Exploring Amsterdam’s Landmarks!

With approximately six weeks before the start of our Drag Stars at Sea: Europe Allstars there is a lot to be done and planned before our cruisers begin their amazing journey. Each of our destinations within Europe has an overabundance of great activities and sights to take in before people are whisked off to the next leg of their adventure. This article is here to condense some of the information so that you, the ever busy traveler, don’t have to search all over for ingenious ideas on how to spend your time.

The Anne Frank House is a historic house and biographical museum which honors the Jewish wartime diary writer Anne Frank. During the war Anne Frank hid from the Nazis with her family and four other people at the rear of a canal house, known as the Secret Annex. While Anne Frank did not survive the war her diary was published in 1947 to great acclaim. It has been said that Anne Frank represents the millions of lives lost during the holocaust, giving a face and words to an event perhaps too horrible to fully accept at first blush. In 1957 the Anne Frank Foundation was established to protect the house from developers who wanted to demolish it. The house is one of the most well regarded sites in all of Amsterdam, with visitors noting how well the museum retells the history of Anne Frank’s journey. It is also a popular site, with well over a million people visiting it each year.

The Royal Concertgebouw is a concert hall in Amsterdam. Construction of the hall began in 1883, inspired by the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, and it opened in 1888 to an inaugural concert which featured 120 musicians and a chorus of 500 singers! In 2013 in honor of the building’s 125th year Queen Beatrix gave the building the Royal Title of “Koninklijk.” The concert hall is considered one of the finest in the entire world due to its very impressive acoustics, being rivaled only by places such as Boston’s Symphony Hall. The main hall seats almost 2,000 people! Nearly a million people visit the hall each year, with nothing but glowing reviews for the amazing sounds produced within its halls.

Royal Palace of Amsterdam is one of three palaces in the country which can be used by the monarchy as per the order of the Parliament. Originally a city hall during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century, the building became a royal palace of King Louis Napoleon in the early stages of the 19th century, he himself probably most famous for being Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother. When the Netherlands were annexed by France in 1810 it was once again used as a town hall and would not be returned to the Dutch royalty until King William I took the crown.

Amsterdam has a lot of amazing landmarks. Some are filled with a tragic beauty, while others uplift the spirit and remind us of our place in history. Amsterdam is part of our AMAZING 7 Day Taste of Europe pre-tour which leads into our sensational Drag Stars at Sea: Europe Allstars! For all of the information on this trip, go here.

 

 

A ‘Dam’ Fine History Lesson!

Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it, or otherwise just not know as many neat factoids about the areas they travel while visiting around the world as they perhaps should. Whether it be doom or ignorance, I’m here to help cure the ailment. Today I talk about Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, whose rich history is perfectly paired with its artistry!

The origins of Amsterdam make perfect sense, given its name. In the latter half of the 12th century locals of the river Amstel built a bridge over and a dam across the river, thus the name ‘Aemstelredamme.” The name is quite literal! An important year in the city’s long history is 1275. The ruling Count of Holland granted traders, sailors, and fishermen exemption from the high tolls all across the region. This gave the citizens the right to travel freely throughout the land without having to pay any tolls at bridges, locks, and dams. The richness of the city can be traced back to this granting of rights because merchants from all over Europe could come to the city and sell their wares at a more competitive rate than anywhere else. Amsterdam is a rather young city compared to many of the other cities in the Netherlands, not being granted city status until early in 14th century. After the miracle of Amsterdam occurred Amsterdam saw many pilgrimages from the Roman Catholic Church in order to celebrate it. The city has suffered through two major fires, one in 1421 and one in 1452. After the second one, where three quarters of the city was destroyed, the Emperor at the time ordered it to be rebuilt.

