Bike tour reviews with boat/barge Ave Maria 1 to 30 of 111

 

 Boat/Barge: Ave Maria • REMOVE  About Ave Maria

  • Barbara E. 1 day ago     Verified Reviewer

    It is difficult to choose just one memorable part of the trip. Each day was filled with a new exciting adventure! Even riding a bike in an unexpected downpour was a fun experience when shared with cycling comrades. Seeking out a delicious gelato in a town square was a favorite activity. Exploring and discovering Italy while biking and barging aboard the Ave Maria was a truly delightful experience. Our crew was very helpful and eager to show us how proud they were of their country and all it has to offer. Pumpkin tortellini eaten at an outdoor restaurant was such an enjoyable eating experience! Grazie Mille for a truly amazing cycling adventure!!

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Donald B. 1 week ago     Verified Reviewer

    Especially loved the area of the Dolomite Mountains, from Bolzano to Lake Gardia, for the beauty and then arriving in Venice.
    Trip was extremely well organized; wonderful crew, special tour guides in Mantova and Venice, good food...and bravo to Vivian and Sonya, excellent guides
    The cyclists really got along well so that was an added bonus.
    First trip that was guided for us and I was pleasantly surprised. Other trips were self-guided and so was the first part of the trip, from Bolzano to Mantova.
    Lack of toilets on the way...

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Rachel F. 2 weeks ago     Verified Reviewer

    The best part was the first three days self-guided tour near the Dolomites on our 10 day tour.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Ilene W. 2 weeks ago     Verified Reviewer

    The Mantova to Venice bike and barge on the Ava Maria! The crew, the ship, the food and our guides were outstanding! Also all the guides we had in the cities and venues were fabulous!

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Terry W. 1 month ago     Verified Reviewer

    As professional as the staff were and as delicious the food, the most memorable part of the trip was interacting with fellow travelers. Since the boat can only berth around 40, I was able to get to know almost everyone and learn about their countries and personal histories.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Avace W. 2 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    Guides were amazing. They worked hard to make sure all guests mingled with guests from other countries. Games played encouraged teams working together and finding new information about the villages we visited. Always extra surprises..like visiting the mussel fishermen, panoramic vista of Venice from rooftop. Training on how to use ferry system in Venice invaluable. I didn't think we could get a better tour than our 2018 trip, but this one exceeded all expectations. From snow in the mts. near Bolzano to swimming in the Adriatic, the differences in scenery was dramatic and thrilling. Bikes...so comfortable and fit perfectly. Didn't even need to wear my bike padding! Plenty of time to look around when we went thru villages. What can I say. This tour was the best!

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Sandy H. 2 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    Fabulous trip. Filled with adventure. Highlights included guide, staff, food and overall camaraderie developed with a great group of people!

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Gorge M. 2 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    Menu and food prep. much better than other bike and barge/cruises we've been on.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Connie M. 2 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    The Venice to Mantua tour was excellent. We particularly enjoyed the stops for cultural and natural sites of interest. The food was wonderful and the staff very helpful.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Greg S. 2 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    It is hard to specify just one thing. The barge was great, the food superb and the staff could not have been better. Even though the weather wasn't great, we had a wonderful time. We're looking forward to booking our next tour.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • POM 3 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    My husband and I have been on 12 European bike/boat tours. We love to see the world this way, and we are usually 100% satisfied and happy when we finish a trip.
    In April we took the Ave Maria tour from Venice to Mantova. The first two days we biked on busy highways next to large lorries, semis, and garbage trucks, one of which almost wiped me out. We were shocked at having to ride on these highways because here is the company description of this trip on this website...
    "This cycling tour is largely along the flats of the Po plains, and the daily stages vary from 25 to 55 km – mostly on tarmac cycle paths along rivers and canals, or quiet country roads."
    The first two days of this trip were not on QUIET COUNTRY ROADS. They were on heavily traveled highways, and they were dangerous and certainly no fun! We will never travel with this company again because they were not truthful about the roads and
    paths. This was not a relaxing trip.
    On a good Read more… note...we had wonderful food on board. The chefs were amazing, and we looked forward to dinner every night.
    The Ave Maria advertises air conditioning. It is true they have it, but they don't turn it on very often, like it is off all night, every night. So most of us had to sleep with our doors wide open. Our rooms were like saunas, with no windows to open. For that reason, I would not recommend this boat, no matter what tour it was on.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Marilyn Walker 5 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    Well-Done
    We rode the entire week independently of the 30-person group, which is our preference. We requested beforehand, and received promptly, the GPX files for each stage, which we downloaded to our Garmin bicycle computers together with relevant open source street maps. We used the GPS directions as our primary navigation, and referred to the jigsaw puzzle of a tour map and the turn-by-turn directions in puzzling moments. All three references agreed very well, which is a great comfort. Tour Guide Michela provided us a separate walk-through every evening, clarifying points of confusion and explaining where the main group would be. Several times we met the group for special sightseeing tours. Otherwise, we did our own thing, took rest stops at our own discretion and ate the picnic lunch at places of our own choosing.

