CLIENT REVIEWS


 

Absoluut2

 

To the crew of Absoluut2.

Thank you for making this vacation so special!

The food was first class, the towns were great and thank you for sharing your experience of Dutch history and it's people.

Best wishes from

L, J and J.
7 May 2006

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Dear John and crew:

John: I can't begin to express how absolutely wonderful the fairytale trip on your yacht was. Carol and I still have to pinch ourselves to make sure it was real. Our every wish you made come true. The first night Carol asked for Canadian Club and you didn't have it on board. The next day, there it was.  You were more than accommodating on everything, making this the most wonderful thing we every thought possible.  I also appreciate the Top Gear info you sent along on the disk.  I will send you some copies from the slides I took.  Not all 10 rolls, just the better pictures.

I forgot to get your email address before I left the boat.  I got Budhi's, but didn't get yours, so I hope this reaches you okay.  I will send you any information that comes out in the Denver Post, etc. and will also try to put something together with the Garden Writers Association.

Luke:  Thank you for everything.  You had answers for anything we wanted to know and were always at the ready to lend a helping hand, lead a side trip, set up abicycle, etc.  You helped to round out the most wonderful experience we have ever had.  Better than New Zealand, or any other place we have been.  Our daughter said that being able to get email from us and to send an answer made her feel much more secure since she was taking care of our horses, greenhouse, etc.  You went the extra mile, (kilometer), to make that happen.
 

Penny:  Carol and I really enjoyed visiting with you and Budhi.  You keep the yacht so clean that we were almost afraid to touch anything on board because we would leave a smudge or a fingerprint.  Thank you so much for the cake, we ate on it the rest of the time we were in Amsterdam, and it was just what we needed.
 

Budhi:  I think I gained a lot of weight on the trip.  Sitting back and watching the countryside go past was great, but your wonderful food made it very special. Every time we turned around you had something else for us to eat and we just couldn't pass it up.  Carol bought several cookbooks in Amsterdam, but she will never be able to give the food she fixes the same wonderful flavor that you do.
 
We will keep in touch with everyone as you feel like family rather than a boat and crew we hired.  If any of you get to Colorado, be sure and stop to see us. We have plenty of room and would be happy to show you the sights.
 
Sincerely,
 
J and C P
May 4, 2006

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I don't care what boat, barge, or yacht you compare it to, the Absoluut 2 has to be the best in the business.  The next time we decide to do any cruising we will definitely go with the Absoluut 2 as we are sure any other cruise would not even come close to this cruise.   John and his staff are perfectionists and your wish is their command.  If you mention something and they don't have it they will get it.  If you mention something you want to do or where you would like to go it is granted.  Keukenhauf was at the perfect time with more flowers than I have ever seen in one place at one time.  John was willing to spend the entire day there if we wanted, but I was getting sensory overload with all of the wonderful flowers.  I got the pictures I wanted for publication, and it was a great experience.  At mid-morning here was Captain John with cake and drinks for a welcome break.  At lunch here he was again with just what we wanted for lunch, and drinks.   Every night we docked at a beautiful location.  During the day we cruised through beautiful country.  The Dutch seem to have most of their beautiful gardens and flowers in their back yards between the house and the canal.  So all I had to do was sit there and relax and watch the beautiful garden scenes go past.   The last evening we were suppose to dock in Amsterdam, but with Queen's Day the following day there were not many good places and John wasn't satisfied with where we were located.  He put in a couple of extra hours and got us to a nice quiet place in a small town within about a hundred yards of a beautiful windmill.    My wife hasn't had a good nights sleep for months, but she said she slept better on this cruise than she can remember.  The cabin was very quiet, and the crew seemed to go out of their way to keep from making any noise after people went to bed and until they got up in the morning.   John keeps the yacht in perfect shape.  I have never seen a cleaner engine room on any boat I have ever been on.  In addition, Penny keeps everything cleaned and polished and in it's place.   Budhi makes the best food we have ever eaten.  I am sure we both gained weight on this trip.   Luke is a real key part of the crew.  When John is busy he takes care of anything the passengers need.  He also leads great tours and goes the extra mile to make the passengers comfortable.   This yacht has everything you might want, from flat screen satellite TV to Internet service.  But, the best part of the whole cruise was the wonderul scenery and great crew.   Well, we have just traveled from Amsterdam and have been traveling for the past 24 hours without sleep, so my note might not make sense as we are very tired, but I just had to tell you how great the cruise was.   Sincerely,   J P