In the 16th century the Dutch rebelled against the king of Spain, Philip II. One of the main issues of concern, outside of the lack of political power for local nobility, was the Spanish’s marked intolerance when it came to religion. The Dutch believed, and to this day still believe, in the free exercise of religion and chuffed at the attitude shown by the king. As the religious wars raged through Europe over the decades many religious groups sought refuge due to the great tolerance of the Dutch. The 17th century marked what is considered to be Amsterdam’s Golden Age. Ships from the city sailed to locations all across the globe and by doing so established a worldwide trading network. The merchants of the city, incredibly wealthy as they were, financed expeditions all over the world and acquired possessions which would later form the basis for the Dutch colonies.

 

No discussion of Amsterdam can be completed without talking about two of its most important artists. Rembrandt, born in 1606, is widely regarded as one of the best painters to have ever lived. One of the characteristics of his work was the theatrical employment of both light and shadow in his works to express the mood of the painting. He had a flair for the dramatic as well, and his compassion for mankind shone through in his work. Vincent Van Gogh was born in 1853 and his life was always a struggle. The horrors of mental illness always seemed to be awaiting around the corner for young Vincent, whose anxiety dogged him at every step. Critics note that while his early work is marred by his inconsistency, his later work has a sense of control that speaks to a man who was able to keep his demons at bay, even if only for a time. One of his finest works is the Starry Night, pictured above, which is considered by many to be one of the most recognizable additions to the Western culture.

Amsterdam has a lot of history at its back, as well as people who have made the Dutch people synonymous with cultural impact. We are very pleased to be able to take you there as part of our taste of Europe pre tour, which leads you into the Drag Stars at Sea: Europe Allstars! For all of the information about this great trip, go here.

SALE – RHINE & MOSEL RIVER CRUISES 8 – 11 NIGHT FROM $799

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OPTION 1


Rhine & Mosel River to Holland – 11 DAYS FROM $799

Arnhem, Holland cruising to Rotterdam, Amsterdam Tulip Time! 11 Days from $799 enjoy cruising aboard the Select Voyages Deluxe SWITZERLAND II sailing RHINE & MOSEL RIVER from Arnhem, Holland to Cologne, Andernach, Cochem, Bernkastel, Trier, Remich Luxembourg, Zell, Koblenz, Dusseldorf and Rotterdam. Don’t miss it! Ask your ALandCHUCK.Travel agent for details.


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RHINE & MOSEL RIVER ITINERARY
11 Days from $799
1 April 2015 to 11 April 2015

Day 1 | Arnhem, Holland & Board the Switzerland II
THE RHINE RIVER
Today you set out to begin your spectacular river cruise adventure. On arrival to Arnhem, you board the lovely 108 passenger SWITZERLAND II. This evening enjoy a special Welcome Aboard Dinner. Set sail this evening southbound on the Rhine River.

Day 2 | Cologne, Germany
THE RHINE RIVER
One of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles both sides of the Rhine. Enjoy the day here as you can visit the magnificent cathedral and so much more.

Day 3 | Andernach & Cochem
THE MOSEL RIVER
Overnight visit to lovely Andernach. Next your floating hotel arrives in Cochem. Here you will see a charming and picturesque town with half-timbered houses and winding streets full of history and legends. Dominated by the Reichsburg Castle (built in 1000 AD) you begin to enjoy the world famous MOSEL. Step mountains and gorges will be seen everywhere.

Day 4 | Bernkastel
THE MOSEL RIVER
In the middle of the Mosel region is this charming wine village complete with fascinating narrow streets and halftimbered houses that have stood since the middle ages. Enjoy the beautiful marketplace with its renaissance-style town hall that was built in 1416. This region is Germany’s most prolific wine growing area. Perhaps you visit the interesting wine museum.

Day 5 | Trier
THE MOSEL RIVER

This is the most spectacular visit on the Mosel. Trier, Germany’s oldest city may even be older than Rome. Some say Trier was populated over a thousand years before the Romans arrived. But it was Constantine from Rome that makes Trier so famous today. Many Roman remains have survived, including a 20,000 seat amphitheater, the Porta Nigra, the only surviving fortified gate from the original Roman settlement; the imperial baths; and the Roman bridge… Germany’s oldest bridge. The entire historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you will understand why.

