La Bella Vita Barge Cruise Review
Crew and service
La Bella Vita normally has a crew of six to nine, including the tour leader. Because the crew live on board and get little if any free time during a cruise, they typically work for a week and take the next week off.
During our cruise, the crew consisted of:
Mattia Toninato (the captain's nephew)
: Ivana Veic
Irene Gionta and Claudia De Gaspari
In the photo below (taken at the captain's farewell dinner), the crew members are engineer Roger Pagnin, hostesses Claudia De Gaspari and Irene Gionta, sous-chef Mario Sartori, and chef Andrea Chin:
As on most barges and river ships, every crew member on La Bella Vita--from the captain on down--pitches in when work needs to be done. For example, when we arrived at La Bella Vita on departure day, the captain and engineer came dashing from the barge to take our suitcases. And during shore excursions, the deckhand or sous-chef often drove the car while Paola, our tour leader, piloted the van.
On nearly all barges, much of the crew's compensation is earned from tips. European Waterways suggests tipping 5 to 10 percent of the fare.
Place your cash tip in an envelope and give it to the captain on the final morning of the voyage. The captain will distribute the money to the crew.
Next page: Is La Bella Vita right for you?
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