Whilst dreams of a post-lockdown escape start to become a possibility in Europe, finding the perfect option can seem like a daunting task. From high-standard hygiene levels to veering away from the tourist traps and avoiding the crowds, our luxury barge cruises offer safety and comfort without compromising on the authentic experiences to be had. Read on for our top 10 reasons why hotel barging makes the perfect post-lockdown escape…
10 Reasons Hotel Barging Makes the Perfect Post-Lockdown Escape
1. Privacy and Seclusion on a Whole Barge Charter
How better to enjoy the very best of a destination on a post-lockdown escape, than in the comfort and seclusion of a private whole barge charter. From groups of friends to families in hopes of reconnecting and making up for lost time during lockdown, we’re already seeing a huge interest for charter bookings in 2021. It’s not difficult to see why, with the perks of what feels like having your very own private floating villa, equipped with a personal crew and private chef.
2. Small-Group Cruises: Who Said Bigger is Better?
Our vessels accommodate between 6-20 passengers, with an average of around 10. This means you’re travelling with the same passengers throughout the week with an intimate, grown-up ‘house party’ ambience. And, by the end of it – we can almost guarantee you’ll have made new friends for life! From hygiene to haute cuisine, with our small-group cruises, you can expect the highest standard of service throughout.
3. The Path Less Travelled
The beauty of canal cruising is that we can access the smaller waterways of Europe, that are often inaccessible to the larger river cruises. This means that often enough, you’ll get to enjoy the scenic countryside all to yourself at a slow and gentle pace. So gentle, in fact, that we cover less than 70 miles in a week…
4. Live Like a Local, Visiting Lesser-Known Gems
Many of our guests are returning to their chosen destination for the second or third time, having experienced the big tourist attractions on their first visit. Our cruises avoid larger cities and ports, and never moor alongside another vessel. We offer the opportunity to visit the region’s lesser-known gems for a true cultural immersion, with the chance to ‘live like a local’ for the day. What better way to truly get to know the destination you’re visiting!
5. Hop On and Off at Your Leisure
Our luxury barge cruises are always just a few feet from the shore, so you can rest assured that the next lock is nearby, allowing you to hop off when you wish. Therefore, the inevitable ‘Stuck at Sea’ feeling aboard larger cruise ships, is completely non-existent here! And, with our fabulous air-conditioned minivans close by, heading out to explore the region is easy, comfortable, and hassle-free.
6. Chauffeur Service Throughout Your Stay
From the moment you arrive at your pickup point, feel the pressures of travel float away in the knowledge that our fully air-conditioned luxury minivans are on hand to ‘take it from here’. Our spacious and well-equipped vans will whisk you away to the barge, where a Champagne reception awaits. From there, they will transport you to your daily tours, and will always be nearby, even when you’re cruising. Whole barge charters will enjoy more flexibility when it comes to pick-up and drop-off points, including the convenience of a direct airport transfer.
7. Private (& Often Exclusive) Insider Experiences
We all love the thought of getting ‘off-the-beaten-track’, and with our daily Insider Experiences, we take great pride in introducing you to people and places that often aren’t available to anyone else. Imagine sipping tea with a French countess in her private apartments in the 18th century Château de la Motte, an exclusive hosted fine Italian dinner on the banks of Byron’s River Po, a personal address by a Scottish Bagpiper as he marches alongside the barge with the Highlands as his backdrop, or perhaps an exclusive live jazz session as sundowners are served on deck.
8. Space and Wellbeing
When you fancy stepping out to soak up the sunshine, breathe in some fresh air and stretch your legs in vast open spaces, feel free to take a walk, or grab one of our barge bicycles on a towpath discovery. When you’re ready to hop back aboard, simply meet the barge at the next lock! Those who are especially keen cyclists may be interested in our ‘Biking Plus’ cycle maps, offering a more adventurous route, away from the towpath. eBikes are also available at a supplement.
9. Tailor-Made Itineraries
Our itineraries have been carefully designed so our guests leave the vessel knowing that they’ve experienced the very best of the region – from food and drink to culture and history, and everything in between. Led by an onboard guide, our private tours can be tailor-made to suit our guests’ needs: perhaps to avoid any crowds or simply escape from the midday sun. Many of our tours also offer exclusive access to private venues, creating a unique experience with the space and freedom to fully explore at leisure.
Aided by the expert local knowledge of our guides, let us make your experience truly unforgettable as you discover ancient vineyards, medieval centres, charming châteaux, picture-perfect villages and so much more. A host of fun-filled activities are also available for families and special interest groups, including tennis, golf, kayaking and horse riding.
10. A Gastronomic Journey
Gastronomy plays a huge part on our cruises, with gourmet fares prepared by an expert chef, creating each menu using locally-sourced ingredients. With irresistible menus served with full table service inside or out on deck, it’s as if you’re attending a different restaurant for each meal without a buffet table in sight!
Of course, you can’t enjoy fine cuisine without a hand-picked selection of fine wines, and so our wine expert will present their choice to the table at every lunch and dinner.
Plan Your Post-Lockdown Escape
To plan your post-lockdown escape along Europe’s charming waterways, please talk to a member of our team or order a copy of our brochure for a slice of armchair travel inspiration.
You May also be interested in:
- The Best Insider Experiences on Our Barge Trips: Part 1
- The Top 10 Barge Trips in France for 2021
- My Favourite Waterways by Derek Banks
- Meet Our Barge Chefs
Image credits: Special thanks to Dave Annis, Lily Heise, Mark Gleckman and Kathy Stodgell