Even in Covid-19 times, this is one Amsterdam attraction you can still take part in.
Here at Lilly Likes, we take great pride in finding you the best sights and sounds of our favourite city. We don’t always get to visit it, but we can at least speculate about what we are going to do when we get there.
On today’s virtual tour of Amsterdam, we are holding a microscope over this Classic River Boat Canal Cruise. We are withholding crucial information with that title, however, because both cheese and wine are involved in this deal.
As usual, those that are new to Lilly Likes Amsterdam – hello there, welcome, good to have you. If you keep reading you might get a laugh. Those who are long time readers of our unforgiving Amsterdam blogs, thanks for coming back but maybe see a doctor. Or just read more. Here, you can learn all about the coffeeshops you should be visiting in 2021, about the tulips, or about the A-Dam
Let’s talk about classic river boats and why this canal cruise is a brilliant idea, since it is Covid-19 safe.
First thing’s are First: It Has a Long Shelf Life
Available until April 2022, this awesome classic river boat style cruise around the canals of Amsterdam will be nothing but good fun. That long shelf life means you can use it throughout the year of 2021 and, should things get closed down again, you still have time to move that booking. Who doesn’t want something to look forward to? Especially in Amsterdam!
Added to this, the company themselves have managed to reduce the numbers of people on each ride, from a previous maximum of 28. They don’t do big groups anyway, for that they have private boat hire options. With proper social distancing, guides wearing masks, and hand sanitizer at all access points, you can be sure that this classic river boat ride through the stunning canals of Amsterdam will go ahead, no matter the pandemic/occasion.
Now that we know we can visit this one regardless of world events, let’s talk about how good it is and why you want to do it!
What’s Included in the Classic River Boat Canal Cruise?
Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, we can get down to the real business. What do you get for your money? What are the details? Didn’t you mention cheese? We like cheese…
Have no fear (unless you’re lactose intolerant), we are here to provide.
You will find that you take in the waterways of Amsterdam in a luxuriously decorated, old-world-style classic canal boat. These boats are similar to those that people living on the canal might use, except that they have been lined with windows to adapt them for guided tours.
The boat itself will have various booths and seating areas, marked off for your safety and hygiene purposes. Each booth has its own table and its own views out at the passing world of Amsterdam. There is an open-air area for those that prefer to see the sights from outdoors, or if it is a particularly lovely day. The booths are non-smoking.
Once you are comfortably settled, the tour of the canals of Amsterdam will start. Tours are given in English only, although translations to and from Dutch are possible. The guides will talk you through the canals, the buildings, and the history of the town itself. If you pass by anything of significance, your tour guides should be able to explain it for you. The tour is non-invasive and gentle, allowing you to enjoy the sights in between explanations.
Cheese and Wine Refreshments
With an overall relaxed feel, we can’t forget to mention the chief detail of the journey. While in your booth, you will be brought some of the finest cheese known to man: Dutch Gouda. This is one of the oldest known continuously made cheeses in the entire world. Having first been produced in 1184, this cheese is almost a millennial. It is a hard cheese, aged between 1 month and a year and a half. It is a milk cheese made from cows’ milk, whose making was passed down through the Dutch generations.
Say what you like about the tour, but don’t knock the cheese. Not liking Gouda is like not liking Amsterdam… you better get ready to run away when you disembark if that’s the case.
Let’s not forget the wine. It is simply referred to as ‘Dutch wine’ and the Dutch, as much as they are a lovely people, are not known for their wine skills. We imagine it to be red and hearty, without much finesse of flavour. Actually, that’s the perfect accompaniment for the milky rich texture of the Gouda.
How Long does the Canal Cruise last?
The Canal cruise round Amsterdam lasts for about 75 minutes. Give yourself the full two hours to show up early and disembark at your leisure. There might be others on the boat with you or you may be lucky and have it to yourself. For the best chances at having, it to yourself, book on a weekday and double check it’s not a Dutch holiday.
What Sights you See on a Canal Cruise
While in this riverboat, you will be subject to certain tourist attractions. You can expect to see a number of national treasures, each of which should be explained to you by your tour guides. Nevertheless, we have attempted to explain some of them here, for your convenience.
Passing through the Jordaan – one of the most famous parts of the city – you will see this monument. You should also get to see the Skinny Bridge ‘Magere Brug’, the Amstel river that they named the beer after, and the Golden Bend.
The Anne Frank House
You know who Anne Frank is, don’t you? If not, Google it and come back. Well, her house still stands and it’s in Amsterdam. Better yet, someone converted it into a museum. You pass by it in this canal cruise, allowing you to see what it is you are looking for when you go past on foot. This is the exact house where she hid in the attic and you can even stand in that space. It’s pretty cool.
This is the world-famous home to some of the notable works by the Dutch masters. You will find Van Gogh here, although he has his own museum elsewhere in the city, Rembrandt, and dozens of other famous Dutch painters, each of which worked or lived in the city at some point in their lives.
The Amstel River
It is from this river that all Dutch life was drawn, so to speak. The Amstel runs clean through the city, cutting it in twain. Though it wasn’t always such. Many hundreds of years ago, this area was a confluence between the river and the sea. Fishermen and women built a port in the area, eventually realising that if they dammed the river, they might catch more fish. The dam was built, the town was named Amste-rdam, with a river running clean through the centre.
That’s some smooth fishing.
The Westerkerk is a good sight to pass by in a canal, since you will instantly recognise it from that angle. To paint the Westerkerk as many famous artists have, you would have to be situated in the middle of the canal, in a rowboat, with your easel.
This famous church has stood the test of time for almost as long as the city itself. It’s a beauty of an old building, whose spire towers over all of Amsterdam. You might not know it from our description, but as soon as you see a picture of it, you will realise you have seen it before.
There are a few more exciting things that you pass by on this tour of the canals of Amsterdam, but you get the general drift. You can see all of these things by walking, but why would you? When you can do it in a canal boat, instead?
Private (Party) Boat Hire
If you do want to book your hen do or stag do in Amsterdam, then you can inquire with the provider about private boat hire. This means you have a party boat to yourself, without the need for worrying about kids or grannies being on the boat protesting, while you throw Philip in the canal.
Calm down Leslie, it’s only a stag do. We’ll fish him out after Stone’s.
The Lilly Likes Verdict
Lilly appreciates Gouda, so this canal cruise was always going to be a winner. The old-timey riverboat seals the deal, though, with its blue and cream exterior and wood-framed windows. If you are in Amsterdam for a few days in the coming months, this is one to put in the diary – especially since it has those covid restrictions in place already. The double bonus is that you can be sure it won’t get cancelled on you – and that you can move your booking back if you can’t get there.
So, what do you say? Fancy a wee trip to Amsterdam? We’ll be right behind you with the biscuits.