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Maryann B.2 years ago
De Holland North Holland TourNetherlands
This was a wonderful trip, highly recommended to both cyclists and non-cyclists! The staff went out of their way to make sure all the guests were well looked after.
Susan O.2 years ago
The De Holland is a lovely barge with a proficient staff and nice upper level staterooms. The food was above average and the after-ride beer is a great value. The North Holland area is very rural with small towns but mostly agricultural routes. Easy navigating because The Netherlands has an extensive network of bikeways and understandable wayfinding. The history of diking, watermills and pumping is fascinating and would be good to know about as you ride through this area. Our trip was in the beginning of October and we had beautiful weather although it can be windy along some portions of the ride.
Stephen T.2 years ago
The North Holland barge and bike is a fantastic experience and a great opportunity for a family to share a unique adventure together. The scenery is spectacular, the villages immaculate, the people friendly, the barge comfortable, the food good, the bikes new and the staff accommodating. To improve the experience, breakfast could be better and the lunch selections more varied. Early risers generally helped themselves to all of the pastries before others cold enjoy them. Seating could be unassigned so that more people could meet and enjoy different parts of the dining room. Otherwise they have this trip wired.
Katie H.2 years ago
De Holland South Holland TourNetherlands
This was a very positive experience. Bikers of all abilities can participate in this tour. The navigation can be a bit tricky. I would definitely recommend using the navigation app in addition to the maps & briefings. However, there was usually a friendly local or another member of the group not too far away to help get you back on the route. The barge was very nice. We had an upgraded room. Plenty of storage space. The guides were excellent. The staff on the barge couldn’t have been nicer. The food was very good. The tour itself exceeded my expectations. Holland is beautiful. The route took us through a variety of geography. Lots of quintessential Dutch experiences, windmills, cheese, delft, etc.. The de Amsterdam is a larger boat than most so you have a large group. Neither here nor there, just a note if you prefer a more intimate group.
Sarah D.2 years ago
Jill L.3 years ago
A number of things stand out. First, the size of the room (which was shown as 4 single beds but ended up being a tiny room with two bunkbeds where we could not all stand in the room). Second, the fact that after active days covering 50 Kms or more there was no water provided (a bottle of water was provided at breakfast only) and no food available in the hours before dinner. Third, all meals had to be taken at the same assigned table reducing any opportunity to mingle with other guests. Fourth, on an active holiday with healthy active people, the meals did not include any colorful vegetables. The staff were mostly lovely and the rides were picturesque, but the overall experience was not positive.
Azam E.3 years ago
Boat and bike trip was our first experience. It was really amazing and well- organized one :)) we just wish to have more options for healthy food on board and choose our table at dinner time to socialize with more people than having assigned seats every night. -Thank you
D. Dray3 years ago
We have been on seven self-guided bike trips (two of them with boats) and this was truly one of the best! The accommodations on our Prague ship, the MS Florentina were nicer (larger lounges, expansive deck, etc) than the Angela Esmee to be frank, but the Angela's superb crew, the charming towns as ports of call, and along the route, and our tour leader, Margaret, more than made up for it. I highly recommend this tour!
Mike S.3 years ago
The overall experience was excellent. We enjoyed the intimacy of a relatively small group on the boat. It allowed us to meet a number of people over the course of the week. We will definitely be returning in the future.
If I had one suggestion it would be to limit the number of days where there was a deadline to meet the boat in the late afternoon as these deadlines sometimes creates pressure to complete the route quicker than I would have otherwise chosen.
Jehiel • 3 years ago Tripsite Staff
Hi Mike! I agree with you. We will pass this along to our local partner to see if we can remedy this. Thank you for the suggestion!
Helen M.4 years ago
The scenery was beautiful and the barge was lovely. The most memorable part of the trip was the people - the Dutch are friendly and helpful, and the Angela Esmee crew was exceptional!
Cathy G.4 years ago
I already have recommended this trip to several people. By far this trip was the best trip I have ever been on. Thank you.
