Frequently asked questions
In order to make it easier for you to prepare for your vacation, we offer you the frequently asked questions of river tourism below. If you are visiting the Danfluvial website, it is because you have booked a river boat without a license or because you have in mind to cruise the canals and rivers of Europe.
Here are some of the frequent river tourism questions that our clients may have so that all doubts are resolved to plan your cruise and to know what to do before, during and after your river cruise.
Why a river vacation?
If you have heard of river tourism but are still not convinced, here are some reasons why you should try the pleasure of taking a boat without a permit and navigating the canals and rivers of France and Europe yourself.
- River tourism is a relaxed and comfortable way to get to know other countries and cultures, combining nature, history and gastronomy,
- River vacations are for the vast majority of sailors a new and unforgettable experience.
- You will have the pleasure of navigating and piloting the boat yourself without the need for a river permit. Everyone can try!
- River tourism will allow you to try life aboard a boat without a permit together with family and friends. The more passengers on board, the more fun and economical your cruise will be, since the price given is per ship and not per passenger
- On board your river boat you can cook and sleep since the boats are fully equipped so that you do not miss anything. How is life on board?
- With river tourism you can discover medieval villages, hidden vineyards, movie landscapes and taste the local gastronomy while you sail. There is an ideal destination for every boater. Discover the river destination that best suits you and your family or friends
- Possibility of doing multiple activities during your river cruise such as bike rides, picnics by the river, go fishing or go for a swim. You can bring your own bikes or rent them on embarkation day by taking them on board while sailing
Don't think twice and check our river destinations or contact us so we can help you organize your river cruise.
Consultation here the availability for your next vacation and do not forget to consult the best offers of the moment.
Now is the time to enjoy river tourism because there are many benefits that it can offer you and more with the current pandemic situation. We offer you the best Covid tourism alternative.
We are all looking forward to traveling, resting, disconnecting but above all taking care of ourselves. On a river boat you can enjoy a cruise on a canal or river in Europe on board a boat without the need for a license and especially without contact with the outside world. The best alternative for sightseeing in the time of Coronavirus.
If you are still doubting, we give you some reasons why you should try the pleasure of taking a boat without a license and navigating the canals and rivers of France and Europe yourself.
- You do not need to have a license to pilot the boat. If you are at least 2 adults, you can rent a
- You go only with your family or friends and you will not have contact with other travelers.
- No crowds. By going in your own boat you can go at your own pace, stop where you want and enjoy a unique environment.
- All inclusive! On board your river boat you can cook, sleep, shower and spend the best moments of your vacation. And of course you can sunbathe if the weather permits. Of course, apart you will have to pay for gasoline, which will depend on the hours navigated. The more passengers on board, the more fun and economical your cruise is, since the price given is per ship and not per passenger.
- River tourism is an unforgettable experience. You can enjoy unique and almost unknown towns, free of crowds and taste the local cuisine while you navigate.
- If all that seems little, you can also add extras to make multiple activities during your river cruise. Take your bike on board (or rent it with us), reserve wifi or barbecue, fish from the boat or have a picnic by the river. Discover here all the extras
We know that you can like any destination but perhaps there is an ideal destination for you. Discover the river destination that best suits you and your family or friends.
You do not need experience or prior license to rent a river boat in most destinations. In France, the law allows you to rent a boat without a license as long as it does not exceed the
15 m and whose maximum speed is 12 km / hour. All the boats we offer have a maximum of this length.
In other countries the legislation changes but all our boats are adapted for river charter without the need for a permit, except in Germany and Porto, where a navigation license is required to depart from some of their ports. Contact us for more information.
The boats are designed to be very easy to carry, especially in canals. If you are going to navigate the river, even if it is not mandatory, it is recommended that at least one crew member has sailed at some time.
Navigating a river boat is very simple: a key switch, forward and reverse (to go slowly or stop) and a little patience to pass the first locks will be enough for you to become an expert captain in no time. On the first day, a technician will explain the main functions and maneuvers to get you started in river navigation.
In Danfluvial you can book your holidays at any time online (secure payment process) by checking the available date or if you prefer, contact us during our business hours and we will send you a personalized quote, either by email or by phone +34 956 858 550 .
The first thing to decide is the date and duration. The recommended thing is a week to have enough time to enjoy the boat and the surroundings but if you want you can sail from 3 days, just time to disconnect from the routine (in high season only some ports are available, ask us), a mini week from Monday to Friday or more than a week.
Take note that the channels are open between the end of March and October except for the Grande Lago de Portugal which is open all year round. Here you can relax and admire nature from your own boat, as well as take advantage of its good and sunny weather most of the year.
