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Cruises to Rotterdam

Rotterdam (Photo:gnoparus/Shutterstock)

About Rotterdam

If Holland's past lives on in Amsterdam's fabled canals and historic row houses, its future can be found in the gleaming skyscrapers and office towers of Rotterdam. Following a devastating bomb raid in World War II that almost completely leveled the city, Rotterdam has risen from its own ashes to become the one of the largest seaports in the world -- and the driving force behind the Dutch economy. A local joke captures this city's unique role within the Netherlands: "Rotterdam earns the money, The Hague distributes it and Amsterdam spends it."

You can feel that sense of energy and industry as soon as your ship pulls into Rotterdam's vast deep-water harbor, which is almost a city unto itself. Little tugboats steam briskly past heavily laden river barges, while freighters unload cargo crates into stacks that stretch like buildings from the docks toward the sky. The north and south banks of the river, both lined with high-rises, are linked by the dramatic spans of two cable bridges -- including the asymmetrical Erasmus bridge, a city landmark.

Rotterdam was founded in 1340, but you'd never know it by looking at today's modern skyline. Centuries of history were wiped out by Nazi bombs in May 1940. Afterwards, the rebuilding of Rotterdam was embraced with a vengeance -- and continues to this day, with new buildings popping up every year. This constant buzz of energy and expansion makes Rotterdam one of the most dynamic places to visit on any European itinerary.

For the first-time visitor, it can be jarring to see steel and cement instead of canals and cobblestones. But what Rotterdam lacks in historic charm it makes up for in cutting-edge architecture, world-class museums and sunny sidewalk terraces perfect for enjoying a Dutch beer or two. And the past isn't entirely forgotten; look closely enough and you'll unearth a few remnants of the city's history, like a 1920s statehouse, a 15th-century church and a 400-year-old statue of Erasmus -- a ghost from the past who seems to smile benevolently upon Rotterdam's bright future.

  • More about Rotterdam

  • Why go to Rotterdam?

  • Rotterdam Cruise Port Facilities?

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Zuiderdam
Zuiderdam

16 Night
Atlantic Sunsets And Exotic IslesDetails

1,004 Reviews
Leaving:Fort Lauderdale
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
May 12, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Regal Princess
Regal Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)

14 Night
Transatlantic CruiseDetails

1,703 Reviews
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Apr 16, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Holland America Rotterdam
Holland America Line's Rotterdam at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

15 Night
150th Anniversary TransatlanticDetails

52 Reviews
Leaving:Rotterdam
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Oct 15, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite
Zuiderdam
Zuiderdam

14 Night
British IslesDetails

1,004 Reviews
Leaving:Rotterdam
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
May 28, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Virgin Voyages

12 Night
150th Anniversary TransatlanticDetails

52 Reviews
Leaving:Rotterdam
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Oct 15, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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22 Night
Transatlantic CruiseDetails

1,703 Reviews
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Apr 16, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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78 Night
World CruiseDetails

278 Reviews
Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Jun 23, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Tulip Time CruiseDetails

87 Reviews
Leaving:Amsterdam
Cruise Line:Avalon Waterways
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Europe - Northern CruiseDetails

374 Reviews
Leaving:Southampton
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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35 Night
Voyage Of The VikingsDetails

1,004 Reviews
Leaving:Boston
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Jul 22, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Europe - Northern CruiseDetails

109 Reviews
Leaving:Southampton
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
Apr 7, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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13 Night
Jewels Of ScandinaviaDetails

52 Reviews
Leaving:Amsterdam
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Oct 2, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

30 Night
Atlantic Sunsets & British IslesDetails

1,004 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
May 12, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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5 Night
North Sea ExplorerDetails

52 Reviews
Leaving:Rotterdam
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Apr 19, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Europe - Northern CruiseDetails

109 Reviews
Leaving:Hamburg
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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More about Rotterdam

Why go to Rotterdam?

Pros:

Rotterdam is just one hour from Amsterdam, but retains its own identity

Cons:

Rebuilt after near destruction during WWII, the city lost many of its historic buildings

Bottom Line:

Rotterdam is a modern Dutch city bustling with markets, museums and new businesses

Rotterdam Cruise Port Facilities?

Besides a few vendors offering local handicrafts and souvenirs, there's not too much to see inside the main cruise terminal. However, the Nederlands Fotomuseum is within easy walking distance in the Las Palmas building on Wilhelminakade. You can also walk to the top of the Erasmus Bridge for a view of the Rotterdam skyline and the activities in the city's busy port. Major downtown attractions are about 30 minutes away on foot; alternatives include taxis, water taxis, buses and the Metro.

From the smaller dock at Boompjes, you're only about a 20-minute walk from downtown. There's not much near the dock besides a few waterfront restaurants.

Good to Know?

Nearly all of Rotterdam's museums are closed on Mondays.

Getting Around?

On Foot: It will take at least 30 minutes to get from the main cruise terminal to the city center, but once you're there, many of Rotterdam's attractions are within walking distance of each other.

By Taxi: Both regular taxis and water taxis are available just outside the cruise terminal. For those passengers disembarking at the smaller dock, ask someone at your ship's reception desk to call a cab for you. You'll find taxi stands in busy locations throughout the city, particularly near Metro stations. You can also call the Rotterdam Taxi Centre at +31 10-462-6060.

By Public Transportation: A regular shuttle bus service takes passengers from the main cruise terminal into downtown Rotterdam. The Wilhelminaplein Metro station is also within walking distance of the cruise terminal.

Trams, buses and subway trains operate throughout the city. An OV chip card is required to ride Rotterdam's public transport and can be purchased at sales booths, ticket machines, information kiosks in metro stations, post offices and a handful of other locations. Options include an unlimited one-day ticket, travel pass for one or two hours, and a travel pass for two for one hour. The same ticket is valid on buses, trams and trains.

By Bike: Rotterdam is a bike-friendly city, with special lanes for cyclists on most streets. As in all of the Netherlands you can rent a bike at the central train station; just look for the Fietsenstalling sign. By Car: We don't recommend renting a car; you can easily see the sights in town on foot or by using public transportation, and efficient train service is available to nearby towns like Delft and Ghent. However, if you do choose to rent a car, Avis, Budget and Europcar have downtown rental locations.

Note: If you're planning on parking on the street in Rotterdam, be aware that the meters don't take cash. Instead, you must pay with a prepaid "chip card," available in stores all over the city. Some ticket machines also take credit cards.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The local currency is the euro. There are banks and ATMs throughout Rotterdam, particularly in the downtown shopping districts. For current conversions, check www.xe.com or www.oanda.com.

Language?

Dutch is the official language, though many locals speak at least a little English.

Where You're Docked?

Most ships dock at the main cruise terminal on Wilhelminakade, across the Erasmus Bridge from the city center. Smaller ships dock closer to downtown along Boompjes, between the Erasmus and Willems bridges. However, with the larger number of riverboats plying the waterways, boats can often be moored further down the Maas past the Willems Bridge.


Rotterdam Cruise Reviews
Rotterdam - terrible wether both days really. We ventured off to the Delft pottery and Delft tour. Could have been an hour longer really. More time at the factory was needed. Nice little town plenty of cafes. The driRead More
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custard75
Right in the city centre, near Metro, Trams and shops..so easy to explore. People went to Amsterdam on trains..but 1 day would have been enough.Read More
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garyface1962
Rotterdam is a totally walkable city some people took shuttles from the ship to downtown but honestly it was a nice walk especially over the bridge! I wish we were here longer!! ****Binnenrotte Market is only openRead More
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mSh311y
Informative tour through central Rotterdam. Tips based paymentRead More
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jd1966

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