I cannot say enough good things about Mid-Lakes Navigation. [To be clear, this review is about the five-day houseboat rental, not the day tour (same company, but there's no listing available for the former).]
We rented our houseboat and were given some time to load our provisions for the week. Then a Mid-Lakes employee joined us for an orientation run (we're boating beginners). The controls were not difficult to master and before we knew it, we had a houseboat all to ourselves. Boaters can choose their direction and destination. We began heading west, but towns were few and far between, so we turned around and tried east toward Rochester. The stops were much more visitor-friendly in that direction.
The boat's appliances were all in excellent condition. We had a very powerful air conditioner, mini-fridge, stove top, oven, sink, shower, and commode. Really, everything you need. We cooked most of our meals on the boat and had very few issues with the provided utensils and cookware. There was plenty of cabinet and drawer space, and even a BBQ grill tucked under the bow benches. Not to mention the bikes on the roof that were provided free of charge. There was a double bed in a separate bedroom with doors, but I did find the bed hard and uncomfortable. The bunk in the kitchen was fine.
We absolutely loved the convertible-top seating area at the bow of the boat. Most days, we kept that area uncovered and sat there while we sailed and for our meals. One of the days, it rained and we simply snapped the tarps and stayed out there. They cushions were roomy enough that one of our group slept outside on multiple nights. It's a great functional space.
If you have a young child, bring your own personal flotation device. None of the doors will keep a determined child off of a deck. The only tough spot of the week was that our bow thrusters malfunctioned in the middle of our trip. The boat was still steerable, but it was a bit more difficult to maneuver into tight spots. We called Mid-Lakes and they sent out a technician to check it out, but it was unrepairable without taking the boat out of the water, so we simply continued without it.
This is a wonderful opportunity to unplug and take life slowly for a week or so.
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