Click on one of the main categories below for questions and answers in that category.
Before you book
Do I need experience at handling a boat?
No. All of the cruiser companies we represent provide full tuition when you first take the boat, and will stick at it until you're happy that you can handle the boat.
Do I need a licence to drive a boat in Burgundy?
No. At present no license is necessary to drive a boat on the river.
Can I hire a boat for less than a week?
Yes. Most (but not all) of the companies will let a boat for a period of three or four nights. These short breaks are subject to availability and usually can't be booked until two weeks before the cruise is due to begin but some of the larger companies are more flexible. Prices for short breaks vary from company to company - please contact us for a quote.
What's the minimum age to hire a cruiser?
The minimum age to hire a cruiser 21.
Can I take a pet on board?
Yes, but your choice of boat is severely limited by taking a pet on board as most of the cruiser companies don't allow it. Those that do allow pets will charge a fee of €50-€100.
What are the collection and return times?
Seven nights is really six and a half days as the boat can be collected from 16:00 and must be
returned by 09:00 on the last day. For short breaks most companies will allow a 14:00 collection.
Can I hire a boat at any time of year?
Yes. Although all of the cruiser companies operate from March to October only, we represent one barge company that operate all year round.
Payment and Costs
What are the payment terms?
Payment terms with all of the cruiser companies is 33% of the boat hire fee to confirm the booking and the balance is paid six weeks before the cruise is due to begin. For short breaks the full hire fee is required to confirm the booking.
How do I Pay?
At Burgundy Boating Holidays we can take payment by credit card online or over the phone, bank transfer or cheque - cheque payments should be made at least six weeks before the cruise is due to begin. You can send your card details with the booking form that we send, or we can take it over the phone. Our bank details are available on the booking form.
Are there any hidden costs?
Two costs to bear in mind are the refundable damage deposit and fuel. Refundable damage deposits vary from €500 to €2,100 depending on the boat and are paid directly to the cruiser company when you arrive using cash or a credit card. The damage deposit is fully refunded when the boat is returned undamaged. Many companies offer a damage waiver instead of the deposit - this is a smaller amount than the deposit but is not refundable. The main difference between the two is that the amount you pay is the maxumum amount you're liable for should the boat be damaged. You'll find more information with the listing for each boat.
The smaller boats use around 3 litres of fuel per hour and the largest boats can use up to 10 litres per hour. Fuel costs approximately the same as diesel in a filling station, sometimes more depending on the company. You can check the fuel costs before you leave and there's a meter at the helm of each boat to show how many hours you've travelled. Running the engine slower will use less fuel.
Are the boats insured?
The boats are fully insured against damage, although there is an excess with each boat equal to the refundable damage deposit. Please note that you, your crew or your belongings are not insured and you may need to take separate travel insurance for these items.
Do I need a fishing license?
It's recommended that you buy a license for a nominal fee if fishing in Burgundy - these are usually available from the cruiser company. Please note that live bait is not allowed on the boat at any time. You can get information on fishing at Fishing in Burgundy
Arriving for your boat
How do I get to the marina?
You can get detailed information on getting to the marina HERE but a summary follows.
What time can I collect the boat, and what time do I bring it back at?
The collection time with all of the cruiser companies is 4pm - this is to allow time for the boat to be cleaned and maintained from the previous crew. All of the companies try to get short breaks out at about 2pm and usually succeed unless the marina is very busy. The boat should be returned by 9am or 10am on the final morning depending on the company, again to allow time to clean and maintain the boat for the next crew.
What's on the boat?
Everything that you need to live on board is provided on the boat. Fresh bed-linen and towels, all cutlery and crockery, cooking utensils etc. Every boat has at least one bathroom with shower, and from four berth up most will have two or more. There is a fully functional galley on board with a small cooker and oven/grill and a small fridge.
Is there electricity on the boat?
All of the boats have 12v cigarette lighter sockets for charging mobile phones or laptops, although you'll need to bring your own adaptor. Some of the larger boats have limited 220v outlets, and some have special low-voltage hairdryers, televisions and DVD players.
Are life jackets and safety equipment provided?
Life jackets are provided for crew members of all ages, and the marina staff will be happy to fit life jackets to children. Fire safety equipment is also on board - fire extinguishers and fire blankets.
How fast do the boats go?
Not very fast. The idea of a French River cruise is to relax and unwind, and most of the boats have a maximum speed of about 10 knots.
What do I need to take with me?
All of the cruisers are fully equipped with everything you need to live on board - bed linen, towels, soap, toilet paper, a fully equipped galley with cooker and hob, all crockery and cutlery, a fridge. Life jackets are available for adults and children and fire extinguisher(s) and a first-aid-kit are on board. Most of the companies will supply a torch, binoculars and a dinghy. One thing we always recommend at Burgundy Boating Holidays is that you take some extra towels if possible. You will of course have to provide your own food and drinks and optional recommended items include rubber-soled shoes for grip and soft luggage that stores easily (although most of the companies will store hard luggage for you on request).
Do I have to pay to moor the boat?
Although there's free mooring at every town and village on the French waterways in Burgundy we recommend that you moor at the private marinas. Most larger towns have private marinas with electricity, water etc. and there's free public mooring in the smaller villages. At busy times it's acceptable practise to moor alongside another boat if there are no free spaces.
What about Locks?
Your cruiser company will supply information on how to operate any locks that you come across. Most of the locks on the Burgundy waterways are automated
The locks on the Seille River are self-operated. The locks on the Petit Saône are automatic and have lock keepers; others are self-operated. On the Big Saône, you’ll find three large automatic locks with lock keepers between St. Jean-de-Losne and Mâcon. On the Canal des Vosges, Canal de Bourgogne and the Canal du Centre, all locks are automatic.
Opening hours: Petit Saône locks operate from 09:00-19:00 (7:00 p.m). They are closed for lunch from 12:30-13:30 (1:30 p.m.). Big Saône locks operate from 06:00-21:00 (9:00 p.m.). No lunch closures. Locks are open on most public holidays.