Where? If you already have the date, you have to choose the destination. We collaborate with river ports in more than 10 European countries, each with a diversity and a different range of activities, but all equally attractive.
France is undoubtedly the destination par excellence for river tourism with 13 regions to navigate and where the Canal du Midi is at the top of our travelers. In France you can enjoy its beautiful landscapes taken from a story, medieval villages, gastronomy and its famous wines. In Holland, you discover a unique destination where living by boat is a whole lifestyle. You can take the opportunity to visit the wonderful cities of Amsterdam and Utrecht or if your thing is tranquility you can stop in small towns to taste the rich cheese such as GOUDA. In Italy you sail through the waters of the spectacular Venetian lagoon, living a most romantic experience and if you feel like it you can go to the northern beaches in the Friuli region.
As you can see, each destination can surprise you for a reason and it depends on whether you are looking for tranquility, a romantic destination, fishing, bathing or simply visiting large cities in Europe. You must also take into account the means of transport you will use to get there, if you need advice ask us by phone +34 956 858 550 or send us an email.
You can see here all the river tourism destinations. Check now the availability for your river cruise.
Depending on the destination, you can navigate a canal or a river. If it is your first experience, we recommend that you navigate through a channel since rivers tend to carry more current, even so in both destinations navigation is simple and you can navigate with peace of mind since this current does not complicate navigation.
In the rivers you find more nature and they are wilder than the canals that have been built by humans. However, keep in mind that rivers are more prone to flooding and flooding, especially during spring and fall. This may lead to navigation limitations that force us - for your safety - to change the port of departure or propose a change of dates. The company that owns the boat is not responsible or makes any reimbursement in case the cruise is interrupted or the route you have booked is limited, due to the closure of waterways, repairs, floods, drought or any other cause beyond the control of the company . We send you with the pre-reservation more details regarding the general rental conditions, since this decision is solely and exclusively the responsibility of the company that owns the boat.
For full weeks the cruises are usually Monday, Friday and Saturday although depending on availability sometimes other days may be possible. Check availability or contact us to see what you need.
Generally the schedule is from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Even so, we always recommend arriving an hour before because they will attend you in order of arrival.
If you have to arrive after hours nothing happens, just let us know to inform the port and leave your boat open to sleep, in the morning you can do all the paperwork.
If it is a mini cruise, it may be a weekend from Friday at 4:00 p.m. to Sunday at 5:00 p.m. or Monday at 9:00 a.m. depending on the port. In the case of mini weeks, it will be from Monday at 2:00 p.m. to Friday at 9:00 a.m.
If you want to sail a few additional hours, contact us since sometimes it is possible to reserve an extra to embark or disembark before or after paying a supplement.
Another very common question for cruises of a week or more is whether a roundtrip or one-way cruise is better. This means leaving and returning to the same port or, on the contrary, starting at one point and leaving the ship in another previously reserved port. We share our experience with you.
- You travel more channel.
- You can explore more towns.
- Except for great last minute offers, it is cheaper.
- You go through the same place twice which may seem inconvenient but it is not, you can organize to stop on the way out in some towns and on the way back in others or stop when you return the least.
- Minimum 3 years.
- You sail more km and you can visit more places.
- It is mandatory to travel the distance that separates the two piers (departure base and arrival base) within the established deadlines: it is not possible to wander during the cruise!
- Higher price: you have to add an extra supplement for being one way (between 100-300 euros). Add car or taxi transfer service to the port of arrival (optional).
- Minimum 1 week (except for exceptions)
The minimum crew is 2 adults and the maximum 12 people on board. The piloting and the mooring maneuvers and the passage of locks require a minimum of 2 adults on board, which is an essential requirement. This is being at least 18 years old in the UK and Europe and 21 years old in Ireland.
CHILDREN: Boat holidays are totally safe to go with children. All boats are provided so that circulation on board is completely safe. Most boats are equipped with a double adjustable balcony, in addition to a handrail.
However, do not forget that you are in the water and that is why we recommend that the little ones always wear their life jacket (in the port they will give you one suitable for their weight, normally there is between 0-30 kg). Kids we recommend that you wear cuffs because they are easier to wear for them.
Pets: Of course, pets are welcome on board so you don't have to leave them out of the family plan. In some ports it is necessary to pay a supplement of approximately 35 euros, which we will inform you in your reservation.
In the price that we give you when making the consultation, everything is included except for the deposit and gasoline, which are the two mandatory expenses to be added. Gasoline is paid on the last day depending on what you have sailed. In river tourism it is "all inclusive". The final price is per boat, not per person. We recommend that you do the calculation and you will be surprised. The more you are, the cheaper your vacation is.
