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European Waterways’ Ladies at Leisure Cruises

Flexible Itinerary Options Offer Culinary Excursions, Boutique and Market Shopping, Art, and Well-being Themes

European Waterways is the largest luxury hotel barging company in Europe. For those of you not familiar with the term hotel barging, it is a boutique, unique experience, offering an immersive, all-inclusive “gentle voyage of discovery”, focusing on the culture, history, fine wine and gourmet cuisine of the region.

Travelling in groups is increasing in popularity and European Waterways has introduced 6 night “Ladies at Leisure” hotel barge charter options, offering a wide range of excursions, culinary experiences, shopping and health-conscious themes, such as yoga and walking.

They are a unique way for female travellers to indulge in their favourite activities, while on holiday with their relatives, friends, or social groups in some of the most attractive and exclusive regions of Europe.

Managing Director of European Waterways, Derek Banks, said “Today’s female travellers are more confident and independent. The social nature of hotel barging makes it an ideal way to take a break, or mark a celebration, with like-minded friends in a relaxing setting”.

European Waterways’ Ladies at Leisure cruises can be tailored to meet the special interests of each group. For example, a culinary themed cruise can include private cooking demonstrations, excursions may feature truffle hunting and visits to local attractions such as an artisan chocolatier, or a Mediterranean oyster farm.

Guests can take an educational tour of L’Oulibo, a factory that produces the purest extra virgin olive oil from the famous Lucques olive, one of the hardest from which to extract the oil. They can also enjoy gastronomic excursions to local food markets, accompanied by their on-board master chef, who can incorporate their culinary finds into the evening menu.

Culinary-Themed

L’Impressionniste

The deluxe 12-passenger barge which sails Southern Burgundy on the Canal de Bourgogne – the cruise offers free transfers in chauffeured minivans from Paris

Enchanté

For smaller groups, the ultra-deluxe 8-passenger barge cruises on the famed Canal du Midi, are ideal.

What’s Included

Charter pricing includes:

  • an attentive, experienced crew;
  • transfers from the pick up point to the barge mooring (and return on the day of departure);
  • en-suite accommodation;
  • all gourmet meals; all drinks/fine wines/open bar;
  • all daily, escorted excursions/tours, which are pre-arranged and these are with transport provided;
  • use of bicycles on board
  • Some cruises also feature onboard entertainment by local performers, as well as demonstrations by local craftsmen.

With the charter offer applying, full barge prices for selected Spring 2019 cruise departures aboard Enchanté start from £29,080, based on 8 people, a saving of over £8,000.

Well Being Cruises

Health-themed holidays are also increasingly popular with female travellers, and European Waterways’ cruises offer plenty of opportunities to engage in “gentle exercise”, such as walking on the gentle towpaths that run parallel to the canal, or starting the day with a morning yoga class on deck.

L’Art de Vivre the 8-passenger hotel barge offers Walking Cruises in Burgundy between Auxerre and Chevroches, with the cruises providing countless opportunities to take in the historic Burgundian countryside and picturesque medieval villages along the way.

Wine Appreciation Cruises

The 8-passenger Rosa hotel barge sails through the sun soaked city of Saint-Émilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the most famous of the Bordeaux appellations.

The 20-passenger La Bella Vita provides a slice of the good life on her Wine Appreciation Cruise through the Veneto region of Italy. Guests can taste world-renowned vintages as they tour the sprawling Renaissance wine estates en route between Venice and Mantua.

Art Themed Cruises

For more creative groups, art-themed cruises come with an expert “art guide” who shows guests around craft workshops and boutiques and suggests the best painting spots. The hotel barge itself makes an ideal “spot,” and guests can paint on-board while enjoying a cocktail, or chilled glass of champagne.

Onboard Activities

“There is never a ‘what do we do today’ moment on a European Waterways’ cruise, because activities are carefully planned to fill the days,” said Banks. “We also ensure there is plenty of free time for our guests to do nothing at all but enjoy the beautiful countryside as they sit back and sip their favourite wine. For some, that’s ‘activity’ enough!”

European Waterways

With over 40 years’ experience and a fleet that spans nine countries, 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 can transport guests on the 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 to this there are daily, chauffeured excursions “off the beaten track” to a wide variety of enthralling locations, from exquisite wine tastings to private tours of stately homes.

Please visit www.europeanwaterways.com for information

Follow European Waterways on Facebook and Twitter and view the YouTube channel.

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Viking Sea Cruise – Day Four – Exploring The Ship

Good Morning St Kitts

Despite the forecast of rain, it was still warm and balmy as I stepped out onto my balcony onboard Viking Sea, to take a look at St Kitts.

