Going to Rijksmuseum, having the Heineken Experience, daring a look into the Red Light district… For most first-timers in Amsterdam, their trip is not complete without having a cruise along the grachts, the canal which are connecting Amsterdam by water. During some days in Amsterdam in summer 2020, I could make use of a nice offer for one of the most well-known and traditional canal cruise companies, Lovers (Lovers Channel Cruises has nothing to do with Love, it is a surname). Here are my thoughts about the trip.
Lovers Canal Cruises – Location & Admission
Lovers Canal Cruises incept in close proximity to Amsterdam Centraal Station. In the picture below, you also see the ibis Amsterdam Centre hotel, which I visited on another Amsterdam trip.
In normal touristic times, Lovers boats are leaving their starting point very regularly. In summer 2020, due to Covid-19, it was sensible to check out their schedule beforehand, but it was still very comfortable. The regular admission for the cruise is 19 Euro – especially during 2020, there were, however, several kinds of discounts available. For example, I bought my ticket at German discount website Groupon for 12 Euro (for walk-in trips, no reservation needed).
Lovers Canal Cruises – The Boats
The black and orange canal cruise boats are the signature vehicles of Lovers Canal Cruises. The boats differ slightly in their interior design including different features regarding the layout and function of the windows (some, for example can partially retract the roof).
Here is a view inside the vessel I took the tour with. As you see, there are typically six people grouped on one table. The company did very good social distancing measures with empty seats and empty tables. Every party got its own table, so that I finally was at my very own table at the end of the vessel. The boat I traveled with has the potential to sit outside at the tail, but this has been blocked to ease the measures. It did feature a bathroom, but I am not sure whether that was available in Covid-19 times.
The commentary is done automatically, you can grab your own earplugs and select your language. The selection of languages available is massive, including languages like Catalan or Korean.
Lovers Canal Cruises – The Cruise
The cruise roughly takes 60 minutes. They incept and arrive at the Lovers Canal Cruise terminal, there are no scheduled stops in between. From the starting point, we headed right into the Ij, a former estuary, which is now one of the key water travel routes in Amsterdam. We passed Amsterdam Main Station / Amsterdam Centraal on the North side. East of Amsterdam Centraal, around the NEMO Science Museum, the trip headed back South, towards city center.
The cruise followed the Oudeschans into one of Amsterdam’s likely most famous river, the Amstel. En route, we passed important way points like the Hermitage and had a look at Magere Brug.
The ship turned around and we went along Herengracht, where you could enjoy house boats, city life and also some sights like the wonderful Grachtenhuis / Channel Museum.
From Browersgracht, it was only a short route to the departure point. A very different perspective on the Dutch capital.
Lovers Canal Cruises – Services
The key services of the one hour canal cruises are situated outside the vessel. For example, you can buy drinks at their cafe and take them onboard. Lovers also offers pizza and dinner cruises. The staff at their starting point was very nice and helpful.
Lovers Canal Cruises – My View
On a sunny day, it is just the most beautiful option to explore Amsterdam from the grachten. From a very selfish perspective, these kind of social distancing cruises offered now even give you a much more beautiful and relaxed way to explore the city compared to high season mass transportation done usually in summer. The variety of languages and the very professional service turns Lovers to a recommendation when you want to have some time on the water in the Dutch capital.
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