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Wow, what a great trip for our group!

15 May 2023

Bill Buros

Late in April, rolling into the first week in May, we had a group of 16 friends meet up on a premium tulip tour around Amsterdam on the Zwaantje ship, captained by Martÿn. We had a great week on the ship, with great meals and a nicely stocked bar with very reasonable prices. The ship was clean and fairly modern. The bike tours were wonderful and we had a wide range of experiences over the week. The rooms were “cozy”, which means they were a bit tight, but that wasn’t really a surprise given the nature of the ship we were on. Our two medium-sized suitcases fit nicely under the two separate twin beds. The beds were surprisingly comfortable, so we slept nicely. The in-room bathroom basically had room enough for one, be it at the sink, toilet, or the shower. We do wish they would upgrade the little window in the room to be able to open and get some fresh air in there, but no big deal. The rooms were cleaned every day. The ship had 12 cabins, 24 guests. On the main level there was a sitting area and a dining area with four tables for the meals. We ate breakfast and dinners on the ship. The dining area was nice, lots of windows and it felt open. The meals were prepared by an on-board chef and they were great. Everyone sat together for each meal.. Each evening after dinner, there was usually a guided walking tour of the city we were docked at, which was nice. There was an open outside deck upstairs where we spent most of the late afternoons on drinking beer and wine and re-hydrating and socializing. We had good weather for most of the week, and the evenings were perfect for being outside up on the deck. The staff on the ship were delightful. “Joke” was our hostess and she was wonderful, always watching out for all of the guests. For the record, her name is not sounded like the English common pronunciation, the j is soft and the ke is a separate syllable. We spent the whole week trying to get used to the Dutch pronunciations. The first mate – Ytse – was always helpful and around the ship. The two of them made the trip very nice. The captain was always around and helped with the meals and tables. That was a pleasant surprise ! The bike tours were nicely planned. The bikes were provided by Boat Bike Tours company. Most people had the sit-up style “normal” geared bikes common in Amsterdam, and about 4-6 people (it varied day to day) used electric bikes. Each day we split into two groups of 12 max, each group led by one of the guides — Hans or Hetty. Both guides were super nice, and it was nice riding with different groups each day. Each day’s touring had options which were covered the evening before. All in all, our group had a great time on the ship and the tours. We would definitely highly recommend Martÿn’s Zwaantje ship and taking a premium tour package with Boat Bike Tours. My wife and I are already planning a similar Boat Bike Tour for next year along the Croatia coast.

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