floating barge hotel .... is furnished with every modern
comfort. The finest gourmet cuisine is prepared by your
on-board master chef, complemented by a wide array of fine
regional wines and an open bar. And, of course the experienced
and knowledgeable crew is there to attend to your slightest
European Waterways Voyage ....includes accommodation, all
gourmet meals aboard and ashore, Champagne welcome, open
bar, excursions and admittance fees, use of bicycles and
other facilities such as sauna, spa pool/jacuzzi and fitness
room. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life,
our all-inclusive hotel barge vacations offer a unique
opportunity to travel in comfort without the strains of
unpacking and packing, whilst enjoying a balanced blend
of daily excursions and fascinating cruising.
air-conditioned suites, twin or double staterooms
facilities in all accomodations
meals aboard and ashore
wines and an open bar
use of vessel facilities such as jacuzzi, bicycles
The Classic Traditions
of French and International Cuisine - an unforgettable
highlight of your Barge cruise...
Our chefs are experienced culinary artists, whose gastronomic creations are
often rated higher than top restaurants and cruise liners by our discerning
you awaken each morning, a crew member has already been
ashore to collect crisp breads, buttery croissants and
a variety of fresh pastries. Together with the aroma of
coffee, the day has just begun.
will be a colourful arrangement of salads, pates, savoury
quiches and a selection of cheeses. Accompanied by an excellent
choice from the barge cellar, lunch is often enjoyed on
the sun-deck, perhaps while cruising.
chef supplements the vessel's larder with fresh produce
bought from lock-keeper's gardens or local markets and
creates mouth-watering regional and national dishes which
are only challenged in flavour by the delicious range of
fine wines we serve you aboard. This really does feel like
the Grand Finale to an amazing day of exploration and intrigue,
cruising the old trading routes which stretch from the
Mediterranean right across Europe.
for vegetarian and special diets may be made at the time
of reservation, non alcoholic beverages and regular or
decaffeinated tea and coffee, whole or low fat milk are
offered with all meals.
excursions into nearby villages or countryside are either
a quick journey in the barge mini-bus or just a short walk
from the mooring. All excursions are entirely optional,
these regular opportunities to explore really do allow
you to experience to the full the area you have chosen.
You'll explore ancient castles, picture-book villages and stately homes.
Wander around fascinating museums, take part in private wine tasting at renowned
and lesser known vineyards and shop in colourful open air markets. There
is plenty of time to browse tiny shops of skilled craftsmen, enjoy the special
atmosphere of the moment or shop for that gift which typifies the region
in which you are traveling.
Whether exploring the magnificent chateaux of the Loire Valley, wine tasting
in the Roman Vineyards of Minervois and Corbieres or discovering Celtic secrets
in the 6th century monastic settlement of Clonmacnois above the banks of
the Shannon River ... you can rest assured that our meticulously planned
itineraries include a host of pleasurable little side trips which show you
the most delightful highlights of the area you have chosen to cruise.
If your vision of the perfect vacation is the pursuit of your favourite special
interest with a group of like-minded friends, in some of the most picturesque
scenery Europe has to offer, with gourmet food and fine wines, European Waterways
can make that vision a reality.
theme cruises are automatically geared towards "middle" range
ability, however all levels can be catered for on request.
Theme cruises are available for whole boat charters (ranging from 4 to 12
people, according to the boat) when organised directly through European Waterways.
The special activities available are the following Golf, Antiques, Tennis,
Riding, Walking, Painting, Biking, Fishing, Water-Sports.
If your interest is not listed and you think that it could be successfully
combined with a barge vacation in any of the countries we cover which include
England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and France. Just let us know and we will
see what we can arrange for you.
is a Hotel Barge?
Luxury hotel barges are smaller vessels, accommodating a minimum of 6 passengers,
maximum 50 passengers. They include all gourmet meals with wine, all shore
excursions, and most also include an "open bar" and bicycles for the use
of the guests. These vessels cruise on small waterways - mostly on canals,
such as the Nivernais in Burgundy, France's most famous wine country, the
Canal du Midi in the south of France, or through the tulip fields of Holland
or along the Caledonian Canal in Scotland; but sometimes they cruise on rivers,
such as the Shannon in Ireland, the Rhone in France and the Thames in England.
purpose of a barge cruise is not to rush from Point A to
Point B, but to relax in a stress free environment with
fine food and wine, enjoy the delights of the countryside
you are passing through, and get to know the "soul of the
country." The barges travel neither far or fast
Barging only for the Sedentary, older Traveller ?