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Just recovered from pampering on the Absoluut2. The trip was wonderful, Captain John and the crew treated us like Royalty. The barge, weather were terrific, I even got to use the hot tub on deck twice. We were lucky with our fellow passengers, a couple from Colorado, one of whom was a retired horticulturist from Colorado State who took amazing photos see attachments) could explain all the plant life. The hotels in Amsterdam turned out well, located in the middle of the major squares and walking distance to museums and flower markets etc, we even did well for the Queen's birthday for food and museums.   Thanks for all your help and we hope to join the Absoluut2 and its crew sometime when they are in France. Carol and i have some information about French history that we would like to send on to Captain John, could you send us his email address or forward our note when we get it finished???   Sincerely,   C & P
May 3, 2006

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AMA Waterways

AMA Amalyra

 

Just wanted to tell you that I was really impressed with how well AMA Waterways handles their river cruise.
My trip on the Amalyra was perfect.  The ship is beautiful and new, the management well-trained and friendly, the shore trips well-planned, the food upscale, the cabin large and beyond expectation with its robes, free Internet and 3-spray shower.

BB
Nov 2009

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AMA Amalegro

The cruise portion of our Music at Sea on Ama went great as usual and as we have come to expect from Ama.  On that score Ama delivered. 

As always any reasonable on board requests for our group was met with a smile and professionalism.  It was great
and our guests were very happy.

JR
May 2013

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A-ROSA

Arosa Mia

The cabins were bigger than we expected and there was plenty of room to move around.  The staff spoke English and were very friendly and helpful.  The food was excellent.

I recommend this ship and look forward to cruising on Arosa in the future. 

HW
May  2008

 

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Arosa Riva

Nice to hear from you.  Here are our comments:

  • Good trip, excellent adventure, friendly staff.
  • Food was excellent…
  • We were the only Americans on the boat.  Our English-speaking Tour Director went out of his way to make us comfortable and to translate for us.  Without his assistance, the trip would have been much poorer.  He assembled a day-long bus tour of Vienna with 12 English speaking guests (from 3 other nations) which made that wonderful city accessible to us.   He also arranged a party for Buz during our final dinner  (He had just completed his 10th marathon.)  We appreciated his assistance.
  • No wi-fi on the boat was a handicap.  Apparently they will install a wi-fi system this fall.  We do like to Skype family and friends during our trips.

I would recommend Arosa for experienced travelers, comfortable being “out of their comfort zone” who are flexible about languages, currencies and  cultures, capable of having adventures in a non-traditional cruise ship.  Not for those needing coddling.  For us, it was a good recommendation.   Thanks for your help.

MT, 2011

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AROSA Riva

First of all, thanks for asking. 

Secondly, I completely agree with Mike's comments about the cruise.  I remember the conversation I had with you early on about the difference between the boats with sit-down dinners and "wine included" options.  You were right to point out that even though Arosa had only buffet-style, the food was very good and everyone could customize their meal and have it on their own time.  I was also disappointed they did not have WiFi onboard in this day and age, but it sounds like they will have it soon. 
I would also add that our cruise was a good value, given it's overall quality, for the money compared to some other cruises we reviewed. 

I would also like to thank you for helping us with the land arrangements in Munich and Prague.  As much as we enjoyed the cruise, I believe the time in Prague was the best part of the trip. 

BT, 2011

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AROSA Riva

 

 The boat (Arosa Riva) was really terrific, comfortable spaces, warm and helpful staff, accommodated our group’s needs very well.  Stephan Zimmermann was especially helpful and friendly.  I think they provide a real alternative to the Viking line.  They will be more attractive to conventional US travelers when they are able to do more of the tours in English – for us it wasn’t a big deal as we made many of our own arrangements and used the Hop-On-Hop-Off buses, but for some cruise travelers those are not great options.

- Hotel das Triest was terrific – everyone liked it, the location was fabulous, rooms were very comfortable, etc.


Thanks for your help

KB
June 2013

 

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AROSA Viva

 

My friend and I had a wonderful cruise on the Viva from 5/3-5/7/2014!  We knew when we booked it that this was a German cruise and we are Americans.  We were prepared to stumble along.  We cannot thank Catalina Mateos for making this a special trip for us.  She made us feel just as important as the other passengers, arranged an English tour for us and helped us by interpreting the German things we needed to know.  Pedro Carreno was also a big help to us and even assisted us on his off time to get train tickets.  We were also very fortunate to have found Raynaldo and Jaydeep in the dining room.  They spoke some English and were very friendly.  Our cabin steward, Dionards was amazing in keeping our cabin in wonderful condition.  Finally,  I was not always sure what I was eating, but it was delicious. My freshly scrambled eggs started my day and my day ended with with the dark, fruit nut bread that I now miss every day.  I hope to cruise again.

CG
May 2014

 

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Hi Jan,
     I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful time we had on our Rhine river cruise (May 3-7).  Also thank you for all of your help.  Being the only Americans made it even more of an adventure and 5 of the crew members went out of their way to help us and make the trip even more special.  The Cruise director even put us on an English speaking tour in Heildelberg which was fantastic.  I will be passing your info to a couple of people that are interested in (an American) Rhine cruise.  Thanks again, 

CSC

May 2014

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It's Sue, writing to you from Niger.? My Amawaterways Danube cruise w/ Jeannette and Susan was wonderful.? As were you, in arranging all of it, which is why I am writing to you again to book a group of us on a French barge cruise.

