Review of 4/18 Holland-Belgium Tour
We were on the m.s. Savor, with 119 passengers. There were originally quite a few less, but a number of the folks from the cancelled m.s. Inspire cruise joined us. Tour Directors were Michael, Carrie and Iris, Cruise Director Yener. All were great, This was our first river cruise. I thought the Savor was lovely. We were in a cat 6 cabin on Ruby deck, It was plenty spacious with lots of storage. No issues with noise. We enjoyed the entertainment which included a shanty choir, a classical trio and an oldies but goodies trio.
As i mentioned on another thread, Arthur’s was closed, except for coffee and cookies, probably due to staffing issues. Some of the staff were doing double duty, serving and housekeeping. The service was maybe just a little slow, but an extra few minutes wait for a glass of wine is certainly not a tragedy. I thought the food quality was quite good. Two buffet dinners and the rest plated. Breakfast was buffet, but you could order eggs cooked to order. Lunch on board was also buffet. When lunch was not served on ship, we were given €20 each to buy lunch at the venue.
We lucked out with the weather. There had been pretty constant rain until the day we arrived, but it was sunny the whole way. One day was very windy and slightly cold, The other days were only slightly chilly, as would be expected at this time of year.
Excursions were for the most part, very interesting. We were a bit disappointed with Floriade, It had only been open less than a week when we went. Several of the exhibits were still unfinished, and the local guide had not had much time to practice her spiel. However, there were a lot of beautiful floral arrangements and other interesting exhibits and I’m not at all sorry we went. Hopefully, it will be better for those of you on future tours.
Keukenhof was absolutely stunning and was probably the highlight of the trip. Afterwards, we drove directly to The Hague for a tour and dinner at the Maritshuis museum. Dinner was good, but service was slow, so it made for a long day. I had expected the attire for dinner to be a little dressy, but since we were coming straight off a tour, it was casual. So there was only one dressy night, the chef’s special dinner on the next to last night. For men, several were in ties, a few more in sport coats, but most neither. Women mostly dressier tops.
The Windmill day was a little lower key but still fun. Those who went on the bicycle trip enjoyed it. It was about 7 1/2 miles, all flat, so not too strenuous.
Bruges and Ghent was another long day, but in my opinion, worth it. Beautiful old cities. Antwerp was good too. We selected the brewery tour, which wasn’t great. However the tasting portion was fun, and I did learn that I don’t particularly like coriander in my beer.
Since we had an extra day in Brussels, we opted for the Art Nouveau tour instead of the city tour. I’m glad we did. Our post tour night at the Hotel Amigo was great. The hotel is only a block from the Grand Place and is beautiful. The concierge recommended La Roue D’Or for dinner and it was fabulous.
Belgian waffles, beer, frites and chocolate are all to die for.
The only criticism I heard was from other passengers who missed the daytime sailing, sitting on deck watching the scenery go by. We generally sailed early morning or overnight and we docked at a port that was in an industrial area rather than city center. It was a little chilly to be sitting on the sun deck anyway, so I was happy with the schedule. Bruges was the longest bus ride at about 1 1/4 hours. The other days were much shorter.
The only snafu was that the airport transfer didn’t show on our departure day. I know Tauck would have reimbursed us the taxi fare, but fortunately the TD for the next tour was at the hotel and paid it.
I highly recommend this tour. As usual with a Tauck tour, one of the highlights is the people you meet. We always seem to find a few who we really connect with and that happened again on this tour. Learning about the history, architecture, art and culture of new places is also a treat.
I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.