ABOUT HOTEL BARGES AND BARGE CRUISES ...
The barges on this website carry from 4 to 24 passengers. Most were working cargo barges (peniche, in French), but have now been been transformed into elegant floating hotels.
IMAGINE ... an intimate and tranquil oasis of calm, joie-de-vivre, celebration of life, friendships, cuisines, and wines ... cruising through the beautiful countryside, walking along the canal towpath, biking into a village ... private excursions ... we call it a "barge cruise" and passengers call it "the best vacation of their lives."
Cruise Dates and Length: Hotel barges typically cruise for seven days and six nights from early April to late October. Most start on a Saturday or Sunday. A few barges offer half week charter cruises.
6-passenger deluxe barge Apres Tout cruises in France on the Burgundy Canal
Cost: Prices apply to the 2017 cruise season but there are still some openings remaining this 2016 season, through October. You can charter a barge for friends or family or book individual cabins on most barges. Charters are a fantastic way to celebrate special occasions, and can be tailored to your interests. All rates listed are in US Dollars (a few exceptions) and range from just under $4,000 to $8,000 or more per person, based on double occupancy, and equivalent pro-rata prices per person when chartering a barge. For single occupancy there is usually a single supplement.
Category: Categories relate primarily to the size of the cabins, with "Ultra Deluxe" offering the most spacious cabins (up to 300 square feet) and highest level of elegance and amenities, "Deluxe" barges have cabins up to 200 square feet and "First Class" barges have cabins closer to 100 square feet.
What's included and not included: Barge cruises are typically ALL-INCLUSIVE: your cabin with ensuite bathroom, all meals, wines, open bar, WiFi, daily escorted side excursions and transfers from a major city to the barge and return. A few barges offer half-board with some meals not included. Not included: Overseas airfare, suggested crew gratuity, and trip insurance.
WHY IS A HOTEL BARGE CRUISE SO SPECIAL?
-- The outstanding cuisine and carefully selected wines and cheeses to accompany meals aboard the barge.
-- The beauty and tranquility of the canals and rivers, with the chance to bike and walk along the canal or waterway.
-- The pampering and attention from enthusiastic crewmembers, and the luxury of having them provide personal, guided tours of special places along the way.
6-passenger deluxe barge Saint Louis cruises in Southwest France near Bordeaux
As one of our passengers said about her cruise on the Saint Louis this year:
"I've run out of adjectives to describe our week on the Saint Louis. I mean, they're all there --
wonderful, fun, amazing, delicious, surprising, jolly, hysterical (in the good sense), funny,
heartwarming, extraordinary, etc. and they all apply, but none of them captures any more
than a tiny aspect of the magic that is Saint Louis."
We are a small, family-run business. We have been aboard all of the barges in France (and other countries), and arranging luxury hotel barge cruises is our only business, since 1997. We serve travelers throughout the world who search for a unique travel experience that combines exquisite cuisine, exclusive wine tastings, intimate excursions, biking and walking, and pampered relaxation into a magical week that is the perfect stage for celebrating a special birthday or anniversary, a family adventure, or simply to savor 'joie de vivre'!
To make sure we have the most current information and to share our first-hand experience with you, we visit barges in France and the rest of Europe every year. Our long-standing relationships with each barge owner provide us with the background to help you select the best canal cruise or river cruise for the vacation of a lifetime. Based in Edgewater, Maryland, USA, we provide you with personal attention and detailed answers to your questions 7 days a week. With our many years of experience aboard Barges in France and Barges in Europe, Special Places Travel is a leading, trusted source you can rely on. In addition to helping you select the barge and cruise area that's best for you, we can also provide detailed recommendations on hotels, itineraries, things to do, and how to get to your cruise destination.
Left to right: BargesInFrance.com/Special Places Travel owners Sally Dillin, Don Dillin, Chip Banister, and Sales Manager, Kathy Lynch
When you telephone or email us, you will be reaching owners Don Dillin, or Sally
Dillin, or Chip Banister, or Sales Manager Kathy Lynch -- all are passionate
about barge travel and all have first-hand experience aboard the 50+ barges
in France and the rest of Europe.
As a team we are focused on helping you make the very best decision from
among the many choices based on our personal experience. We are all
familiar with each booking, so you can always get knowledgeable answers
to any question from your initial inquiry through your return home from
What Our Clients Say About Us ...
"The pre-trip information from Special Places Travel was a very detailed and informative compilation of all the information needed from departing the US, arrival in France, transport to barge, and departure. I do not believe we have seen such a detailed travel piece completed by any of our other trips. Great job."
P.& R.S. WY, USA, May 2016
"Special Places Travel was always responsive, helpful, and informative. I especially liked the itinerary booklet. The pre-trip information was perfect. I always obsessively research trips - Our information always squared with SPT's. Even better was the communication between SPT, us, and the barge. This communication contributed to the success of the trip."
W.M. & J.W., GA, USA, June 2016
"Excellent service in every way: Communication, timely and complete receipt of
documents, insurance recommendation, even extra tidbits of general travel info
that we found others who booked through someone else had not been given."
D.G., North Carolina
"Your services were first class. You answered every one of our questions fully
and promptly. We took a lot of comfort and confidence from that. In the
pre-booking stages, you were enormously helpful to me in sorting through the
various alternatives, and providing objective criteria for evaluation."
C.H., Washington, DC
"The service from Special Places Travel was extremely helpful and professional.
Kathy's suggestions regarding trains, hotels and day trips post barge cruise
was a lifesaver."
"The service from Special Places Travel was excellent! I got rapid responses
and complete answers to all my questions. We immediately felt that somebody
really cared about our enjoying the cruise experience."
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Barges in France, A Division of Special Places Travel, LLC.
Barges in Europe, A Division of Special Places Travel, LLC.
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Member: American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Bonded. Founded 1997. American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Discover accepted.
Last Update: September 28, 2016