Built in 2006, Brabant is the first-ever dedicated river cruise boat by Fred Olsen. Setting sail with a maximum of 156 passengers and 40 crew members; the boat compact size and friendly, intimate atmosphere mean you'll soon feel at home. Brabant is spread across four decks, each lined with luxury amenities and well-equipped rooms and suites to add to your cruise experience. Days on board are all about relaxing and enjoying yourself; before evenings spent dining on delicious, locally-inspired cuisine and being entertained in the lounge and bars. Step ashore at your ports of call and join an organised excursion or hire one of the complimentary bikes to explore the local towns, cities, and villages at your own pace.
Start the day with a light 'Early Riser' coffee, tea, and pastries or tuck into a hearty buffet breakfast in Panorama Restaurant. Take your seat for a three-course lunch supplemented by items from the treat-filled buffet. If you have a sweet tooth, afternoon tea in Panorama Lounge is a must. The evening brings a five-course a la carte dinner served to your table in Panorama Restaurant. Late-night snacks are also available if you feel peckish before bed. The on-board cuisine caters for all dietary needs and the flavours reflect the destinations on your itinerary.
Pay a visit round-the-clock to the Amadeus Club for a refreshing cup of coffee or tea. Enjoy an alfresco drink from the Lido Bar on the Sun Deck as you watch the passing scenery unfold. Panorama Bar and Lounge is the hub of the boat after dark; the perfect spot to sit back and socialise with your fellow guests over a drink and enjoy the evening entertainment.
When you're not spending your days exploring the ports; visit Amadeus Club to play games with friends, peruse the books and newspapers, or catch up on news from home on one of the computers. The warm European weather makes the Sun Deck an ideal place to sit and lounge on a sunbed. Spend time enjoying a massage at the Vital-Club or treat yourself to a new hairdo in the neighbouring salon. Unwind in the Panorama Bar and Lounge after dinner and listen to the soft melodies of the pianist, vocalists, musicians, and visiting regional acts.
Day 1: Fly Manchester/London to Dusseldorf
Fly from Manchester or London and make your way to the cruise port where you will board Fred. Olsen Brabant and set sail onwards to Arnhem, Netherlands.
Day 2: Arnhem, Netherlands, Cruising the Pannerden Canal, Nijmegen, Netherlands
Today the boat sails through the Panneerden Canal and past Panneerden Fort; before arriving in Arnhem on the banks of the Lower Rhine - famous for the Battle of Arnhem during World War Two. Step ashore and stroll along the Roggestraat and Rijnstraat shopping streets and stop by Grote Kerk on the Market Square. Visit the John Frost Bridge over the Rhine - immortalised in the film 'A Bridge Too Far'. Venture out of the city to enjoy the traditional lifestyle displays at Netherlands Open Air Museum, the collection of WWII memorabilia at Airborne Museum Hartenstein, and the war memorial at Airborne War Cemetery.
Step back on board as your journey continues towards Nijmegen on the Waal River. On arrival, meander along the Waalkade waterway or indulge in retail therapy in the trendy boutiques of the Marikenstraat. Take a walk around the Grote Markt or admire the modern architecture on the Marienburg. Visit Valkhofpark to view the ruined castle and the stunning riverscapes below. Admire the exhibits at Valkhof Museum and discover the 250 bikes on display at the Nationaal Fietsmuseum Velorama.
Day 3: Dordrecht, Netherlands, Cruising the Dutch Country, Willemstad, Netherland (River)
Your third day starts with cruising through the Dutch Country; followed by time ashore in the Dutch city of Dordrecht. Situated on a large island, you can explore the inner-city harbour and the picturesque centre with its 17th-century town houses and neo-classical Stadhuis. With 900 listed buildings and 700 monuments to discover; you'll be spoilt for choice. Top of your list must be the impressive 65m-high tower and 67 bell carillons at Grote Kerk, Huis van Giyn - the old mayor's house, the exhibits and paintings at Dordrecht Museum, and the amazing Het Hof van Nederland Museum.
The cruise continues to Willemstad at the confluence of the Hollands Diep, Haringvilet, and Volerak waterways. This well-preserved village is home to seven impressive fortifications that date back to the 16th-century; the unique seven pointed star-shaped district gained conservation status in the 1970s. Explore the impressive Mauritshuis, Dome Church, D'Orange Mill, Blessed Virgin Mary Church, and Arsenal building.
Day 4: Rotterdam, Netherlands (River), Kinderdijk, Netherlands, Schoonhoven, Netherlands
The Netherlands' second city, Rotterdam, is today's first stop. Re-built after being razed to the ground in WWII, Rotterdam combines a thriving city centre with famous sights and attractions. See the city's oldest harbour, Oude Haven, before taking a look at the 'glass palace' of Van Nelle Fabriek — an UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the ever-changing exhibitions at the Kunsthal and the Dutch and European art at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. Ride to the top of Euromast observation tower for 360-degree city-wide views, stop by Miniworld Rotterdam to view the city in miniature, or pop into the Kubuswoningen cube house and museum.
Next stop on your itinerary is the UNESCO-listed village of Kinderdijk at the confluence of the Lek and Noord Rivers. The ingenious water management system in Kinderdijk encompasses nineteen windmills, three pumping stations. and countless dykes and reservoirs - all of which work together to prevent flooding in the surrounding low-lying lands (polder) of Alblasserwaard. The 17th-century Windmill 2 in the Nederwaard is open to visitors and there is also a Visitors' Centre at the Wisboom Pumping Station.
Finally, the boat drops anchor in Schoonhoven at the confluence of the Vlist and Lek rivers. The town has a rich tradition of craftsmen-made gold and silver ware and clocks; a collection of which you can view at the Nederlands Zilvermuseum and Edelambachhuis. Stroll through the town's streets and harbour area to admire famous landmarks such as St Bartholomeuskerk, the bell tower-topped Stadhuis, the statue of Olivier van Noort, and The Old Weighhouse.
Day 5: Schoonhoven, Netherlands, Utrecht (Tour pick up only), Amsterdam, Netherlands (River)
After a brief stop at Utrecht (tour pick up only), the boat continues on to Amsterdam for an overnight stay on board; giving you ample time to experience this vibrant city and its famous nightlife. Explore the Museum District — home to the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum — and step back in time at Anne Frank's House. Discover the opulent Canal Ring district — a UNESCO World Heritage site, or simply escape to the tranquil surroundings of Vondelpark or admire the tulips at Keukenhof Gardens. Get up close to marine and animal life at Natura Artis Magistra or enjoy an interactive beer tour at the Heineken Experience.
Day 6: Amsterdam, Netherlands
The cruise comes to an end in Amsterdam where you will disembark and fly back to Manchester or London.