Our River Meuse Cruise of the Ardennes and the Historic East of Holland includes:
7 days / 6 nights
Return Executive Coach Travel departing from selected pick up points
Return short sea channel crossings Dover-Calais
6 nights full board accommodation on the MS Olympia or similiar – ensuite cabins
Morning and afternoon tea, coffee and pastries are included whilst on board as is a nightly late evening snack
Included excursion package with all entrances and guides as indicated in the itinerary.Group Organiser’s Personal Liability Insurance
is automatically included without extra charge
The river cruise ship MS Olympia has an elegant restaurant, a reception, shop, restaurant, a panoramic salon with a bar, sundeck with terrace furniture and sun beds. Cabins are all ensuite and have adjustable heating and air-conditioning, a flat screen T.V., minibar (stocked on request) and safe. Windows on the Upper Deck can be opened. Breakfasts are buffet style (hot & cold), Lunch is 4 courses both served and buffet style & Dinners are 5 courses and served at your table. There is also a Captain’s Dinner included at the end of the cruise.
Day 1 - Departing your last pick-up around 8.30am we journey to the coast for a short channel late morning crossing to Calais. On arrival on the continent we travel north, embarking the ship in Arnhem in the East of Holland early evening. Dinner is included tonight.
Day 2 – Following breakfast on board, today’s first excursion is to the Gardens of Appeltern, the Netherlands' largest garden idea park. It is laid out specifically to give inspiration and help with ideas for your own garden. A walk through this 23-hectare park is an experience for all your senses. Flowering borders, the most recent garden materials, accessories, plants and furniture provide endless inspiration. Returning to the boat for lunch, this afternoon’s included excursion is to the Airborne Museum housed in Villa Hartenstein, a villa with a long history. In September 1944, this building which began as an inn in 1728, was the headquarters of the British Airborne Troops under the command of General-Major Roy E. Urquhart. There are several exhibitions throughout this muesum one of which is the Airborne Experience, where you will follow in the footsteps of a British parachutist. After an introduction movie you will see and hear the complete story by following the museum route where you are briefed on a mission onboard a glider. Through its windows you can see it taking off from England and flying to the occupied Netherlands. In the permanent exhibition you are told what happened from day to day during the Battle of Arnhem, from the aerial landings on the heathland to the evacuation on the Rhine. By means of photographs, texts, objects and audiovisual material you discover what the military and civilians experienced in September 1944. The boat will depart Arnhem late afternoon as your journey south begins, during which dinner is included on board the boat this evening, followed by entertainment.
Day 3 – Arriving in Thorn in Limburg early this morning, breakfast will be taken on board. You will then have some free time to visit this little town, a must-visit when in this region of Holland. Thorn is known for its old white houses and monumental buildings and today draws countless visitors. Re-boarding the boat, lunch will be taken on board after which you can relax and enjoy the Limburg countryside as we cruise to the historic city of Maastricht, arriving late afternoon. You can then take a stroll through the town taking in its history or just enjoy some retail therapy in the quirky shops this compact town is renowned for. Dinner is on board this evening after which you can either relax on board or you might enjoy a stroll , crossing the Meuse by way of the Sint Servaas arched stone footbridge. It is named after the first bishop of Maastricht and is said to be the ‘oldest bridge in the Netherlands’.
Day 4 – This morning we begin by visiting the nearby town of Valkenburg, which is steeped in history. Nowadays, one of its most popular events is the annual Christmas Markets held in the town’s caves but the atmosphere of the old town also draws plenty of visitors all year round. A packed lunch will be provided today as we will then drive to the Wine Castle Genoels Elderen where a guided tour, wine tastings and savoury snacks are included. Your guide will show you around the park, the vineyards, the rose garden & distillery, the press house and the cellars which date from the 13th to the 20th Century. Re-joining the boat in Liege (Belgium) late afternoon, you might then choose to briefly explore the old city centre before tonight‘s dinner on board.
– Today is the coach driver’s day off.
Whilst enjoying your breakfast, we depart Liege heading in to the heart of the Ardennes
and the fortified town of Namur arriving after lunch. Despite its modest size this is the 'capital' of Wallonia. Historically the city's raison d'être has always been its location at the confluence of the Meuse and Sambre rivers. It is commanded by a vast former military citadel which was one of Europe’s mightiest fortresses until very recent times. Tours operate daily if you choose to visit here (local charge). Below the Citadel, Namur's gently picturesque old-town has much to discover with one of the main attractions being the Visitor Centre Terra Nova
, a perfect stop to prepare your visit of the citadel and learn more about Namur. Its 7 km of underground tunnels make it one of the biggest fortresses in Europe (local costs apply). Dinner is included on board after which might choose to take a stroll along the riverside to see the city’s sights illuminated by night.
Day 6 – Enjoy breakfast on board whilst you cruise towards the picturesque town of Dinant, arriving early afternoon. This afternoon you will visit the nearby Water Gardens of Annevoie, the only gardens of this type in Belgium, which are also amongst the most beautiful in Europe. Stroll through the park dating from the 17th Century, which today forms part of the exceptional cultural heritage of Wallonia, the official name for Southern Belgium. The many paths will take you to dozens of waterfalls, fountains and ponds designed to operate purely on gravity.
Every turn reveals a different landscape including French, Italian and English gardens. Returning to the boat, a Captains Gala Dinner dinner is included after which you can enjoy the atmosphere of this riverside town, as we berth here overnight.
Day 7 – Disembarking the boat after breakfast, we retrace our steps through Belgium making a stop in the historic City of Tournai. Famed for its impressive Romanesque Cathedral, it is also the only Belgian city to ever be controlled by the English Throne. You will have some free time here and can buy lunch locally before the onward journey to Calais for your return crossing to the UK, returning you to your original departure points during the evening.
* The cruise ship offered will be based on availability and dates of travel.*
Simply Groups reserve the right to make minor changes to this offer due to circumstances beyond our control.
All packages are subject to availability at the time of booking.