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Boat/Barge: De Holland • REMOVE • About De Holland
North Holland Tour by Susan O. 6 months ago • Permalink/Reply
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.
Boat: De Holland
North Holland Tour by Sue Cousineau 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
1. Food was mediocre - not great...lots of canned or frozen vegetables. Meat was consistently over cooked and dry. There was lots of choices for breakfast and we especially liked the variety to make our lunches. Had to pay for hot water, tea & coffee after 4:00 pm was a ridiculous and cheap policy which angered many. 2. Room service - towels were not replenished each day as expected until the guide told us to put them in the shower to indicate we wanted towels refreshed each day. This was a problem of no signage to indicate this practice and that the guide forgot to tell us until day 4 when someone complained.3. Maps and route descriptions - we always marvel at the signage for cycling in the Netherlands. Our country should adopt this method. But we were only given one map/booklet per room. Again, a very cheap practice as all travelers are paying cyclists and each want their own maps. Can't guarantee that those who room together actually cycle together. This again angered many in our group all of whom are avid cyclists who have traveled extensively by bike in Europe.4. Route - Wonderful! Northern Netherlands is so beautiful, the route selected was varied and very picturesque, and towns we visited were charming.5. Staff - Every staff person, but one, was extremely polite, helpful and courteous, from the kitchen staff, the captain, servers, and bike support fellas. The one exception was our guide who was rigid, rude, impatient and grumpy. He warmed up as the week progressed but his welcoming manner was less than desirable. He didn't seem to like to deal with women or English clients, as we saw that he got along very well with the German clients. It could have been a factor of language and fatigue due the fact that it was the end of the season.
North Holland Tour by Paul Hough 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
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.
North Holland Tour by Diane Thomson 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
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.
North Holland Tour by Carolyn Dunbar 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
This was a nice trip which I chose after research. I learned that I prefer smaller groups.
North Holland Tour by Marnie Terrett 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
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.
North Holland Tour by Fair Rapsey 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
I had a lot of trouble with the bike seat. That created pain/discomfort for the whole week. We saw other barges participants en route with much better bikes than we had. Ours were quite old and clunky but they worked OK when you got used to them. The bike mechanics were great. The seven gears were adequate for the terrain.
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 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.
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