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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What is a Bordeaux cruise made by Aquitaine Croisières?

Our vessels cruise in Bordeaux area, France’s most famous wine region, in the entrance of the Canal du Midi, on the rivers Garonne and Dordogne and the estuary of the Gironde, South-West of France. Our cruises have been made so that you can relax in a stress-free environment, and enjoy the delights of the territory you cross. The idea is to make you penetrate into the soul of each of the wine regions that make the reputation of Bordeaux. The point is absolutely not to rush from point A to point B! Our boats do not go far, and move slowly: so that you can discover a multitude of interesting things, as well when you are cycling.

What ages are the people who cruise with us?

There is a good distribution of all age groups on board. This is definitely not a geriatric service!   It is the personal “close up” experience that you get while cruising, which unites the barges lovers. Oldest and youngest get to know that river riding is the ideal way to explore the soul and the heart of our region. Each one finds its rhythm, and a true comfort; some are more active than others. Some enjoy walks in the villages, hill climbs and cycling trips to nearby sites. Others prefer lie down on the deck to enjoy the landscapes in front of them.  Holidays on a barge celebrate the spirit, not the age!

The MS-BORDEAUX is equipped to receive the wheelchairs, this is unfortunately not the case of the MIRABELLE.

What kind of bike is available on board ?

Our bikes are unisex, with aluminium frame, suspensions, comfortable saddle and disc brakes. They are equipped with 21 speeds SHIMANO. The electric bikes have 8 speeds SHIMANO NEXUS with a central motor 36V 250W, 15 Ah lithium battery Samsung & LCD screen.    For any other request (bicycles for children, tandems, etc.), please make an advance booking, because those special equipments are limited and available after confirmation only.

Can I bring my own Bike?

Yes, you are allowed to bring your own bike on board (normal or electric) with no additional cost.    You are entirely responsible for it. We decline all responsibilities for damages, loss or thefts on your bicycle on board, and outside our boats.

Who helps when I have a mature panne?

Those informations are given at the beginning of the cruise, and we’ll give you the necessary emergency numbers in case you need it. We have a follower vehicle to intervene, and help you while on the roads. Your accompanist and the crew members always remain at your disposal.

Do I have to bring my own bicycle bag?

Not necessarily. When you rent a bike from us, we give you a bag that contains a cycling pump and a reparation kit.

Do I have to wear a helmet?

Since March 22, 2017, children under the age of 12 are required to wear a helmet. There is a penalty of 135€ if not. There are no obligations for adults, but it is highly recommended. Outside cities and villages (outside the built-up bowl), bikers must wear a reflective safety vest in the dark. Plus, it is forbidden to cycle next to each other after sunset.  This is allowed at daytime, if it does not hinder the rest of the traffic.

What if I need a doctor?

We give you the list of emergency number. If you are sick, we can call a doctor for you.

Are children welcome? At what age?

Yes, you can come with your children, there is no restriction.

Do you have hotel recommendations for a pre- or post stay in Bordeaux?

We have a list of hotels in different ranges. You can ask for it at the reception, or make your requests more precisely on the contact page of this site.

How can family and friends reach me during my trip with MS Bordeaux?

Your family and friends can call you directly on your mobile phone. We also have free wi-fi available on board, so that you can use Skype or any other application.

How sporty do I have to be to make the tours?

There is no required level for the tours; anybody can adapt, and everyone can find its own rythme on the roads.

Could I have dinner in other restaurants than the ship?

Yes of course. There are many restaurants listed on the “Roadbook” for lunch. For dinner, we ask you to inform the reception if you eat outside the boat.

What else can I do, if I do not want to bike during the day? Can I stay on board? Doing sightseeing?

If you don’t want to bike during the day you can stay on board and enjoy the Sun Deck or the bar. You can also visit the city where the boat is docked, or ask for outside services if you have a special request.

 Is the ship driving at night? Is it quit during the night?

We organise the navigation during the day for all our boat. Only for cycling cruise with MsBordeaux we are dependent on tides on the Garonne River to pass under the stonebridge in Bordeaux. That’s why sometimes we have to sail at night. We usually sail once you come back to the boat, after your cycling loop.

What is there to do?

You will enjoy everything that can be done during the cruise: from our daily guided tours through the historical and cultural sites of the region, to the châteaux and vineyards visits, also to our local markets, medieval villages, and museums. You can also ask to go on a golf green or going swimming: everything is possible!

You will love the meeting with the local inhabitants, and will enjoy the parade of vineyard and châteaux from the sun-deck. You will also appreciate sharing your experience with a friendly group of passengers, and to note that the atmosphere on board is very similar to a great family celebration, in perpetual motion.  The cruise is also an opportunity to learn the secrets of French cuisine with a gourmet Chef.