 

SR (AmaDolce satisfied customer!!!)
Aug 2015

 

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Caprice

Caprice Experience:


Food, service, cleanliness, personnel were all outstanding.

Cabin was really compact, especially the bathroom.

One day we toured an old hospice hospital.  Another day in another town, we toured another old hospice/museum hospital.  Wine tasting and castle tours were good.

The small canals were very picturesque. 

The free Happy Hour was a nice touch.  I don't recall ever having that perk on any cruise previously.  This included any drink and any quantity for an hour, self serve.

BB
April  2012
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Casanova

 

Just want to let you know what a wonderful trip we had on the cruise.  The ship is wonderful and really friendly and clean.  Furnished very elegantly and the staff could not have been nicer.   Going thru the locks and seeing the different places is the way to go.  I really would recommend the PD line for it's friendliness and cleanliness and just the professional manor of the cruise line.  The places we saw were really great.  My group meet last night for dinner with a couple of other friends and that is all my group talked about was what a good time they had.  I sat back and listened to their conversation and was so pleased that they had a good time.  Was interesting as to what all their concept of the trip was.  Everything was extremely favorable.  So again it was really delightful.  I would recommend that cruise line for anyone to take as it was so organized and the attention to the ammenitities was above and beyond.  Thank you again for all your hard work in organizing the trip. 

PL
April  2009
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Cest Le Vie

 

Jan,
Ken and I finally got our thoughts on paper regarding our trip on the C’est la Vie.  Needless to say we had a wonderful trip.  We appreciate your help.

Our trip on the C’est la Vie was amazing.  We received 5 Star personal service by the staff, and the canal and countryside of France were beautiful.  (We stayed in Paris a couple of days following the barge trip and we were in culture shock with all the tourists after floating along the canal that was so peaceful.)  The inside and outside common areas of the barge were comfortable and spacious.  The food, wine, cheese, and cabin accommodations were beyond our expectations.  At every meal we had 2 wines and 2 or 3 cheeses. We loved how the staff would share with us what region of France they came from and how they were made.  
We put ourselves in the hands and the expertise of the staff.  Our days were planned by them and so no decisions needed to be made of what we were going to do as a group.  They had an excursion from the boat with our personal tour guide planned each day…to an abbey, chateau, market, winery, and small town.  But there was plenty of free time to be able to leave the boat and walk or bike along the path and into the little villages.   Or we could choose to stay on the boat and relax while the barge was traveling down the canal.  
It was a great trip to take with our adult children since I think they were a little nervous about being on a barge with Mom and Dad for a week.  We all found there was lots of time and space to be together or separate ourselves for personal time.
When we got to Paris we looked around and said, “Where is Glen our tour guide?”  When picking out a restaurant we all could agree on, we said, “Where is Jerry with all that wonderful food?” and “We want Jo and Deb to tell us all about the wine and cheeses?”  And “We want to be back on the barge with Captain Olivier whose skill motoring the barge on the canal and in the locks was amazing.” 
It was the most relaxing vacation for all.

K and J E

Sept 2012

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Charlemagne

 

Everyone loved the boat.  The biggest complaint was that the beds were hard as rocks and didn’t fit anyone who was 6 feet tall or taller… but even those complaints were said on the sly because no one wanted to detract.  The food was beyond incredible.  It was the richest French food and we all ate until we couldn’t move. If we were to do it again, I would make the request that dinner be served in an hour and a half to two hours (at the longest) as the meals did last forever….but boy were they enjoyed!

Bad Wimpfen was a highlight.  Everyone loved it. Heidelberg was great. We definitely need to tip 100 Euros per passenger. They did a fantastic job.

Again, I can’t express how great the crew was.  I think we have a whole “boat load” of converts

L
Sept 2007
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Croisi Cruises

 

Ste. Odile


Crew is great, accommodating and translate the pertinent items into English
They arranged an english speaking guide for us and a few Canadians
Cuisine is classic French-if you enjoy great food and are somewhat open to expanding your palate it is great. We enjoyed it. 9 wines and other beverages are included in price so that was a nice surprise
Age range on cruise is 60 plus with 72about average. Nice group, all French.  
Dress is casual, with polo shirts and silk print shirts fine for men, along with shorts, long pants all fine.
Only one man wore a jacket to dinner--it was 98 degrees yesterday so that might influence the dress.  
Beds and pillows not very comfortable-sort of like a rollaway type mattress-only down side to the ship.  

