European Waterways has announced the completion of an extensive winter upgrade and refurbishment program on many of the company’s luxury hotel barges in its 18-vessel fleet for the 2017 cruising season, which started in April. The company's 'floating boutique hotels' were all thoroughly inspected and given a makeover by a team of designers and craftsmen.
Among improvements was the complete redesign of the saloon, dining and bar areas of two of the company's most popular barges, L'Art de Vivre, which cruises the Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy, and Anjodi, which cruises the Canal du Midi in France. Traditional boat building methods and materials, such as African hardwoods, were used to create the onboard ambiance.
Other improvements included the installation of wooden parquet flooring on several vessels, as well as new furnishings and decor in many cabins and public areas under the direction of British interior designer, Marion Falchi. European Waterways' new 12-passenger vessel, Spirit of Scotland, which embarks on its first cruising season on the Loch Ness and Caldeonian Canal this June, will boast new Scottish-weave tartan carpets and other traditional features.
European Waterways' barge cruises offer accommodations for six to 20 passengers. The intimate, small groups create the atmosphere of a floating house party on board, the company said. Every six-night barge cruise includes all gourmet meals, regional wins, an open bar, local transfers and the use of barge facilities such as bicycles to explore, a sundeck to lounge on, and a pool. The line also offers daily escorted excursions to wineries, castles and markets.