What could be lovelier than an April picnic amid fields of tulips? Last fall, the landscapers at Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands planted seven million bulbs for visitors to enjoy this spring (photo, above). They also arranged about a hundred thousand crocuses, tulips, and muscari into a mosaic showing a 17th-century sailing ship docked alongside gabled canal houses, representing the Dutch Golden Age (see below). If you stay on for the Amsterdam postlude on our “Dutch & Flemish Landscapes” cruise, you’ll visit Keukenhof for a picnic lunch, during which you’ll be able to admire this floral representation of Dutch cultural history.
Dutch & Flemish Landscapes
The Netherlands & Belgium
Aboard M.S. AmaPrima
April 10 to 18, 2016
(Amsterdam postlude April 18 to 20)
With Harvard professor Thomas Kelly,
Yale professor Gene M. Moore, and Metropolitan Museum of Art curator
Please click to view brochure
There’s no disco on a riverboat, no rock climbing wall, no water park, no casino and no choice of 25 restaurants. What you do get is a serene vacation, a cabin with a water view, personalized attention and meals handcrafted with locally sourced ingredients and wines.
Riverboats can maneuver into smaller ports thereby allowing direct entrée to exquisite places like châteaux, floating markets and vineyards. You have immediate access to the imposing cathedrals and masterpieces of art in the charming villages on your route. Join a walking tour or grab a bike and go explore – no need to travel out of the way to get to where a big cruise ship can dock, and then tender back and forth in a sea of people.
No crowds, no herding, no hurry. Just sophisticated, like-minded travelers who discuss Rotterdam’s inventive architecture or the van Goghs seen in Arles that day.
Take time to smell the tulips on a glorious springtime cruise along Dutch and Belgian waterways. Admire chateau gardens, Roman ruins and the enchanting cities and pastoral landscapes of Provence.
I bet you won’t miss for a minute getting lost en route to the ice show or waiting more than an hour to disembark.
By Anastasia Mills Healy
By Anastasia Mills Healy
If you have to wonder how anyone might be able to write 388 pages about tulips or why anyone would want to read said tome, then perhaps a trip with a garden focus is not for you.
The distinguished British garden authority Anna Pavord in fact did write a fascinating history of tulips, a bestseller no less, complete with tales of trekking in desolate areas searching for rare species; Turkish sultans who required guests to dress in colors that matched their tulips; and a single bulb selling for the same price as the most expensive house in Amsterdam in the 1630s.
The author of numerous other books on gardening and the gardening correspondent for The Independent, Pavord will be the study leader on an upcoming cruise that focuses on the lush tropical gardens of the Caribbean. Obviously passionate about her subject, Pavord is a riveting lecturer. Even the most unapologetic black thumb will be drawn into her observations about rare orchids and bromeliads, Ixora, Heliconia, and Balisier. You will never look at a Bird of Paradise the same way again.