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About Antwerp

The De Keyserlei is a pretty tree-lined boulevard where you'll find open-air restaurants, famous for their mussel dishes and Belgian beers, many produced by local microbreweries specialising in seasonal beers. If you're feeling adventurous, you could even try their strawberry or chocolate flavoured beers.

You'll find the diamond and gold dealers in the Diamond District at the end of the De Keyserlei, nearest to the Central Station. In this area alone they handle almost 80% of the world's rough diamonds. Visit Diamondland to see the diamond polishers, setters and goldsmiths at work.

As stunning as its diamonds, Antwerp's diverse architecture includes everything from Medieval to Art Nouveau making a walk around the city a real pleasure. Other attractions include Rubenshuis - the former home of the great artist Ruben, then there's Steen Castle, Antwerp Zoo and the stunning Our Lady's Cathedral. Don't forget the famous chocolate shops either.

 

Shore excursions in Antwerp

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Antwerp, City of Rubens

Activity high

Duration: 4 hours

Experience the life and works of Sir Peter Paul Rubens by visiting his home, studio and the cathedral displaying his most famous paintings.

Embark on a guided walk through the city, taking you through the Old Town, passing by the Town Hall, gabled guild houses, cafés and Brabo statue, before proceeding through to the Vlaaikensgang, a historic alley that is typical of medieval Antwerp.

Our Lady’s Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in Belgium and a major landmark of Antwerp. During a visit inside you’ll discover some of world's greatest Rubens paintings, ‘Elevation of the Cross' and 'The Descent of The Cross'.

Continue onto the Groenplaats via the statue of the famous Belgian painter, P.P. Rubens, to the Rubens House. On his 21st birthday, Rubens was enrolled as a master at the St Lucas Guild and in 1600 he left for Italy, where he spent 8 years as court painter to the Duke of Mantua. In 1611, Rubens purchased the building on the Wapper and extended it to develop a home and studio, which had all the trappings of a palazzo. It was here that he received scores of distinguished guests and built his dazzling career. This house is now known as the ‘Rubens’ House’.

Essential information

This excursion will operate entirely on foot from the quayside and involves over 2 hours’ walking over mostly flat, cobblestoned ground. There are a large number of steps inside Rubens House.

Battlefields of Waterloo – 200th Anniversary

Activity highShopping

Duration: 5 hours

This fascinating, nostalgic tour takes you on a historical journey, visiting the Wellington Museum and Lion Mound.

On Sunday 18th June 1815, at Mont-Saint-Jean to the south of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington's troops initially came face to face with the French. This was the battle that brought an end to the 22 years of war of the Revolution and of the Empire. It is estimated that 48,000 soldiers were lost in this battle, 10,000 of whom died and remained on the battlefield. During a fascinating visit to the hamlet of Waterloo, you’ll be immersed in the history and tragedy of this notable battle as you explore the Wellington Museum, admire the Panorama and discover the Lion Mound Hamlet.

The Wellington Museum was formerly a coach house where Wellington stayed on 17th and 18th June 1815 as well as the British Military headquarters. The museum includes a room which illustrates the successive stages of the battle with illuminated display boards. You can also explore the chambers of Wellington and his aide-de-camp, Colonel Gordon. Genuine personal artefacts that belonged to these historical figures are on display, together with old weapons and period engravings which complete the overview of the past. Other rooms are devoted to the Allied, Prussian and French armies.

The Panorama contains a canvas painted by Louis Dumoulin in 1912 to mark the first centenary of the battle. This dramatic fresco, which is 40 foot high, circles ½ mile round the building therefore immersing you in the heart of this epic saga. The sense of perspective and three-dimensional reality are remarkable, and there is a real feeling of movement and emotion. A soundtrack of clashing swords, cavalry charges, cannon balls, bugles and the cries of the infantry plunge visitors into the heat of the battle.

The Lion Mound Hamlet is located at the heart of the battlefield, on the frontline where French and English troops met. Its huge size, the portrayal of the soldiers, the weapons and the period costumes make the fresco come to life. From the top of the hillock, discover the entire battlefield, which has remained intact to this day. Gaze at the vast theatre that staged Napoleon’s last historical battle.

There will be around 45 minutes’ free time during which you can walk up to Lion Mound or you can remain in the hamlet and browse the shops.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There are 226 steps for those passengers who wish to walk up the Lion Mound.

