Holland & Belgium in Spring May 15, 2022

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  • Yes you can call Tauck and ask the question. However, even if they know the estimated time and/or someone here could share past experience with the schedule, I'd be hesitant to book non-refundable tickets to a museum unless I was okay with potentially losing my money. So many factors can change the schedule - traffic, local special events, etc. I've seen it happen several times. Plus you need to figure out transportation from the ship to the museum. Fyi, in Amsterdam the river cruise ships dock near the central train station. You can catch a tram, bus or cab from there. Just figure in the time and cost.

  • The Anne Frank House is one of my favorite things we've done in ALL of Europe - you can pick up a very informative brochure/guide as you enter and it takes you thru each room and explains what each room was for and what happened in the rooms. The attic is VERY small, and you do get to 'look' inside it. At the very end, there is a great museum area with all sorts of info, videos, memorabilia, etc - we spent 2-3 hours in the house and still didn't see it all. There is a bookstore as you exit. We did get our tickets online several months before we went. We are actually returning Dec. 2023 after our Rhine Xmas Market Cruise with some friends who have never been - it is on their bucket list and I can't wait to go again.

  • Dottie D - yes please post when you hear from Tauck. My husband and I are arriving Amsterdam 4/15. We have tickets to all museums and will do a train trip to Harlaam and possibly Ultrecht. Like you, we may remain longer at Floriade since we will have seen a lot of the major sights of Amsterdam. Hoping this trip remains with the current unrest. We will be heading over 4/14 via Delta out of ATL.

  • Hi GatorMom. I haven’t heard anything from Tauck yet. If I don’t in the next week or so, I’ll give them a call.
    We bought Anne Frank tickets since I heard they were the hardest to come by, but haven’t planned our other free time yet. That’s my project for next week. We booked this kind of last minute. My partner and I leave 4/13 on KLM via MSP. Look forward to meeting you.

  • Dottie D, last -minute Tauck is better than no Tauck at all. :) We have booked Anne Frank and Van Gogh on the same day. I've heard about 90 minutes is all one needs in Anne Frank. We saw immersive Van Gogh several months ago, so we plan to probably only hit floor 3 in the museum to see recognized works. Have booked Rijksmuseum for Monday to enjoy prior to boarding ship around 4 p.m. This national museum of the Netherlands can be more crowded on the weekends with school children. We booked the first tickets on Monday to avoid the crowds and allow significant time for this huge museum. On Sunday, 4/17, we are considering a train trip to Harlaam or Zaans Schans. I'm now working on dinner reservations in lieu of wandering around and trying to figure out where to eat. On our arrival day, I've booked us lunch and dinner reservations, as well as a 90-minute canal tour. Need that to be an "adjustment" day to new time zone and significantly cooler weather for us Floridians.

  • Has anyone heard how long it takes to get into venues in Amsterdam, etc. with COVID vaccination card checks? My children were just up in NYC and said it took up to an hour or more to get into museums, etc. with limited personnel to check vaccination cards.

  • Last month Amsterdam lifted all COVID-19 restrictions/protocols. Proof of vaccination is not required when entering museums nor is mask wearing required, but some museums will still recommend masks. Of course, things can change quickly.

  • GatorMom, It may be considered a touristy thing to do, but rijstaffel, the Indonesian rice table, is delicious. And you can stock up on Indonesian ingredients at any Albert Heijn supermarket in the Netherlands. Btw my favorite chocolate shop in Amsterdam is Puccini Bomboni. Enjoy!

  • Gator Mom, I finally talked to Tauck and learned that we will be going to Floriade at 8:30 am. Return shuttles will start at 3 pm and keep running until later in the day.

  • The Hermitage in Amsterdam breaks ties with Russian state museum. The museum is open; however, the exhibit "Russian avant-garde / Revolution in Art," which opened in the Amsterdam museum at the end of January, is closed until further notice.
    https://nltimes.nl/2022/03/03/hermitage-amsterdam-breaks-ties-russian-state-museum

  • Thanks Dottie D for the Floriade Day answer! Do you by any chance happen to know what time we must be back on the ship that night?

  • I didn’t ask that question, Dave T. That would have been good to know, but I was just happy to learn we had pretty much all day at Floriade.

  • Does anyone know where the Tauck boat docks along our journey? I'm interested in trying to see Paul Carrack perform at the Roma Venue in Antwerp on April 22, but I"m not sure if we dock in Antwerp. And if not, where do we dock, is there a train, and how close is the train station to the Roma Venue in Antwerp? Does anyone have any ideas? Paul also plays in Amsterdam on the night we arrive, but I'm worried we would be too exhausted to enjoy his concert then.

