January 20th 2018

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Tulip Time Tulip Time Tulip Time Tulip Time Tulip Time Tulip Time

 

Continent: Europe. Country: Netherlands. City: Amsterdam.

Tulip Time

By James Ward, Bolsover Cruise Club

When APT invited me aboard AmaVerde for three nights of cruising the waterways as part of their Tulip Time itinerary, I wasn’t slow to say yes. With all my other cruising experience gained aboard ocean ships I was keen to see what river cruising was all about and loved the thought of waking in a new destination each morning. Safe to say it exceeded even my highest expectations.

 

I arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, where I was greeted by my guide and whisked away to the luxury transfer waiting outside. Less than 20 minutes later we met with the AmaVerde in Amsterdam and I had my luggage taken to my stateroom and a drink in my hand within minutes.

After sneaking a peek at the ship and taking advantage of the light lunch we had stumbled upon in the lounge, we left the ship and headed into Amsterdam; a place that took my expectations, screwed them up and spat them back out in favour of even bigger ones.

From the moment I walked beneath the first bridge, Amsterdam had me hooked. The city’s reputation precedes it to some extent, yet my first impressions weren’t in the slightest bit risqué. I was enchanted by the groups of friends who sailed painted boats down the rivers, intrigued by the historic architecture that lined the river bank, and enticed by the countless restaurants and bistros that spill into the streets and offer blends of beer I never imagined might exist. I wandered into more shops than most city centres at home offer me and dined on a potent blend of fries, cheese and mayonnaise.

Within a 5 minute walk of Amsterdam sat our ship and we headed back to find out more about what awaited us for the rest of the week. I changed and relaxed in my beautifully designed Cat C stateroom which was spacious and featured a French balcony that opened up the room to the river outside. In fact, I was so impressed with the views that passed by my balcony each day, I often slept with the curtains open so I could fall asleep to them each night (pyjamas a must, of course!). My journey through the Netherlands and Belgium took me through locks, beside yachts, through industrial towns and past sandy coves where people’s dogs tried to run alongside the ship.

Over the coming days all-inclusive excursions took me to a cheese factory in Edam, a pretty shop-lined harbour in Volendam and to the Belgian chocolate scented streets of Brussels. I cycled past green parks and majestic ruins in Nijmegen, visited the fairy tale Doorwerth Castle near Arnhem, and simply relaxed with a cocktail when the warm sun on deck was too tempting to refuse.   

I ate Whole Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Tiger prawn and Herbs Mousseline Potato, and indulged in a desert of Mascarpone Mouse, Sesame Crossties and Caramel Sauce. On my third evening, I was hosted at the Chef’s Table restaurant, where I uttered “Mmm…oh…oh my god this is SO good” between mouthfuls (and even during in the case of the very best courses). I sipped German wine, exotic cocktails and speciality teas; all of them included in the fare. I unearthed a hidden appreciation of chilled piano music and coconut biscuits in the lounge and I cursed myself for not making time to sit with a book beside the fire in the library. There was just too much to see outside to waste time going to the imaginary world of a book. I ate Dutch cheese and crackers instead of desert one day and as well as desert the next.

After three nights I boarded the luxury bus that would take me back to the airport and set me on my way home. I wasn’t ready to go home. I was exhausted from days spent making sure I saw every single sight I possibly could and by evenings being entertained by people of all ages. I was invigorated by everything I had seen along the way and excited by the realisation that I could see so much in such a short time.

River cruising boring? You couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

Our contact details are customer.services@bolsovercruiseclub.co.uk or via telephone on 01246 819819.

 

Keywords: APT, AmaVerde, Amsterdam, River