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Cruises to Antwerp

Antwerp (Photo:Pigprox/Shutterstock)
Antwerp (Photo:Pigprox/Shutterstock)

About Antwerp

Flanders, the northern half of Belgium, has four lovely cities to visit. Brussels is the national capital, and it's full of well-heeled diplomats as the home of the European Union. Brugge by comparison is tiny and almost impossibly beautiful in its own medieval way. Ghent can be a tourist trap, but it's also very much a place for students. Antwerp, of the four, is the trendiest. It's the fashion hub of the Low Countries and a renowned center in the international diamond industry. "Cut in Antwerp" commands international respect in jewelry circles.

Though it receives its share of visitors, drawn to its churches, medieval guild houses and winding backstreets, Antwerp is the least touristy of Belgium's Big Four. Everyday life goes on, largely undisturbed by visitors, and it goes on with enthusiasm. There are lots of places to eat in Antwerp, but the majority are full of locals.

Antwerp is also home to one of the pre-eminent collections of artwork by the painter Peter Paul Rubens, who spent much of his life there. Visitors can tour the house where he ate, slept and painted, and then check out samples of his work in the Cathedral of Our Lady. A more 19th-century kind of art can be found across town in the stylish residential neighborhood of Zurenborg, where most of the opulent mansions are showcases of Art Nouveau architecture and interior design.

Antwerpenaars are very proud of their city. In fact, someone whose parents were both born in Antwerp can refer to himself as a "sinjoor" from the Spanish, Senor. The people of Antwerp are also proud of their Flemish identity. Belgium has long been governed by a French-speaking minority based in Wallonia, the southern half of the country. Antwerp has led the Flanders region in maintaining the Flemish language, cuisine and culture. This has occasionally been taken to extremes, particularly by the Antwerp-based political party Vlaam Belang, which has pushed an anti-French-speaking agenda and campaigned for Flemish independence.

While most Antwerpennaars do not hold such extreme views, there is still a lingering rivalry within Belgium between Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia. Visitors should be aware that speaking French to the locals in Antwerp may sometimes be received as rude or insulting. If you don't know Flemish (or Dutch, to which it's quite similar), try English instead.

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DAY 1: Antwerp

9 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Antwerp
Visiting:
Maastricht, Nijmegen ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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DAY 1: Amsterdam

7 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Hoorn, Middelburg ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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DAY 1: Amsterdam

7 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Hoorn, Middelburg ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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DAY 1: Amsterdam

7 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Schoonhoven, Heusden ...
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Cruise Line:
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
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11 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Rotterdam, Antwerp ...
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Cruise Line:
Azamara
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7 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Maastricht, Namur ...
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Cruise Line:
Avalon Waterways
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14 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Antwerp, Brugge ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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9 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Hoorn, Rotterdam ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Antwerp, Le Havre ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Rotterdam, Middelburg ...
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Cruise Line:
U River Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Hoorn, Kinderdijk ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal River Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Hoorn, Middelburg ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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7 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Rotterdam, Antwerp ...
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Cruise Line:
Avalon Waterways
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7 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Utrecht, Veere ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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94 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Martha's Vineyard, Boston ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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Cruise Critic Favorite

7 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Hoorn, Middelburg ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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7 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Hoorn, Kinderdijk ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal River Cruises
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20 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Antwerp, Le Havre ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Hoorn, Kinderdijk ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal River Cruises
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16 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Dunkerque, Antwerp ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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22 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Oslo
Visiting:
Copenhagen, Skagen ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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15 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Hamburg
Visiting:
Antwerp, Saint-Malo ...
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Cruise Line:
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
Porto
Visiting:
Santander, Nantes ...
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Cruise Line:
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
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3 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
London
Visiting:
Amsterdam, Antwerp ...
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Cruise Line:
Cruise & Maritime Voyages
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10 Night
Cruise to Antwerp

Leaving:
London
Visiting:
Rotterdam, Veere ...
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Cruise Line:
Scenic
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Why go to Antwerp?

Pros:

This trendy, fashionable Belgian port is known for its diamonds

Cons:

Antwerp's weather can change rapidly; some tourist attractions close early

Bottom Line:

Of Brussels, Brugge, Ghent and Antwerp, the last is the least touristy

Antwerp Cruise Port Facilities?

Wandelteras Zuid is downtown, giving you easy access to Grote Markt (the main square), the Cathedral and other attractions in the historic center.

Kattendijkdok and Willemdok are close to MAS, the iconic new city museum rising up high and clad in red Indian tiles. It's located between the Willemdok and Bonapartedok. (Hanzestedenplaats 1; 32-3-338-4434; open from 10 a.m. Tuesday to Sunday) This area also has some of the best fashion houses and a few interesting restaurants. A Red Star Museum, commemorating the European emigrants who boarded ship in Antwerp for the United States, will open in September 2013. From these Napoleonic docks, it's a 20-minute walk to the tourist attractions around Grote Markt, but it's best to take a taxi.

Good to Know?

Belgium's position on the North Sea coast means the weather can change rapidly. Pack an umbrella and sunglasses, and be prepared to use both.

Check on the times tourist sites close before setting off. The Cathedral closes at 3 p.m., and last admission at the Rubens House is at 4:30 p.m.

Getting Around?

On Foot: The city center is easily walkable, from the main cruise dock on the western edge of town to Central Station and the Diamond District in the east.

By Taxi: Taxis line up at the cruise terminal and other marked locations around the city, particularly near busy squares and train stations. Look for the orange "taxi" signs. You can also call Antwerp-Taxi at 32-3-238-3838.

By Public Transportation: Antwerp has both buses and trams. Buy single rides direct from the driver, or purchase a 24-hour card in advance or onboard. Advance tickets (a lijnkaart of ten) are available from the tourist office on Grote Markt.

By Car: Auto Europe (888-223-5555), Avis (800-331-1212) and Europcar (877-940-6900) have rental locations downtown.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The local currency is the euro, which you can get out of various ATM's throughout the city. The BNP Paribas Fortis Bank on the corner of Melkmarkt and Lijnwaadmarkt is convenient to Grote Markt and the Cathedral. There is a Western Union on the corner of Hoogstraat and Suikerruistraat.

For up-to-the-minute conversions, visit www.xe.com or www.oanda.com.

Language?

The official language is Flemish, a variant of Dutch. Most shopkeepers and waiters speak a range of languages, including English. Use French and you may be politely ignored.

Where You're Docked?

Larger ships dock along the Wandelteras Zuid, which is only a 10-minute walk along Hoogstraat to Grote Markt, the city center. Cabs line up outside the terminal.

Smaller ships dock at Kattendijkdok or Willemdok, both about a 15- to 20-minute walk (through the Red Light District) from the city center. Your ship's reception staff can call a taxi if you don't wish that pleasure.


Antwerp Cruise Reviews

souc2
Sail Date: Dec 2019
Antwerp itself was a very nice city, easy to walk into the city centre.... Read More
The Locksmith
Sail Date: Apr 2019
interesting as the Antwerp Marathon was taking place... Read More
SkyBeachSun
Sail Date: Apr 2019
Antwerp is amazing. There was no tour with the boat... Read More
elles5
Sail Date: Oct 2018
Loved Antwerp, very friendly and would happily have had two days there.... Read More
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