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Boat/Barge: Ave Maria • REMOVE • About Ave Maria
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Marilyn Walker 2 months ago • Permalink/Reply
Well-DoneWe 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 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 ImprovementPlating 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.
UnsatisfactoryThe 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
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Jehiel from Tripsite 2 months ago • Permalink/Reply
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!
Bolzano - Mantova - Venice by David & Patsy A. 5 months ago • Permalink/Reply
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.
Bolzano - Mantova - Venice by Katherine G. 5 months ago • Permalink/Reply
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 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.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Douglas Y. 5 months ago • Permalink/Reply
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!
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Patricia T. 6 months ago • Permalink/Reply
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.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Carole H. 7 months ago • Permalink/Reply
Ave Maria barge was so very comfortable with wonderful staff & fabulous fresh locally sourced food, beautifully presented.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Casimira R. 8 months ago • Permalink/Reply
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.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Bernadette G. 8 months ago • Permalink/Reply
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!
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Danna J. 8 months ago • Permalink/Reply
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.
Bolzano - Mantova - Venice by Nelson S. 8 months ago • Permalink/Reply
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.
Bolzano - Mantova - Venice by Paula K. 9 months ago • Permalink/Reply
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, looking for the correct ferry dock, after asking and being misled several times.
Bolzano - Mantova - Venice by John B. 9 months ago • Permalink/Reply
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.
Bolzano - Mantova - Venice by Anne S. 11 months ago • Permalink/Reply
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, 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.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Heather P. 11 months ago • Permalink/Reply
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 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.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Ann W. 12 months ago • Permalink/Reply
Best part: Riding through amazing scenery and picturesque villages in Northern Italy!
Bolzano - Mantova - Venice by David & Patsy 1 year ago • Permalink/Reply
Most Memorable Part? The poppy fields along the bike ride was especially beautiful. Instructions need some updating.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Stewart J. 1 year ago • Permalink/Reply
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.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Elizabeth Dianne D. 1 year ago • Permalink/Reply
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.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Jeanne W. 1 year ago • Permalink/Reply
Most memorable part? All of it! Fantastic! Most memorable: Hein! And Marco! The whole staff! Loved every minute. Loved the e-bike too.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Patti S. 1 year ago • Permalink/Reply
I was so impressed with the level of service and detail on this trip. Completely exceeded all expectations from the guides and the rides to the food and the lodging. So much fun! It didn’t hurt that we had perfect weather. Hoping to do it again!
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Karilene M. 1 year ago • Permalink/Reply
Every day was a new adventure, loved it all!
Bolzano - Mantova - Venice by Ian S. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Superb scenery, boat, bikes and guides. Delightful in every way.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Mary G. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Most Memorable Part: Biking with Hans as a guide and the side trips we made.
Bolzano - Mantova - Venice by Nelson N. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! Piano player and entertainer was a highlight.....food was fabulous.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Rochelle R. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Most Memorable Part: Venice in the rain at midnight! Excellent food, great staff and guides.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Prosper B. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
My most memorable part of these trips are always at the halfway mark when I realize they are almost over and I want them to go on and on forever. Italy is so beautiful and the ride to Montava is an extension of that beauty.
My suggestion is simple: Do it. Don't wait. Go on a big cruise ship when you are too old to walk, but as for now, if you're able to bike, you're able to bike tour. Touring is different than racing. Its relaxing and invigorating, spiritual and memorizing. Seeing Italy at ground level and at 11 mph is the only way to experience it, in my book.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Christine D. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Our guide, Hein, was the absolute best. Knew everything about history, culture, architecture, food... Had a great sense of humor. Best guide in 10 bike/barge trips.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Patricia K. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Everyday was fabulous. So difficult to pick any one memorable part when you experience Venice, Grana Padana tour and tasting, the oldest clock in the world, a lotus flower lake and charming friendly people and staff.
Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova by Maureen B. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
This was my third bike and barge with Tripsite, but it was not my favorite. The boat, crew and food were terrific. The route however was flat as advertised, but the night stops were not fun or interesting. Zelo had only a cemetery and an Irish pub. If I was asked by a friend which bike and barge to take for possibly a once in a lifetime trip, I would recommend Bruges to Amsterdam and the Mosul River trip first. We had a wonderful time and everyone on the boat and the guests were first rate. I would take another trip on The Ave Maria, but would want a more interesting route.
Email or Call 800-951-4384 +1 570-965-2064