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Themed Barge Cruises

Many barges offer special themed itineraries for barge charters. They are typically for private charters only, but Aurora, for example, sometimes offers a Biking / Cycling Barge Cruise as a cabin week, while others might offer a Golfing Barge Cruise for an individual cabin cruise week.

Itineraries and activities can be tailored for private charters, even for barges not mentioned below. Perhaps you want to charter the barge La Nouvelle Etoile but would like to golf, no problem, just let us know and we'll see what we can do. Some themed barge cruises have an added supplement, such as for wine appreciation.

Antiques | Art | Artisan | Biking | Culinary | Family | Gardens | Golf | Honeymoon | Longer routes | Opera | Tandem cruises | Tennis | Walking | Whisky trail | Wine appreciation | Winter Christmas Market |
Wheelchair Accessible & Limited-Mobility Friendly Barges 

Antique Cruises

If you are interested in antiques, Barge Magna Carta based on the River Thames has an itinerary based around the exploration of antiques, which can be booked at no additional cost.

On the Magna Carta cruise, there is a real variety of excursions for the antiques-hunter, from tours of well-known antiques centers near London, to visits to smaller, specialist outlets in Windsor, Eton and other delightful villages further upstream.

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Artisan Cruises

For those who are interested in the crafting of handmade products, particularly food, consider the wonderful artisan cruises aboard hotel barge Shannon Princess on the River Shannon in Ireland. During this cruise guests will also see Ireland at its finest, with rolling green landscapes, castles and an abundance of wildlife along the way, as the hotel barge explores the very soul of Ireland.

This cruise offers you a true insight into the long-established world of specialist artisans where all the hand-made products have a story to tell. The Irish people in this region are convinced that fine locally produced products are fundamental to their quality of life.

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Art Cruises

If you have a passion for art and painting, the hotel barge Athos on the canal du midi offers a wonderful art cruise from the fishing port of Marseillan to Argeliers. Whether you are an accomplished painter or a beginner, the beautiful scenery in Southern France is the perfect setting. Painting opportunities are plentiful and include the sparkling water of the Etang de Thau, the four bridges of Beziers and the panoramic view over the Collegiale.

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Biking / Cycling Cruises

Many of our clientele enjoy taking some exercise in the form of cycling during their hotel barge cruise, so each vessel carries bicycles for everyone on board to use. The crew can offload the bikes at almost anytime for you to take a gentle pedal along the canal's towpath, or perhaps to the next village or lock.

More committed cyclists may be interested in a Biking Themed cruise.

A small supplement is charged for themed cycling cruises which is used to upgrade all bikes on board and hire a specialist cycling tour guide who is an expert in both cycling and the areas you ride through. Your chef will even drive your lunch to a point on your route to prevent you having to return to the barge to eat.

All biking routes offer a relaxing and interesting cycling experience, with something for every cyclist to enjoy; quaint villages, wonderful scenery and, of course, your very own floating luxury hotel to return to each day! Your itinerary will be fully customisable so you can be sure the distances will be right for you.

Many barges also offer a "Biking Plus" option which is not a themed cruise but is for guests who are a little more adventurous. Read more about Biking Plus HERE.

Barges offering Themed Biking / Cycling cruises

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Culinary Cruises

Culinary Theme cruises in Burgundy and the Midi will appeal to lovers of fine food interested in understanding how and where locally-grown ingredients are sourced. During your cruise, you will learn more about some of the region's wonderful products and meet the people behind them. There will be a tour with your chef of the famous food market in Dijon or Narbonne, visits to local producers of cheese, honey, or olive oil, a hands-on cooking class and demonstrations by your on-board chef.

Barges offering Themed Culinary Cruises:

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Family Cruises

Families and groups of friends can charter any of the hotel barges. You will have the whole vessel to yourselves which becomes a home from home, except that the crew takes care of all the hard work! We recognise that hectic lifestyles allow little time for families to spend precious leisure time together and planning a holiday involving several generations can be a real challenge.

Families with children charter cruises are available on many of our hotel barges, with tailor-made itineraries that take into consideration the ages and interests of all those in the group. A wide range of activities can be arranged and some will incur a supplement, such as go-karting, for example. Other activities can be booked by the family group directly with the provider, for example: hot air ballooning. Baby and equipment for children can be provided at no extra cost including children's bikes and helmets, car seats, cots, high chairs, etc. Children under 18 receive a discount on many vessels.

In style, the family-themed charter is relaxed, less formal and above all, great fun.

View the itineraries below to discover what is available for different barges and locations.

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Gardens Cruises

If you’re a keen gardener or would simply like to admire some of Europe’s finest gardens, why not combine your passion for horticulture with a luxury hotel barge cruise? Garden cruises include visits to some of the best gardens, estates, and parklands in Europe. Learn about the history of each garden from the expert guides, as well as the cultivation and preservation of a variety of plants and flowers from the professional gardeners.

Garden cruises can be booked at any time during the cruising season by a group chartering the barge. Garden cruises are available in other regions, including in France, on request. Please contact us for more information.

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Golf Cruises

Scotland, Ireland, England and France all have some great golf courses including Royal Dornoch, Lahinch, Galway Bay, Wentworth, Sunningdale and Cap d’Agde, which should be enough to inspire and challenge any keen golfer. With your themed Golf Cruise, tee times can be arranged so that you have time to play a memorable round and still enjoy a relaxing cruise aboard your floating hotel with gourmet cuisine and fine wines.

Most golf cruises include four pre-booked and paid tee times and transfers to and from the golf courses. Hire of clubs, caddy or buggy not included. Only those golfing pay the supplement. A minimum of 4 passengers on a golf charter are required to play golf. Verify terms for the various barges.

Barges offering Themed Golf cruises:

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Honeymoon Cruises

Honeymoon charters are available on all hotel barges but these 2 vessels are highly recommended for your special celebration.

Barges offering Honeymoon cruises:

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Longer Cruises

If you are looking for an experience that is different from the "classic canal cruise," a number of voyages are offered along the waterways of Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, and Luxembourg. These cruises cover longer distances of 6 days, so you will do more cruising each day.

La Nouvelle Etoile offers an 11-night Belgium to France voyage by way of Bruges, Ghent and through the hills of Picardy to Paris.

You could also book two consecutive weeks and partake a barging cruise that does not include backtracking, such as Anjodi's final two weeks of their season: Le Somail to Marseillan followed by Marseillan to Avignon. Or perhaps aboard two barges that are in different regions... such as Alsace with Panache and Germany-Luxembourg with La Nouvelle Etoile.

For a really extraordinary cruising experience, there is also the possibility of a six-week voyage of a lifetime in late Autumn. This cruise passes through several countries and historic cities along some of Europe's great rivers, including the Rhone, Saone and Seine, as well as many other picturesque small waterways, enroute from the south of France to the North Sea. It is a wonderful combination of cruising, sightseeing and city tours, discovering the cultures, cuisine and wines of such regions as Burgundy, Champagne, Picardy and the Low Countries.

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Opera Cruise

Are you an opera lover? La Bella Vita in Italy has special Opera-Themed Cruises that may be of interest.

Before your cruise from Venice to Mantua begins, you are taken to Verona to visit the fascinating Arena Muse Opera, a wonderful museum devoted to the history of opera, followed by dinner in the delightful courtyard restaurant. Then comes the real highlight as you take your top-priced front stalls seats to enjoy a performance of one of the best-known operas, such as Bizet's "Carmen", in the magnificent setting of the Roman amphitheatre, the Arena di Verona. At the end of a memorable evening, you are transferred back to your hotel in Verona, where next day, there will be a guided tour of this charming city, before joining La Bella Vita in Venice.

During the 6-night cruise, there are visits to some wonderful baroque theatres, such as the Gran Teatro La Fenice, where the premières of operas by composers such as Rossini and Verdi were performed, as well as the intimate Teatro Bibiena in Mantua with its bell-shaped interior, that opened with a concert by a 13-year-old Mozart in 1770.

And, of course, there is a lot more to see as you cruise across the Venetian Lagoon past its colorful islands and on through the Po Valley.

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Tandem Cruises

Tandem barge cruises are ideal for larger groups. Perhaps you are a group of friends, a family reunion, a wine club, a party of golfers or even a company incentive group, who require more cabins than a single vessel can provide. Planned in advance, on certain cruise routes we can have two vessels positioned together, allowing as many as 20 passengers to cruise in tandem.

In addition to the daily excursions enjoyed along cruise routes, group activities can be arranged such as tennis tournaments, bicycling rallies, golf competitions and more.

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Tennis Cruises

Tennis anyone? We currently have three barges which offer a themed tennis cruise itinerary; one in England and two in France.

Tennis cruises in the summer aboard Magna Carta on the River Thames. Arrangements will be made for you to play at some wonderful riverside clubs like the Lensbury, the Royal Berkshire, or the Windsor Lawn Tennis Club. Supplement: $400/player.

In France, the barge L'Art de Vivre's itinerary for Burgundy mentions the Roland Garros Red Dirt Court in Auxerre, also opportunities in Vincelles, Vermenton, Chatel Censoir, and Coulange Sur Yonne. No additional supplement for themed tennis cruise.

The barge Athos in the Canal du Midi also has a themed tennis cruise itinerary which include the Argeliers Tennis Courts, Terrain de Tennis in Poilhes, B&eacuite;ziers Tennis Club Barthes, and the Marseillan Tennis Club. No additional supplement for themed tennis cruise.

Tennis cruises include pre-booked and paid courts and transfers to and from the tennis clubs.

Barges offering Tennis cruises:

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Walking Cruises

A themed walking cruise includes daily walking with a professional walking guide. A wonderful way to explore the region.

Barges offering Walking cruises:

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Whisky Trail Cruise

Whisky trail cruises are offered aboard hotel barges Scottish Highlander and Spirit of Scotland. This special itinerary allows whisky lovers to visit a number of long-established distilleries to find out more about how Scotland's favorite export is produced, as well as the opportunity to taste it.

Other visits can be included from the Classic Cruise in this beautiful part of the Highlands such as Old Inverlochy Castle, Eilean Donan, Urquhart Castle...

Whisky Trail cruises include visits to 3 distilleries with private guided tours and tutored tastings.

Barges offering Whisky Trail cruises:

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Wine Appreciation Cruise

Many of the French barges, plus one in Italy, offer themed Wine Appreciation cruise itineraries. The cruises for charter groups include a comprehensive wine itinerary with additional winery visits, private tastings and the services of a professional wine guide. Also includes an upgrade of the wine list.

Barges offering Wine Appreciation cruises:

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Winter Alsace Christmas Market Cruises

The Alsace-Lorraine region of France is well-known for its Christmas markets. Colmar is famous for their 6 Christmas markets. There is a magical atmosphere in this town framed by fairytale half-timbered houses, festive scenes, and white Christmas trees at every corner. Strasbourg has one of the largest Christmas markets in Europe with 300 stalls spread over 11 sites. This is a marvelous way to begin the holiday season. Learn more about Alsace Christmas market barge cruises.

Barges offering Winter Christmas Market cruises:

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Wheelchair Accessible & Limited-Mobility Friendly Barges

Not exactly a "themed" charter but good to know...

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