June 2011

GW

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Mogiliani

The ship, and all else was just as you described it. It was clean, the crew attentive and helpful in explaining things to us (and 6 others)in English and, we had English speaking guides for the land trips. The room was smaller than expected (we had to sort of crawl over each other to navigate in it) and the food and wine was plentiful and quite good. The itinerary covered (as our German friends told us) the prettiest part of the Rhine and the trip to the beautiful city of Heidelberg was a highlight of the trip. It might not have been quite as plush as a Tauck tour, but we were never inconvenienced and we saw everything there was to see.

Seeing Strasbourg and the Cathedral was really worth the trip; the Cathedral is magnificent and the town is charming.

All in all it was a terrific trip, so thank you for putting it together for us.

B &P C

Aug 2013

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Dear Jan,

I think Lafe said everything pretty well.  It was a tremendous value, everything was well done.  I also have a couple of suggestions.  The brochure did say that the scenic part of the trip was leaving Coblenz...that was an understatement!  Perhaps an announcement prior to leaving.  I just happened to open the curtain & saw the statue (I'm assuming of Napolean) & yelled "Grab your camera quick!"  That would have been a marvelous time to be topside.  My other suggestion is to put more info on Stausbourg.  Those of us that don't don't know Europe have no idea what a hidden gem that is!!!  Considering this is your home port, it's perfect overnighter, which is what we did, but quite by accident. (I thought we were headed to Stuttgart , which in reality was the next day)  So as it worked out we spent the night in Strasbouhrg & we were sooo impressed!  The cathedral, the plaza, LaPetite France & the river tour!  Excuse the pun, but all so foreign to us & we almost missed it!!!!

Your staff is very efficient & helpful.  All meals & clean up fior the next one went off like clock work.

Thanks for the wonderful tour.

9/2011
MS

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We had an amazing time on the boat. As you had indicated it was mostly French and the language barrier was interesting but still enjoyable. We had a lovely group of Dutch people who joined us for the trip and we made fast friends with a few of them as well. Some of the things that I would share with you would be as follows:

1. We found Coblenz to be an absolutely undersold, amazing hidden gem. We really wished we would have arrived earlier to spend more time there, possibly even 1 night overnight. AMAZING!

 2. The staff was very attentive and pleasant to deal with in all interactions. As a tour company though, they really are missing out on sales opportunties by opening the bar so late in the AM (10AM) for coffee. It would have been extremely nice to have a hot beverage as we cruised top side after breakfast and just enjoyed the scenery. Also, they really should offer blankets to those top side. It was just brisk enough to need something over your legs. I've been on other cruises before that offered it and it was a nice touch.

3. On the tour to Hedelburg (sp?) being the only American's, our tour guide spoke entirely in French on the tour bus, didn't provide any instruction on when to return to the bus, and during the tour of the city after the castle, they just disappeared. I will be honest I was pretty upset at this as we had no idea of a time frame to return, a meeting place, and completely missed out on the information she was sharing during the tour. I know you said it was mostly French, but that part was ridiculous. I would also comment that the 1 hr 30 min given to tour the castle was WAY to little. Especially when they just handed us an interpretation phone for us to self guide our way around. 

I've CC'd mom to let her know I responded and see if she cared to add anything to the review. All in all, we loved the trip, it was a great way to be forced to relax and just enjoy the scenery. And, what amazing scenery it was. Loved it.

9/11

JS

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Croisi

Just wanted to let you know that the clients had a good time.  The food was very good and the room was comfortable. 
It was fun and they did learn a little French in the process!  The weather wasn’t good but they made do.  The hotel you booked for them in
Strasbourg was lovely.  Thank you so much for all your help….

 

TW
May 2013
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French Line Croisi

The ship, and all else was just as you described it. It was clean, the crew attentive and helpful in explaining things to us (and 6 others)in English and, we had English speaking guides for the land trips. The room was smaller than expected (we had to sort of crawl over each other to navigate in it) and the food and wine was plentiful and quite good. The itinerary covered (as our German friends told us) the prettiest part of the Rhine and the trip to the beautiful city of Heidelberg was a highlight of the trip. It might not have been quite as plush as a Tauck tour, but we were never inconvenienced and we saw everything there was to see.

Seeing Strasbourg and the Cathedral was really worth the trip; the Cathedral is magnificent and the town is charming.

All in all it was a terrific trip, so thank you for putting it together for us.

 

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Fiep

The barge trip was very nice.  The food was excellent and the staff on the boat was very helpful.  Both Ruth and I had a great time.  Lots of things to see on this particular route.  Great experience. 

DM

May 2014

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We have returned from our bike/barge trip on the Fiep frpm Bruges to Amsterdam. It was a wonderful trip, and I thank you for your arrangements. I highly recommend the barge Fiep, and the crew. Touring Flanders by bicycle and the barge allowed us to enjoy excercise, nice people, beautiful scenery, great food, and comfortable accommodations. We are eager to go on another such trip! Thanks for all your help!

