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, Kir Royale will cruise the River Marne and Canal latéral à la Marne in complete elegance and style.
Her six-night all-inclusive itinerary enjoys sought-after excursions to some of the region’s legendary champagne houses including Moët & Chandon. Guests will also be treated to unique immersive experiences that include lunch at the boutique grand cru champagne house of Frerejean Frères, and on-board gastronomic meals with wine pairings, served by the vessel’s own master chef.
Kir Royal will cruise Champagne from May through October, and follows the same itinerary as the twelve-passenger Panache, which cruises between Château-Thierry and Châlons-en-Champagne between mid-May and June.
Managing Director, Derek Banks says...
Kir Royle started her life as a working barge in 1932. For her maiden voyage with us, she has been upgraded to meet the highest standards of luxury and comfort that are the hallmarks of all our vessels!
As a pioneer and champion of luxury hotel barging with more than forty years in the industry, the expansion of our fleet reflects our commitment to providing exceptional and immersive cultural and gastronomic experiences throughout Europe.
Journey of the Grapes
Kir Royale’s itinerary is all about the grapes. Its cruise region produces the only sparkling wines that can be legally called champagne in Europe and most parts of the world. They earn this distinction thanks to the land’s unique geology and climate. Among itinerary highlights is a private tour and tasting at the renowned champagne house of Moët & Chandon, the world’s best-selling champagne brand.
Guests also visit the boutique winery of Frerejean Frères, known for its premier and grand cru wines. This includes a private gourmet lunch in the salon of the family domaine. A third excursion includes a private tour and tasting at Maison Pannier, the largest champagne house in the Western Marne Valley. Its vast cellars date back to the 12th century and are several miles in length.
Complementing the wine tastings are numerous excursions that include a visit to Reims Cathedral, once the site of the coronation of the Kings of France. Guests will also pay their respects at both Château-Thierry and Belleau Wood, sites which saw fighting by American allied troops during World War One.
Kir Royale’s cruise season is really all about experiencing the extraordinary journey of the grapes in Champagne.
The vessel is there at the beginning of the season, when the grapes are growing; in September when the grapes are being harvested; and later in autumn, when the leaves fall and regeneration begins. The sweeping beauty of Champagne’s majestic countryside, blanketed with vineyards, is on full display, no matter what time of the season you cruise. – Derek Banks