"Today is our last day in France after our holiday on the Canal Du Midi, and we just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for helping to make our trip so excellent.
The welcome and advice that you gave us on our first day was spot on. Once we had mastered the steering of Beziers (a bit of a challenge to start with), the trip went really well.
The boat was comfortable and well laid out and worked really well for the 4 of us."
"Thank you all at Minervois so much, we had a wonderful holiday on Narbonne two weeks ago.
We were so pleased with everything and I will recommend you so highly to anyone interested in boating on The Canal du Midi, it really is the best boat company out there! Thank you!"
Diane Kelly: Works for West Midlands' Police Drugs Referral Unit and as such has a pretty stressful job.
By her own accounts she and her husband Peter (a professional chauffeur who drives many miles every week) value their annual holiday and wanted something really relaxing. Having seen the Rick Stein series on TV (where the affable superchef cruised slowly down the Canal du Midi) and an advert in the police staff magazine, Diane and Peter thought that a Minervois Cruisers French narrowboat holiday would be ideal for them.
"Cruising down the Canal du Midi on a Minervois narrowboat is very relaxing. Time seems to stands still. I defy anyone to come back stressed. Everyone is very friendly and the other boaters are most welcoming!"
The standard of the boat was first-class. In fact we had pretty much a brand new boat in the Montpelier; which was good on the mod cons, especially in the kitchen area, and that's most important if you are a woman. It's always very nice to see a full size fridge on a narrowboat. Amazingly, there was even central heating not that we needed it.
There are excellent supermarkets near the base at Le Somail which meant (having hired a car) we were able to stock up well before setting off for our week's gentle jaunt. And although we did not exactly rush anywhere we seemed to pack a lot into our 7 days heading east to Beziers and the famous network of 7 locks and west from Le Somail to the picturesque canal-side town of Homps, which has some fantastic restaurants.
Minervois Cruisers' sister company, Midi Vacations, arranged for us to have a 2nd week on terra firma in a fabulous studio apartment. This was the week that we were able to really travel and sightsee - taking in such places as the stunning medieval city of Carcassonne and the lovely market town of Narbonne (twice!)."
The weather was generally very good for September, and Pete and I came back with a bit of a tan. I can think of no better endorsement than to say that we are seriously considering going back with friends next year to experience the delights of boating along the Canal du Midi with Minervois Cruisers, balanced by another week onshore.
John & Angela Hemingway decided to share a boat with their daughter and her husband.
John is a tutor at Wakefield High Security Prison and his son-in- law, Jonathan Clarke, is an inspector with Greater Manchester Police. Both men have highly stressful jobs and want peace and quiet when they go on holiday. All four good folk decided upon a relaxing holiday with us at Minervois Cruisers.
Having never been on a boating holiday before they thought that a week's gentle narrow-boating would be just the ticket.
Angela, reported back to us upon their return to the UK, as follows:-
"Having never done that kind of holiday before it was a huge relief to be greeted by Emily and Tony (the couple who run the boat base) who could not have been more pleasant and helpful. When we were ready to set off they gave the men a full induction course on how to operate the narrowboat, and it certainly did the trick as we never had any mishaps and proceeded smoothly upon our designated course.
I loved the fact that when you are on a narrowboat on a canal there is no traffic congestion as you get on roads. We also loved being able to cruise right into the centre of historic old south-east French towns like Narbonne; which has a great market and very good restaurants.
The boat was comfortable and very well equipped kitchen-wise - something which women particularly look out for. If we were to decide on another southern French boating holiday we would look no further than Minervois Cruisers!"
Paul is an R&M Engineer at Smith's Aerospace and, as such, has a highly technical and demanding job working on flight control systems. He and his wife were looking for a thoroughly relaxing late season break, and decided that a week on a Minervois narrow-boat was just the ticket.
Paul says: "We had a great time! We were very happy with the boat, which, it turned out, was (luckily for us) the newest boat in the fleet, and in lovely condition. The pack-up box of food to get us on our way was useful.
We found the onsite Minervois Cruiser's team (of real-life partners Emily and Tony) to be very helpful and friendly. And the suggested Minervois time-table they gave us was so easy to follow and enjoy; being a suggested schedule that is most definitely built for relaxing and ambling along, savouring each special moment.
Talking about schedules we decided to head east along the canal in the direction of the Mediterranean. Our first big destination was the canal-side city of Beziers, and its famous Foncierres 7-stepped series of locks: very exciting if rather challenging! At first glance it almost seems like you are about to go into a free-for-all white- water situation. But in reality this lock system like almost all others along the Canal are fully manned and safe - provided you cruise sensibly and handle your boat as you have been taught.
There were some erratically-driven cruisers, and it does make you wonder if the some of the companies from which they hire their boats actually give proper training; which is not a charge that can be levelled at Minervois Cruisers who seem to take pre-trip training very seriously indeed.
Our next major port-of-call - the city of Narbonne - was glorious, especially down by the water's edge.
The return to base was nice and leisurely and we stopped at some lovely canal-side villages almost all of which seemed to offer fine hospitality especially of the culinary variety.
All in all", says John in finishing, "a thoroughly delightful holiday! One which we would most definitely consider doing again."