Travel with YourClassical MPR Host Melissa Ousley

Sail the Dutch canals while the tulips are in full bloom!

Holland in Bloom with MPR

Join YourClassical MPR host, Melissa Ousley, and like-minded travelers who share your passion for art, gardens, culture, history and food. Tiptoe through the tulips with a spring trip to Holland! Travel back in time to a bygone era: Holland’s 17th century Golden Age. This was a time when Dutch ships plied the Seven Seas, Rembrandt painted endless masterpieces, and merchants moved the nation’s bounty inland by canal. Gliding along Holland’s many charming waterways, you’ll visit open-air markets and picturesque towns. In addition, we will celebrate the lives of the Dutch Masters and delve into Dutch and Belgian history, taste delicious local cuisine and be treated to fields of tulips bursting with color.

This tailor-made expedition is aboard the gorgeous MS Magnifique II This chartered, first-class ship boasts bright, modern and cheery cabins with emphasis on superior comfort. A tastefully furnished salon and restaurant, a full bar, a gorgeous lounge and wooden sun deck with chairs and tables and hot tub are available for your relaxation and enjoyment.

Your Trip Host

Melissa Ousley

Melissa Ousley is an on-air regional host on YourClassical MPR. In the fall of 2020, she became the regular host of Minnesota Public Radio's live broadcasts with the Minnesota Orchestra. Those Friday nights quickly became a highlight of her week. As she puts it, "The exhilaration that comes from playing a small part in bringing such outstanding concerts to our listeners is hard to describe." Melissa's passion for music began as a kid growing up just outside of New York City. Her parents encouraged her to go to concerts and visit art museums, and that's exactly what she did. While she earned a bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music, she's quick to point out that her decades of work in radio is what has taught her the most. When she's away from the airwaves, Melissa loves to run, read, and spend time with friends and family. This will be her third time hosting an international adventure with listeners.

Itinerary

Day 0: April 21

Remember, you must depart the USA no later than April 21 in order to arrive by April 22.

Day 1: April 22 - Arrive in Amsterdam

Arrive in Amsterdam and transfer to your centrally located four-star hotel. Enjoy a stroll through the old town or along the historic canals before meeting your Earthbound Expeditions guide and fellow travelers for an orientation and welcome dinner. Sleep in the heart of Amsterdam (D)

Day 2: April 23 - The Dutch Golden Age

After breakfast, discover the hidden and historic sights of this fascinating city. Enjoy a private tour of the Rijksmuseum and see Rembrandt’s famous Night Watch. History and art lovers may wish to visit the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House or the Hermitage Amsterdam independently. There is free time this afternoon to pursue your interests. Sleep in the heart of Amsterdam (B, D)

Day 3: April 24 - Flower Auction, Keukenhof Gardens and Embarkation

The Aalsmeer Flower Auction is the largest in the world. Twenty million flowers from all over the world are sold daily here. This morning you’ll tour the facilities and see where the auction takes place. Also known as the Garden of Europe, Keukenhof Gardens is the world’s second largest flower garden after the Dubai Miracle Garden. After a full day outing, return to Amsterdam just in time to board the MS Magnifique II. Welcome drinks and dinner will be served on board. Sleep on board (B, D)

Day 4: April 25 - Historic Haarlem

Sit up on the top deck this morning and enjoy a relaxing cruise through the Dutch countryside. In 1625, Dutch settlers in the new world named New Amsterdam (later changed to New York) after their own beloved city. Today we’ll also visit Haarlem, namesake to the neighborhood in New York. You'll have time for an independent lunch here. A guided stroll through the delightful old town square of Haarlem is included today. Deepen your understanding of Holland’s Golden Age at the Frans Hals Museum, named for one of the Netherlands’ most famous painters. If available, you’ll also be treated to a concert on the very organ Mozart played while visiting Holland in 1765 - 66. Sleep on board (B, L)

Day 5: April 26 - Historic Leiden and KING’S DAY!

