Enjoy a Tulip Time Cruise
Tulips are so beautiful and distinctive that they were once a form of currency. Beginning in 1634, tulips became so highly valued that the price of a single bulb could run as high as 10 times the annual income of a successful craftsman. The market in tulips crashed in 1637, bringing an end to the phenomenon known as "tulip mania,” but love of the flower lived on.
Tulips were originally cultivated in the Ottoman Empire, but they found a natural home in the Holland region of the Netherlands. The moist but well-drained soil and cool, sunny springs produce lovely blooms in many different colors and varieties. From early April through mid-May, fields full of tulips – as well as hyacinths, crocuses and daffodils – form a glorious patchwork of colors in the fields of Holland. One of the best ways to see and appreciate this annual spectacle is a river cruise.
"Tulip cruises” sail the historic waterways of the Netherlands. Many of these cruises are round-trip from Amsterdam, with time built in to enjoy the city. Longer cruises venture into Belgium, where you can see more gardens, historic towns and the cities of Brussels and Antwerp.
A common stop on tulip cruises is Keukenhof Garden, the world’s largest floral park, located in Lisse, the Netherlands. This beautifully landscaped garden, open only while the tulips bloom, contains 7 million tulips in more than 1,000 varieties. In addition to the flowers, take a look at Castle Keukenhof, a popular venue for festivals and musical performances. Many cruises also visit city of Rotterdam; or Kinderdijk, which has an impressive network of 19 vintage windmills.
Wherever you sail, waves of tulips will welcome you, along with other flowers, plants and trees that will be greening up for the summer. Tulips usually reach their peak in mid-April, though weather may cause some unpredictable variations. But, whether the tulips are barely open or nearly done blooming, the cruise will be beautiful and memorable.
There are other ways to celebrate spring on a European river cruise. For example, a river cruise ship can take you to the Spring Music Festival in Budapest, Hungary, March 22-April 7; "Rhine in Flames,” a series of beautiful fireworks display that take place every Saturday, May through September, along Germany’s portion of the Rhine river; and the Vienna Festival in Vienna, Austria, May 9 to June 15.
To select your springtime European river cruise, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.