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European Waterway Cruises

European Waterway Cruises

Cruising on a crewed canal barge is truly a luxurious and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover Europe. This unique, all-inclusive experience allows you to admire the picturesque landscape of your destination, try some regional cuisine, explore the most beautiful cities and towns, visit local sights and monuments, learn history and tradition, meet friendly locals and much more. Our crewed canal barge includes accommodation in an en-suite cabin, all gourmet meals on board and ashore, wines, excursions, transfers and more.

Drift Through Europe

 

Since the dawn of passenger cruising in the mid-19th century, this relaxing pastime has evolved into a highly pleasurable experience. Today’s barge cruises are the culmination of a rich history of leisure boating. At Barge Travel Connection we give you the opportunity to truly unwind aboard some of the most elegant barges as you drift along European waterways sipping aromatic wines, savouring high-end cuisine and docking to immerse yourself in rich cultural experiences. Choose from our wide range of cruises based on your interests, group size or go-to destination and let yourself be properly looked after by an attentive and knowledgeable crew. From transfers, excursions, food and wine, everything is organised for you; all you need to do is relax and take it all in.

 

Highlights

  • Excursions
    Excursions:
    Excursions by minivan to explore villages and cities
  • Bicycles
    Bicycles:
    Bicycles
  • Fine wines with meals
    Fine wines with meals:
    Fine wines with meals
  • All-inclusive cruise
    All-inclusive cruise:
    6 night on-board in an all-inclusive barge
  • Gourmet meals included
    Gourmet meals included:
    Gourmet meals

 

What to Expect

European Cruising

Barge Travel Connection cruises allow you to plunge into Europe whilst staying in absolute luxury. Whether it is your very first trip to Europe or one to add to the list, this is the ideal way to discover the wonders of the European continent.

Belgium

Belgium is one of the most unusual and interesting countries to cruise in. Marked by its intertwining canals and proud medieval towns, it was once known as the epicentre of trade in Northern Europe. You will have the chance to explore the romantic waterborne city of Bruges, dubbed the Venice of the North; the industrial port city of Antwerp, a major hub for Belgian craftwork and artistry; and the medieval masterpiece of Ghent, slowly emerging as one of the most trendy European cities.
Barges: Panache, l'Impressionniste, La Nouvelle Etoile

Belgium

England

The Magna Carta could very well be the sweetest spot to experience rural England. Known to be one of the finest boats to cruise the British Isles, she will drift through glorious English countryside, quaint villages and Royal Palaces as you enjoy every on-board amenity (such as the spa pool). Ample time is spent ashore, visiting Downton Abbey’s Highclere Castle, Henry VIII’s Hampton Court and Windsor Castle.
Barge: Magna Carta

England

France

France is conceivably the most popular cruising destination in Europe, and understandably so. Its numerous waterways allow travellers to experience France’s diverse regional palette. France is also one of our destinations of expertise. Our team of specialists have first-hand experience in travelling the country (and not only by cruise) and will happily share their expert knowledge and anecdotes. Journey through inspirational scenery, UNESCO World Heritage sites, world-renowned vineyards and noble chateaux. Our wide range of barges in France are bound to please every kind of traveller.
Barges: Panache, l’Impressionniste, La Nouvelle Etoile, Renaissance, La Belle EpoqueClair de Lune, Athos, Anjodi, L’Art de Vivre, SavannahAlegria, Caroline, Roi Soleil, Finesse, Belmond Amaryllis, Belmond Fleur de Lys, Belmond Hirondelle, Enchanté, Belmond Alouette, Belmond Napoleon, Rosa, Nymphea, Saraphina, Mirabelle, C’est la Vie, Belmond Lilas, Belmond Pivoine, Madeleine, Raymonde, Deborah, Anne Marie, Jeanine, Luciole, Meanderer, Aurora and Randle!