NH

July 2015

 

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Fleur

 

 

Hi Jan,
Have been meaning to write and thank you for setting the trip up.   The limo service to and from CDG was superb as was the pickup from the barge.  The barge trip itself was good too, excellent food, service and company.  

My comment on the biking is not a negative necessarily as I'm sure some people like it that way but we like to take off with directions by ourselves with only a few people.  The way they had it set up everyone had to ride together which probably created frustration for the fast riders and slow riders both.  We've done it with another company where we had our own maps and a "sweep" who stayed with the slowest group. Maybe it's a matter of liability or possibly cost as the other company also had a guide "leader" at the front or near the fast grouping. 

You miss the opportunity  of stopping to "mix it up with the locals", which we have thoroughly enjoyed before, and also you tend to swamp out any small cafe the large group stops at.  Josie, our guide was very helpful and patient.  It's just the system that I didn't care for.

The hotel was fine, clean and quiet which is all we ask.  Location was great in that in any given direction nearby there were a plethora of small non touristy restaurants.  Decorations were gaudy but breakfasts were wonderful.

Comment on the flights.  We flew on the Airbus 380 holding 585 people.  Our flight had 584.  It took over an hour to get baggage at CDG.  I realize you had to scramble to get us any flight but, given the choice, I shall never fly a 380 again.

Thanks again for all you help.

LE

July 2012

 

 

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Iris

 

We got back last week and had a wonderful time. The barge/bike experience was great.  I wasn't sure what to expect and everything exceeded my expectations. The boat had recently been redone so the accommodations were great!  It turned out that it was unusually hot so the fact that the boat was air-conditioned turned out to be important (spoiled Americans......).  Some of the other companies' boats did not have air conditioning we learned.  I didn't realize how many companies there are that do this type of trip.

The staff was great!  The captain was very gracious (also part owner) and allowed my husband to spend some time with her in the pilot house which was something he wanted to do.  He was a tow boat captain here on the Mississippi so he was very interested in the boat and the canals. 

The chef and other crew were great!  They were friendly and helpful.  Their English was good which of course that made it easier for us.  The food was good.  Dinner every night was well prepared, well presented and well eaten. 

The biking was also great!  Nice bikes and an easy pace.  After the first couple of days, they kind of changed the agenda so that people could bike the whole day, the morning, the afternoon or not at all.  Because of the heat, a number of people chose to bike only in the morning when it was cooler, like my husband. 

I enjoyed the route through Belgium and Holland.  Both countries have a little something different to offer.  I would recommend the trip to anyone.  I would also recommend an 'international' group.  It turned out that there were Norwegians, Danes, Germans, Dutch and Americans on the cruise and that may the trip more interesting for us.  (Most everyone spoke English pretty well and of course, we don't speak any other language)

Thanks for the recommendation.  We might have to try another one in the future.  I hear they have more of these trips in France.

JB
July 2006

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The barge was extremely pleasant.  Cabins were small, but you expect that on a barge.  They were very clean, beds were comfortable and we had all the storage space we needed.  Private bathrooms in each cabin were small but functional and we never ran out of hot water.

There was a nice sitting room where folks would congregate to chat and watch the scenery go by out large windows.  The dining area was also bright and cheery. Meals were delicious. Breakfast: Every day, there were various breads, meats, cheeses and fruit.  Each day was a different hot dish - French toast, eggs, pancakes, etc. At breakfast, we were provided with Tupperware-type containers so we could pack our own lunch with whatever we desired.  (The freshly baked hard rolls were a favorite for sandwiches).  In addition to the breakfast items, there were juice boxes, cookies and candy available. At all times, there was coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cookies and candy available in the dining area. Dinner: Each evening, we have what was called a 3-course meal....but it seemed like much more than that.

We would have a soup or salad started, then a main course with multiple sides followed by a scrumptious dessert.  Everyone raved about the delicious food - and often asked for recipes.

After dinner each evening, our cycling guide would take us for a walk into the little town where we had docked.  He would show us around and tell us a little about the area and it's history.

The bikes were easy to use and our guide was extremely adept at taking care of the few problems folks encountered (a couple of flat tires). The seats were a bit hard and we benefitted greatly from the slip-on gel seats we took with us (purchased from REI).

The bike routes were beautiful.  Personally, I enjoyed the Netherlands area more than the Belgium area - not that I didn't enjoy the Belgium rides, it's just that every Holland rides was like a postcard.

Each evening, our guide (Thomas) would tell us about the following day's ride and the options.  Some days you could ride half-day and meet up with the barge.  Other days, if you were riding, you had to ride the whole day. On every full day ride, there was always an afternoon stop at a local pub.

