To the crew of Absoluut2.
Thank you for making this vacation so special!
The food was first class, the towns were great and thank you for sharing your experience of Dutch history and it's people.
Also, since we forgot to give Boody (spelling?) our e-mail address would you pass it along. We would love to get the soup recipes and the Peach, Raisin and French Pastry Pudding with Brandy Sauce, and if he can let us know when his cook book comes out we will definitely buy it.
Best wishes from
L, J and J.
7 May 2006
Dear John and crew:
John: I can't begin to express how absolutely wonderful the fairytale trip on your yacht was. Carol and I still have to pinch ourselves to make sure it was real. Our every wish you made come true. The first night Carol asked for Canadian Club and you didn't have it on board. The next day, there it was. You were more than accommodating on everything, making this the most wonderful thing we every thought possible. I also appreciate the Top Gear info you sent along on the disk. I will send you some copies from the slides I took. Not all 10 rolls, just the better pictures.
I forgot to get your email address before I left the boat. I got Budhi's, but didn't get yours, so I hope this reaches you okay. I will send you any information that comes out in the Denver Post, etc. and will also try to put something together with the Garden Writers Association.
Luke: Thank you for everything. You had answers for anything we wanted to know and were always at the ready to lend a helping hand, lead a side trip, set up abicycle, etc. You helped to round out the most wonderful experience we have ever had. Better than New Zealand, or any other place we have been. Our daughter said that being able to get email from us and to send an answer made her feel much more secure since she was taking care of our horses, greenhouse, etc. You went the extra mile, (kilometer), to make that happen.
Penny: Carol and I really enjoyed visiting with you and Budhi. You keep the yacht so clean that we were almost afraid to touch anything on board because we would leave a smudge or a fingerprint. Thank you so much for the cake, we ate on it the rest of the time we were in Amsterdam, and it was just what we needed.
Budhi: I think I gained a lot of weight on the trip. Sitting back and watching the countryside go past was great, but your wonderful food made it very special. Every time we turned around you had something else for us to eat and we just couldn't pass it up. Carol bought several cookbooks in Amsterdam, but she will never be able to give the food she fixes the same wonderful flavor that you do.
We will keep in touch with everyone as you feel like family rather than a boat and crew we hired. If any of you get to Colorado, be sure and stop to see us. We have plenty of room and would be happy to show you the sights.
J and C P
May 4, 2006
I don't care what boat, barge, or yacht you compare it to, the Absoluut 2 has to be the best in the business. The next time we decide to do any cruising we will definitely go with the Absoluut 2 as we are sure any other cruise would not even come close to this cruise. John and his staff are perfectionists and your wish is their command. If you mention something and they don't have it they will get it. If you mention something you want to do or where you would like to go it is granted. Keukenhauf was at the perfect time with more flowers than I have ever seen in one place at one time. John was willing to spend the entire day there if we wanted, but I was getting sensory overload with all of the wonderful flowers. I got the pictures I wanted for publication, and it was a great experience. At mid-morning here was Captain John with cake and drinks for a welcome break. At lunch here he was again with just what we wanted for lunch, and drinks. Every night we docked at a beautiful location. During the day we cruised through beautiful country. The Dutch seem to have most of their beautiful gardens and flowers in their back yards between the house and the canal. So all I had to do was sit there and relax and watch the beautiful garden scenes go past. The last evening we were suppose to dock in Amsterdam, but with Queen's Day the following day there were not many good places and John wasn't satisfied with where we were located. He put in a couple of extra hours and got us to a nice quiet place in a small town within about a hundred yards of a beautiful windmill. My wife hasn't had a good nights sleep for months, but she said she slept better on this cruise than she can remember. The cabin was very quiet, and the crew seemed to go out of their way to keep from making any noise after people went to bed and until they got up in the morning. John keeps the yacht in perfect shape. I have never seen a cleaner engine room on any boat I have ever been on. In addition, Penny keeps everything cleaned and polished and in it's place. Budhi makes the best food we have ever eaten. I am sure we both gained weight on this trip. Luke is a real key part of the crew. When John is busy he takes care of anything the passengers need. He also leads great tours and goes the extra mile to make the passengers comfortable. This yacht has everything you might want, from flat screen satellite TV to Internet service. But, the best part of the whole cruise was the wonderul scenery and great crew. Well, we have just traveled from Amsterdam and have been traveling for the past 24 hours without sleep, so my note might not make sense as we are very tired, but I just had to tell you how great the cruise was. Sincerely, J P
Just recovered from pampering on the Absoluut2. The trip was wonderful, Captain John and the crew treated us Royalty. The barge, weather were terrific, I even got to use the hot tub on deck twice. We were lucky with our fellow passengers, a couple from Colorado, one of whom was a retired horticulturist from Colorado State who took amazing photos see attachments) could explain all the plant life. The hotels in Amsterdam turned out well, located in the middle of the major squares and walking distance to museums and flower markets etc, we even did well for the Queen's birthday for food and museums. Thanks for all your help and we hope to join the Absoluut2 and its crew sometime when they are in France. Carol and i have some information about French history that we would like to send on to Captain John, could you send us his email address or forward our note when we get it finished??? Sincerely, C & P
May 3, 2006
Just wanted to tell you that I was really impressed with how well AMA Waterways handles their river cruise.
