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“Great Family Getaway”
Review of College Cruisers

College Cruisers
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 6 April 2018

We were looking for a short activity break for 10 people ( 2 families of 5), with Kids from 4 to 11 yrs. The 70' long Brasenose was perfect for our short trip on the Oxford Canal. Very friendly and professional staff gave good instructions on operating the boat and got us on our way quickly on arrival.
The boat was well equipped per the website; better than many self catering apartments we've stayed in before never mind on a boat ! Both kids and adults had a very enjoyable experience and would have no hesitation recommending College Cruisers.

3  Thank Gerald M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (68)
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"canal boat"
in 7 reviews
"oxford canal"
in 24 reviews
"pretty canal"
in 2 reviews
"thorough briefing"
in 2 reviews
"boat owners"
in 2 reviews
"information needed"
in 2 reviews
"comfortable boat"
in 2 reviews
"explained everything"
in 3 reviews
"highly recommend this company"
in 2 reviews
"lovely trip"
in 2 reviews
"english countryside"
in 2 reviews
"lots of fun"
in 2 reviews
in 5 reviews
in 6 reviews
in 6 reviews
in 12 reviews
in 15 reviews

7 - 11 of 68 reviews

Reviewed 30 March 2018

In March 2018 my husband and I spent our second week on a boat hired from College Cruisers and we had even more fun than our first experience in November 2016. On both of our holidays, we've taken Magdalen, which is a 57-foot narrowboat. Although we were slightly delayed in skippering out of Oxford at the beginning of our Saturday - Saturday rental due to ice on the canal, we nonetheless made it over twice as far as we did on our previous visit.

College Cruisers staff provide all you need to know, even if you are a novice. Handling the boat takes a bit of getting used to and some courage, but getting the hang of it isn't too difficult. Upon departure, you'll be provided with canal maps, information, estimated cruising time between points of interest (pubs, in our case), and contact information in case you need help. We had to call in on our return journey because the warning system at the lock connecting the canal to the River Cherwell advised us not to proceed. Mike and Sheila from College Cruisers hopped in their car and came up to provide moral support and professional guidance as I skippered Magdalen back down the river toward Oxford.

Things we enjoyed: the boat has everything you need: central heat, adequate kitchen, ours had two bathrooms with hot showers, plus two bedrooms which allowed us to use the fore bedroom as a dressing room/luggage storage. Also they include waterproofs, which we used multiple times on this trip when we braved the rain. College Cruisers staff also communicated with us on a regular basis as our trip approached, and of course during the trip when we had questions.

Tips if you go: the boatyard is a quick walk from markets in Oxford so you'll be able to stock up on essentials before skippering out of town. Ask as many questions as you like: all of the College Cruisers staff have plentiful experience and want to make you feel welcome and comfortable. Pubs seem to be strategically placed along the canal for overnight stopping points. Have conversations with other canal boaters along the way, too.

Everyone at College Cruisers has been very good to us on both of our visits. We're pleased to recommend them.

1  Thank ArizonaSunDevil99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 October 2017

We had found out about Narrow Boat canal cruising after reading an article in our Sunday Travel section a couple years ago. Immediately called the author and knew this was something we wanted to try. We investigated several companies through the internet and because the Oxford area was a good choice for our planned trip we chose College Cruisers. From the outset the communication between the states and Carys in the UK was very good with quick turn around times. We chose the Keble as it was the smallest and as we are not boaters we were comfortable with the size. Upon early arrival we were able to store our bags and go to the nearby Rusty Pub for a great burger. We shopped at the local Co-Op for items as suggested by College Cruisers (toilet tissue, garbage bags and bottled water). Upon our return to the dock we were able to go on board and then Mike gave us thorough hands on instructions including taking the boat through a lock. And I thought this was going to be a pleasure cruise with my husband piloting the boat and me relaxing and reading. Then we were turned free on the canal. The boat was well equipped, though we never did figure out the TV antenna, but at the end of each day we only wanted to relax and TV wasn't a priority. The boat ran well and everything was in good working order. We met so many lovely people on the canal, with the exception of one boater who was backing up the canal for quite some distance because they didn't want to go to a turning point large enough for his boat. We requested to overtake, but they weren't accommodating for quite some time. He was at the tiller and she was poling from the other end. Quite inconsiderate. Several nice pubs along the way and Annie's Tea Shop is not to be missed. It did take us two days to realize that we were to be enjoying the experience and really didn't need to be at any point at a certain time. Once we figured that out by stopping mid afternoon and enjoying the water and scenery we were more relaxed. I would recommend garden gloves or work gloves as opening the locks can be dirty. Mike suggested having a small stick to flip the stop on the ratchet which did work nicely. All in all it was a very nice experience, one we wouldn't hesitate to suggest and would suggest College Cruisers. At the end at turn in time Greg even called a taxi for us. All we dealt with at College Cruisers were very pleasant and desiring to be of assistance if needed. Thanks College Cruisers for a great experience!

Thank MN_Chill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charlie B, Owner at College Cruisers, responded to this reviewResponded 6 October 2017

The whole team at college cruisers are very pleased that you enjoyed your trip on Keble .
You are quite right a holiday on the canal is much nicer if you just relax and enjoy the scenery . It’s not about the miles you cover it’s the journey you experience and the people you meet , good and bad . All make the memories !!!
Once again thank you for your kind words ..

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Reviewed 4 October 2017 via mobile

Three of us, my wife, sister and I enjoyed a wonderful week meandering up the Oxford canal to Banbury and back on 'Somerville'. The boat was very well appointed and comfortable. Finding a free mooring for the night was sometimes a challenge, though there were plenty of spots to tie up in the more remote countryside stretches and some of the locks were hard work for my wife but often there were others to lend a hand. The scenery was lovely and an idyllic way to see the best of English countryside at a very pleasant gentle pace. We would love to do it again.

1  Thank Ralph383
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 30 September 2017

We hired the small boat Keble from Monday to the Friday, and what great fun it was.. although from Oxford we had never been on the canal before.
We were shown all the things on the boat and taken on a run up the canal with a very nice and helpful chap, the boat was a delight, large enough for the two of us (and 2 small dogs) but small enough to turn around with no problems.
The boat was cosy and very well maintained and nice and clean.
There was lots to see as we ambled along, The locks are hard work but again they were fun, and the other boaters would always give a hand.
We had a great 4 days and will be booking again... Thank you college Cruisers..

Thank tim286
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charlie B, Owner at College Cruisers, responded to this reviewResponded 3 October 2017

Well what a lovely review for Keble and for the south Oxford Canal . So pleased that all on board had a good time .
Keble is small but very well formed and the wood burner makes it very cosy on autumn evenings
Thank you so much for your review we really appreciate it .


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