We mostly rode with the group.  However, on 2 days, my husband and I wanted to go at a slower pace (because we took so many pictures).  Thomas was terrific.  He provided us with maps and suggestions on where to stop for lunch, if we wanted.

One day, I stayed on the barge and just enjoyed the scenery as we meandered down the river.  This also let me get into our little port a bit early and stroll around with some of the other  people who had chosen to cruise that day.

The staff of the Iris (captain, first mate, cook and housekeeper) were all extremely friendly and knowledgeable.

Ours was called a casual bike and barge tour.  I understand the biggest differences between that and the tours conducted by deluxe barges

1. Alcohol is not included in the tour price.  Onboard the Iris, it was the honor system.  If you wanted a glass of wine or a beer, you took one and put a stroke by your name on the tab tally.  You could also purchase a full bottle of wine and just enjoy it at your leisure.

2. I've heard that some tours have a van accompanying the cycling group in case someone wants to take a break.  On our tour, we had a terrific guide with us, but you couldn't really call it quits in the middle of the day.  That's why it was so nice to know all of the options the day before - so everyone could make their own plans.

3. Any admission charges to local sights (like a working windmill) were not included in the tour price.  Our guide paid the admission then everyone would pay him at the end of the day.  This worked out very well.

We have travelled quite a bit and we loved this tour.  We are already looking at a trip on the sister ship to the Iris, the Fleur.

KT
Sept 2009

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Jan, we absolutely loved it! The boat is very comfortable, the crew wonderful, our guide was great, the countries awesome, the other passengers were so much fun! Most of all, we were able to do every bit of biking. It was perfectly geared to us. The other passengers were almost entirely couples in their 50's and 60's, with one 40 year old woman and one 71 year old man. We hope to do another bicycle/barge trip!

SE

July 2012

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Johanna

 

1. AMBIENCE AND COMFORT - Excellent.  Cabins roomy with lots of storage and very comfortable beds.  Even had heated towel racks.  Perhaps another hook to hang damp towels could be added.  I suggested a hairdryer, which Patsy immediately ran out and purchased for each cabin.  Main Cabin - Also roomy with comfortable seating.  New and modern furniture with large picture windows.  Sundeck - Large with plenty of seating.

2.  SERVICE - Excellent.  Both Kris and Patsy strived to make sure we had what we needed and were cheerful and fun.

3.  FOOD - Excellent.  This was above and beyond what we expected.  Not the 5-star deluxe, white table cloths, etc service one gets on the more elaborate, expensive boats and which we did not expect; but the delightful surprise was that Patsy is a gourmet cook and puts great time and effort into every meal, even to making triple-reduced sauces and elegant desserts.  What we taught her was to make the portions much smaller! 

4.  WINE & BEER - Both were offered at lunch and dinner and were both very nice.  Because we do enjoy wine, a couple of times we brought on board extra bottles.

5.  ADVENTURE - The bicycles were new and great fun to have to go into town.  The cruising down the canals was leisurely and very lazy.  Sights and museums were recommended along the way.  

MM

Sept 2013

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Just a quick note to let you know what a wonderful time we had on our bike/barge trip. Kris and Patsy were the perfect hosts and catered to our every need. They were pleasent and flexible with all our planning and the meals were out of this world. The accomodations onboard were stunning. Clean, Neat, and far exceeded our expectations. The bicycles were in excellent condition and Kris provided us with detailed maps and recommendations every day. I would give my highest reccomendation to anyone wanting this type of trip. We plan on using them again in the future. We stayed at the Kasteel en Kotshueys in Veurne and it also was fabulous. I would highly recommend in for pre or post trip accomodations in Veurne. Thanks again for your help in planning this.=

DK

May 2014

 

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Our vacation aboard the Johanna was truly special. We found it to be an ideal way for a small party to enjoy the private use of a newly refurbished and very comfortable barge, while cycling or simply barging the canals of Belgium.
We spent seven days traveling through Flanders (the NW section of Belgium) at a really enjoyable pace, cycling daily while learning a lot about WWI and the battles in that area.
The comforts of the Johanna were easy to get used to as our floating hotel. It was so relaxing not to have to pack up and move our luggage nightly. The evening meal was another high point, so well prepared, artfully presented and always delicious. Our group loved the fact that we could decide each day, based on the weather and how we felt, exactly what route we wanted to cycle and how far we wanted to go. The Belgian countryside was lush and serene, with extremely well marked trails making for easy cycling terrain.
The crew of the Johanna was Kris and Patsie - captain and kitchen help, cook and deckhand! They were a very nice couple and thoroughly enjoyable to spend time with.
They made sure that we were well looked after, but in a very unobtrusive way. Their redesign of the Johanna, previously a coal barge, was completely well thought out…spacious, light-filled and airy, a very relaxing environment with all the amenities we needed.
For an excellent vacation trip at a pace you can direct and with first class accommodations and service, book the Johanna

C & M B

May 2014

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L'Impressionniste

 

The L'Impressioniste's crew was great!  I'm quite sure that if any of us were to book another trip, we would request Jennifer MacStay as cook; the quality, creativity, and presentation of her meals were wonderful (as was her personality!)  Our captain, Nicolas Guedet, had a challenging job dealing with the weather, but handled it as best he could, giving us as many options as he could. 

