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Fine Time cancelled - any alternatives?


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We had Fine Time booked for January from DRL, and paid a deposit in June, but have just been advised that the boat is no longer available as it has been removed from their fleet for 2013. We have been offerred Dream Time instead, but as a couple that boat is too big for us, and it doesn't have the 'romantic' feel of Fine Time - in terms of berthing, bathroom and radiator heating - so I don't believe that will work.

Does anyone know of similiar boats to Fine Time available in January. Most yards seem to shut down until spring. Otherwise it looks like our holiday is going to bite the dust, though we may just stay in a hotel.

Can't say I'm pleased with DRL (now calling themselves Anglia Boats). They have not even replied to my email today. To make matters worse we only got the letter advising us when we got home from a trip away, having landed at Norwich airport and dicussed our next drive up the A140 on the way home.

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Sorry to hear about your problems with DRL. I have been hiring in winter for a good few years now and have been on Fine Time several times. It’s an older boat but cosy and the gas fire is a real bonus in winter.

As to alternatives – Richardson’s are excellent but don’t hire in winter sadly. If you have very deep pockets you could try Faircraft Loynes who do have some boats available in winter. However your best bet I think would be Herbert Woods or Freedom who do winter hire. Might be best to try ringing them direct.

Keep pursuing DRL by all means but don’t hold your breath……

Good luck, please let us know how you get on.

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Dream Time seems an unusual alternative, being the other extreme (2 berth to 8 berth) to the boat you had booked, is another of their smaller boats not available?

Understandable you've lost heart with them, if you do/can move the booking then in answer to your question re alternatives I think Freedom & Herbert Woods (selected boats only) carry on through the winter, there may be some others too?


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I write this, disregarding all that I have heard, purely based on your original post.

It looks to me like they have offered you the best boat they can, but have not thought through your requirements. Rather than e-mail them, I'd phone them to find out what options are available, then confirm the conversation in writing.

Fine time looks very nice and looking at the layout, I wondered if "Free time" might be better suited for you.

Phone 'em up! Try to sort it that way. They might have thought the up-grade was doing you a favour.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It's been nearly a month but having contacted Anglia Boats several times by both phone and email I'm still waiting to get my money back. To make matters worse my bank sent the scheduled payment for the balance, despite me cancelling it. It's like trying to get blood out of a stone. I've been told that it's due to people being off sick, though promised payment days have been and gone. Very distressing. I'm always straight with money and pay promptly. Saddens me that others cannot be the same....... Wish I'd paid by credit card - there would have been a % fee but it would have been worth it in this case. This is on top of our holiday being cancelled.

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I hope you can prove that the balance payment was cancelled and you get it back from the bank,

I am sure you are not the only one in this position.

Another local company was placed in liquidation today.

like I said, Good luck.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Good news is that we have got all our money back today. Wife went into our bank this morning and gave them and Anglia Boats hell. The latest excuse was around my bank writing to their bank, a form being filled in and sent back, but no money moving anywhere. It now appears to be back in our account with Anglia Boats have done a BACS transfer. Two months is too long to wait for a refund on a holiday they cancelled and they had my deposit since June.

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Going away elsewhere this winter - could not find a suitable boat or yard to hire instead.

We may hire on the Broads in Spring or later, most probably with Richardsons who were very friendly and helpful when we moored up in their yard whilst visiting Stalham and the museum. One of their guys let me use their hose to get water, even though he was using it himself - he stopped what he was doing preparing some boats so we could fill up, free of charge. A simple thing but both he and the office staff showed how good they are.

We also like the look of Barnes Brincraft's Topliner and had decent service from them previously.

Also like booking through Hoseasons as they have ABTA protection, more so now having had a load of stress about getting our money back.

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