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Zwaantje – Best Crew Ever!

Let’s be honest, if you are here to read reviews you have already decided to do a barge tour and you are trying to decide which one. So, I am not going to describe in great detail the boat, the bikes or the routes other than to say Zwaantje is absolutely spotless and one of the largest barges still capable of navigating smaller canals and locks. Larger boats are restricted on where they can travel and smaller boats don’t have the space and amenities of Zwaantje. This vessel is the perfect size for France. The bikes are decent quality, well maintained and current models. I am sure there are plenty of other boats similar in size and condition with adequate bikes. So, why cruise on Zwaantje? Three factors will determine if you have a good experience and those same factors make this ship stand out: The Crew, the Chef and the Guides! Zwaantje is owned and captained by Martijn. He has been in the business for 20+ years and the pride he takes in his ship and his operation are immediately evident. Martijn was personable, professional and just a fun guy to be around. Martijn ensured everyone had a great time and had everything they needed to fully enjoy the experience. As a fellow boater, it was great learning about river and canal navigation and talking about his experiences and life on the water. If you ask nicely, he may even let you steer the boat! Next is Karen, I’m not sure what her official title is but she is absolutely wonderful. Karen managed all affairs of the boat as they relate to guest services. She served meals, tended bar, cleaned the cabins, assisted us in any way needed. While this may sound like expected services, Karen went above and beyond with little touches from origami art and candies left in our cabins to providing entertainment at night. She made every one of us feel valued as guests on Zwaantje. Our chef was Frank. He is absolutely hysterical with his mannerisms (you will love his personality) but more importantly you will love his cooking. He is a professional chef and a master in his field. The variety of meals was great, the quality excellent and the portions were huge. Three courses are served for every meal. Martijn’s first mate was also excellent. He made sure all the bikes were in good order each day and quickly loaded and unloaded them for each excursion. A very helpful and efficient member of the crew. While the crew and chef are hired by the boat owner/captain, the guides are actually coordinated through Boat Bike Tours so you may not have our guides (Frank and Thomas). However, these guys were great. They were professional, knowledgeable and prioritized safety. Their senses of humor made for a fun time. While you may not have the same guides it does seem Boat Bike Tours do a fine job of screening and hiring experienced guides. This team made for an exceptional and memorable trip. You will not be disappointed booking on Zwaantje!

Reply from Boat Bike Tours
It's not every day that we receive feedback as detailed, thoughtful and lovely as yours. But trust us when we say that it does not go unnoticed. We make sure that it will be shared with our entire team to spread the positivity around. We are grateful that we had the opportunity to host you as a guest, and we hope your next trip with us will be just as exceptional and memorable. Best, Romy

Beautiful Croatia

We had a fabulous week cycling the Croatia islands. Guides were fantastic. Loved the cycling as we were at the end of the season so islands were quite. Food on board was excellent and the two lovely chefs went out of there way to keep everyone happy regarding dietary needs.Only 2 little complaints we thought tea and coffee should be complimentary anytime and the bath towel and pillows seemed a bit tired.

Reply from Boat Bike Tours
Thank you very much for the warm and lovely review, our team is very happy to receive such high rating. We are glad that the chefs and guides did a great job. It's helpful for us to know how our guests rate every part of the service, and we take every review into consideration as it helps us improve and provide a better experience for you next time. We look forward to seeing you on board again. Best, Romy

An uneven experience

I enjoyed the cycling, and the dinners were terrific. But the rooms weren‘t clean, and apart from leading the biking, the guide didn‘t offer much by way of introducing us to the region or specific towns. It was rather perfunctory.

Reply from Boat Bike Tours
Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback and bring these issues to our attention. We are sorry that our service met your expectations only halfway. We will definitely work to maintain our high standards of service in the future. We look forward to seeing you on board again. Best, Romy

Excellent Tour!

So many thoughts and good feels I’ll try to sum up here. Our lovely neighbors recommended BoatBikeTours and we immediately booked our trip. 8 days Brugge to Amsterdam October 2022. Aside from a couple rainy rides, the weather was spectacular. Even in the sprinkles, the temps were wonderful. Magnifique lll staff was top notch and amenities were pure luxury. Every single detail was exquisite: breakfast lunch dinner expertly designed, bar offerings and service, room layout and amenities w/ spectacular daily refresh, glorious outdoor spaces and best boat cruise vibes. The ship was simply the best and we wouldn’t change a thing. Special hug and scritch to Sammie our canine companion. Our BBT biking guides were almost beyond words. We appreciated that they were always in sync with our crew at the perfect speed and perfect itinerary, with bikes ready!, and so much knowledge every step of the way. Peter, Jens, and Margaret are the coolest, funniest, sweetest, most skilled biker guides you’ll find. My husband had a special bond with Peter the Belgian, and Jens the Frieslandian was my jam. IN TUNE with each of us the entire time. Beer, local history and cuisine, routes and detours, biking safety and traffic navigation, overall awesomeness and killer vibes. The three of them played extremely well off each other and each one of our 25person group! DREAM TEAM. The BoatBikeTour is expertly coordinated and an extraordinary way to experience the land and culture plus get a little exercise! I highly recommend these tours and look forward to our next one. Croatia?!

