Canal Boat Tours, Amsterdam
You can throw things if you want, but I think the canal cruises you get by Centraal station are a disappointment.
Especially the ones on closed boats where you sit crammed in with 30 other tourists, staring out the windows of the low cabin, straining your neck to look up at the bridges.
Unique Suggestions: Just don't do the above.... it's a boring ripoff.
Here on the other hand, is a great place to get a small boat where you can sit topside, eat, drink, smoke, and enjoy & see the canals of Amsterdam as the should be seen:
Saint Nicolaas Boat Club
you cav sign up for Saint Nicolaas Boat tours at Boom Chicago only
Fun Alternatives: Be picky. Find a small, more open cruise boat where you sit topside in the open.
Better yet, rent a small boat for yourself and cruise where you want to go.
We went on a canal tour on our second day in Amsterdam but it really was a bit of a tourist trap. It covered the main sights (Anne Frank huis, Centraal Station,etc) but otherwise offered little of interest. I was hoping for some pointers on things that were not in every guidebook. More on this later...
Unique Suggestions: Maybe make it one of the first things you do in Amsterdam as you will most likely have covered the same route on foot otherwise.
Fun Alternatives: Perhaps rent a pedal boat and explore the canals yourself.
Time warp with me if you will to 1991…It was my first time in Amsterdam and then boyfriend and I were given two free tickets for a float-down-the-canal trip. So we ducked over to the side and lit up a fatty. However, by this time we knew exactly how much to smoke before it was too much. But I, being the bad ass that I am, dared us to not to just take ONE PUFF off the joint but TWO!
And that did it. It was Fear and Loathing in Amsterdam, I freaked out. I climbed in the canal boat, sat down and looked at said boyfriend in the face and firmly told him I was going to die, and that my heart was exploding. I put my head in my lap and cried. And off we went….
Unique Suggestions: Then just like that! Snap. I was floating… calm waters, beautiful views, slow and serine. I was going to live! I sat up and smiled, thinking, “Close call.” And just then, tour conductor lady started talking. She informed everyone that we would be on the little boat for an hour and a half and we were on a special tour of Gables. “WHAT!” I shouted out loud to the dismay of tour conductor lady. “WHAT” having two parts to it. Why! WHY so long? And: What the *** is a Gable? Well, an hour and a half later I knew. They are the stupid things that stick out of the tops of the buildings in order to haul furniture into the thin Dutch houses.
I still have the photo the tour company takes of everyone on that trip. At the end of the tour, all the photos are stuck up on this board. I saw mine and took it. I realized later that we had to buy them (dumb ass me) but the Dutch are too cool to go running down the street after some idiot American high on grass, lucky for me.
Fun Alternatives: I still have the photo the tour company takes of everyone on that trip. At the end of the tour, all the photos are stuck up on this board. I saw mine and took it. I realized later that we had to buy them (dumb ass me) but the Dutch are too cool to go running down the street after some idiot American high on grass, lucky for me.
once you exit central station you will see all the canal tours on your left hand side. there are many to choose from, but don't forget that these are just some of the canal tours to choose from there are many others located throughout the city. we choose one near central station because we had other plans in that area later on. it was pretty
Unique Suggestions: pick one that suits you, are you the romantic type? then maybe an evening candlelight dinner cruise is up your alley, or maybe your an adventurist then you'd rent your own boat. but at some point you need to take a trip around amsterdam's many canals via some form of boat it's very beautiful.
Fun Alternatives: there are even smoke friendly canal tours available check out the dolphins coffeeshop for details on they're canal cruise.
Amsterdam is well known for its canals and it is natural to think about using them for transportation. However, think carefully before you purchase your ticket. Weekday schedules can be inconvenient, high water can shut down various stops, and the area covered is small enough to be walked.
My recommendation is to stick to Trams for mass transit.
Unique Suggestions: If you decide to take the Canal Bus make sure you understand the schedule. It can be a pretty way to go from one end of the city (Such as the Rijksmuseum) to the other (such as the Maritime museum)
Fun Alternatives: The Trams are convenient and run very frequently. They are also much cheaper.
yet there are many outthere who will no doubt disagree with me.
