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La Renaissance Staff

From: A Barge Cruise in France

La Barge crew

ABOVE: Philippe (French operations manager of European Waterways) and Jean-Pierre (our captain) prepare to tie up La Renaissance in a lock.

The crew

La Renaissance normally cruises with a crew of five. On our voyage, the staff included:

captainThe captain. Jean-Pierre, the skipper, was a veteran of diving and special operations in the French Navy. (On an excursion to Fontainebleau, he confided that, if anyone bothered his passengers, he'd feel like killing the offender. Fortunately, the necessity didn't arise, and Jean-Pierre was both a gentleman and a kind, gentle man during our six-night cruise.)

pilotThe pilot/engineer. Ellie, who learned to sail in Guadaloupe, was in charge of the helm, the generators, and the 250-hp diesel engine during our cruise. He was a friendly, cheerful man who willingly taught passengers how to steer the barge.

chefThe chef. Sylvain, our chef de cuisine, was a culinary one-man band. He had the knack of preparing several courses at the same time (everything from appetizers to a dessert) while carrying on a conversation with visitors in his kitchen.

deckhand, sommelier, housekeeperThe housekeeping and service staff. Amy kept the barge shipshape and helped in the dining room, while her husband Mike was the resident sommelier, cheese server, deckhand, and assistant pilot. The young couple were from New Zealand; during the off-season, they worked at a chalet in the French Alps.

On our voyage, we were also blessed with the presence of Philippe, the company's operations manager for France, and Phil, the captain of the barge under its previous owner, who was acting as a consultant to Jean-Pierre and Philippe during La Renaissance's maiden cruise with European Waterways.

  • Note: Barge crews don't stand on ceremony, and during our cruise, it wasn't unusual for the captain or the company's operations manager to serve food, pour wine, or perform deckhand chores.

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