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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Amsterdam's Tax Increase for Tourists and Cruise Passengers: Balancing Tourism and Local Needs

Amsterdam, the picturesque capital of the Netherlands, is known for its iconic canals, historic architecture, and vibrant culture. It has long been a magnet for tourists, drawing millions of visitors each year. However, as the city grapples with the challenges of accommodating this influx of tourists, it is embarking on a significant tax increase targeting tourists and cruise ship passengers. The aim is to bolster the city's budget for essential initiatives, including additional shelter accommodations, poverty measures, and healthcare support, among other vital services. In this blog post, we'll explore the details of this tax increase and its implications for both tourists and the city's residents.

Shifting the Burden

Hester van Buren, the city's finance chief, expressed the city's commitment to sparing its residents from higher costs while shifting the burden towards visitors. The core idea behind this tax increase is to ensure that tourists, who benefit from the city's amenities, contribute more to support the infrastructure and services they enjoy during their stay.

Tourist Tax Rate Increase

One of the most significant changes is the increase in the tourist tax rate. Previously, tourists were charged 7 percent of the room charge plus a 3 euro per person per night fee. Under the new structure, a flat rate of 12.5 percent will be calculated over the room fee. To put this into perspective, let's consider a scenario where two individuals stay in a 200 euro per night room. Their tax liability will increase from 20 euros to 25 euros, representing a 25 percent tax hike.

Cruise Ship Passenger Fees

Cruise ship passengers arriving in Amsterdam will also experience a notable increase in fees. Each passenger will now pay 11 euros per person—a nearly 38 percent rise from the previous charge of 8 euros. This increase aims to ensure that the cruise industry, which brings thousands of visitors to Amsterdam's shores, contributes more significantly to the city's revenue.

Day Tourist Tax

The City of Amsterdam has introduced a Day Tourist Tax for transit sea cruise and river cruise passengers docking within the city's municipal boundaries. In 2019, the city increased the daily tax for cruise visitors to 8 euros per person, applicable to individuals aged 2 and above. Importantly, crew members remain exempt from this tax.

Planning to go on a cruise in the future? Check out our favorite cruise essentials that will make your cruising life easier!

Learning from Others

Hester van Buren's efforts to address the challenges posed by tourism in Amsterdam are not unique. She has been in dialogue with other cities facing similar issues, such as Venice and Barcelona. As she noted, "We also have to deal with day trippers. Of course, you can’t put up turnstiles so no-one can get into the city, but we are going to look at ways of making day visitors pay some sort of city tax."

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Amsterdam's decision to increase taxes on tourists and cruise ship passengers is a bold move aimed at ensuring that the city's residents continue to receive the essential services they need while maintaining the city's allure for visitors. By shifting the financial burden towards those who benefit from Amsterdam's unique charm, the city is taking steps to strike a balance between tourism and local needs. While this may mean slightly higher expenses for tourists, it is a necessary step to ensure that Amsterdam remains a thriving and sustainable destination for years to come.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Exploring TripAdvisor's 2023 Top Fine Dining Restaurants: How Many Have You Tried?

TripAdvisor, one of the world's leading travel and restaurant review platforms, has recently unveiled its 2023 Travelers' Choice 'Best of the Best' Restaurants Awards. This prestigious list features some of the finest dining establishments from around the globe, with Restaurant Bougainville in Amsterdam taking the coveted number one spot. The rankings are determined by an algorithm that analyzes millions of reviews and ratings submitted by travelers worldwide. In this blog post, we'll delve into the highlights of the awards, including the top-ranking restaurants and their exceptional offerings. See the worldwide and USA listings at the end of this post (some may surprise you!)

