Read the various barges online brochures to view their special
themed itineraries. They are typically for private charters only, but La
Belle Epoque, for example, offers a Guided Walking Cruise in October 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 cruises have an added supplement, such as wine appreciation.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
- FRANCE, Burgundy: Family itinerary for L'Art de Vivre
- FRANCE, Burgundy: Family itinerary for La Belle Epoque
- FRANCE, Burgundy: Family itinerary for Finesse
- FRANCE, Burgundy: Family itinerary for L'Impressionniste
- FRANCE, Burgundy: Family itinerary for Prospérité
- FRANCE, Burgundy/Upper Loire: Family itinerary for Renaissance
- FRANCE, Loire: Family itinerary for Nymphea
- FRANCE, Canal du Midi: Family itinerary for Anjodi
- FRANCE, Canal du Midi: Family itinerary for Athos
- FRANCE, Canal du Midi: Family itinerary for Emma
- FRANCE, Canal du Midi: Family itinerary for Enchanté
- FRANCE, Champagne: Family itinerary for Panache
- FRANCE, Alsace-Lorraine: Family itinerary for Panache
- HOLLAND: Family itinerary for Panache
- IRELAND: Family itinerary for Shannon Princess
- ENGLAND: Family itinerary for Magna Carta
- SCOTLAND: Family itinerary for Scottish Highlander
Both Irish Barge Shannon Princess and Scottish Barge Scottish Highlander have offered Fishing (with ghillie) themed cruises in the past. We still have the sample itinerary for Scottish Highlander (see below). If you are interested in a fishing-themed charter we would be happy to inquire if this is a possibility. Never hurts to ask :)
Flower Show Cruises
In England, the hotel barge Magna Carta provides two delightful flower show cruises timed to coincide with the world famous Chelsea Flower Show (May) and the Hampton Court Flower Show (July). Both cruises will also include excursions to Kew Gardens, Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park, and the Cliveden Estate. These Flower Show cruises have no additional supplements and are available to be booked as a private charter or individual cabin bookings.
French Mediterranean Garden Cruise
The French hotel barge Emma offers a special French Mediterranean Garden Cruise with visits to some of the most beautiful gardens in the South of France. You will be accompanied by a local English horticulturist, Gill Pound, who combines the running of a nursery with garden consultancy and courses in gardening. These are very specialist cruises so early booking is essential if you don't want to be disappointed.
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:
- FRANCE, Burgundy: Golf itinerary for L'Art de Vivre
- FRANCE, Burgundy: Golf itinerary for La Belle Epoque
- FRANCE, Burgundy: Golf itinerary for Grand Cru
- FRANCE, Burgundy: Golf itinerary for L'Impressionniste
- FRANCE, Burgundy: Golf itinerary for Prospérité
- FRANCE, Burgundy: Golf itinerary for Rendez-Vous
- FRANCE, Burgundy/Upper Loire: Golf itinerary for Renaissance
- FRANCE, Loire: Golf itinerary for Nymphea
- FRANCE, Gascony: Golf itinerary for Rosa
- FRANCE, Canal du Midi: Golf itinerary for Anjodi
- FRANCE, Canal du Midi: Golf itinerary for Athos
- FRANCE, Canal du Midi: Golf itinerary for Emma
- FRANCE, Canal du Midi: Golf itinerary for Enchanté
- HOLLAND: Golf itinerary for Panache
- IRELAND: Golf itinerary for Shannon Princess
- ENGLAND: Golf itinerary for Magna Carta
- SCOTLAND: Golf itinerary for Scottish Highlander
- SCOTLAND: Golf itinerary for Spirit of Scotland
- ITALY: Golf itinerary for La Bella Vita
Honeymoon charters are available on all hotel barges but these 2 vessels are highly recommended for your special celebration.
Barges offering Honeymoon 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.
Panache and La Nouvelle Etoile also offer 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 Emma as they have three routes that would offer a longer charter without repetition: Aigues Mortes to Beziers, Beziers to Puicheric, Puicheric to Castelnaudary. Other possibilities would be a combination of routes with La Nouvelle Etoile and Panache.
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.
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.
Surf & Turf Cruises — Château & Barging Package
The best of both worlds — 4 days' lazy cruising along the Canal du Midi aboard the fabulous Barge Emma then 4 days at the La Tour du Château in Ventenac-en-Minervois in an authentic Château Tower overlooking the canal with views spreading to the Pyrennees, all fully catered with total pampering.
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.
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: $410/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:
A themed walking cruise includes daily walking with a professional walking guide. A wonderful way to explore the region.
Barges offering Walking cruises:
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:
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:
World War One Commemorative Cruise
It's been over a century since the outbreak of World War One and the 12-passenger hotel barge Panache is offering themed World War One Commemorative Cruises in late Spring along the Canal du Nord and the River Oise. There will be excursions to sites in Flanders, including the Menin Gate in Ypres for the moving Last Post ceremony; the battlefields, memorials and museums of the Somme; the forest clearing at Compiègne where the Armistice was signed in November 1918; as well as tours of other significant places.
The itinerary for the cruise has some flexibility built in to allow, where possible, guests of different nationalities to visit sites of particular significance to their own countries. Additionally, there will be interesting cruising through the beautiful springtime Picardy countryside.
Magna Carta in England and Scottish Highlander in Scotland are available for Winter cruises, including special Christmas and New Year Cruises.
Barges offering Winter & Holiday cruises:
Wheelchair Accessible & Limited-Mobility Friendly Barges
Not exactly a "themed" charter but good to know...
- LA NOUVELLE ETOILE:
- Cruises from Holland in the spring, then through Belgium to France, with summertime in various French regions, followed by Luxembourg-Germany cruises in the autumn. One of La Nouvelle Etoile's cabins is adapted to accommodate passengers with physical challenges and the barge is fitted with an elevator (lift) for wheelchairs.
- View brochure for La Nouvelle Etoile
- SHANNON PRINCESS (Ireland):
- Another possibility to consider for passengers with limited mobility. The interior of Shannon Princess is all on one level with no steps between salon and guest cabins. They do have an upper sundeck (11 steps) but there is a smaller, forward sundeck has no steps as it is on the same level as the salon and guest cabins. Most of their excursions are on level ground with no steps to climb and the minibus transfers guests to the sites so there is minimal walking. The only excursion that may be slightly difficult is to Cragganown.
- View brochure for Shannon Princess
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