Facts About The Barge Magna Carta
The English Hotel Barge Magna Carta was built in 1936 as a working barge in Belgium and continued until 1999 in Holland. She was converted into a beautiful, 8-passenger hotel barge in 2001 and cruises along the Royal River Thames in England.
117ft long x 16.5ft wide
4 Guest cabins
Individually controlled air conditioning
Under-floor central heating
Spa Pool / Hot tub
Sundeck, 2 levels
4 Mountain bikes (additional available on request)
Air conditioned minibus
- Former purpose: Ex Sand Cargo Barge operating in Holland
- Original year of construction: 1936 in Holland
- Dimensions: 117ft (35.6m) Length, 16ft 6" (5.05m) Width
- Year converted to a Hotel Barge: 2001 / 2002
- Generators: 230-volt 48kva generator and inverters for silent night power
- Main Engine: Scania 218 HP
- Maximum Speed: 10 knots
- Water & fuel capacity: 10 tons of water and 3 tons of fuel
Your Crew On Board
- Crew of 5 Owner-Captain, Chef, Tour Leader, and Hostesses
- All staff speak English
Accommodation On Board
Maximum 8 passengers / 4 suites
Three suites can be configured with twin or double beds. The Christopher Wren Suite offers a double bed only.
All cabins have en-suite shower room with shower and WC, wardrobes, writing desk & chair, and bedside tables with reading lights.
There are 4 opening windows in each suite and hardwood veneer panelling on the walls up to the picture rail with a light décor above. Solid hardwood doors & skirting and wooden flooring.
The Henry VIII and Christopher Wren suites are at the stern end of the barge and are accessed from a staircase from the saloon.
The William Shakespeare and the Winston Churchill cabins are at the bow end of the barge and accessed from a separate staircase from the saloon.
- Suite 1: Henry VIII (stern) 200ft² (18.6m²)
- Suite 2: Christopher Wren (mid stern) 200ft² (18.6m²)
- Suite 3: Shakespeare (mid bow) 200ft² (18.6m²)
- Suite 4: Winston Churchill (bow) 200ft² (18.6m²)
- Note: Winston Churchill Suite has 3 steps within the cabin
All shower rooms measure 36ft² (3.2m²). These measurements are included in the suite sizes detailed above.
All sizes are approximate.
Ceiling heights: The height of the Winston Churchill Suite is 7ft 4” (2.25m). We recommend this suite for tall passengers. The other 3 suites are 6ft 4” (1.93m).
Size of the beds:
The 3 suites with the twin / double option: As double beds 6ft wide x 6ft 6” length (1.8m x 2m). As twin beds, each bed is 3ft x 6ft 6” (0.9m x 2m).
Christopher Wren suite offers a double / queen bed only measuring 5ft 6” wide x 6ft 6” length (1.68m x 2m)
There are 4 portholes in each cabin that can open. Only to be open when barge is moored.
Each Suite has an en-suite, equipped with shower, wash-basin and WC. The rooms are fully tiled with under floor heating, and a heated towel rail.
There is a window in each bathroom along with 110v razor socket and air extractor.
Towels, toiletries, hair dryer, and bathrobes are provided.
Each suite has individually controlled air conditioning. There is also under-floor central heating.
Computer and Telephone
Wi-Fi internet is available on board for e-mail use only and for guests bringing their own appliances. This facility is subject to availability in some remote locations.
There is no passenger telephone on board Magna Carta.
The local currency in the UK is GBP Pound Sterling. Magna Carta is unable to accept credit or debit cards on board.
Cycling & Walking
You are welcome to walk or cycle using the on board bicycles as often as you wish. Most guests choose not to miss any cruising and tend to cycle or walk when the barge is stationary, however it is often possible to cycle or walk while the barge is moving.
There are 4 mountain bikes on board. Additional bikes are available on request as are smaller bikes for children at a hire charge of approximately £50 per bike per week. Please discuss Paradise Connections at least 8 weeks in advance of your cruise
Dining Room & Saloon
31ft x 12ft 6” (9.4m x 3.8m). Height from floor to ceiling of the saloon is 6ft 6” (2.0m). There are 10 windows, each approximately 3ft² (1m²).
For relaxing, there are 4 sofas with coffee tables, and a fully stocked bar with bar stools in the saloon. The dining table seats all guests at a single sitting.
