Lovers – 1-hour day time canal cruise – review

The 1-hour daytime canal cruise by Lovers is one of the most booked canal tours in Amsterdam. In this article, we’ll review this cruise so that you know what to expect from it and determine whether it’s the right option for you!

The standard 1-hour canal cruise includes a free GPS-based audioguide that is available in 19 languages. Currently, this cruise is available with departure from four different locations in Amsterdam, respectively;

  1. Amsterdam Central Station
  2. Anne Frank House
  3. Leidseplein
  4. Rijksmuseum

Depending on your other plans in Amsterdam, you can book a cruise from the departure point that suits your planning best.

Lovers canal cruises tumb

– Book your cruise with our exclusive discount code ‘THINGSTODO10’ and get 10% extra off –

Lovers Dock Central Station

From the Lovers Dock, you can see the front of the iconic Central Station

Lovers cafe restrooms

There’s also a restroom for a last sanitary stop before going on your cruise. 

Lovers Cafe

We had planned our visit on a fairly chilly February day, therefore, we were happy to have the comfort of a closed, heated boat. Our canal tour departed from the Lovers Dock near Amsterdam Central Station at Prins Hendrikkade 20B. In our opinion, an important advantage that Lovers has over other boating companies is the Lovers Cafe next to the dock. This unique feature allows you to wait indoors. We could wait comfortably inside and enjoy a cup of coffee before our cruise departed. The cafe also has a restroom facility.

Departure from Lovers Dock Central Station

A few minutes before departure, the passengers line up in the queue to board the vessel. In the line, headsets are being handed out (free of charge). However, if you’re able to bring your own headset, we’d recommend doing so as it’s probably of better quality. (and it’s also more environmentally friendly, of course)

In order to board the canal boat, you have to take three small, but steep steps down. If you have mobility issues, we recommend asking for assistance. Please note that,  unfortunately, Lovers can currently not accommodate wheelchairs aboard their ships.

Lovers canal cruises cafe - prins hedrikkade amsterdam

In the Lovers Cafe you can comfortably enjoy a beverage and wait inside and for you cruise to depart.

Passengers lining up for boarding the ship

Right before departure, passengers are lining up to board.

Steps to board the boat

In order to board the ship, you have to take three small but steep steps down.

The cruise & route

After entering the boat, all the passengers find themselves a place to sit. There are no predefined seats, so you can choose any free spot you like. We choose to sit down right behind the captain. Once all passengers have boarded the ship, the captain welcomes everybody aboard, and we’re good to go!

After leaving the Lovers dock, the boat sets sail in the direction of the NEMO science centre, passing by Amsterdam Central Station and the floating Chinese restaurant Sea Palace. Before the NEMO, we take a right turn in the direction of De Amstel. While the audio guide recites some facts about the city, some of which we haven’t heard of yet, the captain tells us more about his job and daily life on the canals. From time to time, he grabs the microphone to provide the passengers with some live commentary or facts.

As soon as we hit the Amstel, the captain tells everyone to prepare their cameras for a popular shot. The houses on the other side of the water have subsided in different directions. This can be seen well when photographed from the right angle. It got the buildings the nickname “the dancing houses of Amsterdam”. From the Amstel, we take a right turn onto the Herengracht, arguably one of the prettiest canals in Amsterdam. Again, we see the captain reach for his microphone. We’re approaching the “7 bridges photo spot”. In this spot, you can see seven consecutive bridges connecting the canals of the canal belt, which makes up for a really cool photo!

Captain welcoming passengers aboard

The captain welcomes passengers aboard. After a few short instructions, we’re ready to depart.

Picture point dancing houses

On the Amstel River, the captain warned everybody to prepare their cameras. These houses across the city hall have subsided in different directions and are therefore commonly referred to as “the dancing houses”. 

Picture point 7 bridges

This immensely popular photo spot is called “The 7 Bridges”. It can only be photographed from the water and shows 7 consecutive bridges connecting the major canals of the Amsterdam canal belt.

The classical canal boat

The typical Amsterdam canal boats that are used for canal cruises are lengthy ships with a low roof, which allows them to pass under the bridges. The sides and roof are made of glass to ensure an optimal view of the city for the passengers.

As soon as you board the ship, you can find yourself a seat at one of the tables. Since we were taking our cruise off-season in February, there were plenty of open tables to choose from. Do keep in mind that in high season, the capacity of the boats might be filled entirely, meaning that you can sit at a table with other visitors. If you want to sit together as a group, we recommend you to board early.

The boats are fitted with heating, so the temperature is nice and comfortable. The seats are big enough for adults with a normal body type but can become a bit cramped if you’re a bit bigger.

Lovers cruise board toilet 1

Most (90%) of the Lovers boats are fitted with an toilet aboard the ships. Canal cruises that involve beverages are guaranteed to have a toilet on the boat.

The audio guide is available in 19 languages

The audio guide, which is available in 19 languages, has controls on the side of the table. It’s a nice addition to the cruise and will tell you some quirky facts about the city and the buildings you pass by.

Lovers standard canal cruise boat rear deck

Most of the standard canal cruise boats feature a small rear deck, which is a good place to take some awesome photos. If you want to sit on the rear deck, we recommend choosing seats close to the end of the boat as the space on the deck is limited.

Lovers standard canal cruise boat setting

On the standard canal cruise boats, there are usually six seats facing each other with a table in between. As we sat right behing the captain, this table only has 5 seats.

Taking photos from the rear deck

The rear deck is a great place to shoot some pictures, however, space is limited so it might be wise to choose seats close if you like to sit outside.

– Book your cruise with our exclusive discount code ‘THINGSTODO10’ and get 10% extra off –

Before we know it, we’re already at the end of the Herengracht and taking a right turn to head back to the Lovers dock in front of the Central Station. Time really flew past!


The 1-hour day-time canal cruise by Lovers is an excellent way to get a taste of Amsterdam from the water. The boats are modern and comfortably heated, which makes them an excellent choice in the often harsh Dutch climate. An important advantage that Lovers has over other boating companies is the Lovers cafe, where you have facilities and shelter before departure. Our captain was friendly and did his best to entertain and give passengers the best possible experience.

One of the most important drawbacks of this cruise for us was the rather short duration. We could have easily spent another hour on the water, as we know how nice Amsterdam is from the water. However, most canal cruises are limited to one hour. If you want to be out on the water longer, we recommend the hop-on, hop-off cruises or one of the dinner cruises, which are longer.

Lovers 1-hour canal cruise reviews

Have you been on the 1-hour day time canal cruise by Lovers? Tell us and fellow travellers about your experience! How did you like the cruise? Did it live up to your expectations? Would you recommend this cruise to others or would recommend a differt one? Let us know below!


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