River cruise

One of the largest river cruise ports in Northwestern Europe, Amsterdam was named ‘Cruise Destination of the Year’ several times.

At this moment the river cruise is welcomed back in the port of Amsterdam. Port of Amsterdam follows the rules of the Government of the Netherlands. Additional measures apply to cruise ships in Amsterdam.


Amsterdam: the ultimate river cruise destination

A total of 2,007 river cruise ships called on Amsterdam in 2018, carrying a combined 406,949 passengers.

The Dutch capital remains a major attraction. Its berths are conveniently located near the historic city centre, world-class museums, and numerous local sights.

Amsterdam has a strategic location near Schiphol Airport. For that reason, Amsterdam also serves as the pick-up and drop-off point for the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal to Budapest, as well as for Black Sea cruises.


River cruise starting back up

Since March there had been no river cruise ships sailing in the port of Amsterdam. Together with the Safety Region, Port of Amsterdam decided to ban cruise ships from the port for safety reasons.

Now the Amsterdam port is slowly reopening for the river cruise, but under strict conditions. How does that work? Find your answer in the frequently asked questions below.

Frequently asked questions about river cruise

River cruise starting back up

What happens when there is a corona outbreak on one of the vessels?

When, despite all the measures taken, an outbreak of corona occurs on a vessel, the Municipal Health Services (GGD) will immediately be contacted. They will take the lead. The vessel will be transferred to a location in the western port area straight away, and the GGD will determine which steps need to be taken.

Will the same number of vessels as usual visit Amsterdam?

Even though the shipping lines are keen to resume their operations, the number of vessels visiting Amsterdam will be significantly lower than previous years. The majority of the river cruise lines usually serve intercontinental guests, who for the time being cannot fly to Europe. Additionally, different countries have different measures in place, meaning it is difficult for the shipping lines to adhere to all of them.

How many people are on board?

National measures apply here. Since July 1, there are no maximum numbers of guests. However, the 1,5 metre rule must be complied. Of course the crew will also be on board. The size of the crew depends on the size of the vessel.

What is the total number of river cruise vessels till the end of the year?

We do not know at this time. A few shipping lines have cancelled all their bookings till the end of 2020 at the start of the corona pandemic. Even more important in this matter, what do the people want? Will there be an appetite for a river cruise trip? In any case, the guests will originate from our neighbouring countries. We do not expect intercontinental guests this year. Therefore, the total number of river cruise vessels will be modest, a fraction of the roughly 2,000 vessels we have received in Amsterdam each of the preceding years.

When will the sea cruise be resumed?

This issue is independent of the river cruise. The new emergency ordinance of 1 July states that there is no longer a maximum number of passengers. Together with various parties we are exploring the possibilities.

Where will the vessels be berthed?

The vessels will be berthed at the usual locations in the port. Because of the measures and the modest number of visiting vessels, we will only use half of the jetties for berthing. For example, at the Westerdoksdijk a maximum of one vessel will be berthed, on shore power of course.

What are you doing to resume in a safe and responsible manner?

Shipping lines have to adhere to national guidelines to conduct business in a safe and responsible manner. In order to facilitate this, we have taken a number of measures, like welcoming the so-called cycle/sail vacation vessels. This category of smaller river cruise vessels sails with smaller parties and is optimally designed to cater to this segment. Moreover, these vessels do not need busses, as the passengers embark the vessel by bicycle and the vessel will depart almost immediately straight after. This month, we expect of maximum of five of these vessels. To safely receive them, we have banned double berthing until further notice. Not that this is necessary for this volume, but because we want to be very clear in our policy. This prevents that people have to walk over another vessel to reach the quay.

We are responsible for the nautical part of the visit, including berthing and behaviour on the jetties. We have marked walking routes on the jetties and quays, have placed road signs and deployed stewards who will stimulate the guests to follow the guidelines.

We will evaluate each visit on what went well and what can be improved. Do we have to take extra measures, and if so, which ones?

What preconditions have to be met by the vessels and what measures is the shipping line taking?

The shipping lines have, together with the EBU (European Barge Union), composed a protocol. This specifies the European guidelines for corona that each shipping line needs to follow. The Special Investigating Officers and the police are responsible for enforcing compliance.

Who checks whether vessels adhere to the rules?

There are different parties that are responsible for enforcing the rules. As Port of Amsterdam, we are responsible for the nautical part of the visit, including berthing and behaviour on the jetties. Our port officers are mandated to enforce the nautical conditions. Special Investigating Officers and the police are responsible for enforcing compliance to the Emergency Ordinance (maximum number of passengers, 1.5 meters of distance, etc.). Additionally, we work closely together with the Municipal Health Services (GGD), which will be mobilised in case of an outbreak. The procedures concerning contagious diseases have been tested, tried, and validated.

Why are we starting back up?

The Amsterdam Emergency Ordinance allows it again. Suspending entrance to the port for sea and river cruise, back in March, was not an easy decision. Not only our clients, but many Amsterdam entrepreneurs and self-employed persons have been hit hard by the corona crisis. This is why we, as the port, are eager to facilitate the reboot of the river cruise.


Day tourist tax for cruise passengers

The Municipality of Amsterdam charges a day tourist tax for TRANSIT sea and river cruise passengers who moor within the municipal boundaries of Amsterdam. For whom the day tourist tax has to be paid and how it works? Read more.

Day tourist tax


Free online reservation system

Amsterdam together with Zaanstad forms one river cruise area. You can book a berth in this region quickly and easily via the Easydock online reservation system.

What's more, you only need to make submit one statement and as a shipping company you will receive one invoice. With Easydock the planning is transparent and you are in control of your ships.

More about Easydock Log in


Shore power

Do you use the shore power in Amsterdam? We're very happy about that. Not only is it better for the environment, you also help to prevent noise pollution. Read how you can easily connect the shore power.

Passenger information

The state-of-the art Passenger Terminal and the river cruise berths are located nearby all popular tourist sites in the Greater Amsterdam Area. The cruise facilities provide excellent accessibility. They are just 20 minutes from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and directly adjacent to Amsterdam Centraal Station, the city’s central railway station.

Any other essential passenger information regarding your arrival, transfer, facilities and options in the river cruise ports, is available on the Amsterdam Cruise Port website.

Go to Amsterdam Cruise Port

Passagiers op een cruiseschip

Latest updates

River cruise newsletter

At least four times a year, we publish a River cruise newsletter. Below you'll find the most recent publications. Would you like to receive the newsletter by email? Then please sign up.

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Get in touch with our experts

For questions or more information about river cruises.

Monic van der Heyden

Monic van der Heyden

Commercial Manager Cruise
Team Cruise

+31 20 523 45 00