Unique Suggestions: forget all the people around you and try and get a place where you can stand up and stick your head out
Fun Alternatives: become friends with a local from Amsterdam who owns his/her own boat! far more fun!
The only local person you will find on a canal cruise is the guide. Its completely for the tourists. But it is worth your time and is not that expensive. You get to travel the canals and go out to the harbor. The scenery is beautiful.
If I had to pick one, I would choose the canal cruises (tours). While very beautiful, they give you a lot of useless information. I found out that two houses, with identical gables where called, the twins. I still fail to see the importance of that. The fares are cheap though and it is nice to see the city from the water. So it's a toss up...
Unique Suggestions: Enjoy the trip through the canal. It's not everywhere you can explore a city via it's waterways.
Fun Alternatives: Rent a bike and try peddling your way around.
Canal ride tours: there are plenty of these boats that carry the tourists along the canals of the city. I am not sure whether it is a tourist trap. Indeed you can see the city from another perspective. Provided you do not mind to do such 'touristic' things.
Canalboats arent the quickest mode of daily travel,but by all means, take at least one canal tour.THEY ARE A BIT EXPENSIVE THOUGH.The tourguide will point out places and tell you historical information you wont find on your own readily.Its not very expensive and i usually save it for a mid-day junket..part sit down/part tour after Ive hoofed around the city half the day.
We made the booking with "The Best Of Holland Excusrion" - Asia Compass Travel Agency, that was on the road outside the Amsterdam railway station. Due to its proximity to the station it is flooded with tourists that flock to this tour company. What really happens is that the staff after selling the ticket packs the crowd of tourists into the bus and their job is over.
On the day of our tour with them , first we started with city sightseeing that was over in half a day and was quite hushed up, the second part required us to change the bus. Our tickets were seen while changing the bus and we wre ushered into a bus that would continue the rest of our trip.
However a few mins in the trip we realized that we were still in the city and stopped at the same tourist spot we'd already seen. At the first stop we told the travel guide that it seemed we were on the wrong bus.
Instead of having us sent back to the right bus she said we would have to wait till the visit to the diamond factory was over. Being new to the place and having no clue we felt helpless.
She also called up the travel agency and said they would see what could be done. Finally to our dismay after she came out of the diamond factory after 30 mins (while we waited in the canteen inside the factory compound), she called up again the agency and to our shock asked us to take a walk back to the agency!
We walked back to the tour-operator but we were neither put in the right bus nor given any refund. The manager we talked with there refused to tell who the owner was, and did not talk well with us. Later we found out the name of the owner (calling up a few numbers from outside) and discovered that we had talked with the owner himself (the manager) . When we confornted him he put the blame on us for sitting n the wrong bus!!!
Our day was wasted and with only one more free day remaining for a full day sightseeing we felt the great loss of time and money.
Unique Suggestions: Check with a few tourist operators, preferable AWAY from the railway station area (upto Dam square). Check near Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museums for tour operators that are less crowded and offer better quality and service.
We managed to get a short leave to travel to Amsterdam for 3 days from UK but due to a very bad tour operator (in terms of service commitment and accountability) we lost one day of time and money, you dont want to let this happen to you!
THEREFORE "BE CAREFUL" do not just go to any tour operator that you see, as they may be only interested in making quick money from loads of vulnerable passengers!!!
AVOID the bus companies around "The Best Of Holland Excusrion" - Asia Compass Travel Agency (two of them are owned by the same owner as we learnt), as heavy rush leads to poor quality of service and no customer service and no accountability if anything goes wrong!!!
Me and my wife had a tough time.
Fun Alternatives: We (me and my wife) later found out about another travel agency talking to the locals who knew about such problems, and the tourist company they recommended was excellent. It was Keytours (Keytours Holland) near Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museums.
This tour operator who was far more organized, had better cleaner buses, and much more professional staff, and made the most of what time was left.
Have a safe and enjoaybe trip and do not compromise on quality, be ready to do your homework before you go!