Overall Constance (Regency Class 6M) is a lovely canal boat. Well fitted out, good showers, clean and well presented. During our week we have had comments from other hire boating people and private ones on how nice the boat is.
We had a lovely week using Napton Narrowboats and would not hesitate in using or recommending them again.
(On Explorer 2 class boat 'Explorer')
Fantastic boat. Good design. Everything worked well. Had a wonderful fortnight. Two things to consider to improve the vessel.
1. Mirror in lounge
2. Some way to hold the shower door open so as to allow shower to dry out. The door slides to, automatically.
No complaint - just constructive observation.
We intend to return!!
(On Regency 2 class boat 'Megan')
Very pleased with the boat have had a wonderful holiday. We have been boarded by other boaters wanting to see the interior & the 5ft bed as they had heard of the 'Napton' name being the best hire boats.
One couple who have now a share in a boat said 'once you use Napton nothing else compares'
(On Regency Class 6M boat 'Annabelle')
Fantastic boat with excellent amenities. We will certainly use Napton Narrowboats again.
George & Rosie Barton
George is an agricultural adviser very much at the font-line dealing with farmer's problems in the East Lothian area of Scotland where he both lives and works.
George says: "I like sailing but my wife is a bit frightened of the sea; so a narrow-boat holiday with Napton proved to be an ideal compromise for us: I got water-borne whilst Rosie was reassured that we would both be safe ambling along at around 5mph with no chance of any nasty tsunamis/sharks to sink/eat us!
We decided upon a week's break, and the weather was very kind to us. In fact our 7 days coincided with that incredibly hot spell back in the first half of July 2006. At first Rosie and I decided to head north for a day or so to get used to the boat. And I will never forget that the pub we went to on that first night had an extremely downbeat atmosphere on account of the fact that England had just got knocked out of the World Cup.
We then headed south all the way down towards Oxford, but so enjoyed ourselves (often frequently stopping to walk and savour the rolling countryside which borders the canal) that we never quite made it to the university city and only got as far as the charming market town of Banbury.
Taking a canal boat holiday is a lovely way to see the English countryside because, even if you stay mainly onboard, one's vessel hardly goes any faster than walking pace, which means you can really sit back relish the unfolding scenery.
The boating fraternity, from beginners to highly experienced canal-boaters, are, for the most part, a really friendly bunch. And everyone on the water is relaxed and unhurried.
Being particularly keen on wildlife, Rosie and I were enthralled at one point of our holiday to see a deer come down to the water to drink and not take a blind bit of notice of us. Now that's a truly magical sight at the best of times!"
Sharon & Henry Dalton
Sharon and her husband Henry Dalton are examples of the kind of happy short-break clients we get at Napton.bar
They came to Napton back in early May for a much-needed (Friday Monday) weekend break.; and brought their mature children (aged 17 and 20 respectively) as well as Sharons spry parents.
Although they had been canal-boating a couple of times before with other companies, Sharon told us that: we chose Napton, because we had heard good things about the level of service at your company and because apart from the very high standard of canal boats that you offer you are so conveniently situated".
Although, she continued, the weather was mixed, it was still mild and generally fair, and no impedence to us whatsoever, as we leisurely made our way up the Grand Union Canal.
Being on a short break and having such a large, happy family grouping the Daltons found that they did not have to go to outside establishments to socialize.
Sharon told us that: We brought all our own provisions, and would moor up wherever it took our fancy.
One little harmless accident provided much amusement, as Sharon recalled: the first thing my son did was to throw the mallet in the river, which we had the challenge of trying to retrieve. Something we eventually successfully did.
As for our boat (the Voyager), it was brilliant, and was the best boat any of us had been on. It was brilliantly kitted out with all the comforts of home, and nice extra little touches. It is attention to small details like that which you remember, as well as all the fun things of your holiday.
Sue & Kevin Byatt
Sue and Kevin Byatt love holidaying within these shores. Although they have never done a canal-boat holiday, both they and their 3 girls (aged 16, 13 and 9 respectively) reckon their August 2006 Napton trip was, according to Sue: "one of our best ever family holidays".
"We rather ambitiously struck out in quite a number of different directions, and started off by heading towards Braunston going through the Braunston tunnel, where there is a fantastic and exciting series of locks. Then we turned round at Norton Junction and went back through the Tunnel down towards Newton Bowles and Rugby.
