Whilst we hope to ensure your narrow boat holiday experience is as relaxed and informal as possible, we do need to set out some simple terms and conditions... boat life is more about cooperation and community than a set of rules to follow.
That said, here are a few basic guidelines that by making a booking you and us are agreeing to:
By pressing “buy now” against the dates of your choice you are asked to pay a BOOKING RESERVATION of £250 per BOOKING – not person. This deposit secures the dates requested and will trigger an email within 24 hours, containing a booking form for you to complete and return. This is a non-returnable deposit and the booking is not confirmed until you have returned the booking form.
Once we have received your deposit and completed booking form, an invoice will be sent out via email for payment of the balance. It will include account details for transfer purposes but you are also able to make payment via Paypal (for credit card transactions) upon request.
FULL payment is required no later than 10 weeks before departure date.
Cancellations and amendments (by you):
If you need to to cancel or change a booking we shall try and be as cooperative as we can – wherever possible we will hope to be able to re-sell your dates. If we have been able to, then a full refund (excluding the booking deposit) will be made. In the event of us NOT being able to re-sell your original reservation, the following charges will be applicable:
No of days before trip “start date” cancellation notice received Cancellation Charge
7 days or less 100% of total price
8 to 28 days 75% of total price
29 to 56 days 50% of total price
56 days or more £250 non-returnable booking deposit.
Whist we hope you will find the cancellation charge fair and reasonable, we would however strongly advise all our guests to ensure they have taken out holiday insurance to cover all unexpected events such as accident, ill health or death to themselves or close family member that might prevent travel and thus cover the cancellation charges above.
Cancellations and amendments (by us):
In the event that WE have to cancel a booking due to circumstances beyond our control, monies paid to us (excluding the Booking deposit) will be refunded in full. We will not however accept any liability for any additional costs incurred such as transport to or from embarkation or disembarkation points.
We reserve the right to terminate a passenger's cruise should that person in the opinion of the master of the vessel have placed the boat, equipment or passengers in danger of damage or injury by ignoring the advice or restrictions imposed in order to protect against such damage or injury to persons or property whilst travelling with us.
PLEASE don't be unrealistic about your mobility. It's one thing to be a bit unsteady and need the occasional 'hoik' (I love that word) but if you (or your travelling partner ) is deemed by the master of the vessel as unable to exit the boat quickly in the event of an emergency, on arrival the trip will be cancelled, you will be asked to leave and have no money refunded. This statement has been added for 2023 (and beyond) after several unfortunate experiences last year. Narrowboat Ellis is a boating holiday - NOT Respite Care!
We also reserve the right to expel any person found smoking inside the boat, or anyone who in the opinion of the master of the vessel exhibits behavior disruptive to the group.
No compensation or refund will be paid for cruise time or facilities cancelled due to this action.
Occasionally, canals are closed at short notice due to emergency repairs or drought or rivers because of flood.
Should a closure occur which affects one or more of our cruises, we'll will make every effort to re-route the boat and will inform guests accordingly. Guests will have no claim and in particular no right of cancellation should re-routing be necessary due to the above circumstances.
Embarkation & Disembarkation:
We have purposefully built a bit of redundancy into our cruise schedule to allow for a certain amount of emergency leeway for embarkation and disembarkation purposes. There may be occasions when due to circumstances beyond our control, deviation from the dates and/or locations quoted may be necessary. Hopefully such occurrences will be avoided but in the event they are not, we would request your cooperation and understanding.
We would appreciate if guests arrive around 1.30pm on the first day of the trip – things don’t always go to plan so we’ll hope to be flexible enough to go with the flow. Communication is key though so please, keep in touch by telephone if you experience any difficulties. Departure is expected after breakfast is finished on the final day - usually about 9.30am.
We reserve the right to change the suggested embarkation or disembarkation places for operational reasons but wherever possible will discuss with you and treat your requirements as our priority.
When it comes to leaving the boat – because it is our intention to spend a few days around the disembarkation locality before our next guests arrive, we’ll try and be flexible but generally appreciate guests leaving shortly after breakfast. Should you wish to leave your luggage on-board , thus leaving you free to explore unencumbered whilst waiting for a train or friend/relative to pick you up, you are more than welcome to do so.
EXCLUSION AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY:
We shall not be liable to pay any compensation, damages, costs or expenses for any claim arising from any cause beyond our reasonable control which could not have been mitigated or avoided by the us including but not limited to:
Loss of or damage to any person’s property;
Non-fulfillment, interruption or delay to the Booking;
Mechanical problems,Breakdowns, defects or damage to the boat;
Restrictions on cruising, obstructions, repairs, damage or closure of waterways, non-availability of
routes, navigational works, storms, floods, droughts, ice, shortage of water or other weather or climactic conditions; Rationing, shortage or non-availability of fuel;
Consequential loss, damage or expense which you incur including the cost of alternative
transport, accommodation or other holiday provision.
No animals are usually permitted on-board * The Captain DOES has a soft spot for well behaved and CLEAN dogs... if you are prepared to clean up after them, they may be accepted in exchange for a nice bottle of Gin and an additional £50 cleaning charge.
Smoking or Vaping:
Smoking or vaping is not permitted inside the boat – you are welcome to smoke outside on the bow or stern so long as external doors front and back remain closed for the duration.
Personal Hygiene and shared facilities:
We appreciate this is an unusual item to have in a “terms and conditions” section but as the boat is our home, feel it important none the less.
A 57ft narrow boat is a confined space and as such, all crew and guests are expected to maintain ‘pleasant levels' of personal hygiene. We will ensure the boat has hot water available for all passengers and crew to shower daily.
The ‘main’ bathroom will be for guests exclusive use overnight but the crew (that’s us) will require access to shower facilities daily...We’ll endeavor to make use of this when under-way so as to minimise the disruption to your quiet enjoyment of the facilities and don't worry - neither Captain (or crew if I've any on board at the time) will expect you to scrub their backs ;-)
Your Party & accommodation:
The boat only sleeps 2 guests at a time – in the front cabin which contains a king-size cross bed that will be made up/put away daily by the crew if desired, or left assembled for the duration if preferred. Please be aware that as you sleep latitudally guests of more 5ft 11” may take a few days to get used to the restricted space… luckily the bed is wider than most found on boats so it’s usually possible to adopt a diagonal position for those not used to curling their legs up.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Double Guest cabin can ONLY accommodate folks prepared to share the bed - there is NO facility to sleep in single beds. If guests wish to bring a small child (on shorter trips) the space under the bed described below could be made into a "camping den".
Wardrobe space is limited to approximately 18 inches of hanging rail. You are requested NOT to bring suitcases as there is nowhere to store them on-board... that said, when the bed is made up, there is a space at the foot section of about 2 ft x 2ft x 5ft so a smaller suitcase is manageable.
Holdalls are more easily squashed into the bottom of a wardrobe. Clean bedding and towels are provided and should you wish to bring your own pillow/s you are welcome to do so.
The boat has USB charging points and 230v mains power throughout . When underway, up to 3kws of ‘mains’ power can be provided for a short time by the inverter. When the engine is NOT running, the inverter switches to power saving mode and mains is only available when the Fridge/Freezer demands it. There is category E microwave, Electric (and gas) kettles and Electric toaster available in the galley.
For overseas visitors on longer trips, we also have an automatic washing machine and separate tumbler drier which may be used if needed... use of the latter is determined by the state of battery charge at the time.
Safety Equipment & policy:
For guests wishing to wear them, we have self-inflating automatic life-jackets available. The usual life ring and throw lines are stored on the roof. The ships master is the nominated first-aider and we have the required HSE first-aid kit on board.
In addition to first aid equipment, we also have an AED (automated external defibrillator) which we HOPE we’ll never have to use but it does give us some extra peace of mind.
Each evening when mooring up, the crew will make a note of our location using ' What 3 Words' along with the nearest road access which may be given to emergency services in the unlikely event of needing emergency assistance.
That’s all gotten a bit serious and long winded hasn’t it?
It would have been easier just to say:
We’ll make you as welcome as possible and take as good care of you as we can – in exchange for mutual respect and you embracing our life afloat!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you charge a single supplement for Solo Guests?
Unfortunately YES - initially when we began this operation, our enthusiasm/idealism meant we'd tried NOT to make too much of an extra charge on solo travellers... alas, the reality is 5 years on, (post divorce, 2 years of covid with no government support and what with so many solo returns), the " business model" is no longer viable if Capt. Ellis is to earn enough during the boating season to survive the winter - Ergo, From 2024 as Solo travellers are effectively CHARTERING a private skippered/catered boat, a 100% supplement for all solo guests will apply*
The concession during the Months of April and October of a discounted single occupancy supplement of 40% continues to apply to returning solo guests.
*Some guests retain their special solo supplement discount - you know who you are!
Can you describe the accommodation please?
The boat is a semi trad, reverse layout 57ft narrow boat. The “cabin” to the front has a king-size (width) crossover bed, with half length mirror, usb charging points, mains power points and an 18 inch wide single wardrobe with small shelf. The crew will make up/pull down the bed daily for you – or if you prefer, you may leave it down all the time. There is a combined DVD/CD and Freeview LED wall mounted TV for your use whilst in bed. There is a shared full size shower/walk-through bathroom separating guest accommodation from the compact saloon complete with reclining chairs and footstools . For entertainment we have a combined TV/DVD/CD player which is wall mounted along with a solid fuel burning stove for those chilly evenings. To the rear – separated overnight by a closed door is the crew cabin which doubles up during the day as 2 single dinette tables – ALSO with a wall mounted TV/DVD combi unit and car radio with CD and usb input.
What kind of toilet does the boat have?
It’s funny how quickly boaters get talking about toilets…on ‘Ellis’ we have a macerator with holding tank in the main bathroom and (for crew use during the night so as not to disturb our guests) a second Thetford cassette as an en-suite in the rear crew quarters. It's worth mentioning here (and the Capt, will keep reminding everyone on board), please only use the toilet roll provided and under no circumstances are wipes to any kind to be flushed down the loo - Macerator toilets do NOT like anything other than really thin paper and if blocked it'll be one of the 'dark blue jobs' you really DONT want to get involved with.
I’ve looked at other hotel boats pricing – why do you charge less for what is effectively a ' Private Charter '?
To be honest, whilst we have to ‘legally’ be counted as a hotel boat – we’re not… we’re a “come and share a week living our life on the UK waterways kind of affair”… it doesn’t have much of a ring to it does it? – SERIOUSLY though, whilst in some respects we operate as a hotel boat – we’re not really running the business to make a large profit…we still have overheads to worry about of course – although having bought the boat from savings, not as many as some. We’re doing it because we enjoy meeting people and travelling around... so as long as we’re earning enough to cover our annual living costs/boat maintenance until we can collect our pensions, we’ll be happy. "Proper" Hotel boats offer a much more refined experience than we do, with more professionally prepared meals and luxurious facilities. Our offering is more an invitation to share a week living on the canal with us... the way WE do it.
As such, whilst we’ll always come up with 3 meals a day, they’ll not be fancy 3 course a la carte jobs… in fact – with a bit of luck we’ll encourage you to join in the preparation or better still, teach US some new recipes. I suppose you could think of us as a "Private Skippered and hosted Charter"... just don't expect a master/servant relationship ;-)
Does it get cold on-board?
Well, in early spring or late autumn if we don’t light the fire or put the central heating on then yes ;-) – just like it would at home. We have a multi-fuel burning stove in the saloon which heats up the boat in no time AND also diesel powered central heating with radiators throughout which we can set to come on whenever we like. Trust us – the boat , even out of season is TOASTIE to say the least.
Do you have Wi-Fi?
Generally yes – dependent on where the boat is. We’ve got a 4G THREE mifi router on-board which generally picks up a signal and guests are welcome to use it to check emails/browse the internet although restrictions on bandwidth, tend to prevent us from watching on-line video services (except Netflix which doesn't count towards bandwidth thanks to "Go-Binge").
Can I smoke on-board?
No – smoking is not permitted anywhere inside the boat… the towpath is never far away though . Whilst underway on Rivers, you're welcome to smoke outside (with the doors closed) in either the bow or stern areas.
I’m not as nimble as I used to be – will I struggle on-board?
Once inside the boat, obviously it’s all on the flat – the bow has a couple of seats to ‘step on to and over’ and then 2 steps down into the bedroom. To the stern are 4 sturdy steps. Please, don’t worry though… if you need a ‘hoik’ just ask and we’ll be happy to help out… same goes for getting on and off the boat – there’ll always be a helping hand available so don’t feel embarrassed to ask.
There is a caveat to the above statement - PLEASE don't be unrealistic about your mobility. It's one thing to be a bit unsteady and need the occasional 'hoik' (I love that word) but if you (or your partner ) is unable to exit the boat quickly in the event of an emergency, on arrival the trip will be cancelled, you will be asked to leave and have no money refunded. This statement has been added for 2023 (and beyond) after several unfortunate experiences last year. Narrowboat Ellis is a boating holiday - NOT Respite Care!
