With multi-generational travel seeing a rapid rise in popularity, European Waterways has announced that it is expanding its Family Cruises to ensure guests of all ages enjoy the ultimate family vacation aboard their very own “private floating villa”. The company is offering guests greater flexibility to design itineraries that appeal to all ages.
Alongside the Classic Cruise itineraries, which often include visits to aristocratic estates and castles, châteaux and private wine tastings, and other exclusive cultural experiences, guests can customise their itineraries to include activities such as visits to theme parks and historical attractions. They can also schedule outdoor pursuits such as biking, swimming, canoeing, tennis, horseback riding and even hot air ballooning.
“The biggest challenge of multigenerational vacations is ensuring that everyone has a good time,” noted Derek Banks, European Waterways’ Managing Director. “We work with our guests to create the perfect itinerary to ‘keep the fun going,’ throughout the entire all-inclusive six-night cruise. We’ll help our guests plan every aspect of the cruise, including admission to theme parks, equipment rental and other details, freeing everyone to sit back, relax and enjoy the moment.”
A Private Floating Villa
Family Cruise itineraries are available across all European Waterways’ fleet of luxury hotel barges, which cruise the smaller waterways of Europe’s picturesque countryside. On board, a spa pool is a big treat for everyone, especially children, and the barge’s bicycles are ideal for exploring nearby villages and peddling along the gentle towpaths. The vessels rarely cruise above three miles per hour and are always just a few feet from shore, so it’s easy to keep up. The crew is especially trained to cater to multigenerational guests, with captains who are happy to “deputize” children as “captain for a day” to help steer the vessel where safe to do so. Kids are also invited to enjoy a fun cooking lesson with the barge chef, or even have a go at “lashing the ropes” with the deckhand. Local lock keepers will often gladly invite children – and fun-loving adults – to participate in opening or closing the locks too!
Meanwhile, guests enjoy exceptional gastronomic cuisines, with a master chef who will observe most dietary restrictions and cook meals to please every palate. They can also arrange for special treats, such as a barbeque on the open-air deck.
Among European Waterways’ hotel barges, the 12-passenger L’Impressionniste, cruising Southern Burgundy, is ideal for larger groups, with a route that is close to a wide variety of outdoor activities and water sports. These include a water park with slides and a paddling pool; paintballing, the unique “bowling in the dark” game of laser bowl; canoeing, kayaking, and swimming. Other attractions include go-karting, quad biking for older children, and horseback riding. Based on 12 passengers traveling, charters on L’Impressionniste start at €57,500.
The eight-passenger Enchanté hotel barge on the Canal du Midi offers similar outdoor activities as L’Impressionniste, as well as rafting, cave exploring and rock climbing. Unique attractions include the Prehistoric Caves at Limoussis, a series of underground tunnels dating back over 100 years. Other excursions include a visit to a Goat’s Cheese Farm and the Richard de Bas Paper Mill – the first living museum in France. Based on eight passengers traveling, charters on Enchanté start at €44,000.
Along the Caledonian Canal in the Scottish Highlands, the eight-passenger Scottish Highlander offers some unique family-friendly attractions, such as a mountain gondola ride that soars over 1,800 feet up the Ben Nevis mountain range; a visit to the Treasures of the Earth museum, which features gemstones and fossils over 500 million years old; and time at a family-owned working farm with tractor rides.
Active families can visit an outdoor discovery park offering wall climbing, dry-skiing, quad biking, laser tag, grass sledging, and rope climbing. They can also take the scenic 84-mile steam train ride between Fort William and Mallaig – familiar to Harry Potter fans as the “Hogwarts Express” route. The entire family can also explore the Scottish coastline on a sea kayaking outing. Based on eight passengers travelling, Scottish Highlander charters start at €34,000.
“We’ve listened to the feedback of parents who want their kids to have fun on vacation, but still enjoy the opportunity to learn,” said Banks. “On a European Waterways Family Charter, our guests can focus on quality time, creating unforgettable memories together, knowing all the administrative details are taken care of by our dedicated staff.”
As part of all Family Cruises, European Waterways will also provide complimentary equipment such as highchairs, travel cots, children’s bikes & helmets, and car seats, upon request. Some activities may require an additional fee.