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Country: Netherlands • REMOVE
Tulip Tour - Amsterdam to Bruges - 8 day by chann 2 months ago • Permalink/Reply
Toured on the Merlijn. Kuhn and Christina, the current owners, were friendly as were the entire staff. Generally enjoyable trip but much different than expected. Agree with prior comments that much more a biking trip than sightseeing. Felt every day we were pushing to meet the boat as opposed to enjoying the sights along the way. Just stopping to take a picture in picturesque countryside or village would put you behind the group trying to catch up. Lunch stops for 45 minutes to one hour. By time you maybe bought a drink, found a spot to eat your bag lunch, found a bathroom, it was time to get back on the bike and go. Just enough time to realize what you were missing with no time to explore!
Biking is more challenging than expected at this pace. Probably little problem for experienced bikers. But just because there are few hills (there are some), don't assume it is easy. Biking with the wind in your face (which we had for most our trip) is challenging, and rain adds a whole different element (luckily only one day). Also, riding in a group of bikers with varying skill levels, particularly in congested areas, is a challenge itself, even if you are an experienced biker.
Hour long walking tours were offered a few nights after dinner if you weren't too tired to go or need to get to bed for early start. The guide was well informed, but during biking, if you weren't riding right next to or behind him, you may not even know the name of the village, what the sites were, or have an opportunity to ask questions until you stopped for lunch or were back on the boat. So depending upon where you are in the pack of riders, you may not have any information about what you were seeing. This was disappointing. More stops should be made and time allotted for sightseeing.
The food left much to be desired. While the staff clearly tried very hard to please, most of us agreed a cook/chef should be hired. Breakfast was fairly standard - cold mostly with one hot option daily. Not unusual, but lacked interest. Packed lunches were same every day - small sandwich, juice, and a candy bar. You could supplement from the breakfast buffet with an apple or banana. Juice boxes were included, as well. Dinners were three courses: soups and desserts were generally ok; main courses very bland or over cooked.
Staff was kind and did their best to accommodate requests. We had a nice group of guests who got along well and provided good company throughout the trip. Luckily, our immediate travel group added time in the beginning of the trip in Amsterdam and at the end to revisit Bruge, Ghent, and Antwerp to more fully explore these beautiful cities. But the small villages and towns you will ride through are real gems that don't get enough attention on this tour. Add more days to this tour (not more cities or villages) to allow guests to fully explore the wonderful stops that are already part of this trip.
Countries: Belgium, Netherlands
South Holland Tour by Cheryl M. 6 months ago • Permalink/Reply
Loved the little towns, biking through them. Really nice trails. Sadly rain a couple of days but can't control the weather.
Boat: De Amsterdam
Amsterdam to Bruges by Howard H. 11 months ago • Permalink/Reply
The Magnifique II was fine and the food was good. One thing I found odd was the staff joined us at the bar at night. The bar had limited seating and they took up the stools while passengers stood. Not cool. I found the biking boring. There were no interesting stops other than the cities. Amsterdam, Ghent and Bruges were very nice. The Netherlands were rather dull. On other tours we stopped at wineries, Chateaus or interesting landmarks. Here the guides just stopped and said there is coffee or a church you can visit. Not very organized. Their goal seemed to be to keep us out long enough to reach the boat. I would not recommend this tour.
Boat: Magnifique III
Countries: Netherlands, Belgium
Tulip Tour - 4 Day by Karen B. 1 year ago • Permalink/Reply
I am a very experienced cyclist (raced in my younger days). The condition of the bicycles left something to be desired. For example, the headsets of the bikes were not tightened after the handlebars were straightened out as they were distributed to the group. The loose headset contributed to an accident that resulted in an injury.
I suppose it is a common type of bicycle in Holland, but the upright positioning and lack of rake on the front fork made the bike inherently unstable. I got used to it pretty quickly, but some of the group never did. Only about half of our group were regular cyclists, and that made riding in/with the group an exercise in self-protection. Fortunately, my brakes worked well.
Also, lessons on how to cycle in the Netherlands (rules of the road, etc.) could have been more complete and reinforced each day. Our group tended to bunch up whenever stopped, blocking the way for others, and again, verging on dangerous. The guide said nothing. After one of our group said something to the guide, he finally started paying more attention to keeping the group together at traffic signals. Another part of the group tended to ride in the pedestrian lanes- they stopped doing that after getting a thorough tongue-lashing from a Dutchman walking his dog.
All this said- the general content of the trip was wonderful- the tulips, the cities, the countryside... we thoroughly enjoyed that. Would we do it again? Unsure... perhaps if we could be with a more experienced group.
Boat: Flora (formerly Jelmar)
Amsterdam to Bruges by Julie R. 1 year ago • Permalink/Reply
Overall, it was a great trip - boat and crew, bikes, guide, fellow passengers. Where this trip fell short of a previous bike boat trip that I did, was that this trip lacked interesting stops along our cycle route. It felt more like getting from point A to point B with a brief coffee or lunch stop - no tours along the way. From my understanding in talking with the boat owner/captain, the cycling routes and stops are planned by Bike Boat Tours.
Tulip Tour - 10 Day - Amsterdam to Bruges by Tom L. 1 year ago • Permalink/Reply
The Quo Vadis was super! The food, accommodations, staff and bikes were all terrific. However, we were unprepared for the traffic and city riding intensity. Marsha is an experienced recreational rider but had no idea how to deal with traffic. She completed the first day and began another, but turned back after the first half kilometer and packed it in after that. City traffic and congested cycling is something only urban folks experience, so we and others were unprepared. We were were really expecting a leisurely paced scenic tour, not the frantic paced marathon we got. The trip was listed as easy, but a 12 mph average speed for 36 miles is ridiculous for most recreational cyclists, especially when you’re there for scenery and cultural experience along with cycling. Additionally, once you start for the day, there is no practical way to drop our. So, if we were to look for another bike barge trip, we would be looking for:Quo Vadis or equal20-25 mile days maximum 8-10 mph average speed maximum Route mapsRouting to avoid urban trafficMore short stops to smell the flowers. Ultimately, we were disappointed in the cycling portion of the trip feeling it was not so much for tourists who like to ride. We (and others) felt the guide placed too much emphasis on covering miles and not enough on making it pleasurable. Tripsite staff is superb and did everything they promised. Thanks.
