Wanderlust Wednesday: Tulip Time River Cruising

Arnhem, Netherlands photo courtesy of Ama Waterways

You don’t want to miss Tulip Time!

Flemish botanist, carolus Clusius, first introduced tulips to the Dutch in 1593, which ultimately led to the crazy of springtime Tulip Time sailings.

What is the big deal about Tulip Time?

The vibrant tulip, bloomed with rich hues not yet seen before in Western Europe so naturally, the fascination began! Though financial records are limited from this time frame, research tells us that some precious tulip bulbs went for as much as 10x the annual salary of a skilled craftsman & quite a lot valuable at the time of many homes. This bubble did burst burst later when there was a bit of a depression.

Tulip Mania may ended, but the tulip time continues to be very popular in the Netherlands as a part of their culture, and the Dutch still dominate the tulip industry across the world, producing 4 billion or more bulbs every year. There’s plenty of opportunity for anyone traveling to stop and smell the flowers between the Tulip Museum in Amsterdam as well as private homes and gardens.

The Keukenhof Gardens

Nowhere hosts as much flower power as the marvelous Keukenhof Gardens. During only a few special weeks between mid-March and mid-May, the Gardens have 7 million+ planted bulbs on about 80 acres of lush land & host nearly 1 million visitors. Walking & biking paths, plus waterways & electric propelled silent boats offer chances to view the fields in nearly any way you imagine. Take a peaceful walk through the fields, enjoy the beauty & floral scents wafting in the air, check out artworks & sculptures, and be sure to check out the particular theme of this year’s display. These are always creative, with themed from various flowers. In the past, they have celebrated Vincent van Gogh as well as the Golden Age.

Amsterdam offers river cruisers colorful canals, the Kinderdijk windmills & also the art of Rubens & Michelangelo, as well as the timeless traditions of Delft porcelain, the medieval architectural treasures of Bruges, Middelburg & Ghent. Through your river cruise, you can also indulge in Belgian chocolates, warm waffles & amazing cheeses, all while taking in the storybook vibe of the region.

You can see these countries & rivers on an Ama Waterways Tulip Time Cruise: BELGIUM, NETHERLANDS

Tulip Time Cruise Only Map courtesy of Ama Waterways

On Ama Waterways’ river cruises, you will enjoy a huge lineup of included tours. Most of the time, you will have a choice of excursions, like standard tours, bike tours, hikes or even Special Interest Tours. Ama Waterways always includes a big variety so you can decide how you want to explore. No matter what you prefer, your days will be quite full, and very interesting!


The AmaCerto, AmaLucia, AmaMora, AmaSerena, and AmaStella do the Tulip time cruises in 2022 with Ama Waterways. Here are some photos to check out!

Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Amsterdam/Embarkation

Embark your ship in Amsterdam for your 7-night cruise.

Day 2: Amsterdam: The IJsselmeer Scenic Cruising

Hoorn, Netherlands photo courtesy of Ama Waterways

Enjoy a scenic cruise through the IJsselmeer to Hoorn, where you have a choice of four excursions:

  • See a family-run tulip farm with 1 million+ tulips, each in different phases of growth so you can see how they grow, and also those will likely be of various species and colors
  • To enjoy a sensation of traveling back in time, enjoy a walking tour in Hoorn
  • If you’re into maritime culture and history, visit the Zuiderzee Museum, all about the lively Zuiderzee region
  • For active adventure, take a guided bike ride through the Dutch countryside

Day 3: Delta – Scenic Cruising

Middelburg, Netherlands photo courtesy of Ama Waterways

After enjoying a scenic cruise through the Delta, you can choose to tour as follows:

  • Explore medieval Middelburg, the 2nd largest trading city of the Dutch East India Company historically
  • If you feel like exploring the city by bike, a guided ride is a great choice
  • Into the history? You may find it interesting to learn about how the Delta Works, with its unique storm surge barrier, and how this came to be while visiting the Flood Museum – Fun Fact: More than 50% of the Netherlands is situated below sea level so the Delta Works were built to prevent a recurrence of the 1953 flood disaster

Day 4: Ghent – Highlights of Ghent and Bruges

Chocolate Making photo courtesy of Ama Waterways

There are several choices of excursions, depending on your interests.

  • If you’d like to discover two medieval cities, Ghent and Bruges, you’ll wish to go on a highlights tour. You’ll see Ghent’s canal-side architecture, some of its famous sights (including the Castle of the Counts & Ghent Cathedral) & also visit one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe, Bruges!
  • Art and Architecture? Another option would be to join a full-day tour to Bruges, which takes you to visit to the Church of Our Lady, home to the beautiful Carrara marble Madonna and Child sculpture by Michelangelo.
  • Chocolate Lover? You can learn about the art of Belgian chocolate making can join a master chocolatier as he shares his insights.
  • If you’d prefer more free time, stroll along with the walking tour of Ghent, followed by leisure time.

