European Waterways: Family Travel to Surge As Families Reconnect After Lockdown

 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 


The leisure industry is poised to experience a surge in multi-generational travel, according to many surveys, with families eager to reconnect after months of separation because of the government lockdown. Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways, says that he is already observing increasing interest in family charters on the company’s luxury hotel barges as Europe slowly opens for business again. He noted that the vessels are an ideal option: they accommodate just six to 20 passengers, so families and small groups can have the entire boat to themselves. They cruise the canals and smaller waterways of Europe through the less-populated countryside, with the clean, fresh air and gentle towpaths promoting healthy activities such as walking and cycling. Most meals are served onboard, with gourmet fares prepared by the hotel barge’s master chef, who personally creates each menu using locally-sourced ingredients.

“Cruising with European Waterways has always been about taking ‘the path less traveled,’ so much of our outdoor activities already take our guests away from crowded tourist attractions to the more exclusive, less populated settings,” said Banks. “Until travel returns to normal, we are further committed to providing a safe and healthy onboard environment for our guests, with pre-cruise checks for all on-board and the implementation of more stringent cleaning procedures, among other policies.”

With social distancing likely to remain in place for a while in many destinations, Banks noted that most European Waterways cruises feature exclusive private tours of castles, aristocratic estates, and vineyards, plus other excursions, tailored to avoid the crowds. The company’s hotel barges also cruise just a few feet from shore, with their private minivans close by. Guests can therefore enjoy all the benefits of a luxury cruise without ever worrying of being “stuck at sea.”

All in the Family
Perfect for a family cruise, the oldest hotel barge in its fleet, European Waterways’ eight-passenger L’Art de Vivre, served as a supply vessel to the Allied troops during World War One. Today the fully modernized vessel cruises the Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy, with an interior décor that reflects her British roots. Based on availability and local health guidelines, Family Charters can include a variety of sports, such as tennis, ice-skating and mini-golf. Guests can also book kayaking, quad biking and horseback riding.

Other options for family-friendly excursions include a visit to the Caves of Arcy-sur-Cure, which features some of the oldest cave paintings in the world, a medieval castle under construction using traditional methods at the Chateau Guedelon; the age of the dinosaurs in Cardo Land; and the fun and wildly eclectic artwork on display at the Fabuloserie Art and Sculpture Museum.

European Waterways’ Family Charters are available throughout France, the U.K., Ireland, Scotland, and Italy. Most offer similar excursion options that can include theme parks, cultural attractions, museums, and sports. Advance booking is encouraged to ensure availability of desired region, activities and departure date. European Waterways is currently offering 2021 and 2022 cruises at 2020 prices, making this the ideal time to book. Some excursions may require a supplemental fee.

“European Waterways hotel barges cruise ‘the great outdoors,’ so families will not only be reconnecting with each other, but also with nature,” said Banks.

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