Boat: Quo Vadis
Tulip Tour - 5 day by Brenda M. 1 year ago • Permalink/Reply
The tulip tour trip is too short, but cycling around the flowering bulb fields was wonderful. Visiting Keukenhof gardens in bloom was great. I didn't like assigned seating for our meals and the buffet organization on the Fluvius was terrible, especially when trying to make lunches in a tiny space with everyone grabbing stuff. Food arrangements were the weakest part of the tour, although they also hired an awful lounge singer one night.
Tulip Tour - Amsterdam to Bruges - 8 day by Richard H. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Most Memorable Part: Our fellow travelers and Jacko, the chef on the Quo Vadis.
Amsterdam to Bruges by Suki G. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Book from Brugge to Amsterdam to avoid headwinds. Expect riding in country with nothing special to see.
Boat: Magnifique II
Amsterdam to Cologne and Cologne to Amsterdam by Gordon M. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
We had an exceptional guide. He had a lot of local knowledge and often altered our route in order to extend our cycling experience.
Boat: Sailing Home
Countries: Netherlands, Germany
Bruges to Merzig (no longer available)by Mona W. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Most Memorable Part: The people on our tour were great. A bunch of fun people.
Countries: Belgium, Germany, Netherlands
Bruges to Amsterdam by Marie B. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Overall this was a great experience. The boat was clean and the staff friendly. The itinerary and scenery was beautiful. The only negative was that the website had several inaccuracies. For example, the mileage each day was much longer than published. Also, the number of meals provided was less than published.
Bruges to Amsterdam by Kevin Armstrong 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
I have done this trip from Amsterdam to Bruges as well. I found this version to not be as enjoyable. The reason was there was not as much on the route to see and take in. I think that there are some differences do to which barge you are on which may restrict the routes. Bruges is amazing as was Amsterdam but in between nothing exciting. The barge was amazing (Sailing Home) with a wonderful chef. I love this style of touring and have done 8 of them and will do more!
Amsterdam to Bruges by Darryl White 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
My wife and two other couples did this trip in August 2017. The crew was great the boat is very well appointed, the rooms are small but function well. The evening meals were great, breakfast was limited most days to bread cheese and cereal. Now the bad part:The crew turns off the air conditioning at 10:30 at night and does not come back on until the morning. So one would wake up in the middle of the night sweating and not be able to go back to sleep, The bedding, our clothes and all other items in the room would get moist and moldy from condensation. The Bicycles were not the best, they were quite used and most of the seats were loose and could not be tightened which made for long days of riding...
South Holland Tour by Thelma K. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
I learned and saw things from the Netherlands that I had never seen before. I loved the cycling through the dunes.
Tulip Tour - 4 Day by William L. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
My wife not getting adequate vegetarian food on two occasions. Left a bad impression.
Tulip Tour - 4 Day by Andi 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Although the weather was rather rough in April, the tulip fields were lovely. Our guide was sweet and attentive, but her lack of experience in working with large, diverse groups created some difficult situations. With more experience, she will be super. Two bikes needed basic repairs within the first twenty minutes of biking, indicating that they had not been checked prior to our group's arrival. The captain of the Jelmar was skillful in managing the barge, but his people skills are still developing. Enough said.Jelmar April 2017
Tulip Tour - Amsterdam to Bruges - 8 day by Betsy A. 2 years ago • Permalink/Reply
The trip was fun but I don't think the description of the trip was accurate. The trip was about 85% bike riding and 15% site seeing. I would have liked more time to explore the cities we were riding through but most of the time it was too late or placed were closed. Not sure if I would do another tour like this. The riding was beautiful but I really expected more site seeing according to the trip description.
Bruges to Amsterdam by D. Pincar 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
I would recommend it, but with reservations. I think there should have been two guides, one to take a faster group and one for a beginner group. A few people on the trip should not have been. They were not comfortable on their bikes, and were a daily danger to whomever they were near. Something should have been done about it.I also would have liked to ride faster, and spend more free time in the little towns.
Bruges to Amsterdam by E. Hull-parsons 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
I have planned to contact you with feedback, but haven't. The staff was great except the guide. He was not friendly or helpful. We were all disappointed in his lack of leadership and "guiding". Of the three trips we have taken, this was the least appealing. The route was not attractive, and mostly industrial, urban or rural. We were near places we know were charming and interesting, but did not visit them. I'm left wondering if it is that tour company. For 35 people biking there really should have been more staff on the road with us. Still love you!
Bike and Sail the Zuiderzee Coast by Deborah Bruyns 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
My sister and I have taken many bike and barge tours. This trip was the first that we were disappointed with accommodations, staff, meals. We were not the only ones who felt this way. Sorry I would not recommend the tour. I will continue to monitor your website for future excursions.
North Holland Tour by Margaret Terrett 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
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.
Boat: De Holland
Amsterdam to Bruges by Charlene James 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
In Ghent, too far from city centre to explore after biking unless take a taxi into the city. Antwerp museum was closed, as it was a Sunday. Very disappointing. Breakfast and lunch meals were almost always the same, got too uninteresting.
North Holland Tour by Susan Monaghan 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
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.
Email or Call 800-951-4384 +1 570-965-2064