2020-2024 River cruise strategy

News item

Amsterdam is gaining in popularity among river cruise passengers, which means that demand is rising as every year goes by. But the number of berths is going down. How can we keep everyone happy? That was the central question for defining our strategy for 2020-2024. The answer? We do our best, but sometimes we have to take steps that not everyone welcomes. We have to take them because of the local authority's new tourist policy, urban expansion and our aim to be a clean and sustainable port. Fortunately, there has always been a constructive dialogue between Port of Amsterdam and the shipping companies. The difficulties are mutually understood. These are the spearheads for 2020-2024:

  • Reducing the nuisance caused by river cruise vessels in terms of both noise and emissions. We are doing this by increasing the spread of berths, making the Green Award compulsory (by 2022) and by promoting sustainable fuel.
  • Finding a solution for the peak period in April, which is traditionally the month when there are more applications than berths. This is also known as the Keukenhof effect. Unless we succeed in getting the tulips to bloom in other months, we'll have to find another solution. From 2021 onwards, berths will be allocated on a loyalty basis, with customers coming all year round being given priority. Consideration is also being given to a maximum length of stay, e.g. 48 hours for April. This maximum will be determined in consultation with shipping companies.
  • Improving the shore power facilities. Supply and demand are being better matched and a smart approach is being taken to procurement. We are doing this through data analysis based on a consumption profile generated for all river cruise vessels.
  • Sustainability. From 2022, only river cruise ships with a Green Award will be granted a berth in the city centre.
  • Approach to no-shows. We have to make the most of our space, which means avoiding places being reserved but not used. To prevent no-shows, a berth confirmed for the next calendar year can be cancelled free of charge until 1 February of that year. Berths booked for the current calendar year can be cancelled free of charge within one week of confirmation. That way, you always pay for a reserved berth other than in cases of force majeure, such as high tide, engine breakdown, and so on.
  • Prices will be going up 5% a year for the next three years. As from 2021, a 35% surcharge is being introduced for April.
  • Our aim is to keep coaches and heavy traffic out of the city centre. The experiment at Ruijterkade West using canal boats instead of coaches for river cruise guests was a success. This resulted in 425 coaches not having to be used. We want to continue to promote this form of tourist transport. We also prefer to have provisioning carried out by boat and would like to support and help develop initiatives to this end.