Travel advice

More information about your journey to and from the Merlijn
We will pamper you from the moment you set foot on our gangplank until the last time you step off. In doing so, we take a lot of worries off your hands, however, not everything. Because until you reach our gangway, there are also a number of things to be arranged. You could use a local travel agent, however nowadays you can easily manage this yourself. Of course, we won't leave you completely out in the cold, so here's our advice regarding traveling to and from the Merlijn.

When is the best time to travel our way?
We can be brief in our advice; arrive a few days earlier! It is important to start your active vacation well rested and to be on time for embarkation. The daily bike rides can be quite strenuous for you. If you are still tired from your journey to the Merlijn, you are already starting 1-0 behind. You even may be traveling from a different time zone and need to give your body time to adjust to the new time.

The embarkation location is always carefully selected. It will be a larger city, with good connections and there is a lot to see (some exceptions aside). Embarkation itself is usually in the afternoon and then we sail right away, so we do not visit the embarkation site during your cruise. The perfect opportunity for you to visit this city on your own beforehand. Book 2 or more nights in a local hotel, and already get used to the customs of the country. These days also allow time for unexpected events. Your plane might just be delayed or rebooked, the ship doesn't wait and you would miss (part) of your trip with us.


After your cruise
In time the moment will come, your Bike, Barge and Cruise with Merlijn is over and we arrive at the disembarkation port. This location is also chosen so that it is attractive to stay in the area for a while. We usually arrive at the port in the afternoon of the last cycling day. After the bike ride you might have a drink with your new friends and then there is a farewell dinner, little or no time to visit the city so. After one last night on board you leave the ship. How relaxing will it be if you then only have to take a short trip to your local hotel? Exactly; so stay one more night in the area and then travel on, to the nearest airport or another hotspot nearby!

Booking a hotel
We have inspired you to stay in a local hotel, how can you book it? Our knowledge lies mainly in Bike, Barge and Cruise, hotels booking we leave to you. Everyone also has different wishes in that regard; simple, luxury, in the city center or just not. We recommend the website www.booking.com, there you will find almost all hotels in Europe and you can filter by location and wishes. Once you have found your hotel, see if you can book directly with the hotel, it sometimes makes a difference in price. Even if the price is the same, I can tell you from my own experience that the hotel entrepreneur will earn more from your stay.

Want to find a hotel close to the embarkation location? Then remember that we only know a few months in advance exactly where we will dock, we will communicate this in the travel letter we send out 3-2 months in advance. However, if in the city in question, you find a hotel close to the water, you will never be far from the port.

Does something go wrong while traveling and you think you won't be able to get to the ship in time? Always let us know, sometimes we can do something for you.

 

The best airports to use by cruise destination Depending on your booked trip with Merlijn, make a selection of which airports best fit your travel plans. In the following list you will find 2 different categories of airports, for each direction and destination of our cruising area.

Intercontinental flights, showing larger airports for long-haul flights. For example, from New York to Amsterdam.

Intra-European flights, where smaller airports are shown for short-haul flights. For example, from Athens to Amsterdam. Often you can also use the major airports for intra-European flights. One website we recommend for finding a flight within Europe is www.skyscanner.com 

 

Netherlands, north/west-Germany
Cruise destinations; Amsterdam, Groningen, Maastricht, Bruges, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Bremen.

  • Intercontinental flights: Amsterdam Schiphol airport, Brussels International.
  • Intra-European flights: Eindhoven, Rotterdam, Dortmund, Cologne/Bonn, Bremen.

 

Northern Germany, Poland
Cruise destinations; Bremen, Wolfsburg, Berlin, Malchin, Dresden, Sczcecin.

  • Intercontinental flights: Berlin airport (All airports).
  • Intra-European flights: Dresden, Hamburg, Prague, Gdansk.

South/east Germany
Cruise destinations; Wurzburg, Bamberg, Nurnberg, Passau.

  • Intercontinental flights: Frankfurt international airport, Munich.
  • Intra-European flights: Nurnberg, Frankfurt Hahn. 

South/west Germany
Cruise destinations; Frankfurt, Mainz, Koblenz, Cochem, Saarburg, Merzig, Ludwigsburg.

  • Intercontinental flights: Frankurt international, Luxembourg, Paris International.
  • Intra-European flights: Frankfurt Hahn, Baden Baden, Stuttgart.

Belgium
Cruise destinations; Bruges, Brussels.

  • Intercontinental flights: Brussels International, Paris International.
  • Intra-European flights: Brussels Charleroi, Maastricht, Eindhoven.

France
Cruise destination; Nancy/Frouard

  • Intercontinental flights: Paris International
  • Intra-European flights: Luxembourg

Austria
Cruise destination; Vienna

  • Intercontinental flights: Vienna, Munich.
  • Intra-European flights: Budapest, Bratislava, Prague.

Hungary
Cruise destination; Budapest

  • Intercontinental flights: Vienna
  • Intra-European flights: Budapest, Bratislava, Prague.
     

The best way to travel in Europe
For travel within Europe, you can use the Intra-European airports, however, often the train network. It is very common in Europe, to use the train if the distances are not that far. For example, you can travel from Paris to Amsterdam within 3 hours. A principle you can apply: Train travel time shorter than 5-6 hours? take the train! or vice versa; Flying time longer than 1.5 hours? take the plane. Flying may seem like the fastest way, however, remember that you also have to travel to, and from, the airport, and be at the airport 1.5 to 2 hours before the flight. When choosing between the train or the plane, you may also consider the environment, flying has a much greater burden on the environment.

From various airports or locations within Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom or Germany you can reach the ship by train as Western Europe is known for its high speed trains that connects various countries together. Hereby some websites where you can inquire about the best train connections:

-Within the Netherlands: www.ns.nl/en

-Netherlands and international: www.nsinternational.com/en

-Belgium: www.belgiantrain.be/en

-Austria: www.oebb.at/en/

-Germany and international: www.bahn.de/en 

Merzig to Nancy/Frouard

October 16 - 23 / 2021
Fantastic Trip!! Exceeded all expectations. Not just saying that but it was great. Capt Coen and Christia and crew did a fantastic job. The boat is spotless- inside and out, the activities and food was fantastic. Also- Christina worked with us as we are vegans without making us feel arkward. Ilse the \"Bike Wrangler\" did a great job leading us on great bike trips and the entire crew worked with the weather to make the best of one rainy windy day. Highly recommend this trip as \"bucket list\" trip except I want to do some more bike barge trip with the Merlijn.