Barges | Bikes | Transport/Hotels | Cancellation Policy | Gratuity | Meals | What to Bring | Other
Bike and Barge Europe
The barges are former river cargo vessels especially converted for this kind of holiday. Do not expect a cruise ship with its passive luxury. The cycle and sail holidays are designed for people who enjoy the physical activity of cycling and who value sociability more than wholesale luxury. All bike and barge Europe tours offer a private shower and toilet in each cabin. All barges offer delicious, freshly prepared meals with local ingredients. Included is a buffet breakfast, a packed lunch, and a three-course dinner. Smoking is not allowed anywhere in the barges, except for on the deck. Each barge is a little different, but they all have a dining area, common area(s), and almost always a deck. They are categorized as follows:
Standard Plus Barge
The standard plus barge offers you all the basic necessities and comforts, and of course a private shower and toilet. The beds are either bunk beds (on on top of the other) or split level cabins, where the beds are in the shape of an “L”, with the top bunk only at about waist height, and very easy to get up and down from. Example pictures of a Standard Plus Barge:
The comfort barge offers you the basic comforts and necessities, along with two twin low beds in each cabin, and a private shower and toilet. Some barges offer a combination of double low beds and bunk beds. Please refer to the specific tour itinerary for details. Example pictures of a Comfort Barge:
Comfort Plus Barge
We only offer one comfort plus barge. This barge has two low twin beds, and only 7 cabins in total for a more intimate and personal experience. There is no air-conditioning, but the portholes can be opened in each cabin.
Example pictures of the Comfort Plus Barge:
Comfort Deluxe Barge
Our comfort deluxe barges offer most of the comforts of home, along with twin low beds and on some barges, double beds (upon request). The comfort deluxe barge on the Mantua to Venice tour also offers upper deck superior cabins, which include a double bed and more spacious quarters. Comfort deluxe barges include roomier common areas and decks, and all barges are fully equipped with air-conditioning. Example pictures of a Comfort Deluxe Barge:
Super Deluxe Barge
Our super deluxe barges offer twin low beds which can be pushed together to form a double bed, a flat screen TV in each room, and heat and air-conditioning.Super deluxe barges include roomier common areas and decks. There are 4 superior suites on the upper deck with more space than the standard cabins. These barges are a bit larger, fitting up to 36 people. Example pictures of a Super Deluxe Barge:
On our barges all meals are included. You get a buffet breakfast, a packed lunch (you pack this yourself at breakfast to take with you), and a three-course supper. On the Amsterdam to Bruges Deluxe route, one dinner is not included. Below, please find some example photos of a typical breakfast spread.
Is it possible to skip a day of cycling and stay on board the ship?
On all bike and barge Europe tours, this is possible. If you do choose to stay on board for the day, you will not be able to disembark from the barge until you reach the next mooring point. The barge usually reaches the next destination at the earliest 2 PM and the latest 5 PM.
Can I skip cycling so that I have more time to explore the town we are in?
You can always skip cycling, but you must reach the next mooring destination at your own expense via public transportation.
Are there hair dryers on the barges?
Hair dryers are available on most barges. Inquire about your tour specifically. It is NOT recommended to bring your own hair dryer from the U.S. or Canada as it can short circuit even with an adapter. (A voltage converter is needed)
Is there WIFI on the barges?
WIFI is available on some barges. It is available on all Italy barges. If the tour is a Belgium/Holland trip, WIFI will usually not be available in the Belgium portion. However there are internet cafes all around France, Belgium, and Holland that you can use once the barge moors for the night.
Can I bring my own pedals?
For most bike and barge Europe tours, you cannot change the pedals. Please check with us to see if this is possible for the specific tour you are interested in.
Do I need to bring a helmet?
Helmets are included on most of our bike and barge tours. Check your itinerary under “bicycles” to make sure that a helmet is included in your tour.
Can you open the portholes in the cabin?
On most barges you can, however on some barges, because of the level of the window in relation to the water, this is not possible.
Can I bring my own alcohol on board to consume?
On most ships this is not possible. The owners of the ships do their best to offer you a good selection of affordable wine, beer, and spirits so that you have everything that you need. If you do purchase an outside beverage, we ask that you consume this in your cabin.
Can we push the twin beds together to form one larger bed?
On the deluxe and super deluxe barges, this is usually possible, or a double bed is available. On the other category of barges, this is usually not possible, but please check with us about your specific barge.
Do bikes come with a bag? How much stuff can I fit inside?
Yes, all bikes come with a bag; either one or two rear panniers or a handlebar bag. Please check the bicycle information on the specific tour that you are interested in for more details.
Do the bikes come with a lock?
Yes, all bikes come with a lock, or a lock is available for use upon request.
Do I need to bring a helmet?
Helmets are included on the self-guided France tours on most of our bike and barge tours. On all other self-guided tours, helmets are not included. While you may see that many locals do not sport a helmet, we strongly recommend it that you bring this important life-saving device. You will be in a foreign country with foreign rules and traffic. On the guided bike and hotel tours, helmets are usually available for rent for $20 for the week.
Do you rent helmets?
No, we do not rent helmets. However if your tour starts of ends in Amsterdam, there is a bike shop that rents helmets: Rent a Bike, Damstraat 20-22, Amsterdam. Tel. 020 625 5029. The price in euros is 2,50 a day, and 10,- per week(7 days). Deposit: 1 credit card imprint or an ID (passport or driving license).
*Please note that you will need to pick up and drop off the helmet on your own. We cannot do this for you.
Can I bring my own bicycle seat?
Yes, you can bring your own bicycle seat. We can’t guarantee that it will fit, but most of the time the seats will fit. Don’t bring the post, just the seat!
