CanalBargeCruises.com Blog

Explore the Thames on the Magna Carta Barge Cruise

May 14th, 2013

England is steeped in history (as well as tea!), and nowhere is that more evident than when navigating the waters through which that history has flowed. We believe that one of the best ways to become steeped in that history yourself is by taking a river barge cruise aboard the Magna Carta on the Royal River Thames.

A luxury cruise aboard the 8 passenger Magna Carta on the Royal River Thames

Magna Carta meanders through the scenic English countryside. Photo courtesy of WAVEJourney.com

Aboard the luxurious, eight passenger Magna Carta, you will enjoy both the elegance of a bygone era and the comfort of modern conveniences. Built in 1936 of mahogany, teak and oak woods, the Magna Carta includes such modern amenities as under floor heating, a spa pool and modern, ensuite facilities in its spacious 200 sq. foot staterooms. The barge is also outfitted with amenities such as WiFi internet access and touring bikes that you can use to meander along the Thames footpaths. The upper deck includes a salon in which you can sample a wide variety of wines, as well as the dining room, where the master chef will present you with succulent local dishes including roast guinea fowl, rack of lamb, breast of duck, and traditional English cheeses.

Magna Carta moored along the Thames

Magna Carta moored for a night’s rest along the Thames. Photo courtesy of WAVEJourney.com.

While enjoying the lovely English countryside from the comfort of your floating country hotel, you will meander past quaint riverside villages and historic royal palaces. Your trip begins with an English cream tea to properly prepare you for your idyllic waterway excursion. In addition to river views of the fabulous waterside houses of Bray, there are carefully planned side trips to points of interest such as Hampton Court Palace, Windsor Castle and Windsor Great Park’s Saville Gardens. From the ancient village of Hurley with Ye Olde Belle, England’s oldest inn, to Cookham, which hosts the painter Sir Stanley Spencer’s gallery, to the River and Rowing Museum at Henley, you will find a wide array of sights and sounds to please all of your senses.

Guided excursions are highlights of the barge cruise on Magna Carta in England

The main street of Henley-on-Thames. Photo courtesy of WAVEJourney.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So come steep yourself in tea, history and idyllic English countryside.

Contact us to sign up today for your cruise on the Royal River Thames!

Bring on the crumpets!

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Immerse Yourself in English History at the Beautiful Hampton Court Palace

Beth Hanson
Barge Cruise Specialist since 1988
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A Barge Cruise in Scotland for Laddies and Lassies!

April 3rd, 2013

Scottish HighlanderIs it true? A barge cruise in Scotland? Aye, laddies and lassies, there is a splendid deluxe barge cruise on the 8-passenger Scottish Highlander complete with tartan decor and a warm Scottish welcome.

Scotland is certainly filled with breathtaking scenery, romantic medieval ruins and lively cities, but most tourists expect to see these while riding in a car or a tour bus when visiting Scotland. We suggest you think off-road instead, and cruise the Great Glen aboard this comfortable and inviting barge.

Scottish Highlander is equipped with all the modern amenities, including central heat, an all-weather, passenger-friendly wheelhouse, and eight touring bikes for your enjoyment of that breathtaking scenery. Your home-away-from-home also has all the atmosphere of a Scottish country house, complete with tartan furnishings and landscape paintings. You will enjoy traditional Scottish fare, including local salmon and game, unique regional cheeses and, of course, a large selection of single malt whiskeys. In addition, you will be regaled with local history, legends and sagas by the after-dinner storyteller.

Those stories will come alive as you sedately cruise four lochs (Ness, Oich, Lochy and Dochfour) and the Caledonian Canal, visiting such historic landmarks as Glencoe (of the Campbell and MacDonald clans), Eilean Donan and Urquhart castles, Cawdor Castle (home of Shakespeare’s Macbeth) and the Culloden Moor with its heather-clad hillsides. You will be intrigued with visits to local shops, where you can purchase your own woolens, tweeds and local gifts, a mountain gondola, and a tour of the Ben Nevis whiskey distillery.

As with all of our barge trips, you unpack once in your private cabin then relax for the rest of the week to enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! So contact us now and let us help you book your idyllic Scottish barge cruise.

Beth Hanson
Barge Cruise Specialist since 1988
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So what is an “all-inclusive” canal barge cruise?

March 24th, 2013
A delicious lunch on board Saint Louis, a deluxe 6 passenger barge in southwest France

A delicious lunch on board Saint Louis, a deluxe 6 passenger barge in southwest France

You see this phrase, “all-inclusive,” a lot, as you’re reading brochures and websites, discerning where you wish to take your next vacation. With the economy resembling a roller-coaster ride over the past few years, the concept of a vacation including “all” seems like a good idea—but is it really true, and how does it work?

Here’s what we mean by an “all-inclusive” canal barge cruise, also known as a “full board” cruise. In a nutshell, it means that once you have paid for your cruise and arrive on the barge, you will not need to pay anything to anyone during your time on board (other than an optional crew gratuity if you are happy with the service and cruise).