Day 6 | Remich, Luxembourg
THE MOSEL RIVER

Today enjoy one of the wealthiest countries on Earth, Luxembourg. Remich is the Mosel gateway for the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and you will have many choices for Sightseeing and shopping and more.

Day 7 | Trier
THE MOSEL RIVER

Today you return to Trier for another opportunity to visit this grand historic city.

Day 8 | Zell
THE MOSEL RIVER

Many consider Zell “the photograph” of beautiful villages on The Mosel. With only 5000 inhabitants the village sits between the river and a steep mountain and is only approximately 500 yards in width and 1 mile long. But the beauty of the village is stunning. Ample time to explore here.

Day 9 | Koblenz
RHINE & MOSEL RIVERS

Situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel Rivers, 2000 year old Koblenz is the cultural and business center of the mid-Rhine region. There is so much history here and so much to see and do.

Day 10 | Dusseldorf
THE RHINE RIVER

Dusseldorf is a major hub of Germany’s upper Rhine. Known for great shopping and fashionable coffee cafes you are sure to enjoy your final day on the river. Tonight you enjoy a Farewell dinner celebration.

Day 11 | Rotterdam
This morning after breakfast aboard SWITZERLAND II you will arrive in lovely Rotterdam. Today you return home with many wonderful memories of cruising on the Rhine and Mosel Rivers!


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FEATURES:

  • 11 Day Cruise on deluxe Select Voyages Cruise Lines SWITZERLAND II as a PRIVATE CHARTER exclusively for ALandCHUCK guests. All meals included aboard ship including breakfast buffet, lunch served menu or buffet, dinner served menu or buffet; Special Welcome Dinner Celebration; Special Captains Dinner.
  • AIRFARE ADDITIONAL: $1299 Low Cost Airfare available from Tampa, Orlando, Miami, & Jacksonville (other cities on request) to Amsterdam including all transfers. (Upgrade to $49 Premium Air plus flight change costs and you select number of stops, times, airlines, or any flight preferences. Ask your ALandCHUCK agent for details). Book your own airfare and schedule arrival and departure airport transfers for $49 (both transfers included).
  • OPTIONAL: Ask your ALandCHUCK agent about adding pre & post hotel stays for added convenience!

PLEASE NOTE: If arranging your own air, please arrive on April 1, 2015 – most flights depart March 31, 2015 and fly overnight, arriving April 1, 2015


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CRUISE RATES:

RUN OF SHIP: $799* per person (*Rates after BOGO discount starting at $1598)

EMERALD DECK
Category On Ship: Category EM Main Deck: $849

RUBY DECK
Category On Ship: Category RU Upper Deck Outside: $899

RATES ALREADY INCLUDE government taxes & vendor fees.

ADDITIONAL CRUISE GRATUITIES: $99 per person and must be prepaid at final payment by all guests.

NO HIDDEN CHARGES! These charges are HIDDEN FROM YOU by others.
Ask them for a total rate & compare!

PAYMENTS: Full payment due upon time of booking.

CANCELLATION PENALTIES:
Deposit is non-refundable
100 – 61 days prior 50%
60 – 31 days prior 75%
Within 30 days 100%

CANCELLATION INSURANCE IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


 

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ABOUT SELECT VOYAGES & SWITZERLAND II
Length 300 feet ~ Width 34 feet ~ Speed 15 mph ~ Crew Members 30 ~
Staterooms 53 including standard, mini-suites & suites ~ 3 passenger decks
Restaurant ~ Bar ~ Lounge ~ Shop ~ Library ~ Chair Lift ~ Guests 108

The ms Switzerland II is an excellent river cruise vessel full of style and character. It has helped to create cherished holiday memories for countless passengers. Offering 4 star accommodation, you can relax among the attractive interiors and with a maximum capacity of 108 passengers, you can enjoy an intimate environment combined with the excellent service delivered by the friendly and professional crew.

Lounge Bar: The stylish lounge is surrounded by windows and has comfortable seating, making for a light and spacious place to relax. There is also a bar and dance floor which become popular during the evening entertainment. Restaurant: Enjoy a combination of buffets and themed dinners in the elegant restaurant located on the Emerald Deck.

