| Karin Bylund

Explore Europe’s ‘off the beaten track’ waterways aboard a 5 star hotel barge

Ever wanted to explore the canals of Europe? It is rather fascinating with so many waterways to be discovered – through the vineyards of Burgundy, the historic Po Valley in Italy to the Caledonian Canal in Scotland and the more open waters of Loch Ness, cruising along Europe’s waterways is one adventure to add to that bucket list – we think.

The best way to explore Europe’s waterways is of course a gentle cruise on a hotel barge; one that is replete with perfectly adorned suites and a well-rounded crew. European Waterways has been pioneering hotel barges for nearly 40 years and currently has a fleet of hotel barges to suit different passengers – an example is the Hotel Barge Finesse, a luxury double-decker hotel barge that is currently being commissioned. The Finesse offers room for 8 passengers in four spacious twin or double-bedded suites with air-conditioning and private shower rooms to match. “She will also boast a large saloon with panoramic windows and a demonstration galley where guests can watch their chef preparing delicious gourmet meals”. Cruising for the Finesse will begin from May 2016 travelling through River Saone and Southern Burgundy where one can discover its vineyards.

Most hotel barges offer a cruise for 6 nights, which include gourmet meals, fine wines and an open bar, daily escorted excursions to places of interest along with private wine tasting in air-conditioned minibuses. To provide a general outline of the hotel barge experience it would go something like this: passengers are collected at a designated meeting point either by the Captain or crew member and then escorted by air conditioned minibuses to the hotel barge. A crew will await passengers on board with a welcoming of champagne before giving the grand tour of the barges luxury suites and facilities. After some light eating, the gourmet experience begins complemented by fine wines.

Compared to other forms of cruising a hotel barge is more intimate and relaxed with a better focus on exploring different regions and excursions to “off the beaten track” places.  Each hotel barge has been meticulously thought of in terms of comfort and luxury accommodation, and with a staff to match, rest assured they will keep to the background but will always be alert to any needs.

For your next holiday or get together hotel barging might be a grand idea. Get in touch to curate your own holiday hotel barge.


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