France

Germany & Luxembourg

Wine aficionados will know that it is not all about France. Germany is also home to some world-class drops, with many fine Rieslings having piqued the palates of wine enthusiasts for centuries. Our cruises will take you from Germany’s beer gardens and half-timbered villages to the fortified medieval and multicultural town of Luxembourg City.
Barge: La Nouvelle Etoile

Germany and Luxembourg

Holland

Tulips, windmills and pottery are undeniably the three things that come to mind when describing Holland. Cruise during tulip season in spring when flowers are in full bloom.
Barges:  AuroraPanache & La Nouvelle Etoile

Holland

Ireland

Cruising in Ireland means sailing around some of the lushest emerald scenery in the world. Surrounded by endless shades of green and ancient Celtic monasteries, your holiday photos are bound to come out brilliantly. Throw folkloric customs and traditions, a fascinating history and friendly locals into the mix and you will have yourself a grand getaway!
Barge: Shannon Princess

Ireland

Italy

Immerse yourself in La Bella Vita (quite literally) on-board a beautiful vessel named as such. Our cruises in Italy will take you on a voyage through history from Roman times to the prime Renaissance period which has hugely influenced contemporary Italian culture. Travel through ancient trade routes, the all-important canals of Venice, savour culinary delights accompanied by the finest of wines and enjoy a performance at Verona’s Roman amphitheatre if opera floats your boat!
Barge: La Bella Vita

Italy

Scotland

With breathtaking scenery, haunting history, UNESCO World Heritage sites and a number of ports making it easy to include other European hotspots to your cruise, Scotland is an ideal destination. Expect to be fed the freshest of seafood, infamous Scottish salmon and hearty meat dishes whilst you learn about the country’s history, heritage, myths and legends as you sail around awe-inspiring scenery. The Caledonian Canal and Scotland’s lochs are accessible throughout the year so you might even want to spend a traditional Christmas on-board one of our luxury hotel barges.
Barges: Scottish Highlander and Spirit of Scotland

Scotland

 

Outstanding service

Life on-board a crewed canal barge is most definitely a luxurious one. Barges cater up to 20 people, making it a truly intimate experience where your crew can personally look after you. Comprised of a master chef, a deck-hand, a hostess and an experienced captain who also serves as a tour guide, the highly professional English-speaking crews take their roles very seriously. They are always attentive to guest needs and will happily share their rich, local knowledge.

All barges are furnished with modern comforts and have a style of their own. Expect Jacuzzis on the outdoor deck, fine wood panelling, carpeting and a blend of antique and traditional decor. Some vessels boast a grand piano, panoramic windows and an open-plan demonstration galley where guests can watch the chef prepare mouth-watering creations; all cabins have their private en-suite bathrooms and deeply comfortable beds.

Outstanding service

 

All inclusive

Our cruise holidays have the advantage of being all inclusive. Enjoy exciting daily excursions to historical sites, quaint villages, local markets or specific events such as an evening at the Opera in Italy. Outings can be tailored according to your wants and needs if you are on a chartered cruise. Transfers to and from your hotel barge are arranged at your convenience with a dedicated chauffeur throughout your stay in a comfortable minibus. Relax in a luxurious en-suite cabin with all the amenities you could ever need and eat as much as your chef will happily prepare for you. An open bar is also available on-board throughout your cruise.

All inclusive

 

Fine dining

Wake up to fresh bread, pastries and fruit, brought on-board by your crew from local shops every morning. All meals are a gastronomic adventure prepared by a top chef with locally-sourced ingredients. An excellent selection of fine regional and international wines is at your disposal to relish each meal. Exquisite!

Fine dining

 

Themed Cruises

Here at Barge Travel Connection we have created an array of themed cruises to cater for every interest and every group size. From cruise breaks inspired by art and antiques to our bestselling gastronomy cruises, we have made it our mission to provide the best themed holiday, offering direction and providing inspiration for your next getaway. Whether you have dreamt about navigating your way down the Canal du Midi or waking up to Holland’s tulips and windmills, discover our themed cruises here.

