The Ultimate Guide to Canal Cruise in Amsterdam


Private Boat Tours in Amsterdam – Tickets, Pricing, Duration, Departure

Private Boat Tours in Amsterdam - Tickets, Pricing, Duration, Departure

Private Boat tours in Amsterdam is the best option for those who looking for a more exclusive Amsterdam experience on a stylish saloon boat. How much are the tickets? Where to buy them? What to be aware of? What is the Duration? and many more tips in this best guide on the web for Private Canal Cruise in Amsterdam!

Gliding through Amsterdam atop your own private canal boat offers an intimate, exclusive way to explore the city’s scenic waterways. Private cruises allow you to customize the route, catering, duration, and onboard experience to match your wishes. Whether for a special occasion, group event, or VIP-style sightseeing, a private Amsterdam canal tour promises memories to last a lifetime.

To begin planning your perfect private cruise, start by selecting one of the top companies operating private boat charters in Amsterdam. Blue Boat Company provides classic enclosed blue steel boats accommodating 20-45 guests. Those Dam Boat Guys have smaller open canal boats fitting 2-12 people for a cozier feel. Wetlands Safari also uses intimate open safari-style vessels holding 2-12 occupants.

Other popular options include Amsterdam Canal Cruises with elegant wooden saloon boats for up to 10 guests, PrivateBoat Hire offering a diverse fleet including yachts and sloops fitting 2-8 people, and Sloepdelen for casual hourly boat rentals. Each company provides different styles, capacities, and specialized services.

Types of Private Canal Boats

Luxury saloon boats provide an elegant and comfortable enclosed space for groups up to 20 people. These boats feature plush, high-end seating within a climate-controlled cabin along with facilities like restrooms and catering areas. Large windows provide perfect views outside during your private tour. Saloon boats offer privacy and shelter for special events or cruises in questionable weather.

For a classic canal tour, Amsterdam’s traditional steel cruisers like those operated by Blue Boat Company are ideal for midsize groups of 20-45. These iconic boats have indoor seating with panoramic windows as well as open-air deck space. Blue Boat’s fleet includes various amenities and can be decorated to match your occasion.

Intimate, small open canal boats seating just 2-12 occupants provide a cozy experience for smaller groups or families. You’ll feel close to the water on these open boats as you glide under Amsterdam’s charming little bridges. Some companies offer powerful electric motors for easy maneuvering.

Electric boats allow you to independently pilot your private vessel along the winding canals at your own pace without a captain or guide. Group size is usually limited to 8 people. You control the route and can stop for photos or snacks along the way. Instructions are provided beforehand.

For large group events, yacht charters provide spacious multi-level decks capable of accommodating 30-60 guests. These glamorous vessels feature full amenities like catering areas and bar service to host memorable floating events on Amsterdam’s waterways. The city’s sights drift by through panoramic windows.

Popular Private Canal Cruise Companies

Blue Boat Company is one of the most established canal cruise operators in Amsterdam. Their fleet of classic blue steel boats can accommodate groups of 20-45 within enclosed, climate controlled cabins. Blue Boat offers fully customized charters plus catering and decor add-ons.

Those Dam Boat Guys operate smaller, intimate open canal boats that hold 2-12 guests for a cozy feel. Their private tours allow you to get very close to the water and glide under bridges. Excellent for families or smaller groups.

Wetlands Safari provides specialized 1-hour private cruises on safari-style open canal boats holding 2-12 occupants. Their boats have quiet electric motors allowing access into nature areas and smaller canals other boats can’t reach.

Amsterdam Canal Cruises focuses on private charters aboard beautifully crafted teak saloon boats with indoor plush seating for up to 10 guests. Onboard catering and local captains make each tour memorable.

PrivateBoat Hire has a diverse fleet of vessels available for private charter including yachts, open sloops, launches and more fitting 2 to 8 passengers. You can customize the boat style and amenities.

Sloepdelen offers simple hourly boat rentals where you pilot yourself along the canals at your own pace. No guide or catering – just DIY boating adventures. Easy online booking and affordable rates.

Tickets for Private Boat Tours in Amsterdam - How much does it cost?

For smaller boats accommodating 2-8 people, tickets price starting around €175-350 + per hour depending on the company, boat style, guest capacity, and time of year. Most vessels in this size range have an hourly rate between €200-300 during peak spring and summer tourism season.

