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sauceonship

e biking in Pals

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My husband & I are taking our first SB cruise in June on the Encore. We will be stopping in Palamos, Spain. I am considering the E-Biking tour in Pals. The travel planner states that it is low to moderate difficulty level, but then shows the icon for considerable exertion. Has anyone done this?

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I have not done this particular ride but my experience is that if SB says low to moderate, that is what it will be.

 

Here is a review I found of an e-bike tour to Pals (not SB)

https://luxeadventuretraveler.com/e-biking-around-costa-bravas-medieval-villages/

Have you checked on u-tube, I often find video there of excursions I am considering.

Being a bike rider myself, I would think that being able to balance on a bike would be the most important thing.

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Thanks so much for that~ I read her BLOG post & she says its easy & fun! I will check out u-tube next.

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Hello Sauceonship!

 

Yes, I will gladly share my experience with this particular excursion which I took last May when I was on The Encore.

 

First, I should tell you that I had taken a mountain biking excursion in Corfu previously on the cruise which was quite strenuous (very much uphill), but extremely well organized and very, very safe. A small group of riders (about 10) with 3 guides on bikes guiding us. Loved it!

 

So, I thought the E-Bike excursion to Pals would be a dawdle, a walk-in-the-park, so to speak. Was I wrong!!!!

 

The biking itself is easy. The motor kicks in when you want it to, to assist you up a hill when you want a little help. So, the problem with the tour was not with the e-bike per se. The problem was with the tour and the organizers.

 

First of all, in contrast to the mountain biking in Corfu, there were about 40 people taking this excursion and a total of about 3 guides for this whole group. We were given practically NO instruction on how to use the bikes. Again, in contrast to the Corfu mountain biking, where the guides were careful to ensure everyone was good with using the gears, the brakes, that the helmets fit correctly, etc. In the description of the excursion, it was stated that helmets were mandatory. Makes total sense, of course. And again, everyone mountain biking in Corful wore their helmet without question. For the e-biking tour in Pals, I watched as one woman who was decked out in Chanel garb saunter up to the table with the helmets, take one look at them, and declare quite loudly that she was NOT wearing that on her head! "No problem" came the reply from excursion staffer at the table. He said that was fine, she just had to take the helmet and put it in her basket. What the heck good does a helmet do for you if you fall off your bicycle and slam your noggin into the ground, if the helmet is sitting all snug and secure in your bicycle basket???? And of course, the instructions for the excursion had specified that helmet use was mandatory. I counted about 4 people on the tour who did not wear their helmets.

 

Anyway, off we went on our excursion, suddenly without much warning. Some of the route was over paved surfaces and was perfectly fine. However, much of the tour was over sandy, dirt paths which were loosely and patchily covered in loose bits of gravel and larger rocks. There were also tree roots over the paths in a lot of places -- all of which made the paths slippery, slidey and somewhat treacherous. While not one single person came off their bike during the mountain biking in Corfu, I saw three people fall off their e-bikes on the excursion to Pals. And I was almost one of them. To make matters worse, when I saw one woman fall off her bike and badly scrape her leg, the guide who tried to help her was not equipped with any bandages or antiseptic. She had some Kleenex which she wet with a water bottle to clean the wound. That was it.

 

I was never frightened, or felt unsafe during the mountain biking in Corfu. I am no Tour de France biker in any way, shape or form, but I really enjoyed the Corfu excursion because while it was strenuous, I felt safe and looked after by the guides. I tipped the Corfu guides well after that excursion.

 

As for the e-biking in Pals, there were times that I was terrified. I nearly went a*# over teakettle a couple of times which scared me to bits. When the tour was finished, I spoke with one of the guides and told her that I thought the tour had been a shambles: unsafe, badly organized and shoddy. And I told her that I would let Seabourn know what I thought when I got back on board The Encore, which I did.

 

I ran into one of the women from the e-biking excursion later that day and found out that she too had complained to the shore excursions people on The Encore as well. And I understand that she was not the only one, that others had complained as well.

 

I would hope that Seabourn took the complaints that were made to them seriously last May and made the necessary changes with this particular excursion. Like enforcing the mandatory helmet provision, like providing more guides for the group, like ensuring everyone is instructed in the use of the e-bike before setting out, like ensuring that all guides have proper first-aid supplies, etc. If those changes were made, the excursion would be a good one. The scenery was lovely, and the little town of Pals is very picturesque. However, without those changes, I would never book an excursion like this again. And, if I had booked it, and found red flags like insufficient staffing, and flouting of mandatory rules like helmet wearing, I would not hesitate in refusing to go and demanding my money back from Seabourn.

 

I should just finish by adding that this was the only excursion I took on my two-week Med cruise last May on The Encore where I felt unsafe, and where I felt the tour organizers were shoddy. All the other excursions were fine.

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My husband and I will also be on the Encore in June and we were thinking of taking the e-bike excursion too. After reading the lengthy, informative review I now have second thoughts. Any others that have taken this excursion care to weigh in?

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