Amsterdam is the largest city in the Netherlands famous for it's liberal laws, red light districts, canals, windmills, and "coffee" culture. Holland is the name of two states in the Netherlands and not the country. Dutch is the name of the language and the inhabitants.
Where You're Docked
Cruise ships dock at Passenger Terminal Amsterdam just east of the Centraal Station or Felison Terminal by the entrance to the North Sea.
If docked at Passenger Terminal Amsterdam, there is a tram stop outside where you can take tram 25 or 26 one stop to Centraal Station (the city's main transport hub) or you can easily walk into the city. Schedule and info here http://www.amsterdamcruiseport.com
Money and Tipping
The best way to get around in Amsterdam is to either walk, rent a bike, or take the tram or metro network. Fares are €2.60 for a one hour pass or €7 for a day pass (Dec 2011). Tram and metro map here http://en.gvb.nl/reisinformatie/plattegronden/Documents/trammetrokaart.pdf Transit info here http://www.gvb.nl
Amsterdam is very bike friendly with separated lanes, a bike share system and many shops offering rentals. Bike tours are also a good way to see the city. As a pedestrian, make sure you are not walking in a bike lane.
Another way to explore the city is with the hop-on, hop-off canal bus. http://www.canal.nl/en/canal-bus City Sightseeing offers HOHO bus tours. http://www.citysightseeingamsterdam.nl/ Multiple companies run canal tours.
To/From the Airport
Taking the train is the easiest way to get from Schipol Airport (airport code: AMS) to Centraal Station. Ticket machines may not accept foreign credit cards so it's better to find a staffed counter to purchase tickets. Trains are frequent, tickets cost €3.70, and journey time is under 20 minutes. http://www.schiphol.nl A taxi should cost around €40.
Search hotels in Amsterdam here
Shopping & Restaurants
There are narrow pedestrian shopping streets on Nieuwendijk and Kalverstraat. There are a few flower markets including a floating one on Singel between Muntplein and Koningsplein. Albert Cuyp Market is a famous street market located on the same named street. Nine Streets is an area with unique and interesting shops.
Department stores have excellent, self-serve cafeterias providing good value. La Place with restaurants on Kalverstraat and at the library and Hema on Nieuwendijk are recommended. Authentic chinese food can be found in Chinatown. Indonesian and Surinamese restaurants are also popular with these countries being former Dutch colonies. For local specialties, try croquettes, poffertjes (mini dutch pancakes), oliebollen (dutch donuts), stroopwafel (waffles with embedded syrup), fries with mayo, and herring for the more adventurous. Croquettes can be found at the coin-operated, self-service chain Febo and even McDonalds has a McKroket burger.
There is a post office in Centraal Station.
Restaurants and cafes may provide free wifi to customers. The public library opposite the railroad tracks from Passenger Terminal Amsterdam has free internet.
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