After a leisurely breakfast we set out to discover the fascinating Cruquius Museum. The Cruquius Museum explores the age-old Dutch battle against the water. The reclamation of Haarlemmermeer by means of steam power marked the breakthrough of the Industrial Revolution in the Netherlands. The Cruquius houses the worlds’ largest steam engine. After our visit we make our way to Leiden where we will enjoy an independent lunch. After lunch enjoy a guided tour of the city center. It’s known for its centuries-old architecture and for Leiden University, the country’s oldest, dating from 1575. The university houses the Hortus botanicus of Leiden, founded in 1590, where the tulip was introduced to Western Europe. The Museum de Lakenhal displays works by the Dutch Masters including Rembrandt, who was born in Leiden. In the late afternoon, we make our way back to the Magnifique II and the town of Utrecht. Dinner served on board this evening. Sleep on board (B, D)

Day 6: April 27 - Historic Cities of The Hague, Delft and Rotterdam

After a hearty breakfast we depart for The Hague. Enjoy an exclusive tour of the Mauritshuis Museum, where you will view the best of Dutch painting from the Golden Age. The compact, yet world-renowned collection is situated in the heart of The Hague, right next to the government center. Masterpieces such as Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt, The Goldfinch by Fabritius and The Bull by Potter are on permanent display in the intimate rooms of this 17th century monument. You’ll also see the Peace Palace, home of the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial body of the United Nations. After an independent lunch, we make our way to the charming city of Delft. It is not just the historic city center and rich history of Delft that will amaze you. The city is full of special surprises. Famous for its blue ceramic pottery, there are still three Delftware factories in operation. There is no standard for the designs used on the pottery, each factory creates its own designs inspired by Chinese porcelain. The main images are floral designs and various birds, including peacocks. Sleep on board (B, D)

Day 7: April 28 - Antwerp, Belgium

Antwerp is a port city on Belgium’s River Scheldt, with history dating to the Middle Ages. In its center, the centuries-old Diamond District houses thousands of diamond traders, cutters and polishers. Antwerp’s Flemish Renaissance architecture is typified by the Grote Markt, a central square in the old town. At the 17th-century Rubens House, period rooms display works by the Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens. And for Europeans emigrating to Canada or the USA in the 18th and 19th centuries, Antwerp was the main embarkation point for the Red Star Line. Two million passengers funneled through Antwerp to board ships departing for places like New York and Boston. We return to the Magnifique II in the late afternoon. Sleep on board (B, D)

Day 8: April 29 - Windmills and Cheese Tasting: Rotterdam, Kinderdijk and Gouda

Tour the lively market of Rotterdam and also learn about the city’s tragic past. Now known as the “Manhattan on the Maas,” many are unaware that this is Europe’s largest harbor. Later in the day, we visit quaint Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is where it all happened! It is an amazing experience to witness the resourcefulness and determination of a nation’s successful efforts to beat back the sea and reclaim land that was once under water. You can climb up inside the belly of these tremendously powerful, wind powered, pumping stations. This is the largest collection of authentic, working 18th century windmills in the world. After your tour, meet up with your floating home and enjoy lunch while cruising through the Dutch countryside. The Magnifique II travels next on to Gouda. Your walking tour includes the Gothic city hall, completed in 1450, and Sint Janskerk (St. John’s Church), with its world-famous 16th century stained-glass windows. You will also have free time to explore this lovely traditional Dutch city before returning to the barge for dinner. Sleep on board (B, L, D)

Day 9: April 30 - Exploring Dutch Edible Specialties

Stroll Gouda’s local market and join a visit to the cheese-weighing house, De Waag, where you will sample some of the appealing varieties. Yes, there is more than one kind of Gouda! We’ll have lunch on board and continue along the canals toward Gouwsluis, a small Dutch town, renowned for its historic vertical lift bridge and also home to the futuristic Steekterpoort building, the facility which controls all of the 24 moveable bridges in South Holland. After dinner on board, enjoy a presentation and tasting of locally-crafted Dutch beers. Sleep on board (B, L, D)

Day 10: May 1 - Homeward Bound

After breakfast, disembark and transfer to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport for your flights home or enjoy some more time in Europe. Cities such as Paris and London are just a few hours away by high-speed train. Return home with a lifetime of happy memories! (B)

Journey Highlights...It's Included!

  • Travel with YourClassical Host Melissa Ousley
  • With expert local hand-selected Dutch guides
  • Two pre-cruise nights at a centrally located 4-star hotel in central Amsterdam
  • Tickets to the world-renowned Keukenhof Tulip Fest
  • Visit to the world's largest flower auction
  • Multi-course dining on shore and aboard the MS Magnifique II
  • Visit to Kinderdijk, the UNESCO World Heritage site of windmills
  • Visit to Delftware factory where the delicate blue and white pottery is made
  • A private tour of the Rijksmuseum, highlighting works by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Hals
  • Enjoying locally crafted beer, mussels and cheese
  • Fascinating excursions to towns, museums, markets, castles and gardens

Pricing and Terms

Cabin DeckPrice before discountsTravel Alumni DiscountPay by Check and SaveCost with Discounts
Van Gogh Deck$6,395-$100-$100$6,195
Rembrandt Deck$6,795-$100-$100$6,595

Need more information?

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