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CRUISE BLOG

CRUISE BLOG

Top reasons to cruise Europe aboard a barge

Ever wondered why people come back from a cruise raving over it? If you are amongst those considering whether or not to take the plunge (perhaps not literally though), trust the experts and read Barge Travel Connection’s reasons why you should - aboard a charming hotel barge.

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DISCOVER AMAZING DESTINATIONS

What better way to spend your holiday drifting along the most picturesque waterways in Europe on-board a luxurious barge, dropping anchor to immerse yourself in the local culture. Our crewed barge-hotels are located on the canals of Europe in France, England, Germany, Luxembourg, Scotland, Holland, Belgium, Ireland not to forget Italy. Live the best regional experience in whichever destination you choose, at a relaxing pace to fully unwind from everyday life.

Take your time visiting some of the most beautiful countries of Europe. Whether you are a first timer travelling to Europe or if you are a regular, discovering the continent via its numerous waterways is perhaps the most unique. Gaze around at breathtaking scenery, stop to visit impressive monuments, savour exquisite local gastronomy and enjoy the calmness of floating around the canals. We can guarantee that it will become one of your favourite ways to travel.

Take a look at some of our destination photos to help you decide where you want to end up on your next break.

Belgium

Cruise in Belgium to discover the up-and-coming town of Ghent, the romantic little town of Bruges and arty Antwerp, where Rubens once lived.

England

Travel back through history as you meander along the river Thames peering over beautiful monuments as you journey. You will love the picturesque riverside villages and the quaint old English style.

Visit Windsor Castle Visit Windsor Castle

France

Many regions of France offer the opportunity to cruise along the canals on-board a fully-crewed canal barge.

Discover the highlights of Burgundy: the Hospices of Beaune, a former charitable alms-house founded in 1443 by the chancellor of Burgundy as a hospital for the poor; taste famous wine names and enjoy snails.

Visit the Hospices of Beaune Visit the Hospices of Beaune

Taste Burgundy wine Taste Burgundy wine

Discover the Canal du Midi and its beautiful landscapes.

Cruise on Canal du Midi Cruise on Canal du Midi

Canal du Midi typical scenery Canal du Midi typical scenery

Visit the medieval city of Carcassonne Visit the medieval city of Carcassonne Visit the medieval city of Carcassonne Visit the medieval city of Carcassonne

Cruise in Gascony & Bordeaux to taste fine local wines, wander the streets of typical villages and visit World Heritage sites.

Visit Moissac and its UNESCO-classified abbey Visit Moissac and its UNESCO-classified abbey

Cruise in the Loire Valley to visit its noble castles and journey back in history.

Cruise on-board Nymphea Cruise on-board Nymphea Cruise on-board Nymphea Cruise on-board Nymphea

Visit Chateau d'Amboise built on a spur above the River Loire Visit Chateau d'Amboise built on a spur above the River Loire

Discover Clos Lucé, famous for being the official residence of Leonardo da Vinci between 1516 and 1519 Discover Clos Lucé, famous for being the official residence of Leonardo da Vinci between 1516 and 1519

Champagne cruises will take you to the very heart of this amazing region full of vineyards. We can guarantee you will love to taste various types of Champagne and discover medieval architecture.

Taste Champagne in Champagne Taste Champagne in Champagne

Cruise in Alsace to discover its unique architecture and gastronomy as well as its remarkable mix of French and German cultures.

Cruise on-board Panache Cruise on-board Panache Cruise on-board Panache Cruise on-board Panache

Visit Colmar Visit Colmar

In Picardy, learn about history, the western front and both World Wars.

Holland

Tulips, windmills and pottery will fill up your cruising in Holland photos. Enjoy the country's unique atmosphere and amazing landscapes.

Cruise on-board Panache through Haarlem Cruise on-board Panache through Haarlem

Cruising in Holland Cruising in Holland

Leiden: historical city full of character, a perfect place to explore on a bicycle Leiden: historical city full of character, a perfect place to explore on a bicycle

Discover windmills, barns and houses built in the traditional Dutch style Discover windmills, barns and houses built in the traditional Dutch style

Visit the Zaanse Schans. Discover crafts, windmills and houses from the 18th and 19th centuries Visit the Zaanse Schans. Discover crafts, windmills and houses from the 18th and 19th centuries

Ireland

Discover the stunning landscapes, lakes, farmland and rolling hills of this country during your cruise. The Irish will undoubtedly make you feel very welcome!

Cruise on-board Shannon Princess Cruise on-board Shannon Princess

Discover walled gardens of Portumna Castle Discover walled gardens of Portumna Castle

Visit Leap Castle one of the most haunted castles in Europe Visit Leap Castle, one of the most haunted castles in Europe

Italy

Discover Venice and its surroundings. You will love the numerous bridges, churches, colourful markets and pretty shellfish from the Venetian lagoon!

Cruising on-board La Bella Vita Cruising on-board La Bella Vita

Visit Mantua’s Ducal Palace and gardens Visit Mantua’s Ducal Palace and gardens

Discover San Pietro Island Discover San Pietro Island Discover San Pietro Island Discover San Pietro Island

Dinner at the hidden Villa Ca'Zen Dinner at the hidden Villa Ca'Zen

Visit to Chioggia’s colourful fish market Visit to Chioggia’s colourful fish market

Visit medieval moated Estense Castle in Ferrara Visit medieval moated Estense Castle in Ferrara

Germany & Luxembourg

Discover the beauty of these two countries. Visit Burg Eltz, the 12th Century “Queen of German Castles; Tour Trier, Germany’s oldest town and see the Porta Nigra and finish the cruise in Luxembourg with a visit to its capital.