Themed Cruises

 

Unique experiences

The experience of barge cruising is undeniably a unique one. From the vessels you will travel on – every barge has its own style from classic French to contemporary slick – to the very places you go to (on and off-board), you can rest assured that your holiday will be a special one to remember. Tours are private with a specialist local guide who will provide stories about your destination you will have never heard before. Cruising with Barge Travel Connection will guarantee the high-end getaway you are hoping for.

Unique experiences

WHAT TO CONSIDER

 

Services and Budget

To set expectations, we have classified all barges according to 4 different ratings: Charming Class, Premier Class, Luxe Class and Ultra Luxury Class.

Charming Class
For guests who are interested in comfortable barges and regional experiences rather than in on-board amenities and high customised service. These barges can welcome up to 24 guests and have few crew members. The barges are cosy and comfortable; each cabin has an en-suite bathroom. From 1,460 Euros per person. Our Charming Class barges:  Anne-Marie, Deborah, Jeanine, Johanna, Madeleine, Randle and Raymonde.

Premier Class
This category include barges with small en-suite cabins with authentic décor. These cruises will reflect the area where you are and the excursions are included as well as an attentive crew. All meals are included and accompanied by local wines. From 3,590 Euros per person. Our Premier Class barges: Anjodi, Athos, Caroline, La Bella Vita, L'Art de Vivre, Le Phenicien, Luciole, Magna Carta, Mirabelle, Nymphea, Rosa, SaraphinaScottish HighlanderShannon Princess and Spirit of Scotland.

Luxe Class
These barges offer spacious cabins, amenities such as hot tub, personalized and charming décor, and fabulous cuisine with a variety of wines and highly-trained crew. From 4,190 Euros per person. Our Luxe Class barges:  Alegria, Belmond Hirondelle, C'est La Vie, Clair de Lune, Enchante, EsperanceLa Belle Epoque, L'Impressionniste, Panache and Savannah.

Ultra Luxury Class
These barges have the best service you can think of as well as the most spacious cabins. The barges are ornately decorated, often using fine fabrics and antiques, and offer amenities such as a hot tub, open chef’s kitchen and grand piano, and show an overall commitment to top quality in cuisine, wines and highly personalized service. From 5,490 Euro per person. Our Ultra Luxury Class barges: Belmond Alouette, Belmond Amaryllis, Belmond Fleur de Lys, Belmond Lilas, Belmond Napoleon, Belmond Pivone, Finesse, La Nouvelle Etoile, Meanderer, Renaissance, Aurora and Roi Soleil.

Let our experts guide you: read on to see what needs to be considered before going on a lovely relaxing cruise...

 

The Hotel Barging Experience

Find out our guests' all-inclusive cruising experience on board our luxury hotel barge. 

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Cruising in Europe

Barges have come a long way since the 1800s. Barges were used to transport commercial goods such as coal, grain, oil, wines, sand, gravel and others through the canals and locks of Europe. Due to the decline in commercial and freight carriage through the waterways, these barges have been converted and renovated to luxury hotel barges also known as floating hotels in 1960s. These hotel barges became popular and can be found cruising in the waterways of France.

Today, there are numerous hotel barges cruising in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, Scotland, England and Ireland. The main appeal of cruising on board a barge is its slow passage. You can take a stroll along the sides of the canal, visit a local market and buy fresh produce, bike around and explore the villages and towns and more.

At Barge Travel, we offer a great selection of luxury hotel barges that cruises around the canals of Europe. Our barges can accommodate from 4 to 24 passengers. Our all-inclusive barges feature accommodation with en-suite facilities, transfers, gourmet meals, wines and cheeses, an open bar, excursions and visits to local sights and monuments. Other facilities also include a saloon/dining room, a sun deck (some with spa pool), use of bicycles and WiFi.

You may book a cabin for two or if you are travelling with family or friends, you can charter the entire barge. Alternatively, we also offer themed cruises that will appeal to everyone’s interest.

At Barge Travel Connection, we offer you a great selection of cruises on board our 5-star hotel barges. From your choice of barge to where you want to go, we will provide you the best advice and help you plan your trip of a lifetime.

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