My trip on the Amalyra was perfect. The ship is beautiful and new, the management well-trained and friendly, the shore trips well-planned, the food upscale, the cabin large and beyond expectation with its robes, free Internet and 3-spray shower.
The cabins were bigger than we expected and there was plenty of room to move around. The staff spoke English and were very friendly and helpful. The food was excellent.
I recommend this ship and look forward to cruising on Arosa in the future.
Just want to let you know what a wonderful trip we had on the cruise. The ship is wonderful and really friendly and clean. Furnished very elegantly and the staff could not have been nicer. Going thru the locks and seeing the different places is the way to go. I really would recommend the PD line for it's friendliness and cleanliness and just the professional manor of the cruise line. The places we saw were really great. My group meet last night for dinner with a couple of other friends and that is all my group talked about was what a good time they had. I sat back and listened to their conversation and was so pleased that they had a good time. Was interesting as to what all their concept of the trip was. Everything was extremely favorable. So again it was really delightful. I would recommend that cruise line for anyone to take as it was so organized and the attention to the ammenitities was above and beyond. Thank you again for all your hard work in organizing the trip.
Everyone loved the boat. The biggest complaint was that the beds were hard as rocks and didn’t fit anyone who was 6 feet tall or taller… but even those complaints were said on the sly because no one wanted to detract. The food was beyond incredible. It was the richest French food and we all ate until we couldn’t move. If we were to do it again, I would make the request that dinner be served in an hour and a half to two hours (at the longest) as the meals did last forever….but boy were they enjoyed!Bad Wimpfen was a highlight. Everyone loved it. Heidelberg was great. We definitely need to tip 100 Euros per passenger. They did a fantastic job.
Again, I can’t express how great the crew was. I think we have a whole “boat load” of converts
Crew is great, accommodating and translate the pertinent items into English
They arranged an english speaking guide for us and a few Canadians
Cuisine is classic French-if you enjoy great food and are somewhat open to expanding your palate it is great. We enjoyed it. 9 wines and other beverages are included in price so that was a nice surprise
Age range on cruise is 60 plus with 72about average. Nice group, all French.
Dress is casual, with polo shirts and silk print shirts fine for men, along with shorts, long pants all fine.
Only one man wore a jacket to dinner--it was 98 degrees yesterday so that might influence the dress.
Beds and pillows not very comfortable-sort of like a rollaway type mattress-only down side to the ship.
We got back last week and had a wonderful time. The barge/bike experience was great. I wasn't sure what to expect and everything exceeded my expectations. The boat had recently been redone so the accommodations were great! It turned out that it was unusually hot so the fact that the boat was air-conditioned turned out to be important (spoiled Americans......). Some of the other companies' boats did not have air conditioning we learned. I didn't realize how many companies there are that do this type of trip.
The staff was great! The captain was very gracious (also part owner) and allowed my husband to spend some time with her in the pilot house which was something he wanted to do. He was a tow boat captain here on the Mississippi so he was very interested in the boat and the canals.
The chef and other crew were great! They were friendly and helpful. Their English was good which of course that made it easier for us. The food was good. Dinner every night was well prepared, well presented and well eaten.
The biking was also great! Nice bikes and an easy pace. After the first couple of days, they kind of changed the agenda so that people could bike the whole day, the morning, the afternoon or not at all. Because of the heat, a number of people chose to bike only in the morning when it was cooler, like my husband.