1. Restaurant Bougainville: The Crown Jewel of Fine Dining in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, often celebrated for its picturesque canals and vibrant culture, can now boast about having the world's best fine-dining restaurant. Restaurant Bougainville, located in the heart of this beautiful city, has clinched the number one spot in TripAdvisor's 2023 Travelers' Choice Awards. With over 260 'five-bubble' reviews, it has garnered acclaim from discerning travelers. One diner described it as a "first-class dining experience." This recognition reaffirms Amsterdam's status as a culinary capital worth exploring.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Duravo Expandable International Carry-On - Our Perfect Companion for a Two-Week European Vacation


Luxury Travel Docs wants to be transparent with our readers. We received the Duravo International Carry-On at no cost from Duravo for the purpose of conducting an honest review. Our opinions and experiences shared in this review are entirely our own and have not been influenced by the provision of the product. Our commitment is to provide accurate and unbiased information to assist fellow travelers in making informed decisions.

Imagine a world where your luggage isn't just a travel companion; it's a reliable partner that enhances your journey at every turn. Welcome to our review of the Duravo International Carry-On, our perfect companion for a memorable two-week European vacation. In this comprehensive review, we'll delve into the background of the Duravo brand, explore the remarkable internal and external features of the carry-on, share our firsthand experience of how these features proved invaluable during our European adventure, address some frequently asked questions, and wrap up with a summary of our love for this exceptional travel companion.

Duravo: Our Ultimate Travel Partner When it comes to our travel needs, we're uncompromising. We want style, quality, and durability seamlessly rolled into one, and that's precisely where Duravo stepped in. Beyond the eye-catching design of the Expandable International Carry-on, it boasts the formidable strength of Flexshell™, a groundbreaking composite material. Duravo's suitcase isn't just any piece of luggage; it's a testament to innovation, tailor-made for travelers like us who desire nothing but the best features. And the cherry on top? It's not only incredibly lightweight but full of features that adapted to our needs on our recent trip to Europe.

  1. What to Expect in this blog post:

    1. Duravo Company Background: Pioneering Innovation in Travel

    • Insights into Duravo's founders and their partnership with Curv®.
  2. 2. Duravo's Remarkable Debut at SXSW 2023

    • Highlighting Duravo's presence at the SXSW event.
  3. 3. Duravo's Innovative Lineup: Flexshell™ Takes Center Stage

    • Discussing Duravo's innovative product lineup and the revolutionary Flexshell™ material.
  4. 4. The Rigorous Testing Process

    • Shedding light on Duravo's testing process to ensure product durability.
  5. 5. Flexshell™: Where Strength Meets Sustainability

    • Exploring the strength and sustainability of Duravo's Flexshell™ material.
  6. 6. Eco-Friendly Manufacturing

    • Delving into Duravo's commitment to environmentally friendly manufacturing.
  7. 7. Exploring Italy: The Ideal Travel Companion - Duravo's International Carry-On

    • Setting the scene for the European adventure and the role of Duravo's Carry-On.
  8. 8. Duravo's International Carry-On Specifications and Exterior

    • In-depth details about the dimensions, capacity, weight, and material of the International Carry-On.
  9. 9. Interior Features

    • A look at the spacious main compartment, interior pockets, USB charging, device protection, and hidden compartments.
  10. 10. FAQs: Your Duravo Flexshell™ Questions Answered

    • Answering common questions about Duravo's materials and features.
  11. 11. Investing in Quality: Duravo's Expandable International Carry-On Price

    • A discussion of the pricing and value of Duravo's Carry-On.
  12. 12. Where to Buy Duravo's Expandable International Carry-On

    Providing a link for readers to purchase the suitcase.

  13. 13. Additional Information on Duravo's Promotions and Features

    • Details about discounts, payment options, warranty, returns, and the try-and-buy option.
  14. 14. Comparing Duravo to Other Luxury Brands

    • A comparison with other premium luggage brands and their prices.
  15. 15. Final Thoughts

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Utopia of the Seas: A Remarkable Float-Out and a Glimpse into the Future of Cruising

In the heart of Saint-Nazaire, France, history was made as the colossal cruise ship, Utopia of the Seas, took its first steps, or shall we say "float," into the vast waters of the Atlantic. This monumental event marked a pivotal moment in the ship's construction journey, one that promises to redefine the world of cruising.

A Float-Out for the Ages

For the very first time since construction began on this magnificent vessel, Utopia of the Seas embarked on its float-out adventure. This awe-inspiring 15-hour operation unfolded at the renowned Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, a place where maritime dreams come to life. As the world watched in anticipation, Utopia of the Seas gracefully entered the water, setting the stage for a new era of cruising excellence.

