Amsterdam, April 2012
Part Two of our Scenic Crystal River Cruise Review.
By Pete Larson, owner of Jolly Mon Vacations and River Cruise Guru
Today we are in the city center Amsterdam. We took an overnight flight into Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport last night. our flight took us directly over Ireland and England into The Netherlands. Although this area isn’t really known for beaches, they looked pretty nice and people were enjoying them.
When we arrived at the airport, we proceeded through Passport Control and picked up our luggage. We bought train tickets from a kiosk and proceeded down to the platform. The train is only about 4 Euros each from airport to Amsterdam Centraal Station. It can be a little confusing, but it’s the cheapest and fastest route into Amsterdam. No worries, there is plenty of room on the train to bring your suitcases. You will have to be able to lift them up and down some stairs, however.
Train Ticket Kiosk Screen:
Amsterdam Centraal Station:
This is located right near the cruise ship piers. Depending on where your ship is docked, it can be a short or long walk. Port of Amsterdam is located nearby and would be off to the right of the picture below.
Upon arrival at Centraal, we headed towards The Damrak on foot. With suitcases in tow, we walked to our hotel, the Crowne Plaza City Centre which was about two blocks away. A word of advice: in Amsterdam, pedestrians can be easily run down by bicycles, cars, buses, trams and trains. Look both ways before you step into any roadway to include the bike lanes.
The Damrak: Street where you enter Amsterdam from Centraal Station
The Diary of Anne Frank is an incredible story of human sacrifice and suffering in the hands of the Nazi’s. Today, we paid our respects and visited the Anne Frank Huis and Museum. This is a very moving experience. You get to see all the rooms of the home where they hid in the secret annex to prevent being sent to the death camps. Long lines stretched around the block and my best tip would be to buy tickets ONLINE before you go. You will be assigned a certain date and time to be there and you can walk right in past the lines! This is a DON’T MISS attraction in Amsterdam.
The Secret Annex: Anne Frank Huis
Amsterdam is a really fun and exciting city. You can walk pretty much anywhere and take in the scenery and city life. Canals abound and the architecture is beautiful. Communication is really not a problem as most everyone speaks English as well. Great restaurants and bars dot the downtown area as do the famous ‘coffee shops.’
Tip: If you want a cup of coffee (Koffee), DO NOT look for it at a coffee shop. These are places where they sell and smoke marijuana. If you want coffee, head to a cafe. The regular coffee is quite strong and has a foamy layer on top.
Tip: The clocks in Europe are based on the 24 hour clock. (aka: military time)
Tip: Check out the canal areas at night. The lights give off an incredible night-time ambiance.
The famous Red Light District is a favorite for many tourists. It is quite different to experience other cultures like this. Scantily clad prostitutes are sitting in the windows luring in men. This is legal and regulated by the government. You will also find ‘live sex shows’ and sex toy shops in this area.
The Red Light District of Amsterdam
Stay tuned for the next part of this River Cruise Review!
Scenic Crystal 2012.
For more information or to get free assistance with your river cruise contact Pete below: