Below you can find some travel reviews. We hope you find the feedback just as helpful as we do.
Staff was very friendly and accommodating. Fo spod was very good. We were the only Americans on the tour. Judith, the hotel manager, went above my expectation. She seated us with an Australian couple and an English speaking father and son. Everyone on the boat was very fluent in English and that made us feel more at home. The bike routes were terrific. I highly recommend this tour.
Saturday, 26.07.2014 – Arrival
The mooring place of the Sir Winston can easily be found – pedestrians or respectively rail passengers will find it directly after the ferry dock, by car watch out for the address Buiksloterweg 3. We parked our car near the berth, got our bikes and luggage and off we went. The crew was already in good swing, experienced and friendly. Our bikes were stored on the sun deck and our luggage brought into our cabins.
Boarding was easy, without any paper works. You were on the passenger manifest- and that was it. We only had to hand our car and car keys to the service personnel of the car park in Amsterdam, then we activated our beverage card and the preparations were concluded. On a first meeting in the bar, the crew was introduced – from the captain to the kitchen stuff to our cruise manager, Hans. Everyone was fine with the three languages spoken on board: German, English and Czech. The crew is a well-coordinated team, even the captain helped set the tables, how we found out later. After dinner, we meandered through Amsterdam and mingled with the locals on a Saturday night.
Sunday, 27.07.2014 – Amsterdam – Aalsmeer – Alphen aan den Rijn
Charm and useful information shaped the first daily briefing of the bike tours. The routes, the Dutch cycleway network with its junction system and some possible alternative routes were explained. Everything was clear and we could not wait to start!
The boat tour through Amsterdam was a spectacle not only for us but also for the passers-by along the canals. Traffic came to a stop; bridges had to be opened up. Sometimes the sun deck had to be closed- the crew mastered this with aplomb. The same goes true for the distribution of the fietsen- the Dutch word for bicycle. Finally, we started our bicycle tour.
We had absolutely no problems following the maps and the junctions were easy to find. We cycled through marvellous landscape. We felt as relaxed as the cows, sheep and goats that were grazing in the meadows of the polder landscape; the quaint front yards and picturesque small houses were a real delight. The weather was perfect for swimming; unfortunately, we had left our bathing suits on board the ship. We reached Alphen aan den Rijn without problems and spent a nice evening with good food aboard.
Monday, 28.07.2014 – Alphen aan den Rijn – Gouda
Rain teemed down accompanied by thunder and lightning, so that the crew stored the bicycles on board the ship. Hans explained the route but no one actually left the ship. We reached Gouda and it stopped raining in the afternoon. We meandered through the pretty and picturesque town, which is well worth a closer look.
Tuesday, 29.07.2014 – Gouda – Rotterdam – Delft
We set sail for Rotterdam around 07:30 a.m. The putter of the engine lulled us back to sleep. Luckily, we had set the alarm and made it to breakfast on time. After some preparation, a group of cyclists followed Hans towards Delft to visit the Royal Dutch Delftware Manufactory. The factory is quaint, small and beautiful and the last production place of the Delft Blue. I enjoyed a tasty fish salad at the Delft market while observing the locals who have a unique way of eating herring. Small souvenirs for friends and family were purchased – presents that were supposed to convey the essence of Holland.
We completely got lost on our way back to Rotterdam. Despite the offers of help from friendly passers-by and other cyclists, we only found our way thanks to google maps navigation. Fortunately, the Sir Winston was moored directly at the Erasmus Bridge – a good point of orientation.
In the evening, on a harbour tour, we were stunned by the impressive scale of Europe’s largest port. After a tasty dinner, it was time to go and explore the city centre. We were very delighted by the mixture of extraordinary architecture.
During a nightcap in a bar, we realised that our floating hotel always appears to be the best hotel in town.
Wednesday, 30.07.2014 – Rotterdam – Schoonhoven
Past the Willemsbrug, the Golden Gate Bridge of Rotterdam, we reached the World Cultural Heritage Site of Kinderdijk. The 19 windmills and the Archimedean screw also fascinate many other people. We continued our journey past pastures of grazing cows, which happily produce the raw milk for the Gouda cheese. We were enchanted by the nurseries of several water birds and by the delicious cake at junction 14.
We enjoyed the 35km to Schoonhoven so much that we decided to continue cycling along the alternative route for some more junctions. This proved to be a good decision.
We spend the evening aboard the ship, entertained by the likeable and very animated Schoonhovens Zeemannskoor.
Thursday, 31.07.2014 – Schoonhoven – Utrecht
With perfect cycle weather, we set off heading towards Utrecht. The route was characterized by chic properties, street vendors selling cherries and cheese, the Witches Weigh-house in Oudewater, the scent of fresh hay and stables and the coffee roasters Douwe Egberts –again a wonderful stretch. We marvelled at the 600-year-old Dom Tower, had an ice cream on the Maartensbrug and were happy about finding at least two of the hidden gardens. After the opulent captain’s dinner, we went for a stroll to stretch our legs.
Friday, 01.08.2014 – Utrecht – Zaandam – Amsterdam
The Sir Winston first sailed past our mooring place in Amsterdam to continue towards Zaandam where we started our last cycle tour. Our route led us to the “Holland Museum”, through industrial areas, a local recreational area and back to Amsterdam.
A bit of melancholy started to spread. We enjoyed this modern version of a scavenger hunt and sometimes we almost competed to see who would be the first to discover a junction or a signpost.
The ship crew left nothing to be desired. The atmosphere among the guests of various nationalities was always relaxed. Friendly “hellos” were exchanged when meeting a fellow passenger somewhere along the route or in a coffee shop. The nice weather was the cherry on top and perfected this amazing vacation.
