Amsterdam: best canal cruises

Blue Boat tops Amsterdam’s best canal cruises: top 10

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One of the first must-dos during a trip to Amsterdam is a tour of the world-famous canals. There’s plenty of opportunity, too, as you’re surrounded by dozens of options once you step into the city. But there is one that stands out: Blue Boat. [Contributed by Blue Boat]

Blue Boat provides some of the most well-known canal cruises in Amsterdam, offering both 75-minute and 90-minute evening boat tours through the city’s famous centre. It has become so popular for tourists, expats and even locals thanks to its luxurious boats, excellent amenities, variety of cruise packages and much more.

1. It has a stellar reputation as one of Amsterdam’s best canal cruises. 

Frequently named as one of the best canal cruises in Amsterdam, Blue Boat’s daytime excursions provide unbeatable views and expert knowledge as you sail through the canals. Because so many trust Blue Boat, you’re guaranteed an excellent Amsterdam boat tour. 

2. Choose your own boat, or rent one yourself.

Blue Boat has a number of boats available for daytime and evening cruises. For the City Canal Cruise and the Evening Cruise, the closed boat offers central heating and fully closed roof to keep you warm and dry. On sunny days between mid-April and mid-October, the open boat is ready to set sail: it offers a completely unobstructed view and smaller groups for an up-close-and-personal experience.

Groups may also rent a boat from Blue Boat’s fleet, with various setup opportunities and the possibility to make it an excellent, one-of-a-kind event. 

Canal cruise Amsterdam photo

3. You can get more than a standard canal tour. 

Blue Boat offers a daytime canal cruise that takes guests to the most famous locations around the centre of the city, but guests looking for a more unique experience can find the tour that suits them best. History lovers will enjoy the Rijksmuseum Cruise, created in partnership with Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, featuring special audio commentary that complements a visit to the museum. The Blue Sky Boat, with its smaller size, can take you in places the larger boats can’t go. 

4. Chow down on a snack, lunch or dinner. 

Sailing can make anyone hungry, so Blue Boat offers a variety of lunch and dinner cruises for group reservations. For lunch, guests can choose from a set menu, a buffet or a three-course meal—or even takeaway sushi. In the evenings, Blue Boat offers four types of buffets, a three-course dinner or even a sizzling barbecue.

The evening dinner cruise, which does not require a group, is perfect for a romantic evening; guests board at 19:30 for a two and a half-hour cruise that is complemented by a delicious four-course dinner. 

5. It promises sustainable sailing practices.

Despite its name, Blue Boat is very green: since its founding, it has maintained a commitment to protecting the environment. The company launched a clean hybrid boat in 2012, and began experimenting with fully electric boats with the "Barlaeus" and "Vossius"—the first canal cruise company in Amsterdam to do so. These two boats, which offer the same amenities as the regular boats, entered full service in May 2014. In January 2016, Blue Boat switched to a cleaner fuel, reducing emissions and noise levels and keeping its eco-friendly promise.

Best canal cruises Blue Boat

6. Listen in your language at your own pace.

You don’t have to speak Dutch to learn about the history of Amsterdam while cruising the canals. Blue Boat offers personal audio guides in Dutch, English, Russian, Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, Japanese, Turkish, Thai, Polish, Czech, Croatian, Indonesian, Cantonese, Swedish, Finnish and Korean. 

7. It has its own (free) app

Blue Boat also offers a free app that allows you to listen through your headphones—your own or those provided on board—at your own pace. If you miss something, you can go back and listen to it again; if you’re interested in a different story, you can listen to that instead. The app offers the audio guide in all available languages, and it doesn’t need Wi-Fi to work!

8. Blue Boat is the perfect party place. 

With its perse fleet and talented event department, Blue Boat can throw a celebration for any occasion. Celebrate a birthday or anniversary with a lunch or dinner cruise, or sail on the party vessel Lido to take advantage of its modern on-board bar, advanced sound system and heated buffet. 

For a completely unique celebration, Blue Boat can host a wedding on board one of its elegant boats. Blue Boat is registered as an official wedding location in Amsterdam, and can help plan a unique wedding right on the water. 

Blue Boat Amsterdam

9. It has partnerships with big names in Amsterdam.

Not only has Blue Boat partnered with the Rijksmuseum to offer the specialty canal cruise, the company has teamed with Hard Rock Café to offer a unique experience. Get an early start with a breakfast at the Hard Rock Café, followed by a 75-minute cruise, or hop on the Hard Rock Burger Cruise for a juicy burger. If you’d like a longer, more leisurely experience, book the Rockin Dinner & Cruise: you’ll sail the canals with a drink and disembark just in time for the included dinner at the Hard Rock Café.  

10. There’s something for the kids, too!

Blue Boat entertains the children so the parents can enjoy the sights. Each child age 5–12 will receive a special “pirate logbook” with plenty of activities and their own kid-friendly audio guide (in English, too) as well as a pair of binoculars so they can have their own fun while the adults relax. 


Contributed by Blue Boat


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