Having had the pleasure of getting to know the many guests who enjoyed cruising with us, I’ve identified six types of traveller who will love a barge cruise….maybe one of them describes you?
A barge cruise offers all the benefits you love about river cruising;…waking up with a new view every morning… tour guide led excursions to explore the local area and culture… simple all-inclusive pricing… a friendly social atmosphere… only having to unpack once….the list goes on.
But with typically between 6 and 20 guests on-board, barge cruising is on an entirely different scale.
Here you’ll enjoy truly personalised service, your crew will know not just your name but your likes and preferences before you even step aboard, and at the end of your cruise you’ll feel like you’re saying goodbye to friends.
Whilst this might be small ship cruising, there’s plenty of room aboard, with ensuite cabins of over 150 sq ft as well as a spacious lounge and dining area. Serenity even have a jacuzzi on the deck!
Although Serenity started her life 80+ years ago carrying freight, today the barge has been transformed into a floating boutique hotel. You’ll find all your creature comforts with queen size beds, fluffy robes, luxury toiletries, hairdryers and wi-fi so you can stay in touch with friends and family.
And fewer guests aboard doesn’t mean less choice – we offer a diverse range of excursions that showcase the best of our region. Just make sure you book early as the first guests to book for each departure get to choose the daily excursion option.
Find our more in our 10 reasons river cruise fans will love a barge cruise.
The canals and rivers along which barges cruise, traverse many of France’s famous wine regions – Burgundy, Champagne, Bordeaux, Alsace – in fact barges just like Serenity were historically used to transport barrels of wine to Paris and the ports.
In a few very special locations, like Champagne, you’ll sail right past the vine-clad hillsides, giving you the unique opportunity to sip a glass on the deck of your barge, whilst the terroir that created its unique flavour unfolds in front of you.
Each afternoon your private minivan and tour guide are waiting to take you for cellar tours and tasting visits – meaning no-one has to be the designated driver! And as we only carry 6 guests per cruise, so you’ll enjoy intimate, personal experiences at vineyards – often your tasting will be led by the winemaker themselves.
Barges travel more slowly, only covering about 70 miles in a week long cruise, which gives you the time to delve deeper. You’ll be tasting famous appellations side by side to appreciate their subtle differences and discovering the secrets of producing exceptional wines.
September is a great time to travel as it’s harvest – you can watch the picking (did you know in Champagne all the grapes are hand-picked?), visit the press house and many areas celebrate with festivals, some of whose traditions date back centuries.
Whether you’re meeting up with friends or family who live far away or travelling with folks you see frequently, taking a trip is a great way to spend time together. By taking a break from the distractions of normal life, you’ll enjoy quality time together and create shared memories that last a lifetime.
We offer private charter cruises throughout the season, where your group has exclusive use of the barge, making it easier to relax and unwind totally.
You’ll quickly slide into the gentle routine of cruising and guided excursions to interesting places, punctuated with delicious meals. And with just your group on board the pace is totally up to you.
Your crew are here to organise all the logistics and keep everything running smoothly, so everyone can sit back, relax and enjoy their holiday. You’ll experience a new location every day, without the need to unpack at a new hotel and your private minibus takes you out to explore each afternoon. We create a bespoke itinerary of excursions for every charter cruise, giving you the ability to create your perfect trip.
Charter cruises are a fantastic option for celebrating a special birthday or milestone anniversary with your favourite people. Or if you’re a family looking for a multi-generational holiday, there’s the flexibility and freedom to cater for everyone’s interests and energy levels.
Tempted? Read my Top tips for organising a charter cruise
Barge cruises explore the small, intimate canals and rivers of France that larger cruise boats simply can’t reach. Here you really feel like you’re part of the landscape, not just travelling past it.
Cruising at just 6 kph (3 mph), barging really is the ultimate in slow travel. lt’s all about the journey, having time to connect and exploring both highlights and hidden places, far from the tourist crowds.
You’ll cruise for around 3-5 hours each day (never at night) through both open countryside and the heart of historic villages. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life, each day you’ll moor in out-of-the-way villages and small towns, where the pace of life is gentle and truly authentic.
Our barge cruises include daily tour guide led excursions to fascinating local places of interest – perhaps a walled hilltop town, privately owned châteaux, charming village, market or renowned wine cellar – hidden gems that you would struggle to find on your own.
Some visits are just a sunny stroll away from your hotel barge. Other days your barge’s comfortable minvan will take you on a scenic journey to your destination. And there’s time to explore by yourself too, on foot or using one of the barge’s bikes.
By the end of your cruise you’ll have developed an in-depth appreciation of the culture, wine, food, geography and history of the region you’re travelling through.
A barge cruise is all about la bonne vie or the good life, so be prepared for epicurean overload.
Each morning starts with a feast of croissants, gorgeous pastries and baguettes fresh from the bakery that morning. Served buffet style, there is also a selection of fresh fruit, yogurts, cereals and a daily hot dish option.
Lunch is aboard, often served al-fresco whilst cruising through beautiful countryside. It’s your opportunity to try the pâtés, quiches, cured meats and cheeses that France is famous for. All accompanied by tasty salads, freshly baked breads and a selection of premium wines.
We passionately believe that eating in local restaurants is the only way to really experience French cuisine – that’s why on our cruises you’ll dine at one of our favourite restaurants most evenings.
During the week you’ll enjoy bustling bistros, fine dining from talented young chefs and the refinement of a Michelin starred restaurant.
To keep things simple the three or four course menu is included in your cruise price, so you just pay for your drinks.
We also offer foodie focused excursion options including a cooking class with a French chef or learning to make praline filled chocolates with an artisan chocolatier.
And don’t miss the visit to the bustling Saturday morning fresh produce market, selling everything from fresh fruit and veg to oysters, homemade jams, whole skinned rabbits and fresh flowers.
Escorted small group tours are a fantastic way to explore a new country, without the hassle of making travel arrangement, safe in the knowledge that your local guide has carefully selected the best excursions, experiences and dining options.
Barge cruises are simply floating week-long small group tours, with the added benefit that your hotel moves with you each day – so you only have to unpack once!
With just six guests, and your crew, there is a small group atmosphere, which suits social travellers who enjoy mixing with their fellow cruisers. And from the moment your Captain/Tour Guide picks you up in Paris (or another major city) the crew will look after everything – meaning you can sit back and relax.
Typically you’ll spend 3 to 5 hours cruising each morning through the varied landscape of the open countryside, woodland, passing vineyards, châteaux and charming villages.
In the afternoon, after lunch aboard, you’ll enjoy an excursion led by your tour guide. While some visits are just a short walk from where the barge is moored, most days you’ll use the barge’s comfortable vehicle to explore further afield, to visit unmissable highlights and hidden gems – maybe a château, vineyard, historic town or village.
And with all-inclusive pricing, on a barge cruise there are no hidden additional fees for excursions or meals and no need to worry about exchange rates or carry local currency during your tour.
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