All aboard: Wheelchair-friendly canal cruise in Amsterdam

All aboard: Wheelchair-friendly canal cruise in Amsterdam

3 min read

Canal cruises are a fabulous way to take in the sights and sounds of Amsterdam. Blue Boat Company offers various wheelchair-friendly boat tours throughout the city centre. 

A few weeks ago, I rolled into Blue Boat Company’s dock at Stadhouderskade 501 for a 75-minute city cruise. The cruise provides a glimpse of Amsterdam’s architectural highlights, from the Anne Frank House to the Rijksmuseum

Each passenger is offered a complimentary headset and audio tour in various languages (Croatian, Cantonese, or Hindi, anyone?) Passengers can purchase beverages, snacks and souvenirs at the dock’s reception desk before departure. 

Inside the accessible boat
Tickets & accessible boat reservations
Blue Boat Company city cruises depart from 10 am – 6 pm, all day, errday. The frequency of boat departures depends on the time of yearThe dock at Stadhouderskade 501 is wheelchair accessible, as are 6 out of 15 Blue Boat Company cruise boats. 

Cruise tickets can be purchased online. Adult tickets cost approx. 16 Euros. Child tickets (5-12 years old) cost approx. 8 euros. Infant tickets (0-4 years old) are free. Amsterdam City Card holders can board the city cruise for free.

Blue Boat Company’s accessible boats do not depart at the same time each day. To secure a spot on an accessible boat, call Blue Boat Company the day before/ the morning of your cruise (tel. +31 (0) 20 6791 370).

Accessibility features of Blue Boat Company cruises
  • Arriving at the Stadhouderskade 501  dock, my tickets were checked at the information kiosk. It was a bit of a tight squeeze through the aisle, but it was do-able. 
  • The boat dock is accessible via a long ramp.
  • The boat is accessible from the dock via an electric platform lift. I needed some assistance to get on and off, but it felt very safe.
  • There was a designated area inside the boat where chairs could be removed to make space for wheelchair users.
  • Both the outdoor deck and part of the indoor seating area are accessible. However, once seated in a full boat there isn’t a lot of space to manoeuvre. I suggest picking one place to sit and staying there throughout the cruise.
  • Service dogs are permitted.
  • Manual and electric wheelchairs are allowed onboard. However, mobility scooters are not.
The ramp to the dock
The designated wheelchair area
Testing out the platform lift

Please note that there is no accessible toilet onboard or at the dock. If you need to use an accessible toilet before or after your cruise, I recommend going to Wagamama (address: Max Euweplein 10) about 5 minutes walking distance from the dock.

Overall impressions of an accessible city cruise

I would definitely recommend this accessible cruise to other wheelchair users. Blue Boat Company staff were courteous and well-versed in assisting passengers in wheelchairs. The platform lift was functional and safely operated. Aside from a few little thresholds in the boat, the only potential challenge is the lack of accessible toilets during a 75-minute journey.

Overall, I really enjoyed my Blue Boat Company experience. I loved seeing Amsterdam’s canals and busy streets from the water. Even after living in Amsterdam for several months, the audio guide revealed lots of interesting facts about the city’s history and architecture.
Me & my hot chocolate purchased at the dock before boarding
Additional links and information

For more information about Blue Boat Company’s accessible cruises in Amsterdam, please see: www.blueboat.nl/en/ 

To get in touch, email info@blueboat.nl, call +31 (0) 20 6791 370 or reach out via Blue Boat Company’s Facebook or Instagram pages.

Disclaimer:  Blue Boat Company kindly offered me two free canal cruise tickets in exchange for an honest accessibility review.

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Josephine Rees

My name is Josephine Rees (1993) and I am Dutch-British. I was raised in Tokyo and Moscow and moved to The Netherlands to study Anthropology & Human Geography in 2012. After briefly living in Thailand and Cambodia, I am now based in Amsterdam. I love exploring this beautiful city and hope to help others by sharing exciting accessibility tips.

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