To the crew of Absoluut2.

Thank you for making this vacation so special!

The food was first class, the towns were great and thank you for sharing your experience of Dutch history and it's people.

Also, since we forgot to give Boody (spelling?) our e-mail address would you pass it along. We would love to get the soup recipes and the Peach, Raisin and French Pastry Pudding with Brandy Sauce, and if he can let us know when his cook book comes out we will definitely buy it.

Best wishes from

L, J and J.
7 May 2006


Dear John and crew:

John: I can't begin to express how absolutely wonderful the fairytale trip on your yacht was. Carol and I still have to pinch ourselves to make sure it was real. Our every wish you made come true. The first night Carol asked for Canadian Club and you didn't have it on board. The next day, there it was.  You were more than accommodating on everything, making this the most wonderful thing we every thought possible.  I also appreciate the Top Gear info you sent along on the disk.  I will send you some copies from the slides I took.  Not all 10 rolls, just the better pictures.

I forgot to get your email address before I left the boat.  I got Budhi's, but didn't get yours, so I hope this reaches you okay.  I will send you any information that comes out in the Denver Post, etc. and will also try to put something together with the Garden Writers Association.

Luke:  Thank you for everything.  You had answers for anything we wanted to know and were always at the ready to lend a helping hand, lead a side trip, set up abicycle, etc.  You helped to round out the most wonderful experience we have ever had.  Better than New Zealand, or any other place we have been.  Our daughter said that being able to get email from us and to send an answer made her feel much more secure since she was taking care of our horses, greenhouse, etc.  You went the extra mile, (kilometer), to make that happen.

Penny:  Carol and I really enjoyed visiting with you and Budhi.  You keep the yacht so clean that we were almost afraid to touch anything on board because we would leave a smudge or a fingerprint.  Thank you so much for the cake, we ate on it the rest of the time we were in Amsterdam, and it was just what we needed.

Budhi:  I think I gained a lot of weight on the trip.  Sitting back and watching the countryside go past was great, but your wonderful food made it very special. Every time we turned around you had something else for us to eat and we just couldn't pass it up.  Carol bought several cookbooks in Amsterdam, but she will never be able to give the food she fixes the same wonderful flavor that you do.
We will keep in touch with everyone as you feel like family rather than a boat and crew we hired.  If any of you get to Colorado, be sure and stop to see us. We have plenty of room and would be happy to show you the sights.
J and C P
May 4, 2006


I don't care what boat, barge, or yacht you compare it to, the Absoluut 2 has to be the best in the business.  The next time we decide to do any cruising we will definitely go with the Absoluut 2 as we are sure any other cruise would not even come close to this cruise.   John and his staff are perfectionists and your wish is their command.  If you mention something and they don't have it they will get it.  If you mention something you want to do or where you would like to go it is granted.  Keukenhauf was at the perfect time with more flowers than I have ever seen in one place at one time.  John was willing to spend the entire day there if we wanted, but I was getting sensory overload with all of the wonderful flowers.  I got the pictures I wanted for publication, and it was a great experience.  At mid-morning here was Captain John with cake and drinks for a welcome break.  At lunch here he was again with just what we wanted for lunch, and drinks.   Every night we docked at a beautiful location.  During the day we cruised through beautiful country.  The Dutch seem to have most of their beautiful gardens and flowers in their back yards between the house and the canal.  So all I had to do was sit there and relax and watch the beautiful garden scenes go past.   The last evening we were suppose to dock in Amsterdam, but with Queen's Day the following day there were not many good places and John wasn't satisfied with where we were located.  He put in a couple of extra hours and got us to a nice quiet place in a small town within about a hundred yards of a beautiful windmill.    My wife hasn't had a good nights sleep for months, but she said she slept better on this cruise than she can remember.  The cabin was very quiet, and the crew seemed to go out of their way to keep from making any noise after people went to bed and until they got up in the morning.   John keeps the yacht in perfect shape.  I have never seen a cleaner engine room on any boat I have ever been on.  In addition, Penny keeps everything cleaned and polished and in it's place.   Budhi makes the best food we have ever eaten.  I am sure we both gained weight on this trip.   Luke is a real key part of the crew.  When John is busy he takes care of anything the passengers need.  He also leads great tours and goes the extra mile to make the passengers comfortable.   This yacht has everything you might want, from flat screen satellite TV to Internet service.  But, the best part of the whole cruise was the wonderul scenery and great crew.   Well, we have just traveled from Amsterdam and have been traveling for the past 24 hours without sleep, so my note might not make sense as we are very tired, but I just had to tell you how great the cruise was.   Sincerely,   J P


Just recovered from pampering on the Absoluut2. The trip was wonderful, Captain John and the crew treated us Royalty. The barge, weather were terrific, I even got to use the hot tub on deck twice. We were lucky with our fellow passengers, a couple from Colorado, one of whom was a retired horticulturist from Colorado State who took amazing photos see attachments) could explain all the plant life. The hotels in Amsterdam turned out well, located in the middle of the major squares and walking distance to museums and flower markets etc, we even did well for the Queen's birthday for food and museums.   Thanks for all your help and we hope to join the Absoluut2 and its crew sometime when they are in France. Carol and i have some information about French history that we would like to send on to Captain John, could you send us his email address or forward our note when we get it finished???   Sincerely,   C & P
May 3, 2006



We got back last week and had a wonderful time. The barge/bike experience was great.  I wasn't sure what to expect and everything exceeded my expectations. The boat had recently been redone so the accommodations were great!  It turned out that it was unusually hot so the fact that the boat was air-conditioned turned out to be important (spoiled Americans......).  Some of the other companies' boats did not have air conditioning we learned.  I didn't realize how many companies there are that do this type of trip.

