Welcome onboard

Merlijn is a fully equipped small River-Cruise-Ship, capable of hosting 24 passengers. Built in 1930 as a freighter and converted to a luxurious and authentic cruise ship in 2002. Since then she is without a doubt the most elegant lady on the European rivers.

Luxury cruising, Boutique cruises or Small ship cruises, sounds familiar to you? you should look further.

Cruise in style on a converted vintage barge

What we offer you

  • Bike & Barge trips in Europe
  • Individual bookings directly through our website
  • Reserve and pay online
  • Reserve the entire barge for your group
  • Charter the entire barge with your company
  • Large, bright lounge/restaurant
  • Professional kitchen
  • Manned bar service
  • Luxurious, spacious cabins
  • Your own private bathroom

The Owners

We are Coen & Cristina, here is a short introduction about us, the proud new owners of Merlijn.

A dream coming true, that is how we felt when we started of in april 2019. After working for years as Captains on big 5-star river-cruiseships (150 pax) we dreamed of something else; something smaller, more personal, specialized cruises, running our own business, the list of superlatives is long! We searched and had several ideas untill we coincidently ran into Merlijn. that was it, that was the ship that filled in all the blank spaces! We went a 100% for it, sold our first house, quit our jobs and moved to the Merlijn.

Coen

Captain, Engineer, Guestcontact.

Cristina

2nd Captain, Host, Chef.

 

What is the difference between 'Bike & Barge" and Bike, Barge & Cruise?

Some ship owners call it Bike & Barge, but we at Merlijn feel that term does not tell what a vacation aboard the Merlijn is all about!

Because in addition to cycling (Bike) and staying and dining on board (Barge), we also often sail with our guests on board. Imagine yourself enjoying the sailing during breakfast or after a strenuous bike ride, with or without a drink on one of our terraces.

That is what we mean by "Cruise".

Exciting news: 2026 sailing schedule now available for group bookings

We are thrilled to announce that our sailing schedule for 2026 is now available! Are you with a group and do you want to book the entire ship? Plan your next adventure with Merlijn. Our new routes promise unique and unforgettable experiences, combining the best of cycling and barge cruising. Individual bookings will be available starting February 2025.   

We at Merlijn have a lot of exciting plans for 2026!

Where we sail

The no. 1 in bike and barge cruises across Europe

The Merlijn sails on:

  • All rivers & lakes of Holland/Netherlands, including the IJssel, Meuse, IJssel Lake, inland lakes of the Randmeren, the Waddensea, the Groene Hart van Holland (Green Heartlands) commencing in Amsterdam and running via Gouda/Delft to Kinderdijk. 
  • In Germany we sail the Rhine, Moselle, Saar, Main, Main-Danube-canal, Danube, Neckar, Midlandcanal, Havel, Weser, Oder, Peene & more. 
  • In Belgium we sail the Schelde and several canals to Bruges & Brussels, from there to Maastricht.
  • In France we sail the Moselle, as far as to Nancy.
  • In Poland we sail the West-Odra and cross the Lake Stettiner haff, also we dock in the city of Szczecin.
  • The Danube deserves a special mention: from 2022 we will sail on this river through Germany & Austria until we reach Vienna.
  • In the future we add a little more and we also cross Slovakia to sail as far as Budapest in Hungary.

Merlijn's Captain knows all these waters & their natural surroundings well, and knows where the most tranquil spots are to be found. 

The last news

Our ‘workcation’ in Spain

Friday 16 february 2024

Our ‘workcation’ in Spain

This past January, we took a workcation to the warmth of Spain, a welcome change from the Dutch winter.

Beyond the cruises you see, there's a world of tasks behind the scenes like writing travel guides, answering queries, and arranging excursions. We drove 2250 kilometers to South Spain, Sacha, our faithful dog, in tow, since flying wasn't an option for her.

During our time in Spain, we focused on enhancing the experiences for Merlijn's voyages. Weekends, however, were for exploring; we hiked through Andalusia's mountains, Sacha bravely joined us, albeit needing a little help at times. Our visits to various local spots revealed breathtaking scenes, making us wish Merlijn could cruise throug Spain.

Want to cycle with a Merlijn bike this year?

Friday 16 february 2024

Want to cycle with a Merlijn bike this year?

We've heard from one of our partners that they still have rooms available for the coming season (2024)! This is quite unique and is almost always due to people, or even a group, having to unexpectedly cancel their trip. These rooms are now also bookable through our website. Do you think waiting a few months is long enough and are you ready to pack your bags within a few days? Then quickly take a look at our tour page.

Looking back on Merlijn’s Bike, Barge and Cruise Season 2023

Wednesday 29 november 2023

Looking back on Merlijn’s Bike, Barge and Cruise Season 2023

As the sun sets on the unforgettable 2023 Bike, Barge, and Cruise season on the Merlijn, we look back on the adventurous bike rides, picturesque towns, and delicious meals that made this trip so special.

We sincerely thank all our guests for joining us and for their pleasure. We love it so much to see how enthusiastically everyone comes on board, only to leave the ship full of memories at the end of the trip, sometimes with a tear! Let's not forget that without you we are nowhere, only through your enthusiasm can we run the Merlijn.Thank you!

Cycling enthusiasts and travelers enjoyed a season full of exploration and fun. Merlijn, our floating home, provided a unique perspective as we paddled through beautiful landscapes and discovered Europe.

From the charming streets of Bruges via former east and west Germany to Vienna in Austria, Merlijn took us on a journey through rich history and culture. Daily excursions brought us in the heart of cities, with Merlijn always on the horizon.

Whether we dined in Merlijn’s cozy restaurant or enjoyed a picnic in a village square, each meal celebrated Europe's diverse culinary treasures.

As we say goodbye to the season 2023 on board Merlijn, we cherish memories of cycling adventures, breathtaking landscapes and new friendships. Until next season 2024, when we set sail again on the Merlijn. We look forward to next season and hope to see you on board!

12 january 2024

What a phenomenal experience! We absolutely loved staying onboard the Merlijn, and the itinerary took us through some of the most charming towns along the Moselle as we made our way through France, Luxembourg, and Germany, led each day by our fantastic guide Lia. Wed booked our trip over a year in advance and my knee had significantly deteriorated in that time, so thank goodness for the e-bikes which made the rides a breeze. Cristinas culinary skills were showcased nightly in what were essentially 5-star meals something we looked forward to after a day of riding in the cool, damp fall weather. The accommodations were comfortable, always tidy, and being part of such a small tour was an absolute delight. We cant wait to join Coen, Cristina, and the rest of the crew again in the future.