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Viking - Holland/Belgium vs Holland Tulip Time... Thoughts?


3Shelaghs
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Trying to decide which one is more appealing. Yes, there is a difference in ports, but Tulip Time ports appear to be much of the same?

Weather end of March??

Anyone's thoughts would be appreciated. Have been to Amsterdam many times, and spending another week there this spring before a Rhine cruise. Need to venture out for something a little different, but in same area.

Also thoughts re direction of cruise ie embarkation point ....Amsterdam vs Antwerp for the Holland/Belgium cruise.

Lastly thoughts re land stay in Brussels precruise.

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I did a Tulip Time cruise with Avalon at the end of April this year. The tulips were late blooming (didn’t start this year until Apr. 13) so they were at peak when I was at Keukenhof. The cruise had stops in Netherlands and Belgium. In addition to Keukenhof, I really enjoyed the excursion to the Delta works. It was fascinating to see how they have tamed the tides to prevent devastating flooding. A few of our tour guides had survived the last major flooding and it was interesting to hear their stories. The cruise was round trip from Amsterdam. I went in 1 day early because I hadn’t spent much time in Amsterdam. I don’t know if you are only looking at Viking but I would encourage you to look at the other companies as well. They may stop at other cities that may be interesting. So many people only know about Viking and there are plenty of other options. 

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We sail this April on Tulips and Windmills.  We chose that one (last year) because we wanted to see more of Belgium, which T&W had more of than H&B.  Just last week we were notified that a change in itinerary removed that advantage--it looks like we can opt for Bruges but Ghent may be off the table.  H&B goes to Aachen in Germany, which would be interesting, as it was Charlemagne's capital, and the cathedral is said to look like a fortress as much as it looks like a church.

 

T&W does Keukenhof at the end of the cruise, while H&B does it at the beginning.

 

I guess it becomes six of one, half-dozen of the other.

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2 hours ago, sharkster77 said:

H&B goes to Aachen in Germany

Nice move! Aachen is highly interesting for its cathedral and a nice compact town to walk around. Recommend it. Does not quite fit the theme of Netherlands/Belgium cruise, but is rarely offered otherwise and on no navigable river.

 

Precruise stay in Brussels: interesting city, just not old or "beautiful". Recommend the waffels, chocolate and the Art Nouveau architecture. Is a European centre for comics, if that interests you. For old town charm choose another city.

 

notamermaid

 

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On 11/24/2023 at 10:16 AM, sharkster77 said:

T&W does Keukenhof at the end of the cruise, while H&B does it at the beginning.

We've booked H&B, but in the opposite direction (Belgium to Holland) with the Viking pre in Belgium.  We finish in Amsterdam and Keukenhof Gardens is an included excursion at the end.

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On 11/23/2023 at 2:29 PM, 3Shelaghs said:

Weather end of March??

Most likely jacket weather, mid-50s.  We start our trip with the Bruges & Ghent Extension late March, but hopefully end in Amsterdam during tulip season mid April.

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4 hours ago, Mitina said:

We've booked H&B, but in the opposite direction (Belgium to Holland) with the Viking pre in Belgium.  We finish in Amsterdam and Keukenhof Gardens is an included excursion at the end.

Oh, OK. T&W goes Amsterdam to Amsterdam, so I just assumed H&B did the same.  I can see now how reversing direction would change Keukenhof from one end of the cruise to the other. 

 

I would rather do Keukenhof, the highlight of the cruise, at the end, when jetlag is no longer a factor!

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1 hour ago, sharkster77 said:

I would rather do Keukenhof, the highlight of the cruise, at the end, when jetlag is no longer a factor!

Keukenhof is so big that it's worth 2 days – one at the beginning of the trip and the other at the end.  That allows you to see that parts you missed, and also to see how the later blooms transform the look of many areas.

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Good thought re changing scenery due to blooms erupting. I've missed it every time we've been there, fingers crossed for an early bloom this spring, and if not.... then next spring... 

Ideas on sites to see in Brussels. Does Viking offer the odd tour when you book a land portion?

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2 hours ago, 3Shelaghs said:

Ideas on sites to see in Brussels.

Not sure how you would get here on your own [AMA took us as part of their Tulip Time cruise]:  

Floralia Flower Show at the Kasteel (Castle) van Groot-Bijgaarden in a suburb of Brussels.  A beautiful display of more than a million tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils (but a more manageable size than Keukenhof).

https://www.floralia-brussels.be/en/

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