Frequently Asked Questions

I never tire of answering your questions and I can often reply within a few minutes, but other times I may not be so quick, so heres a list of the most common questions which we get asked. I hope you will become more familiar with our services if you take a few minutes to look through but do feel free to ask away by phone and email too!

But we won’t tell if you take an extra person…..

As mentioned all over this website, the maximum number of passengers on any small boat in the UK, if not in Europe, is twelve. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency certify larger boats but this is not feasible for small vessels, so there are rarely boats certified for under 20 passengers and most larger canal boats are permitted to carry around 60. In a recent prosecution (March 2014) the MCA, SKIPTON CANAL BOAT COMPANY FINED AFTER OPERATING UNLICENSED VESSELS, a passenger boat skipper who carried 13 people on his small passenger boat was fined £3,600. We will not be joining him and rigidly enforce the law for everyone's safety.

What if I have 13 passengers and one is very small?

Sorry but we are unable to make exceptions.  We can carry 12 passengers only. Its the law.

Can your boat hold more than 12 passengers?

Sorry but 12 is the absolute maximum - for all passenger boats in Europe, even in the ocean. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency can certify a vessel to carry more than twelve passengers but the process is not suitable for small boats therefore the few boats which carry more than twelve on our canals tend to have accommodation for around 60 or more passengers.

Can we bring a baby?

Yes there's no age limit but all babies over 12 months old will be counted as part of the 12 person maximum.

Do you have a toilet onboard?

Yes we have a loo, and you will be pleased to learn that it doesn't empty into the canal.

Can we bring a dog?

For private charter, we don't object to bringing your dog along.  In fact we love it!

How far can we go?

Two hours is ideal for a cruise from Little Venice to Camden and back.  The canal goes a lot further, so for instance Limehouse Dock is 5 or 6 hours each way.  Shoreditch is 3.5 hours each way, Angel 3 hours, Kings Cross 2 1/4 hours and in the other, westerly direction, Greenford is 2.5 hours, Southall 3.5 hours and Uxbridge 5 hours.  All times are approximate.

Can we bring our own food?

On Party Picnic Cruises you are welcome to bring food, paper plates etc with no additional charge. In return we do ask that you leave the boat clean and tidy although we will help, and we will dispose of your bagged rubbish too.

Can we bring our own drinks?

On Party Picnic Cruises you may bring your own drinks including a sensible amount of alchohol.

Do you allow the boat to be hired without a skipper – self drive?

No. We offer skippered cruises rather than boat hire. You won't find a self drive hire boat in London for less than three nights - try www.black-prince.com for more information about canal holidays in the London area or short breaks.  They are based 12 miles from Little Venice in Southall.

Do you allow stag and hen parties onboard?

Yes of course, many of our customers are stag and hen parties.  A cruise along the canal is a good start to stag or hen parties and an ideal place to meet and get to know each other. We don't usually accept stag and hen parties in the evening so please discuss your plans before booking.  Why not come for an early morning cruise to set you up for the rest of the day instead?

Is there any music onboard?

No.  We don't have any form of radio or CD player but quiet background music from iPods etc can be played through our PA system using the headphone socket on your phone.  You can also bring an iPod and speakers as long as it can't be heard outside the boat - battery powered please.

Is afternoon tea included in the price?

Our prices are for chartering the boat, Lady A, and there are no hidden extras.  However if you would like us to arrange Afternoon tea from our partner suppliers, this is charged at an additional cost.  At the present time we offer only a cream tea, comprising scones, cream and jam served with a pot of tea on fine bone china.  Lovely!

What’s the difference between a Sightseeing and a Party Picnic Cruise

We recognise that visitors to London may not have two hours spare to enjoy a cruise. For those on a tight schedule we offer a one hour sightseeing cruise, with commentary if required, but boarding the boat is restricted to the booked time and all passengers must leave the boat as soon as the boat docks. There is no time to allow food and drinks to be consumed on these cruises, although you can bring a hot drink aboard if you wish. Party Picnic Cruises start at two hours and allow you up to 20 minutes set up time before boarding, and your own food and drinks may be consumed onboard. Whilst a commentary is provided on request, we respect that you are probably more interested in your friends' company!

Where are you based?

We are in Little Venice, a picture postcard area of Maida Vale, London W9.  Our moorings are alongside the London Puppet Theatre Barge and the nearest road is Blomfield Road where it crosses Warwick Avenue.  The closest tube station is Warwick Avenue on the Bakerloo Line and its an easy few minutes walk from Paddington Station which now has its own towpath entrance, adjacent to the Hammersmith and City Line station entrance. We do offer other locations but naturally we will make an extra charge to cover the costs of moving the boat to pick you up.

Do you have more than one boat?

No. We have one boat, Lady A.
Reminds me of a joke which a passenger told a few days ago. Q. What's the bare minimum? A. One bear.
Well I thought it was funny!