A gentle cruise on a hotel barge is the perfect way to discover the very soul of Europe, exploring its wonderful countryside and historical treasures and meeting its many friendly, diverse people. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life, hotel barge voyages allow you to travel in luxury without the strains of packing and unpacking, whilst enjoying a balanced blend of daily excursions and fascinating cruising.
Our meeting point is a designated hotel at an easily accessible town or city where you will be greeted by a member of the crew and transported by private chauffeured minibus to your luxury hotel barge. Following a champagne welcome and the opportunity to meet the English-speaking crew and your fellow passengers, we will show you to your beautiful stateroom or suite, with its full en-suite facilities and elegant, traditional fittings. We sometimes embark on a short cruise on the first evening, and immediately the fascinating, vivacious scenery of Europe’s lesser-known waterways begins to unfold before you. Then, perhaps after an aperitif, it’s time to savour a sumptuous, gourmet meal, complemented by fine wines and sparkling conversation.
Each hotel barge cruise is for 6 nights and includes:
- Comfortable accommodation in air-conditioned, en suite staterooms or suites
- Gourmet meals prepared by the on-board chef, fine wines and an open bar
- Daily escorted excursions in an air-conditioned minibus to places of interest and private wine tastings
- Local transfers e.g. to and from Paris
- Bicycles and, on most hotel barges, an on-deck spa pool
- Attentive service from an experienced crew – Captain, chef, tour-guide, and hosts/hostesses
There is so much to choose from:
- Cruises in 9 countries on a wide selection of hotel-barges that accommodate up to 20 passengers
- A wide selection of ‘themed’ cruises, for example – golf-tours, walking-tours, cycling-tours, wine appreciation and opera cruises
- Cruises for like-minded travelers on an individual cabin basis, or whole barge charters for families, friends & special interest groups
Each day, as your hotel barge moves sedately from one peaceful mooring to the next, you can just wander along the towpath, or get on or off at one of the pretty locks. You may stumble across some local villagers playing a game of boules, or discover a vineyard, its vines laden with grapes.
The hotel barges all carry bicycles for towpath riding and other excursions ashore, and the little villages and farms we discover as we cruise by becoming part of the adventure. Alternatively, just absorb the ever-changing scenery from a comfortable lounger or deck-chair on the sun deck.
Then, after a day of cruising and sightseeing, your hotel barge moors up for the night and there is plenty of time for a cocktail before dinner, or perhaps to enjoy a relaxing soak in the spa pool.
In Burgundy, the Loire Valley and England, hot-air ballooning is an exciting option. Ballooning generally takes place in the early hours just after dawn or before sunset, when the air is still and the light is perfect for drifting gently along and gazing down at the beautiful countryside below.
- Intimate ‘house party’ atmosphere with small passenger numbers and an unparalleled level of personal service
- Cruises are generally less than 70 miles in a week, at only 3mph
- Cruises are on smaller waterways and canals inaccessible to larger vessels
- Unique cruising experiences such as Eiffel’s Aqueduct at Briare, the Arzviller Boat Elevator, and the Malpas Tunnel
- Gentle pace and immersion in the local culture and history
- Cruising just a few feet from the towpath, it’s easy to moor up and explore on foot or bicycle
- We usually cruise for only a few hours each day and never at night
- Excursions in small groups to “off the beaten track” places
- Whole barge charters possible for a group of friends or family