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Before your cruise

When and where to do a river cruise?

You can do a river cruise within the months of March and November and the most of fluvial tourism destinations, excepting Italy and Portugal whose canals stay open the whole year. With any doubt, in Venice you will know the deepest of the romantic Venice on your own floating house and on the Grande Lago in Portugal, you can relax and admire the nature from your own boat, as well as to enjoy its good and sunny weather most of the year.

Each destination presents a charm and a different landscape depending on the season of the year.

We have bases in more than 10 European countries, each one with a diversity and a different offer of activities and all of them very attractive. In France, for instance, you can enjoy its beautiful fairy-tale landscapes, the gastronomy and its famous wines, as the Chablis or the Champagne. In Holland, you will discover a unique destination to visit sailing. If you like, you can visit the marvellous and artistic city of Amsterdam or if you prefer more calm, you can go thru its canals by stopping at different villages and try its famous cheese. Each destination will surprise you for its charm, so do not hesitate to consult our desination in Europe page and its several fluvial cruises.

View all fluvial tourism destinations. If you wish more information about our destinations, do not hesitate to contact us via e-mail or telephone.

How many days are needed?

Generally most of clients book a no-licence fluvial boat for a whole week or more, like for example 10 days or 2 weeks. But if you only want a short break to disconnect from routine or you have few holidays, we can propose you cruises for a 2-3 nights weekend or for a mini-week from Monday to Friday. 

However, we inform you that during the high season in the months of July and August the minimum length must be a week from most of the bases. If you still want to know the availability of a short break, contact us so we can offer you the possibilities we have and fit the search as much as possible to your preferences, since it is not impossible.

Consult now the availability for your river cruise

One-way or return cruise?

Another question in fluvial tourism is whether we do a one-way cruise or a return cruise.

It is often said that a return fluvial cruise can be boring, but consider that this way, you will enjoy more your holidays, since you will have more time to contemplate the landscape and discover the region and you will not have the obligation to sail a fixed number of hours per day. Although in some situations in both directions the itinerary is the same, you can stop at some villages on the going and others on the way back. This option is often more economical.

On the other hand, if you choose a one-way river cruise, you must know that this has an extra supplement that will be included in your budget, in addition and with your request we propose you a transfer service and also for vehicules between the bases for the return. On the one-way cruises you have to follow the exact itinerary to reach the arrival base the initially planned day and hour, that is why you need to rely on a fixed number of sailing hours. Generally, one-way cruises are available for at least one week with some exceptions, in that case consult us.

During the cruise you have totally liberty to moor your boat wherever you want, unless contrary indication. Regarding the boat delivery, you have to respect the base and delivery time previously accorded with the departure base.

Are the fluvial holidays expensive?

Once we send you the budget you have to take in account that everything is included, excepting the gas (that can be around 30 € and 50 € / day), insurances, bicycles and extras or transfers. You will receive the boat with the petrol tank full and you will have to fill it up every two days and it will be on your own charges.

During the sailing, you can eat and cook abord, make outgoings and visit picturesque villages that surround the rivers and canals. Of course, the most important part is the sailing, which will be fun and will need about 4-5 daily hours, then you can stroll or ride bicycles and fish or swim if it is allowed in your itinerary since it depends on the area, as well as many other activities.

Generally in most of destinations you do not have to pay to pass the locks (excepting Holland, for example), although the lock keepers are open to receive tips. The mooring in the middle of the nature is free and you can overnight abord on the canal without any cost, however you will have to pay a fee of around 10 euro per night if you decide to moor on a port. This price will depend on the port and you will have right to use their electricity and water.

In addition, you have to know that the price is not per person but per boat, so if you calculate the price per person you do not have to overthink it, and the more you are, the most economical will be your holidays on boat.

Take our offers and start enjoying your fluvial holidays! 

What kind of insurance should I take?

The boats are third-party insured and in case of accident. However, this insurance does not cover the crew aboard in case of fall, blow or personal accident. Therefore, it is recommended to verify if your personal insurance covers this kind of accidents or if you prefer to hire a travel insurance, which we do not make ourselves.

For your rental, we propose you a cancellation insurance (to hire in the moment of the booking, due date and conditions subject to general terms of the company that owns the boat, depending on the model that we will send you with the pre-booking).

Is it better to sail on a canal or on a river?

Depending on your destination, you will sail on a canal or a river.

Rivers are wilder than canals, more prone to floods and inundations, specially during Spring. These inundations can have restrictions on the sailing, and your cruise can even been cancelled. If that is the case, we can offer you an alternative, taking a detour to another destination or changing the dates. It is necessary to be informed about these rivers conditions before your departure.

The boat’s owner company does not take responsibility either makes any refundings in case of a cruise interruption o limitation of the itinerary you booked, due to waterways closing, reparations, inundations, drought or any other cause unconnected with the company. If these same conditions make the cruise impossible, the received payments will be kept for a next cruise during the same season in an agreement between the renter and the company. The company will not refund the received payments. The one-way supplement can be refunded. We will send you with the pre-booking more details concerning the rental terms and conditions, since this decision is exclusive to the boat’s owner company.

How and when to book my holidays on boat?

