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Take a tour to see the beautiful fields of tulips

Exploring the Low Countries: The Netherlands & Belgium

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Explorer
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Join the National Geographic Explorer for this exciting 8-day cruise along the canal-webbed cities of the Netherlands and Belgium. Stroll the Hanseatic capitals of Brugge and Gent. Get an insider's view of Amsterdam with the help of local art historians and a visit to the famed Rijksmuseum, reopened just after its nine-year renovation. See the seldom-visited islands of Harlingen and the Frisian Islands on this holistic and panoramic expedition through Western Europe's low countries.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Embark in Bremerhaven, Germany
Day 2 : Harlingen, The Netherlands
Day 3 : Exploring the Frisian Islands
Day 4 : Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Day 5 : Antwerp, Belgium
Day 6 : Gent, Belgium
Day 7 : Oostende / Brugge, Belgium / London, U.K.
Day 8 : Disembark in London, U.K.


National Geographic Explorer

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Trip Snapshots

Take a tour to see the beautiful fields of tulips Peaceful canal running through a European town Bicyclist riding through the fields in Holland Bicycles on a bridge over the canal Fields of tulips stretch as far as the eye can see

Day 1 Embark in Bremerhaven, Germany

Arrive in Bremerhaven, where two centuries of impressive harbor city history can be seen all around the Old and New Harbor area. Embark the National Geographic Explorer.

Day 2 Harlingen, The Netherlands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning, transit through the scenic and wildlife-rich Waddenzee, en route to Harlingen. You are welcomed with open arms as the first ever ‘cruise ship’ to call at this lovely little seaside town. With beautiful buildings, restaurants and shops lining the scenic canals, Harlingen feels like Nyhavn, in Copenhagen. This ‘off-the-beaten-path’ gem is sure to lure many to stay ashore for dinner as the ship stays berthed well into the evening.

Day 3 Exploring the Frisian Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Zodiacs take you to explore the West Frisian Islands, a chain of islands in the North Sea off the Dutch coast, along the edge of the Wadden Sea. The Frisian languages are still used by 500,000 speakers; dialects of Frisian are recognized as official languages in both the Netherlands and Germany. Your destination is Texel, the largest of the Frisian Islands, with plenty of options: explore the vast beach and dune environments, go birding or walk about town. Also call at nearby Den Helder to see the tulip fields.

Day 4 Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The best way to experience Amsterdam is to stroll along the network of picturesque canals. Cafes, shops, and narrow, gabled brick houses from the 17th and 18th centuries line the waterways. And now more than ever, Amsterdam stands out as a center of culture. The Rijksmuseum, of a standard equal to the Louvre in Paris and the Prado in Madrid, exhibits the works of such Dutch masters as Vermeer and Rembrandt. The beautiful building, opened in 1885, has reopened after a mammoth, nine-year and $489 million renovation. Take a guided tour through the Rijksmuseum, most noted for housing Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. Van Gogh enthusiasts may wish to visit the recently reopened Van Gogh museum, highlighting his work.

Day 5 Antwerp, Belgium

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
With one of the largest ports in the world, Antwerp has been a prosperous trading center for centuries and is the core of the global diamond trade. Its accrued wealth can be seen in the beautiful 16th century guild houses and impressive buildings. Take a slow stroll with your historians, appreciating the architecture of the Grand Palace and guild houses. Of course, no visit to Antwerp would be complete without admiring the works of Rubens and Van Dyck.

Day 6 Gent, Belgium

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Don't forget your walking shoes! Gent is a showcase of medieval Flemish wealth, with wonderful architecture. Cathedral, church, and belfry towers pierce the sky and fill the air with the music of their bells. Beside an ancient harbor, ornate guild houses line the banks. Street markets flourish as in previous centuries.

Day 7 Oostende / Brugge, Belgium / London, U.K.

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
From Oostende, drive to the medieval town of Brugge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Notice immediately that this city has carefully cherished its architectural and artistic treasures from the past. Brugge is known for its brick Gothic architecture, and as the birthplace of the school of the Flemish Primitives. After a walking excursion, board small boats to view the architecture from canal level. Late afternoon, cross the English Channel to London, navigating up the Thames until midnight near the iconic LED-lit Tower Bridge.

Day 8 Disembark in London, U.K.

  • 1 Breakfast
Following breakfast on board, disembark in London and transfer to Heathrow Airport for flights home.

National Geographic Explorer

Per person starting at
National Geographic Explorer's Category 1 Cabin.
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Cat 1
Main Deck with one or two portholes. #301-308
National Geographic Explorer's Category 2 Cabin.
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Cat 2
Main Deck with window. #317-320, 335-336.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 3 Cabin.
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Cat 3
Main Deck with Window #313-316, 321-328, 337-340,342, 344, 346, 348, 350.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 4 Cabin.
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Cat 4
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window. # 103-104, 107-108, 201-202, 204-207, 210, 212, 217, 226, 228.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 5 Upper Deck Cabin.
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Cat 5
Upper Deck with Balcony. #209, 211, 214, 216, 218, 220-222, 224.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 6 Cabin.
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Cat 6
Veranda Deck Suite #101-102; Upper Deck Suite with Balcony #213.
Luxurious Catagory 8 Suite
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Cat 7
Upper Deck Suite with Balcony. #215, 219, 230.
National Geographic Explorer's Category SA and SB.
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Cat SA
C Deck Solo - Cabins 309-312, 329-334. Single cabins with window.
National Geographic Explorer's Category SA and SB.
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Cat SB
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window. #105-106, 203, 208.


Travelers under the age of 18 save $500 per person.

Costs Include:
All accommodations aboard ships or in hotels per itinerary or similar, all meals and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship, meals on land as indicated, air transportation where indicated as included, shore excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees, special access permits, transfers to and from group flights, use of snorkeling equipment and wet suits, use of kayaks (where available), gratuities (except to ship’s crew), taxes and service charges, services of a ship physician on most voyages, and services of our expedition staff.

Not Included:
Air transportation, private charter flight from Kangerlussuaq to Ottawa on day 11 of the itinerary, extensions, passport, visa, immigration fees, scuba diving (where available), meals not indicated, travel protection plan, items of a personal nature, such as alcoholic beverages, internet access, and laundry. Gratuities to ship's crew are at your discretion.


  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
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