AMSTERDAM CANAL CRUISE

The Ultimate Guide to Canal Cruise in Amsterdam

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Amsterdam Canal Cruise: Damrak Pier Open Departure

Amsterdam Canal Cruise: Damrak Pier Open Departure

Take in iconic Amsterdam by water on the Amsterdam Canal Cruise by Stromma. This popular one-hour guided cruise departs from Damark pier, loops through the city's scenic canals, passing top sights like Skinny Bridge and the Anne Frank House. Read on for everything you need to know to experience this must-do activity on your Amsterdam trip!

Amsterdam’s scenic canals have captivated visitors for centuries, offering postcard-perfect views of the city’s gabled canal houses, quaint bridges, and bustling boat traffic. The best way to experience Amsterdam’s iconic waterways is by taking a relaxed canal cruise. 

This Damrak Open Departure by Stromma is a popular one-hour tour that loops through the interior canals, providing an ideal introduction to the Venice of the North from the comfort of a boat. 

Glide by top sights like the Skinny Bridge, Anne Frank House, and charming canal-side architecture while learning about the history and culture of Amsterdam from live commentary and a multilingual audio guide. Read on for everything you need to know to experience this must-do activity on your Amsterdam trip!

About this Cruise

The Stromma Amsterdam Canal Cruise is one of the best ways to see the historic city from the water. Amsterdam has over 60 miles of canals, and a boat tour shows off the city’s unique canal culture and architecture.

The popular Damrak Open Departure tour begins and ends near Dam Square in the heart of Amsterdam. It winds through the interior canals known as the Grachtengordel, a UNESCO World Heritage site notable for its concentric belt of canals built in the 17th century.

As you float by the elegant canal houses and under charming bridges, the live narration brings the sights to life. You’ll learn how Amsterdam’s canals shaped the city’s growth and culture. The views of historic churches, mansions, parks, and city life unfolding along the banks provide a quintessential Amsterdam experience.

Audio guides are available in 14 languages to further enrich the tour. Stromma’s knowledgeable local captains expertly navigate the narrow waterways while sharing their own insights. With frequent daily departures, the canal cruise is easy to incorporate into any Amsterdam itinerary.

Top attractions and landmarks you'll see in this cruise

Gliding down the Amstel River, you’ll pass stunning historic mansions and row houses lining the banks. The Magere Brug, also known as the “Skinny Bridge,” is one of Amsterdam’s most photographed canal sites with its picturesque double arches.

Floating along the Herengracht Canal, you’ll see the landmark Westerkerk church and the home where Anne Frank and her family hid during WWII. The narrow canal houses along the Prinsengracht are noteworthy for their gabled facades.

The cruise also winds through the Leidsegracht Canal past peaceful houseboats. One highlight is admiring the seven iconic bridges of the Reguliersgracht Canal.

Other top attractions visible from the water include the Royal Palace, the Mint Tower, and the Rembrandt House Museum. Passing by Centraal Station, you can appreciate its unique neo-Gothic architecture.

Tickets & Prices

Tickets for the Stromma Amsterdam Canal Cruise can be conveniently purchased online in advance at Tiqets.com or directly from Stromma’s website. Buying ahead online is recommended, especially during the busy summer months when cruises are known to sell out.

Ticket prices through Tiqets start at €16 per adult and €8 per child ages 4-12 for the standard 1-hour canal cruise. Children under 4 can ride for free when sitting in an adult’s lap. There are often discounted combo tickets available as well, which can bundle the canal cruise with other Amsterdam attractions and tours.

Once purchased, Tiqets provides mobile tickets that can be scanned directly from your smartphone when boarding the cruise. This allows you to skip lengthy ticket lines and go straight to the pier. Printed paper tickets are also available if preferred.

Buying well in advance is especially critical if you’re looking to cruise during July-August high season or are planning a trip for a large group or family. Keep in mind that capacity on each 1-hour cruise is around 50 passengers to allow ample space on the boat.

Combination Tickets for Amsterdam Canal Cruises

Boarding Time and Location

The Amsterdam Canal Cruise boards at the Damrak pier located at Damrak 5, 1012 LG. This prime boarding location is conveniently situated right in the city center of Amsterdam near Dam Square.

You’ll want to arrive at the pier about 15 minutes prior to your booked cruise departure time. Give yourself extra time if you need to pick up tickets onsite or want to use the restroom before boarding since there are no facilities directly at the pier area.

Cruises depart frequently, especially during peak season. The first daily departure is at 10:10 AM and the last departure is between 9:50 PM and 10:10 PM depending on the time of year. Departure times are scheduled approximately every 30 minutes during the busiest months.

Before stepping foot on the boat, be sure to have your ticket ready to show the attendant whether on your mobile device or printed out. Listen for the announcements for your cruise number and line up accordingly so you can board in an orderly fashion.

Duration and Route

The total duration of the Amsterdam Canal Cruise is approximately 1 hour. During this time, you’ll leisurely traverse about 3 miles through Amsterdam’s interior canal network known as the Grachtengordel.

The route forms a loop that begins and ends at the Damrak pier in the city center. Heading west, you’ll first pass through the Singel canal encircling the oldest parts of Amsterdam. Next you’ll turn south and follow the grand Herengracht canal lined with mansions.

The route then winds eastward through the Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht canals. These areas are dotted with the city’s most picturesque canal houses, bridges, and houseboats.

The boat will also cruise north through the Leidsegracht canal before turning west again towards the end point back at Damrak pier. The full loop showcases Amsterdam’s most famous waterways and landmarks.

With commentary from the guide and audio guide, you’ll gain insights into Amsterdam’s culture, architecture, and history as you pass by top attractions like the Anne Frank House, Magere Brug, and Westerkerk. It’s an efficient way to get oriented to Amsterdam and see main highlights in just 1 hour.

Canal Cruise Amsterdam at Night - Read this before you book tickets!

Boat Features and Capacity

The canal cruise boats feature both indoor and outdoor seating to accommodate passengers. The indoor salon has seating within a covered cabin where you can take in views through large open windows. This offers protection from the elements on rainy or chilly days.

There is also open seating on the upper outdoor deck of the boat. The outdoor option allows you to feel the breeze and get unobstructed panoramic views of the sights.

The total capacity of each boat is approximately 50 passengers to allow everyone ample space to spread out and move around. The boats are equipped with free WiFi so you can easily take photos and connect online during your cruise.

Restroom facilities are available on board within the indoor salon area. The boats also have an indoor cash bar where you can purchase coffee, drinks, and light snacks while you cruise if desired.

Weather Considerations

One of the advantages of the Amsterdam Canal Cruise is that it operates rain or shine, allowing you to see the city from the canals regardless of weather. However, the weather may impact your experience and preparation.

On rainy days, the indoor salon provides sheltered seating and prevents you from getting wet on the tour. If cold rainfall is forecasted, having extra layers and an umbrella is recommended.

During sunny spring and summer days, the open upper deck allows you to soak up the sunshine and views. Sunscreen and hats are useful if you plan to sit outside.

Even Amsterdam’s summer evenings can be chilly, so bringing layers is advised. The uncovered outdoor seating also leaves you more exposed on windy days.

If extreme weather like thunderstorms or high winds does force cancellations, Stromma will contact you to reschedule. But light rain and snowfall does not normally disrupt tours from running.

Checking the forecast in advance allows you to plan your attire and accessories accordingly. The boats’ indoor/outdoor seating provides options for comfort in any weather.

Crowds and Time of Year

The canal cruise attracts crowds all year round, but the peak visitor season is during the summer months of July and August. During this busy tourist time, boats fill up fast and tickets for specific departure times can sell out weeks or months in advance. Booking well ahead for summer is highly recommended.

The best times to cruise for lighter crowds and availability are during the shoulder seasons of April-May and September-October. The weather is still mild and enjoyable without the overwhelming crowds.

Cruises operate year-round, with exceptions on January 1st and December 25th. From late November through mid-January, evening cruises are available to see the Amsterdam Light Festival light art installations along the canals after dark.

