We flew into Amsterdam 4 days before the cruise and explored on our own. We loved Amsterdam, and will be visiting again next year (another Viking river cruise). Our cruise actually began on the Viking Gefjon (really wonderful staff/experience), and then we changed mid-trip to the Viking Ve (housekeeping not quite what we're used to on Viking, and had some issues with the dining room manager). Those issues on the Ve are the only reason this review was not an excellent. We loved the cruise itinerary and the excursions. A highlight was having a glass-blowing demonstration on the ship! We also took advantage of the wheelhouse tour, which was quite interesting. The staff also threw a Bavarian-type party one night: great food and entertainment, and the staff dressed in local garb; a fun time was had by all! At present, we have 4 more trips scheduled with Viking (river and ocean), and we're looking forward to all of them.