Facts About Hotel Barge La Bella Vita
The Italian Hotel Barge La Bella Vita originally did duty as a sand barge on the River Po. Later she was converted into a 20-passenger hotel barge cruising the waterways of Italy.
148 feet long, 22 feet wide, 3 decks
Accommodates up to 20 guests
10 guest cabins: 2 junior suites + 8 staterooms (as doubles or twins)
10 crew (Captain/pilot, deck-hand, cruise director, chef, chef's assistant, housekeepers)
Crew nationality: The crew are usually Italian and English speaking
Air conditioned / Central heating
There is an internet area with a computer available for passenger use
WiFi subject to local reception
10 touring bikes
Air conditioned minibus
- Former purpose: Sand barge on the River Po
- Year of construction: 1960
- Dimensions: 21.6ft x 147.6ft (6.6m X 45m)
- Year converted into a floating hotel: 2010
- Generators: 2
- Main engine: AIFO IVECO SRM55M (550 HP x 2)
- Maximum speed: 10 knots
- Water capacity: 20,000 litres
- Fuel capacity: 12,000 litres
- Cruise distance: 174km
Your Crew On Board
- Crew of 10: Captain/pilot, deck-hand, cruise director, Chef, chef’s assistant, housekeepers
- Nationality of crew: Usually Italian and English speaking
Accommodation On Board
Maximum 20 passengers / 2 Junior Suites and 8 Staterooms
The 2 Junior Suites are on the upper-deck and can be configured with 2 single beds or a double bed.
The 8 Staterooms are on the lower-deck and can be configured with 2 single beds or a double bed.
All cabins are en-suite and have a closet with drawer, storage space under the bed, reading lights and a mirror.
The 2 Junior Suites have a Juliet balcony with opening doors and windows. The 8 Staterooms do not have opening windows.
The 2 Junior Suites on the upper-deck each measure 8ft 6” x 15ft 11” (2.62m x 4.87m).
The 8 Staterooms on the lower-deck each measure 8ft 2” x 12ft 8” (2.55m x 3.9m).
The height of all cabins is 6ft 11”( 2.05m).
All sizes are approximate and include the bathroom.
Size of the beds:
- Junior Suites – As single beds they measure 6ft 7” x 2ft 9” (2m x 85cm) or as a double bed 6ft 7” x 5ft 6” (2m x 1.7m).
- Staterooms – As single beds they measure 6ft 5” x 2ft 6” (1.95m x 75cm) or as a double bed 6ft 5” x 5ft” (1.95m x 1.5m).
- Bathrooms: Each cabin has an en-suite bathroom with shower, WC, hand basin, tiled floors, mirror and a full length mirror. Each is supplied with bathrobes, slippers, towels and a hair dryer. Italian toiletries are also provided: soap, shower gel, shampoo etc.
Each cabin has individual Air-Conditioning and Central Heating units.
Computer and Telephone
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available on board for guests bringing their own appliances. Connectivity can be limited in remote locations.
There are no passenger telephones aboard La Bella Vita.
The local currency in Italy is the Euro. La Bella Vita is unable to accept credit or debit cards on board.
Cycling & Walking
Passengers are welcome to walk or cycle using the on board bicycles on certain days. The captain will keep you up to date about this which is dependent upon the boats location.
There are 10 city-bikes on board. Children’s bikes and child seats can be arranged if required. Please contact our Paradise Connections at least 8 weeks prior to departure if more bikes or cycling equipment is required.
Dining Room & Saloon
The comfortable Saloon is 398ft² (37m²) and has 3 large sofas, 2 coffee tables, a bar with 2 stools and there is also a piano.
The large bright dining area is 506ft² (47m²) with 2 large dining tables each seating up to 10 guests.
The boat is wired for 220 volts. We suggest you bring an adapter for your particular appliance, which corresponds to the standard Italian 220 volt 2-pin plugs.
If you wish to use your electrical appliance on board, please ask one of the crew when you arrive on board to ensure that it is suitable to the barge’s electrical system.
We cannot be held responsible for unforeseen voltage fluctuations which sometimes occur when swapping from one voltage system to another.
An air-conditioned bus / buses are used for the transfers and excursions. Excursions are either by bus or on foot.
