From the dramatic lochs and glens of the Scottish Highlands, to the sun soaked Mediterranean vineyards of the Canal du Midi, we thought it was about time to introduce you to some of the incredible Captains at the heart of your barging experience.
Meet Our World Class Captains!
Anjodi - Laurent Charbonnier
A now well-known figure on the Canal du Midi, Laurent has over ten years barging experience with European Waterways and 2019 will be his sixth year at the helm of Anjodi. With an impeccable understanding of customer service and an impish sense of humour, Laurent charms all of his guests. He met his wife, Sarah, when they were both crew members on L’Impressionniste and they now live with their two sons near the Canal du Midi, quite the love story!
L'Impressionniste - Dan Jones
Now in his fourth season as Cruise Director on L’Impressionniste, Dan brings to the role a wealth of customer service experience, having started his career in hospitality at the age of 18. Originally from Northern England, Dan is now settled with his wife and young son in the Valley of the Ouche, and enjoys sharing his love of the area, its wine, traditions and history, with the guests onboard. As well as being a jovial and entertaining host he’s also a talented musician and dab hand at the guitar.
La Belle Epoque - Jolanda van der Vegt
Originally from Amsterdam, Jolanda has barging in her blood. She moved to France in 2010 to work as a Lock Keeper on the Upper Burgundy Canal and it was from the front door of her home at Lock 79 that she first met La Belle Epoque. Cruise Director onboard since 2016, Jolanda enjoys introducing clients to the part of France which she has made her home. Out of season she likes being back in Holland or joining her family in Dubai for some sun and relaxation!
Panache - Florian Rother
Florian first joined Panache as a tour guide in 2012. Originating from Germany he immediately felt at home in the cruising areas of Holland and Alsace Lorraine. Two seasons on La Belle Epoque in 2014/15 lead him to the realisation that he missed the variety of Panache’s route and 2019 will be his 3rd season of skillfully managing the boat through its various itineraries. Keenly intelligent and with a dry sense of humour Florian is joined onboard by Judith, his partner – and deckhand.
Renaissance - Hadrien Famy
Hadrien is a Parisian with a love and innate understanding of all things French. Two years spent on a working visa in Australia did not assuage his passion for travel and on his return to France he was excited at the prospect of rediscovering his native country through the historical canal system. His first season with European Waterways was spent as a deckhand on Impressionniste, literally learning the ropes, and from there he joined Renaissance to which he will be returning for his sixth season as Captain.
L'Art de Vivre - Matthew Price
With five seasons of barging experience as a tour guide on Anjodi, Enchante and Renaissance, Matthew is excited to be taking on the role of Cruise Director aboard L’Art de Vivre. Brought up in England, but with a strong maternal French influence, Matthew has a degree in Transport Design. As such, barging brings together all of his passions: France, travel, history, architecture and the arts – all of which he loves to share with his passengers.
Spirit of Scotland -Melissa Gilly
Melissa was raised on a sailing boat, her parents deciding to leave with their two young children on a world tour which lasted ten years! Travel and boats are therefore second nature to her. Melissa joined L’Art de Vivre in 2015, as tour guide and then Captain, having obtained her pilots licence. As well as her native French, she is conversant in English, Spanish and Chinese, and is now ready to take on the Scottish challenge. Melissa will be supported on-board by tour guide Helen, Cruise Director on Spirit for the last two years, who this season, will be focusing on obtaining her barge pilot’s licence.
Scottish Highlander - Mick Forster
Following on from a career as a yacht Charter Captain, Mick took charge of Scottish Highlander in 2015. A Yorkshireman, Mick is a warm host and is happy to share his passion for all things nautical with passengers in Highlander’s extended, visitor-friendly wheelhouse. Mick’s idea of relaxation after a full season is to embark on a 3,000 nautical mile TransAtlantic yacht delivery.