The Power of Water: 46 Million Gallons of Liquid Precision

Behind the scenes, a staggering 46 million gallons of water were meticulously flooded into the ship's dry dock, a monumental feat in itself. This precisely orchestrated operation allowed Utopia of the Seas to make its gentle descent into the embrace of the ocean. It's a testament to the harmony of engineering and nature, and a sight that left onlookers in sheer amazement.

A Glimpse into the Future: Utopia of the Seas

Utopia of the Seas isn't just another cruise ship; it's the final jewel in Royal Caribbean's crown of Oasis-class cruise ships. This masterpiece is destined to set sail out of the thriving cruise port of Port Canaveral in Florida, offering passengers an unparalleled cruising experience.

Cruising Reimagined: Your Adventure Awaits

Starting in June of 2024, Utopia of the Seas will embark on a journey like no other. The ship will offer 3 and 4-night cruises to the Bahamas, with sailings that alternate between destinations. Passengers will have the opportunity to experience the cruise line's private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, on multiple occasions. It's a vacation option that promises a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.

As Utopia of the Seas prepares to sail the high seas, we invite you to be part of this incredible journey. The float-out of this remarkable ship is just the beginning of the magic that awaits onboard. Whether you're a seasoned cruiser or someone eager to explore the world from the comfort of a floating paradise, Utopia of the Seas promises an unforgettable experience.

Get ready to set sail, create cherished memories, and be part of the future of cruising. Utopia of the Seas is ready to welcome you onboard for a voyage of a lifetime.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Bahamas-Flagged Norwegian Cruise Ship Runs Aground in Greenland But Help May not Arrive until Friday

In an unexpected turn of events, a Bahamas-flagged Norwegian cruise ship named the Ocean Explorer found itself in a precarious situation as it ran aground in northwestern Greenland. With 206 passengers and crew members on board, the incident raised concerns but fortunately didn’t result in any immediate danger or damage. Here’s an overview of the situation and the response from authorities.

The Stranded Cruise Ship:

The 343-foot-long, 60-foot-wide Ocean Explorer ran aground on a Monday in Alpefjord, located within the stunning Northeast Greenland National Park. Known for its breathtaking icebergs and the presence of musk oxen, this remote park is an unusual place for a cruise ship to encounter trouble. The ship is owned by the Ulstein Group, based in southern Norway.

Response from Authorities:

The situation presented unique challenges due to its remote location. Cmdr. Brian Jensen of the Joint Arctic Command expressed concerns about the distance of their units and the unpredictable weather in the area. The closest Danish navy ship was approximately 1,380 miles away but was making its way to the site and expected to arrive by Friday.

Despite the initial difficulty, authorities emphasized that there was no immediate danger to human life or the environment. Nevertheless, they stressed the seriousness of the incident, and their primary focus was ensuring the safety of everyone on board.

Assistance from Other Cruise Ships:

To enhance safety measures, authorities contacted another cruise ship in the vicinity, although it wasn’t identified in the reports. This ship was asked to remain nearby in case assistance was needed during the situation.

Hope for High Tide:

Greenland television KNR reported that the grounded cruise ship might have a chance to free itself when the tide rises. However, authorities remained vigilant, emphasizing that the paramount concern was the safety of all individuals involved.

Continued Monitoring:

Despite the tide, subsequent updates from the Joint Arctic Command indicated that the ship remained stuck. Fortunately, there were still no reports of imminent danger to human life or the environment.

The Role of the Joint Arctic Command:

The Joint Arctic Command, primarily responsible for monitoring the area around the Faeroe Islands and Greenland, played a crucial role in overseeing the situation and ensuring Danish sovereignty in the region.


The grounding of the Bahamas-flagged Ocean Explorer cruise ship in the pristine wilderness of Greenland has captured attention due to its unusual circumstances. While the ship remained stuck, authorities maintained their vigilance and commitment to the safety of passengers and crew members, as well as the environment. As developments unfold, it remains a testament to the challenges and resilience of maritime operations in remote regions.