Reply from Boat Bike Tours
Thank you so much for this wonderful review! Our entire team sincerely thanks you for it. We are very proud that we were able to meet your high expectations! Thank you for taking the time to share your lovely story and experience with us. We are very pleased to have customers like you and we hope to see you again in the future. Best, Romy

I have taken friends on 7 or 8…

I have taken friends on 7 or 8 bike/barge tours with Jossie at Euro Sail Travel ( Excellent experience every time. Mary a/k/a Mary’s Mariachi group

Reply from Boat Bike Tours
Hi Mary, We're happy you had a 5-star experience and thank you for sharing it. We hope to see you again in the future. Best, Romy

Very professionally run tour.

Very professionally run tour. Enjoyed all daily bike rides including Points of interest, coffee shops & museums visited. Night-time guided walks through cities where we were docked were lovely & informative. Accommodation on board was excellent. Meals & service exemplary.

Reply from Boat Bike Tours
Hi Maureen, Thank you very much for your warm and lovely words. We look forward to welcoming you on board again. Best, Romy

The food was excellent and the chef…

The food was excellent and the chef should be commended. The boat was very clean, but our room 4 had a sewer smell to it. Air conditioning was a bonus. The biking route was good the last 3 days, but relatively boring the first 3 days. Our guide was nice, but he did not provide much information at our stops in small towns along our route. It would be nice if the guide would give us the historical significance of each place we stopped for coffee, lunch, etc. He also let the group spread out way too much, which is a dangerous situation, and a problem if he is needed like for a flat tire or a chain off. The staff on the boat were excellent and was obvious that they enjoyed their jobs. We enjoyed the sailing part, which was relaxing after a long bike ride. Thank you for the opportunity to review this trip

Reply from Boat Bike Tours
Thank you for taking the time to leave a review detailing your experience. While I'm glad that the chef and other staff did a great job, I'm sorry to hear that your other experiences were not up to par. It is helpful for us to know how our guests rate every part of the service, and we take into consideration every piece of feedback we come across, as it’s helping us to improve and ensure a better experience for you next time. We hope to see you again in the future. Best, Romy

Magnifique Bruges to Amsterdam

We enjoyed our trip on the Magnifique III. It is a wonderful ship that is well appointed and maintained. The guides were exceptionally patient and well versed in the areas we traveled. The food on the ship was wonderful. We traveled with a diverse group of people who made the trip more memorable.

Reply from Boat Bike Tours
Thank you so much for your lovely review! We are delighted to hear that you had a wonderful time on Magnifique III and thank you very much for the 5-star rating. We look forward to seeing you again at any time. Best, Romy

This tour’s difficulty level was not a 2

This tour’s difficulty level was stated as a 2. “Level 2: quite easy tours, mostly flat terrain”. I would most definitely NOT rate this a 2. The terrain was Extremly Hilly and steep, both up and down, even with Ebikes the ride was difficult! and we were on Busy and dangerous roads. I felt unsafe most of the time riding The food was excellent! the ladies in the kitchen managed to create wonderful meals out of a very small galley. the exception was the last evening meal which was to be a celebration. we discovered that almost all the crew lived in Split and left the boat early to return home. supper appeared and tasted like it was plated at 4pm(we ate at 7pm) it was dry and tasteless and in no way a celebration. the tour was NOT over yet the staff had lost interest. The bartender was rude and crabby the first couple of days until an additional person came on board to work with him. after that he was better. the added person was a welcome addition. she worked her butt off and had such a great attitude!. the guides got into their groove after a couple of days. The first days felt uncomfortable and unorganized. we didn’t feel they kept track of us as well as some other tours we have been on. After they left another couple from our tour at the boat the first day and didn’t even know it, they started counting us after every start and stop. the walking tours we had by professional guides were well done and appreciated. The scenery was amazing and we had a wonderful week of sunny weather! The boat cabins were comfortable and well-maintained. I would not choose this company again as we have been on better tours.

Reply from Boat Bike Tours
Thank you for taking the time to share such a detailed review about your recent experience. We are disheartened to hear that many elements of your stay were disappointing to say the least. This is not typical of us and can assure you it wouldn't happen again. As it may be too late to reconcile, I wanted you to know that I've used your experience within our customer satisfaction process to be sure we don't make these mistakes again. We hope to see you again in the future. Best, Romy

Croatia National Parks

Just returned from a boat/bike tour of the Croatia National Parks. Everything was well organized and was as advertised. The bikes were comfortable, and the pace of the holiday was right for us with a mix of sightseeing and bicycling.

Reply from Boat Bike Tours
Thank you for the 5-stars Edward, your review is a great way to let us know we’re on track for making our customers smile! We look forward to seeing you again very soon. Best, Romy

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