Kim E.4 years ago
Complete day from start to finish! Staff were super friendly and efficient! Breathtaking views of countryside and timeless villages! Supper dining was plentiful, varied and delicious! Basic rooms were always tidy and clean. Wow...what an incredible adventure.
L. Scrutton4 years ago
I would have liked was some variety in the lunch fruit. Apples every day but one ...... got a bit boring. I would also have liked to have a condiment (mustard or mayonnaise) to add to the meat/cheese sandwiches as they were a bit dry. All in all, a great trip! Too bad the weather wasn't a bit better, but nothing could be done about that.
Margaret Terrett5 years ago
I would recommend the trip with reservations. The food on the boat was not special but ok. While our leader was competent I did not find him helpful at times and other times I found him condescending. The route descriptions were well done but we had to argue to have one for each rider even though it clearly stated we would each a have one. I would have like much more about the places we were visiting included on the daily route descriptions. Carrying a visitor guide is not easy on a bike. The bikes were not in good shape for our trip. The mechanic tried to do his best but they were not a "freewheeling" experience. On mine the gears did not work, others had similar issues. When the holiday depends on a good cycling experience then the bike becomes a priority.I cannot recommend the experience whole heartily except for the amazing landscape of northern Netherlands. That part I really enjoyed. Also I enjoyed being part of a group. I would not recommend a person or couple try the trip because no effort was made to mix the people. I was part of a big group and so I always had people to cycle with.
Sue Cousineau5 years ago
Paul Hough5 years ago
The nickel and diming on the boat was annoying - i.e., free coffee until 4 pm but nobody gets back before then; coffee and tea not included with dinner (extra cost); bottled water sold at the same price as a beer (one token worth 2.5 Euros). Our guide, Marcel, was clearly out of sorts and was not someone I would recommend - rude, disinterested, unhelpful, condescending, and refused to answer questions. I trust that other guides are much better.
Diane Thomson5 years ago
The bikes did show some wear but the two mechanics on our barge were wonderful in making repairs overnight. The maps were on the whole very good but each person on the trip should be given their own set of maps and the accompanied daily itinerary descriptions.
Carolyn Dunbar5 years ago
This was a nice trip which I chose after research. I learned that I prefer smaller groups.
Thomas Reid5 years ago
Marcel is a great guide/tour leader.
Susan Monaghan5 years ago
There was some disconnect in passing along information. For example the barge had to leave earlier than 6:30 but info was not passed on. Fortunately my friends and I arrived and boarded the sister ship and got the info that the Angela Esmee was instructed to leave the port due to some Dutch holiday celebration. Good thing we took the initiative. There was no one waiting on the dock to give us this info.Info about running a tab for drinks was false. We had to purchase tokens from a machine to use at bar. Bikes were somewhat rickety, having seen their 2nd season (according to a mechanic I talked to). Mine and some others made a grinding noise the entire time. The mechanic tried to fix it, but eventually I just tolerated it. I heard one mech say the bikes had a couple more trips this season. Good luck to the next owner.Food was very good and the staff were very friendly. I would recommend a Bike and Barge trip to friends, but we ran into another group on a similar tour riding green bikes...they LOVED their bikes. We couldn't come close to saying that about ours. The green bike tour paid similar costs.
Marnie Terrett5 years ago
I found the conditions of the bikes quite poor. They were obviously wearing out after a season of use. The food was adequate but not spectacular. The information about how to get clean towels was given 5 days into the trip.The routes were well described but I would have liked further information about the towns we were passing through and where we were staying the night. Our group happened upon a cemetery with Canadian war dead but it was just luck. That type of information should be included I the route description of the day. Despite the things mentioned I did enjoy the trip and would recommend it to others.
Fair Rapsey5 years ago
We should each have our own maps and route descriptions, not just one per cabin. You don't necessarily cycle with your cabin mate and sometimes people get separated from cycling partners during the day.
