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Cruises to Rotterdam

Rotterdam (Photo:gnoparus/Shutterstock)
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.

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DAY 1: Galveston

18 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Galveston
Visiting:
Gran Canaria, Lisbon ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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26 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
Azores Islands, Brussels ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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DAY 1: Miami

15 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Horta, Ponta Delgada ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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5 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Le Havre, Brugge ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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9 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Antwerp
Visiting:
Maastricht, Nijmegen ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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35 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Red Bay ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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16 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Red Bay ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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15 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
Azores Islands, Brussels ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Brugge, Rotterdam ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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7 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Bilbao, Rotterdam ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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9 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Oslo, Copenhagen ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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10 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Hamburg, Gothenburg ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Marseille
Visiting:
Barcelona, Casablanca ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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19 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Southampton, Rotterdam ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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19 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Rotterdam
Visiting:
Dublin, Scrabster ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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5 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Rotterdam, Brugge ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Hoorn, Middelburg ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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8 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Oslo, Copenhagen ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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19 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Southampton, Rotterdam ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Hoorn, Middelburg ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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Cruise Critic Favorite

4 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Rotterdam, Brugge ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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11 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Rotterdam, Antwerp ...
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Cruise Line:
Azamara
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21 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Dover
Visiting:
Amsterdam, Rotterdam ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Hamburg, Rotterdam ...
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Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Rotterdam

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Enkhuizen, Kampen ...
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Cruise Line:
Avalon Waterways
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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

Norwegian Getaway
mSh311y
Sail Date: Oct 2019
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... Read More
Norwegian Getaway
jd1966
Sail Date: Oct 2019
Informative tour through central Rotterdam. Tips based payment... Read More
ACA Jester
Sail Date: Jul 2019
Pre -cruise/ embarkation: We flew into Amsterdam and took the train to Rotterdam. Sine there were four of us, I took advantage of the group discount tickets available online at the Dutch Railways website. This came... Read More
normag26
Sail Date: Aug 2019
Moored very close to the centre of Rotterdam approx 20 min walk. Shuttle bus also provided.... Read More
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