I enjoyed the route through Belgium and Holland. Both countries have a little something different to offer. I would recommend the trip to anyone. I would also recommend an 'international' group. It turned out that there were Norwegians, Danes, Germans, Dutch and Americans on the cruise and that may the trip more interesting for us. (Most everyone spoke English pretty well and of course, we don't speak any other language)
Thanks for the recommendation. We might have to try another one in the future. I hear they have more of these trips in France.
The barge was extremely pleasant. Cabins were small, but you expect that on a barge. They were very clean, beds were comfortable and we had all the storage space we needed. Private bathrooms in each cabin were small but functional and we never ran out of hot water.
There was a nice sitting room where folks would congregate to chat and watch the scenery go by out large windows. The dining area was also bright and cheery. Meals were delicious. Breakfast: Every day, there were various breads, meats, cheeses and fruit. Each day was a different hot dish - French toast, eggs, pancakes, etc. At breakfast, we were provided with Tupperware-type containers so we could pack our own lunch with whatever we desired. (The freshly baked hard rolls were a favorite for sandwiches). In addition to the breakfast items, there were juice boxes, cookies and candy available. At all times, there was coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cookies and candy available in the dining area. Dinner: Each evening, we have what was called a 3-course meal....but it seemed like much more than that.
We would have a soup or salad started, then a main course with multiple sides followed by a scrumptious dessert. Everyone raved about the delicious food - and often asked for recipes.
After dinner each evening, our cycling guide would take us for a walk into the little town where we had docked. He would show us around and tell us a little about the area and it's history.
The bikes were easy to use and our guide was extremely adept at taking care of the few problems folks encountered (a couple of flat tires). The seats were a bit hard and we benefitted greatly from the slip-on gel seats we took with us (purchased from REI).
The bike routes were beautiful. Personally, I enjoyed the Netherlands area more than the Belgium area - not that I didn't enjoy the Belgium rides, it's just that every Holland rides was like a postcard.
Each evening, our guide (Thomas) would tell us about the following day's ride and the options. Some days you could ride half-day and meet up with the barge. Other days, if you were riding, you had to ride the whole day. On every full day ride, there was always an afternoon stop at a local pub.
We mostly rode with the group. However, on 2 days, my husband and I wanted to go at a slower pace (because we took so many pictures). Thomas was terrific. He provided us with maps and suggestions on where to stop for lunch, if we wanted.
One day, I stayed on the barge and just enjoyed the scenery as we meandered down the river. This also let me get into our little port a bit early and stroll around with some of the other people who had chosen to cruise that day.
The staff of the Iris (captain, first mate, cook and housekeeper) were all extremely friendly and knowledgeable.
Ours was called a casual bike and barge tour. I understand the biggest differences between that and the tours conducted by deluxe barges
1. Alcohol is not included in the tour price. Onboard the Iris, it was the honor system. If you wanted a glass of wine or a beer, you took one and put a stroke by your name on the tab tally. You could also purchase a full bottle of wine and just enjoy it at your leisure.
2. I've heard that some tours have a van accompanying the cycling group in case someone wants to take a break. On our tour, we had a terrific guide with us, but you couldn't really call it quits in the middle of the day. That's why it was so nice to know all of the options the day before - so everyone could make their own plans.
3. Any admission charges to local sights (like a working windmill) were not included in the tour price. Our guide paid the admission then everyone would pay him at the end of the day. This worked out very well.
We have travelled quite a bit and we loved this tour. We are already looking at a trip on the sister ship to the Iris, the Fleur.
The L'Impressioniste's crew was great! I'm quite sure that if any of us were to book another trip, we would request Jennifer MacStay as cook; the quality, creativity, and presentation of her meals were wonderful (as was her personality!) Our captain, Nicolas Guedet, had a challenging job dealing with the weather, but handled it as best he could, giving us as many options as he could.I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of room, since we could store suitcases, etc., elsewhere. All in all, an excellent trip, with all five of the crew members as helpful and accommodating as they could be.
We had a great trip, except for the weather. The cook was great as was Nickolas, the skipper and all the other help. They did their best to provide alternative experiences when the weather caused problems. The barge was clean and comfortable.
Le Reine Pedauque
I just wanted to let you know that I had a nice time on the barge and wanted to thank you for what you had arranged.
The barge itself was beautiful and the food was terrific.
The captain, Max, was a young enthusiastic, knowledgeable and likeable youthful 40ish person who greatly added to the ship’s ambience.
