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Beautiful North Netherlands in the Angela Esmee

8 Jul 2016


Overall this was a great trip enjoyed by all of our party of four. I would recommend this tour to anyone – especially those that don’t like cycling up hills. Just be aware that isn’t a luxury cruise, some of it is basic but this is very much in line with the price you are paying. I would say it is good value for money. The selected cycle routes were well chosen and very easy to ride though the flat Dutch countryside. We were supplied with a map detailing all routes and every day our guide Marguite (I hope I spelt that correctly) explained the routes, provided a list of cycle junctions to follow (much easier than following cycle routes in the UK) and explained where we would meet up with the boat. Marguite also cycled the routes at a relaxed pace and was contactable by phone if we got lost. The countryside was beautiful with windmills, quaint villages, beaches, dykes and lakes. It’s worth emphasising how safe and plentiful the cycle routes in this part of the world are. The rental bikes were standard Dutch type (wide handle bars) – easy to ride but very heavy. Most of the bikes applied brakes when you back peddled – something I’d never had before and it took quite a bit of getting used to. The bikes came with an easy to use in-built lock. One point to note: if possible, arrive at the boat quite early to select your bike – in our party of four lads, we had two smaller ladies bikes as there were no other bikes available. The boat was clean and the all the crew were helpful and friendly. The accomodation was small but not unexpectedly so. We had three people in one room which had two bunk beds with the top bunk quite close to the ceiling (maybe 80cm). I wouldn’t recommend four in this room as someone would have had to sleep right next to the air conditioning unit (which worked well to keep the room at a good temperature). The shower area was large and the rest of the bathroom was reasonably sized. The lounge area and the sun deck provided pleasant spaces to relex in when not cycling or eating. There were five meals where we were cruising over canals or open water, which was very pleasant and there was lots to see when travelling in the boat. The places we stayed overnight were almost all in very nice small towns with lots to see (and places to drink in). The one exception was a marina in Den Oever that didn’t have much to see though we were able to find a quaint bar serving the local sailors. The additional features – two walking tours round city centres and a guided trip round a local cheese shop were interesting, especially if you hadn’t already walked around the towns. Although we missed the music night, it seemed to be very popular with the rest of the boat. The food was always plentiful though sometimes lacked variety. Breakfast always had 3 or 4 different types of bread, cheese and meats plus boiled eggs, muesli, granola, fruit yoghurt, spreads and a special each day (scrambled eggs, bacob, hotdogs). Lunch was a bottle of water, a fruit and sandwiches you made yourself from the breakfast foods. The dinner was a bit “school dinner” in quality. The starter and dessert were small but tasty. The filling main course usually had two salads, meat or fish, 2-3 vegetables and two types of potato – mostly these seemed to be made from frozed but the crew did their best to make them appealing by providing sauces and mixing in meat and spices. One small complaint here – I wasn’t a fan of was using fruit youghurt as a salad dressing. One of our party was vegetarian and was generally well catered for though he was a bit bored of cheese by the end of the trip. One small complaint would be the extra costs, which were introduced on the first night: – An optional 10 euro supplement to insure the bike that I’d already spent 70 euros on hiring – The boat had a token system for buying drinks which made some drinks expensive – 5 euro for half a litre of lager or for a two glass caraffe of wine was OK but 17.5 euro for a bottle of wine and 2.5 Euro for a small bottle of water was excessive. The price of water was particulary bad considering that water was not served with dinner. You are only allowed to drink your own alcohol (bought off the boat) in your cabin, which is a bit cramped for that kind of thing. One point of interest, in Amsterdam almost everyone speaks English as a second language but in North Netherlands, German is the second language. A lot of people do speak English but we occasionally struggled to make ourselves understood. For example, the brewery tour on the island of Texel was only in Dutch or German – they still had a tasting menu of drinks (very nice) but our Dutch or German wasn’t good enough to go on the tour (which looked good).

Reply from Boat Bike Tours 14 Jul 2016

Thank you very much for taking the time to send us your review. We are very pleased to hear you had such a great time on board!

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