Has anyone had experiece with private guides in any of these cities?
Brugges is very small, a guide would hardly be needed, you could take the little canal cruise to get a few things pointed out, but most people find they can just wander around easily on their own. I did it solo on a daytrip from Paris,, frankly I though it was mostly lace, beer and chocolate shops, some cute canals and some cafes, the church did not blow me away.. at all, but perhaps after all I have seen in Europe I am getting a bit church jaded lol . In Amsterdam I would also suggest a canal boat tour, they seem to be everywhere. I also think Amsterdam would be great for a walking tour, but can't suggest any but sure some people here can. Good luck. Was in Brussels once, over 25 years ago,, er, was boring to me( keep in mind I was young then and perhaps did no appricieate all there was there, so don't take my comment/opinion on Brussels to heart at all.
In April we will spend a week in Bruges and one in Amsterdam. We will make a day trip or two to Brussels. I haven't gotten my copy of Rick's book on the three cities yet, but TripAdvisor does have a nice list of things to do in them. I'm sure between Rick's book and the TA lists you can find good guides or tours for all locations. Our interests are so specific that we often bypass generic tours. Thanks for reminding me to research that myself.
Bruges is easy to get around on foot and see everything (and I loved the two churches). I did take a small van tour (with probably eight other people) of World War I sites in the area. The tour guide picked me up at my hotel and the tour was very educational and interesting. It was recommended in Rick's book. You can use the trams to get to Amsterdam's two big art museums and the Anne Frank house. If you can find a guide to Brussels, that might be your best bet. I thought it was the most confusing to get around of the three.