We all had a go at the wheel - even our youngest one. In fact apart from my husband Kevin, she took to it straight away. I came into my own on the lock side of things, and was ably assisted by my eldest daughter.
Although Napton narrow boats are spacious, you can with a large family group - especially with a trio of active daughters onboard - run the danger of getting on top of one another; so we agreed on a routine which we all stuck to. Essentially, this meant that we each had our little jobs to do which kept us gainfully occupied, and no-one felt that they were pulling their weight anymore than anyone else.
The English canal system is another world, and cruising it is just such a peaceful experience. I am happy to say that the family got on very well. And, after our evening meal, we played games well into the night.
One thing we will never forget is how, on our last day, a guy overtook us. We could see that he was steering his narrow boat very erratically. His wife shouted to other boaters including us that he was, poor fellow, having some sort of fit. Whilst she called an ambulance the men of the surrounding boats took the initiative and jumped on board their vessel to calm it down and take it safely to the shore.
Now that's the kind of spirit and camaraderie which the boating community displays in spades. If only the rest of British society was so helpful the country would be a much better place.
All in all", says Sue, "our holiday was so enjoyable that we are planning to have another Napton break in 2008!"
Mr & Mrs Curtis
Mr and Mrs Curtis travelled on one of our finest narrowboats: the Contentment, and clearly had a wonderful time.
A highly satisfied Mrs Curtis told us: "Having taken a narrowboat holiday every year for the past fifteen years, hiring from a wide variety of operators, I feel that this boat is the closest one can get to owning their own vessel."
"The design and layout far outstrip the closest competition. And the kitchen layout is the most efficient and user-friendly I have come across. Whilst the boat has obviously seen a number of seasons, the overall condition pays testament to the fantastic quality of build and fitting out."
"Being able to see out of the front of the boat via the superbly sized windows adds to the experience. Mechanically the boat was sound and responsive."
"We were blessed with glorious weather and the journey to Oxford was enchanting as ever. We fully intend to use the same class of boat next year."
"Very, very well done. Keep up the good work. And thank you for a wonderful and relaxing holiday."
"Please, please send us the brochure for next year as soon as a copy is available."
All Aboard The Contentment."
Vivian & Robert Scrivener
Vivian and Robert Scrivener (a dental nurse and service engineer from London) are clearly fans of narrowboating.
Vivian told us that "our week on board Napton Narrowboat the Sarah was actually the fifth time that we have taken a narrowboat holiday."
According to Vivian: "The very first time we went on a narrowboat (back in 1995) we used Napton, and we so enjoyed our maiden voyage that we decided to come back to you!"
Hardy narrowboaters to the core, Vivian and Robert apparently "found that their September 2007 week was not the best, weather-wise. In fact it was raining and decidedly nippy on some days", said Vivian, "but this did not deter us, or Charley our Border Collie."
"We went towards Oxford and we got past Banbury to a place called Aynho."
"Hospitality-wise, we stopped every evening at the local pub for dinner and a drink or two. All the pubs were friendly. And when they heard that we had stepped off a canal-boat they seemed particularly accommodating.
There is a real sense of camaraderie on the waterways. And people could not be friendlier. Just getting away from London is a real tonic. The countryside and scenery and total relaxation was what we'd come for."
"We did over 50 locks", continued Vivian. "That kept me fit and busy. Both I and Charlie were well-exercised by the end of our trip."
Rather gratifyingly, Vivian was most complimentary about the service she and her husband received. "Everyone at Napton was very helpful. Even though we feel that you pay a little more for a Napton Narrowboat, it is the quality that one appreciates."
You know you are vindicated when a client starts talking about re-booking. And Vivian lost no time in saying that: "I have already put in a request to Napton for next June. And this time it's for 2 weeks!"
Jane & Garry Nicolson
Garry and Jane hail from Rotherham. They have pretty full-on lives as Garry is a truck driver and Jane a post office clerk.
Being dog-lovers both the Nicolsons were delighted with the fact that at Napton we permit 2 dogs per boat (unlike most other hire companies who only allow a measly one pooch per vessel). Thus the Napton boatyard was graced in June and late September with the Nicolson's two West Highland terriers.
Apparently, Jane and Garry are so taken with us that they actually booked two separate weeks to get their fix of that quintessential canal-boating experience. Our boat designs are something that particularly pleases Garry who said that: "the beauty of Napton narrowboats is that they don't look like typical hire boats - at least not from the front."
