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NiGHTMARE that is the only way to describe this boat

6 Sep 2017

Elaine and David Marsh

NiGHTMARE that is the only way to describe the Bordeaux boat and bike trip. The first night on board the woman running the boat went crazy when we asked for the air conditioning to be put on in the cabins it was over 30 degrees . She was screaming and shouting saying did we know how much tax she had to pay. From then on it only got worse. The next night they even grounded the boat in the middle of a fast flowing river. All the time on board we NEVER had a SAFETY drill. The cabins are the smallest we have ever had on a boat two people couldn’t stand at one time. The food , penny pinching was the order of the day, vegetarians sat on our table were served a solitary boiled egg , potatoes and the meat sauce from the other passengers duck for dinner. There was no salad or vegetables served for dinner. No one helped you on or off the boat with your bikes or checked the tyres or road safety of them. No wonder the boat was half full I should have read the reviews beforehand. We rarely docked at night I presume to avoid paying docking fees and keep people on board buying the overpriced drink. We have previously been on the Danube and Rhine and neckar boat and bike trips and they where great. To top it all the last day when my husband was just about to disembark on the gang plank someone screamed from above not too as it wasn’t tied up properly , no signs or person to stop passengers stepping on the gang plank.

Reply from Boat Bike Tours 12 Sep 2017

Dear mrs. Marsh, We are sorry to read you have had such a bad experience during your trip in Bordeaux. We are a bit surprised by some of your comments, because at the time you were onboard our director/CEO was there too. He discussed everything that had happened to you, regarding the situation on the river at the time and then it seemed like you understood, even though you stayed extremely nervous. For people reading your review we like to be clear that because of the extreme drought the water in the river was very low. Since it is a tidal river this ship is on, the captain had to make sure there was enough water to pass under the bridge. Unfortunately he didn’t make it, so he decided to wait for high tide. This took approximately 3 hours, and the captain placed the barge on a safe spot in the river. Indeed it went a bit lopsided and therefore the manager turned the air conditioning off; this prevented the condensation water from flowing out. The first night the air conditioning was also off for some time, and indeed it was warm, approx. 25 degrees Celsius. Once it was reported it was fixed very soon. Regarding your remark about the safety drill you never had, we have understood from the crew that you arrived late for the welcome speech. During this talk they explain about the safety procedures on board. Of course the crew was more than happy to explain the procedures to you in person, when they found out that you had missed the introduction, because you stayed in your cabin the whole time. They have pointed out where the life vests were and how safety on board of a ship works. About the cabins we can only say that they are as large as mentioned on our website. See ‘Ship information’: So this is something you chose for, when you booked the tour. It can be something you forgot to check, because you made a last-minute booking. In all of our information (boarding information, FAQ’s) we also explain, that cabins are a lot smaller than a standard hotel room. Your complaint about the meals is something that we regret. We are aware that not all of our guests appreciate the local French cuisine. The chef onboard has stated that there were vegetables (fresh and mostly local) served with every meal on board. The crew has not received any complaint about the meals from the vegetarian person you mention, nor have we heard anything about this. Then there is your assumption about the not-docking to avoid paying docking fees or forcing guests to drink on board. We would like to explain this too, because your assumptions are wrong. Docking fees are paid per year, so this is not true. There was one night – in Libourne – that the ship had to anchor instead of dock. This was because there was no docking place available, since there already were two other large ships moored. The third mooring place had been severely damaged by another ship earlier this season and it has not been repaired by the local municipality yet. Also on other nights the ship did not dock because (again) of the tides of the river (the ship has to pass under a bridge with the right water level). The second reason the captain decided to continue sailing, is because it is nicer for guests to be cruising when it is still light and keep going until in the evening, instead of leaving in the middle of the night and waking everyone up with the sound of the engines. About the prices of the drinks – these are lower than standard prices for regional restaurants, hotels and catering industry: a small beer for € 2.50 and a large one (0.5 liters) for € 5, a glass of wine for € 2.50 and € 1.5 for 1.5 liters of mineral water. The tap water on board is good and could have been served for free during dinner, if you have asked for it. Just one comparison with prices of bars in and around Bordeaux, a beer costs between € 3 and € 9. Your last remark about the disembarkation and people screaming that it was not safe, that happened to be to you (the captain shouted “Stop!”) for trying to get off board too quickly. At that time the ship was still not completely tied up to the shore. The captain was safely maneuvering the boat to a better position. Indeed there was no bridge for passengers yet, but you were determined to depart as soon as possible without a proper goodbye. All safety procedures were always taken accordingly, so with ropes for all exits. If you or your husband (that you thought the screaming was for) were to disembark before the ship was properly moored you have put yourselves in danger. We have not had such a review for this trip ever in the two years we offer this tour. All of our reviews prior to yours have been a 4- or 5-star and almost everyone enjoyed their trip. So your experience is quite unique. Once again we are very sorry to find out that you’ve had such an unpleasant trip, even though your husband told the ships’ manager several times everything was fine.

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