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The Pancake Boat

De Pannenkoekenboot

 From: Rotterdam, Netherlands

De Pannenkoeken Boat

ABOVE: The Pancake Boat at its pier in Rotterdam's Parkhaven. INSET BELOW: Another view of De Pannenkoekenboot, and a Dutch dessert pancake with apple slices, applesauce, brown sugar, and chocolate shavings.

De Pannenkoeken Boat in ParkhavenDe Pannenkoekenboot, a.k.a. The Pancake Boat, is one of Rotterdam's best dining and sightseeing values. For a modest price (€17,50 when this article was last updated in 2014), you get an all-you-can-eat pancake meal plus a 60-minute harbor excursion. Kids from 3 to 12 pay €12,50, and toddlers eat free.

The vintage boat has two decks with large windows, wood paneling, four- to six-person tables, and an outdoor area where you can enjoy fresh air after you've stuffed yourself with dinner pancakes, dessert pancakes, and optional ice cream. If our experience is any guide, nearly all of your fellow passengers will be Dutch--mostly parents, grandparents, and children.

Dutch dessert pancakeCheck the The Pannenkoekenboot's Rotterdam Web pages to plan your excursion. The the standard one-hour cruise departs at 4:30 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The company adds more daytime and early-evening departures during major holiday periods.

Other cruise options include:

  • "Family Cruise" (2 hours with pancakes, a hot buffet, and ice cream at 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and at 1:30 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday during school holidays).

  • "Pancake Cruise by nuight" (2 hours with pancakes, a hot buffet, and an ice-cream dessert at 8 p.m. on Saturdays year-round).

  • "Brunch Cruise" (2 hours with pancakes and sandwiches at 11 a.m. on the first Sunday of the month and on certain holidays).

  • The Pancake Boat also runs special cruises on Valentine's Day, Easter Monday, and various national holidays. To see a calendar of what's on offer at any given time of year, visit the Web site.

How to enjoy the Pancake Boat:

  • Reserve ahead, if possible, by phoning the Pannenkoekenboot Rotterdam at +31 (0)10-4367295 or --better yet--by using the  online booking form. (Be sure to select "Pancake boat Rotterdam" on the first line of the form.)

  • Arrive on the pier 10 to 15 minutes before departure. The boat is in Parkhaven, directly across the street from the Euromast and next to a large floating Chinese restaurant.

  • Buy your tickets and get your table assignment as you board the boat.

  • A waiter or waitress will take your drink orders. (Most of the staff speak at least some English.)

  • When dinner service begins, stay put until your table number is called. You can then go to the kitchen area, collect a plate with a plain, apple, or bacon pancake, and pile it high with sweet or savory toppings at the buffet counter.

  • After all tables have been served, you can return as often as you wish for more pancakes.

  • Later, the staff will open a sundae bar. (On standard one-hour cruises, ice-cream desserts cost extra.)

  • Toward the end of the trip, give your table number to a server and settle your bill before the boat arrives back at the pier.

Tips:

  • De Pannenkoekenboot also operates boats in Amsterdam (near the NSDM ferry from Amsterdam Centraal Station) and in Nijmegen, an historic Dutch river city near the German border.

  • For captioned photos of the standard one-hour Pannenkoekenboot excursion in Rotterdam, see page 2 of this article.

Next page: More Pancake Boat photos