Brussels Highlights

Activity mediumShopping

Duration: 5 hours

Discover the most important sites and monuments of the Belgian capital; an essential tour for first time visitors.

Upon arrival in Brussels, a panoramic drive will introduce you to some of the main sights of the city. You’ll pass by the impressive King Boudewijn Stadium and the Centenaire, before pausing for photos at the Atomium Statue.

Have your camera at the ready as your drive continues towards the city centre, passing the Chinese Pavilion, the Japanese Tower and the Royal Castle of Laeken; the residence of King Filip and Queen Mathilde.

At the Central Station, join your knowledgeable guide as they lead you on a guided walking tour, through the Old Town to admire St Hubert Arcades and Butchers' Street with its plethora of restaurants and cafés. Continue on foot to the breathtaking Grand Place in the heart of Brussels, located in one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe. Seven streets lead into this historic market square dominated by the magnificent Town Hall and its soaring tower. A short walk away you will see the famed Manneken Pis fountain depicting a small boy.

Afterwards, enjoy some free time to shop for souvenirs and delicious Belgian chocolates, or perhaps relax at a café and watch the world go by.

Your return drive will pass by the Royal Palace, the European Parliament, the Cinquantenaire (arcade made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Belgium) and the NATO building.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The journey to Brussels is via the motorway and takes approximately 1 hour each way. The walking tour is optional and takes around 45 minutes over mostly flat terrain with some cobblestones. There is approximately 45 minutes of free time (1½ hours if you decide not to do the optional walk).

Explore Antwerp on Foot

Activity high

Duration: 3½ hours

Surround yourself in Antwerp’s history, as you discover the sights of the city on an interesting guided walking tour.

Join your knowledgable guide as they lead you through the quaint Old Town of Antwerp, to Grote Markt (Great Market Square) situated in the heart of the old city quarter. This picturesque square, surrounded by striking gabled guild houses, cafés, and the Town Hall, has the impressive Brabo fountain as its centrepiece. A stop will be made outside the Town Hall to admire one of the oldest and most beautiful, Renaissance buildings in the Low Countries.

Your walk continues to Vlaaikensgang (Pie Alley). Dating back to 1591, this is one of the oldest surviving sections of Antwerp. As you wend your way through the warren of narrow alleys that connect shops, cafés and homes, it’s easy to imagine you have stepped back in time to a medieval era.

Arriving at Groenplaats (Green Square), the main square of Antwerp, you’ll see the statue of the famous Belgian painter, P.P. Rubens before visiting Our Lady’s Cathedral, the largest Gothic Cathedral in Belgium and a major landmark of Antwerp. Inside, view some of world's greatest Rubens' paintings, including ‘Elevation of the Cross' and 'The Descent of the Cross'.

During the tour, you’ll have around 1 hours’ free time to explore independently, browse the shops or relax in a café and watch the world go by.

Essential information

This excursion is conducted entirely on foot from the quayside and involves 3 hours of walking plus some steps, inclines and uneven ground. There is the option to remain in town after the tour, however you will need to make your own way back to the ship.

Leisurely Antwerp

Activity low

Duration: 3 hours

Discover the eclectic beauty of Antwerp’s sights and scenery from the comfort of your coach.

Embark on an interesting drive through fascinating Antwerp and discover the main sights including Cogel Osylei, Central Railway Station, Steenplein and Linkerover.

Cogels Osylei is one of the most beautiful streets in Belgium, due to its impressive cocktail of eclectic architectural styles, all built between 1894 and 1908.

Central Railway Station is considered one of the top 10 beautiful railway buildings in the world. The monumental domed building is lavishly decorated with more than 20 different kinds of marble and stone and is a combination of many different architectural styles.

Linkeroever (left river bank) is a vantage point, located on the opposite side of the River Scheldt. A photo stop here will provide views of the city from a different perspective, complete with your ship in the background.

Steenplein (stone square) is the historic heart of the city located along the River Scheldt. You will have around 45 minutes’ free time to take photos of the medieval castle, explore the resplendent Grand Square with its famous historic buildings or treat yourself to some Belgian chocolates, souvenirs or a Belgian waffle from one of the many shops.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach. Cogel Osylei and Central Railway Station are viewed from the coach. Any walking at Steenplein is at the passengers’ own discretion.

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