Barge outfits add ships, special-interest cruises

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NEW YORK -- The luxury barge market is providing new vessels and itineraries plus an expanded choice of special interest cruises for agents to sell.

  • The 20-passenger Marguerite became the 13th barge in the Continental Waterways fleet and will operate six-night Tulip Cruises in Holland through April 27.
  • From May 12 to Nov. 24, Marguerite will cruise through the Franche-Comte and eastern Burgundy regions of France, between Besancon and Verdun-sur-le-Doubs. Cruise fare ranges from $1,690 to $1,990 per person, double.

    The vessel has 10 cabins, each with a window/porthole, a wardrobe, a writing table and a bathroom.

    Its main deck houses the dining room and a lounge.

    Continental Waterways can be booked through Abercrombie & Kent, the Barge Broker and Premier Selections.

  • In July and August, French Country Waterways will put its spotlight on couples celebrating their 25th or 50th anniversaries by offering 25% and 50% discounts, respectively, aboard the 12-passenger Horizon II and the 18-passenger Esprit, cruising on different routes in Burgundy.
  • The hallmark of French Country Waterways cruises is a meal ashore at a three-star Michelin restaurant.

    Celebrating couples will dine at either La Cote d'Or in Saulieu or at Lameloise in Chagny, depending on the sailing; cruise fares range from $3,195 to $4,795.

  • Go Barging, a division of European Waterways, is adding a new dimension to cruising aboard its 12-vessel fleet with barge and golf vacations that don't require a group booking.
  • Barging and golfing departures are scheduled April through October in the following areas:

  • Scotland. Aboard the eight-passenger Scottish Highland, courses featured include Royal Dornoch, Nairn, Fort Augustus, Skibo and Gleneagles.
  • England. Aboard the 11-passenger Actief, courses featured include Huntercombe, Sunningdale, Denham Golf Club, Stoke and Wentworth.
  • Ireland. Aboard the 12-passenger Shannon Princess; rounds are offered at the Lahinch Golf Club, Portumna, Galway Bay and Glasson Golf and Country Club.
  • France. Aboard the eight-passenger l'Art de Vivre or 12-passenger l'Impressionniste, clients can play the Joiny and Domaine du Roncemay; aboard the eight-passenger
  • Anjodi, golf is at Golfe de St. Thomas and La Grande Motte.

    Six-night cruises include accommodations, all meals with wines, open bar, greens fees and sightseeing. Rates range from $2,500 to $4,190.

  • Family holidays are a specialty of Abercrombie & Kent, which has reserved special dates for family travel on a variety of barges in its cruise program.
  • The 22-passenger l'Abercrombie cruises the Burgundy Canal between Dijon and Auxois, departing July 21; the 22-passenger Lafayette cruises in Burgundy from Dijon to St. Jean de Losne to Chagny, departing July 14; the 24-passenger Chanterelle cruises in the Upper Loire between Nevers and Rogny, departing July 21; the 24-passenger Mirabelle cruises the Canal du Centre in Burgundy, departing July 7 and Aug. 11, and the 11-passenger Actief cruises England's Thames River Valley, departing July 22.

    New to the Abercrombie & Kent canal and river cruising program is the state-of-the-art River Cloud II, which makes its debut this year on Italy's Po River, sailing for seven nights between Cremona and Venice.

    The 88-passenger vessel is of Mediterranean character and design.

    It features a large lounge, a dining room with a gourmet menu of northern Italian specialties and selected wines from top vineyards.

    Cruise dates are June 3, July 15, Aug. 12 and Oct. 7, and the seven-night cruise cost is $3,300 per person, double; daily shore excursions, bar drinks and transfers are not included.

  • Sales are strong and steady for self-skippered boating holidays, and according to a Crown Blue Line spokesman, the leading cruising ground is France in general, with Venice specifically an almost sold-out destination.
  • Crown Blue expanded its 450-vessel fleet to include the new, 36-foot Clipper CrownClass, which offers accommodations for four people in two cabins, each with bathrooms, plus a saloon, a galley on the lower level and two steering positions.

    These ships sail in Holland, Germany and France (Alsace, Burgundy, Aquitaine, Midi), and the cost ranges from $1,880 to $2,860, per person, per week.

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