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Battlefield & stories of the Great War with the Mail on Sunday

Belgium's Waterways | Belgium, Europe

7 days
from
£995
per person
  • Flanders Field
  • Menin Gate
  • Mons
  • Ploegstreet memorial
  • Ploegstreet
Flanders Field Menin GateMonsPloegstreet memorial Ploegstreet
Note that there may be small differences between our general Itinerary for this cruise and a specific departure. To view departure specific itineraries please go to the Dates and Prices tab and click "View Itinerary" on a specific departure.

 

Battlefields & Stories of the Great War Itinerary

One hundred years after the end of the First World War, join our commemorative cruise to explore the stories around the battlefields of the Western Front. Mons is particularly symbolic for Britain as it was where our first and last soldier died, so we take some time to visit their graves and hear about their stories at the Mons Memorial Museum. A guided tour of Antwerp then reveals what life was like for the citizens of this city. We also visit Ypres, which was at the heart of the salient, before exploring the area known to our troops as Plugstreet. And as we walk around these now beautiful places, it can be hard to believe what happened all those years ago; but it’s vital we remember.

Day 1: UK – Amsterdam
We travel to Amsterdam, the vibrant capital of the Netherlands, and enjoy a relaxing evening onboard our ship.

Day 2: Kinderdijk & Dordrecht
This morning we reach the village of Kinderdijk, which is renowned for its 19 beautifully preserved windmills – the largest concentration in the Netherlands. Our optional excursion takes you ashore to visit one of the mills, where we learn about the lifestyle of a miller and the mechanism of a mill. We continue cruising to Dordrecht and enjoy an afternoon at leisure or you can visit the nearby city of Delft on our optional excursion to Royal Delft, the only remaining Delftware factory from the 17th century. This evening, listen to Simon Heffer as he delivers a talk about the First World War on the home front as we cruise towards Brussels.

Day 3: Brussels
Today’s included excursion visits the town of Mons, where the first and last British soldiers died in the First World War: Private John Parr on 21 August 1914 and Private George Ellison on 11 November 1918, 90 minutes before the armistice. You can learn more about their stories along with the history of the area at the Mons Memorial Museum where entrance is included. We also visit St Symphorien Cemetery on the outskirts of the town. It was originally a cemetery for German soldiers after the Battle of Mons in August 1914. Today there are 284 German graves and 229 Commonwealth graves, including those of John Parr and George Ellison. In the afternoon we visit Brussels, Belgium’s beautiful capital, which has a stunning medieval old town, before sailing towards Antwerp.

Day 4: Antwerp
We start the day with a guided tour which looks at the position of the people of Antwerp during the First World War. You are then free to explore the city at leisure (a return shuttle is included from our ship to the centre). The Grote Markt is a great place to while away time. This evening, listen to Peter Snow as he delivers a talk on war stories, followed by questions and answers.

Day 5: Ghent
You dock close to the attractive city of Ghent today, the base for an excursion to Ypres. There, you will visit the Menin Gate, where the names of 54,896 missing soldiers are engraved. Entrance to the In Flanders Fields Museum is included. Next we visit the Plugstreet (Ploegsteert) Memorial to the Missing and Hyde Park Corner Cemetery before heading to the Plugstreet 14-18 Experience. You will be accompanied by Peter Snow throughout.

Day 6: Rotterdam
Arrive in Rotterdam, where there is an optional excursion to enjoy some of the city’s highlights: take a trip up the Euromast observation tower where you can see as far as Antwerp on a clear day, followed by a visit to the curious cube houses.

Day 7: Amsterdam – UK
The final day, you will bid farewell to the captain and his crew after breakfast, before you make your journey home. 

Battlefield & stories of the Great War

View our Brochures

• On this unique centenary tour, you will have the chance to meet the irrepressible journalist, broadcaster and historian Peter Snow. As well as joining readers on moving and illuminating visits to the famous Menin Gate, In Flanders Field museum and the Plugstreet Memorial to the Missing, Peter will also give a private talk introducing his acclaimed new book, War Stories, as well as answering your questions about his illustrious and action-packed career.

• Every reader who joins Peter on the trip will receive a complimentary signed hardback copy of War Stories by Peter and his wife Ann MacMillian, which gives fascinating first-hand accounts of the ordinary men and women 'who have pushed the boundaries of love, bravery, suffering and terror' amid the turmoil of war.

• During this unforgettable seven-day trip you will visit some of the great First World War battlefields, such as Mons and Ypres, and tour the superb museums and poignant memorials that reveal the full horror, heroism and tragedy of life and death in the trenches.

• This special tour is being launched in partnership with the Royal British Legion. A senior member of the Royal British Legion and two expert RBL guides will be joining you throughout your journey. And to support the Royal British Legion's invaluable work, a £50 donation will be made by our travel partners on behalf of each reader who comes on the trip.

•  Over the course of your seven-day cruise, you will also have the chance to explore some must-see destinations, including the beautiful and historic cities of Amsterdam and Antwerp, the Unesco-listed windmills at Kinderdijk and the famous 17th-century earthenware factory at Delft - all the while travelling in comfort and style on board the four-star river cruise ship MS Serenity.

Ships

We offer a number of flexible travel options for you to join your cruise, whether you want to travel to the port of departure or directly to the ship. Please see below:

Coach via Dover

On many of our cruises you can take advantage of our convenient and FREE regional coach departures aboard our modern executive coaches from a town or city near you to the port of departure and onwards to meet the ship.

Ferry crossing at Dover

When you travel by coach or car, you will join a ferry at Dover, depending on your chosen cruise, and cross over to Europe. Our coach will then take you to meet our ship at the embarkation point as shown in the cruise itinerary.