- Introductory course on embarkation day so that you can pilot, pass locks and moor the boat by yourself. As well as information about navigation.
- You can cook on board to eat well on the terrace or have picnics along the canal.
- Sheets and blankets included so you can sleep comfortably (there are some budget models that do not include sheets, we will inform you in the reservation if there are).
- Towels: some ship models include it and others do not. In case they are not included, we will inform you when confirming the reservation and you can bring your own or rent them there on the day of boarding.
- Heat and hot water included. Only some high-end boats offer air conditioning (ask us).
- Locks (more information in the Locks section): The fee to pass locks and lift bridges is included in the price of the cruise for all our destinations, except Ireland (€ 1.50) and Holland (€ 2).
- River guide: Paper document containing the canal plan with the location of locks, moorings, points of interest, etc. This guide is available for consultation on the ship during your cruise, but if you prefer, you can optionally buy it online here.
- Free outdoor activities: The average navigation is 4-5 hours a day, the rest of the time you can go cycling, on foot, fishing or bathing without having an extra expense.
- The boats are insured in case of accidents and third parties. However, this insurance does not cover the crew on board in the event of a fall, blow or personal accident. Therefore, it is recommended that you verify if your personal insurance covers this type of accident or if you prefer to take out travel insurance, which we do not carry out.
Expenses to take into account:
- Travel and cancellation insurance: You have the possibility of hiring it at the time of booking, always according to the general rental conditions. Depending on the boat, it is priced between 4.5 % and 6 %. It is offered to you when hiring the boat.
- Boat bond. This ranges between € 800 and € 2,600 depending on the model of the boat and is paid by card or cash. The deposit is refundable in the event that there is no apparent damage to the ship or its inventory upon return. In most ports you can pay a non-refundable bond insurance that allows you to leave a lower deposit. With this formula, you are fully covered if the boat is damaged, or if damage has been caused to third parties. The insurance does not cover intentional damage, loss or theft of boat equipment. This option is not allowed from all ports, so at the time of booking you
- Fuel: The boat is delivered to you with a full tank of gasoline just like when renting a car and has autonomy for two weeks. On the last day and depending on the hours you sail, you will have to pay for fuel but you don't have to worry about refilling. The average cost per day is 25/30 euros. In some ports it is necessary to pay a fuel advance and at the end of your river vacation, they will give you the difference or you will have to pay it yourself depending on the case.
In France, Italy, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, among others, they speak of “engine hours” (how long have you used the engine). In the UK, Scotland and Ireland, you pay for fuel by the liter. The price is subject to changes that vary between € 7 and € 13 depending on the boat model and destination. If you want to know the price of a particular model, do not hesitate to contact us.
- Parking: In all ports there is free parking, even so if you prefer a closed and not covered parking or a garage (depending on the port) you can reserve it in advance.
- Moorings: Mooring in the middle of nature is free and you can spend the night aboard the canal at no cost, however you will have to pay between € 10 and € 100 per night if you decide to moor in a port with the right to electricity and water. The price depends on the season, length of stay, size of the boat, size of the Marina and the services offered. If you sail by river you will have to moor on a pontoon or in a port.
There are destinations with specific conditions such as Scotland or Venice where all ports are private. In this case you pay a supplement in advance with the reservation and thus we guarantee that you can moor in them.More information on our page for each destination.
- One way cruises: If you choose this type of cruise, you have to add the one-way supplement and transfer of passengers or car. We will give you more information when budgeting the boat. - Pets: They can go with you, in some ports there is a supplement of approximately 35 euros.
- Other optional extras: Final cleaning in case you prefer that the port staff clean the boat for you and not spend the last day cleaning, rental bike (bring yours is free), barbecue to enjoy meals in the sun, wifi, fishing tools, cushions for the terrace, parking among others. All these extras are optional but recommended.
- Light and water: The water tank can last you according to the use and the number of passengers between 2 and 3 days. You can fill it in at different points of the canal that are indicated in the river guide that they give you on boarding day and it usually costs between 2 and 3 euros. It is not recommended to drink the water from the boat, it is better to use it for showers, cooking and domestic use.
As for the Light, the boat has a battery that recharges as you navigate and the electrical power is 12 V unless you have a transformer or are in port. We recommend sailing an average of 4-5 hours a day to guarantee light on board and that the fridge and water work properly. If one day you foresee that you are not going to sail, it is better that you plug into a port to avoid surprises
Most boats are not equipped with 220 V, however all boats are provided with a 12 V socket. This socket is usually next to the cockpit and will be used to charge low-power devices such as a mobile phone. Remember to bring a suitable charger (It is the same charger as the car charger and you can buy it at any bazaar).
