Amsterdam is a popular port of call among sea crew in general. Considering what this city has to offer, this does not come as a surprise. The capital of The Netherlands has it all: beautiful historic architecture, a liberal lifestyle and an exciting nightlife.
See the sights
The cruise terminal is located in the heart of the city, next to the central station (though there are rumours that it will be relocated soon due to overcrowding of the city centre by tourists). From there it is only a 15 minutes walk to basically anywhere: the Dam Square where the royal palace is located; busy shopping streets like the Kalverstraat; and the beautifully renovated former working-class neighbourhood called the Jordaan, which is home to many art galleries, bars and restaurants. The notorious Red Light District is also within walking distance.
A boat trip on the canals is a must as it will give you a historic sense of the town’s development throughout the years and you will see some amazing historic canal houses along the way. The Red Light District is not a place where the locals go to hang out. It’s a tourist attraction at best, but still worth to take a quick look on your way to the Nieuwmarkt or Zeedijk, where you can find an abundance of bars and restaurants. If you are not in the mood for walking, then take a tram to the Vondelpark and just hang out in this beautiful park all day, like many locals like to do when the weather is good.
Arts and Culture
At the Museumplein (museum square) you will find the famous Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, which is the national history museum that features Rembrandt’s Nightwatch and, for modern art lovers, the amazing Stedelijk Museum. The square is also home to the classical music hall Concertgebouw, known for its unique acoustic characteristics. If you are lucky enough to spend an overnight in town, then make sure to visit a concert there or in Paradiso, the place to be for pop, rock and electronic music shows.
As a former ‘Amsterdammer’ I would advise you to not limit your stay to downtown only. Take a tram to a neighbourhood like De Pijp, where the locals like to go out for drinks and food and visit the Albert Cuyp Market, the largest outdoor market in The Netherlands.
There are lots of musical instrument stores in Amsterdam, so if you need an extra set of strings or any other equipment, you will probably find it here through a quick Google-search. Dirk Witte on Vijzelgracht has great customer service.
Lastly, we all know what else Amsterdam is famous for, don’t we? Just don’t forget about the strict regulations on board, so don’t go overboard!