The Ultimate Guide to Canal Cruise in Amsterdam


What is the Best Time for an Amsterdam Canal Cruise?

Amsterdam Canal Cruise in Winter

Planning to visit Amsterdam in winter? Don't miss the opportunity to take a canal cruise in winter and enjoy a great experience. What cruise you should take? Which companies offer canal cruise in winter? And how much does it cost? Here is the best guide for taking a canal cruise in Amsterdam in winter!

Crisp air, cozy cafes, and twinkling holiday lights make winter a magical time to visit Amsterdam. And what better way to explore the city than bundled up on a scenic canal cruise? Gliding through atmospheric waterways on a climate-controlled boat allows you to take in landmarks and architecture during the most enchanting season.

From bundling up on open-air boats to indulging in fondue cruises, canal tours offer a wonderful winter perspective of Amsterdam away from the crowds. Discover how best to experience the “Venice of the North” on the water during the colder months.

Popular Winter Canal Cruise Types

There are several popular types of winter canal cruises available. Daytime sightseeing cruises allow you to see top attractions and architecture on standard 60-90 minute loop tours. Special themed cruises offer fun options like sipping mulled wine, indulging in a decadent cheese fondue dinner, or getting into the holiday spirit on festive cruises.

Evening and nighttime cruises let you watch canal lights sparkle on the water after dark. Neighborhood cruises explore specific areas like the Jordaan District or Jewish Quarter. For a private experience, you can also book your own customized charter with just your group onboard.

Company Winter Cruise Types
Blue Boat Holiday Lights, Fondue Dinner
Those Dam Boat Guys Regular Daytime Cruises
Wetlands Safari Jordaan District, Jewish Quarter

Winter Canal Cruise Departure Locations

Companies like Blue Boat offer special holiday lights and fondue dinner cruises during winter, while Those Dam Boat Guys operate their regular daytime sightseeing cruises year-round. Wetlands Safari provides an intimate way to take in areas like the Jordaan District covered in a dusting of snow and decorated for the holidays.

When it comes to departure locations, most companies pick up from the usual docks clustered around Amsterdam’s city center, such as across from Central Station, next to the Anne Frank House, behind the Floating Flower Market, or near the National Monument on Damrak. This makes getting to your boat easy from Amsterdam’s central neighborhoods.

Boat Options: Heated Cabins vs. Open Boats

An important factor to consider is whether you would prefer a heated enclosed cabin cruiser that protects you from the elements or an open boat that requires bundling up in winter gear but provides panoramic views.

Companies like Rederij Kooij have cozy indoor seating while Those Dam Boat Guys supply blankets on their open vessels.

Average Prices for Winter Canal Cruises

In terms of pricing, expect to pay around €15-20 per adult and €7-12 per child for a standard 1-hour daytime winter canal cruise. Themed cruises like mulled wine tours or dinner fondue evenings average €25-40 for adults and €10-20 for kids.

For evening cruises during the holiday season or on New Year’s Eve, prices are typically €20-30 for adults and €12-25 for children. Private chartered boats cost a minimum of €200 per hour. Most companies offer 10-25% discounts on winter pricing when booking online in advance.

Tips for an Ideal Winter Cruise Experience

To ensure the best winter canal cruise experience, book your tickets early online to take advantage of lower off-season fares and ensure availability, as many companies reduce their schedules during the winter months. On open boats, bundle up with warm winter layers, gloves, hats, and scarves. If taking an enclosed cabin cruise, try to snag a seat near the heating vents and bring hand warmers.

 To avoid crowds, steer clear of the peak New Year’s and Christmas holidays. Enjoy hot drinks before and after your cruise to warm up. And be sure to capture quintessential Amsterdam photos decorated in holiday lights or with a dusting of snow along the canals.

What to Expect During a Winter Canal Cruise

During your winter canal cruise, you can expect excellent local captains and guides providing commentary and history, cozy ambience with far fewer tourists than the busy summer months, beautiful views of the city dressed in twinkling holiday lights and decorations, complimentary or available hot drinks to warm you up, heated indoor seating on most boats, and stunning sunsets during afternoon cruises.

Company Heated Cabin?
Rederij Kooij Yes
Love Boats Amsterdam No
Blue Boat Yes

Best Times for Winter Canal Cruises

For the best experience, aim for late morning or early afternoon cruise times to take advantage of the sunrise colors reflected on the water, avoid dark evenings, enjoy warmer temperatures than at night, and see holiday light displays switched on.

Insider Tips for Winter Canal Cruises

Follow these insider tips to maximize your winter canal cruise: Take a walk along your boat’s route beforehand to find the best holiday decorations lit up along the canals after dark. For romantic ambience, cruise on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. Check for festive seasonal ice skating rinks to combine with your cruise. Wear snow pants and gloves to stay warm and dry on breezy open boats. Bring a thermos of hot chocolate or tea to savor while cruising past twinkling lights and decoration.

Frequently Asked Winter Canal Cruise Questions

If you have any other questions before booking, here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Amsterdam’s winter canal cruises:

Are there restrooms onboard the boats?

Yes, all boats have heating restroom facilities maintained during winter cruises.

Do canal boats run every day in winter?

Most reduce schedules to weekends only or certain days to save on operating costs.

Will I still hear interesting commentary and history?

Yes, most winter cruises still include excellent live or recorded narration and insider information.

Can the boat sail if the canals freeze over?

No, cruises are cancelled during periods when canals freeze over for safety reasons.

Should young kids go on winter cruises?

If dressed very warmly, ages 4+ can still enjoy daylight winter cruises bundled under blankets.

What’s better – open or enclosed boats in winter?

Both have pros! Enclosed boats provide warmth, but open boats allow bundling under blankets for a cozy experience.

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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