Larger luxury boats for groups of 10 or more guests average €400-600 + per hour. High-end saloon boats with deluxe amenities and service for up to 20 passengers could run €500-700 + hourly during popular months. Catering and bar service may cost extra.

Most companies have a 2 hour minimum charter requirement, though some allow 1 hour bookings during off-peak times. Any additional hours beyond the minimum generally cost €150-300 per hour.

You can also choose to add a private guide or captain to steer and narrate your cruise, averaging an additional €150-250 or more on top of the basic boat cost. Guides are not required on self-piloted electric boat rentals.

Other amenities like flowers, decorations, cakes, catered meals, an open bar, and special extras will increase your total cruise pricing accordingly. But these details help customize the experience.

For very large groups of 40-60 guests, expect to spend €1,000-2,000 + for a multi-hour evening or daytime charter. Per person this can be more affordable than smaller boats if you have the numbers.

When budgeting, research options across a few companies. Rates can vary significantly depending on their fleet, size, and offerings. Avoid peak summer weekends for lower pricing.

Here are the most popular Private Amsterdam Cruises

Where you should buy tickets for private canal cruise in Amsterdam

The best way to inquire and reserve a private cruise is to contact the canal boat company directly via their website or by phone/email. This allows you to communicate your detailed plans and preferences directly with the operator.

However, the best way to purchace tickets for these private cruises, is to book as far in advance as possible, especially if traveling during peak tourism months. Walk-up availability is limited, so pre-booking online is recommended to save money and lock in your cruise.

You can find many online providers like “Tiqets” or GetYourGuide, which offer all online booking in advanced with flexible cancellation policies, payment in various currencies and languages and Easy price comparisons.

Most companies like Blue Boat, Those Dam Boat Guys, Wetlands Safari, Amsterdam Canal Cruises, and PrivateBoat Hire have online reservation forms, easy contact forms, or phone numbers to reach out to their team.

Once you select your cruise details like date, time, group size, and catering, they will send you a booking confirmation form and have you complete payment. Payments are typically taken by credit card online or bank transfer.

Some local tourism agencies and hotel concierge services may also be able to assist with planning and booking private canal cruises, though there is often an extra fee or markup associated with these third parties.

No matter where you inquire and reserve, we recommend contacting companies 4-6 weeks in advance of your intended cruise date to allow adequate planning time – especially for popular spring and summer dates when availability is tightest. Outline all your requests upfront so they can provide an accurate quote and recommendations to meet your private cruising needs.

Booking Tips

  • Contact companies 4-6 weeks in advance, even earlier for peak season dates like April-September. This gives time to reserve your ideal timeslot.
  • Provide details upfront like number of guests, occasion, budget, catering and route preferences so they can tailor the experience.
  • For special events, arrange flowers, cakes, decorations, signs through the cruise operator well beforehand.
  • Explore themed catering options if dining onboard such as Italian feasts or Dutch cheese and wine pairings to make the cruise even more unique.
  • Ask about adding private guide service to enrich your experience with insights about sights and local history during your tour.
  • Carefully confirm where and when to meet your private boat and captain to avoid delays. Arrive 10-15 minutes early.
  • Read reviews of the canal cruise companies and ask questions before booking so you know what to expect.
  • Provide any special instructions like proposals, onboard games, or surprises to orchestrate with the staff.
  • Understand cancellation policies in case plans change – some deposits are non-refundable if canceling close to sail date.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact the cruise operator for any questions or concerns before or after booking.
How long is Amsterdam Canal cruise

The Capacity

Small Open Canal Boats: The most intimate private cruise option, these open boats typically accommodate just 2-12 guests. The small size allows you to easily pass under low bridges and explore narrow canals. Best for smaller groups or families seeking a cozy, close-to-the-water experience.

Traditional Steel Cruisers: Boats like those operated by Blue Boat Company can accommodate 20-45 passengers. Their iconic steel vessels have indoor cabin seating with large windows, climate control, and open deck space. Great for midsize groups and events.

Luxury Saloon Boats: These glamorous, fully-enclosed boats feature plush indoor lounge-style seating for up to 20 guests. Saloon boats provide an elegant atmosphere with amenities like catering areas and restrooms. Ideal for special occasions.

Large Yachts: Spacious multi-level yachts offer the largest capacity, holding 30-60+ passengers. With full bars, extensive decks, and lavish interiors, these opulent boats are great for large group events and floating celebrations on the canals.

Electric Boats: On electric boat rentals, capacity is typically limited to 2-8 people. The small vessels allow you to independently pilot and direct your own route along Amsterdam’s winding canals.

