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


European River Cruise Experience With a Difference

Are you looking to experience a different style of river cruise within a stunning European location? European Waterways specialises in creating the relaxing escapes among elegant settings with our European river cruises, which transport you across Europe’s  smaller waterways that the larger river cruisers are often too large to navigate.

During your European cruise, you will enjoy a plethora of  off-the-beaten-track  excursions that will allow you to fully embrace the true culture and heart of these destinations, whether it’s a private dining experience hosted by a Countess at her Italian riverside villa, a private demonstration of the majestic sport of falconry in the Scottish Highlands, a private visit to one of Ireland’s most haunted castles, or perhaps lunch in the vaulted kitchens of a 15th century chateau in rural France. And, at the end of your  excursion, you’ll return to the luxury of your barge with a warm welcome, and time to rest before a gourmet dinner.

Multi Generational Cruises

Children having fun on a luxury barge cruise through France

With capacity for between 6 and 20 passengers, a private hotel barge charter is perfect for a multi-generational getaway. We can tailor-make charter itineraries to include activities to suit all ages, such as theme parks for the children, wine tasting and historic sites for the adults – and so much more! Our barge chefs can also cater for young children, meeting most dietary requirements, and we can also sort out equipment such as cot beds, car seats, and children’s bicycles.

A Home Away from Home


All hotel barges in the fleet benefit from an annual maintenance to ensure the highest-quality experiences are had at all times.

Enriching Excursions

Hospices de Beaune (Musée de l'Hôtel-Dieu)  Burgundy, France, May 2016

Every hotel barge cruise includes daily excursions that are designed to fully immerse our guests into the history, culture, and cuisines of the region.

Insider Experiences

European Waterways guests exploring Villa Ca'Zen on the River Po

These experiences form the heart of a European Waterways cruise; spontaneous, unique adventures that couldn't be had anywhere else. Insider Experiences can include anything from a surprise jazz band concert, welcoming guests back on board following their excursion, a Scottish Highland piper performing to guests from the banks of Loch Ness.

Hotel Barging Experience

Barging Experience

Far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life, hotel barge cruises allow you to travel at a leisurely pace, in the utmost in style and elegance.

Outstanding Service


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

A Gastronomic Experience


The classic traditions of French cuisine, fused with contemporary international dining which has been expertly paired with fine wines is sure to be an unforgettable highlight of your cruise.

Themed Charter Cruises


We can arrange a wide selection of themed charter cruises which will appeal to all types of interest groups. These include Opera, Golf, Wine Appreciation, Biking, Art, Christmas Markets and so much more. Please talk to a member of our cruise team for more information.

Family & Friends Cruises

Family Cruise

Families or groups of friends can charter any of the hotel barges throughout the season. By doing so, your group will have the whole vessel and our crew to yourselves and she becomes a home-away-from-home. Whether you’re interested in following the Classic Cruise route, a special ‘themed’ itinerary such as Golf, Culinary, Biking or Opera, or something a little more tailor-made, our Cruise Teams are on hand to ensure you experience your very own private slice of luxury on the water.

Barging & Biking

Spirit Of Scotland Biking

We know that many of our guests enjoy taking some exercise during their hotel barge cruise, so each vessel carries complimentary bikes for use throughout their cruise. Many vessels include a series of biking maps for guests to follow, and e-bikes are also an option at the booking stage, for those perhaps wanting to venture further afield. Dedicated Biking theme cruises are also available on private charters, which are ideal for those seeking a taste of local scenery by bicycle, with the help of a local guide.

Shopping & Markets

Wonderful Local cheeses

Even if you are not normally a lover of shopping, there is a vast array of fascinating shops and markets you can discover on one of our luxury European cruises. Local markets offer artisanal products and fresh produce which are often purchased by the chef for the days’ meals. Guests are often encouraged to join the chef on their shopping trip to understand the ingredients used in the region’s cuisine.

Wine & Whisky Tours

Wine Banner

Many of our cruises are through some of the best wine-growing regions of France, such as Burgundy, Bordeaux, and of course Champagne. Wine plays a large part in our itineraries, with our hosts hand-picking each wine to pair perfectly with the days’ dishes, and wine tours and tasting often appear at least once on every itinerary unless you’re cruising in Scotland or Ireland, when whisky – or whiskey – is the featured tipple! Dedicated Wine Appreciation and Whisky theme cruises are also available. Please speak to a member of our Cruise Team for more information.