In more detail, this is what we mean by all-inclusive. A member of the barge crew will pick you up at the designated meeting location, usually a hotel or train station, and take you to the barge. You will receive cruise-specific information on the location once you have made your reservation, and we are happy to recommend our favorite hotels.  The barge van will return you to a designated location at the conclusion of your cruise to continue your travels.

All meals (your dietary needs and preferences are gladly accommodated) and wines are included. On board the barge is an open bar with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Accommodations with private bathroom are included in the cost of the cruise, as are all guided excursions and entrance fees. You will find that our barges also include a number of amenities ranging from bicycles, games, a library, and in many cases, hot tubs on deck! The use of all these are included in the cost of your cruise. Internet service is often available on our barges as well, though sometimes the reception in the countryside is sketchy. If it’s important to stay in touch, we suggest bringing a smart phone.

So what is not included in “all-inclusive”? Well, you will have the pleasure of buying your own souvenirs. Air or ground transportation to the meeting location and travel insurance are not included. And, if you are happy with the service and your cruise experience, a gratuity of 5-10% of the cruise price is greatly appreciated by your hard-working crew.

The bottom line with “all-inclusive” is that we will provide everything that you need to have an enjoyable, fascinating and unforgettable cruise, so contact us today to book one of our all-inclusive cruises!

Beth Hanson
Barge Cruise Specialist since 1988
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What to Pack for a Barge Cruise – Keep it Light!

February 12th, 2013
The idyllic Garonne Canal in southwest France

The idyllic Garonne Canal of southwest France

You’ve made plans to take a barge cruise! How exciting! The reservations have been made, the dates confirmed and now you need to figure out the really hard part.

What do I pack for my barge cruise? Feel free to download our Suggested Packing List to make it easy.

Because limited space is available on a barge cruise, it helps to choose items you can use more than once. Planning your wardrobe around one or two colors will allow each item to be used in several different ways. A neutral color like black or beige will allow lots of different looks by adding different colored tops.

First decide how casual or dressy you like to be, then adjust what you pack accordingly. Choose 2-3 pairs of pants, jeans or shorts, (depending on the season) and a skirt. With these basic elements, you can add tops, both short sleeve and long, a sweater or blazer, and a variety of scarves, belts or jewelry to change the look.

Be sure to bring a rain coat that can be layered over the sweater for extra warmth if needed. Bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes, some sandals that can double as slippers, and a dressier pair of shoes for evening, preferably with low heels. Add nightwear, a bathing suit, and a sun hat and you will be ready for anything.

Remember to bring small sizes of your toiletries packed in waterproof bags, and perhaps a small collapsible umbrella, a small flashlight, and travel alarm. Don’t forget a converter and plug adapter if you bring your own hairdryer or other small U.S. appliance. Don’t forget your camera with plenty of batteries or the charger (with the adapter plug and converter) and several memory cards.

We highly recommend purchasing a money belt if you don’t already have one. They are worn under your clothing and hold your passport, ATM  and credit cards, large bills, emergency contact information, and irreplaceable tickets.

Packing light is always a good idea, as it’s no fun to haul a heavy suitcase around. With airlines charging for checked baggage and overweight baggage, it’s also a money-saver. Most of us don’t use everything we bring along anyway, so why bring it? That will leave more room for the lovely remembrances we like to buy when we travel.

Do you have more questions about barge cruising? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions or Contact Us for more information.

We can help make your barge cruise one of the most memorable experiences of your life!

Beth Hanson
Barge Cruise Specialist since 1988
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Welcome to our barge cruises blog!

March 6th, 2012
Jack and Beth Hanson, owners of CanalBargeCruises.com

Jack and Beth Hanson, owners of CanalBargeCruises.com

Greetings from Beth Hanson, the owner of CanalBargeCruises.com. My husband, Jack, and I are all about canal barge cruises in France and Europe after cruising with our own barge for eight years.

Writing a blog is a bit daunting, but I’m ready for the challenge to share my experience and knowledge with you. Why? Because I love barge cruising. And I know a barge load of information about barge cruises from the barges themselves to the canals and sights visited along the way.

So where do I start? When I look back to the days when we owned and operated our own charter barge, I get so nostalgic I want to hop on a plane and head back to the amazing adventure Jack (my husband and partner) and I had from 1988 to 1996 when we cast fate to the wind and cruised the canals of Holland, Belgium and France on our own 4 passenger charter barge. It was the adventure of a lifetime, and I still pinch myself when I think of the most amazing experiences we had. Now that’s a blog!

Now, it is my job and pleasure to match wonderful people with wonderful barges so everyone can create their own experiences.

I’ll do my best to impart helpful information. Thanks for tuning in and subscribing to my blog so we can take this journey together. Welcome aboard, and thank you for letting me barge into your busy life.

Ready to go barging?

Here’s to your good health and happy travels,

Beth Hanson
Barge Cruise Specialist since 1988
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