Sun Deck: Play a game of table tennis or lie back in a sun lounger – the Sun Deck is the perfect place to unwind in the fresh air and soak up the scenery.

Stair Lift: leads from the Ruby Deck to the Sun Deck and the restaurant on the Emerald Deck to the Ruby Deck. The cabins on the Emerald Deck are only accessible via a stairway.


 

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OPTION 2


President’s River Cruise || Ultra Deluxe European Charters – 8 DAYS FROM $799

An EXCLUSIVE Private Cruise Charter!
Sail aboard the brand new and ultra-deluxe Emerald Star on the RHINE RIVER on this Private Charter! This incredible 8 day trip including all government taxes & fees. Sail with top escorts on this EXCLUSIVE private charter for just 182 guests. Enjoy Amsterdam, Cologne, Koblenz, Rhine Gorge, Strasbourg, Black Forest and Basel on one of the most luxurious river ships in the world complete with multiple restaurants, movie theater, heated swimming pool with retractable macrodome and many suites with glass walls on the river and retractable glass balconies. BEST OF ALL, enjoy BOGO – Buy 1 Cruise Get 1 Cruise FREE with per person rates (after BOGO) for 8 days from $799. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a fantastic value!


RHINE RIVER
8 Days from $799
March 23, 2015 – March 30, 2015

ITINERARY

Day 1 | Amsterdam & board the EMERALD STAR
Today you will board your deluxe rivership. Overnight in Amsterdam. All meals on your deluxe Rivership.

Day 2 | Rhine River to Cologne, Germany
All meals included. Enjoy beautiful cruise of the Dutch countryside and cross the border to Germany. Overnight in Cologne and visit the magnificent Cathedral.

Day 3 | Cologne to Koblenz
All meals included. Today arrive in the 2000 year old town of Koblenz, which is situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers. This is the most beautiful part of the Rhine Valley.

Day 4 | Koblenz to Heildelberg & Mainz
All meals included. Sailing past the world famous Lorelei Rock and Heildelberg Castle to the Rhine Gorge are the highlights today.

Day 5 | Strasbourg, France
All meals included. Today is dedicated to lovely Strasbourg. Enjoy one of France’s most beautiful cities.

Day 6 | Breisach & Black Forest
All meals included. Germany’s beautiful Black Forest region is our focus today and many unique and picturesque villages to visit.

Day 7 | Basel, Switzerland
All meals included. Cross the border into Switzerland and enjoy an overnight in this lovely city.

Day 8 | Basel, Switzerland
Breakfast aboard this morning. Today you return home with many wonderful memories of your river cruise.


FEATURES:

  • 8 Day Cruise on ultra deluxe EMERALD STAR as a PRIVATE CHARTER exclusively for ALandCHUCK guests. Features include: All meals aboard ship including breakfast buffet, 4 course lunch served menu or buffet, 4 course dinner served menu or buffet
  • AIRFARE ADDITIONAL: $1299 Low Cost Airfare available from Tampa, Orlando, Miami, & Jacksonville (other cities on request) to Amsterdam including all transfers. (Upgrade to $49 Premium Air plus flight change costs and you select number of stops, times, airlines, or any flight preferences. Ask your ALandCHUCK agent for details). Book your own airfare and schedule arrival and departure airport transfers for $49 (both transfers included).
  • OPTIONAL: Ask your ALandCHUCK agent about adding pre & post hotel stays for added convenience!

PLEASE NOTE: If arranging your own air, please arrive on March 23, 2015 – most flights depart March 22, 2015 and fly overnight, arriving March 23, 2015


CRUISE RATES:

RUN OF SHIP: $799* per person (*Rates after BOGO discount starting at $1598)

RIVIERA DECK
Category On Ship: Category E Outside: $849
Category On Ship: Category D Outside : $899

VISTA DECK
Category On Ship: Category C Balcony: $949
Category On Ship: Category B Balcony: $999
Category On Ship: Category A Balcony: $1049

HORIZON DECK
Category On Ship: Category R Balcony: $1099
Category On Ship: Category P Balcony: $1149
Category On Ship: Category S Balcony Suite: $1199
Category On Ship: Category SA Owners Suite: $1249

(NOTE: BOGO is capacity controlled and can be withdrawn without notice and full rates will be in effect.)

