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Chocolate & Windmills: Riverside Debussy Rhine River Cruise Review

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We are seeing more river cruise lines than ever offering the opportunity to try a shorter itinerary, making a river cruise on Riverside Luxury Cruises an ideal short break or taster cruise if you are new to river cruising. I recently returned from a great five-night Rhine river cruise sailing from Brussels to Amsterdam on board the Riverside Debussy, Riverside Luxury Cruises' second ship. Read my review below.

Formally Crystal Debussy, a river cruise on Riverside Debussy was simply the perfect short break trip for me at Easter. I travelled on the Eurostar from London to Brussels in only two hours before a short complimentary transfer - and then it was time to board.

Riverside Debussy Review

Debussy offers 55 stunning suites which all vary in size and features; my home for five nights was a very spacious Seahorse suite boasting a large bathroom, kingsize bed and a panoramic window which drops to become a French balcony. Riverside offer a Premium All Inclusive Package which allowed me to explore at every stop with very knowledgeable and local guides.

Brussels was the first morning trip included with a choice of different areas to visit; a small group walking tour of the city showcased what the city has to offer. The unofficial capital of the EU showcased the Royal Palace and Grand Place Square along with many neo-Gothic style buildings.

Riverside Debussy Review

Then we enjoyed a morning in medieval Ghent. The best way to see this simply beautiful city was via canal, and we enjoyed a private small boat just for Riverside guests, quietly navigating the narrow waterways and taking in castles, cathedrals and old merchant houses. Then we enjoyed some free time (as most river cruises offer), to stroll past endless chocolate shops and Flemish lace on display.

After a beautiful lunch on board, it was then off to explore Bruges in the afternoon; a four-hour trip taking in this superbly preserved medieval city which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We wandered with our guide through winding cobblestone lanes and explored the market before again having some time for an independent wander, this time taking in a local Belgian beer and of course some frites!

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Of course, there was no unpacking or changing hotels needed on this trip - which is why a short river cruise for me appeals so much! Arriving next into the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands, the charming city of Middelburg awaited us for a morning visit.

Dating back to the late eighth century this city emerged as one of the most important centres for the Dutch East India Company, second only to Amsterdam. We enjoyed time to explore the 850-year-old abbey and some of the finest Gothic architecture in the country. The afternoon then took us to town of Veere, an old trading link with Scotland. A wonder around the harbour and the ancient city wall was finished off over a shot of whisky (a little nod to the town's historical connection to Scotland).

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Optional bike tours are available at most stops if you prefer, and some are even electric so there are no issues with fitness levels of trying to keep up! A visit to the Netherlands would not be complete without a visit to see the Windmills of Kinderdijk, another UNESCO-listed site that's home to 19 windmills, the largest collection in the Netherlands.

These windmills were created to to keep the surrounding water at bay and to keep low lying areas dry for cultivation. I had my first ever look inside a working windmill and then a very steep climb to the top to see the mechanics at work!

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Rotterdam then offered a variety of excursions including an architectural walking tour, harbour cruise or the interesting Schiedam Jenever Museum.

Rotterdam harbour is the largest seaport in Europe and is home to former Holland America Line ship SS Rotterdam, now a ship hotel. She was very impressive to sail past, and this was a great way to see the skyline of the city and appreciate the scale of this impressive port.

Riverside Debussy Review

Back on Debussy for the final night on board, we enjoyed an a la carte dinner with varied menus and wine pairing followed by low-key entertainment in the Palm Court lounge. A short flight back to London from Amsterdam ended this memorable short break, taking in so many varied destinations from the luxurious environment of the Riverside Debussy.

If you are new to river cruising, a shorter itinerary would be a great way to give it a try, or for the hardened river cruiser this is certainly a great idea for a short break away with convenient UK connections and to tick off some more cities from your bucket list!

 Riverside Debussy Review
Meet the author

Helen is a Cruise Consultant at Mundy Cruising, having worked with the company for 5 years and in travel for over 30 years. Most recently she’s cruised on Regent Seven Seas and has also sailed with Seabourn, Azamara, Hebridean, AmaWaterways, Scenic, Hurtigruten and Quark. Her favourite destinations is Italy however she’s also enjoyed cruises in the Mediterranean, Danube, Caribbean, Alaska, Arctic, Greenland, UAE, Red Sea, Svalbard and the British Isles. When she’s not travelling she loves cooking, trying new recipes and gardening.

More about Helen

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