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The Perfect Canal Cruiser

Hi Tom,

We purchased a subscription from you and you kindly also provided us with a suggested route from the Baltic to the Med.

We are currently on the journey. We have been south through Holland and Belgium and are now in the Marne River just a few days from Paris. Getting cold but the scenery is wonderful. It's great to be able to see through the trees (with few or no leaves) to the villages, etc behind. Also extremely quiet.... although there was some commercial traffic on some of the waterways in Holland and Belgium we have seen virtually no boats in France. Most of the marinas are closed, which means free berthage in most places. The last 3 weeks in France have cost us less than 30 euros in total (many places leave the power and water on though!). A lonely journey but it does also mean extremely quick through the locks!

I must say we have found your guides invaluable. There have of course been unexpected events (such as the Riqueval Tunnel on the Canal de St Quentin been closed weekdays which held us up in Cambrai for a week) but it's all part of the adventure.

I may not have found it, but if you don't mention it in your guide, you might like to warn people that in Holland from November 1 to the end of April many of the smaller canals and locks are "not in service", meaning you have to call a day ahead to request opening. The communication system is quite poor so even that is no guarantee. The Vecht River (which has many low and opening bridges) is a good example - fortunately we were lucky when some workmen were around who were able to let us through in a couple of places).

Of course, from our experience, you probably have no one wanting to do this trip at this time of year anyway! 

Thanks again for your valuable info. We look forward to seeing what south of Paris has to offer.

Cheers, Liam

Posted on December 9, 2015

Off-season cruising


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