Your guide to cruising European waterways and canals

European Waterways has released its brand new 2022 hotel barge cruising brochure – a comprehensive guide to cruising the canals and smaller waterways of Europe and the UK.

The brochure features new excursions to charming cultural attractions, as well as enhanced experiences that offer more immersive ‘deep dives’ into the various cruise regions. It includes easy to navigate guides that allow travellers to effortlessly find their perfect cruise – from the ideal itinerary, to the best time to travel, to which barge style suits their travel interests and needs.

European Waterways managing director Derek Banks says the company has ramped up its offerings of exclusive excursions and experiential outings for 2022 to meet travellers’ demand for unique and more memorable activities.

“Many of our guests tell us that they’ve ‘been there, done that’ aboard the larger river and ocean vessels, and they yearn for the truly unique activities that our smaller, more intimate barges provide,” said Mr Banks. “You can’t offer ‘exclusive tours’ for a hundred people. Since most of our barges hold a maximum of 12 guests, exclusivity is our specialty!”

Read: The benefits of small ship cruising

He added: “For 2022, we went in search of the more hidden gems and less crowded attractions that are tailor-made for small groups – and are often overlooked by visitors.”

A Lasting Impression
As part of L’Impressionniste‘s cruise in Southern Burgundy, for example, European Waterways has added a private tour and tasting at Domaine Chanson, one of the region’s most historic winemakers. The classic cruise also features a second wine tasting during the week, to Domaine Rion, a family owned vineyard spanning five generations.

The brochure also highlights the hotel barge Renaissance, which cruises the Canal de Briare, France’s oldest canal. Guests on this unique journey can enjoy a fascinating visit to the studio of the most celebrated female artist of the 19th century – Rosa Bonheur – which has remained untouched since her death more than 120 years ago. The artist is best known for the extraordinary accuracy and attention to detail of her animal paintings, alongside an unusual friendship with American soldier, bison hunter and showman Buffalo Bill.

Renaissance will also treat guests to a more in-depth tour of Château de Fontainebleau, one of France’s largest royal palaces. The château served as a residence for a series of French monarchs, from Louis VII to Napoleon III, the latter being a nephew of Napoleon I. The newly enhanced private tour includes a visit to Napoleon III’s sumptuous, recently restored Imperial Theatre, as well as certain rooms and galleries that are normally excluded from public view.

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For the artistically inclined, European Waterways offers the opportunity to participate in a pottery class at the Château de Ratilly, an impressive 13th century medieval castle that today serves as a haven for artists. Meanwhile, food lovers can savour a cooking demonstration in the picturesque gardens of the Château de la Bussière, hosted by the barge’s chef. The château is also known as the ‘fishermen’s castle’ because it features a museum of freshwater fish.

European Waterways’ 2022 brochure is free and can be ordered directly from the company, or viewed online – both via the website:

Book With Confidence
European Waterways’ Book with Confidence policy provides flexibility in rescheduling future cruises, should they be impacted by government restrictions. The health and safety of guests are also top priorities, with strict protocols in place that include crew and passenger temperature checks as well as deep cleaning and disinfecting of all cabins and public surfaces on the boats.

Read: Cruising Great Britain’s waterways

About European Waterways
Hotel Barging is a boutique, unique experience that offers an immersive, all-inclusive “gentle voyage of discovery” that focuses upon the culture, history, fine wine and gourmet cuisine of the region. With a 6-to-20-person capacity and 1:2 crew ratio, European Waterways is able to provide an impeccable level of onboard service and can transport their guests on intimate inland waterways that are inaccessible to larger vessels.

Are you a fan of small ship cruising? Why not share your favourite cruise memory in the comments section below?

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Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.
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