A canal cruise used to be reserved only for the rich and famous visitors of Amsterdam. In 1621, Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia was the first to be taken out for a cruise on the canals. And when the famous English group The Beatles visited Amsterdam for the first time in 1964, they were given a canal cruise as well.
Nowadays a canal cruise is the most popular tourist attraction in Amsterdam. Some 3 million people hop on board a canal boat every year. There are 20 big boat companies and about a hundred canal boats.
It can be very crowded on the Amsterdam canals, so make sure you know the boating regulations! Luckily, these rules are not very different from the rules of the road. You have to keep right at all times, and vehicles approaching from the right always go first. Keep in mind that when a canal boat is approaching a pleasure craft, the canal boat always has right of way. There is reason for this: a canal boat is a professional ship. When you’re cruising the Amsterdam canals by yourself, don’t forget to stick to the speed limit of 4 knots, which is about 7.5 kilometres per hour.
Canal boat routes and boarding areas
Most of the canal cruises are going clockwise along the Amstel, the Prinsengracht, the Leidsegracht and the Herengracht. Almost every canal cruise takes about one hour, but there are some cruises that take 2.5 hours or more. They all pass famous sights like the Anne Frank House, Museum Square and the Jordaan.
There are a lot of different canal boat companies s, and they all have more than one boarding area. You can board from the Damrak, Rokin, the Prins Hendrikkade and the Stadhouderskade. Most of the boats return back to where you got on board. You can also take the Canal Bus that allows you to hop on and hop off wherever you want.
Private canal cruise
If you want to take a private canal cruise, the possibilities are endless. Sloops, saloon boats, gondolas, water taxis… you name it. Feeling romantic? Why not rent a sloop and get your own captain with it. On board you will be offered different arrangements. You can also rent a private sloop at www.boothurenamsterdam.nl. They also rent sloops in case you feel like exploring the canals by yourself or with your friends or family. Amsterdam Jewel Cruises owns the only antique saloon boat in Amsterdam: the Henry Schmitz. You can rent this boat for a private lunch or dinner cruise, or a standard dinner cruise. Allow yourself to be spoiled with a table near the window and a 3-course menu a la carte. Prices start from € 110, – per person.
Canal cruises: booking and prices
Just for you we have made a selection of special cruises offered by different shipping companies. Take a look at their website for information on prices, tickets and boarding areas. 100 Highlights Cruise
This 1-hour cruise through the Amsterdam canals takes you along 100 of the city’s highlights.
You can book a Dinner Cruise and Canal Bus via www.canal.nl.
The Canal Bus sells tickets for 24 or 48 hours and you can hop on and hop off as much as you like. You might also want to visit the Hermitage, the Heineken Experience of the Van Gogh Museum while you’re ashore. Beer Cruise — www.lovers.nl
During this beer cruise you can discover Amsterdam while enjoying entertainment, music and a cold Heineken! Hop on, hop off Museum Line – www.lovers.nl
Hop on and hop off as much as you like for 24 hours. This boat stops at seven top sights like the Anne Frank House and Museum Square (Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum). After you have visited these spots, just hop on board again and let the boat take you right back to Central Station. Amsterdam by Candlelight – www.rederijkooi.nl
This candlelight cruise by night takes you on a romantic trip through the Amsterdam canals Blue Boat Company – www.blueboat.nl
This company offers a luxurious dinner cruise through the Amsterdam canals. Enjoy a lovely 4-course dinner and taste the exclusively selected wines!
For more information on canal cruises and boat excursions, please visit the website of I Amsterdam.
Do you feel like you need to get back on solid ground after spending the day on the water? Don’t worry; you’ll be high and dry at Qbic. You can already book a room from € 68,-
Have a good time on the water! Team Qbic Amsterdam