– Our cruises gently introduce you to some of Europe’s finest scenery, fascinating history and local culture – from the picturesque vineyards of Burgundy to the spectacular Scottish Highlands; from the sun-drenched waterways of the South of France to the storybook Alsace region.
Some vessels in our fleet are owned by us, others by experienced hotel barge operators who maintain similar standards and have been vetted by us. On board all of them you will glide serenely along waterways that pass through magnificent countryside; be taken on fascinating local Excursions; indulge in delicious meals, fine wines and comfortable accommodation – whilst all the time being pampered by your attentive crew.
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.
Hotel Barging Compared to Other Forms of Cruising
• 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
The Journey Has Begun
You are collected at the designated meeting point by the Captain or another crew member and escorted by air-conditioned minibus to your hotel barge. After a champagne welcome and the opportunity to meet the English-speaking crew and your fellow passengers, we will show you to your comfortable stateroom or suite, with its full en suite facilities.
We sometimes embark on a short cruise on the first evening and immediately the fascinating world of barge cruising begins to unfold before you. Then, perhaps after an aperitif, it’s time to indulge in your first gourmet dining experience aboard, complemented, of course, by fine wines.
Relax and Unwind
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 become 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.
What is hotel barging?
Despite the growing popularity of cruising, especiallly on large river vessels, hotel barging is still a little known niche concept. Most hotel barges started life as cargo vessels but have since been painstakingly converted to offer luxury boutique accommodation for small groups of up to 20 passengers.
This is cruising, but in a very different style to ships plying the big rivers or oceans. The pace is slow, with a 6 day cruise covering maybe just 50 miles along a rural canal. Passengers can walk or bike the towpaths as their floating hotel glides gently along. Guests enjoy an intimate atmosphere, high levels of personal service and immersion into the culture, history and gastronomy of regions of Europe such as Burgundy, the Midi, or the Italian Veneto.
Every day there is an excursion, perhaps to a chateau, a vineyard for a wine tasting, or some other ‘off the beaten track’ location. About half of European Waterways’ bookings are for whole boat charters, ideal for families. Otherwise, clients book a cabin to join other like-minded people. A ‘slow boat’ European Waterways barge cruise offers the ultimate in experiential travel. A truly unique experience!http://www.europeanwaterway...