Ave Maria boat/barge tour reviews — 1 to 30 of 126

4.6 out of 5

 


Karen B.
1 week ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

Italy was beautiful, historical, and interesting. But what made this trip stand apart from others was the crew. Our guides were committed to giving us an amazing experience. Hugo shared his knowledgeable of Italian history, economics, culture, and the transitions taking place in their society today. He included interesting stops along the way, my favorite being the Museum of Fairground Rides. He made and shared videos of our daily rides and entertained us with his antics. Francesco was from Italy and helped us with its language and culture while also being the caregiver of our trip. The meals were delicious and the entire crew joined in to ensure our comfort, safety and entertainment throughout the week. This was my fourth bike and barge through Tripsite and all of the crews have been good. This one was exceptional!!

Nancy S.
1 week ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

Most memorable part: Barge staff and bike guides

Susan E.
1 week ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

The crew and food and boat comfort were all great. The ebikes were good quality but such a flat topography and not much riding each day made them unnecessary, save your money! Another tip…this is ALWAYS a group tour, no self guiding so you only move as fast/well as the slowest mover in the group. There were several inexperienced cyclists on our tour so unfortunately, we moved like snails.

Joellyn P.
2 weeks ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

The crew was an exceptional team and demonstrated the camaraderie they tried to build within the guests. It was a fully led trip so that was important and made the experience so much more fun. Hugo was an informed and energetic leader supported by Francesco and a fabulous kitchen and boat navigation crew. Each day was packed with biking and walking activites, interesting sites, and lots of learning activities. In the end, though, it is the people you met along the way that make the difference.

Richard S.
1 month ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

The trip was very enjoyable , the boat was excellent in every respect, the crew was superb, and the food was top notch. We enjoyed ourselves immensely, and I would recommend this tour.
The bikes were great, the cycling routes themselves were not overly difficult and perhaps a bit lacking in scenery, but nevertheless enjoyable.

I also think that the tour leader Hein and his spouse added much to the enjoyment of the trip by all.

Barbara E.
1 month ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

The bike-barge trip from Mantova to Venice was wonderful and a great way to see the country. Our tour guide was fantastic - very knowledgeable and attuned to the group. He spoke Italian and knew many of the people with whom he made arrangements for the stops. He was well versed on the route as well, and while there were exciting moments, he also ensured our safety including stopping traffic to allow the whole group to cross major thoroughfares. We had wonderful rides through a variety of terrains, learned about Italian culture and history, and had many interesting stops along the way. The country side and cities were equally thrilling. Food on the barge was exceptional. Our young chefs prepared the food with such care. All of the staff were exceptional in making sure our needs were met. A special surprise arranged by our tour guide, Hein, was to be able to go to the top floor of a building in Venice to oversee the city from on high. It was breathtaking. We got to know the other 28 guests and really enjoyed the entire experience.

Richard S.
1 month ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

The trip was very enjoyable , the boat was excellent in every respect, the crew was superb, and the food was top notch. We enjoyed ourselves immensely, and I would recommend this tour.
The bikes were great, the cycling routes themselves were not overly difficult and perhaps a bit lacking in scenery, but nevertheless enjoyable.

I also think that the tour leader Hein and his spouse added much to the enjoyment of the trip by all.

Janet C.
1 month ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

The dinners on the tour were terrific. The chefs were funny and creative. You certainly didn’t want to miss their daily descriptions and wine recommendations. I loved that many of the meals were vegetarian.

Kathryn D.
1 month ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Bolzano - Mantova - Venice
Italy

My husband and I loved biking through the mountains and valleys adorned with vineyards, rivers and numerous towns..
The scenery was amazing!!
One of the best parts of the trip was..... we were on safe bike-paths most of the way!!
The food was excellent. Each day the Chef introduced and featured a new flavour of Italian Food pertinent to an area of Italy.
Hein, was an awesome guide who had many surprises in-store for us each day. A FEW of the main attractions were: he would stop here and there along the way for history lessons, we visited a few castles, a clam farm and a cheese factory, plus we had chats about agriculture, and gave the bird enthusiasts time for bird watching. Hein, then concluded the week with a spectacular tour of Venice.
The people aboard the "Ava Maria" were very friendly. It fun making new friends and we found we had bonded with many by the end of the week.
I would highly recommend this bike-tour and was very sad when it ended!!

Liza R.
7 months ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

It's hard to name a single thing as the trip was great. The crew was so friendly and had a great sense of humor, the food was great and our guide was wonderful. The group of passengers were so fun. The riding was flat and easy. The routes were fairly well planned. A few were on roads with traffic but it tured out ok.
The change in direction of the barge three weeks before the start of the trip was a little challlenging considering we had travel plans made already. I do understand why that happened and it turned out ok. Due to a drop in reservations, they also combined two boats into one but chose to move everyone to the boat with a non working HVAC system. The rooms were hot and they wound up buying fans for the rooms which helped a lot. Despite all of this, it was a great week.

Cynthia A K.
8 months ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

Scenery riding on the bike. Sunrise and sunset. The staff were amazing and the food delicious. The staff went above and beyond to handle special requests.
Disappointed the AC didn’t work and the room was between 75-77 F at all times. The WiFi rarely worked. The staff did get fans for some of the rooms. With the rooms being so hot and no option to have laundry done other than in the sink, things took days to dry.
Thirty people riding as one group is too many.

Ruth B.
8 months ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

Overall, the scenery was pretty-perhaps a trip in the summer would have been more brilliant. I would suggest bringing your own helmet or the boat supply appropriate helmets.

Carrie H.
2 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Bolzano - Mantova - Venice
Italy

Wonderful staff, great food, prompt assistance....overall just a wonderful trip!

Beverly V.
3 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

Back on the boat with all of the new friends you had made during the bike ride watching photographs on the big screen of the day you had just experienced.
Our guide, Michaela, made us a cohesive group from the very first night when she said that we must mix and mingle throughout the trip and meet everyone on the barge. She also challenged us to find a secret word somewhere during the day and record it on film

Tina C.
3 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

I truly enjoyed this tour that included daily rides through the picturesque Italian countryside. Each day we biked through a variety of landscapes, stopping in small towns along the way for cappuccino breaks, lunch and local tours. The bike tour staff was very friendly and knowledgeable. The boat crew was equally as wonderful, preparing wonderful meals each evening and serving them with a smile. Everyone bent over backwards to make this a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
As for suggestions, I think the last leg from Pellestrina Island to Venice could be improved. The morning was wasted in a small town that was not really open for business. Why not take an earlier Ferry to Lido and spend more time there before heading to Venice?

Rogan T.
3 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Bolzano - Mantova - Venice
Italy

Most Memorable Part: Bike with friends.

Barbara E.
3 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Bolzano - Mantova - Venice
Italy

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!!

Donald B.
3 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Bolzano - Mantova - Venice
Italy

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...

Rachel F.
3 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Bolzano - Mantova - Venice
Italy

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

Ilene W.
3 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

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!

Terry W.
3 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Bolzano - Mantova - Venice
Italy

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.

Avace W.
3 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Bolzano - Mantova - Venice
Italy

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!

Sandy H.
3 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Bolzano - Mantova - Venice
Italy

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

Gorge M.
3 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Bolzano - Mantova - Venice
Italy

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

Connie M.
3 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

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.

Greg S.
3 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

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.

POM
3 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

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

Marilyn Walker
3 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova
Italy

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

David & Patsy A.
3 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Bolzano - Mantova - Venice
Italy

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.

Katherine G.
3 years ago

Verified Reviewer

  Ave Maria Bolzano - Mantova - Venice
Italy

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