  • GatorMom, per the venue the concert doesn't start until 8pm. Per the Tauck website, you don't arrive in Antwerp until the morning of day 6 and the ship gets underway to Brussels during dinner that night. (most likely once everyone is back on board in time for happy hour at 5ish) I don't see any way for you to attend this unless you have a different itinerary to what's on the website.

  • edited March 23

    GatorMom: Checking April 20 departure (that may not be yours), Tauck itinerary says, "After lunch aboard ship, you'll have some free time to explore more of Antwerp before the riverboat sets off for Ghent this evening." So no overnight in Antwerp. It's about an hour train ride to Ghent. See schedules at https://www.bahn.com/en. Could be tricky; you could stay in a hotel b/f catching up with ship. Always complicated adding indy activities during a cruise. I admire your ambition!

  • The e-green book says: “This evening enjoy a special chef’s signature dinner in the Compass Rose dining room. The ship will remain docked in Antwerp until the late evening.” Maybe you can make it. I’ll let you know if you missed anything at the dinner.

  • Just read that the Netherlands lifted the covid testing requirement for entry as of today. One less thing to worry about.

  • We are also arriving Amsterdam April 15. Looking forward to the trip. Does anyone know what became of the list of recommended reading? We've always read a book or 2 about the places we've traveled with Tauck and found their recommended reading helpful. But I can't find a list for this trip.

  • Yes, it's now located in the Before You Go section.

    Go to your tour or cruise page on the Tauck website. Scroll down about 3/4 of the way down til you find the "Before You Go" box which should include Reading Lists and other info. Click on it then on the plus sign next to Reading List. It will say "You can view the reading list here." Click on the word here.

    One of my favorites on the list is Russell Shortos book "Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City ". It explains a lot about the history and culture in Amsterdam and the Netherlands.

  • Thanks, Claudia Sails. I was wondering which one to read. Have to finish the new James Patterson/Dolly Parton book first, but should have time to get to the Shortos book before we get to Amsterdam.

  • Do I need to bring outlet converters for this trip? Besides the riverboat, I am staying at the Intercontinental Amstel and the Amigo Hotel in Brussels. Looking forward to meeting everyone on the April 17 departure.

  • Long discussions about this. But what your need are the European two-prong plug adapters. Converters change the voltage, as well. Virtually all electronics, like phone chargers, have been multi-voltage for a decade or more. Just check whatever you plan on plugging in and look for something like "Input 120-240V, 50-60 Hz" which means they will work both in North America (120V, 60 Hz) and Europe (220-240V, 50-60 Hz) and most other parts of the world. The plug adapters are cheap, just a few dollars apiece. Even if there are 120V, US style outlets on the river boat, there will almost certainly be the European style as well which will give you more outlets you can use with the plug adapters.

    Of course, more and more locations now also have USB ports into which you can just plug your cables without the chargers.

  • Many places now have universal outlets that accept both Eur and US plugs. Many places have also upgraded their outlets to include USB ports- that was the case in Jordan & Egypt with the exception of the Marriott in Cairo.

  • Was on the 4/17 tour and when we went to Floridade, they had 3 shuttles back to the boat so you had control of how much time you wanted to spend there. I think 1,2,and 3 o'clock (or maybe noon, 1,2).

  • The trips are just around the corner (15 May for Holland to Belgium and then 24 May for Normandy, etc.). It will be nice to travel internationally once again. We’ve still traveled in the motor home and have a caravan planned in August for three months in it. I hope I know all the current protocols for these two tours and hopefully the Russians won’t blow us up. It looks like most of the COVID mandates have been relaxed and it will be more comfortable. Also, I hope we don’t have any COVID crazies (i.e. British ;) who worry about everyone wearing masks and all that stuff. Read this one quickly before the “post police” have it removed. If you have been on these trips recently, please let us know how it went. Thanks.

  • Fairs fair ndvb, thanx for letting us know the dates of your tours so we have warning of crazies like you on our tours.

    Fyi, flagging is a lazy way to object.

  • ndvb
    9:11AM
    . . . . It looks like most of the COVID mandates have been relaxed and it will be more comfortable . . .

    Only time will tell. We leave for Greece the day after you depart for Holland, and frankly I'm getting concerned. The new sub-variant of Omicron is spreading like wildfire. The son and daughter of our good friends and all their kids came down with it (they made it though two years in NY and NJ without getting COVID), and, as I posted, I got it in early April just a few days after returning from Egypt. I'm not worried about getting sick, but worried we will test positive and be denied boarding Wind Star!

  • ndvb - I am so happy that I am not on your tours.. Alan is correct about this new variant and it is upsetting to say the least. We will leave for Northern Spain on 29 May and I am hoping that we will not test positive on our trip.

  • A marriage made in heaven. 😂

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