One of the largest river cruise ports in Northwestern Europe, Amsterdam was named ‘Cruise Destination of the Year’ several times.
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, with its berths conveniently located near the historic city centre, world-class museums, and numerous local sights. In addition, on account of its strategic location near Schiphol Airport, 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 was no river cruise ship 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
National measures apply here as well: From July 1st 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.
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.
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 posibilities.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Free online reservation system
A free online berth reservation system is available for reservation berths in the Amsterdam-Zaanstad river cruise area. This means you, as a shipping company, can use Easydock to quickly and conveniently reserve berths for passenger ships in this area.
As an added benefit, you will only need to submit one statement and your company will receive only one invoice. Easydock makes the scheduling process transparent and allows you to manage your own ships.
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, at 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 and transfer as well as on facilities and options in the river cruise ports are available on the Amsterdam Cruise Port website.
River cruise bulletin
At least four times a year, Port of Amsterdam publishes a River cruise bulletin to inform her customers well. Below are the most recent publications. Please sign up, if you'd like to receive the bulletin by e-mail.
- Bulletin edition 15, July 2020
- Bulletin edition 14, June 2020
- Bulletin edition 13, March 2020
- Bulletin edition 12, December 2019
Get in touch with our experts
For questions or more information about river cruises.