If you need to plug in a higher power device you have two options: rent a 12 V - 220 V transformer with your reservation (price of approximately 10 euros and valid for 150 V maximum devices such as phones, tablets, cameras ...) or take advantage of the electricity points that exist in the ports that you will find along the canal.
Beware of appliances such as a hairdryer, electric coffee maker or shaver that consume a power greater than 150 V and cannot be used on board. Do not forget that the supply comes from the battery whose source is limited. If you really need a permanent connection (breathing apparatus during the night), connect to a port during the night to sleep without worry thanks to the electric extension cord or by connecting directly to the port socket of your boat (in the latest models).
Documentation that I will receive
When you have confirmed your reservation, you will receive by email the complete documentation of your cruise that includes:
- Detailed document with payment and reservation confirmation.
- On-board notebook: Small PDF brochure with navigation tips, locks and bridges, moorings, ship operation, etc.
- Detailed ship information: with equipment and inventory.
- Information on the departure base with: contact phone, timetables, GPS coordinates, services ... So that on boarding day you have no doubts and you can access to pick up your boat in the fastest and easiest way.
When do I make the second payment?
The second payment is made 6 weeks before boarding, unless you have made the reservation at the last minute and you will have already had to pay for the entire cruise.
What languages do they speak in the port?
There is a multilingual team at the bases and there will always be at least one person who speaks English. They are used to receiving people of various nationalities and communication with them is always possible, however we cannot guarantee that they always speak Spanish. If you have any questions that are impossible to solve, do not hesitate to call us, we will be happy to help you.
Tips for my first cruise? What to bring
Take only the essentials since the ship is a limited place and you will not have as much space as in a hotel.
- For the kitchen: On board we provide you with everything you need to eat and cook. Bring napkins, kitchen towels, and cleaning supplies for the dishes and the boat.
- Food, drinks and snacks especially for the first day since afterwards you can enjoy the local markets and taste the local cuisine.
- Clothing: Wear comfortable, non-slip clothing and footwear to move easily around the boat. Always according to the season and the destination, although we recommend you bring something warm because in the morning and at night it tends to cool.
Important: of course sunglasses and a hat to enjoy the days on the deck of the boat or while you pilot.
- Leather or gardener gloves to manipulate the ropes in the locks.
- Bathroom: toilet paper is not included, remember to put it in your suitcase. On some boats, towels are included or you can rent them at the port, but you will not be able to bring your own. We will inform you in your reservation whether or not they are on board.
- Toiletry bag: apart from your hygiene basics, add sunscreen and Anti mosquitoes: whatever the season, being by the water is likely to have mosquitoes, in this way it is better to prevent. In case you have to take any specific medication, we recommend that you take it with you since depending on the destination where you are sailing it may be difficult to find it.
- Leisure: Flashlight, photo and video camera are essential, since during your river cruise you will have incredible views and landscapes that are totally fairytale. Do not forget some binoculars to observe birds and other wild animals and plants, tablet, etc. .. Chargers with a 12 V electrical outlet. Take a small power strip, it will be useful when you are plugged in at 220 V.
- Personal documentation: valid identity document and the information with the confirmation of your reservation, as well as contact information of the port of embarkation.
How do I get to the port of shipment?
- Travel by car:
In case you travel by car to the departure port, you can use the GPS coordinates that we send you in the reservation document. Parking varies based on base: some
They have private and paid parking, and others have free outdoor parking. Check your base details for more information.
When your cruise is one-way (cruises of at least one week), you can hire the transfer service of your car between the two ports and the port staff will take care of taking the vehicle to the arrival base by paying a supplement (available at the vast majority of destinations but not all) If the vehicle is for rental, you should first check with the company where you rented it in order to verify that another person is authorized to drive the vehicle.
- Traveling by public transport: plane, train or bus:
Virtually all departure bases have nearby airports or train and bus stations, consult the form that we send you from your departure base for more information.
If you travel by train or plane, sometimes you can hire a transfer service with the base to pick you up on arrival. When making the reservation, do not hesitate to contact us and we will give you information and price when possible. In the PDF of each region you can see the airports closest to your departure base, if you have questions, do not stop contacting us.
If you sail in France, you can check the train schedules at: http://www.sncf.com/.
DURING THE CRUISE
When you arrive you must go to the port of embarkation with your final reservation that we have previously sent you. Generally the hours are between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., unless you have booked priority boarding.