Not at all! Canal cruising is for those who want a "close-up, personal" experience
in Europe. Mature & younger travellers find the pace and comfort of a barge
the ideal way to explore the real heart & soul of a country. More active
types like to take off on village walks, hill climbs or bicycles...meeting
up at the next lock. The unique advantages of a barge is that we can tailor
an itinerary and celebrate a special event to suit the guests
is there to do except eat well and drink wine?
Lots! Each morning and again after lunch, guided tours to historic and cultural
sites of the region provide guests many interesting choices from visiting
chateaux, famous vineyards, country market towns, private gardens to museums
celebrating art, weapons, textiles or bread! Other interests, like golf,
ballooning, riding and tennis are also accommodated. If it's Burgundy, there's
a visit to Beaune or Macon...along the Thames in England the route might
be Windsor Castle to Oxford. (In between, there is fine food and drink)
will we do the sightseeing?
Each barge has a designated crew member guide and an air-conditioned van
or bus that travels with it, for daily excursions to points of interest such
as nearby chateaux, colourful local markets, ancient monasteries, or fascinating
I get bored and feel confined?
Not if you enjoy meeting the locals, viewing passing vineyards and chateaux
from a hot tub on deck, or sharing experiences with a congenial group of
travellers on journeys more like "moving house parties. You will be able
to get on and off your barge practically at will, to take a walk along the
tow path or a bicycle ride to town. (Almost all the barges have bicycles
on board for passenger use). Meet and talk to the locals, view the vineyards,
or accompany the crew as they shop in the early morning for delicious, freshly
baked bread and croissants. Learn the secrets of fine French cuisine from
your gourmet chef. Savour an amazing variety of local cheese and other delicacies.
All of this in addition to the included sightseeing tours en route.
gentle movement of the barge, anchored at night, has caused
dedicated insomniacs to report wonderful, restful sleep.
It is the relaxed atmosphere aboard, the friendly and helpful
crew, the peace and tranquillity of the countryside, together
with the wonderful cuisine, lively conversation and interesting
sightseeing that make it magical.
Barge Cruises expensive?
Barges come in many styles and levels of luxury from rustic and comfortable
like a good Country Inn to elegant, like a fashionable Hotel. But the essence
of barging is not decor...but the taste and texture of the region that is
revealed in the welcome greeting of the villagers, the smiles and hearty
charm of the lock keepers, and the personal & friendly attention of local
artisans and guides. Barge rates do reflect the level of luxury and the season...but
since they are inclusive, they are great value. Meals, wines, open bar, guided
excursions and admissions...all included!
speaking, the smaller the vessel, the more personal the
service, and the more exclusive the experience. This is
reflected in the pricing. Small vessels are ideal for families,
groups of friends, or individuals who who are attracted
to the luxury of a barge cruise.
cabins have private bathrooms?
All cabins have private, nicely appointed bathrooms with showers. Some suites
include bathtubs. Several barges have saunas and on deck hot tubs or jacuzzis
there telephones and TV?
Usually there are no telephones, TVs or computers. For emergency communications,
barges do carry a cellular phone. However...anyone who chooses to break the
tranquillity of the voyage for urgent business like baseball scores, elections
or market closings...public phones are handily spaced along the canals. As
for TV, a few barges have satellite TV for those who can't miss CNN.
I get sick?
Never...canals are not tidal and are controlled waterways. The gentle movement
of the barges anchored for the night have caused dedicated insomniacs to
report wonderful, restful sleep.
clothes should I pack?
What's the attire on board? Most passengers enjoy the relaxed atmosphere
on board barges and fancy dressing is not the custom. Comfortable, casual
attire, sneakers or docksiders on board. Sweaters, a windbreaker and shorts
or cotton pants are recommended. At the Captain's final dinner, a little "dress-up" is
O.K. Ties are rare, and there is no need for anything formal.
kids welcome on Barges?
Most adult passengers appreciate the atmosphere and company of grownups,
so kids under 17 are accepted only on full charters. Family charters, reunions
of generations, (from grandparents & parents, teens and even babies), grow
more popular each year, seem to appeal to all ages, and are welcome on barges.
the best season for barging?
All seasons are lovely on the Canals, but seasonal rates do vary barge to
barge and region to region, and do reflect special activities (grape harvest
in Fall, tulip time in Spring). Some barges have a quiet time in July or
August, and most offer Value rates in early Spring and late Fall when weather
can be beautiful or unpredictable.
