As Told by Our Guests...

The welcome we received and everything on board was perfect

Pauline Taplin, Hampshire, UK

This is a treasure that most people don’t know about

Denise Thorson , New Jersey, USA

Everbody should do this at least once in their life

Charles Baertl, Texas USA

For a very special occasion this is the place to be

John Thorson, New Jersey, USA


The Hotel Barging Experience

Whether your interests lie in gastronomy and wine, local history, and culture, or just relaxing on deck with a good book and a glass of Chablis, a “slow boat” voyage with us offers the ultimate in experiential travel. Each day as your ‘floating boutique hotel’ glides sedately along at walking pace, you can relax on deck and take in the passing countryside, then perhaps hop off at the next lock to stroll along the towpath or enjoy a little exercise on one of the barge’s bicycles.

With capacity for up to 20 passengers on board, a hotel barge cruise offers a more intimate, informal atmosphere than on larger river and ocean cruise vessels, so it is an excellent choice for couples, single travellers, families, or small groups.

Making New Friends as a Couple
Many of our guests choose a hotel barge cruise with us because they relish the chance to meet other like-minded travellers who enjoy the finer things in life, such as great service, fine dining, wine and good conversation. They are keen to find out more about local culture and history, but at the same time want an absorbing, slow-paced voyage of discovery.

Private Whole Barge Charters
When you charter one of our hotel barges – be it for a precious family gathering or friends’ reunion, a one-off celebration, or as a special interest group – we can arrange tailored itineraries to please everyone, whatever your ages or interests.

Travelling Solo
Our gentle voyages are also ideal for the single traveller who will be welcomed into the fold by the crew and their fellow ship-mates to join the ‘floating house party’, with everyone dining together around the same table and enjoying all the private escorted daily excursions as a group.

On board, there is a relaxed, intimate ‘house party’ atmosphere, whether you choose to cruise with other like-minded people, or charter the whole barge privately as a family or a group of friends.

Multi Generational Cruises

Multi Generational Cruises - Family Picnic

With capacity for between 6 and 20 passengers, a private hotel barge charter is perfect for a multi generational getaway

A Home Away from Home


All hotel barges in the fleet benefit from an annual refurbishment and this may vary from redecoration and refurnishing of the...

Enriching Excursions


Every hotel barge cruise includes daily excursions to some fascinating local places of interest - châteaux, Cathar hilltop...

Insider Experiences

highlander header

These experiences form the heart of a European Waterways cruise; spontaneous, unique adventures that just couldn't be had anywhere else

Hotel Barging Experience

Barging Experience

Far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life, hotel barge voyages allow you to travel in luxury without the strains of...

Outstanding Service


Crews are mainly British or French and they all speak English, so there is no need to worry about a language barrier when they are...

A Gastronomic Experience


The classic traditions of French and International cuisine are an unforgettable highlight of your cruise. The onboard chefs are...

Themed Charter Cruises


We can arrange a wide selection of themed charter cruises which will appeal to all types of interest groups, large or small...

Family & Friends Cruises

Family Cruise

Families or groups of friends can charter any of the hotel barges. You will have the whole vessel to yourselves and she becomes a...

Barging & Biking

Spirit Of Scotland Biking

We know that many of our passengers enjoy taking some exercise during their hotel barge cruise, so each vessel carries...

Shopping & Markets

Wonderful Local cheeses

Even if you are not normally a lover of shopping, the vast array of fascinating shops and markets you can discover on one of our...

Wine & Whisky Tours

Wine Banner

Many of our cruises are through some of the best wine- growing regions of France, such as Burgundy, Bordeaux...

Where We Cruise in Europe

Discover the fascinating world of barging, through the vineyards of Burgundy, on the shady Canal du Midi in Southern France, the historic Po Valley in Italy, or the River Shannon in rustic Ireland. Navigate the Royal River Thames, through the stunningly rugged landscapes of Scotland, picturesque Alsace & Lorraine, or the colourful tulip fields of Holland.

European Waterways Europe Map

Popular Destinations

Our Exclusive Collection of Hotel Barges

The hotel barges in our 17-vessel fleet have a wealth of history behind them. Most of the vessels are owned by us, and others by experienced hands-on operators who work with us and meet our required high standards. You’ll find a wide variety of styles, sizes and pedigrees within the fleet, due to their specific purpose when originally built.

All our barges offer a similar cruising experience, with each having its own characteristics and personality. Styles will range from the feel of a traditional, classic cosy floating ‘country house’ with varnished wood and brass, rich textures and fabrics, and interiors to reflect the beauty of the region, to a more spacious contemporary appearance, designed with style and elegance in mind.

