We are proud to be a multi-award-winning cruise specialist

European Waterways: A house party on the water

Cruise Advice

For over 35 years, European Waterways have specialised in luxury barge holidays, pioneering slow travel long before trendy millennials jumped on the idea.

A selection of fully-crewed luxury vessels accommodate between six and 20 guests, creating the intimate atmosphere of a floating house party on board. You can join a small group of like-minded travellers on an individual cabin basis, but we love the option of chartering a whole boat with friends or family.

European Waterways operate a number of 6-night itineraries far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life; you can travel the beautiful inland waterways of France, Holland, Italy, Germany and Luxembourg, while closer to home you can opt for a barge cruise in Scotland, Ireland and even along the Thames. Each day offers a relaxed pace, with a few hours of sedate cruising, allowing you to simply sit and watch the world go by, enjoying a drink or relaxing in good company. Alternatively, you can lose yourself in a good book as you sit in the sunshine, hop ashore at a lock to walk along the towpath, or set forth on a little expedition on the provided bicycles.

European Waterways - Renaissance - Sundeck

Daily escorted excursions on your own private minibus are included, visiting wineries, castles, markets or craftsmen at work, and tailored activities for teenagers or younger children can be arranged at your request, with everything from tennis to paintballing to horse riding on offer. Families can even let the little ones steer the vessel, and children's bikes (and helmets) are provided for a ride along the towpath.

All of your gourmet meals are included, with dishes created by the onboard chef using the best local ingredients, and there is an open bar with carefully selected local wines and cheeses, introduced by your host or hostess. This is especially delightful when traveling through areas known for their wine and their outstanding cuisine, such as Burgundy, Champagne, the Loire Valley, the Canal du Midi and Bordeaux.

European Waterways - L'Art de Vivre - Dining room

There is also a large range of themed sailings, including antique hunting on the Royal River Thames, golf in Scotland, wine appreciation in France and Italy, and walking in Burgundy. For full barge charters these can be tailored to suit your individual tastes.

To adapt to cruising in the current environment European Waterways have introduced extensive safe cruising protocols, including a rigorous deep cleaning of the barge, minibus, and any shared equipment before and after every cruise. Air conditioning on board is not circulated between cabins but is individual, and units are cleaned and disinfected before every cruise and fitted with hospital grade filters.

European Waterways - Renaissance - Moliere Cabin

Guests complete a pre-boarding questionnaire and pass a contactless temperature test, and crew are subject to pre-cruise medical checks and regular temperature controls. Should there be any sort of medical issues whilst on board, each barge has the contact of an English-speaking doctor who can attend at short notice. Amendments have also been made to the terms and conditions to allow for more flexibility so you can book your cruise with confidence.

Meet the author

Alex is Director of Sales & Marketing at Mundy Cruising, having worked with the company for 10 years and in travel for over 18 years. Most recently he's cruised on Regent Seven Seas and has also sailed with Seabourn, Crystal, SeaDream, Tauck and Ponant. His favourite destination is South America however he's also enjoyed cruises in the Western Mediterranean, Middle East, East Africa & Indian Ocean, India, Myanmar, South East Asia and Antarctica. When he’s not travelling he loves walking holidays; a favourite included a trek to Everest Base Camp.

More about Alex

Get your free subscription to Cruise News

The UK's most authoritative magazine about the world of luxury cruising. New ships, new destinations, new experiences and new offers. Be more informed, every two months, with Cruise News.

Order your copy