Published on : Thursday, February 7, 2013
For the upcoming cruising season, hotel barge operator European Waterways is highlighting its one-of-a-kind “Longer Waterways Journeys,” which are trans-regional “voyages of exploration” traversing the inland waterways of Europe. Sure to please travelers looking for a sense of adventure, they cover more land than the classic 6-night European Waterways cruises, navigating a longer route of varied landscapes, often through multiple countries. For the 2013 season, European Waterways’ “Longer Waterways Journeys” include cruises originating in Holland, Belgium, France, and Germany.
“‘Longer Waterways Journeys’ take advantage of our hotel barges being repositioned between destinations, which means that they travel ‘off the beaten track’ on a diverse mix of waterways that our traditional cruises might not travel during the rest of the season,” explained Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways. “This offers our guests a rare opportunity to explore some of Europe’s intricate canal networks and experience how it all really works – usually connecting historic cities along a trading route dating back hundreds of years. And throughout the cruises, our experienced captains and crews are delighted to share their seasoned knowledge of this history with guests.”
Banks noted that the trips are perfect for a certain kind of exploratory traveler who has extra time on their hands, and who may be looking for more than the typically serene 6-night cruise. To better meet these customers’ expectations, European Waterways has formalized several of the itineraries, which are featured in more detail in their 2013 brochure.
A Cultural Cornucopia:
Among the offerings, luxury 12-passenger barge Panache, new to the fleet in 2012, is hosting several “Longer Waterways Journeys” as it repositions from its Spring Amsterdam Tulip cruises in Holland to spend the Summer and Fall in the northern French region of Alsace-Lorraine. The trips include a 6-night cruise from Ouderkerk, Holland to Bruges, Belgium, departing on May 12; as well as a cruise from Belgium to Paris that can be taken as 13 nights or 6 nights, giving extra flexibility for passengers, departing on May 19 and 26. As an added incentive, the company is offering 10% off per cabin on these two May departures.
Aboard the Holland and Belgium cruise on Panache, guests will experience the wonders of the Netherlands – the colorful flower displays at the famed Keukenhof Gardens and the cheese centre of Gouda – before moving on to Belgium, where excursions to cities such as Antwerp, home of the great painter Rubens, will delight visitors with the region’s Flemish and Gothic baroque architecture.
As Panache continues southward to France, visitors aboard the 13-night cruises from Belgium to Paris will explore canal cities such as Bruges, known as the “Venice of the North” and Ghent, with its medieval cathedral and cobblestone streets. The barge will then wind through Picardy and the Somme regions in Northern France along the scenic Canal du Nord and River Oise, with visits to places such as the fabulous gardens at Giverny, once the home of painter Claude Monet, before finally arriving in the timeless romantic city of Paris.
Banks said of Panache’s repositioning journeys: “They exemplify why our trans-regional cruises are unique. The cruise routes take you through various regions with distinctly different cultures, history, and scenery – from the colorful, windmill filled landscapes of Holland, to the ‘beer loving’ canal cities of Belgium, to the prosperous border towns of Northern France.”
He continued, “And while the barge moves at a slightly faster pace, the trips are still quintessentially ‘European Waterways Experiences,’ complete with enticing, culture rich excursions and gourmet meals prepared by an onboard master chef.”
Making a Good Impression:
European Waterways is also offering a very special 6-week 1,000 mile cruise on the 12-passenger hotel barge L’Impressionniste from Avignon, France to Amsterdam, Holland that will depart in the Fall of 2013, on November 3. For those interested in this once-in-a-lifetime experience, this cruise will travel through several countries and on some of Europe’s great historical rivers, including the Rhone, Seine, Moselle and Rhine.