Cruising, as a genre of travel, has been around for many decades. But when one thinks of the word, perhaps more often than not what comes to mind are the huge ocean going vessels with all-inclusive packages, hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of people on board and a selection of well-worn itineraries to high-profile countries and cities. |
While those kinds of experiences are loved by many the world over, for anyone who prefers a slower, more intimate mode of travel, luxury barge trips in France offer an opportunity of a very different kind on the water.
Large Ocean Cruises vs. Luxury Barge Trips in France
It’s certainly possible to enjoy both options, but in general it’s a different kind of person who chooses a small barge cruise over one of the larger, ocean-going ones. For those wondering about the differences, we’ve compiled a brief, at-a-glance comparison. Please excuse our bias…
An Intimate Atmosphere
If you choose one of the luxury barge trips in France with a well-respected operator you will enjoy not only opulent accommodation, but also the bliss of a genuinely intimate on-board ambience. It feels more like an extended house party with friends than anything else, with the bonus of exceptional and discrete personal service from the crew. The atmosphere is nothing like that on a large cruise vessel, where you often have to queue for buffets and activities and (unless you pay a premium) the accommodation can be at best mediocre and at worst sub-standard. (And try finding a quiet place alone…)
A Slower Pace
While the slow life isn’t for everyone, when you’re on holiday it can really make you feel like you’re on holiday and not just an extension of your busy life! Barges travel at a very steady and sedate 3mph, with the average distance covered being around 70 miles a week. That’s a far cry from the vast distances and multiple countries visited on a large ship, but the pay-off is that you really get to see the heart and soul of a place – and that kind of authenticity is wonderful, not only for your mind and body, but also your soul. If you’re looking to pay more than just lip service to a place and not simply rush around ticking things off a list, there’s really no comparison between the two.
A Genuine Luxury Experience
One of the most appealing things about luxury barge trips in France is that the words are not simply a catch phrase to sell holidays. They provide you with luxury in every sense of the word, from the gorgeous cabin accommodation and beautiful common spaces on the vessel, to the five star dining every evening prepared by the on-board chef. But possibly the most literal meaning of the word is delivered in a less tangible way: it’s the indulgence of seeing a destination with the gift of time, space and a small, like minded group of people with which to share it. And that’s truly priceless…
Of course we’re not suggesting heading off on a fun-filled ocean cruise is not a great option for many, many people, and they remain highly popular. However for those seeking a quieter, more considered way of travelling, luxury barge trips in France (and many other destinations around Europe) offer a wonderful alternative. The idea is only growing in popularity as more and more people discover just how wonderful and memorable they can be.
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive luxury barge trips in France. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.
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