Each barge has been awarded a cruise rating, with each category primarily referring to cabin sizing. Our Ultra Deluxe cruises enjoy very spacious cabin suites, comparable to luxury hotels. Deluxe barges offer comfortable, slightly smaller cabins, whilst our lead-in First Class barges enjoy compact but cosy cabins.

Vessel sizes also vary, mainly to conform with the dimensions of the locks on the different waterways on which we cruise. Size also influences the number of passengers which are carried, from 6 on our smallest hotel barge, Nymphea, in the Loire Valley, up to 20 passengers on our largest vessel, La Bella Vita, cruising the Venetian Lagoon and River Po. Whatever the size or style, you can rest assured the level of service remains impeccable throughout your stay.

Kir Royale

Hotel barge Kir Royale cruising Champagne

Kir Royale is a ultra deluxe, 8 passenger hotel barge that cruises the renowned Champagne region of France

La Belle Epoque

La Belle Epoque - Cruising - 490

La Belle Epoque is a deluxe, 12 passenger hotel barge that cruises the picturesque Burgundy Canal in Northern Burgundy


Finesse is an ultra deluxe, 8 passenger hotel barge that cruises the River Saône and Canal du Centre in Southern Burgundy


L'Impressionniste barge

L’Impressionniste is a deluxe, 12 passenger hotel barge that cruises the Burgundy Canal in the wine region of Southern Burgundy

Themed Barge Holidays

We can arrange a wide selection of themed charter cruises which will appeal to all types of groups, large or small and centred around interests, from local culture and gastronomy, to more active pursuits such as golf and walking.

Whisky Cruises

For lovers of whiskey, join our Whiskey Trail cruise that takes in distilleries close to the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness.

Wine Appreciation Cruises

Burgundy and the Languedoc region are perfect for our wine appreciation barge trips in France.

Family Cruises

Families can charter any of our vessels and enjoy a home from home experience while exploring the best of France’s waterways.

Biking Cruises

Cycling the long towpaths running next to the canals in Scotland and France is a relaxing activity that complements any of our holidays.

Verified Reviews

Video Feed

We uploaded our first video in 2010 and since then we have added over 100 hotel barging videos and received over 3,000,000 views on YouTube. We hope you enjoyed watching our videos…

Video of the Week

Travel Expert, Lindsay Myers recounts her cruise aboard La Belle Epoque for NBC Access Hollywood

Hotel Barge L'Impressionniste

Hotel Barge La Belle Epoque

The Lock-Keeper Blog

The Lock-Keeper has gone viral! Every few weeks we will be blogging about the Hotel barging experience; From the history of our hotel barges to some of the off the beaten track excursions we visit. Intrigued? Then read on…

Pop the Champagne with Kir Royale!

We are delighted to announce the latest addition to the European Waterways fleet: the 8-passenger Ultra Deluxe hotel barge, Kir Royale, debuting in Champagne from May 2024... Read More

24 Hours in Reims: The Unofficial Capital of the Champagne Region

Reims is famed for its cathedral, champagne, and stunning architecture – here’s the lowdown of what to see and do so you don’t miss out. Read More

Visiting Les Plus Beaux Villages de France

‘Le Plus Beaux Villages de France’ is a collection of stunning small French villages. Read on to find out which ones you can visit on our cruises. Read More

In the Press

There have been many interesting and entertaining articles written by journalists and travel writers from across the globe about their journeys on our luxury hotel barge cruises.

La Belle barge provides small-scale cruising with a very French flavour

Mike Grenby spent 6 days on the Burgundy canal, read about his Belle Epoque adventure here Read More

La Belle barge provides small-scale cruising with a very French flavour

Mike Grenby spent 6 days on the Burgundy canal, read about his Belle Epoque adventure here Read More

Slow Barge through the Loire Valley

Karen Pasquali Jones takes a tranquil cruise aboard Renaissance, through Burgundy and the Upper Loire Read More

6 Reasons You Should Go on a Canal Barge Cruise

Laura Lynch spent a week aboard the luxury hotel barge Finesse cruising the Canal du Midi. Read about her experience here Read More

Der gute Geist der Highlands

Auf einer 6-tägigen Kreuzfahrt an Bord der Luxus-Hotelbarge Spirit of Scotland besuchte O. Schmidt die schönsten Sehenswürdigkeiten Schottlands. Read More

Cruising in Burgundy

David Powell spent a week on the luxury hotel barge L’Impressionniste cruising through Burgundy. Read about his experience here Read More