I have no idea when I will be able to repeat a trip such as this one but it was indeed memorable for all of the right reasons.
The ship is very comfortable. We enjoyed the trip immensely. We had wonderful service. The staff that waited on our table was superb (Levi and Agnes).
They became a big factor in how much we enjoyed the trip. I lost my luggage and the ship staff stayed on top of it until it was returned to me. Feel free to pass these comments on to the cruise line.
Oct 4, 2008
Dad and I are back home and had a wonderful trip.
Regarding the cruise on the Alemania - We loved our room - very spacious and CLEAN and the staff helpful MOST of the time. We were the only English speaking passengers on the cruise - so we really could only converse with some of the staff. We ate with a woman and her older mom and the younger woman could speak a few English words - (one night we left our parents on the boat docked at Speyer & walked together through the town and had beer and tried to visit! - she helped me to make some pay phone calls home on a German pay phone!) We did not like the food although everyone else on the cruise seemed to love it! We did great with the breakfast foods - and liked the soups and most salads - but the meats were prepared strangely and we ended up skipping lunches altogether. (I made us little snacks at breakfast that we ate middle of the day.)
We saw both good and bad to being the only English travelers.The obvious bad - couldn't meet people. But the good - was that each excursion that we paid in advance - we had our very own English guide and that was really great! Our favorite German town was Cologn. Our guide loved his town and we just could not help but love it, too! (the town with 5 seasons...) Dad did have some issues with so much walking. So having our own guide made that better, too. We could ask to sit for a bit and then continue on when Dad could. We visited Heidleberg -( Dad's dad went to University there back in the early 1900's.) On our excursion to Cochim - we were told that the bus to the castle ran every 20 minutes - so up we went and then waited for over and hour and 15 min for a return bus and almost missed the bus back to the boat! (added excitement for sure) I don't know if that was miss communication or if the bus driver just blew off some of his runs. Most people just walked back downhill to town - but Dad could not do that.
Just wanted you to know that the cruise was wonderful. Those Deilmann people really know what they are doing.
May 13, 2007
Princess de Provence
Our trip on the Princess de Provence was wonderful. The food and the services were outstanding. The side trips were just enough and perfect. I would recommend this trip and your services anytime. Thanks for your help and you might be hearing from us again. the train and Normandy worked out well also.
Just a note to let you know what a great trip we all had! Everyone was just superb! Starting with Capt. Kevin and chef Jody to Niko and his wife! What a ball we had and "thank you" for getting us there! We would like to do the South of France barge trip but will probably hold off for a year or so!
Staff - Very good, with only one exception. One of the waiters. I do not remember his name.
Cruise directory "Werney" was very good. Beyond good. I do not know when he slept.
Service: Very good. Beyond expectations.
Tours: Overall, very good. There was always a lot to do. We always went to bed tired. That is good.
Concert at the Lichtenestein palace in Vienna was the excellent.
Bus excursions and tour guides were very good.
Walking tours were very good. The tour audio system is very effective and the guides very knowledgeable.
Food: Overall, Excellent.
Breakfast: Lox on breakfast buffet was very fresh and tasty. Everything else was pretty good too. Egg dishes and bread/pastries were first class.
Lunch: Always pretty good. More traditional German sausage lunches would have been better. No coffee available with dessert. Had to go to lounge. Pizza was on the lunch menu only once. Would like to have seen more.
Dinner: Beef, pork and veal was excellent. Fish was poor. Appetizers were excellent. Desserts were fair. No coffee available with dessert. Had to go to lounge.
Cabin/Room: Very nice and quiet. Bed was comfortable. Restroom was roomy, for a boat. I liked the full balcony because, even though it was cold, we could go out there without freezing out the cabin.
Lounge: Roomy and comfortable with great views. Lighting was harsh. The coffee/tea service was great. Did not use the bar. The entertainer, was only so, so. In the late evenings, the music was way too loud. Couldn't even think, much less talk.
Dining Room: Noisy. Hard to converse when the room was full. Needs acoustic ceiling and/or baffles. Otherwise, comfortable and efficient. Great views.
Internet: Poor availability at locks was expected.
Airport transfers were handled very well.
E and P E
My clients thoroughly enjoyed the Shannon Princess. My clients who have been on barge vacations before told me it was the best barge they had been on. Everything was great including the crew. Please pass this info on to the owner and crew.