Upon your arrival to your chosen tour, in this case, Central Dalmatia in Croatia you will be greeted by the local team on the dock next to the ship.
If you arrive early as I did to Trogir, I checked in myself and my bag with the crew and then went to explore the local area until my cabin was ready.
When it came time to go on board I was shown the way to my cabin by one of the crew which is always a nice touch, any small questions I had at this time regarding the cabin were answered, and I was allowed time to settle in.
A briefing for the trip was arranged for the early evening before dinner, this was a chance for the crew and the guides to be introduced, and the programme for the trip to be explained in an overview style.
It was then time for dinner, which on this boat and like many others is taken in a galley style where you and other guests mix and sit around tables of 6 or 8.
This is great for meeting people from all walks of life and certainly aids the flow of conversation.
Generally, every day throughout the trip, after dinner, the guides on board will explain the next days’ planned route and given any relevant information.
With a bike and boat holiday, there is always the chance that due to sea conditions or the size of the ports that the schedule may need to change slightly and at short notice. Any changes we had during the week were always dealt with in a smooth professional manner by the guides and crew.
With the design of most motor vessels centred around the galley and social spaces, the cabins are not designed to be used as a space to stay for a long time.
The cabins on board Harmonia are certainly more than comfortable to be in and excellent for a night’s sleep. En-Suite facilities are excellent and the view from the windows is just such a nice thing to wake up to in the morning.
So that brings me on to a typical day on a bike and boat holiday.
Around 7:30 I would wake up and get showered and dressed for the day. Depending on what the schedule was for the days ride, normally the ship would leave port around now and cruise through breakfast to the start of the days’ ride.
Breakfast is normally served from 8 am in the galley and is a buffet-style continental breakfast with some hot options.
Shortly after breakfast, the guides will go through in much more detail the days’ route and any activities along the way. You will be given the expected time of departure on the ride from the boat and any questions at this stage can be answered.
Normally around 9:30 you will depart from the boat once all the bikes have been unloaded and everyone has gathered.
Depending on the ride you will either be looping back to the same port, but more often than not, the ship will move to the destination port to pick you up at the completion of your ride.
It then is off on the days ride to take in the surroundings of the island you are on. A typical day will involve a stop at a local producer, or a lunch stop at a local restaurant to sample some of the local cuisines.
Daily distances do vary from tour to tour, but it isn’t a race and no pressure is put upon you to complete the distance in a certain timescale. The pace required to meet the departure time of the boat etc is more than achievable.
On completion of the days’ tour, you will arrive back to the boat and hand over your bike to be loaded back onboard. After you freshen up and change, normally an hour after you return the boat is ready to depart to the next destination.
I found that these crossings are best enjoyed on deck with music or a good book. You see so much more from the boat of the area you are in. This is also the perfect opportunity to visit the bridge and have a chat with the crew, who will be more than happy to explain anything that is happening and even give you a chance to sail the boat!
Upon arrival at the next port, you will be informed of the time for the evening meal and now there may be time to have a look around the port town at your leisure. You can, of course, spend this time relaxing on board should you wish to, but often getting off the boat to stretch your legs is the best idea.
When it is time for your evening dinner this will be served on board and is usually a 3-course meal of typical cuisine of the region, which is always to the highest standard.
Once dinner has been served, your time is your own to either go for a walk around the port town and get a drink or you can, of course, socialise on board. I chose to stay on board most evenings as the friendly and informative atmosphere is brilliant and friendships form very quickly on these trips.
I hope this has provided some insight into just what to expect from a bike and boat holiday with Hooked on Cycling.
If you have any questions or would like recommendations for your trip, please do not hesitate to contact one of the team, who will be only too happy to assist with your enquiry.