CRUISE - How long can a cruise last?

The shortest cruises we can provide are for three nights. One week, and two week cruises are popular, and a few lucky people have the time to spend a month or more cruising Europe's waterways. Whatever you desire, H2olidays will find a cruise to suit you.

For a week cruise: most of the departures are on a Saturday and on a Friday or on a Monday.
For a 10 day cruise: most of the departures are on a Friday to Monday.
For a 11 day cruise: most of the departures are on a Monday to Friday.
For a week-end cruise: departure on a Friday and return on Sunday 5pm or Monday 9am.
For a mini week cruise: departure on a Monday and return on a Friday.

How do I get to the departure base?

For Europeans we would recommend either driving or coming by train. Details of the closest train stations are within our website on the bases information pages. For those travelling in from outside Europe, we would advise travelling to the bases via Frances fantastic trains.

Train times, costs and bookings can be made from the following website. You can of course also buy your tickets at the station on your arrival.

Do you need any qualifications to hire a boat?

You do not need any qualifications to hire most of our self-drive boats, with the exception of some cruises in German, Poland and Croatia where qualifications are required (and experience required to steer the Tarpon 49 Quattro Prestige). You will be given a 45 minute briefing on how to drive and manage the boat upon your arrival.

Can I hire a self-drive boat on my own?

Two adults are the minimum requirement for health and safety reasons. A single adult may travel with children if one child is over the age of 16.

Where should I cruise?

Europe's waterways offer a huge variety of cruising possibilities. Please browse through our website and read our summary of each area. If you would like more personal advice on where best to cruise please do email or telephone and speak to our experienced staff.

What are the departure and arrival times?

You can arrive at the base around 3pm in order to give you time to do your paperwork. Your boat is usually ready for you to board after 4pm. The training takes about 30 minutes but can be longer if you wish.
For a full-week cruise the boat should be brought back by 9am in order to give the base time to prepare it for the next customers.

How many hours a day should I cruise?

We recommend cruising somewhere between four and five hours a day so as to give you time to enjoy the region but also see a variety of places.

How difficult is it to learn to drive a boat?

It's easy! At the base you will be shown around the boat and given about half an hour course to learn to steer it. If you have more questions or would like a little more time, don't hesitate to ask. Locks will be explained to you and don't represent much of a challenge once you've understood the basics.

The Boat - What is the number of people being able to navigate the same boat without licence?

Our boats without license can welcome 2 to 12 celebrity, he is possible naturally yew you are has group of more than 12 celebrity to rent several boats. You just gaunt then to look for and to high-end the boat suited to your crew : number of celebrity, class of the boat, comfort, internal, design.

What is a hotel-barge?

Not to confuse with ferries, the floating hotels or the boats restaurants raising exotic detached houses, the small size of barges-hotel means that there are few passengers on board and that we are attentive to their slightest desires. It is a very relaxed mode of holidays, the residents of barges-hotels do not have to care about passages of lock or not to know how to make a nautical knot tight, the crew will take in hand all the constraints of the navigation.
About 40 meters long, barges were formerly used for the transportation of goods, as the coal or the sand or the cereal.

The owners live generally on board and accompany you during your cruise.

You can choose a formula in complete pension or in half

How takes place a stay in hotel-barge?

During your stay in barge-hotel, according to the place where you wish to go you go to follow a route, days are shared between navigation on the Canal and visits or excursions in the region. You can also walk, run or cycle along the canal !

Do the self-drive boats have heating?

Most of the boats have heating systems, which should keep you nice and snug on cool autumnal evenings. If your boat has electric heating, it's worth trying to hook up to electric socket for the night.

What boat should I choose?

We represent different rental companies offering a wide range of boats. We are careful to only list quality boats but these vary in size, configuration, age and price.
We are experienced boaters and are here to help you make the best choice.

Are we allowed to fish?

Fishing is allowed in most areas, under certain conditions. You can easily buy a temporary or an annual fishing license at a newsagents or in a port.

Can we swim during our cruise?

There are great places to swim on our cruises. Most lakes and rivers allow swimming. We don't recommend swimming in canals. Many towns and villages have swimming pools or beaches. So don’t forget to bring your swimsuit along.

Can we stop wherever we wish?

Yes, other than in areas where you are explicitly requested not to. This is part of the charm of cruising the rivers and canals. Feel free to moor up to a tree or anywhere along a secure bank even if it's in the middle of nowhere. There are also many easy places to moor up in villages and cities on your cruise.

PAYMENT - How and when do we pay?

H2olidays can accept payments via Credit Card, VISA, MASTERCARD and EUROCARD, bank transfer, checks in Euros and cash. A deposit payment is required to secure your cruise, with the balance due 6 weeks before your departure for self-drive cruises and 90 days before for private charter and hotel barge cruises.

What other costs might we incur?

With all self-drive cruises you will be responsible for the cost of the fuel that you use. On your cruise, you may choose to moor either along the canal bank or in a marina. Marina fees may vary from 5 Euros - 20 Euros per night, per boat.

EXTRA - Can I take my pet with my on my self-drive cruise?

Up to two pets are welcome. Most bases will ask for a "pet supplement" for cleaning.

What kind of electricity is there on the self-drive boats?

There are 12V cigarette lighter sockets on the boats. Most boats also have a 220V extension lead which you can plug into sockets provided by harbors along the way. Some modern boats also have 220V electricity on board. While the motor is running it fills the batteries which will provide you with electricity in the evening should you wish to moor up without hooking up to an electric socket.

How much extra will the fuel cost for my self-drive cruise?

It depends on the size of the boat but if you budget for somewhere between 150 and 300 euros that should cover the cost for this.

How do I get back to my departure base where my self-drive cruise started?

There are a range of options.
1. You can pay to have your car brought to the arrival base.
2. You can reserve a taxi which will take you back to the departure base.
3. You can take the train back.
4. If you have two cars, you could leave one at each base.

Can I rent bikes?

Many trails and tracks along the waterways make cycling easy and enjoyable.
All bases offer bicycle for hire. You can choose traditional bikes, mountain bikes, kids’ bikes, baby seats… Remember to book in advance. You can also bring your own bikes at no extra cost.

Are bed linen and towels provided?

Yes, bed linen and covers are provided on all boats and towels on most boats. We will let you know if they aren't.

What do we need to bring with us on a self-drive cruise?

All the basic accessories such as kitchen utensils, bed linen and towels are provided on the boats. (One toilet roll is provided in the bathrooms). You will need to bring your own food, drink and suncream.

On a self-drive boat, do I need to refill the fuel or water tanks?

These tanks will be full when you leave the departure base. However if you use a lot of water you will find harbors along the way, where you will be able to fill the water tank up again. You won't need to fill the fuel tank up if you are only cruising for a week. The base will let you know where to fuel up if you're intending on cruising for longer.