We ended our South Holland vacation with a canal cruise through Amsterdam.
First of all, I wanted to let you know that this journey was wonderful!!! We had perfect weather for the whole week, which was the basis for a good ambience. The tour guide was perfect (Karl (65) saw to everything) and the cruise director and the stuff were very attentive. The ship was very neat and clean and the meals were superb. We explored the north of Holland very closely, thanks to the bike tours, which were always well prepared in a briefing the previous evening. We brought our own bikes along for the ride. This was not necessary, as a wide range of prime bicycles were available on board. Next year, the South Holland journey is definitely an option for us; you may already pencil us in.
Kind regards, the four cyclists
from Achim, Germany
Dear Mrs. Gövert,
Two out of our 12 or 13 river cruises we took whether with SE-Tours or with KVS-Tours: two years ago, we were aboard the “Marylou” cruising along the Spree and recently we have sailed around the Lake Ijssel (Ijsselmeer) aboard the “Serena”. We appreciated that you not only answered all our questions and helped us with our bookings but you were also at our disposal for the follow-up after the journey. That is the reason why I refer to you personally.
I created extensive travel reports and photobooks after each of our holidays, however, I recently have started to use Google+ instead. This way I can spread them further. Now I would like to send you the travel report of our trip aboard the Serena as a small token of our gratitude for your help before and after our beautiful trips. I also want to offer you to use the photo material for the presentation or description of your journeys. Please excuse my use of colloquial language, the books were originally only meant for my friends and family.
One other thing: in my report, I criticised the tour manager several times. You should not take this to mean that our travel guide (Karl) was less than stellar, perhaps I am just not used to being left on my own during such a bike and boat trip. (On the other hand we received detailed explanations concerning Berlin or the Havel-lakes by courtesy of the captain and the helmsman when we were aboard the “Marylou”.)
I hope you have fun browsing through my report and the photographs.
A friend and I had the pleasure of cruising from Passau to Budapest and back on board the MS Normandie between the 28th of June and the 5th of July 2014. It is my wish to tell you how wonderful this journey was. From cook to Captain, from mechanic to manager, everything was perfect. The crew was very friendly and attentive. We were warmly welcomed and pampered. I find it important that you take such feedback seriously, since it cannot be taken for granted that on a holiday everything works like a charm.
Perhaps there will be another opportunity to book one of your bike and barge tours.
I wish you and your team every success in your future work.
Best wishes, Elisabeth Schmidt
Dear Sirs and Madams,
We experienced a very nice vacation between the 28th of June and the 5th of July 2014. We explored the north of Holland with the “Serena”. I bet you have heard that before. Still we wanted to comment on the crew of this ship. In fact “exceptionally brilliant” would be enough. The friendliness and attentiveness were highly pleasant; cleanliness and tidiness were the top priority. Their disposition was always splendid. The teamwork among the international crew ran smoothly. You got the feeling that they had each other’s back. Just blame yourself if you could not enjoy your vacation. The wonderful crew made it possible for us to enjoy our wonderful activity holiday a week long.
Fam. K., from Dresden, Germany
Dear SE-Tours team,
I went on a bike and boat trip aboard the Gretha van Holland around the Mecklenburg Lake Destrict between the 21st of June and the 28th of June 2014.
Booking a trip like this, one always has certain expectations but often these expectations will not be met by what reality has to offer.
On my bike trip, however, all my wishes were met – the Gretha van Holland was very comfortable, the crew was friendly and attentive and the food was simply wonderful.
Not even the slightly cramped cabins could have bothered me as we were always outside chatting with fellow guests on the sun deck or in the lounge.
The bike tours were organised with a lot of care and were guided with the same passion – we discovered beautiful places along the Müritz. It was cycling for pleasure in the true sense of the word.
The cruise in itself with the passing of several locks and bridges was exciting and thanks to the wonderful landscape almost enchanting.
In short: I would not have exchanged this cruise not even for a cruise on a luxury liner. This trip was exactly what I wanted.
As a small thank you, I have attached a photograph that captures the constellation of bike, ship and water perfectly – perhaps you like it as much as I do or you might wish to use it for one of you catalogues.
I also would like to make a request in this way. I used one of your bikes during this trip – and I was more than glad to have left my own bike at home, I felt right at home on yours. I would love to experience this bliss at home and I would appreciate it if you could tell me where I might acquire such a bike (as far as I know those bikes are custom made for SE-Tours. Perhaps I could purchase a used but well-preserved bike directly from you?
I once again thank all those involved who helped turn this vacation into a wonderful experience.
I am looking forward to hearing from you,
B. von Bredow
We arrived back home. I do not know where to start: everything was simply marvellous. The whole crew of the MS Serena is wonderful. Especially the kitchen deserves acknowledgement; the chef is a master of his craft. The tour guide Karl provided us with the necessary information and we did not encounter any troubles while on tour. The landscape we explored on the bike was beautifully natural. Our female captain steered and commanded the ship with a sure hand and impressed the male guests when we encountered strong winds, which she dealt with swimmingly. A surprise was the evening show where the crew entertained us with a wide variety of games. I rarely laughed that hard. The crew dealt exemplarily with any request and was always willing and able to help us. Two of our fellow guests celebrated their birthday aboard and were presented with a small ice cream cake after dinner.
We cannot criticise anything, everyone deserves praise and I can only recommend this cruise. We plan to book the South Holland tour as well.
The only thing we won’t do again is take our own bikes along. Our batteries were not able to cope with the challenge. The rental bikes aboard present a far better option. We also would choose to take the train instead of our own car. The mooring place is located directly behind the train station. The parking fees of 140 € were a bit high.
This was only a short summary of a fantastic and relaxing vacation.