It started with the build-in of our new Main Engine. A new Skania, that was built to the latest standards, so no nitrate pollution and, as soon as we the supply chain works: also almost no CO 2. And: more power, so shorter sails, which works pretty well and enables us to be at our destinations much sooner. In these months also, other technical issues were dealt with. We now have a camera system, which helps when docking; we have an outdoor loading dock for the E-bikes and checked out the shore power supply, so we are equipped for shore power as best as possible.

We welcomed new staff members with the lowest number of crew changes. So, all in all, so far, so very good. Incidents happen: the dishwasher is broken right now, but that will be fixed tomorrow (cross your fingers!). We had a few issues with the water supply to the cabins, which is very annoying because the whole system was renewed in 2020. But we can fix it and are searching for solutions to prevent this from happening again. Of course, there have been many more minor happenings, but we can solve them all so far.

We also worked with many old and new bike guides and were very happy to do so. All tours for 2024 have been appointed to guides already, which is unique. We even have to disappoint some guides, because we have just that many trips to fill. Seeing that our staff and guides love working together and for us is perfect.

We also introduced a new way to book the IRIS on our new online booking website. My son Tim built it for us and is already working on the next phase, where we will offer this for the Danube and Hotel tours as well! The first experiences with the new way of booking are great. It makes my work much easier, faster and better. As far as we can tell, we also have no issues with using credit cards, and there are other ways to pay us that work as well. So after you have contacted us and we have answered your questions, we can refer you to the booking website. So we keep the personal contact; we don’t want to lose that, but we cut the “formalities” short. So we have more time to spend, for instance, writing a blog and sending newsletters!

Wouter, my son, is in charge of the IRIS operations. I am here to help if we need to find a solution. I am very proud of him; he is doing a great job. Sadly, he can’t be a tour guide often because of his workload.

Below is a picture taken today by Debbie, who liked her first trip with us this year so much that she and her husband decided to book another one within half a year. She is having a great time on the Moselle and was spontaneously appointed as our Facebook Reporter of the Year! As we do depend on your referrals to get new guests, we are delighted if guests spread the word about their tours so much. It is like throwing a rock into a pond and seeing the circles spreading. And then new rocks join in and again and again and again…We don’t have a huge marketing budget, so we are very grateful for all your recommendations to others. And also for your feedback about your experiences. We learn from that and take it at heart.

This year was pretty well booked; only our tour operators had some problems filling in their departure dates, so we had two weeks in Amsterdam without sailing, but with hotel guests and one week on the Moselle, where we sailed back from Metz to Cochem without guests, and with just a captain and a mate.

Our upcoming trip, the last of the season, has just a low number of guests, so I (Lenny) can go and join the IRIS as a guest and enjoy one last week of the crew’s services and the guided cycling with Thomas. And then we will sail home to Amsterdam with my children and grandchildren. Maybe it is the start of a new family tradition? We’ll see. Que sera, sera!

We are now focusing on next year’s booking and are ready to receive your questions and booking requests.

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