Scotland

Discover the fantastic scenery of Scotland, its Loch Ness as well as the famous Cawdor Castle and its beautiful gardens. Don't forget to taste some famous Whisky.

Cruising on-board Scottish Highlander Cruising on-board Scottish Highlander

Explore 13th Century Donan Eilean Castle in the Scotland Highlands Explore 13th Century Donan Eilean Castle in the Scotland Highlands

Discover Urquhart Castle nestled beside Loch Ness Discover Urquhart Castle nestled beside Loch Ness

Discover the deep, large, freshwater Loch Ness Discover the deep, large, freshwater Loch Ness

All these destinations are not only culturally rich but also have breathtaking landscapes, mouth-watering gastronomy and a fascinating history behind them. Don’t forget that if you charter a barge, you can decide your itinerary as you please so do let you crew know where you are keen to spend your time.

LIVE THE ALL INCLUSIVE UNIQUE EXPERIENCE

Another top reason we love canal barging is the fact that this experience is all inclusive. Leave all the work up to us and our local partners to make sure you have a memorable holiday.

Transfers

Make sure we know when and where you arrive and we will make sure your transfer is organised. A member of the crew will pick you up at your hotel and drive/ train you to the barge. The transfers are planned for you to have enough space for your luggage and be the beginning of your journey.

Transfers in luxury vehicles Transfers in luxury vehicles

Welcome cocktail

When you arrive on-board you will be welcomed by the crew that will make sure they introduce themselves and have all your requirements for the week. They will make sure you are comfortable and that you will enjoy this experience. Enjoy the welcome cocktail to start relaxing and fully enjoy the experience.

Welcome on-board Welcome on-board

Champagne welcome Champagne welcome

Amazing crew

The crew on-board will be spoiling you and making sure your journey is unforgettable and with no issues. The chef will make sure you love every meal on-board, the hostess will make sure you always have the drink you need, information about the day and any other requirements while the house keeper will make sure your cabin is always clean and tidy. The captain will make sure he shares all his great stories and the guide will bring you to the best places of the region. Some barge will even have a crew member taking care of your kids if needed!

Barge standards

If you’ve ever slept on a boat, you’ll know that it’s the most relaxing sleep you can have. If that’s what you’re after, along with captivating landscapes and towns rich in history, culture and traditions – look no further. All barges have different ratings, but one important point they all have in common is their high standards. Every winter, vessels are fully painted and varnished to be perfect accommodating. Some of them are family-owned with a cosy atmosphere, some are ultimate luxury with all the amenities you can dream of. Some barges are smaller in size with 2 cabins which adds intimacy to your cruise, whilst others have 11 cabins. In any case, you are bound to find a barge-hotel to fit your budget. Learn more about our barge standards here.

Amenities on-board

You will enjoy the amenities on-board such as bicycles to cycle along the canals to small villages; the library on-board to relax on the sundeck with a good book; the heated swimming pool for some of the barges and the en-suite cabins where you will be comfortable.

Relax in Belmond Amaryllis sun deck and pool Relax in Belmond Amaryllis sun deck and pool

Excursions

Whether you have booked a charter or a cabin, everyday excursions will be included for you to explore the regions and surroundings.

On-board a charter; do not hesitate to tell the crew what you would prefer and what you love in life. It means that if you want to explore the local markets, a famous vineyard, visit a beautiful cathedral or prefer to stay on board in the Jacuzzi it will be totally at your convenience. If you tell the captain what are your interests in life they will make sure they relate visits to them.

If you have booked a single cabin, you will follow a standard itinerary which may still be flexible. Your crew is always happy to discuss who would prefer what and if one day you prefer to stay on-board to relax instead of going out, that is fine.

All excursions and admittance fees will be taken care of and you won’t have to spend anything; except if you wish to buy some souvenirs!

Gourmet Food

You will be delighted by the food on-board. All your meals will be included and do not hesitate to let know the chef know what your guilty pleasures are or what you want to test: he will make sure you have the best of it and as much you want!

If you have any food allergies, the chef will be made aware and ensure you will be served amazing food with only what you like. Most of the barge-hotels are really high service for food and will serve you cheese for breakfast if it is what you want.

If you are on-board a charter; meals can be served whenever you wish. Some cruises also include top gastronomical experiences such as dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant or gourmet restaurant. If you are a foodie, we would definitely recommend looking at our food-themed cruises.

Lunch on-board Belmond Amaryllis Lunch on-board Belmond Amaryllis

Starter on-board Starter on-board

Dessert on-board Dessert on-board

Fine wines

Food is never complete without drink so rest assured ALL drinks are included and the bar is open 24/7 for soft and alcoholic drinks. If you are a wine or whiskey aficionado, there are even cruises that will be focusing on some great tasting experiences. For most of our barge-hotels let us know prior if you prefer red, white, rose, spirits or juices and we will make sure everything on-board caters to your preferences. Some of the countries and regions offering crewed canal barging experience are famous for wines or whiskey and you will experience some of the best.

Wines on-board Wines on-board

Every day is different

How appealing is waking up to a different view from your sundeck every morning? The variety you’ll get to experience is for us the last (but definitely not least) reason we recommend cruising Europe aboard a barge. Cruise along pretty waterways otherwise inaccessible to larger vessels and really unwind as your barge trundles at a perfectly relaxing pace. It truly is the ideal scenario to sit back and admire the rolling landscape.

Barge Travel Connection's all-inclusive cruising experiences are perfect for those who want to discover the best of Europe aboard a luxury barge and experience the local culture. So hop on-board and make sure you eat, drink, visit, cycle, swim, read and laugh to live this experience as thoroughly as possible!

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