People were friendly and mellow. Stay at Hotel Estherea and feel pampered.
Eat at Brasserie Luden right nearby. This Brasserie has outstanding inspired food with a great atmosphere. Just down the street it Broodje Bert and inexpensive sandwich shop with the most amazing canal views.
My husband (age 38) found the only down-side of the city to be the larger than expected amount of trash about, which does say a lot since we are from New York City, which seemed infinitely more clean.
I (aged 32) found I could overlook that, as Amsterdam was a feast for the senses. We were never bored and walked miles and miles. We were only there for a handful of days before the cruise and cannot wait to go back. Definitely try to stay for at least three days if this is the location your cruise embarks from.
The 26 bus definitely gave us a great look at the city.
We ate at a restaurant called Teplo for dinner (Teplo means warmth in Russian). Teplo had fantastic food and service and catered to a younger, late 20's early 30's crowd. The food was not classic Russian, but rather modern Russian. Very palatable and approachable. The ambiance was great!
After dinner, Mikhail, our evening guide, took us out for drinks and a chat. Again, Ilya from DenRus did some kind of magic here. It turns out Mikhail is a modern history professor. Our goal was to learn all we could about modern Russian history. Over copious wine and mojitos, Mikhail told us the story of modern Russia. He knew about politics and so much more. We asked tons of questions and learned so much. His perspective, and Alya's (our day guide), were definitely so different from one another. We really felt that we experienced something truly unique and special.
Please use DenRus if you plan to tour Petersburg. You will be happy you did.