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Port Highlight: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Not only is Amsterdam one of the most popular cities in Europe, it’s also one of the most famous in the world. Known for its culture, art, history and unique vibe, Amsterdam has activities to suit every level of interest.

Lovers of art can visit the Van Gogh Museum and take in all of his work. From his colorful, post-Impressionist renditions of sunflowers and potato-eaters to his tortured self-portraits, it’s an impressive must-see collection.

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On a previous cruise we attempted to see this Museum on our own and did not because of the long line-ups to get in, hence we very much appreciated the “group entrance” access. The guide was excellent. He had a very pleasant sense of humour, displayed throughout our bus tour of the city. We both appreciated that this tour allowed enough time browse the museum on our own, and if we wished, there was also time for refreshment and/or the gift shop. — Guest Franzie

Although they currently are on the Grand World Voyage, this past summer Jan and Dick Yetke visited Amsterdam before boarding their Eurodam cruise. As Jan says, bikes definitely rule in Amsterdam!

The bike lanes are between the street and sidewalk so when you want to cross the street you first must look both ways on the bike path … We definitely were the novices on the bikes there so we tried to stay to the right on the path.

Dick and the bikes of Amsterdam.

Dick and the bikes of Amsterdam.

The Yetkes took their time and rode all around town for about six hours. They rode to the Old Town, along the canals and even stopped for a snack in one of the main squares. A highlight for them was the Anne Frank house:

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It was really interesting to see how eight people lived in there in the dark for so long! There was an annex building in the back attached to the main building which is where Anne’s father had his business. Supposedly only one person in his business knew that they were living back there. We had to go up some very narrow winding staircases. Some of the walls were original with the photos that Anne had glued on them. Since Mr. Frank lived thru the concentration camp experience (Anne died one month prior to liberation), he was responsible for re-creating the house and how it had been when they all lived there. There were photos with furniture but he said that when it was opened to the public, he wanted the rooms to be empty.

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Amsterdam is a city of canals, and one of the most spectacular ways to see the canals is at night. Guests on an overnight call or late departure can take the Amsterdam Candlelight Cruise and glide past some of the city’s most interesting buildings and landmarks. Cheese, French bread, nuts and red or white wine is served while the guide reveals some fascinating facts about the waterways of Holland.

This was neat. To see Amsterdam from the canals was different. They were not stingy with the wine. It was amazing to see some of the “houseboats” that were used for permanent housing! A very nice evening and just the right amount of time. Not far to walk from the ship to the canal boats either and even if it is raining it’s a pleasant experience. Do it! — Guest “Spritley”

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Not only is Amsterdam the city of canals, but it’s also the city of bridges and diamonds. On the Amsterdam, City of Diamonds tour, guests take a short canal cruise to get oriented to the city. The Amstel River is just one of the many waterways flowing through Amsterdam. On its northern bank, participants set out to discover the former Jewish quarter where, in Amsterdam’s industrial glory days, numerous diamond traders and cutters produced the world’s most beautiful stones. This process can still be seen in the Gassan Factory, restored to the splendor it enjoyed when Amsterdam was the largest trading center for diamonds in Northern Europe.

The canal cruise was informative, we got to see different parts of the old city from the boat. Our guide was really great! Our time at the diamond factory was just right, very informative and interesting. — Guest Linus

Have you visited Amsterdam on a Holland America Line cruise? What was your favorite part about the city?

1 Comment
  • PatriciaB

    Loved seeing these beautiful photos of Amsterdam, our favorite HAL port. What could be better: a HAL cruise and then a few days in Amsterdam?

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