A Cruise Full of Dutch PancakesHeather Tucker, Friday, September 13, 2013
On your marks, get set, go!!
When I think of an all you can eat buffet, this is the type of atmosphere I expect to encounter. That’s why when we arrived in the car park across from Rotterdam’s iconic Euromast, I expected to find hoards of hungry people crowding the Pancake Boat’s dock.
The Pannenkoekenboot offers trips that last from one hour to two and a half hours. During which time the boat cruises along the river, taking in sights such as the Erasmusbrug and the Willemsbrug.
Reaching the dock, a medium sized group made up of both children and adults, surged forward as the Pancake Boat came into sight. They were held off by some friendly staff who explained that once the previous passengers had disembarked, the boat still needed to be cleaned and prepared before they could come onboard.
Once readied, we were allowed onto the boat, group by group, and given a table number. The pancake boat is a double decker affair with plenty of seats for couples and larger groups. The staff came quickly to take our drinks order (drinks fall outside of the pancake package) and with no pancakes yet in sight, everyone remained in their seats.
As soon as the boat’s door was closed, a member of staff explained the rules to us. In a moment the magical pancake window (currently closed with shutters) would be opened and we would be allowed to collect a pancake. We were to take a pancake from the top, working our way down, from any of the three columns, which represented the different pancake varieties available – natural, bacon or apple. For the first round we would be invited up table by table and once all the tables had been called, the whole boat was free to then collect pancakes as and when they wanted.
The queue quickly grew but luckily we were towards the front of it, meaning we could grab our pancake and toppings before the boat had even rounded the corner.
Part way through the cruise, a ball pit under the stairs is opened for the children to play in. While this creates a child ghost town around the pancake area, it does increase the sound level on the boat quite a bit. If you are a kid, however, sliding down the slide into a pit of balls must be pretty brilliant.
On the Pannenkoekenboot, it is pretty challenging to eat more than about three pancakes in the hour allowed on the hour cruises but with the wide range of toppings available on the side table, two is probably more than enough to fill you up. And that leaves you with just enough time to sit back, relax and enjoy the sights from the water.