FAQ

 Planning your trip

> How do I make a reservation?
You can book online by visiting our website or the rental websites.
> When is the best time to go?
There is no such thing as the ‘best time’ to go on a river cruise: every season has its strengths and nature, near rivers and canals, is always brimming with beautiful things to see.
> How long should I go for?
However long you’ve got for your holiday, there is a river cruise to suit your needs. Some routes are designed to be done in a weekend, others require a long weekend, but you can also take a one-week cruise, 10 or 11 days, two weeks, or for long-term adventurers there are also three-week cruises!
> Who should I go with? And how is it, living together in a confined space?
A riverboat cruise is always an unforgettable experience to share as a couple, with family or friends. Children will quickly settle into it and enjoy sharing the helm! They will have a unique and unforgettable experience. Among friends, you will soon be having lots of fun and there are many activities to keep you busy.A cruise does not mean being shut away in your cabin, quite the opposite in fact! On board you are at one with the surrounding nature and you will experience a feeling of space and freedom like no other!

> Are these holidays suitable for children?
All the boats have numerous items of safety equipment including railings for getting around onboard safely and easily. However, the aquatic environment always has its risks; we recommend that children wear life vests. For toddlers, remember to bring armbands, as they are often easier and more comfortable to wear in hot weather.
> Can we bring our dog?
Dogs and other pets are welcome on board the houseboats. Ensure you have all the necessary equipment for your animal (including blanket and basket), because these things are not provided for on board. Don’t forget to ensure their safety, especially when passing through locks.
> What should we bring with us?
It is best to bring comfortable clothes, soft, non-slip shoes and to use travel bags instead of suitcases. Also, be sure to charge up your media devices or even bring several spare batteries. With regards to the bed linen and facilities on board the boat, please enquire directly with your rental company. Do not forget to bring sun cream, sun glasses and hats for hot weather.
> Which boat should we choose?
Whether you’re looking for a simple boat at an attractive price, a boat for a family cruise, the perfect boat for two, three or four couples, a boat with top of the range facilities or even a boat suitable for disabled people, you will find that our rental companies offer something for everything.
> Is this type of holiday affordable?
To work out how much your cruise is going to cost, you must take into account the duration, the type of boat you choose, the dates and the number of passengers on board. You will soon realise that a river cruise can actually be a very affordable kind of holiday.

 The boat

> Is the boat comfortable?
Whichever boat you choose, everything is designed so that you feel comfortable on board. The spacious living area, the comfortable bunks, heating… On board a boat, space is obviously limited but the living area is always prioritised in terms of size, as it is the place you will be spending the most time in. The cabins are therefore modest in size but offer good storage. On a river cruise you will soon feel at home!
> Is there hot water on the boat?
There is hot water do you can take a good shower, and the water can be refilled very easily.
> Is the riverboat equipped with linen, bedding and crockery, etc.?
On houseboats, you will generally find all the crockery and kitchen equipment needed to whip up a meal on deck, in the wilderness or in port.You will also generally find all bed linen provided (sheets, duvets, pillows) corresponding to the number of passengers.

> Can anyone do a riverboat cruise?
River tourism on houseboats is accessible to all and does not require you to have a certain level of physical fitness. Moreover, some boats are accessible to disabled people, enabling them to move around on board easily.
> Can anyone steer the boat?
On your day of departure you will be issued with a temporary licence that acts as a permit appointing one of you as captain, and on board a cruise boat anyone can steer the boat under the supervision of the captain. So you can introduce your children to steering the boat by accompanying them with manoeuvres. Note: navigation is permitted for anyone aged 16 or over.
> Does 220V electricity work on board?
The majority of the boats are not equipped with 220V; however houseboats are equipped with a 12V cigarette lighter type plug, so if you have a 12V charger you can recharge your mobile phone. For devices using 220V, you can use them on the boat if you rent a 12V-220V transformer. Otherwise you will find a great many power points along the canal. Some newer houseboats are equipped with generators.

 Steering and navigation

> How is it possible to rent a houseboat without a licence?
Rental boats can be driven without a licence. On the day of departure, you will receive all the instructions to quickly become the “onboard captain”. You will then receive a “temporary licence” and a provisional licence valid for the duration of your cruise. Navigation is permitted for anyone aged 16 years or over under the responsibility of the captain.
> Will I be able to operate a pleasure boat?
Pleasure boats are specially designed for inland navigation and no special skills are required to operate them. After your induction, you will soon become a shrewd captain, especially as navigation on board river boats is very simple and is controlled by one ignition key, with forward and reverse gears.
> How do we plan our route along the waterways, how fast does the boat go and how many miles can we do in a day?
The normal cruising speed for a pleasure boat is around 4 mph and it takes about 20 minutes to go through a lock. Plan to navigate around 4 to 6 hours per day, which will enable you to cover a distance of 18 to 24 miles, without forgetting to add time for passing through each lock.
> Should I navigate at night?
River navigation at night is prohibited, due to the difficulty of manoeuvring in the dark. In addition, locks are only open in the daytime. River navigation therefore follows daylight hours.

 Locks

> How do you get through a lock?
Passing through a lock is a simple and fun manoeuvre if you follow some basic tips: always manoeuvre slowly, carefully and be patient if there are many boats waiting for the lock. For manual locks, manoeuvres are easier to carry out with a minimum of two agile people. You will see that passing through locks is a special part of your cruise. You can chat with the lock keeper, sometimes buy local produce or just enjoy the break to soak up the local atmosphere and socialise with other boaters.
> How long does it take to pass through a lock?
How long does it take to pass through a lock?
> When are locks open? Are there days when they are closed?
Locks are normally open every day but some holidays, they might be closed. The opening hours differ depending on the canal. You will be informed of this during your induction or at the time of booking.
> Do you have to pay to go through a lock?
No, you do not have to pay to pass through a lock.

