With museums to explore, exciting cuisine and numerous historic sites to enjoy, cruises to the Netherlands will offer visitors a variety of sightseeing options as well as the chance to try out some of their famous cheeses including Gouda, Geitenkaas or Massdammer from one of the many shops and market stalls.
Amsterdam is its most famous city, with an eclectic nightlife, laid-back charm and selection of cultural sights promising days that are as relaxed or action packed as you wish. Netherlands cruises are a feast for the senses and form a popular part of many north European cruises.
Popular Ports in the Netherlands
There is nowhere on earth quite like Amsterdam, and its pretty network of canals and footpaths make it the perfect place to explore on two wheels. Hiring a bike is a popular way to get around, and it’s a great way to get your bearings and experience the city like a local. If you’re in search of culture, the city offers up an eclectic choice – from the iconic works of the Van Gogh Museum to the contemporary collections housed in the Stedelijk. An hour spent in the poignant Anne Frank Museum is also recommended. If you’re lucky enough to have a late-evening departure, Amsterdam offers an array of nightlife options ranging from swanky cocktail bars to cabaret show bars.
If you dock in Rotterdam, the largest port in Europe, during your Netherlands cruise you’ll be awarded with a contemporary dream of glittering glass skyscrapers alongside historic attractions. Art fans will find plenty of visual treats in Rotterdam’s Kunsthal – an impressive museum of contemporary art. The Boijmans van Beuningen Museum is also worth a look, offering work from noteworthy Dutch painters. The historic harbour quarter of Delfshaven with its gabled buildings, antique shops and cafes, is another highlight of any Rotterdam tour. Foodies in search of local treats can check out the Central City Market to sample poffertjes, which are a mini-crumpet dusted with icing sugar. Other must-tries include raw herring sandwiches or broodje haring.
What are the best cruise ships for a cruise to the Netherlands?
You’ll want a luxurious floating base from which to enjoy all the fantastic ports of call, with a variety of cruise lines offering Netherlands options in their exciting itineraries.
Amsterdam is one of the featured ports in the Cities and Ice itinerary onboard Marella Explorer. With 10 restaurants to choose from, a bar, club and casino, there’s plenty to keep you busy during days and nights on board. Add to this a Sport & Family Deck and Champneys spa for indulgent pampering treatments and there’s plenty of scope for both active and leisurely pursuits.
Sail with P&O Cruises on a Netherlands, Belgium & France Cruise itinerary and you could check out the delights of Rotterdam onboard the Oceana. This expansive ship offers a varied entertainment programme and facilities that will keep the whole family entertained. As well as four swimming pools and a spa, there’s a night nursery for under 4s, ensuring parents get some quality couple time.
Shore Excursions Ideas
Independent exploration is one option for passengers during their time in the Netherlands, however if you opt for an organised trip, you’ll get more out of your time on shore.
Explore beyond the Amsterdam
Many cruise lines will offer the option to venture out from the city into the idyllic countryside to explore some traditional Dutch villages. Zaanse Schans in Zaandam offers you the chance to experience the Netherlands of picture books with its wooden houses, historic windmills and artisan workshops just crying out to be photographed. It’s a great place to pick up traditional souvenirs such as wooden clogs and handicrafts. If you have time, check out the Zaans Museum which provides further insight into the fascinating history of the area. Edam is another village worthy of your time, and as the name suggests is where the famous waxed cheese comes from. Just 30 minutes from Amsterdam, this picturesque town offers relaxed shopping opportunities, a museum and a cheese factory.
Windmills of Kinderdijk
If you stop at Rotterdam during your Netherlands cruise, a trip to see Kinderdijk’s famous windmills is not to be missed. This group of 19 impressive windmills has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1997, and offers visitors a unique and delightfully Dutch day out. This impressive sight has a visitors’ centre which has more information about the history of these iconic structures, including a film. The De Biesbosch National Park is another nearby attraction featuring a freshwater tidal area dotted with distinct flora and fauna.
Boat Tour of Amsterdam
During a stop over in Amsterdam, many visitors opt for a canal boat tour. Taking a relaxing trip down the glistening waterways of this vibrant city is a great way to see it at its best. Expect to see gabled houses, the Royal Zoo and the city’s museums from a completely fresh perspective. Passing under bridges and past waterfront cafes, you’ll get a real sense of the culture and community of this intriguing and atmospheric destination.
Top ports of call in this destination