RATES ALREADY INCLUDE government taxes & vendor fees.

ADDITIONAL CRUISE GRATUITIES: $99 per person and must be prepaid at final payment by all guests.

NO HIDDEN CHARGES! These charges are HIDDEN FROM YOU by others.
Ask them for a total rate & compare!

PAYMENTS: Full payment due upon booking.

CANCELLATION PENALTIES:
Deposit is non-refundable
100 – 61 days prior 50%
60 – 31 days prior 75%
Within 30 days 100%

CANCELLATION INSURANCE IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


About SCENIC CRUISES & EMERALD WATERWAYS
Brand New EMERALD STAR
Length 443 feet ~ Width 38 feet ~ Speed 15 mph ~ Crew Members 47
Staterooms 20 ~ Suites 72 ~ Guests 182

In 2014 Emerald Waterways will be making its debut on Europe’s rivers and you’re invited to be among the very first guests to experience the next generation of river cruising. As the first new river cruise company to take to the waters in more than six years, they have created an exceptional river cruising experience that surpasses all expectations.

NEW FEATURES NEVER SEEN BEFORE
Launching a new fleet of custom-built Star-Class Ships gave a blank canvas to create a completely new design, and introduce an array of spectacular innovations you wouldn’t expect on a river cruise ship. To begin with, the ship boasts an ONBOARD HEATED SWIMMING POOL WITH RETRACTABLE ROOF, which in the evening, transforms into a cinema. And as an alternative to the main restaurant, Reflections, they offer ALFRESCO DINING ON THE TERRACE at breakfast and lunch.

GLASS WALL BALCONIES (NOT FRENCH BALCONIES LIKE EVERYONE ELSE)
The ship offers a great range of cabins for you to choose from, including the Emerald Panorama Balcony Suite – A COMPLETELY NEW TYPE OF CABIN. To replace the run-of-the-mill French Balcony (where you can only stand at a partial railing) that is commonplace on river cruise ships, you can experience A NEW KIND OF INDOOR BALCONY, COMPLETE WITH A DECKED AREA AND THE INGENIOUS OPEN-AIR SYSTEM. WITH THE TOUCH OF A BUTTON, THE UPPER HALF OF THE CABINS FLOOR-TO-CEILING WINDOW DROPS DOWN TO LET IN FRESH AIR AND PROVIDE FULL PANORAMIC VIEWS OF THE LANDSCAPE. It is unique in the entire world on this ship.

INCREDIBLE OPEN SPACES ON EMERALD
The moment you step onboard your ship, you’ll be met with an overwhelming sense of light and space. The Horizon Bar and Lounge features floor-to-ceiling windows. The Terrace looking out onto the river is lined with the most comfortable lounge chairs and the Sun Deck has 360 degree views of the ever changing scenery. Enjoy the stylish Sky Bar and the most amazing (and only) pool and cinema complex on a rivership (complete with retractable dome).

TWO INCREDIBLE DINING OPTIONS
Reflections Restaurant features table service and buffets beyond compare. Unique is a second dining option The Terrace Restaurant which features alfresco dining for breakfast and lunch.

INCREDIBLE CABIN OPTIONS
Owners One-Bedroom Suites include two rooms with every appointment imaginable. Grand Balcony Suites are large suites that will make the cruise experience outstanding. You may choose Panorama Balcony Suites that are incredible bedrooms with the amazing (one button touch) retractable glass walls on the river (all suites also have this feature.) And finally you can choose Emerald Staterooms that have picture windows. The cabin choices are the best of any river cruise ship in Europe!


 

For More Information Please Call 866-949-1429