Always appreciated. Never required. Gratuities are not included in the price
of your trip - tipping is at your own discretion. We include suggested tipping
guidelines with your pre-cruise documents. On the barges, we suggest a guideline
of 5% of the cost of your cruise to be given to the captain at the end of
the cruise. The captain will distribute it to the crew. On the river ships,
we suggest $10-$15 per person per day - the gratuity will be divided among
the crew at the end of the cruise.
I be able to make special request?
If there is a birthday or other special event to celebrate during your cruise,
or a special request for your diet, please let us know - the crew on board
is eager to tailor the barging experience especially for you!
is the difference between a River Boat and a Barge?
River boats accommodate from 60 to 250 passengers, and navigate the major
waterways of Europe, such as the Rhine, Danube, Rhone, Po, Elbe, Douro and
Volga. The recent completion of the Main-Danube canal, makes it possible
to travel all the way from the North Sea (Amsterdam) to the Black Sea (Bucharest
or Constanta) on a "Grand European River Cruise" that spans eight countries.
a river cruise, you will sail from one fascinating city
to another, sometimes stopping at small romantic villages,
visiting fairytale castles and lush vineyards. There is
always something interesting to see - often on both sides
of the river - and frequent stops are made for shore excursions,
or just to give you a chance to taste the nightlife, or
experience the daytime ambience, of a foreign town.
the river ships you will find elegant dining rooms, spacious
sun decks, comfortable lounges, fitness facilities, and
sometimes swimming pools. Limited laundry service is available
on most river ships, but not on most barges. A river cruise,
like an ocean cruise, is a "one-unpacking vacation" - no
more early morning wake-up calls for long coach rides from
hotel to hotel! All meals on board are included in the
cruise price, but your bar tab is charged to your shipboard
account Aboard the river ships you will find elegant dining
rooms, spacious sun decks, comfortable lounges, fitness
facilities, and sometimes swimming pools. Limited laundry
service is available on most river ships, but not on most
barges. The shore excursions may be optional at a supplemental
all the river cruises offer the same services?
Not all river cruises offer exactly the same services and amenities. On some,
the dining room is "open seating" so that you can enjoy dining with different
guests throughout your holiday, while on others, restaurant seating is assigned
when you arrive on board (but of course, you always have the option of requesting
a change in table assignment). A great variety of fascinating shore excursions
are sometimes included in the cruise price, while on certain ships, they
are only available for purchase on board. Some of the river cruises forbid
smoking in their restaurants and most public areas, while on others, there
will be a designated smoking section in the on-board dining room. Generally,
smoking is allowed on deck outdoors. Some of the river cruises are sold only
in English-speaking countries, and service on board (announcements, shore
excursions, etc.) are done only in English; while other cruises are also
sold in Europe and around the world, so that announcements etc. will be multilingual,
and you will have a chance to mix with a variety of nationalities.
is the attire for a river cruise?
Clothing: informal and casual clothing is the norm on board for river ships
Soft-soled shoes are essential for the decks, and comfortable walking shoes
are a must. (Sneakers are excellent.) There are no formal events during these
cruises. At the Captain's Dinner on the last evening, a little "dress-up" is
the norm, but real formal wear is not usual. The weather in Europe can be
very changeable, so take a sweater or windproof jacket & a raincoat or umbrella.
much baggage can I bring?
Although the barges are spacious enough, there is limited storage facility
on board. For this reason we recommend limiting your barge cruise baggage
to one suitcase and one carry-on per person. But pack wisely, as there are
no laundry facilities on the barges, and laundromats are few and far between
in the rural areas. Since river ships are larger, and often the cruises are
longer it is not necessary to restrict the luggage you bring on board to
one piece. Most river ships do offer optional laundry service, but not dry-cleaning.
If the vessel you have chosen has a pool, a jacuzzi, or hot tub - don't forget
your swimsuit! Generally, the canals and rivers are not recommended for swimming.
kind of electricity is there on board?
All of our vessels are wired for 220 volts but not 110 volts. We suggest
you bring an adapter, converter, and /or the necessary wall plugs for your
particular appliance that corresponds to the standard for the countries you
will be visiting. Before using any electrical appliance while on board, please
check with the crew to ensure that it is suitable for the barge's electrical
system. Some of our vessels have hairdryers in the cabin, or available at
reception - your pre-cruise documentation will advise you about this.
I have language problem?
All our crew members generally speak English. Some speak other languages
as well. When cruising through mainly rural areas, one is quite likely to
find the locals speaking with a strong dialect. Although sometimes difficult
to understand, we still encourage you to try to communicate with them