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.
Life on Board
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.
You may come across some locals playing a game of boules, or a charming canal-side village to explore and then re-join your hotel barge, which will never be far away. During your gentle voyage of exploration, your hotel barge may negotiate a truly impressive feat of engineering, such as Gustave Eiffel’s aqueduct across the River Loire at Briare, the amazing Boat Elevator at Arzviller in Alsace, or the world’s oldest canal tunnel at Malpas on the Canal du Midi. Each one is an unforgettable experience in its own way.
Private Guided Excursions
Our hotel barge cruises offer a balanced daily blend of gentle cruising and enriching excursions. After an early morning breakfast, or perhaps a light al fresco lunch on deck accompanied by a glass or two of chilled rosé, there is an escorted excursion – maybe to a charming local market where your chef shops for the evening meal, to a château or a vineyard for an exclusive tour and private tasting. Many of our visits are to ‘off the beaten track’ hidden gems that larger groups cannot access – offering an authentic immersion into the culture, history and gastronomy of the region.
Wining and Dining
After a day of cruising and sightseeing, there is time for an aperitif or maybe a relaxing soak in the deck-top spa pool, before a gourmet dinner prepared by the onboard chef using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. To further enhance your immersive dining experience, your host will explain the characteristics of each accompanying wine and cheese as they serve them. A perfect end to the day as you relax in conversation and share the day’s experiences with your fellow passengers at the dining table.
Why Choose European Waterways
The Biggest Barging Company in Europe
Established in 1974 and operating hotel barge cruises since the early 1980s, European Waterways is the largest hotel barging company in Europe with a wealth of knowledge to share with our clients. Still in the same private ownership of the Directors who run the company, our guests can be assured of consistently high standards of personal service, and our vast experience of the beautiful, smaller canals and rivers we cruise.
Cruises in 9 Countries
Across Europe We offer the widest choice of any hotel barge company with destinations across 9 countries – from the picturesque vineyards of Burgundy to the spectacular Scottish Highlands; the sun-drenched canals of the South of France to the delightful waterways of Holland; the storybook Alsace-Lorraine region to the historic Venetian Lagoon and beyond.
The Largest, Most Diverse Fleet
In our fleet of 18 vessels, we have hotel barges accommodating between 6 and 20 passengers, with cabin sizes varying from ultra-deluxe suites comparable to top hotel rooms, to more cosy and compact staterooms.
Exceptional Service and Expert Staff
Whichever hotel barge you choose, you can be assured of the same high standards of on-board personal service and cuisine as well as the ambience of a floating house party. Each member of our Reservations Team has an in-depth knowledge of our fleet and destinations, so they can offer expert advice to help choose the cruising experience that is best for you.
Our Many Happy Clients
Many of our clients travel with us time and time again, often recommending us to their friends – a wonderful endorsement of which we are very proud. Read our reviews here.