Canal Cruise

A canal cruise is a great activity for the solo traveller. Cruises operate during the daytime as well as in the evening, but I was particularly interested in going on one as the sun went down.

Narrow Houses

Blue Boat Amsterdam canal cruises depart from 2 locations…

Stadhouderskade 501 (opposite Hard Rock Cafe)
Stadhouderskade 550 (opposite Heineken Experience)

Pre-booking your seat

A Blue Boat canal cruise can be pre-booked online to guarantee the time slot you would like. I chose the 7:30pm cruise, firstly because an organised evening activity was appealing while travelling alone. Secondly, booking a cruise for later in the day gave me time to get my bearings around the city. I therefore didn’t feel rushed as I knew roughly where I was heading.

What’s going on nearby?

Boarding takes place 15 minutes before departure but there are several places to go to eat or drink while you wait. It is also close to the casino if you fancy a flutter before you sail! I can recommend the lively Irish Pub which has seats outside directly overlooking the canal and Blue Boat Company. Note though, cash is not accepted.

About the Boat

Onboard is a bar, toilet and an outside area for the smokers. The barman comes along to the tables and takes orders for drinks and snacks. Again, cash is not accepted onboard the boat, card payment only.

Drinks include…

  • Hot Drinks – coffee, tea and hot chocolate Euros 1.75
  • Soft drinks or a bottle of Heineken Euros 2.50
  • A glass of wine Euros 3.50 or Prosecco Euros 4.75

Snacks – there is a limited choice …

  • Chips (crisps) or a chocolate bar Euros 2.00
  • Bag of berries & nuts Euros 2.50
  • Oreo cookies (6 pieces) Euros 1.50
  • Stroopwafels (2 pieces) Euros 1.50

The guided audio tour lasts for 90 minutes. Once it sets sail, each person is provided with a set of earphones. If you have your own, I recommend you bring them. Theirs were made from very hard plastic and were extremely uncomfortable. I was given 3 different pairs and each set only had one side working. Also, because they do not fit that well, it is sometimes difficult to filter out noise from the people around you while trying to listen to the commentary.

The commentary was very interesting and I learnt things about Amsterdam that I may not have, had I not been on the cruise. For example…

Do you know why Amsterdam’s houses are so narrow?

The narrower the house from the front, the less tax was paid by the occupier. This led to houses being very narrow, one is just 2m wide! The height and width from the back was not taken into account. Therefore even some 5 bedroom properties have very narrow frontage.

Amsterdam canals

As it started to get dark, the lamps on the table automatically became brighter, creating a nice glow.

Lamps light up as it gets dark onboard the Blue Boat canal cruise

Some of the sightseeing while sailing included…

The Red Light District

Sex shops in the Red Light District
Red Light District

The only point in the canal where you can view 7 bridges at one time…

View where you can see 7 bridges all at once, canal cruise

Skinny Bridge – The bridge that struggles to allow 2 pedestrians to pass by each other…

Skinny Bridge on one of Amsterdam's canals
Skinny Bridge, Amsterdam

I thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. There are many different types that Blue Boat offer so it may be worth checking their website.

Suggested Further Reading:

Travel Tips for Amsterdam – Things I wish I knew before I went

Restaurants in Amsterdam – Places I enjoyed while dining solo

Hotels in Amsterdam – Places in a good location for solo travellers or where I have had an enjoyable stay