How will we do the sightseeing?


Each boat has a designated crew member guide. Excursions on the MS-BORDEAUX are done by bicycle, and a bus with air-conditioning is at the disposal of the passengers of the MIRABELLE on each stopover. This is how you will reach the châteaux, our colorful local markets, or even ancient monasteries and fascinating specialized museums.

 

What is the tour guide’s role aboard?

On board, the guide accompanies you, and helps you in case of need for adjustments of your bikes. Every evening after dinner, he leads a briefing on the bike courses of the next day, using back-projected pictures, maps and road-books.    He answers all your questions and informs you about the specificities of the wine produced in the area.

Individual, not guided bicycle tours
You ride your daily stage individually, at your own pace, using detailed maps. The tour leader is also riding and is always available for emergencies via cell phone.  Crew members on board are also available for emergencies by mobile phone.

 Guided tours
You ride every day in a group led by an experienced and locally known guide. You have to pre book.

How comfortable are the cabins?

It is proved, even by warned insomniacs, that the movements of the barge have a rocking effect. The sleep is therefore privileged and restful. Plus, the relaxed atmosphere on board, the friendly service, peace and tranquility of the countryside, good food and lively conversations on your historical visits, encourage a good fall asleep.  The cabins are small to accommodate larger common areas. They are not designed to bask, but to sleep and get prepared. The public areas are full of comfortable places to relax, such as the lounge or the deck-deck.

Each cabin is equipped with a private TV, heating, air conditioning, and a private bathroom with toilet. They are daily maintained by us.

Are Bordeaux Cruises expensive?

Our boats are rustic and comfortable, with a warm decor. The smiles and friendly greetings of the villagers, the charm of the guardians of our ancestral lands, and the warmth of the local inhabitants are priceless. Rates depend on the level of service chosen, and the period booked. The more you choose an “all inclusive” formula, the better the level of service will be (meals, wines, guided tours …)   In general, the smaller the barge is, the more personalized and exclusive the service is.  Our rates depend on it!   A small boat remains ideal for families, groups of friends, or people attracted by the luxury of a barge cruise.

Do cabins have private bathrooms?

Yes, all cabins have private and nicely appointed bathrooms with showers and toilets.

How much baggage can I bring?

Although the barges are spacious enough, there is limited storage facility on board. For this reason, we recommend to limit your luggages: one suitcase and one back-bag per person.   Pack wisely, as there are limited laundry facilities on board.

What clothes should I pack? What’s the attire on board?

Most passengers enjoy the relaxed atmosphere on board boat and fancy dressing is not the custom. Comfortable and casual clothing is welcome, with sneakers or docksiders. Sweaters, windbreaker and shorts or cotton pants are recommended. Don’t forget your swimsuit! There are many places to refresh (lake swimming-pool) in Bordeaux and Bourg…    At the Captain’s final dinner, a little “dress-up” is O.K.

 

When’s the best season for barging?

All seasons are lovely in Bordeaux!

We offer value rates in early Spring and late Fall, while weather can be as beautiful as unpredictable.

For several years, Bordeaux also suffered the consequences of global warming, and the seasons are disturbed. The elders say that “there are no more seasons”, which is almost true, but in general, the weather remains mild in the region.

Source Infoclimat.fr

 Source : infoclimat.fr

What about tipping?

Always appreciated. Your crew will work very hard to make your vacation perfect.  Tips are not included in the price of your trip, and it is at your own discretion. We do recommend you to tip the crew 5% of the value of your vacation. They are usually given in cash on board, and are split among the whole crew.

 

Will I be able to make special requests?

For birthdays or other special events during your cruise, let us know; we are eager to personalize your experience on board!

For food, special diets, allergies and / or intolerances, please let us know in advance, while booking.

What kind of electricity is there on board?

All of our vessels are wired for 220 volts and not 110 volts. We suggest you to bring an adapter, converter, for your particular appliance.Before using any electrical appliance on board, please make sure with the crew that it is suitable with the barge’s electrical system. All our vessels have hairdryers in the cabin, or available at reception.

Will I have a language problem?

80% of the crew members are French, and all speak English. Some also speak German, Dutch and Spanish. Crossing rural areas, you will meet people speaking with a strong dialect; although difficult to understand, we encourage you to communicate them.

 

We would be happy to answer any other questions you might have.  Just send us an email at pascale@aquitaine-cruises.com and we will get back to you.  You might even find your question and answer is added to this column.

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