Where Our European Cruises Sail

With all our European river cruises, we offer you a true taste of the country that you are visiting. Our luxury hotel barges navigate through the rivers and canals in several key destinations that offer some of the most gorgeous waterways that Europe has to offer.

European Waterways Europe Map

Cruises in France

We embark on journeys within the nation’s 2,700 miles of inland waterways. France is the most popular destination for a European Cruise,, and there is no better way to see this stunning country than in the comfort and pace of a European Waterways luxury barge cruise through its many majestic waterways. The cruises travel through the countless UNESCO world heritage-listed vineyards where you will get the opportunity to tour, before tasting some phenomenal fine wines. We offer barge cruise lines that travel the River Marne, River Saone, River Cher, and River Yonne and other main rivers in popular tourist destinations such as Burgundy, Bordeaux, Alsace & Lorraine, and Champagne. We also explore a number of pretty canal routes such as the Burgundy Canal, the Canal du Centre, the Canal du Nivernais, the Canal de Garonne, and the Canal du Midi.

Cruises in Holland

A charming province located in The Netherlands, Holland has some of the prettiest waters and countryside in Europe. We offer two hotel barge cruises that travel through Holland in the Spring, allowing guests to experience the season’s vibrant tulips in bloom, whilst cruising through pretty waterways dotted with ubiquitous windmills and culture-rich towns and villages just waiting to be explored. From the famed Keukenhof Gardens to the charming city of Haarlem: our Holland cruises allow guests to experience the true charm and beauty of this stunning country in luxury and style.

Cruises in Italy

During our Italian cruise experiences, we travel to some of the Veneto region’s most scenic and historic waterways, travelling between Venice and the Renaissance city of Mantua. Venice boasts 177 glorious canals and countless historic locations. Over your holiday you will also be able to experience the world-class cuisine that Italy has to offer.

Cruises in England 

On a hotel barge cruise aboard the 8-passenger Magna Carta,  you will meander along England’s  waters of the royal River Thames. Along the journey, you will visit some of the country’s most iconic architecture such as Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace, both former royal residences. As well as these, you’ll discover chocolate-box villages, huge aristocratic estates, and on select departures you’ll have the opportunity to visit the real-life
Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle.

Cruises in Ireland

Ireland, also known as ‘The Emerald Isle’ is one of the most beautiful countries not only in Europe, but the world. However, it is also widely undiscovered by many. Over the course of your Irish river cruise along the River Shannon, your cruise includes visits to Glasson and the County Clare village of Killaloe, stopping at several charming villages such as Carrick-On-Shannon, Terryglass, and Mountshannon. This cruise aboard the Shannon Princess allows guests to experience the true soul of the country through its beautiful music, friendly locals, fascinating loughs, and stunning scenery.

Cruises in Scotland

Travelling through the breath-taking land of big open skies, mountains, glens, and famous magical lochs is truly an experience that you will never forget. With two very different, hotel barges – the Spirit of Scotland and the Scottish Highlander cruising between Muirtown and Banavie, guests will be thoroughly spoilt with magical landscapes from the water, en suite cabins, gourmet cuisine made by the barge chef using locally sourced produce, no less than 20 single malt whisky varieties to sample, and fantastic daily excursions including a crossing over the famous Loch Ness

Cruises in Germany & Luxembourg

This stunning aboard the 8-passenger La Nouvelle Etoile cruise travels the Moselle River which touches both Germany and Luxembourg. The awe-inspiring river is decorated with steep-sided hillsides and vineyards creating a truly magical atmosphere. You will also get to taste the fine wines that the Moselle region of Germany is famous for.

Our Exclusive Collection of Hotel Barges

We have a fleet of 18 hotel barges with categories ranging from First Class to Ultra Deluxe, with the category class referring primarily to the cabins. The service, gourmet meals, wines, escorted excursions and other amenities on board are of a similar standard on all of our hotel barges. The accommodation on each barge ranges from compact and charming twin or double Staterooms to the more spacious Suites. During the course of your European river cruise, you will have countless sightseeing opportunities as well as the chance to indulge in the mouth-watering local cuisine made for you on board by your private chef.

La Belle Epoque

La Belle Epoque - Cruising - 490

Cruising the Burgundy Canal, the 12-passenger La Belle Epoque is one of our oldest barges, taking guests on a gentle cruise through rolling hills past medieval villages.


The Ultra-Deluxe hotel barge Finesse

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


Renaissance barge

The 8-passenger Renaissance cruises the Upper Loire and Western Burgundy along the Briare Canal.


Anjodi cruising on the Canal du Midi, France

The 8-passenger Anjodi cruises the stunning surrounds of the plane tree-lined Canal du Midi in Southern France.

