“Wine and friends are a great blend,” Ernest Hemingway once said. This philosophy is at the heart of European Waterways’ dedication to offering its guests exclusive, immersive wine experiences on their luxury hotel barges that cruise the canals.
Guests cruise with like-minded fellow travelers who are enjoy sharing the experience of learning about the history and traditions of winemaking, from grape growing to bottling, and the nuances of the different wines. Excursions feature tastings at family-owned vineyards and private tours of historic châteaux.
The cruises also include gastronomic meals paired with the finest regional wines, sometimes from the very vineyard visited. On board hosts explain the significance of each vintage and guide guests on how to best enjoy them.
“Wine and the company of fellow passengers are integral parts of the luxury hotel barge cruising experience,” said Derek Banks, Managing Director of European Waterways. “Whether serious connoisseurs or just curious about wines, our guests are always sure to stay in good ‘spirit’ throughout the six-night, all-inclusive cruises.”
A Fine Wine Romance
Among European Waterways’ popular hotel barges is the eight-passenger Finesse, which cruises Southern Burgundy. Guests aboard Finesse visit Maison Champy – a winery located in the heart of Beaune, the Capital of Burgundy Wines. A UNESCO historical monument, the winery was designed by the famed architect, Gustave Eiffel, and is one of the oldest in France. Here they’ll enjoy a guided tour of the vineyards and a tasting hosted by a wine expert. They’ll also be treated to a gourmet lunch at CUVE 17, a unique dining experience inside one of the winery’s huge historic wooden wine vats, known as ‘cuves’, where a four-course seasonal lunch with wine parings of Premier and Grand Crus is served.
Guests aboard European Waterways’ eight-passenger Renaissance, cruising France’s oldest canal, the Canal de Briare, enjoy a tour and private wine tasting at the Sancerre winery of La Perrière. The winery is famous for its vast natural cave, dating back millions of years, where its distillation vats are housed. Renaissance cruises include excursions to the studio home of artist Rosa Bonheur, the most celebrated female artist of the 19th century, with a private lunch in her salon. They also offer a cooking demonstration at the privately-owned Château de La Bussière, a former fortified castle dating back to the 12th century.
Guests on the 12-passenger Panache visit the boutique Grand Cru champagne house of Frerejean Frères, located in the middle of the Champagne countryside. The tour is followed by lunch in the family Domaine, with ingredients harvested from its gardens. Champagne cruise passengers savor more bubbles with tastings at the world-renowned house of Moët & Chandon and the Maison Pannier winery with its labyrinth of medieval underground cellars.
The Panache also travels through the Alsace-Lorraine region.
Hotel Barging on European Waterways
Hotel Barging is a boutique experience that offers an immersive and all-inclusive “gentle voyage of discovery,” focusing upon the culture, history, fine wine, and gourmet cuisine of the cruise regions. With a 6-to-20-person capacity and 1:2 crew ratio, European Waterways is able to provide an impeccable level of on-board service and transport its guests on intimate inland waterways that are inaccessible to larger vessels.
This fascinating network of smaller canals allows for flexibility, spontaneity, and ample opportunity to hop off and explore the beautiful surroundings via bicycle or on foot. In addition, there are daily, chauffeured excursions “off the beaten track” to a wide variety of enthralling locations and activities, from exquisite wine tastings to private tours of stately homes.
With over 40 years’ experience and a fleet that spans nine countries, European Waterways is one of the largest luxury hotel barging companies in Europe.
Most European Waterways hotel barges can also be chartered for a more immersive Wine Appreciation Cruise.
For more information, call 1-877-879-8808 in the U.S. and 1-877-574-3404 in Canada, or visit www.europeanwaterways.com.
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