When booking a private cruise, consider your group size and nature of the event when selecting boat capacity. Intimate gatherings may prefer a small open boat, while large parties will require a bigger yacht charter. Make sure to reserve well in advance to get your ideal boat style and size!

Company Boat Type Capacity
Blue Boat Company Traditional steel cruisers 20-45 guests
Those Dam Boat Guys Small open canal boats 2-12 guests
Wetlands Safari Open safari-style boats 2-12 guests
Amsterdam Canal Cruises Teak saloon boats Up to 10 guests
PrivateBoat Hire Diverse fleet of yachts, sloops 2-8 guests

Typical duration options for private canal cruises in Amsterdam:

Most companies offer private charters for a minimum of 2 hours. This allows enough time to leisurely explore key sights along the major canals. For a standard highlights tour along the central loop of Amsterdam’s iconic canal ring, 2-3 hours is recommended. This provides time to pass through areas like the Jordaan, Red Light District, 9 Streets, and more. 

For a more comprehensive experience or to include side excursions to additional neighborhoods like NDSM Wharf or the Eastern Docklands, booking 3-4 hours is better. The extra time allows you to see more.

All day or multi-hour charters are possible for extensive exploring over 5+ hours. However, these are very costly and best suited for large groups splitting the expense. Dinner, brunch and lunch cruises typically run 2-3 hours to allow relaxed dining with sightseeing. Build in extra time if you want multiple courses.

Specialty cruises like jazz nights or themed tours may run slightly longer than regular sightseeing charters. Check duration when booking. For self-guided electric boat rentals, 1-2 hours is usually sufficient to calmly navigate key areas at your own pace.

Consider your interests, budget, group size and agenda when selecting cruise duration. Companies can also advise on ideal length to make the most of Amsterdam’s waterways and attractions.

Amsterdam Private Canal Cruises Departure Points

City Center Docks: Many companies depart from docks clustered around Amsterdam’s core city center near Dam Square, Anne Frank House, and the Flower Market. This allows easy access for groups staying in the area.

Westerdok: This former harbor turned modern district next to Centraal Station has several docking areas convenient for boarding private cruises.

Herengracht: The scenic Herengracht canal is lined with popular boarding docks. Cruises here start immersed in classic Amsterdam scenery.

Eastern Harbor Area: Docks located east of the city center in neighborhoods like KNSM Eiland and NDSM Wharf cater to cruises heading into the Eastern Docklands.

Rembrandtplein: For cruises focused towards Amsterdam’s nightlife areas, docks around Rembrandtplein provide quick access to the Nightlife District.

RAI Convention Center: Departures from the RAI allow direct cruising through the southern canals and Amstel River.

Jetties across the city offer easy canal access. Many companies are flexible and will pick up groups from a range of locations. Hotels can often arrange boarding right from their dock. Planning cruise routes and stops in conjunction with your ideal boarding spot provides for a smooth private tour.

What to Expect During a Private Canal Cruise?

Dedicated Staff: Your private tour will have boat staff focused entirely on your party with no other passengers outside your group. The staff aims to provide seamless, attentive service tailored to your cruise.

Customized Route: One major perk of private charters is designing your own custom route along the canals. See iconic sights or go off the beaten path – you decide the course.

Personalized Experience: The experience can be fully personalized to your group’s preferences, from catering and decorations to music and activities onboard. Make it unique.

Groups and Events: The intimate setting is ideal for group events, corporate functions, bachelor/bachelorette parties, birthdays, weddings, or just gathering friends and family.

Local Insider Knowledge: Your captain and guide will share their extensive local insights about Amsterdam’s culture, history, architecture and beyond over the cruise.

Food and Drinks: Most boats allow bringing your own food and drinks or having catering arranged onboard. Some offer full bar service.

Photos and Memories: Professional photos and videos can memorialize the occasion. Private cruises create memories that last a lifetime.