If traveling with a group, you may want to reserve tickets for a non-peak time, especially if you want to sit together on a boat. Solo travelers or pairs have more flexibility to join crowded times. Keep in mind boats accommodate around 50 passengers per departure.

Advanced planning for the time of year you want to cruise can help ensure availability and a comfortable crowd level to fully enjoy the tour. Reputable companies like Stromma can provide guidance for the best times to visit.

What is the Best Time for an Amsterdam Canal Cruise

Reviews and Reputation

The Stromma Amsterdam Canal Cruises consistently earn outstanding reviews from travelers who praise the experience. On review sites like TripAdvisor, Viator, and GetYourGuide, the tours maintain average ratings around 5 stars.

Positive feedback highlights the convenient centrally located departure point, excellent multilingual guides, and smooth operations. Many reviewers say this canal cruise is a highlight of any Amsterdam trip that provides gorgeous views of the city.

As an established company operating since 1912, Stromma has perfected the formula for showcasing Amsterdam from its picturesque canals. Their professional, knowledgeable captains and guides enhance the cultural immersion.

Stromma’s excellent safety practices, customer service, and communications also earn them praise. Travelers find them reliable, punctual, and family-friendly.

While prices are moderately higher than some competitors, reviewers find the quality and experience worthwhile. Stromma has cultivated a stellar reputation after more than 100 years in business in Amsterdam and other European cities.

Key Tips

Arriving at least 15 minutes before your scheduled departure time is highly recommended to ensure you can find the pier and board on time. Having your ticket ready to scan will speed up the boarding process.

Dress for the weather as you’ll be exposed to the outside elements on the boat. Bringing layers is advised in case the temperature shifts, especially in the evening.

Feel free to take photos during the tour to capture memorable views of Amsterdam’s canals and sights. No tripods or selfie sticks that could obstruct walkways are allowed.

If you get thirsty or hungry during the 1-hour cruise, drinks and light snacks can be purchased onboard with cash at the indoor bar. But food is not allowed to be consumed on the open-air deck.

Restrooms are available on board the boat but not directly at the Damrak departure pier. Using the facilities prior to boarding is recommended.

Discounted child tickets are suitable for kids ages 4-12, while infants under 4 cruise for free. But they must sit on an adult’s lap without occupying a seat.

If plans change, you can cancel and get a refund up to 24 hours before the scheduled departure time. Rebooking for another cruise time is also possible.

Best Canal Cruises in Amsterdam

FAQ

Do I need to book tickets in advance?

Yes, it’s highly recommended to book your canal cruise tickets online in advance, especially during peak summer months when tours sell out quickly. Booking through Tiqets or directly via Stromma’s website allows you to secure your preferred date and time.

Where does the canal cruise depart from?

The boarding pier is located at Damrak 5, right in the center of Amsterdam near Dam Square. It’s just a short walk from Amsterdam Centraal Station.

How long is the canal cruise?

The total duration of the tour is approximately 1 hour. The boat departs and loops through Amsterdam’s interior canals before returning to the Damrak pier.

Is there live or recorded commentary?

The tour features live narration by a guide in English about Amsterdam’s top sights and history. An audio guide in 14 languages is also available to enrich the experience.

Is food or drink included?

Food is not provided, but you can purchase drinks and snacks onboard the boat with cash if desired. An indoor bar is available.

What is the best time of year to take the cruise?

The peak season is July-August when crowds are largest. For lighter crowds, spring and fall are ideal. Cruises run year-round except Jan 1 and Dec 25.

What is the cancellation/rebooking policy?

Tickets can be cancelled up to 24 hours before the cruise time for a full refund. Rebooking for another departure is also allowed with notice.

Do children receive discounted tickets?

Yes, child tickets are available at reduced prices for kids ages 4-12. Children under 4 can ride free when sitting in an adult’s lap.

More useful information about Amsterdam Canal Cruises

We are a group of travelers who love to explore and write about Amsterdam. Over the years, we have gained extensive experience with cruising over the Canals in Amsterdam. Here, you could find all the essential information you need to know about Amsterdam Canal Cruises, including the different types of cruise, prices, tickets, operating hours, departure points, and many more.

 

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