Maas from the Spanish. When he died in 1584 the town passed to his son Maurits and was renamed in his honour.

Early this evening your ship departs for Middelburg.

Willemstad Netherlands Europe

Day 12 Middelburg

Middelburg town hall and main town square

Moor in Middelburg, the capital of Zeeland, in the small hours. An optional tour explores the city this morning. Leave after lunch for Rotterdam.

Middelburg Netherlands Europe

Day 13 Rotterdam to Dordrecht


Your ship docks in Rotterdam, the world’s largest port and Holland’s second city, in the early hours giving you the morning to explore independently.

The city was heavily restored after World War II and is home to a dazzling array of modern architecture including the Markthal, a combined indoor food market and apartment block, Erasmus Bridge – the philosopher Desiderius Erasmus was born here in Rotterdam – and the Cube Houses, built at a jaunty angle across a pedestrian bridge. There are also a number of beautiful sculptures in the city including works by Picasso, De Koning and Gabo. Alternatively you might like to join an optional excursion to the Hague for a city tour this morning.

Leave Rotterdam at lunchtime arriving in Dordrecht mid-afternoon. Perhaps join an optional walking tour of this charming small city. Remain moored here overnight.

Please note: On the August 24, 2000 departure you will cruise to Schoonhoven where you can join an optional tour and will moor overnight.

Dordrecht Netherlands Europe

Day 14 Dordrecht to Amsterdam


Dutch Melody departs early this morning for Amsterdam, arriving after lunch.

Join an included tour of Amsterdam by coach and see the Royal Palace on Dam Square, the floating flower market, the Central Railway Station, which is built on thousands of wooden piles, and the grand 19th-century Rijksmuseum. Afterwards, enjoy a canal cruise to see the city centre with its pretty bridges and attractive gabled houses up close.

Amsterdam Holland Netherlands Europe

Day 15 Amsterdam to UK

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

Undiscovered Treasures of the Netherlands

Dutch Waterways

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Undiscovered Treasures of the Netherlands

Dutch Waterways