We are a group of five friends who booked all of the en suite cabins on the Merganser, a handsome, old Dutch working barge that has been converted by the owner and captain into comfortable cruising accommodation. The cabins are compact but have everything you could reasonably want including UK 3-pin outlets. The showers have plentiful hot water, body soap and shampoo.
The food is very good with main dishes cooked by the Captain himself. There is an ample continental style breakfast, a full light lunch of changing delicacies:- sausages, cheeses, pates, smoked fish and salads. The evening meal is a delicious three course affair and can be modified to meet individual diets/allergies. Wine and beers are freely available as are aperitifs and digestifs.
The cruise did not go quite as expected because the original Canal Lateral towards Reims was very unexpectedly closed so our captain made a quick re-schedule and we cruised down the Canal de la Marne au Rhin instead. An excellent choice as a delightful pastoral idyll followed with moorings at interesting local villages. The countryside is beautiful and the environment very relaxing with abundant aquatic bird life. Robin Purdue, our captain, is an entertaining and informative host and made sure that we did not miss out on the trips by car to a champagne house and the local timber framed churches and houses.
Despite not being the original itinerary, we all had a most interesting and peaceful break that we would heartily recommend.
Andrew (Montagu) 8th - 14th September 2018
With very best wishes.
Jo Rees and Co. - 20th May 2019
"In May 2019 seven friends and I took a barge trip on the Merganser II and had a wonderful time. The barge is an older vessel so don't expect a yacht experience but it was homey and comfortable. Robin (the captain and owner) was a wonderful host and catered to our needs. The land tours were informative and varied and I really feel we got to see the countryside and nearby cities. The staff was superb and very hard workers and we enjoyed getting to know them. Food was great and beyond my expectations. The entire booking process went very smoothly from beginning to end. I highly recommend the experience. "
Our group of
five is unanimous in our complete satisfaction and enjoyment of
the time aboard and the daily visits to nearby sites. We felt like we were
experiencing a classic barge sailing in the '30s. Beforehand, I was a
little concerned that we might get bored on board, but in fact the time
passed quickly. We all enjoyed very much our conversations with Robin and
his openness to engage us on nearly any issue and to share his insights on
matters of which we know little. We loved being part of the barge operation
and learning a bit of how the locks work. The reaction to the meals was the
same by all--they were delicious, varied, local, and nutritious. We also
loved the wines served. The Champagne vineyard visit was also a highlight
and special treat. And, of course, Reims. All in all, a perfect week, and
I could not be more pleased. Thank you.
Bruce Mason 21st - 27th September 2019