Enjoy our 2023 barge cruising blog posts about everything barging brought to you by Paradise Connections, your barge charter cruise specialists. Experience the fascinating world of boutique hotel barging and see Europe from another perspective – via an all-inclusive, luxury, crewed hotel barge cruise vacation. Either click a link in the list below to go to a blog post that interests you or just scroll down the page to view all the posts. The most current post is at the top.
For those of you who have been wanting an Irish barge cruise, your window of opportunity is closing quickly.
As we have mentioned before, Shannon Princess is completely sold out for the 2024 season. Her 2025 season has only three possible weeks for your Irish barge cruise; two weeks for a cabin cruise and one week for a full-boat charter.
June 15-21: 1 cabin open
June 29 - July 5: 5 cabins open for private charter or cabin cruise
July 6-12: 2 cabins open
These openings will not last long, so grab one while you can.
Black Friday 2023: Save 25% on Select Barge Charters
Enjoy great savings aboard La Belle Epoque and Enchanté
In recognition of Black Friday, let's make luxury a little more affordable. We are offering 25% off 2024 whole barge charters aboard the following cruises, when booked between Friday 24th November and Friday 1st December 2023:
This is an all-inclusive, exclusive affair for food lovers, oenophiles, history enthusiasts or just those looking for the break of a lifetime, and a bargain to boot.
Prices include: private, air-conditioned transfers to and from the hotel barges, luxury en-suite accommodation, gourmet meals and wines served on board, an extensively-stocked open bar, daily private (often exclusive) excursions and admittance fees as per the itinerary.
In addition to this, guests will have full use of barge facilities, bicycles, a deck-top spa pool/ hot tub, and the services of a crew of up to six members which include an English-speaking guide and on-board master chef.
Applicable to new bookings on the mentioned charters only
Bookings must be made between November 24 and December 1, 2023
This offer cannot be combined with any other offer
A booking can only be held as an option for a maximum of 24 hours
Don't let this opportunity slip by... We look forward to hearing from you.
Happy Halloween: Explore the Haunted Castles of Europe
A ghost story is not complete without the wails of a long-lost spirit roaming the halls of a dark and eerie castle. Some of our barge cruises feature excursions to a few of Europe's most magnificent and haunted castles with many possessing elements of the supernatural.
IRELAND - Leap Castle
Leap Castle is one of Ireland's most famous sites for ghosts with its history of bloody family rivalries and is deeply embedded in the country's extensive mythology. It is one of the excursions offered by the 10-passenger Shannon Princess, cruising along the River Shannon through Ireland's spectacular countryside.
Leap Castle stands on an ancient rock near the town of Birr in County Offaly, guarding a strategic pass through the Slieve Bloom mountain range. According to legends, the castle's ghoulish saga began centuries ago when two brothers, contesting the chieftainship of their family, challenged each other to leap from a rock where the castle was to be built. The survivor would get to govern the clan. This is a site of much violence, murder, and mayhem. Many people were imprisoned and executed in the castle, and it is supposedly haunted by several spectres, one of which was a murdered at “The Bloody Chapel,” where, some claim, his apparition can still be seen wandering.
While renovating the castle, workers discovered an oubliette, a dungeon where people are locked away and left to die. There are spikes at the bottom of this shaft, and when it was being cleaned out, it took three cartloads to carry out all the human bones at the bottom. But take heart! During the cruise, guests will also be treated to another kind of spirit – a private tasting at the Kilbeggan Whiskey Distillery. Not a bad day out!
FRANCE - Château d'Ancy-le-Franc
Offering centuries of dramatic history, the Château d'Ancy-le-Franc is classified as a Historic Monument. This flagship of Renaissance château was built in the 16th century by the same Italian architect of the Château de Fontainebleau, and sits upon 123 acres of parkland. It is renowned for its remarkable collection of mural paintings. This stately residence, located on the Canal de Bourgogne, has a haunting atmosphere. It was the final home of Diane de Poitiers, the famous mistress of the 16th century French King Henry II. Local legends claim that her ghost still roams the countless rooms in the chateau.
Visit Château d'Ancy-le-Franc while cruising aboard luxury hotel barge La Belle Epoque on the Canal de Bourgogne.
SCOTLAND - Cawdor Castle
On a barge cruise in the Scottish Highlands, one can visit the magnificent and moody Cawdor Castle with its deep dry moat, brooding square tower, portcullis and the only surviving drawbridge at a private castle in Scotland. This castle is the setting for Shakespeare's Macbeth, one of the bard's most bloody plays, where witches and ghosts figure prominently. These cruises also visit the mystical battlefield of Culloden, site of the Highlands' most horrific conflict, and Glencoe, known for the infamous massacre of the MacDonald clan in 1692. Visitors say they can still hear the soldiers' cries and the skirl of the pipes on the plaintive winds.
We are delighted to announce the latest addition to the fleet of barges we represent: the 8-passenger French hotel barge Kir Royale, cruising the picturesque River Marne in the renowned region of Champagne from May 2024.