Overnight hotel in Dover or Ashford

Travel at your own pace, in the comfort of your own vehicle and stay overnight at Dover or Ashford, in accommodation close to the port of departure and be collected/returned by our coach. Prices for Ashford start from £59 per person per night and for Dover for £65 per person per night on a bed and breakfast basis and include parking for one vehicle for the duration of your cruise.

Eurostar from London St Pancras

Enjoy the benefits of rail travel – boarding at London St Pancras International, you will be whisked effortlessly along by Eurostar whilst relaxing in your reserved seat. You have the freedom to stretch your legs whenever the mood takes you and purchase drinks and snacks from the buffet carriage.

By Air

Air travel is included as an air inclusive option with flights and return transfers to the ship included.

Meet at your cruise ship

Make your own travel arrangements at your convenience to join your selected cruise, simply board your cruise ship at the embarkation point.

Dates and pricing

The details below show the travel options, pricing and the available departure dates for this itinerary. If you have any questions about this cruise please do not hesitate to call our Holiday Advisors.

Departures

From
To

Ship

DepartureTravel optionsBooking
2018-04-03
03 April 2018
for 7 days


Eurostar
Join ship at Amsterdam
7 days from
£1235
Passengers
Select Travel options and Passengers, then click Book.
2018-04-03
03 April 2018
for 7 days


Flights
Join ship at Amsterdam
7 days from
£1185
Passengers
Select Travel options and Passengers, then click Book.
2018-04-03
03 April 2018
for 7 days


Coach
Enter postcode and click go to show pick ups closest to you
Ferries
Overnight hotel
Join ship at Amsterdam
7 days from
£995
Passengers
Select Travel options and Passengers, then click Book.

Enhance your holiday experience with a range of optional and included excursions that allow you to discover the history of our ports of call, experience the tradition of local regions and explore further afield. They’re the perfect complement to your cruise itinerary, but they are subject to availability so we recommend you book early!

Windmills of Kinderdijk

Windmills of Kinderdijk

£17

No trip to the Netherlands is complete without visiting these beautiful wooden windmills, which date back to the 1500s and symbolise the way in which the Dutch have managed water. We visit the Museum Windmill Nederwaard, where we meet the miller and discover all about mill life, and the Museum Windmill Blokweer to learn about the impressive mechanism of a mill and Kinderdijk’s heritage.

Delft & the Royal Delft Pottery

Delft & the Royal Delft Pottery

£24

Join our coach to visit the pretty city of Delft where we enjoy free time along with a visit to the Royal Dutch Delftware Manufactory. Royal Delftware is still painted entirely by hand according to centuries-old tradition, and during our visit you can watch a master painter at work and admire many antique pieces along with a comprehensive collection in the showroom.

Antwerp guided tour

£21

The age-old affair between man and diamond is evident around the world, but nowhere is it more palpable than in the city of Antwerp. With the help of our guide, we are shown around the diamond district, the 17th century Ruben house and central square in the old town.

Rotterdam

Rotterdam Skyline

£21

Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Brussels has the Atomium and Rotterdam has the Euromast! Take the superfast lift up to the viewing platform and enjoy the view – you can see as far as The Hague and Antwerp on a clear day. We also visit the curious cube houses, an architectural wonder in the heart of the city, one of which we have the chance to look around.

Mons

Mons & St Symphorien

Included

Visit the town of Mons, which is especially symbolic for Britain as it was where our first and last soldiers died in the First World War: Private John Parr on 21 August 1914 and Private George Ellison on 11 November 1918. Entrance is included to the Mons Memorial Museum and we also visit St Symphorien Cemetery on the outskirts of the town. The cemetery is unique for having German graves and Commonwealth graves, including those of John Parr and George Ellison.

Antwerp during the Great War

Included

This guided walking tour looks at the Siege of Antwerp and explores the lives of locals including artists and writers during the First World War.

Ypres

Ypres & Ploegsteert

Included

The city of Ypres was at the heart of the salient during the First World War. Here we visit the Menin Gate, where the names of 54,896 missing soldiers are engraved in its walls. Entrance is also included to the In Flanders Fields Museum. Next we visit the Plugstreet (Ploegsteert) Memorial to the Missing and Hyde Park Corner Cemetery before heading to the Plugstreet 14-18 Experience which details what happened in the area during the war. A packed lunch is included for this excursion. 

Special Excursion package

Excursion Package Price

£65

SAVE £18 PER PERSON
Don't miss a thing by booking our special excursion package which includes all the listed excursions for this cruise. Not only can you take part in all the exciting trips we have organised, you can enjoy all this at a reduced cost!

At a glance

Length: 7 days

From: Amsterdam

Ends: Amsterdam

Travel options available:

  • Coach via Dover
  • Ferry crossing at Dover
  • Overnight hotel in Dover or Ashford
  • Eurostar from London St Pancras
  • By Air
  • Meet at your cruise ship
7 days
from
£995
per person

Customer feedback

Included in the Price

  • Return travel to the UK
  • Welcome drink, Captain’s get-together & party night
  • En suite cabin accommodation aboard the MS Serenity
  • Six nights’ cruise on a full board basis
  • Beer and wine included with lunch and dinner
  • Entertainment every night of your cruise
  • Free signed copy of Peter Snow’s new book
  • Talks from Peter Snow
  • Visits to Amsterdam, Kinderdijk, Dordrecht, Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent & Rotterdam
  • Excursions: Mons and St Symphorien, Antwerp during the Great War, and Ypres and Ploegsteert
  • Services of a Cruise Manager

 


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