Barging your way through Europe

There are few things more pleasurable than the serenity of an inland European waterway.  Plying a canal is usually done at something approaching snail’s pace.  There’s no rushing or road rage, perhaps the occasionally lock rage, but even then it’s all rather low key.

If you are planning to do a indulge in a bit of argy bargy, you may as well pick a barge that has a hint of luxury about it; and whilst it is possible to skipper yourself, why not let others do all the work for you?

European Waterways offer fully crewed, all inclusive barge cruises through nine European countries which traverse canals, rivers, lakes, lagoons and lochs, giving passengers the opportunity to experience life there from a truly unique perspective.

Their cruises cover much of France, but also venture to Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Italy, Scotland, England and Ireland.  The size of their vessels range from the Alouette – which can carry only four passengers – to vessels which can accommodate as many as 12 passengers.  Even so, they are quite intimate, with none of the anonymity that can occur on a large cruise ship.

There are regular scheduled cruises, or groups can charter vessels and set itineraries to suit themselves.  

To get an idea of what to expect on board your barge, consider the Magna Carta, which plies the Thames in England: she has the most sophisticated modern amenities, including air conditioning, WI FI internet access and underfloor heating in each of the four full width suites. Each suite has exceptionally spacious contemporary en-suite facilities and colour TVs and DVD players. There are eight bikes on board to take at your pleasure for rides along the tow paths. The upper deck saloon and dining areas sport picture windows and stylish furnishings and the sun deck has comfortable seating and a spa pool.

Guests enjoy gourmet meals with regional food often hand-picked at nearby towns. Every vessel features a master chef, a multilingual crew, top-notch accommodation, an open bar, a wide selection of fine wines, and excursions to some of the countryside’s most cultural and historical sites.

So, if you’re looking for a slow, yet luxurious, holiday – go ahead, barge it!

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