Wooden flooring and oak ceiling run throughout the area, with the 2 staircases of 10 steps each leading off the saloon to the cabins on the lower deck.
The barge is wired for 240 volts with 110 volt sockets in the bathrooms for shaving. In the suites, double sockets are located in the wall by the beds. We suggest you bring an adapter for your particular appliances, which should correspond to the standard UK 3-pin plug. There are also 2 USB ports in each suite for charging phones, iPads, laptops, etc.
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.
The air-conditioned Magna Carta barge minibus is used for transfers and for several excursions during the cruise. Some excursions are within walking distance from the mooring.
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 barge, 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
- Spa pool (hot tub) on the sundeck
- Bicycles (See Cycling & Walking, above)
- A small library of books and maps
- A collection of board games
- Binoculars for watching the wild bird life
- Hi-Fi system includes a built-in hard drive with hundreds of CD’s.
- Guest iPods can be connected to the Hi-Fi system
- Wi-Fi internet access is available on request for passengers bringing their own appliances. This should be used for e-mails only
- TV with built-in DVD & CD player in each suite
Food & Drink
All meals on board are freshly prepared by your chef and most meals are a set-menu (there is no choice available). International and modern British cuisine is served.
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 Connection in advance of your cruise may result in disappointment on board.
There is no assigned seating for meals and the dining room on board Magna Carta accommodates all guests at a single sitting.
Breakfast: Full English cooked breakfast or Continental-style buffet breakfast with fresh breads, fruit, cereals, fruit juices, tea, and coffee.
Lunch: Usually 2 courses and lighter meals of colourful salads, pasta dishes, and cold meats that may be accompanied by hot soup or an entrée, followed by dessert.
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 on the final last night of the 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, and soft drinks. All wines are provided with meals and there is a Champagne welcome on arrival.
Drinks not included in the cruise price: Champagne (with the exception of the reception) and special vintage wines, however these can be purchased in advance of your cruise at cost price; please speak to Paradise Connections. We do not recommend specific beverage orders unless you are chartering the whole barge.
Hot Air Balooning
The region Magna Carta cruises is not suitable for hot air ballooning.
We recommend you bring sufficient clean clothing for your cruise as there are no laundry facilities on board. However, the crew may be able to assist in an emergency on a request basis.
Luggage / What To Pack
Please plan to travel with one suitcase. Soft-sided luggage will be easier to store once you have unpacked. There is a limited amount of space in the barge and on the minibus.
Practical comfort and casual clothing is the norm aboard Magna Carta and for the excursions.
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.
Suggested things to pack:
- A sweater or lightweight jacket for evenings and air-conditioned interiors.
- During spring and autumn cruises we recommend layered clothing as well as a lightweight raincoat and an umbrella.
- In summer a sun hat can be useful.
- Comfortable walking shoes with low or no heels and textured non-slip soles.
- There is a spa pool (hot tub) on board, so don’t forget your swim suit.
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.
- Depending on the mooring, Magna Carta’s gangplank often has 1 or 2 steps to climb from the river bank.
- There is 1 step between the Sundeck and Saloon.
- From the Saloon there are stairs to the cabins on the lower deck (10 steps), with a handrail on one side.
- There are 3 steps within the Winston Churchill suite.
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. There is a small safe onboard. Cabin doors are not locked for safety reasons
We have a strict non-smoking policy for safety reasons and for the comfort of your fellow passengers.
The sundeck is split on two levels made of wooden decking with a table, 8 chairs and 2 recliners. There is a spa pool (hot tub) on the higher front sundeck and a canopy cover on the lower level sundeck which has doors and 1 step leading into the saloon, 4 steps between the lower and upper deck.
Golf, Theatre, Tennis, and Family cruise itineraries are available for charter groups. Special interest cruises often have a supplement, for details please visit Magna Carta'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.
Sterling, 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 the Magna Carta vehicle, please see “Excursions”, above. The approximate transfer duration between central London and Magna Carta is 1 hour / 1 hour 30 minutes depending on the cruise direction.
Tap water in England and on board Magna Carta is potable. Bottled water is provided in each suite.
Safety Instructions On Board Magna Carta
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.
- Do not open lower deck portholes whilst the barge is moving.
- 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. Breakable glasses are not permitted in the hot tub and alcohol consumption is not advised
- 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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