Furthermore, the Nicolsons were delighted that we upgraded the boat the 2nd time for them due to some minor misunderstanding. In fact, they ended up with a 64ft vessel all to themselves.
According to Garry, "a slow and relaxing experience is was what we were looking for and we weren't disappointed. The first week we cruised to Ashby (a good canal system to find your legs as it only has 3 locks), and the 2nd Napton week we headed for Stoke via Braunston.
The weather was lovely on both occasions, and June was particularly memorable for the explosion of wildlife. Witnessing a swan with her cygnets was quite something."
"I would recommend", continued Garry, "narrow-boating to anybody as it is a tonic for the soul and puts life into perspective. People have time to savour the moment and to stop and talk. Just to give you one example, we met a couple from South Africa and seem to have become firm friends; with an open invitation to visit them sometime."
Indeed, if the following statement is anything to go by, we are going to see Garry and Jane again: "The new Napton brochure has just come through for next year", said Garry, "and Jane and I are already discussing dates!"
Caroline and husband, and no less than 10 other members of their family, set off for a week on the fine vessel, the Marseille. Caroline is a lady of few words, but that doesn't negate the fact that she and her brood had a jolly good time, and were happy to appraise us of the fact.
"We had an excellent holidays and we particularly loved the Marseille's sliding-roof"
Oh and as a small aside Napton received 10 out of 10 from the Hinke's for: Design & Accomodation/Cleanliness/Instruction/Reliability and Staff assistance.
Mr Tim and Jeanette Reilly
Tim Reilly has a demanding job as an electronics engineer, and he and his wife (Jeanette) greatly value their holiday/leisure time.
Finances permitting, they like to split up their allotted holiday time and take two vacations a year.
Fortunately, for us at Napton, Tim and Jeanette, decided to spend the first week of their holiday quota on board one of our best narrowboats: The Monaco.
Being canny people, they realized that another pair of hands could be very useful for negotiating locks and mooring up of an evening. Consequently, the Reillys decided to bring their 19-year old daughter along for their late April 7 day holiday. Tim told us that: having a third person was particularly helpful when negotiating the challenge of Hatton Locks with its multiple gates.
The Reillys basically did The Warwickshire Ring. A lovely route, recalled Tim nostalgically, with memorable scenery and several equally memorable pubs, including the outstanding Dog and Partridge. Being animal lovers, and having the family dog with us, we were very pleased to find out that the landlord welcomed dogs.
However, apart from this, Tim was adamant that: I and my family were very impressed with both the boat and the level of service we received from Naptons staff.
Mr Robert and Marion Sundt
Robert and Marion Sundt are retired executives who used to work for the mighty BP corporation, and heard about Napton Narrowboats through a flattering article which appeared in BPs twice-yearly Pensioner Newsletter.
They had an early season canal-boat holiday with us from the 17th 24th April, aboard the boat Emma.
The Sundts are proof positive that our clients have just as good a holiday - which ever of our two bases in middle England they travel out from. This couple decided to embark on their Spring 2010 holiday from our delightful Autherley Junction base.
Marion told us that: Emma is a lovely boat, and looked after us well. We didnt want our weeks holiday to end. We grew very fond of this lovely boat, and parted with her most reluctantly! She is beautifully fitted out and we were so comfortable.
In fact, so happy were The Sundts with their whole holiday experience, that they came back in September, and spent another with us on board The Pegasus.
We are delighted that Robert and Marion saw fit to holiday with us twice in one season! Their actions are a glowing endorsement of our company.
Paul and Sharon Addis
Paul and Sharon were cooking their dinner when we spoke to them, but they still kindly gave us several minutes on the phone to tell us (and corroborate what they had written in their Crew Report form) that they had a thoroughly enjoyable late August holiday on board the Charlotte (an Edwardian Elite 4).
Paul told us: From where we live Napton is so brilliantly situated, being at the intersection of several key canal networks.
Paul and Sharon, brought another couple of friends along for the ride. All four folk were: delighted to find that the Charlotte was very luxurious, and certainly the most well-appointed vessel that any of us had ever been on".
We decided to cruise up towards Market Harborough a lovely route with fine pubs along the way; and nice people who always had time for a friendly chat.