 Activities

> Is it possible to swim?
Swimming is often possible all the way along your route. Many lakes, rivers and canals allow swimming; however you should avoid swimming on the outskirts of cities. Bring your swimsuits; it will be useful for sunbathing on deck in any case. When you work out your starting point, you will be given all the information about swimming.
> Is fishing allowed during the cruise?
Yes in most areas, fishing is permitted but subject to certain conditions. Find out before you go and do not forget your fishing permit. A temporary permit can be obtained from the local authorities in the area you are taking your cruise.
> What can we visit during the cruise?
River tourism does not mean you have to limit your horizon to the banks of a canal or river. Very often, you can go just a few hundred metres on foot or bicycle, or use a taxi service, to see a famous tourist spot, medieval village, Romanesque church or a good winery that it would be a shame to miss. The onboard information will tell you all about the towns and villages nearby and where you can stock up on supplies. Do not hesitate to request information from the base team on the day of your departure.
> Will we get bored on a river cruise?
There is no time to get bored on a river cruise; you will be too busy with navigating, life on board, passing through locks, mooring, as well as the many possible walks for relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet of nature, as well as the heritage and culture of each area you visit.
> What if the weather is bad?
The area you choose will determine the climate of your holiday but whatever the weather, life aboard a houseboat is always a rewarding experience. And if it rains, then that is your chance to explore the heritage of the surrounding area.

 One way or return

> Is it possible to take a river cruise one way only?
Yes absolutely; look at the suggestions of different rental cruises to explore all the possibilities. What’s more, if you go one way, additional services will often be offered, including the transfer of your vehicle. Please enquire at the time of booking.
> Can I pick up or leave the boat wherever I want?
During your cruise you are free to moor your boat wherever you want as long as there are no mooring restrictions at the selected location. However, you are obliged to fulfil your rental agreement, so you need to bring your boat back to the place and at the time arranged.
> Isn’t the return trip a bit boring?
People often think that a round trip is a bit off-putting and would prefer to go one way. However, the return journey gives you more time to wander and explore the region and you will be surprised to discover new things in the surrounding countryside that you didn’t see on the way there!

 Practical info / supplies

> Where can we park our car while we are on the trip?
The majority of river bases have an enclosed and/or covered car park. You will usually have to pay a parking fee at your departure base.
> Where can we do our shopping?
You can stock up on supplies in almost all of the villages along the canal or river: see the river information on board the boat for details of where to find a grocery store, bakery, fishmonger, butcher, etc. Sometimes lockkeepers will be selling eggs and poultry, certain vegetables and wine at very reasonable prices. On the day of your departure, make use of your car to do a big shop before you set off.
> Where can we fill up on water and what is the capacity of the tank?
There are many water supply points along the canal, which are shown on the river information card aboard your boat. The capacity of the water tank varies depending on size of the boat. When you board the houseboat, the tank will be full and this will usually last about 2 days in the case of reasonable consumption. The cost of filling up ranges from nothing to a few euros.
> Will there be enough fuel or will I have to fill up?
The boat’s tank is full on departure; the quantity is sufficient for a classic cruise of one week and usually lasts up to two weeks. For a longer trip, you will therefore have to fill up at a port.

 Cycling

> Is it possible to hire bikes?
Some river rentals offer bicycle hire, check directly with them to find out the conditions for hire.
> Can bicycles be stored on board the boat?
You can store bikes on the deck; the number depends on the size of the boat.
> Can you ride a bike on the towpath?
Obviously, waterways are very often lined by towpaths that encourage bike rides, always in the spirit of the peaceful riverside atmosphere. It is an ideal way to explore the region and do some shopping for supplies in villages along the canal.

 Mooring

> Can we stop wherever we want?
Of course! The advantage of this type of holiday and river houseboat tourism is being able to stop freely wherever you want. As well as the ports built along the navigable canals and rivers, you can moor your boat wherever you want, in nature, for some peace and quiet, as long as there are no mooring restrictions in place.
> How do we moor the boat? Can we moor up in the wilderness?
During your river cruise, you can stop in the wilderness using the mooring poles fitted to your boat, as you will be shown by the engineer during your induction before departure.
> Do you have to pay at ports?
You will find marinas all along the canals and rivers in the navigation areas; some of them are free, others may ask you for a mooring fee if they provide water and electricity at the dockside.

 In the event of a problem

> What do we do if we break down? What do we do if there is something in the propeller?
Rental companies are often available seven days a week. Each rental base has its own security warden. Whatever the problem, just call the rental base at your departure point. Most problems can be sorted out over the phone, if not, then an engineer will come to carry out repairs as soon as possible. Try to work out the kilometre point where you are located, so you can let your rental company know in the case of breakdown.
> How does it work in the event of an accident? How much does it cost?
The river boat is fully insured and you are not responsible for any possible damages up to the value of the deposit you made.
> Do accidents happen often?
Accidents do not happen often and are usually minor due to the limited speed of river boats. However, it is necessary to be careful while navigating, so it is advisable to take turns steering.
> Should we take out insurance?
The river boat is fully insured and you are not responsible for any possible damages up to the value of the deposit you made. However, the boat insurance does not cover the person renting it and their crew, their liability towards third parties and their personal belongings. It is up to you to take out additional insurance, if you feel it is necessary.

Choose your destination and your provider!

Choose your destination and book your boat with a professional boat hire company. They'll ensure your holiday goes smoothly, and will be on hand to advise and assist, whenever you need.