Insider Tips for Private Canal Cruises

  • Book a longer 2-3 hour cruise rather than the minimum to fully soak up the exclusive experience at your own pace.
  • Request custom stops along your route to pop into shops, cafes, or disembark at museums and attractions that interest your group.
  • If you have any mobility-challenged guests, make sure to inform the company beforehand so they can accommodate them properly on boarding.
  • For special occasions, work with the captain ahead of time if you want to coordinate any surprises, announcements, or proposals during the tour.
  • Ask about adding on professional photographers or videographers to capture lasting memories and highlights during your private charter.
  • Have your guests meet at a nearby cafe beforehand so you can easily board the boat together when it arrives.
  • Chat with your captain about their insider tips for Amsterdam to customize the cruise commentary to your group’s interests.
  • Try booking on a weekday morning or evening for lower rates and fewer crowds if sightseeing along major canals.
  • For self-piloted electric boat rentals, take it slow and avoid narrow canals on your first time navigating Amsterdam’s waterways.
  • Supply any needed decorations, flowers, cakes etc. instead of relying on the boat company to handle so you get exactly what you want.
How long is Amsterdam Canal cruise

Top Sights in Private Cruise in Amsterdam

Here are some of the top sights and attractions that private canal cruises in Amsterdam may pass by or stop at:

Anne Frank House – The famous canal-side building where Anne Frank and others hid during WWII. A poignant look at her life through preserved rooms and her diary.

Skinny Bridge (Magere Brug) – One of Amsterdam’s most elegant and iconic drawbridges, beautifully lit up at night. A favorite photo spot.

Westerkerk – This landmark Protestant church in central Amsterdam has the tallest tower in the city, providing panoramic views. Rembrandt is buried here.

Royal Palace of Amsterdam – The opulent former City Hall on Dam Square and current Dutch royal palace. Marvel at its grand facade overlooking the water.

Nine Little Streets (Negen Straatjes) – Charming area with lovely shops, cafes, galleries and restaurants tucked along picturesque narrow streets.

Waterlooplein Flea Market – Amsterdam’s famous flea market featuring books, antiques, clothes, music, and everything in between. A bargain hunter’s paradise.

Hermitage Amsterdam – This satellite of the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia features rotating exhibitions showcasing art and culture.

The private, customizable nature of these cruises allows you to glide through Amsterdam while taking in the sights most appealing to your group and interests. Discuss ideal routes and stops with your captain when booking.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any other questions before booking, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What about food and drinks – can we eat onboard?

Food and drink can be arranged catered for an additional cost, or you can bring your own snacks and beverages including alcohol. Many companies have partnerships with restaurants for catering packages.

What if it rains during our scheduled cruise?

Boats may have interior saloon seating to provide shelter. If cancelled last-minute by the company due to extreme weather, you can rebook for another time or receive a refund.

Can we make stops along the route to see attractions?

Yes, you can completely customize your private route to stop anywhere that strikes your interest – museums, shops, restaurants, etc. Just communicate your requests to your captain.

Do children receive a discount?

Most companies don’t charge for young children under 3 years old. Discounted rates for kids ages 3-12 are also standard.

What are the cancellation and rescheduling policies?

Cancellation policies vary, but expect full payment forfeited if cancelling within 24-48 hours of your cruise in most cases. Rebooking may be possible.

Is gratuity expected for our private staff?

If you have a dedicated captain or staff, then a 10-15% tip is customary for good service. Most companies accept mobile payment tips.

Amsterdam Private Boat Tours - Pros and Cons


  • Customize every detail – route, catering, decor, music
  • Exclusive experience limited to just your group
  • Go at your own pace with no set schedules
  • Ideal for special occasions, groups, or families
  • Provides professional photos and memories that last


  • More expensive than public, shared tours
  • Advanced planning and preparation needed
  • Timeslots book quickly during peak tourist season
  • Minimum hours requirement adds to cost
  • Tip and other add-ons increase overall price
  • Wet weather cancellation policies are strict

Traveler Reviews of private Cruises in Amsterdam

“We loved having the boat totally to ourselves for a private tour! Our guide was so knowledgeable about the city and provided little snacks and drinks during the cruise”.

“I planned my proposal during our private boat tour and the staff were so helpful in making it perfect with flowers, signs, and champagne ready”.

“It made my wife’s birthday celebration really special having a custom tour and meal with just our closest friends without other tourists”.

“So fun to steer our own electric boat along the small side canals and see parts of Amsterdam you normally can’t access”.

“The catered dinner during our evening charter was delicious and we liked customizing the menu. Definitely recommend the food upgrades”.

“Our private guide knew all the prime spots for photos and fun facts about the bridges and canal houses we passed”.

“Glad we splurged on the longer 3 hour tour – the extra time allowed us to see so much more of the city”.

“The ability to make stops on our own schedule to see museums and walk through different neighborhoods was great”.

“Would be great if they offered some drinks like chilled champagne to enhance the luxury feel. But otherwise a 5-star 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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