    The bicycles were better than expected. We chose the e-bikes and count the expense as worth the money. The batteries were strong enough to carry us through Read more… the 30-mile days with a couple of power dots left over. The seats were comfortable and the handlebars were especially comfortable to the wrist. The gears changed easily.

    Needs Improvement
    Plating the food before serving meant that a great deal was wasted. It would be more accommodating to serve family style, in bowls, so people can serve themselves what their appetite and inclination suggests.

    The itinerary was generally okay, but we had to meet the boat or bus by appointment several times, which meant waiting around for hours at a time. Other bike-and-boat tours we went on were better organized to find the boat at the end of the day's ride.

    Unsatisfactory
    The company is proud of their cooking, but the quality was badly degraded by the excessive use of salt. Even those people who were indifferent to their salt intake agreed it was "very salty". The taste of the food was ruined by the cook's excess. Upon tasting the first night's dinner, I required that they make special salt-free dinners for me. Two nights they "forgot" and spoiled the food. The cooks should learn to make their food unsalted and let the guests add that seasoning at table. It will improve the dining experience for everybody.

    The internet service was the worst I've seen since dial-up telephone modems. People wanted simple access to email and to post photos on social media, but were continuously thwarted by irregular service and severe deterioration, which seemed to be deliberate. For example, the night we were in Zelo, they announced there was no wi-fi at all because of the remote location, which was fishy to begin with. Next morning, we decided to stay on the boat for the day, which allowed me to observe that within minutes of the big group rolling away, they switched the wi-fi back on for the rest of the day, until that evening when it went to pieces again. There is no excuse for such poor service in this day and age.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

    • Jehiel from Tripsite 5 months ago     Staff

      Hi Marilyn,
      Thanks for submitting this feedback. We will be sure to share your suggestions related to food with our local partner.
      As for the wifi, we mention on the boat page and in our travel information that the wifi, though free, is limited and based on usage. The boat uses a mobile hotspot - the speed is based on the usage of the guests and can be spotty. To guarantee reliable internet, we suggest purchasing an international phone plan or a personal hotspot while abroad.
      I hope that despite these inconveniences you enjoyed your trip!

      Boat: Ave Maria

      Countries: Itália

  • David & Patsy A. 8 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    We loved the scenery and it was such a relaxing bike ride we decided to go on our own rather than go with the group with the guide. The green arrow stickers saved us many times. Loved all the small villages on the way and stopped at a few every day for a cappuccino which was excellent. There was a few errors on the routes however we figured them out and pointed the errors to the guides when they occurred.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Katherine G. 8 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    Despite the crowds and chaos in Trento on day one of our cycling (Bolzano to Trento) due to the Alpine Black Feather military reunion, it is now one of my favourite memories and stories that I share! I also really enjoyed seeing all the beautiful poppies, gardens and farmers fields.
    The route guides had some errors and you could tell that they were translated by someone who’s first language is not English but we usually managed to figure things out. We preferred to cycle independently from the group as people rode too slow for us and being clustered together we were concerned about all of us crashing into each other. We loved being able to rendezvous with our guides and the rest of the group for the Carrosel Museum visit, the cheese factory etc.
    The staff on the Ave Marie Barge were fabulous, they all worked together, even the Captain helped set the table. The food was excellent and the chef was a real character.
    The bikes were excellent, we were provided Read more… with a pannier and a box style bag for our handle bars. It wasn’t necessary to bring a small backpack as they like you to remove and carry the bags with you when you lock up your bike.
    It was a great vacation and we hope to do another cycling trip in the near future.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Douglas Y. 8 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    Our bike and barge from Venice was fantastic. The villages were quaint and the opportunity to swim in the Adriatic Sea was a great way to cool down and relax. Our trip aboard the Ave Maria was wonderful. Captain Connie, Enrico, Giuliano, Silvia and Helmut made our trip to be quite memorable! Giuliano and Silvia made fabulous gourmet dinners for us. Our only complaint would be that there were periods of riding on dikes/floodbanks but all the stops along the way were very interesting and full of character. The visit to a Grana Padano cheese plant was followed by a wine and cheese picnic and our ending destination, Mantua was beautifully surrounded by 3 lakes. We would definitely recommend this trip!

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Patricia T. 9 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    I remember the day on a slightly "tricky" route into Chioggia. When we could bike into the town and rest our bikes for the first look-around -- what an enchanting place in such good company. We knew there would be another gourmet dinner that evening on the barge. Looking forward to another trip through Tripsite.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Carole H. 9 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    Ave Maria barge was so very comfortable with wonderful staff & fabulous fresh locally sourced food, beautifully presented.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Casimira R. 10 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    Our guides were amazing made sure no one was left behind. I wish there would have been transportation for us from the train station to the boat. Other than that the trip was amazing and I would highly recommend this.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Bernadette G. 10 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    This trip was the perfect balance for experiencing Italy as well as being physically active. The most memorable part of the trip was being with a group of like-minded active and curious people!

