European Waterways Expands the Culture-Rich Offerings for the 2014 Season
For the 2014 season, European Waterways, Europe's largest luxury hotel barge cruising company, is adding new onshore excursions to its cruises in Burgundy, Southern France and Scotland. The excursions highlight the beauty, charm and local customs of the regions and will complement the culture-rich itineraries offered on each cruise.
"Cruising the inland waterways and canals of the Europe is an ideal way to leisurely explore the historical and hidden gems of the local countryside, such as the elegant French châteaux and charming villages located just a short distance from our routes but miles from the noise and crowds of the nearest city," said Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways.
Châteaux in Burgundy Make a Great Impression
For 2014, aboard luxury hotel barge L'Impressionniste, European Waterways has added a visit to Château de Bussy-Rabutin, a picturesque 12th century castle surrounded by moats and manicured French gardens. Among tour highlights is a portrait gallery created by Roger de Rabutin, a disgraced courtier of King Louis XIV in the 17th century. Exiled here and banished from royal favor, he wrote his memoirs of the "Sun King" and decorated the château with hundreds of royal portraits, each accompanied by an inscription and an unusual, sometimes inscrutable motto. Other highlights on the itinerary include tastings of Grand Cru and Premier Cru wines at Château Andre Ziltener and Bouchard Pere et Fils, and a tour of old Dijon, where guests will explore the produce markets, mustard shops, and the Notre-Dame de Dijon.
On the charter-only luxury hotel barge Absoluut2, European Waterways has introduced a wine tasting at Château de Meursault, a renowned castle and vineyard estate ideally situated to cultivate the finest grapes and award winning wines. The cruise also features a tour of Beaune, the wine-growing "capital" of Burgundy, as well as visits to two magnificent properties, the Château de Commarin and Château Savigny-les-Beaune.
New Itinerary Offerings in Southern France
A new itinerary on hotel barge Rosa will feature the renowned Bordeaux wine region of South-western France from August to October. Ideal for wine and history enthusiasts, the cruise includes an excursion to Saint Émilion, center of the most famous Bordeaux wine appellations and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Other highlights include a tasting of Grand Cru wines at Château Beau-Sejour-Becot, and visits to the picturesque medieval towns of Nerac, Vianne and Le Mas d'Agenais.
On the sundrenched Canal du Midi, luxury hotel barge Enchante will now enjoy a longer route between the ancient cities of Narbonne and Carcassonne, offering travelers an opportunity to explore more of the historic region that is famous for its fortified hilltop villages and local artisanal crafts. The extended itinerary will include a tour of L'Oulibo, a local co-operative olive press where guests will learn about the unique production process and taste the famous Lucques olives, and a private tasting of fine Corbières wines at Château Ollieux Romanis.
Scotland has designated 2014 as the "Year of Homecoming," during which the country will play host to the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup, as well as offer a year-long program of events and activities that highlight its cuisine, and cultural and ancestral heritage.
As part of its own celebrations, European Waterways has added several new excursions to the itinerary of hotel barge Scottish Highlander, which cruises the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness through a spectacular scenic landscape featuring medieval castles, local villages and historic battle sites. Tour favourites include visits to Clava Cairns, a clan chieftain prehistoric burial site dating back to 2,000 B.C., and the Glen Ord whisky distillery, founded in 1838 and famed for its single and blended malts. Here, guests will learn about the maturing and distilling process and be treated to a special tasting.
"Regardless of the cruise you take, whether in France, the U.K., Scotland or Italy, our guided excursions allow guests the opportunity to experience the soul of a region—the food and local culture, the rich history, and much more," said Banks.
About European Waterways
The hotel barging experience is different from large vessel river cruising. It offers a slower paced, "gentle voyage of discovery" along the more intimate canals and waterways of Europe, allowing a small number of guests to become more fully immersed in the culture, history and gastronomy of the region. European Waterways is Europe's largest all-inclusive luxury hotel barging group, offering vacations in nine countries and carrying over 2,000 passengers a year. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, today they own and operate a fleet of luxury barges and market cruises in France, Italy, Scotland, Ireland, England, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. Pioneers in hotel barging, they were the first company to offer a cruise on the Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy, and through the "chateau region" of the Loire Valley. They are also the only cruise company offering barge cruises in Scotland and in the Venetian lagoon and River Po valley.
Please visit www.gobarging.com or call Toll Free 1 877 879 8808 for more information, pricing, cruise schedules, brochures. Follow European Waterways on Facebook and Twitter and view their YouTube channel, http://bit.ly/19kQhbm.