The port staff is waiting for you to assist you and formalize the documents, that you make the delivery of the deposit and show you the boat. After checking in, a technician comes on board to show you how to pilot your boat without a license and all the essentials for handling the boat such as mooring, what to do to cross another boat, electricity and water, etc.
You will discover that the handling is simple and easy: a ignition key, forward and reverse, patience and delicacy to pass the first locks and you will already be a captain! Take your time and enjoy river tourism without stress.
During the day you can navigate whenever you want, taking into account the hours of the locks. Please note that it is forbidden to navigate at night. Generally, the locks open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., closing one hour at noon. This schedule depends on the destination and the date. You have all the information on the page for each region and we will inform you when confirming your reservation.
Our advice is to navigate between 4 to 5 hours a day, which covers 20 to 40 km depending on the locks. With this, you can be sure that you enjoy the landscape at a leisurely pace, you do not cause damage to the banks or the flora or fauna of the place and you also get the batteries to have
enough energy. But don't feel limited, navigate as you please and calmly explore the landscapes of your chosen destination.
The recommended cruising speed is around 8 km / h and it can take up to 20 minutes to cross a lock.
Always navigate through the center, but if you come across another river boat, you must navigate to the right and continue along the shore of the canal. You should know that when crossing a bridge or going through a narrow navigation area, the largest ship has priority. Remember that a commercial boat will always have priority over a pleasure boat. You should also pay attention and look back on a regular basis, to make sure that no other riverboat is going faster than you and wanting to overtake you.
When you pass moored boats where people live or fishing boats you have to slow down to avoid turbulence.
The passage of locks is a simple and pleasant maneuver if we respect some basic advice: minimum 2 people, navigate slowly, with care, patience and without a doubt you will discover that it is one of the most fun things of your cruise and that of course you will not be able to forget when remembering your boat vacation.
The passage of the locks is a unique moment to meet other travelers or locals, which add experiences to your river cruise.
Depending on your navigation region, the locks can be manual (Charente for example), mechanical (Canal du Midi) or automatic. The mechanics will be maneuvered by a lock keeper, and the manual or automatic ones, you can handle them yourself, although there will usually be a lock keeper in the manuals to facilitate the passage or explain you.
However, no matter the mechanism, the maneuvers are always the same. When they are operated by lock-keepers, they have a schedule that depends on the season but is usually from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., closing one hour from 12 a.m. to 1 p.m. generally. Some locks may be closed on public holidays, in France for example the locks are closed 3 days a year: May 1, July 14 and November 1. In the river guide you have all the information.
During your river cruise you have to pass locks, in some destinations there are more and in others less. Everything will depend on the landscape. For example, if you want a destination with few locks, we recommend the Camargue in the south of France, which, being flat, has very few locks. However, in Burgundy, being a mountainous landscape, there are multiple locks.
The price to pass locks and lifting bridges is included in the price of the cruise for all our destinations, except Ireland (€ 1.50) and Holland (€ 2).
In all ports we assure you a repair service at your disposal available 7/7 (during the opening hours of the port). When boarding, they provide you with an emergency telephone number and the contact of an on-call technician. In case of breakdown, do not hesitate to contact them, indicate the place where you are and they will come as soon as possible to solve the problem, they are willing to help you.
Accidents are infrequent and generally not serious due to the limited speed of river boats. However, you have to be attentive during navigation and change your captain to rest.
Bathing is allowed in many destinations, but for example we do not recommend swimming in canals but rather in rivers, lakes or ponds. In any case, we recommend that you avoid the vicinity of large cities.
In the River Lot or in Charente you can bathe anywhere as well as in the River Baise, in Aquitaine. In Charente we invite you to enjoy any waterfall or corner where you can discover clean and pure water. You have more information on the page of each region.
Even so, we always recommend that you pay special attention to currents and that you speak with the port staff before boarding so that they can advise you where it is best to do it with confidence and in case there is updated information.
If you navigate by canal you have different possibilities in the environment such as the local pools to cool off. You can also enjoy beach destinations such as the Mediterranean beaches in Camargue, the Adriatic Sea in Italy and Nieuwpoort, Belgium.
For a vacation of 10 we recommend the rental of a pool adaptable to NICOLS boats, consult us and we will inform you more about these heated and towed pools.
You have all the activities on the corresponding page of the menu, but we leave you some:
- Bike rides
- Barbecue and picnic by the river
- Visit of local vineyards and wineries
AFTER THE CRUISE
At Danfluvial we invite you to discover this special atmosphere of river tourism, with numerous destinations, practical advice, river itineraries and the boats without permits available
Don't think twice, book your river boat now and enjoy!