 I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of room, since we could store suitcases, etc., elsewhere.  All in all, an excellent trip, with all five of the crew members as helpful and accommodating as they could be.

MH
April 2007

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We had a great trip, except for the weather.  The cook was great as was Nickolas, the skipper and all the other help.  They did their best to provide alternative experiences when the weather caused problems.  The barge was clean and comfortable.

EP
April 2007

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Le Phenicien

 

Hi Jan,

We are back to reality after our wonderful trip to France and Switzerland.  All in all the trip was lovely.  Le Phenicien is quite a nice barge with an excellent staff and wonderful food and drink.  The downside was the lack of access to biking routes and information.  We realized going in that this was not a scheduled "bike cruise" per se but that biking would be available with maps supplied, etc.  In this regard, the cruise was lacking.  Thought you should know for your future customers looking to bike as well as cruise.  If it isn't a biking cruise, biking is spotty and disappointing.

That said, I do want to thank you for your efforts in helping to make our trip memorable.  The hotel in Geneva was very nice, modern and clean and in a good location.  We had incredible weather and would return to this area in a heartbeat.

GH
Oct 2013

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Jan-


We are back. Through the haze of jet-lag and post-trip remorse that, after a year of planning, the week flew by so fast and it’s OVER.
Thank you for everything you undertook to assure the four of us a wonderful trip.
I’ll call it a once-in-a-lifetime adventure when I truly hope it is not.
 In many respects it MORE than lived up to expectations so I wanted to be sure to let you know that.
The meals were exceptional and the service by the entire boat crew was extraordinary.
This note to you must start on that very positive plane.
But because, you most likely will book other trips on Le Phenecien, I do want to make you aware of some things that were less than expected.
The  one disappointment for us was that this was NOT a bike & barge trip.
Yes, there were bikes strapped to the roof of the boat.
But they had been poorly maintained and definitely were in the one-size-fits-all  category, meaning only one of the bikes was actually the right size any of the four of us.
No attention was paid even to whether there was enough air in the tires. I rode one four or five miles into a town before finding a auto repair shop that had an air pump.
But more to the overall point, the  crew was scrambling to give us options to ride IF we chose not to go on the day’s scheduled tours.
Only on the first day was there a bike trail nearby and there were no local maps provided to help us navigate the countryside.
And the barge travel schedule was very poorly suited to being able to go off on your own anyway.
Michel, who I’ll characterize as the First Mate, (we only met Betrand when we got off the boat the final morning) seemed amazed that anyone would have sold this itinerary as a bike-barge package.
That is why there is a specific biking trip where care is taken to find routes and each bike is personalized.
So that leads to the second, and only other negative point.
If all we had wanted was a tour to the high points of Provence, we would have been better off and would have saved considerable money, booking  on a larger cruise ship, in the 80 to 120 person range.
Their cabins were bigger and fresher than this “Authentic” French experience,, where the cabin level was tired and musty.
There were many surprising  parts to this adventure. I would never have set out to go to Le Beaux or to “the other” Avignon, across the Rhone.
The wine excursion to Chateau de Pape (not sure of spelling) was further enhance by the brilliant fall colors of the vineyard foliage.
Again, we had a wonderful time. We are very appreciative of your efforts on our behalf.


ML
Oct 2013

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Le Reine Pedauque

 

I just wanted to let you know that  I had a nice time on the barge and wanted to thank you for what you had arranged.

The barge itself was beautiful and the food was terrific.

The captain, Max, was a young enthusiastic, knowledgeable and likeable youthful 40ish person who greatly added to the ship’s ambience.

I have no idea when I will be able to repeat a trip such as this one but it was indeed memorable for all of the right reasons.

DG
July 2006

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Heidelberg

 

The ship is very comfortable. We enjoyed the trip immensely.   We had wonderful service.  The staff that waited on our table was superb (Levi and Agnes).  

They became a big factor in how much we enjoyed the trip.  I lost my luggage and the ship staff stayed on top of it until it was returned to me.   Feel free to pass these comments on to the cruise line.

