While Venice, Italy is the world’s most recognized city of canals, Amsterdam is also home to a vast network of waterways. The canals in Amsterdam, which hold UNESCO World Heritage status, flow throughout the city in a very organized fashion. Today, the canals and the cruise boats that inhabit them offer an excellent opportunity for tourists to experience the city from a unique perspective.
Last month, I traveled to Amsterdam to meet friends and made sure to take them on the Blue Boat City Canal Cruise. The cruise departs from the Blue Boat dock at Stadhouderskade 30, opposite the Hard Rock Cafe.
The City Canal Cruise passes the majority of the city’s most popular sights, including the Anne Frank House, City Hall, Rijksmuseum, Science Center NEMO, Van Gogh Museum, Vondelpark and the Westerkerk. A complete map of the cruise route is available here.
Headsets are provided to all cruise-goers, and a recorded guided tour is provided in 15 languages, including English.
The boats offer seating indoors, with windows above and to the side of the cabin. An open-air deck is available at the rear of the boat, but there is no option to plug-in the audio guide headset. The rear deck also fills up quickly, so it may be best to remain there once you have secured a spot.
The City Canal tour that I experienced lasted approximately 75 minutes and was taken at 11:00 a.m. Blue Boat Company offers several other cruise options, including and evening dinner cruise. The choice is yours!
Many of the Blue Boat Company’s cruise ships are wheelchair accessible. Boarding and alighting is made possible via a ramp at the dock and a wheelchair lift installed on the boat’s rear deck.
Both the indoor cabin and outdoor deck can accommodate wheelchairs, manual or powered. The wheelchair pictured in these photographs weighs approximately 220 pounds (100 kg). The boat’s wheelchair lift was easily able to handle the weight of my chair, plus my 160 pounds (72 kg) of weight seated on it. My chair is of a large size, and there was plenty of room for clearance on the dock, boat lift, deck, and ship’s interior.
It is important to note, there is no bathroom onboard! While the company offers drinks for sale on the dock prior to departure, you may want to consider forgoing that Heineken if you’ll have trouble “holding it” for over an hour.
The staff both at the ticket booth and the captain onboard were happy to assist you me any way necessary. They exhibited the typical Dutch charm and style of helpfulness.
For more information on cruise options, visit www.blueboat.nl. If you experience this cruise for yourself, please share your thoughts in the comments below. Additional photos of my experience are provided below:
Disclosure: Blue Boat Company offered a complimentary ticket to me so that I could review their service. The ticket was valued at €16,00. My friends received the group rate, a €1,50 discount on each of their tickets.