Themed River Cruises in Europe

If you have a particular interest that you’d like to focus on throughout your European river cruise, then a themed charter cruise may just be the perfect choice. We will adapt and build your itinerary around your chosen theme so that you can do more of what you love, whether that be Golf, Walking Cruises, Opera, Wine Appreciation, Christmas Markets Cruises and so much more.

Garden Cruises

Our dedicated Garden Cruises include visits to some of the most beautiful gardens, estates and parklands in Europe.

Christmas Markets

We offer a Christmas Markets cruise aboard hotel barge Panache in Alsace, with a festive itinerary visiting the region’s finest Christmas markets filled with twinkling lights, brass bands, and the sweet aromas of mulled wine and gingerbread from quaint little chalet-like stalls.

Whisky Cruises

We offer a Whisky Trail Cruise aboard hotel barges Scottish Highlander and Spirit of Scotland, cruising the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness. Enjoy whisky tours and tastings in the region’s popular distilleries, and don’t forget to enjoy the bar on board where no less than 20 single malts await!

Walking Cruises

The beauty of combining hotel barging with walking is that they are two of the most relaxing holidays possible, giving you the best of both worlds. Our dedicated walking guides take you to a variety of off-the-beaten track gems.

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 1,000,000 views on YouTube. We hope you enjoyed watching our videos…

Scottish Highlands

Cruise the heart of the Scottish Highlands aboard the 8 passenger luxury hotel barge ‘Scottish Highlander’.

Cruises in Italy

Our cruises around Italy will let you discover that country’s hidden beauty!

Cruises in England

Magna Carta is one of the finest, most luxurious vessels cruising the British Isles today. The ambience created by combining a traditional 1936-built barge hull with fine mahogany, teak and oak woods is outstanding.

European River Cruise Blogs

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…

Spotlight on Scottish Highlander: Exploring Glens, Bens, and Munros

If stunning scenery of mountains, forests and glens is your kind of thing, read on to find out the full itinerary and our top highlights from a cruise aboard the... Read More

Are Whisky, Scotch and Bourbon really the same thing?

On our Scottish cruises, the exceptionally stocked open bar plays host to several choices of single malt whiskies, scotch and bourbon. But what is the difference between them? And dare... Read More

Italian Cruises: A Guide to Our Sensational River Cruises

Thinking of taking one of our river cruises in Italy? One of our top destinations and this short video shows you why guests love it so much! Read More

How much does a European river cruise cost?

At European Waterways, the price of our European river cruises begins at approximately £4,050/$5,490/€4,750per week and includes all meals and beverages, private daily guided excursions, local transfers and outstanding service. The exact cost of your European river cruise depends on several factors, including the region you decide to visit, which time of year you cruise, and which category class of barge you choose.

What is the best month to take a European river cruise?

The best time of year to take a European cruise is from spring to fall. Temperatures are much warmer than they are in winter and guests can expect balmy climes on the peaceful waterways.

Which is a top destination for European river cruises?

River cruises in Europe are some of the best in the world. Top destinations for European river cruises include:

  • Burgundy
  • Venetian Lagoon
  • Canal du Midi
  • Champagne
  • Gascony Bordeaux

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.

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

Tiptoe Through the Tulips on a Holland Cruise

Mix a handful of Americans, a couple of Brits, and a pinch of an Australian. Put them aboard a canal cruise flowing around Holland for several days, add some interesting excursions along the way, and feed them glorious food all day and night. What do you have? A fabulous cultural vacation in a European country with lots of sights, laughter, and good food. Read More

More of Scotland

"For six days we explored this hidden corner of France covering a mere 74 nautical miles. We came to appreciate that the insouciant movement is an inherent charm of barging..." Read More

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a European river cruise cost?

At European Waterways, the price of our European river cruises begins at approximately £4,050/$5,490/€4,750per week and includes all meals and beverages, private daily guided excursions, local transfers and outstanding service. The exact cost of a European river cruise depends on several factors, including which part of Europe you decide to visit, which time of year you cruise, and which category class of barge you choose.

What is the best month to take a European river cruise?

The best time of year to take a European cruise is from spring to fall . Temperatures are much warmer than they are in winter and guests can expect balmy climes on the peaceful waterways.

Which is a top destination for European river cruises?

River cruises in Europe are some of the best in the world. Top destinations for European river cruises include:

  • Burgundy
  • Venetian Lagoon
  • Canal du Midi
  • Champagne
  • Gascony Bordeaux