Can I bring my own pedals?
For most barge tours, you cannot change the pedals. For self-guided and guided bike and hotel tours, you may bring your own pedals, but we cannot guarantee that they will fit.
Do you offer electric bikes (e-bikes)? Does that mean I don’t have to pedal?
Yes, on most tours we can offer electric bikes. We highly recommend that you rent one in your area and practice on it a few times before renting one with us. Ebikes are heavier than regular bikes and you DO have to pedal in order for the motor to work. The motor kicks on when you pedal to help assist you with an extra boost.
Can I upgrade my bike?
Yes, on the self-guided tours, and this varies per tour. On our French self-guided tours, we have one or two upgrade options (one is a road bike), depending on the tour. In Italy and upgrade is also possible on most tours.
Transportation / Accomodation
Do you offer any trip extensions?
At the moment, we only offer one trip extension, beginning and ending near Amsterdam. It is a full-day of biking to the towns of Volendam Marken, with stops for a visit to a cheese farm, and to taste delicious Dutch apple pie! This tour is offered in cooperation by Denise, my co-guide extraordinaire. You can book and find more information at Road 64.
Do I need to pre-book train tickets? How do I find out where to look for tickets?
Please look at this wonderful website, The Man in Seat Sixty-One, (http://www.seat61.com/) for information on all train travel within Europe!
Which airport should I fly into?
Please look under the “getting there” section of each tour page for suggestions.
Can you book hotels and airfare for us?
Hotels: No, we do not book hotel stays or airfare, unless the option of additional days is written on the tour’s detailed itinerary. We can send you hotel recommendations for Amsterdam, Bruges, Salzburg, Avignon, or Tours. They will be included in your information packet after you sign up, or feel free to ask for them before you book.
Airfare: We recommend www.vayama.com for finding the cheapest airfare. This site searches through most major airlines, which is great, but also means that we cannot vouch for the quality or reliability of each individual airline!
Do you meet us at the airport?
No, we do not meet you at the airport. Detailed directions on how to get to your barge, starting hotel, or meeting point will be provided after full payment is made.
Can you provide transportation from the airport or train station to the barge or starting hotel?
In Italy and Austria, this is possible. For Holland, Belgium, and France, it is easy to take a taxi or public transportation to your starting location, and information on this will be provided in the final documents that are sent after full payment is received.
In the event of cancellation by the Client the following percentages shall be due:
After reservation and up to 90 days prior to departure: $100 per person
From 89 to 60 days prior to departure: $400 per person (loss of deposit)
From 59 to 30 days prior departure: 60% of total tour cost
From 29 days prior to departure date to arrival day: 100% of total tour cost
Should I leave a tip for my guide and/or crew?
Tipping is not expected, but is always appreciated. If you enjoyed your time with your guide, you are welcome to show your gratitude through a tip. The average gratuity for one couple is 50 euros for a one week tour, given to the guide. There is a general range of 40-100 euros. If you also wish to tip the crew, you should do this separately, giving it to one member of the crew who will share it among the others. Tipping in US dollars isn’t recommended as they will have to exchange it at the bank, but if it is all you have then that’s okay!
Can you accommodate special dietary requests?
Yes we can. On a few tours there will be a supplement for the special meals, but more often we provide this service for free. We can easily accommodate vegetarians, vegans, or those who need a gluten-free diet. Please ask us about your special needs before booking, and make sure to tell us if you have a severe allergy to any foods.
How many meals are included in the tour price?
Please look at the section “Meals” or “Included” on the individual tour page. Breakfast is included on all of our tours.
What to Bring
Do you provide a packing list?
Yes, this will be provided in your first packet of information. If you have misplaced it, you can download it here.
What type of plug is used in Europe?
In Holland, France, Italy, Belgium, and Austria, the “Europlug” is used. You can find adapters for this type of plug at many travel stores or electronic stores. Please note that you should not bring a US or Canadian hairdryer without also bringing a Europlug voltage converter. The 220 volts of European outlets will short circuit your blow dryer without a voltage converter!
Can I use my credit card in Europe?
Many European countries are switching to accept only credit cards that have a microchip. Most American cards do not have these, but sometimes if you ask your bank or credit card company well in advance, they are able to give you this type of international card. In most countries we offer you will not have trouble using your regular credit card by “swiping” it, but in Holland you will find that some vendors will not accept credit cards without the microchip. Make sure to bring a debit card or travelers checks just in case!
When will I receive my daily detailed directions?
You will receive these in your starting hotel for self-guided tours, or when you arrive on board for most barge tours. If you are taking a guided tour but are considering to go “self-guided” some days, please ask us about this option.
Do all tours charge for a single supplement?
Yes, except on most barge tours, if you are willing to share a cabin with another single traveler, you will pay the regular price for double occupancy.
When is the full payment due?
Full payment is due 60 days before your departure date. We will send you an invoice around 90 days before your departure date for the remaining balance. This will be sent by email unless otherwise specified.
Do you offer cancellation or travel insurance?
We do not personally offer travel insurance or cancellation insurance, but we do partner with CSA Travel Protection to provide this. You can find out more information on www.csatravelpro.com, producer code is 71623447. You can also call (800) 348-9505. Please note that they will ask you to verify that you purchased a tour with us if you need to submit a claim. Unfortunately this is for US residents only.
Do you offer bike insurance?
On many of the bike and barge tours and self-guided tours, bike insurance is available for purchase for around $15 to $25. This does not cover you in the event that you forget to lock the bike. Please refer to your tour itinerary to see if bike insurance is included. If not, please inquire as to whether it can be purchased.