Our guide Marcel appeared to have a very arrogant attitude towards guests, particularly those who asked for clarification of various things. He was rude to me when I asked a question about the availability of public washrooms along the way - and what was customary in Holland. He snapped "So you think Dutch people don't go to the toilet?" He seemed to make a lot more effort as the week went on and was quite knowledgeable about a Read More variety of things. He got off to a bad start with quite a few people however.
Re Food: The food was good and varied. We had a lot of salads/vegetables (generally overcooked) which I appreciated. Tea, coffee and water should be available for free all the time, not just till 4. A euro for hot water and a tea bag is chintzy.
I enjoyed the trip and the route. The route was quite varied in a lot of ways and very beautiful. Luckily the weather was reasonably cooperative and our group had a great time. The barge is a fun experience, and I would recommend it and consider another trip for myself as well.
Bob Rodney5 years ago
Marcel was a very good guide-Johnan helped keep our bikes in very good order.
Buford and Gina7 years ago
We were somewhat anxious about how the trip would work out: would we find the boat ok?; would we be able to get everything on-board ok?; would we have a good time? The trip worked like clockwork—everything worked exactly as it should!
Our accommodations on-board the Angela Esmee were quite comfortable. The rooms were small, as we expected. However, they were very comfortable. Additionally, we spent very little time in our cabin. Most of our time was spent either on the bikes, walking in the great port villages, on the top deck, or in the dining salon, enjoying the company of the others on the tour or the wonderful staff. Food on-board the ship was very good, and quite filling. Just right to get us off to a good start, or to replenish us after a great Read More day of riding.
The staff was most accommodating. We really bonded with Arie, the tour leader. He proved to be very helpful, and knowledgeable. However, beyond that, he was personable! He is very well schooled, and has a great sense of humor. He was someone we enjoyed spending time with on our vacation. In addition to Arie, the Captain and ship’s crew (Matthew, and Peter), the hotel manager (Yvonne), cook, and the wait staff and cabin cleaning crew were all very personable, and willing to help with anything we needed.
The cycling was fantastic. The tour routes were obviously well thought out—they led us through picturesque small villages, and natural terrain. Traffic was negligible throughout the routes. Additionally, all of our many stops resulted in very positive, enjoyable conversations and interactions with everyone we encountered. At one stop, we were offered tea, coffee, and great conversation when we stopped into a local hardware store along our route between Enkhouzen and Hoorn. We also encountered the Wervershoof bakery owner’s wife, a fantastic lady, at one of our many bakery stops. There’s a reason Dutch Apple Pie is famous, though in Wervershoof, it’s the cookies that steal the show.
Thank you for helping us arrange rental of the Hase Pinos! They were quite enjoyable for the trip. TomTom rentals(email@example.com) really went out of their way to help us get the bikes adjusted and to ensure we were comfortable on the bikes. They were with us for approximately two hours before departure to ensure everything was just right. In addition, Tom left us with a tool kit with anything we may have needed during the tour—fortunately, we didn’t need anything, the bikes performed flawlessly. I would suggest that you offer these Hase Pino Tandems as a routine option. There may be others who desire such a bike—especially cases where one rider is significantly stronger than another, or for cases where one rider may have a physical limitation that wouldn’t allow them to participate on their own. The advantages of the Pino are that two riders will stay together with their heads so close that they can carry on conversations. Plus, both have a beautiful view of the route ahead. My wife actually rode with her i-phone/camera dangling from a wrist strap—ready to snap photos at a moment’s notice, which she did quite often. During our tour, we encountered one other Hase Pino. It appeared the rider in the front may have been blind. Nevertheless, on this bike they could still participate in the ride.
We did have one minor annoyance. I’d like to emphasize “minor.” The Wi-Fi service on-board the ship only worked sporadically. We had wanted to use this service to maintain a blog, and keep friend and family at home appraised of the trip. Unfortunately, the service wasn’t reliable enough to enable us to do this. Nevertheless, in the grand scheme of things, we consider this a minor annoyance against what was otherwise a FANTASTIC trip.
We plan on doing a similar vacation again. When we do, you can bet that we’ll return to Tripsite for your outstanding support.
Buford and Gina