Highlights of the itinerary include private tours and tastings at both famed and boutique champagne houses including Moët & Chandon, Maison Pannier, and Frerejean Frères. Plus, a visit to the Gothic Reims Cathedral, and the WWI battlefield and cemetery at Belleau Wood.
Kir Royale has an introductory offer: 10% off 2024 barge cruises, excluding September weeks.
We have updated our special offers page for hotel barge cruises. There are still a few weeks open for the 2023 season for those last-minute travelers, including Alsace Christmas Market cruises. Plus, we have some early bird specials for the 2024 barging season.
Our new barge, Kir Royale, is offering a discount of 10% on all 2024 cruises except for dates in September.
We still have 2023 dates available for private charters and cabin cruises. Please view our updated Special Offers page.
Of special interest is the 10% discount for a private French Christmas Market Cruise in Alsace aboard Panache beginning December 3, 2023. There are also 3 cabins currently available November 26-December 2, 2023. What a way to start the holiday season!
RATE INCREASES FOR 2024 SEASON
It's that time of year. Most of our barges have increased prices for the 2024 season by roughly 8% across the board with Scotland being a bit more. This is to cover cost increases in labor, food and beverages, plus the cost of a number of enhancements that will improve the overall barging experience.
These prices will come in effect on July 1, 2023. We are currently updating the Rates pages on our website.
Book your 2024 barge cruise by June 29th and SAVE.
Special Offers for 2023 & 2024 Barge Cruises
We updated our Special Offers & Discounts page. We have many weeks available for both private charters and cabin cruises for 2023 in France, Scotland, and Italy. A few barges have a No Single Supplement offer for single travelers cruising on a cabin week.
Wait, there's more... Five barges have an Early Bird Special for the first weeks in 2024. Also, book now for 2024 to take advantage of 2023 prices as they will surely increase later on in the year. Read more...
Would you like a barge cruise in Scotland this year?
Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland
A barge cruise in the Highlands of Scotland is hard to surpass. Cruise sedately through the Great Glen between Banavie and Muirtown, navigating beautiful lochs and the engineering masterpiece that is the Caledonian Canal. Unforgettable experiences are offered by ancient castles perched on the water's edge, heather-clad hillsides, and some of the finest inland cruising in the world. Scotland’s legends of the past, the taste of single malt and the mythical inhabitant of Loch Ness all contribute to a magical charm only experienced in the dramatic Highlands.
The 2023 barge cruising season is about to begin. If the remaining dates available for 2023 don't work for you, perhaps you should consider booking for 2024... it's not too early. We have listed current availability (as of March 11th) of the two Scottish Hotel Barges Scottish Highlander and Spirit of Scotland. Discounts mentioned below are valid for new bookings made by April 3, 2023. Read more...
Two New Special Offers Added for Summer 2023
There have been a couple of late cancellations on private barge charters for cruises in Champagne (France) and Scotland. The Champagne region was sold out many months ago, and Scotland is extremely full, so these are rare opportunities to cruise in these popular regions this year. Read more...
Visit Strasbourg Cathedral on a Luxury Barge Cruise
Hotel Barge Panache will take you on a journey through the meandering canals of the Alsace region of France. One of the highlights is a trip to Strasbourg Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg and Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, widely considered to be one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture.
Currently (as of February 19, 2023) Panache is offering a 10% discount for the following weeks:
August 6-12, 2023: 5 cabins open
August 13-19, 2023: 3 cabins open
August 20-26, 2023: 3 cabins open
August 27-September 2, 2023: Private charter for up to 12 guests
Happy Valentine's Day. Here's a sweetheart of a deal...
We have posted new special offers for 2023 European barge cruises. Save 10-20% on selected cruises in France, Holland, England, Scotland, and Italy. There are also great savings for solo travellers on weeks with no single supplements. Read more...
Update: Spring 2023 Dutch Barge Cruises
Need a great gift idea for Valentine's Day? Say it with flowers in a different way... a Dutch Tulip Cruise!
Spring is just around the corner and that's Dutch Barge Cruise season. We still have availability for the following weeks on Panache and Aurora for 2023 barge charters in the Netherlands. Read more...
Visit the Château de Bazoches - Canal du Nivernais, France
This grand Burgundian château dates back to the 12th century, when it was first built on the site of an old Roman outpost looking over the Morvan hills. Largely preserved from the 17th century, its elegant interiors reflect the tastes of King Louis XIV's refined courtiers. However, its most famous owner was far from an aestheticist. Read more...
Save on Dutch Barge Cruises for Spring 2023
Hotel Barge Aurora in Holland
Thinking about a trip to the Netherlands for a Dutch Tulip Cruise this season? We still have a few openings left with some nice discounts. Besides tulips, windmills, cheese, Delft pottery, clogs, art, etc, Aurora has some great biking itineraries along her route. Read more...