Here’s some good news if you’re thinking about taking a barge vacation in Europe this year, but you have to act fast. European Waterways, the luxury hotel barging company, is offering up to a 20 percent discount on prices of some of its best cruises in France, Italy and Scotland, but you have to place the booking by Feb. 17.
European Waterways is calling the discounted cruises Days of Wine and Whiskey, and it says that guests will have the opportunity to enjoy world-class wines on the French and Italian cruises, as well as famed Scottish whiskies on the barge trips in the Scottish Highlands.
“Our all-inclusive cruises feature superb regional wines paired with exceptional gastronomic meals every day, along with exclusive, experiential excursions that immerse travelers in the historical and culinary traditions of the region,” said Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways. “Every cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
European Waterways has 14 of its vessels in the special offer. They include Rosa, pictured above, which holds eight passengers and cruises through Gascony and Bordeaux, and Scottish Highlander, which also holds eight passengers and cruises through the Caledonian Canal in the Scottish Highlands.
Rosa is a converted Dutch Clipper barge and has been featured in the French television series French Odyssey, with master chef Rick Stein. It offers exclusive excursions, such as private wine tastings and even a “Tea with a Countess” afternoon at an 18th century chateau. It also will visit Moissac Abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
For its part, Scottish Highlander offers excursions to highland castles, including a visit to Glencoe, the scene of a bloody massacre of the MacDonald clan in 1692. On a lighter note, guests can enjoy a private tasting of some of Scotland’s finest Scotch on a tour of the award-winning Tomatin whisky distillery.
In general, hotel barging offers a boutique experience that focuses on the culture, history, fine wine and cuisine in the various waterways throughout Europe. The barges have a capacity of six to 20 passengers, and one crew member for every two guests. On many of the smaller routes guests have the flexibility to hop off the barge and explore the surroundings on bikes or on foot; some cruises offer chauffeured excursions to a variety of castles, vineyards and local attractions.
Founded in 1974, European Waterways, an English company, is the largest hotel barging operation in Europe, with 17 vessels cruising the rivers and canals of nine countries. Read more: