“ Boat Hire „
We have just had to cut short our long weekend holiday on a Richardsons boat at the broads.
When we first entered the boat we were amazed at how small the sleeping area was, but it got worst.
On closer inspection we found an infestation of ants, also we found dead insects on the sitting areas.
We asked for the boat to be cleaned and the ants got rid of, we were amazed at how rude the boatyard manager was, he said obviously there would be ants you are near grass , we were amazed.
After the rude cleaners finished we thought it would be ok, when we went inside on the first night to sleep we found more ants and neither myself or my partner slept all night.
The next day we wanted a full refund on our holiday which didn't happen, so we decided to leave the boat and head home, we spent £90 on petrol and up to now haven't received anything back.
Belive me never use Richardsons, their boats are rank and the boatyard manager and cleaners are totally rude and unprofessional, i cant believe Hoseasons use them.
The Norfolk broads were lovely but our boating holiday was spoilt due to the appalling customer service that we received at Richardsons boat hire, Stalham.
My Wife and I collected our boat for a weeks holiday, it was described as a 2 berth providing 2 double bed sleeping areas. however on our first night we discovered that the main bed was so tiny that I could not even fit on it! we tried to set up the bed in the saloon instead to see if this was any better but found that the extra pieces for this were missing and even then this would have had the same issue. I consider myself an average height at just under 6 foot but both of these beds were far too short for me, the main bed was also extremely narrow for 2 people to sleep in. because we only had one set of bedding I ended up sleeping fully clothed on the floor! We phoned Richardsons first thing in the morning to complain.
Richardsons sent a member of staff out to see us. they offered us extra bedding so we could have a bed each and suggested that I try to sleep diagonally on the bed for better comfort. We explained that this was not really acceptable, even diagonally my head and feet were wedged into the corners of the bed and besides, we are a married couple, we didn't want to spend our holiday in separate beds! The man acknowledged this and considering the circumstances he told us we would be offered some compensation when we returned the boat at the end of the week.
We made the best of the situation for the rest of the holiday feeling somewhat reassured that we would get some money back however we were shocked when we spoke the manager. He was extremely dismissive of our situation, very unhelpful and at times even rude. He refused to give us any compensation and gave a list of excuses, including trying to place the blame on us for hiring a small boat! He was also very unprofessional with regards to the man who came out to help us.
We must have spent nearly an hour at the boatyard trying to get this issue resolved. it was very upsetting. eventually the manager begrudgingly gave us approx £50 off the cost of our holiday. We are extremely disappointed with Richardsons. This was our first holiday with them. needless to say we will never use them again...........
This review is for a Richardson's boating holiday that I took on the Norfolk Broads in July 2009. I live locally but had never experienced boating on the Broads, so I thought it was something that I should try. Myself and five others ventured into boating, unaware of whether we would enjoy the adventure or just get bored of boating after a few hours!
I booked directly with Richardsons, which is something you should be careful of, as you can book the same boat from companies such as Hoseasons, but they are generally more expensive. If you can, try to book direct with Richardsons, who own the boats themselves, so should be able to give you the best deal.
Price wise, boating isn't the cheapest holiday, but between six people the boat came to a total of around 800 pounds including the diesel charges. If you go at quieter periods, the boat is much cheaper, so next time, I'd definitely return at a cheaper time of the year. It would also make for a quieter time on the Broads, which fewer boats.
The weakest part of the service was actually at handover at Richardsons. The staff member was not the most cheery and quite deceitfully offered a map as if it was free, and then added three pounds to the bill. Such underhand tactics demean the Richardsons brand, and were entirely unnecessary for the sake of a few pounds.
However, the boat itself was well presented and in good condition. Quite a new boat, everything was as expected, and there was an introduction to boating by one of the staff, who took us out for around 30 minutes, showing us how the boat worked. He was polite and helpful, and this was a very useful introduction.
On the boat, there are a range of features, domestically there is a fridge freezer, microwave, oven, kettle, television, radio, CD player, cutlery and so on. We also had a boat which was well equipped technically, with bow thrusters which helped turning, and all in all, the boat was generally very impressive. Although they had told us to bring our own, towels were provided, as was bedding.
We explored the Broads for three days, which was fascinating. The Broads are man made, although not deliberately, when peat was dug out to provide heating many centuries ago. Rivers then linked up the network, which is now in two parts, the Northern Broads and the Southern Broads. Although known as the Norfolk Broads, much of the Broads network is in Suffolk.
If you want to explore Norwich, Beccles and other elements of the southern broads, you would need to really take a week if you take your boat from Richardsons, who have boat stations at Stalham (where we got our boat from) and Acle. On our holiday however, we stayed on the Northern Broads.
In our three days, we explored Wroxham, Potter Heigham, Ludham, Stalham, Neatishead and got as far as Great Yarmouth. You need to be careful what boat size you get, as some larger boats cannot fit under Potter Heigham and Wroxham Bridges. Although our boat did in theory fit, the tide was quite high, so we couldn't get through these bridges.
At both Potter Heigham and Wroxham, you need to use the piloting service to get through, which is around ten pounds return. This is where a professional pilot gest your boat through the bridge, without causing any damage to the boat or the bridge. The pilot makes the judgment about whether your boat is likely to fit through - but be aware, if you get through, you do have to come back, so work out the times of the tides carefully.
The return of the boat was smooth and easy. We received a small sum back for unused diesel, and we had used a lot, so you are likely to get a refund of sorts, depending whether you pay 75 pounds or 100 pounds deposit. You give your life jackets back (the guy was very helpful both giving these and getting them back and the cost of these is included in the price. You should really wear these, but most people on the Broads didn't.
Overall, a good holiday and a professional company. Shame about the handover, but this was a minor point on a very good holiday.
The Norfolk Broads is a series of lakes (broads) connected by rivers covering nearly 200 miles of countryside in Norfolk and Suffolk. The Broads contains a massive 125 miles of navigable waterways. One important advantage of the Broads over other river and canal systems is that there are no locks to negotiate.
In my opinion, a boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads is one the best types of holiday possible in Britain, and I have done so three times.
In choosing a boating holiday, the boatyard (and its selection of boats) can make or break your holiday. Each of my trips has been arranged through Richardson's boatyard which is based at Stalham and is the largest boat yard in the Broads (if you want to see how large, go to Multimap.com, type in the postcode NR12 9BX and look at the aerial view).
As well as being the largest, Richardson's is also one of the oldest boat hire companies in the area; boats were first hired out in 1944 (I imagine the boats, boat yards, and the facilities were light years away from what we have now!).
Motor cruisers are an ideal way to explore the Broads. In what's basically a floating caravan, the users have showers, bedrooms, toilets, TV, CD player and all other 'mod-cons' in what's hopefully a well maintained and furnished mobile hotel.
The choice of motor cruiser can be bewildering; Richardson's have 130 on offer! These range from craft suitable for a couple, to some with berths for 10 people or more. Fortunately, the Richardson's website (www.richardsonsboatingholidays.co.uk) is extremely well laid out with a great search engine and loads of pictures and information on all the boats on offer.
A happy couple of hours can easily be whiled away, discussing the various boats' features before deciding on one to hire (actually, it's best to pick a few in case the first choice has already been let).
The excellent website gives a start to the Richardson's boating holiday experience. Prices are reasonable and the standard of boats varies from acceptable (tend to be the cheapest to hire) to brand new and/or luxurious; there really are boats to suit most parties and budgets.
Booking can be completed wholly on line, but I did phone the boatyard to check that everything was OK (twice, once after paying the deposit, the second after paying the full amount). Each time, the staff were very friendly and really helpful.
Arriving at the boatyard, the visitor gets a real sense of the scale of the place. There are boats everywhere! Checking in at reception reinforces the impression of Richardson's as a quality organisation. The reception area is large, well furnished, and very clean, with an adequate number of staff.
The receptionists are capable, and friendly. Our few questions were answered immediately, we were assigned a 'departure slot' and directed to the life jacket measuring area (life jackets should be mandatory for anyone on the outside of the boat).
We had an hour or so to wait, so we wandered about looking at the boats and had a snack at the little café on site. At the appointed time, we were taken on to the boat and our guide showed us how to handle the boat and how to operate the facilities. Once he was satisfied that we weren't going to hit anything, he jumped off and we cruised out of the boatyard into our holiday.
Our boat was 'Monte Carlo' a large, but quite old cruiser. The boat was very clean (each boat is cleaned before hiring out by an army of cleaners) and well furnished; the kids absolutely loved it!
The boat is supplied with a full tank of fuel which is more than enough for a week's cruising. The water on the other hand, needs filling up (at any boatyard) every day or it will run out.
Onboard is quite a nice manual listing all of the places to stop, tourist attractions and the heights of bridges etc. Contact details to call out an engineer in an emergency were also shown. Although we did not need this, it was reassuring to know that, within an hour or so, an expert would be with us to sort out our problem.
We really enjoyed our week on the Broads on 'Monte Carlo'. Everything we needed was onboard and the six of us had a great time. All too soon, it was time to return to the boatyard and hand back the keys.
Again, the service we received was professional and friendly. We were assigned someone to check over the boat and measure the fuel to see how much we'd used. Fortunately, we'd not hit anything (well not hard enough to cause any lasting damage!) so did not have to pay any 'damages'.
A final visit to reception saw us credited for the fuel we'd not used and then we were on our way home.
All six of us agreed that it had been a lovely holiday. I believe that the smooth, professional service provided by Richardson's had made the holiday even more enjoyable. I have no hesitation in recommending Richardson's to people who want to cruise the Broads. We will certainly be using them when we next go back.
A UK based boating and self catering holiday company, offering self drive boats on the Norfolk Broads and self-catering, full or half board, family or adult holidays.