PW
Oct 4, 2008

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Nicko Alemania

 

Dad and I are back home and had a wonderful trip.   
Regarding the cruise on the Alemania - We loved our room - very spacious and CLEAN and the staff helpful MOST of the time. We were the only English speaking passengers on the cruise - so we really could only converse with some of the staff. We ate with a woman and her older mom and the younger woman could speak a few English words - (one night we left our parents on the boat  docked at Speyer & walked together through the town and had beer and tried to visit! - she helped me to make some pay phone calls home on a German pay phone!) We did not like the food although everyone else on the cruise seemed to love it! We did great with the breakfast foods - and liked the soups and most salads - but the meats were prepared strangely and we ended up  skipping lunches altogether. (I made us little snacks at breakfast that we ate middle of the day.)

We saw both good and bad to being the only English travelers.The obvious bad - couldn't meet people. But the good - was that each excursion that we paid in advance - we had our very own English guide and that was really great! Our favorite German town was Cologn. Our guide loved his town and we just could not help but love it, too! (the town with 5 seasons...) Dad did have some issues with so much walking. So having our own guide made that better, too. We could ask to sit for a bit and then continue on when Dad could. We visited Heidleberg -( Dad's dad went to University there back in the early 1900's.) On our excursion to Cochim - we were told that the bus to the castle ran every 20 minutes - so up we went and then waited for over and hour and 15 min for a return bus and almost missed the bus back to the boat! (added excitement for sure) I don't know if that was miss communication or if the bus driver just blew off some of his runs. Most people just walked back downhill to town - but Dad could not do that.

PM
June 2010

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Mozart

 

Just wanted you to know that the cruise was wonderful. Those Deilmann people really know what they are doing.

CS
May 13, 2007

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Princess de Provence

 

Our trip on the Princess de Provence was wonderful.  The food and the services were outstanding.  The side trips were just enough and perfect.  I would recommend this trip and your services anytime. Thanks for your help and you might be hearing from us again.  the train and Normandy worked out well also.

L
July 2004

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Saroche

 

Just a note to let you know what a great trip we all had!  Everyone was just superb!  Starting with Capt. Kevin and chef Jody to Niko and his wife!   What a ball we had and "thank you" for getting us there!  We would like to do the South of France barge trip but will probably hold off for a year or so!

DH 
Oct 2009

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Scenic Diamond

 

Staff - Very good, with only one exception. One of the waiters. I do not remember his name.
Cruise directory  "Werney" was very good. Beyond good. I do not know when he slept.

Service:  Very good. Beyond expectations.

Tours: Overall, very good. There was always a lot to do. We always went to bed tired. That is good.
Concert at the Lichtenestein palace in Vienna was the excellent.
Bus excursions and tour guides were very good.
Walking tours were very good. The tour audio system is very effective and the guides very knowledgeable.

Food: Overall, Excellent.
Breakfast:  Lox on breakfast buffet was very fresh and tasty. Everything else was pretty good too. Egg dishes and bread/pastries were first class.
Lunch:  Always pretty good. More traditional German sausage lunches would have been better. No coffee available with dessert. Had to go to lounge. Pizza was on the lunch menu only once. Would like to have seen more.
Dinner: Beef, pork and veal was excellent. Fish was poor. Appetizers were excellent. Desserts were fair. No coffee available with dessert. Had to go to lounge.

Atmosphere:
Cabin/Room: Very nice and quiet. Bed was comfortable. Restroom was roomy, for a boat. I liked the full balcony because, even though it was cold, we could go out there without freezing out the cabin.
Lounge: Roomy and comfortable with great views. Lighting was harsh. The coffee/tea service was great. Did not use the bar. The entertainer, was only so, so. In the late evenings, the music was way too loud. Couldn't even think, much less talk.
Dining Room: Noisy. Hard to converse when the room was full. Needs acoustic ceiling and/or baffles. Otherwise, comfortable and efficient. Great views.

Internet: Poor availability at locks was expected.
Airport transfers were handled very well.

E and P E
December 2009

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Shannon Princess

 

My clients thoroughly enjoyed the Shannon Princess.  My clients who have been on barge vacations before told me it was the best barge they had been on.  Everything was great including the crew.  Please pass this info on to the owner and crew.

June 2007

 

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Soleo

 

Hi Jan,

We enjoyed the trip! The crew was great, all very helpful. The biking was a bit difficult because of the strong Mistral winds that were blowing the whole trip, but the countryside was beautiful. We had great weather other than the wind.

Thanks for all your help with trains, everything went smoothly.

J.R.

June 2013

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Jan -

The family loved the trip. The hotel in Avignon is and was perfect. Very easy to get too and central to the city.
The barge trip was great. The food was excellent and very accommodating for our gluten free allergy requirements.‎ Sleeping accomadations and amenities on the boat were not up to par, they were ok but not as comfortable in the sleeping cabins as they could be, cabins were kind like glorified camping. The cycling during the day made up for it and the sites and distances were perfect. The bikes could have been one notch up from what they were including shock absorbers up front since we travelled on many stone dust trails.

The items for improvement are at the fringes. Overall 3.5 out of 5. Well worth the money.

S.S.
July 2014