Mail on Sunday Battlefields & Stories of Great War Itinerary -
14 Sep 2018 on the ms Serenity

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. Later in the day you can relax onboard 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 started by the Germans 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 (a return shuttle is included from our ship to the centre). Later today we begin cruising towards Antwerp.

Day 4 Antwerp

We start the day with an included 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, admiring the many guildhalls and the centrepiece fountain, and there are many more striking buildings which remind visitors of the city’s heyday in the 16th century.

Day 5 Ghent

We wake up close to Ghent, a fairytale city filled with medieval buildings, monuments and canals. From here our included excursion takes you to Ypres, which played a key role in the First World War. We visit the Menin Gate, where the names of 54,896 missing soldiers are engraved in its walls, and 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 this area during the war. A packed lunch is included for this excursion. Alternatively you can spend the day in Ghent and later this evening we begin cruising back towards the Netherlands.

Day 6 Rotterdam

Rotterdam is known as ‘Manhattan on the Meuse’ because of its impressive skyline, which showcases cutting-edge architecture. Join our optional excursion to enjoy some of the 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

We bid farewell to the captain and his crew after breakfast and set off on the return journey.