For charter bookings, the itinerary can be adapted to suit your group’s particular needs. If a destination or excursion is within a reasonable distance of the boat, we will do everything we can to arrange it. Please speak with Paradise Connections in advance of your cruise and we can pre-arrange with the Captain.
Any guests not wishing to participate in an excursion are welcome to remain on the barge.
Facilities On Board
- 10 Bicycles (See Cycling & Walking, above)
- Spa Pool / hot tub
- A small library of books and maps
- Binoculars for watching the bird life
- Hi-fi system and a selection of CDs
Food & Drink
All meals on board are freshly prepared by your chef and most meals are a set-menu (there is no choice available). Italian and International cuisine is featured.
We are able to arrange special meals, e.g. vegetarian / no fish / vegan etc, and we are able to cater for any preferences or allergies. However, it is most important that we are notified of any specific requirements at least 8 weeks prior to your departure date. Failure to notify Paradise Connections in advance of your cruise may result in disappointment on board.
There is no assigned seating for meals and the dining room on board La Bella Vita accommodates all guests at single sittings.
Breakfast: Your day on La Bella Vita starts with a Continental breakfast with fresh breads, fresh fruit, cereals, yoghurts, and juices. Hot beverages including decaffeinated or regular tea and coffee. There is always a cooked breakfast option available to order.
Lunch: Lunch is served waiter service or a buffet of colourful salads, pates and cold meats generally accompanied by hot soup or entrée followed by either a dessert or a selection of regional cheeses and quality wines selected by the chef.
Dinner: Always a gastronomic adventure created by your talented chef. A taste of regional cuisine by candlelight, complemented by fine wines, followed by a selection of regional cheeses, coffee and liqueurs.
Captain’s farewell dinner is held on the last night of your cruise. Guests may choose to dress slightly more formal.
Drinks included in the cruise price: Non-alcoholic beverages and regular or decaffeinated tea and coffee, whole or low fat milk, are offered with all meals. The well-stocked bar is open 24 hours, which includes wines, spirits, beers & soft drinks. All wines are provided with meals and there is a Prosecco Welcome on arrival.
Drinks not included in the cruise price: Champagnes and special vintage wines, however these can be purchased in advance of your cruise at cost price. Contact us for assistance. We do not recommend specific beverage orders unless you are chartering the whole barge.
Hot Air Balooning
Hot Air ballooning is available in the Ferrara area and can be requested for charter bookings only. It includes preparation of the air balloon, followed by an approximately one-hour flight. The cost is 350 euros per person. Please ask Paradise Connections for more details.
A laundry service is available on-board charged per item.
Luggage / What To Pack
Please try and fit everything for your cruise into one suitcase per person. There is plenty of storage room available on board once you have unpacked.
Practical comfort and casual clothing is the norm aboard La Bella Vita and for most excursions. The dress code for dinner is relaxed and informal. For the Captain’s Farewell Dinner on the final evening, guests often dress up, which is optional.
The weather in Italy is generally warm. June, July, and August is the warmest often being in the mid 30°C.
Suggested things to pack:
- Light clothing including shorts and T-shirts. A sweater or lightweight jacket is recommended for evenings and the air-conditioned interiors.
- During spring and autumn, you may need medium weight clothing. A lightweight raincoat for showery times would be advisable.
- In summer, a sun hat can be useful.
- Comfortable walking shoes with textured non-slip soles are recommended.
- La Bella Vita has a spa pool (hot tub) so don’t forget your swim-wear. Towels are provided.
Please let us know in advance of your cruise if you require frequent or ongoing medical attention.
The crew are unable to administer medicines but can accompany you to a chemist for you to purchase any necessary medicines. Due to your cruise often being in a rural location, we recommend you bring all necessary medication with you.
Doctors are usually not far away for an urgent consultation and the Emergency Services can be called if required.
Problem During Your Cruise
If you have a problem during your cruise, please give us the immediate opportunity to make things right. Please bring any concern to the private attention of your Captain who will often be able to solve any issue immediately.
Please let us know in advance of your cruise if you have a physical disability and require any assistance.
La Bella Vita has restricted facilities for passengers with mobility issues. The 2 upper deck Junior Suites are easily reached with no steps from the Saloon / dining level however there is a staircase with handrails of 12 steps to reach the staterooms on the lower deck.
There are 12 steps from the Saloon deck up to the sundeck area with handrails for assistance.