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Danna J. 10 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    The knowledge about the country that our guide, Hein, provided at sporadic times. He was very astute to stop on a hillock for a small respite when there was no “cafe” in sight. Great information.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Nelson S. 11 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    Great trip....tour guides outstanding ,more than outstanding....the food was fabulous and all staff were wonderful....first 3 days of self guided biking were well worthwhile.....stay hydrated if it is warm as cramping can occur.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Paula K. 12 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    We loved the varied scenery and warm and friendly Italian people.
    The hotel accommodations were very comfortable and more than adequate. We would have been satisfied with a less luxurious hotel in Trento. We would have liked to explore the town and find a different restaurant, but there was no time. That is one of the drawbacks of cycling so many miles between towns; not enough time to explore.
    The Ave Maria and the entire crew were first rate. We want to particularly thank our tirelessly helpful and fun-loving guides, Marinella and Stephania. In addition, the food was artfully created and inspired.
    Our one complaint is about the poorly written instructions on the 3-day, self-guided part of the trip, which sometimes caused stress. The instructions were not only terribly written, we also had different editions of instructions among our group of 12. The most exasperating time was at Riva del Garda when we cycled back and forth through the town at least 3 times, Read more… looking for the correct ferry dock, after asking and being misled several times.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • John B. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    We started out in Bolzano, going from Hotel to hotel the first three nights, and then on the barge for seven more. The scenery of the hotel to hotel was spectacular! The Ave Maria was a fantastic boat, the crew was great and very accommodating. The only negative is- I wish we could have spent more time in each town we went past. But with only ten days, squeezing anything else like more time is impossible.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Anne S. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    We loved the beautiful, amazing mountain scenery (with very few hills) of the first three days. The written instructions, though, are of a badness difficult to describe. We rated the tour 4/5, and the lost star were because of the extremely poor instructions. If we hadn't had maps and stickers on sign posts, we wouldn't have been able to make it through. The frustration really distracted from the overall enjoyment of the trip - an English speaker with an accurate odometer really needs to rewrite the directions. For example, they talked about "crossing a railway" (or maybe a "railway bridge"), so we spent about 20 minutes trying to find a way to cross the railway - but really it meant to pass underneath an elevated railway crossing. Also, the symbol used to indicate a warning (I think of a turn easy to miss) is a hand pointing to the right. One not unnaturally assumes that this means a right turn. It does not.

    Otherwise the barge, scenery, Read more… activities, food, and guides are all exactly what we hoped for and have experienced on earlier trips. No problems with luggage transfers, and the hotels for the first part of the trip were all great.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Heather P. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    A thoroughly satisfying experience in all departments!
    The staff were welcoming and friendly, instructive and knowledgeable. I felt entirely safe in their hands.
    Accommodation has been well designed and thought out. I shared a cabin with a friend and it was easy to find our own space within a relatively confined space.
    The food was DELICIOUS! The meals exceeded expectations and were presented beautifully; the chefs having entertained us with their 'Two Ronnies' routine at the outset of each repast. I have made a batch of refreshing lemon and ginger cordial since my return, which is perfect for a hot summer day and reminds me of a very happy holiday.
    The bike was a delight to ride. I'm not a regular cyclist and I found the daily trips enjoyable and, with the regular stops, entirely within my capabilities. The one day off I had, sailing along the canal, added an extra dimension as it was so restful and enjoyable to watch the wildlife and the scenery Read more… glide by.
    The guided trips were enlightening and I now have a 'feel' for the part of Italy we traversed.
    From the start we felt like guests at a houseboat party. It was interesting to meet and enjoy meals with others from various countries and backgrounds.
    I shall be talking about this holiday for a long time thanks to you all.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Ann W. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    Best part: Riding through amazing scenery and picturesque villages in Northern Italy!

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • David & Patsy 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    Most Memorable Part? The poppy fields along the bike ride was especially beautiful. Instructions need some updating.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Stewart J. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    Hein was a most engaging and entertaining guide/trip leader. The rides were well planned with interesting stops and sightseeing, beautiful scenery and it didn’t hurt that we had spectacular weather. Post ride relaxation and camaraderie on the deck was great as was the value priced bar for beer/wine! The evening dinners were wonderfully prepared meals, truly excellent and overall the trip was very affordable, an A plus value.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

  • Elizabeth Dianne D. 1 year ago     Verified Reviewer

    Montova was a really lovely spot and I liked the cycling around there. It might be easier in the towns if the cyclists all had either jerseys or pennies to identify the group so locals see we are all together which would prevent us from getting cut off or unable to pass.

    Boat: Ave Maria

    Countries: Itália

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