I will forgive you for thinking I was crazy not getting off the ship in St Kitts. However, I really wanted to get to know the Viking Sea a little better and this was the only port I hadn’t booked an excursion for.

As there was no rush to be anywhere, I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in bed.

When I was ready I headed out to explore the ship. Unlike other cruises I have been on, I found myself meeting and talking to other passengers. Maybe it was because we had met on the shore excursions, and the fact I didn’t have my son in tow. I think it was partly to do with me wanting to explain to people why I had a GoPro strapped to my head! I was also surprised to meet so many British passengers onboard.

Who Were The Vikings?

In keeping with the authentic experience Viking Cruises pride themselves on, there is a Viking Heritage Museum on deck two.

The impressive display of antiquities feeds the imagination of times gone by.

The people we now call “Vikings” were not a unified group or culture. Rather, they were the Norse peoples of Scandinavia – modern-day Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Principally they existed as farmers, but they also were settlers, traders, crafters, explorers and raiders.

Nordic Chic

Making my way outside, I walked through the Aquavit Terrace, which feels fresh with it’s nordic chic decor.

This leads you out to Viking’s signature infinity pool at the aft of the ship. I wasn’t the only one wanting to enjoy the onboard luxury. There were a few people in the pool and the hot tub.

Making my way upstairs to wander around the top deck, the view of the St Kitts mountains was stunning.

Lunch by the pool

Having missed lunch the last two days while off exploring, I didn’t want to miss it today. I had heard great reports about the Pool Grill which serves food until 2.30. It was getting close to that time already so I went to the main pool to get a closer look.

There was a lovely salad bar which included a gluten free Artesian Salad with Potato and Eggplant, a Marinated Fennel and Tomato and Prawns which was also gluten free. Although the food selection changes daily, I could have eaten the Eggplant salad every day. Burgers, hot dogs and fish are cooked to order at the grill and are served with coleslaw, red onion jam and a selection of toppings.

After lunch I found a great spot to top up my tan and relax for a while.

The bag I was using is a the Alex Folding Travel Bag by Mia Tui. They come in a wide range of designs including black, polka dots and multi coloured.

Afternoon Tea

Athough I was still full from lunch, my travelling companions were meeting in the Wintergarden for afternoon tea at 4.00pm. I popped by as I knew I would be off the ship the following afternoon.

It was a good job they had saved me a seat. Afternoon tea is hugely popular with the guests and I can see why. A classical trio created the perfect quintessential atmosphere for enjoying the delicate sandwiches and cakes. Fresh scones were served by hand and complimented by an extensive drinks menu including a wide range of teas. I opted for the mango tea, which was very refreshing.

A Perfect Moment

As we departed St Kitts, I jumped into the infinity pool to enjoy the view. I remember when I first saw an image of the Viking Cruise ships, and thought how much I would love to be in that infinity pool. I never imagined it would actually come true.

The Beauty of Cruising

From one stunning view to another. I returned to my room to get changed and enjoyed the sunset from my balcony. It never ceases to amaze me the constant beauty you experience when you look out over the ocean from a cruise ship.

Feeling all tanned and refreshed, I took a walk to the atrium to see what was going on. A very handsome guitarist sat playing classical guitar. The sound was beautiful and he smiled at me. (Ok I was pointing a camera at him, but just let me have this).

The World Cafe

I went to take a look at the seafood and sushi in the buffet, as I had been advised not to miss it and I wasn’t disappointed.

I started with the seafood and a nice chilled glass of chardonnay. Wine and beer is complimentary with lunch and dinner, although I had the silver spirits beverage package which allows you drinks throughout the day for an additional $19.95 per guest per night.

This was the best sushi I have ever had.

After dinner, I took another stroll around the ship. As the Viking Sea was now sailing, the shops were open. There are not many shops onboard Viking Cruise ships, but the ones they do have are worth a visit. If you are looking for a jumper for extreme cold, this is the place to get one.

As you can imagine, everything is Nordic themed including the jewellery, ornaments, books and these cute but slightly scary viking head stuffed toys.

Why not take one of these little chaps home with you?

Movie Under The Stars

The main pool on the Viking Sea has a retractable roof so people can use the pool in the evenings. They also have a movie screen which is not used during the day, but some evenings they transform the space into a movie theatre.

Before people started to arrive for the movie “A Dog’s Purpose”, I took this short video of the room set up. What a lovely place to relax and enjoy a film, whilst you are sailing to your next destination?

I stayed to watch some of the movie. It featured a dog, so I knew whatever happened in the end it would have me in tears. I left early to avoid the inevitable blubbing, and went to bed. St Lucia tomorrow!!

Have you read Day Three – St Croix

If so, why not go to Day Five – St Lucia

Thinking of booking your own Viking Cruise? Click My Viking Cruise to visit their website.