European Waterways announced the purchase of the stylish Enchanté and Finesse hotel barges, two double-decker vessels that reflect the ultimate in luxury canal barging. The vessels, which carry up to eight passengers and a crew of five that includes an onboard master chef, expand the company’s Ultra Deluxe barge categories. Hotel barge Enchanté cruises the Canal du Midi, while Finesse explores the Canal du Centre and the Canal de Bourgogne in Southern Burgundy. Their purchases strengthen the company’s status as the largest operator of luxury hotel barges in Europe with a total of 17 vessels. The purchases also come as barging vacations move out of the niche market category and into the mainstream, with more travelers discovering “the joys of hotel barging.”
“The surge in canal barge cruising is part of a growing trend among travelers who seek out ‘slow travel’ experiences that allow them to become immerse in the history, culture and cuisine of the cruise region,” said Derek Banks, European Waterways’ Managing Director. “They are also ideal for today’s travel environment, as they can be chartered by families and small group to create an exclusive ‘travel bubble’ that allows them to stay together throughout the entire six-night, all-inclusive cruises.”
Enchanté and Finesse offer the perfect mix of luxury accommodations and modern amenities. They feature luxurious ensuite cabins, large sun decks for alfresco dining, and a spa pool. Guests can also avail themselves of the onboard bicycles to pedal along the gentle towpaths or explore the nearby villages. Barge highlights also include a spacious saloon with an open demonstration galley where the master chef prepares the day’s gourmet meals in full view of guests.