Hotel Barge Cruises in Europe
of European Waterways Ltd. on a canal in Burgundy.
Barge cruise reviews
La Bella Vita:
Venice to Mantua
Combine your vacation in
Venice with a slow-motion cruise through the
Venetian Lagoon and up the Po River. Our in-depth barge review is accompanied by
nearly 150 photos.
A Barge Cruise in
Our 8-page review of La Renaissance, a luxury hotel barge operated by
European Waterways Ltd., is
accompanied by an 82-page, day-by-day
Barge Charters in Europe
A private cruise on a hotel barge isn't cheap, but it can offer better value
than per-person fares on luxury cruise lines if you're traveling with family or
friends. (Some smaller barges also have special honeymoon charters.)
Independently owned barges and riverboats
Claire (from the UK) and Graeme (a New Zealander) bring their own vision
to barge cruising, with affordable fares and a chance to sample local
restaurants most evenings during the barge's itinerary in the Champagne
region of France. All meals, drinks, excursions, and roundtrip
transportation from Paris are included in the price. The owners live on
board, and their two cats--Salt and Pepper--supplement the four-person
The Edward Elgar is a 22-passenger "riverboat
hotel," not a barge, but it offers a bargelike cruising
experience on the River Severn in the Cotswolds.
This purpose-built luxury "boutique hotel boat" cruises the canals of Yorkshire,
Lancashire, and other areas in Northern England. Nick is at the helm, and Gina
prepares the food. Fares include secure parking and return to your departure
point by chauffeured car.
Owners John and Penny Liley have 50+ years of hotel-barge cruising between them,
and John is the author of France--the Quiet Way, a book about the French
canal and river system. Under its previous name of Palinurus, the Luciole was featured in Emily Kimbrough's best-selling travel book,
Floating Island. The barge accommodates 14 passengers and cruises the scenic
Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy.
Barge Nilaya carried potatoes and other cargo from 1922 until the
1980s. After serving as a houseboat for nearly two decades, Nilaya was
acquired in 2004 by Kevin Hartwell, a Briton who converted the vessel into a
luxury hotel barge that accommodates four guests on river and canal cruises in
France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. (See our
Europe for Visitors Blog
post about Barge Nilaya.)
The 10-passenger barge MV Shannon Princess offers 7-day/6-night cruises
on the longest river in Ireland or the British Isles. Recently, the company
introduced "walking cruise itineraries" with walks led by professional guides.
the canals and rivers of England and Wales at 3 mph on a traditional steel-hulled
narrowboat with one double cabin and two singles.
The hotel barge Johanna carries up to six passengers on cruises in
France and Belgium. Seven-night itineraries vary with the season. (Some cruises
begin or end in Paris, and in winter, the barge operates as a B&B in Bruges,
This British company has eight- and twelve-passenger barges that cruise in England,
France, Holland, Ireland, and Scotland. (See our reviews of the company's
flagship, La Renaissance,
and La Bella Vita, the only
hotel barge that cruises from Venice, Italy.)
The Barge Connection
Choose from deluxe and first-class cruises in France, Holland, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Self-drive barges are also available.
Belmond Afloat in France
luxury barge-cruising company, which dates back to 1958, is now part of the
Orient-Express Collection. It has five hotel barges in France, plus offices in
the U.S., England, and Germany.
Explore Scotland's Caledonian Canal and inland lochs with
either of two 12-passenger barges: Fingal of Caledonia or Ros Crana.
Itineraries include the standard 7-day "classic cruise" plus cruises built
around themes such as walking, biking, canoeing, and music.
In addition to barge cruises, this firm offers river cruises and land packages.
French Country Waterways
Five luxury barges with English-speaking crews tour seven routes in France and
the Moselle Valley of Germany. A hot-air balloon ride is optional.