Posts Tagged ‘Amsterdam’

Oriana at the Amsterdam cruise terminal, 2012

I’ve read a story that suggests that the city of Amsterdam is considering a building new cruise terminal further away from the city centre than the the present one.

I’m sure that many of my readers will have visited Amsterdam on a cruise and will be familiar with the cruise terminal there. It’s quite handily-placed – you can walk from there into the heart of the city. I’ve always reckoned that it takes about 10 minutes or so to get as far as Centraal station (from where trams can be caught) or a few minutes more than that to get to Dam Square. So as long as you’re active, the current cruise terminal is very handily placed.

So why is Amsterdam considering doing this? City officials are worried about the capacity of the city to take further visitors, and they’re looking at the future (this is at least five years away, btw).  The city planners are looking to a time when not only will more ships be calling at the city but they will be bigger, and that this could increase congestion. Apparently the locks at the North Sea end of the NordSee canal – the route into Amsterdam – will be widened in the coming years, possibly to the point where they can accommodate an Oasis-class ship. The planners’ aim is to make Amsterdam city centre a destination for arriving cruise passengers, and not necessarily the destination.

Well, it’s a nice thought and I understand their motivation. Amsterdam is after all a living commercial city, it’s not just a tourist destination. Indeed, arguably tourism should come second to the city’s business which has always been – well, ‘business’. But I’m not sure how successful they’ll be. We’ve been to Amsterdam a few times, and while it’s true that on our last visit we did an excursion away from the city, that was on the second day of the visit; on the first day (or afternoon) we headed straight into the city – had the usual walk around and then found a bar somewhere near Rembrandtplein, if I remember correctly. I have a feeling that walking the canals, visiting the museums, and enjoying a drink will always the No. 1 attraction of Amsterdam. At least from the current cruise terminal we could walk to a point where we could pick up public transport. If a new terminal is any distance out, special arrangements will have to be made to get people into the city centre, and I really don’t think Amsterdam could handle a fleet of shuttle buses every time there’s a big cruise ship in port.

But it’s interesting that the city is considering this. We’ve begun to hear about restrictions on cruise passengers, of one sort or another, from a range of ports around Europe. Venice has already done it, and there was talk about Santorini also restricting the daily passenger load. I have a feeling that it’s inevitable. It would be really interesting to get the figures for the numbers of cruise passengers calling at these popular places 20 years ago and compare them with the figures for today. I think we’d be shocked by how much they’re increased – I wouldn’t be surprised if the average daily passenger load in the popular spots has increased three- or four-fold that time.

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Just a quick post to record that last night was the cruise’s only formal night. indeed, it was the Captain’s Gala Party, which felt a bit unusual as it was on the third evening (of only four) in the cruise.

Anyway – it was a formal night. Dress code observance was pretty much 100%, which given the ship and the event was no surprise. There was one slightly unusual thing, however – we’d left Amsterdam at about 6pm so we were still in the North Sea canal until almost 9pm,and this meant that both the captain and deputy captain stayed on the bridge during the receptions. We had the Executive Purser, who was actually pretty witty and funny; possibly more so than the Captain might have been, on the basis of his rather stilted announcements at various times.

One other thing – the food wasn’t very special. That’s been true throughout the cruise, in fact. Nothing wrong with it, just not exciting, although Val had a chicken Tikka on Wednesday that she says was seriously disappointing – too many add-ons, not enough curry. The quantity of food in the meals has been considerable, however.

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