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SPOTLIGHT ON AMSTERDAM
This cosmopolitan gateway to the Rhine and Danube rivers
is a MUST for your bucket list.

Amsterdam is one of the most funnest, tourist-friendly cities in all of Europe.
You can call their country the Netherlands. You can call it Holland. Or, just as my wife and I do, you can call it the most fun-seeking, open-minded and safe city in the world. Amsterdam combines the best of the New York and Paris food scenes, has more colorful canals than Venice, offers locals and tourists the best collection of museums anywhere (And that includes the Louvre!), and it is the perfect gateway from which to begin your Rhine or Danube river cruise voyage.

But, no matter what you call the country, the exciting and eclectic pulse of this fascinating city really seems to blossom beginning in late April (no pun intended) and resonates all year, culminating with gala New Year’s parties strewn along the banks of its hundreds of majestic, criss-crossing canals. But, Amsterdammers don't wait for New Year to celebrate the year. Midway through the season they stop everything and throw a giant early summer party known as "King’s Day," which can only be described as pandemonium in the best of ways. But, that's only the beginning of all the fun and sights you can experience... Read on...

The essence of Amsterdam.
Its essence can be simply stated... it is the warm, friendly and enchanting residents and the remarkable attractions — which are numerous to say the least. Please try to find time to enjoy three nights (pre or post river cruise) in this wonderful destination, as it really takes that much time to just scratch the surface. The best way for you to enjoy the city, of course, is on foot. Other than the excursion to Keukenhof Gardens, Amsterdam is rather compact and easily segmented into five major, very walkable districts. The highlights include: the Old Town area where you'll find the infamous “Red Light" zone,” Chinatown, Museum District, the Southern and Western Canal Districts, (The Western canal is most noted for the location of the Anne Frank Museum.), and the nearby, trendy Jordaan area.


Amsterdam is foodie central!
Speaking of the food scene (It always comes back to food, doesn’t it?)... We discovered, and flipped over two “street food” favorites on our last visit that you really need to try. The first, is their cured herring on a stick; and the other is delectable, scrumptious, and totally remarkable pommes frites (French fries). The first taste treat is a delicate, non-fishy piece of herring that is dried for a year, served on a toothpick with a piece of pickle and onion… try it; you'll simply be amazed. Now, about those almost undescribeable fries. Served in a paper bag, you get your choice of three local sauces: a ketchup, a mild curry dip, and something even your cardiologist would love – a local, homemade mayo that’s like nothing you’ve ever tasted. OMG! Tip: We tried a mayo/curry dip combo and we guarantee that for as long as you live, you’ll never settle for McDonald’s fries again.

Of course, Amsterdam food is more than its pomme frites. You can find almost any type of cuisine, from almost every region of the world. It's a true culinary experience with a very eclectic pallet, delivering absolutely delicious flavors and textures to savor. More good news... the food is very reasonably priced, too. What’s also really fun: there are so many small, local eateries that dot the banks of every canal. Just view the menus posted by the door as you stroll by, pick the one you want, and pop in for a snack or a meal.

Even more good news! If you consider yourself a foodie, you’re in luck when you book your cruise with Premier. We provide every customer going to Amsterdam (and other cities) with a very current, really cool list of local, non-touristy restaurants that we’ve actually eaten in. You’ll love the list, and it’s free when you book with Premier.




A short list of our favorite attractions.

TOP TEN MUST-SEE
ATTRACTIONS
Old Town
Red Light District
Anne Frank House
A Canal boat tour
Keukenhof Gardens
The Rijksmuseum
Bloemenmarkt
(Flower Market)
Albert Cuyp Market
China Town
Van Gogh Museum

When one thinks beyond Amsterdam's canals, the most notable attraction is probably Keukenhof Gardens which is an absolute MUST to see no matter when you visit, even out of “tulip season." The garden is like a Disneyland light show on steroids and combines all the excitement of a Fourth of July fireworks show with floral arrangements of kaleidoscopic colors. You just cannot imagine! It truly is a one-of-a-kind experience, and should not be missed.

Now... just to wet your whistle we’ve put together a short, “must do” list for your stay in Amsterdam, but don’t fret because all Premier customers receive our exclusive Premier "Thoughts on Amsterdam," with the full list. "Thoughts" not only contains the restaurant list mentioned above, but your own personal walking/touring guide compiled by our staff from their many visits to Amsterdam. It is simply the best, easy-to-use guide you’ll ever find for Amsterdam. That said, take a look in the right column for our top ten, must-do attractions.


 


River cruises beginning in Amsterdam.
We truly hope that we have “turned you on” to Amsterdam, one of the most interesting and friendly cities in all of Europe. The four main cruise itineraries that touch this wonderful city are: the Tulip Time cruises; the many Rhine cruises sailing between Amsterdam and Basel (Zurich); the many Danube river cruises beginning in Amsterdam on the Rhine river, transitioning to the Danube via the Main-Danube Canal; and the spectacular Amsterdam to Budapest cruises.

Start planning your river cruise vacation.
No matter which itinerary you select, we know that beginning your voyage with a stay in Amsterdam will open up an experiential vacation gateway filled with enjoyment, contentment, and ever-lasting memories. The entire Premier Team knows Amsterdam very well and we look forward to helping you find and plan the perfect cruise that fits all of your wishes, desires, and needs. If you have any questions or are ready to book, please give us a call at 1-855-255-1200, or drop us an email at info@premierrivercruises.com.


Now for a few interesting Amsterdam factoids.
Amsterdam is actually a rather small, well laid out city with only about 750,000 residents living in the city.
There are more bicycles (Almost 2 million!) than residents. When visiting, you'll see thousands parked along the many streets for use when arriving by train. Everyone else comes into the city via the most sophisticated rail and tram systems found anywhere.
The canals have about 2500 boats and barges that are used as permanent houseboats. Many of them costing upwards of $750,000.
Today’s canals are very shallow, only 1-3 meters in depth, not like the original canals which were about three times as deep.
As you walk along the miles of canals, take note of all the “tilted” homes and buildings which can lean up to 10 degrees. The reason for the lean is not the weight of the buildings, but because they are built on mud flats. Over the years, the wooden beams which support the structures are giving way. Makes for really cool photos, so when on the canals, keep your camera at the ready.
Amsterdam is also the heart of the Holland flower market. It is also the world’s leader in the export of flowers — about 27 billion flowers. Yes, that’s billion with a “B”  — being exported annually. Photo at right is a store selling only 1000s of tulip bulbs of all different kinds and colors... WOW!
Coffee vs Koffie. So, as a visitor, what’s the most important thing to know about Amsterdam besides the fact that 95% of the people are fluent in English? Well, we think it’s all about the coffee. That’s right. The coffee. You see, in Amsterdam there are “coffee” houses and there are “Koffie” houses and in one, you quench your thirst and in the other, well, let’s just say it’s not your thirst that will be quenched if you visit this “house.” For those who have not been to Amsterdam before, the former (coffee) is where you can legally buy many, many varieties of marijuana; the latter (Koffie) is where you can enjoy a wonderful coffee and pastry (The pastries  are plentiful and simply scrumptious to say the least!).

 

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