Barging in Europe: Food, Wine and Quality Time With Friends. Abercrombie & Kent curates a portfolio of relaxed holidays along the most picturesque waterways of France, Italy, Germany, Holland, the UK and Ireland

Hotel Barge L'Impressionniste -  Abercrombie & KentCruising by canal barge has long been a favorite for a leisurely European holiday, but now more than ever before, it’s being recognized for what it offers groups of friends looking to celebrate a milestone birthday or just reconnect in person.

Abercrombie & Kent’s 2023 European Canal Barge Cruises collection offers a tempting array of barges and routes throughout the continent, each promising an all-inclusive, stress-free adventure – exactly what’s called for on a friends getaway.

“Barging has always been the ideal vacation for couples or groups of friends who want to relax, indulge and enjoy their time together,” explains Liam Dunch, A&K Product Manager, Europe. “Imagine a floating European villa, with days spent exploring local villages, biking along the towpath or simply relaxing on deck as the scenery floats by – and your own personal chef who prepares meals with market-fresh local ingredients paired with local wines, often only available regionally.”

Inspiring dining opportunities, prepared by an expert chef, are one of the highlights of A&K European Canal Barge Cruises.

Wake up each morning to a beautiful arrangement of locally sourced pastries, artisanal cheeses, fresh fruit, yogurt, fruit juice and freshly brewed coffee. Lunch features an impressive spread of rustic salads, homemade soups, quiches, pâtés, and cheese and wine presentations, often served al fresco with countryside views. At the end of the day, moored beneath the stars, savor an unforgettable feast prepared with local, market-fresh ingredients, accompanied by a selection of cheeses and dessert. Throughout the meal, specially-chosen fine wines are served to complement the evening’s cuisine.

A&K has curated a portfolio of more than 20 of the finest canal cruise vessels operating in Europe today. Only the most inviting barges, accomplished chefs and attentive crews are presented. Each barge plies their own distinct routes through Europe’s most popular cruising regions: Burgundy & the Upper Loire; Provence and the South of France; Alsace, Champagne & the Moselle; and Ireland, Scotland & England as well as Italy and Holland.

‘La Bella Vita’ – Po Valley & Venetian Lagoon
Seven days from $83,500 per charter (20 guests)

‘Meanderer’ – Canal de Briare & