Bruges was great and worth the trip, and the bit of an ordeal getting there and back.
It got off to a rocky start. Lindbergh Travel, who handled the tour, creates chaos with the way they handled the bus loading. On the crowded Amsterdam street, they have all the people gather round and then ask what languages they speak. Those speaking English and Spanish to follow one guide, the rest another. It was obvious to many of us that there would not be enough seats on one bus to handle the crowd in our group. So during the two block walk to the bus, many of us hurried to get ahead of the crowd to assure a seat. Upon arrival at the bus, there was a crush to board. My wife and my friend's wife got on board and saved seats for us, but they stopped the boarding process before either of us got on and were apparently planning to fill those seats with others. My friend and I finally ignored the direction to stop boarding and joined our wives. An unhappy group never got on the bus.
The bus was OK, but the 3-hour trip was non-stop. The tour guide warned everybody that the head on the bus had limited capacity and that when it was full, that was it. He said "no pooping." Well, somewhere along the way, it appeared that the head did reach capacity (and that the "no poop" direction was ignored). Those seated near the middle of the bus, where the head was located, suffered the additional indignity of the foul smells emanating from the bus for several hours. The guide explained that the alternative would be a rest stop on the way, reducing the time in Bruges by 40 minutes, which they determined would be less acceptable.
In summary, Bruges was great - the logistics marginal. If you could get there any other way for a similar price, consider it.
The hop-on hop-off Day pass on the Canal Bus is a great option. I wish we had taken better advantage of it. You will really appreciate the serene method of traffic-free travel, avoiding the careening bicycles on the streets. If we had known how much we would enjoy the canal boats, we would have allocated more time to ride them. The Van Gogh Museum is very nice and well worth visiting. This combination was probably the best value of all the tours we experienced.
The bus tour of Amsterdam was of marginal value. That part of the tour is scheduled to last 2.5 hours. Of that, one hour is essentially wasted at the "diamond factory." The "diamond factory" is essentially a jewelry store where they briefly explain how diamonds are graded and show two guys who are allegedly polishing some. The remaining 45 minutes is essentially spent working you to buy some jewelry. You don't see a great deal in the 1.5 hours you are driving on the bus, since driving a bus around the streets of Amsterdam is very slow going. We saw about 80% of what we saw on the bus on our own walking around. I'd say you're MUCH better off with the Hop-on Hop-off canal bus, which is available for 24 hours and very flexible.
The Anne Frank skip-the-line worked. We didn't have to wait in line. I'd just find some other element to combine it with.
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