Day 5: Antwerp – Walking Tour & Cathedral Visit

Antwerp, Rubens House (Rubenshuis) photo courtesy of Ama Waterways

Did someone say Waffles & Chocolate?

  • Your first option to enjoy this very modern city is on a walking tour where you’ll get a chance to check out Antwerp’s Steen Castle, Grote Market & Brabo Fountain, as well as the UNESCO-designated Cathedral of Our Lady.
  • If you’d like to stay active, take the guided bike tour.
  • Also, for a 3rd morning option is to visit the Rubens House, which was the home of this famous Flemish Baroque painter.
  • In the afternoon, you have a choice of two tours: Foodies will want to go on their culinary tour to enjoy the flavors of chocolate, waffles & beer. Flower lovers and gardeners may prefer to roam through the Floralia, which is an annual spring flower display featuring about 1 million bulbs, hand-planted each year by the castle staff.

Day 6: Rotterdam – Rotterdam Walking tour & Tastes of Rotterdam

Kinderkijk Windmills photo courtesy of Ama Waterways
  • Morning tour 1: a walking tour of Rotterdam, AKA the “Gateway to Europe,” & taste local specialties.
  • Morning tour 2: You can also visit Delfshaven, which is where the Pilgrim fathers departed on their epic journey aboard the Speedwell on August 1, 1620. Stopping in Southampton, many then boarded the Mayflower and concluded their journey at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts.
  • Morning tour 3: Your 3rd option is to tour Delft, the home of the painter Johannes Vermeer, Delft Blue earthenware & the Royal House. When you visit this location, you’ll see the Royal Delft Porcelain Factory and Museum.
  • Morning tour 4: For an active adventure, join a bike tour ride through Rotterdam & see on the way some of its best known landmarks & architecture.
  • During the afternoon, you’ll venture to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk, a quaint village world known for having the greatest concentration of windmills, dating from the 18th century. You may also pedal past the windmills from the seat of a bike. Same tour, different modes!

Day 7: Amsterdam – Keukenhof Gardens excursion

Keukenh of Holland photo courtesy of Ama Waterways
  • Keukenhof, presents a spectacular display of millions of flowering tulips spread out over 70 acres. Spend time strolling through this globally renowned garden, open only 9 weeks a year and a ttimes, referred to as the “Garden of Europe.”
  • Later on this day, enjoy Amsterdam’s historic harbor and canals, where you’ll see beautiful homes lining the water and the fabled Skinny Bridge.
  • Alternately, you can have the rare experience journeying into the Netherland’s Floriade Expo* in Almere, which is very close to Amsterdam, featuring stunning gardens, innovative sustainable gardening exhibits, entertainment, souvenirs & food stalls.

*Please note: The Floriade 2022 Expo opens from April 14 to October 9, 2022. When adding the land program to the following departure dates, guests will visit Floriade on Day 9 of the itinerary as the exhibition will not be open at the beginning of the river cruise: April 7, 10, 11, 12.

Day 8: Amsterdam – Disembarkation

Amsterdam photo courtesy of Ama Waterways

Disembark the ship & prepare for your flight home.

What’s included with this Sample Itinerary?


  • Luxury accommodations in an outside stateroom (most with twin balconies) for 7 nights.
  • Entertainment in all staterooms with free high-speed internet access, movies, music and English language TV stations
  • Mini-fridge, desk & sitting area
  • Bottled water replenished daily


  • Wellness Activities w/dedicated Wellness Host leading various fitness classes plus discussions on healthy eating & relaxation techniques, on board and on shore.
  • Personal service from Cruise Manager during both cruise & land programs
  • Internet & Wi-Fi access
  • Sun deck pool with swim-up bar & walking/jogging track
  • Exercise room, massage services & hair salon
  • Main Lounge with stunning views & bar
  • Entertainment every day, including cultural performances


  • All onboard dining in a variety of venues
  • Regionally inspired cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients
  • The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant
  • Welcome Cocktail, Welcome Dinner, La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Dinner, Captain’s Cocktail and Gala Dinner
  • La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs exclusive dining experience
  • Unlimited fine wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
  • Unlimited sparkling wine and fresh juice with breakfast
  • Sip & Sail Cocktail Hour with complimentary wine, beer, spirits and soft drinks
  • Tapas, snacks and refreshments served daily in the Main Lounge


  • Immersive tours in every destination
  • Gentle, regular, active and late-riser tour options
  • Bike tours and hikes
  • Special Interest Tours
  • Knowledgeable guides
  • Personal headset for easy exploration
  • Airport transfers with purchase of air from AmaWaterways

Optional Add On Extension

2 Nights Amsterdam Pre-Cruise available to extend your trip! If you’ve always wanted to enjoy this city, this is perfect for you!

Ready to plan your Tulip Time or other River Cruise? Easy Peasy with Easy Breezy Journeys – just fill out this brief questionnaire by clicking HERE to get started!

photo of brown and green windmill
Windmill in Holland Photo by Tayla Kohler on Unsplash

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