French Waterways increases its hotel barge collection to 36 barges with the addition of six new boats for 2016: Saraphina, Mirage, Hemingway, Emma, Caroline, and Saroche. Each of the new barges offer different itineraries and styles, but all meet the highest standards of hotel barging.
French Waterways aims to inform and inspire holidays on the rivers and canals of France through its ongoing personal experience and wide network of contacts and information sources. “Ultimately, it’s customers’ own enjoyment that matters,” says Ruth Newcombe, founder of French Waterways. “And I’d recommend a hotel barge vacation to anyone looking for that rare, exclusive experience that aids complete relaxation.”
With barging you can book the entire barge (great if you’re traveling with your family or a group), or sometimes just book a cabin (great for solo or a couple). Some of the itineraries are family friendly, perfect if you’re traveling with kids.
Let’s take a look at the additions to the fleet.
Saroche – Cruising Champagne and Burgundy, depending on the season. The barge (in photo) has three cabins and can accommodate up to six guests. Available for charter only (the entire barge), but per cabin bookings will be considered upon request. Prices start at around $4,850 per person.
Caroline – Cruising Canal du Midi. Hotel barge Caroline is probably the most family friendly barging experience, so if you’re traveling with children, this is the one for you. Also unique for offering three quarters board – three evening meals are taken in local restaurants of your choice and are in addition to the barge fees. It’s a chance to dine like a local while you’re traveling. Available for charter only (the entire barge), but per cabin bookings will be considered upon request. Prices start at around $3,500 per person.
Mirage – Cruising Canal du Midi, with three and six night itineraries. Hotel barge Mirage brings boutique living to the waterways of France. Newly renovated for 2016, it offers full board cruising for six guests, it has a spacious saloon with a tasteful aviation theme, the dining table was once at home on Atlantic ocean liner, Olympia, and there’s even a piano and bass guitar on board. Prices start at around $4,250 per person.
Hemingway – Cruising Canal du Bourgogne and Canal du Centre. Hotel barge Hemingway has been freshly refurbished for 2016 in the style of a luxury yacht. It offers a choice of itineraries: Cruise from Dijon to Chagny along the Canal du Bourgogne via a Meursault vineyard tour and tasting, a visit to Beaune and to ancient Nolay. Alternatively, cruise from Fleury to Vandenesse on the River Saone and Canal du Centre via a Patriarche tour and tasting, a visit to Dijon and Chateauneuf-en-Auxois. You can opt to add in a hot air balloon ride on either cruise too. Available for charter or per cabin bookings. Prices start ar around $5,740 per person.
Emma – Crusising Canal du Midi. Hotel barge Emma is distinctive on the outside for her arched windows. Choose from three one week cruises along the Canal du Midi: Toulouse to Carcassonne, Carcassonne to Beziers, or Beziers to Aigues Mortes, and delve into a superb list of excursions from historic town tours to local farmers’ market mooching and shopping trips. Available for charter or per cabin bookings. Prices start at $4,850 per person.
Saraphina – Cruising Canal du Midi. This traditional 1920s Dutch barge has been beautifully converted to be your cruising base for a three or six night tour. From Portiragnes to Carcassonne you’ll experience a brimful itinerary including visits to an olive oil factory, a Cistercian abbey, medieval towns, lunches ashore in restaurants chosen for their fabulous cuisine. Not forgetting plentiful flat towpaths for cycling on the Dutch bicycles provided. Available for charter only, with two cabins accomodating up to four guests. Prices start at $2,460 per person.
Photo credit: Courtesy of French Waterways
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Mary Jo Manzanares | Mary Jo Manzanares is a founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine proving informational and inspirational travel recommendations for curious Baby Boomer travelers. She has been a speaker at various industry events and has a personal travel blog at Traveling with MJ. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Mary Jo's top travel destinations are Italy, Portugal, and the Caribbean.