River cruise itineraries for the 2022 season are blooming with sailings that include visits to the once-in-a-decade Floriade Horticulture Expo in the Netherlands.
Taking place in the city of Almere, just outside Amsterdam, the Floriade is accessible on half-day and full-day visits with several river cruise companies.
The expo kicks off on April 14 and runs through Oct. 9. This year's event will feature presentations from 40 countries, a cable car that takes visitors above the Floriade park, pavilions with sustainable innovations, a greenhouse complex and a vibrant array of flowers, plants and vegetables spread over 150 acres.
Avalon Waterways, Amadeus, Uniworld and AmaWaterways are all returning with itineraries including the Floriade this year, while Scenic and Riviera River Cruises are sailing to the event for the first time. Sailings range from seven to 17 days, with most lines offering packages from April until October.
AmaWaterways is offering nine different packages that include visits to the Floriade with seven-, 10- and 11-day sailings. The luxury cruise line is among some of the companies including multiple destinations around Europe with its Floriade sailings. All of the cruise lines making trips to the Floriade this year are making multiple stops in the Netherlands, and a majority include port calls in Belgium and Germany.
In addition to the Netherlands, AmaWaterways' Floriade sailings will make calls in Luxembourg, France, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belgium and Germany across seven of its itineraries.
Uniworld's River Empress will host Dutch Delights and Remarkable Rhine & Historic Holland itineraries that include a visit to the horticultural extravaganza. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Uniworld
Uniworld's Floriade cruises range from eight to 16 days in duration. Its European Jewels itinerary begins in Budapest and will make several stops in Austria, including Vienna, in addition to several port calls in Germany, before ending in Amsterdam. Guests will have the option of visiting the Floriade or enjoying a canal cruise that includes a visit to either the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum.
Amadeus is offering four Floriade itineraries, including three eight-day sailings and a 15-day sailing. The eight-day Rhine in Flames package begins in Basel, Switzerland, and calls in Strasbourg in northeastern France as well as in several German cities along the Rhine, ending in Amsterdam with a visit to the Floriade. The other eight-day sailings that visit the Floriade are Classical Rhine, sailing from Amsterdam to Basel, and Tulip Season, which sails roundtrip from Amsterdam.
For a longer voyage with Amadeus, guests can choose the 15-day Across Europe package that visits Hungary, Austria and Slovakia in addition to Germany and the Netherlands. In order to visit the Floriade on an Across Europe itinerary, guests must book the package that departs from Budapest and ends in Amsterdam, as Day 14 will include a half-day visit to the expo. Amadeus' select Floriade departures are available throughout April, with offerings in July and September.
A rendering of the Floriade Expo's Central Square, as seen from the show's aerial cable car. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Floriade Horticulture Expo
Riviera River Cruises' new Amsterdam, Cologne and the Best of Holland and Flanders package is an eight-day itinerary that includes full-day and half-day visits to the Floriade. Guests can either opt for a morning visit to the event and then have free time to explore Amsterdam in the afternoon or spend the entire day at the expo. This is Riviera's sole Floriade itinerary, and all departures include visits to the expo.
AmaWaterways is introducing two new itineraries to the Floriade this year. The Best of Holland and Belgium is an eight-day immersive Flemish experience that sails roundtrip from Amsterdam. Flemish history and culture is highlighted with land excursions in the Belgian cities of Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent, while Amsterdam visits bookend the voyage.
The Rhine Castles and Swiss Alps itinerary is the other new AmaWaterways' package with a visit to the Floriade. Starting off in Amsterdam, guests have the option of visiting the Floriade on Day 2 or spending time cruising some of Amsterdam's 165 canals, before heading out to Cologne and several cities along the Rhine. A visit to Strasbourg in France's Alsace region will give guests a taste of both Germany and France before moving on to Basel the next day, where the trip ends.
Uniworld's eight-day Dutch Delight package offers an immersive Netherlands experience, including a visit to the Floriade, on each of its sailings starting in July.
The Avalon Tranquility II, which will take guests to Floriade. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Avalon
And Avalon Waterways will keep the flower power going with its Active, Discovery and Classic excursions. Guests can browse through 20 million flowers at the Aalsmeer Flower Auction in Amsterdam, the largest in the world, and also make half- or full-day visits to nearby Keukenhof garden in Lisse, known as the "Garden of Europe" and world-renowned for its collection of tulips, the country's signature bloom.
Scenic guests will be accompanied by an expert guide on their Floriade visit. Other horticultural options during the line's Floriade itineraries include visiting the gardens of Appeltern and maybe meeting a tulip grower.
"This year's Floriade event promises to be special," said Steve Born, Avalon's chief marketing officer. "There's never been a bigger need for travelers to stop and smell the flowers, taking time out and away to appreciate nature's wonder."