Tulip Tour - worth a look
I took the 3-night, 4-day Tulip Tour in early April 2018. Booking through Freedom Treks, I was told that there was no single supplement. They never bothered to inform me that I'd have a roommate, and it was a surprise to find out how much they mark up the price of the HAT tour.
It would be helpful to know the route in advance, so as to be able to look up the overnight stops beforehand, know where we're headed, and what we'd be passing. Once boarded, we were handed brochures that depicted the routes for both cycling and the boat.
Upon reflection, I would have signed up for a later trip. Early April: there were fields of daffodils and hyacinths, but no tulips.
The boat crew were very pleasant and capable. The cook was new to the team; the meals she prepared were excellent. I signed up for gluten-free meals, and she went out of her way to procure cookies and breads for me. Another participant has a milk allergy and she was accommodated as well. The boat is nice, the cabins are comfortable, and the main room is pleasant. The captain said that he's planning some renovations to make the great room hold more people in case of rain. I suggested that he could add more places to put things in the cabins, and I guess he didn't quite follow -- he suggested hanging stuff up on the hooks in the hallway! (I meant more shelves for stuff. During the day I spread my things out on the bed, and them put them underneath to sleep.) I see where other travelers have not been happy with the cabin size; not an issue for me.
HAT provides everyone with a red pannier. I brought along my own handlebar bags for my water and camera. I'd brought a nylon shopping bag and used it, with the attached bungie cord, for my extra shirt and the lunch box. Prior to the trip I spent some time looking for photos of the bikes to determine if there would be a way to carry a water bottle within easy reach.
Other groups I've been in have begun our companionship by going around the table with introductions. It would be nice to provide some sort of name tag for participants, and this would have helped with camaraderie between the different groups. I brought my bicycle license plate and affixed it to the rental bike, but for everyone else, I snuck a peek at the roster.
In the future, if I were doing a similar tour, I'd prefer one that has all adults. Two of the children spoke no English, and everyone in the two family groups interacted with each other, to the exclusion of "strangers." At one dinner I was seated with the four-person family, which was awkward. Also, the youth were inexperienced in bike handling skills. Each of the kids fell off at least once, and one made an abrupt trail crossing right in front of a huge tractor. It was nerve-wracking to ride near or behind them.
Speaking of strangers, the guide for my trip has a very unique style. It was increasingly frustrating to deal with him, and by the end of the trip I was very glad to have chosen a four-day tour rather than a longer one. Specific issues: he wasn't very good at conveying information we should have known, he wasn't conscientious about keeping our group together in the more urban areas, and there was a cultural gap in terms of him being able to answer questions. ("How far to the boat?" should not inspire a lot of debate.)
On the third day, he made intemperate remarks: he joked about how the symbol of Amsterdam is three crosses, representing the three scourges of marijuana, prostitution, and tourists. Seriously.
On the first day he attempted to set my seat height, but he's not competent at that. He tried to set it as low as possible. I raised it a couple of inches, and every day I tweaked it upwards a little more. (I've been cycling for several decades, and I know how high I like my saddle to be.)
In sum: the trip was enjoyable, and I would recommend it to others, but I would let them know more details about what to bring and what to expect.