What should I bring with me?
A sense of humour and laid back approach is a must… Waterproof clothing – (This is the UK after all, so you can expect rain 365 days a year ... especially in the summer), Comfortable clothes/footwear… high-heals are not recommended… certainly not for the gentlemen folk!
Luggage wise please try not to bring suitcases as there just isn’t anywhere to store them easily… THAT said, if we leave the guest bed made up, there is an area 5ft x 2ft x 2ft at foot of it which can accommodate an average sized case. Holdalls or squishy bags are best. If you run out of clothes, don’t worry, we’ve a washer and dryer on board for emergency use. We provide towels, bedding and shower gel , shampoo and conditioner in the shower cubicle, so please - travel light.
Feel free to bring your own electronic devices on-board - those that charge by USB are preferable however as depending on battery levels, it may not always possible to leave the inverter on over-night. We've a reasonable collection of "canal books" that you may find interesting and also DVD library if the weather is really bad.
What sort of food do you serve?
As already stated, neither captain (or crew) are proper cooks… we get by well enough so you can expect wholesome food. Some of which will be homemade. Please ensure you let us know of any dietary restrictions on the booking form. Generally for special diets, we’ll send you a menu plan in advance so you can let us know if anything on it offends… THAT said, we’re flexible and like nothing more than all mucking in together to conjure up something from the contents of the larder… you’ll not starve – that we promise.
How do I join/leave the boat?
We’ve tried wherever possible to suggest pick up and drop off locations with railways stations to make independent travel easier for you. Many folk get friends or family members to drop off or pick them up. Our schedules are intentionally quite flexible to allow for variations in timed public transport services. Don’t worry if things go wrong on the day – just give us a phone call or text message to let us know… we’ll not leave without you!
On departure – as we often intend spending a few days around the drop off location as free time, whilst we'll appreciate you leaving after breakfast, if you wish to leave your luggage on-board and explore a while, you're very welcome to do so.
Do you have a bar on board?
Not really no . To avoid the need for an alcohol license we’ve decided not to sell it. You’re welcome to bring your favourite tipple with you and we'll facilitate "top up stops" along the way so you can buy your own wherever we can. On occasion we’ll suggest rather than cooking an evening meal we’ll go to a local pub anyway.
How much water do you carry?
We’ve a 500 litre (approx.) stainless steel tank on board with a 75 litre calorifer (hot water tank). Generally, we’ll go a couple of days between filling up but prefer to stop and top up the tank as often as possible… it’s part of boat life – AS is (periodically) emptying the black water tank and servicing the engine. NEITHER of which take a long time but need doing none the less. You’re free to join in or relax whilst we do it…
Can I steer the boat and work the locks?
Absolutely – so long as one of us is on-board, you are more than welcome to take a turn on the helm. Same goes for helping work the locks… some of the wide ones can be quite arduous so you’re under no obligation to strain yourself – just come along and chat with the various gongoozlers we’ll encounter on the system. Please bear in mind however 'Capt Ellis' is NOT a trainer - this is a 'live-aboard experience NOT a helmsman (or woman) training holiday. Truthfully, the social side of working a lock is MUCH more enjoyable than being on the back of boat … we take turns to keep things fair (when crew is onboard) . IF you are wanting to spend all day on the tiller, this is not the trip for you... you' be better off on a hire boat. That said, if the Capt. is confident of your competency, he's perfectly happy to share the helm.
I noticed in the 'booking terms' about daily showers - is that for real?
Yes and no... thing is, NB Ellis is 'home' and sharing ones home with folk who are... a bit of a 'soap dodger' isn't pleasant.. Capt. & Crew will be showered every day and we would appreciate guests showing similar consideration... any guest not meeting reasonable standards of personal hygiene may well end up enjoying a dunk in the canal!
How do I book?
In the first instance, please click on the BUY NOW button against the selected dates and the website will generate a payment request for the booking fee via paypal. Under normal circumstances, within 24 hours we’ll get back to you with a booking form to complete and once received, we’ll generate an invoice for the remaining balance – payable no later than 10 weeks from departure.
If you don’t have a PayPal account don’t worry you can still book using guest check out facilities on the PayPal site.
Feel free to email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contract form on the "about" page. Alternatively, if you need a quick response, you could telephone on 07966 277631 - sociable hours preferred.