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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, you get an all-you-can-eat pancake meal plus a 75-minute harbor excursion. Kids from 3 to 12 pay a children's rate, 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 English-language Rotterdam Web page to plan your excursion. The standard 75-minute cruise departs at 4 p.m. or 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with additional 12:30 departures on Saturdays and most Sundays. The company adds more departures during school holidays.

Other cruise options include:

  • "Family Cruise" (2 hours with pancakes, a hot buffet, and ice cream at 1 p.m. on the third Sunday of the month).

  • "Pancake Cruise by night" (2 hours with pancakes, a hot buffet, and an ice-cream dessert at 8 p.m. on the third Saturday of the month year-round).

From time to time, the company offers other choices as well, such as a "Brunch Cruise." Visit the Web site for up-to-date information.

How to enjoy the Pancake Boat:

  • Reserve ahead, if possible, by phoning the Pannenkoekenboot Rotterdam at +31 (0)10-436-7295 or --better yet--by using the Pannenkoekenboot Web site's online booking 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.

  • 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 Pannenkoekenboot excursion in Rotterdam, see page 2 of this article.

Next page: More Pancake Boat photos


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