Booking is very simple with Danfluvial. Via our availability form, choose the region that you would like to discover, the number of persons that will go aboard (2 adults per boat minimum, 12 adults per boat maximum), the length and dates of the cruise, as well as the kind of cruise.

Afterwards, we will receive your request in our reservations centre and we will contact you within 48 hours to offer you a price and boats comparative depending on the real availability in this destination and always searching the boats that fit the most to your request.

To end the reservation, please inform us about your decision or preference as soon as possible since the boats availability is limited. In this case we can pre-book the boat you like the most during 48 hours without any obligation while you are making the payment and finalise details, so no one else can book it.

We recommend you to organise your cruise with quite time in advance, since the boat availability in destinations is limited, plus you can take reductions and offers that we propose for early bookings. Consult the early booking advantages.

Are a special licence and experience needed to sail?

No experience or licence are needed to rent and pilote a fluvial boat in most of our destinations.

In France, the law does not require licence for boats not longer or equal to 15 metres and which maximum speed is 12 km/hour. All the boats we offer have a shorter or equal length and are very easy to pilote.

In the rest of countries, the law is different, but all our boats are adapted for the fluvial rental without licence, excepting in Germany, where a sailing licence is required to depart from some bases near Berlin. (You will find detailed information in the cruises for Germany, do not hesitate to contact us for further questions).

The fluvial boats we offer are specially designed for inland sailing and special skills to pilote are not needed, even though it is recommendable in rivers that at least one of the crew has sailed before.

The boarding day, the base staff will show you how the boat works and will give you some knowledge and advices to pilote the boat. Sailing a river boat is very simple: a contact key, speed up and going back (to go slowly or stop) and a little of patience to pass the first locks will be quite enough to become an expert captain in a few time.

Is it easy to sail?

Rivers and canals are quite, only rivers have stream. On all the sailing sections you will be able to sail calmly, since this stream will not complicate the sailing. On some rivers, there are sections with more stream but they are closed to sailing and are so indicated on maps.

On your cruise, besides lock keepers, you will find sailors and fishermen. An universal rule on canals and rivers: professional are always prioritary. Reduce your speed and move aside a little to help them in their daily work, and you will make a friend.

When can I sail and how much time?

In the daytime you can sail during the hours that you prefer the most, taking in account the locks timetable in each base and that night sailing is forbidden. Generally, locks are open between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM, closing an hour at midday for lunchtime, which it corresponds to a one-day sailing. This timetable will depend on the season, you will be informed at your departure about it.

The cruise speed is about 8 km/hour and can take up to 20 minutes to pass a lock.

Our advise is to sail 4-5 daily hours, with which you will cover between 20 and 40 km depending on locks. With this, you can be sure that you will enjoy the landscapes at a calm rhythm, you will not cause any damage to banks or the area’s flora and fauna and the batteries will last longer. But do not feel limitated – sail as you like and explore calmly the landscapes of your chosen destination.

Does exist a deposit for the boat rental?

The boarding day, it will be necessary to pay a deposit for the boat rental, which will be given you back at the boat delivery. Generally, this can be paid in cash or by credit card. The amount will vary depending on the boat model, of which you will be informed enclosed to the budget.

In some cases and depending on the departure port, you can take a damage package or a non-refundable deposit insurance, by paying a fixed amount at the base arrival.

With this method, you will be completely cover if the boat is damaged, or if third-party damage has been caused. The insurance does not cover damages, loss or stolen goods from the boat. This option is not allowed from all the ports, so in the moment of the booking we will inform you.

What day and what time can we go aboard?

  • Cruises for a entire week start on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays and in some cases on Sundays. You can pick up your boat between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM maximum, but we recommend you to arrive at least one hour in advance, since you will be attended in order of arrival. This way the base staff can dedicate to you more time and you will not lose time in your fluvial holidays. Attention! If you are going to arrive out of this schedule it is necessary to let us know so we can inform the base and in that case leaving the boat open to sleep that night aboard and do the papers the next morning (if the next day is Sunday, consult us).
  • In case of mini-cruises, you can opt for a mini-week departing on Monday and returning on Friday, or a weekend departing generally on Friday. If you have other preferences, consult us.

Contact us if you want to sail some additional hours, since sometimes it is possible to book an extra to go aboard or get off the boat.

I have already booked my cruise. What sailing documents am I receiving?

When you have confirmed your booking, you will receive via e-mail the full documentation for your cruise, that includes:

  • Detailed document with the reservation payment and confirmation.
  • Log book: small brochure on paper or PDF with advices for sailing, locks and bridges, mooring, functioning of the boat, etc.
  • Detailed information about the boat – equipment and inventary.
  • Information of the departure base with: contact phone, timetables, GPS coordinates, services… So the boarding day you will no have any question and can proceed to get your boat in the easiest and fastest way.

On the bases there is a multilingual team and there will be always at least an English speaker person. They are used to receive people from different nationalities and the communication with them is always possible.

  • Fluvial guide: you can purchase it on the boarding day or on the publisher’s website for cruises in France – for other destinations, consult us. If you do not want to buy it, depending on the destination you will be given one on the boarding day to consult it along your cruise.

And now that you have confirmed your reservation starts the best part – enjoying your fluvial holidays!

Consult here more information to plan your trip and advices of what to carry 


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