With the travel industry showing strong signs of recovery for the 2022 season and “slow travel” a major trend, luxury hotel barge cruising “is more popular than ever,” said European Waterways.After years of government-imposed travel limitations, travellers are yearning to get out into the open space again, enjoy good food and see the world. It’s what they get as pampered guests of European Waterways, whose attentive crew caters to all their needs.
The company also follows strict health and hygiene protocols onboard, and crew members personally chauffeur guests in private air-conditioned transport to all excursions.
“Luxury hotel barging is moving out of the niche market and into the mainstream because it ticks off all the boxes,” says Derek Banks, European Waterways’ Managing Director, adding, “The intimate vessels – most of which hold 12 passengers or less – cruise the smaller waterways of Europe at just about 1.6km per hour, making them the ultimate in ‘slow travel.’
He added that the passengers also travel together throughout the entire six-night, all-inclusive journey in a secure ‘travel bubble’, with private and often exclusive excursions that immerse them in the gastronomic traditions, cultural heritage and rural splendour of the European countryside.”
Banks said, “Hotel barge vacations are like self-contained ‘luxury villas on the water’ adding, “They include bicycles for pleasant pedalling on the canal towpath beside the hotel barge or through charming, picture-postcard villages”, and “Gourmet meals are prepared and served onboard by a master chef, with lunch and dinner featuring at least two fine vintages selected from local vineyards.”
European Waterways, whose 2022 bookings are “at near record levels,” is offering travellers an opportunity to secure remaining space on some of its most popular hotel barge cruises in Europe with up to 20% off on cabins and full-boat charters. The specials are valid when booked by February 21, 2022.
“Eligible cruise dates are limited to select spring departures between March and May,” said Banks. “This may be one of the last opportunities to take up these offers and to experience the joys of hotel barging. Already bookings are strong through to the end of season and well into 2023 and beyond.”
Among the hotel barges offering up to 20% are the 12-passenger L’Impressionniste, which cruises the Ouche Valley in Southern Burgundy. With the special, based on 12 passengers travelling, full-boat charters for the April 3 and 17, 2022 departures start at €42,400, a saving of €10,600 off the regular €53,000 price. Cabins on the April 24, 2022 departure are €3,752 per person, based on double occupancy, a saving of €938 off the regular price of €4,690. L’Impressionniste features a display of the medieval sport of falconry and a private tour of the impressive Château de Commarin, a wine tasting and gastronomic lunch at Domain Chanson, among other itinerary highlights.
The eight-passenger Anjodi cruises the 330-year-old Canal du Midi and is featured in TV chef and restauranteur Rick Stein’s French Odyssey series, which celebrates the culinary arts of Southern France. With the 20% off, an eight-passenger full-boat charter of the April 3, 2022 departure is just €24,160, a saving of €6,040 off the €30,200 price. Cabins on the April 10, 2022 departure are €3,272per person, a saving of €818 off the €4,090 price.
Additional savings of 20% and 10% are available on other hotel barges in Southern France, as well as on the 20-passenger La Bella Vita in Italy and the eight-passenger Scottish Highlander on Scotland’s Caledonian Canal.
Edited by John Alwyn-Jones, Cruise Editor
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