La Bella Vita is unsuitable for wheelchair users as the gangplank is narrow and there are numerous stairs on board.
Safety & Security
Once you are on board, your Captain will talk you through the Cruise Safety Procedures. Safety Instructions are detailed below.
Please note that we cannot be responsible for any valuables that you bring on board. We strongly recommend that you do not bring valuables with you unless required and that you ensure that all valuables are covered by your travel insurance.
Safes are provided in each cabin on board La Bella Vita but cabin doors are not usually locked, for safety reasons.
We have a strict non-smoking policy for safety reasons and for the comfort of your fellow passengers.
If you would like to smoke we request that you do so outside or on the open top deck away from other passengers.
There is a very large sundeck covering the top of the boat measuring 21.65ft x 132.87ft (6.6m x 40.5m).
For relaxation and alfresco dining, there are 4 tables and a large sun-shade canopy measuring 13.7ft x 18ft (4.2m x 5.5m).
There are 20 chairs (12 of which recline), and 2 sun loungers.
Wine Appreciation, Walking, Golf, Opera and Family cruise itineraries are available for charter groups. Special interest cruises often have a supplemen. For details please visit La Bella Vita's Itinerary page and Rates page.
Gratuities are not included in the cruise fare. Tipping is entirely discretionary but is greatly appreciated by the crew if you are fully satisfied with the level of service on board. As a guideline, the average tip given by our guests from around the world is approximately 5% of the Cruise Fare.
The usual way to give the tip is to give the amount in cash as one lump sum to the Captain / Cruise Director on the last day of the cruise. They will distribute the amount equally amongst the crew.
Euros or Dollars are equally appreciated. ATMs are accessible for cash withdrawal on most itineraries during the cruise and the crew can advise where these are located.
For details of La Bella Vita vehicle, please see “Excursions”, above. The approximate transfer duration on all cruises is between 15 minutes and 2 hours depending on the cruise direction.
Tap water on board La Bella Vita is potable. Bottled water is provided in the cabins and the display fridge close to the bar.
Safety Instructions On Board La Bella Vita
On arrival the Captain will talk you through the Cruise Safety Procedures on board. In addition, it is important that all passengers are familiar with the safety instructions detailed below.
- Please follow the instructions of the Captain and crew at all times.
- Remember that decks can be slippery. Please wear non-slip shoes and do not run or jump whilst on board.
- Do not walk on the side or rear decks or outside the guard rails.
- Passengers are not permitted in the engine rooms, technical areas or crew accommodation at any time, or in the galley or wheelhouse unless accompanied by a crew member.
- Do not embark or disembark the barge unless the gangplank and handrail are in place or the crew have advised that it is safe to do so. Never do so when the barge is moving.
- Be careful when the vessel is being moored up with the barge ropes. In particular do not step into a loop in the rope or try to release the mooring rope from a bollard.
- Keep clear of any overhead obstructions and remain seated if on deck whilst the barge passes under bridges with restricted headroom.
- Do not attempt to touch the sides of any lock or bridge.
- Life jacket preservers are located in designated lockers in your cabin or in designated deck lockers. Once on board, please take the time to identify their location and read the instructions.
- For fire safety reasons, smoking is not permitted anywhere inside the barge.
- The barge's equipment such as the hot tub and bicycles must only be used following preparation by the crew. Use of the bicycles and the hot tub is at your own risk.
- There is an open bar policy on board. However, excessive alcohol consumption can be dangerous, particularly in a warm climate and in proximity to deep water and the Captain has the discretion to withhold alcohol if safety to passengers or crew is at risk.
In an emergency:
- Keep calm. Do not return to your cabin to recover your possessions.
- If you discover a fire on board, sound the fire alarm and notify a crew member immediately. If possible, close doors behind you to confine the fire. Please take the time to identify the location of fire alarms and fire extinguishers.
- If the alarm sounds or you hear repeated continuous blasts on the barge horn, you must, if possible, assemble on the sundeck for further instructions.
- If you discover water below deck, notify a crew member immediately and go to the sundeck to await further instructions
- If you are in your cabin and the way to the sundeck is obstructed, follow the signs to the alternative fire exit. Please take the time to identify all fire exits.
- The emergency number for fire, police or medical assistance on all public phone networks is 112.
Please ask a member of the crew on board if you require any further safety advice
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