Published on : Tuesday, August 19, 2014
European Waterways, Europe’s largest luxury hotel barge cruising company, has declared the 2015 cruise season “the year of the family,” offering up to 10% off the price of whole boat charters on ten of its most popular hotel barges. Since vessels hold from just 8 to 12 passengers, chartering a hotel barge guarantees a personal, private vacation, with the option to modify family-friendly itineraries to meet the unique needs of the group.
“Family travel is one of the strongest growth markets in the industry, with more families opting for unique new destinations and itineraries as opposed to traditional vacations, such as theme parks and large ocean cruise ships, where families get lost in the crowd,” said Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways.
“Although our cruises are perfect for all types of small groups, we want to make 2015 an especially ‘family-friendly’ year for hotel barging because it offers the kind of experiences that are tailor-made for today’s multi-generation families, with a wide range of activities that can be enjoyed by young children, teenagers, parents, and all the way up to grandparents.”
Canal du Midi on the Anjodi
The 8-passenger Anjodi is perfect for an intimate family vacation. Completely refurbished with African hardwoods, hand-crafted paneling and shining brass, the hotel barge was specifically rebuilt to navigate the 330-year-old Canal du Midi.
Among the family-friendly activities available is a visit to the city of Carcassonne, the most complete medieval fortified city in existence. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city transports visitors back to the medieval era, allowing young minds to imagine a time of kings, damsels, and gallant knights.
The itinerary also includes a visit to the unique Meze Dinosaur Park and Museum, the largest museum in Southern France dedicated to dinosaurs. As an open air exhibit, kids can’t miss the massive and realistic constructions that are waiting for them inside, such as the head of the Brachiosaur skeleton, the largest complete dinosaur skeleton in the world, which peers out above the treetops.
The National Nature Reserve of Bagnas is another kid-friendly destination, where guests can look out for more than 250 species of birds that include flamingos and other migratory birds.
European Waterways offers a 5% whole boat charter special for Anjodi that covers the departures on April 19 & 26 and all departures from May to August and in October 2015. These must be booked by September 30. A 10% discount is also offered for the March 29, April 5 and April 12 departures, with no book-by deadline.
‘The Art of Living’ Aboard L’Art de Vivre
L’Art de Vivre is an 8-passenger hotel barge offering modern en suite cabins and a saloon area that combines contemporary leather with more traditional furnishing.
Following a welcome champagne toast (soda or juice for the children!) on board in the medieval town of Auxerre, the vessel sets a course for the village of Vincelles, where options include a choice of swimming, supervised “go ape” tree climbing for the young, or a visit to Chablis to one of the town’s oldest wine cellars and a private tasting for the adults.
Among other highlights is a visit to the caves of Arcy sur Cure, a natural phenomenon dug out by the Cure River; as well as cruising past the stunning natural rock cliffs of Saussois, a popular rock-climbing destination. There is also an excursion to the town of Vézelay, where adults can marvel at the Romanesque Basilica of St. Mary Magdalene, while “thrill-seekers” in the group can enjoy a canoeing or rafting trip on the River Cure nearby.
A 5% reduction in the whole boat charter price of L’Art de Vivre is available for the departures on April 19 and 26 and all departures from May to August and in October 2015. These must be booked by September 30 to be eligible. A 10% off charter special is also available for the April 12 departure with no book-by deadline.
Looking for ‘Nessie’ Aboard the Scottish Highlander
A cruise onboard the Scottish Highlander is packed with activities for children and adults alike. There is a visit to the Black Isle Wildlife and Country Park, the perfect multi-generational family destination, where kids can have fun making contact with everything from rabbits to rare cattle, while parents can relax nearby with a glass of wine or perhaps a “wee dram” of whisky. Later, families can have fun trying to spot the elusive “Nessie” while cruising the world-famous Loch Ness before arriving in Fort Augustus.
Then, on a visit to Treasures of the Earth Centre in the west Highlands of Scotland, guests will see one of Europe’s finest collections of gemstones, crystals, and fossils, all set in simulated caverns and mining scenes. Children and teens will also certainly enjoy a magical ride on a steam train across the spectacular Glenfinnan viaduct.
The 5% whole boat charter special for Scottish Highlander covers the departures on April 26 and all departures from May to October 2015. These must be booked by September 30 to be eligible. A 10% discount is also offered for the April 5, 12 and 19 departures, with no book-by deadline.
Travel agents receive at least 10% commission on all bookings.
Similar charter offers are available on many other hotel barges in the European Waterways fleet. Early bookings are recommended to ensure availability of preferred departure date.
“Of course, whole boat charters are great for all sorts of groups, including businesses and associations, retreats, special celebrations, and just for a group of friends to reconnect in a more personal way,” said Banks. “The great advantage of chartering one of our intimate hotel barges is that we will be very happy to work with our guests to ensure everyone has a great time.”
Tags: European Waterways