Monday, June 1st, 2020
Multi-Generational Family Holidays Afloat
The marine leisure industry is poised to experience a surge in multi-generational travel, according to many surveys, with families eager to reconnect after months of separation because of the government lockdown.
European Waterways is already observing increasing interest in family charters on the company’s luxury hotel barges as Europe slowly opens for business again. Their vessels are an ideal option: they accommodate just six to 20 passengers, so families and small groups can have the entire boat to themselves.
Hotel Barging is a boutique, unique experience which 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, hotel barges are able to provide a superyacht level of on board service and can transport their multi-generational families on the intimate inland waterways that are inaccessible to larger vessels.
This fascinating network of smaller canals allows for flexibility, spontaneity and ample opportunity to hop off and explore the beautiful surroundings via bicycle, or on foot. In addition to this there are daily, chauffeured excursions “off the beaten track” to a wide variety of enthralling locations, from exquisite wine tastings to private tours of stately homes. With over 40 years’ experience and a fleet that spans nine countries it is the largest luxury hotel barging company in Europe.
European Waterways cruise the canals and smaller waterways of Europe through the less-populated countryside, with the clean, fresh air and gentle towpaths promoting healthy activities such as walking and cycling. Most meals are served onboard, with gourmet fares prepared by the hotel barge’s master chef, who personally creates each menu using locally-sourced ingredients.
Cruising the French Canals has always been about taking ‘the path less traveled,’ so much of our outdoor activities already take our guests away from crowded tourist attractions to the more exclusive, less populated settings.
Until travel returns to normal, we are further committed to providing a safe and healthy onboard environment for our guests, with pre-cruise checks for all on-board and the implementation of more stringent cleaning procedures, among other policies.”
With social distancing likely to remain in place for a while in many destinations, it should be noted most European Waterways cruises feature exclusive private tours of castles, aristocratic estates, and vineyards, plus other excursions, tailored to avoid the crowds. The company’s hotel barges also cruise just a few feet from shore, with their private minivans close by. Guests can therefore enjoy all the benefits of a luxury cruise without ever worrying of being “stuck at sea.”
All in the Family
Perfect for a multi-generational family cruise, the oldest hotel barge in its fleet, European Waterways’ eight-passenger L’Art de Vivre, served as a supply vessel to the Allied troops during World War One. Today the fully modernized vessel cruises the Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy, with an interior décor that reflects her British roots. Based on availability and local health guidelines, Family Charters can include a variety of sports, such as tennis, ice-skating and mini-golf. Guests can also book kayaking, quad biking and horseback riding.
Other options for multi-generational family-friendly excursions include a visit to the Caves of Arcy-sur-Cure, which features some of the oldest cave paintings in the world, a medieval castle under construction using traditional methods at the Chateau Guedelon; the age of the dinosaurs in Cardo Land; and the fun and wildly eclectic artwork on display at the Fabuloserie Art and Sculpture Museum.
European Waterways’ Family Charters are available throughout France, the U.K., Ireland, Scotland, and Italy. Most offer similar excursion options that can include theme parks, cultural attractions, museums, and sports. Advance booking is encouraged to ensure availability of desired region, activities and departure date. European Waterways is currently offering 2021 and 2022 cruises at 2020 prices, making this the ideal time to book. Some excursions may require a supplemental fee.