The staff was great!  The captain was very gracious (also part owner) and allowed my husband to spend some time with her in the pilot house which was something he wanted to do.  He was a tow boat captain here on the Mississippi so he was very interested in the boat and the canals. 

The chef and other crew were great!  They were friendly and helpful.  Their English was good which of course that made it easier for us.  The food was good.  Dinner every night was well prepared, well presented and well eaten. 

The biking was also great!  Nice bikes and an easy pace.  After the first couple of days, they kind of changed the agenda so that people could bike the whole day, the morning, the afternoon or not at all.  Because of the heat, a number of people chose to bike only in the morning when it was cooler, like my husband. 

I enjoyed the route through Belgium and Holland.  Both countries have a little something different to offer.  I would recommend the trip to anyone.  I would also recommend an 'international' group.  It turned out that there were Norwegians, Danes, Germans, Dutch and Americans on the cruise and that may the trip more interesting for us.  (Most everyone spoke English pretty well and of course, we don't speak any other language)

Thanks for the recommendation.  We might have to try another one in the future.  I hear they have more of these trips in France.

July 2006


The barge was extremely pleasant.  Cabins were small, but you expect that on a barge.  They were very clean, beds were comfortable and we had all the storage space we needed.  Private bathrooms in each cabin were small but functional and we never ran out of hot water.

There was a nice sitting room where folks would congregate to chat and watch the scenery go by out large windows.  The dining area was also bright and cheery. Meals were delicious. Breakfast: Every day, there were various breads, meats, cheeses and fruit.  Each day was a different hot dish - French toast, eggs, pancakes, etc. At breakfast, we were provided with Tupperware-type containers so we could pack our own lunch with whatever we desired.  (The freshly baked hard rolls were a favorite for sandwiches).  In addition to the breakfast items, there were juice boxes, cookies and candy available. At all times, there was coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cookies and candy available in the dining area. Dinner: Each evening, we have what was called a 3-course meal....but it seemed like much more than that.

We would have a soup or salad started, then a main course with multiple sides followed by a scrumptious dessert.  Everyone raved about the delicious food - and often asked for recipes.

After dinner each evening, our cycling guide would take us for a walk into the little town where we had docked.  He would show us around and tell us a little about the area and it's history.

The bikes were easy to use and our guide was extremely adept at taking care of the few problems folks encountered (a couple of flat tires). The seats were a bit hard and we benefitted greatly from the slip-on gel seats we took with us (purchased from REI).

The bike routes were beautiful.  Personally, I enjoyed the Netherlands area more than the Belgium area - not that I didn't enjoy the Belgium rides, it's just that every Holland rides was like a postcard.

Each evening, our guide (Thomas) would tell us about the following day's ride and the options.  Some days you could ride half-day and meet up with the barge.  Other days, if you were riding, you had to ride the whole day. On every full day ride, there was always an afternoon stop at a local pub.

We mostly rode with the group.  However, on 2 days, my husband and I wanted to go at a slower pace (because we took so many pictures).  Thomas was terrific.  He provided us with maps and suggestions on where to stop for lunch, if we wanted.

One day, I stayed on the barge and just enjoyed the scenery as we meandered down the river.  This also let me get into our little port a bit early and stroll around with some of the other  people who had chosen to cruise that day.

The staff of the Iris (captain, first mate, cook and housekeeper) were all extremely friendly and knowledgeable.

Ours was called a casual bike and barge tour.  I understand the biggest differences between that and the tours conducted by deluxe barges

1. Alcohol is not included in the tour price.  Onboard the Iris, it was the honor system.  If you wanted a glass of wine or a beer, you took one and put a stroke by your name on the tab tally.  You could also purchase a full bottle of wine and just enjoy it at your leisure.

2. I've heard that some tours have a van accompanying the cycling group in case someone wants to take a break.  On our tour, we had a terrific guide with us, but you couldn't really call it quits in the middle of the day.  That's why it was so nice to know all of the options the day before - so everyone could make their own plans.

3. Any admission charges to local sights (like a working windmill) were not included in the tour price.  Our guide paid the admission then everyone would pay him at the end of the day.  This worked out very well.

We have travelled quite a bit and we loved this tour.  We are already looking at a trip on the sister ship to the Iris, the Fleur.

Sept 2009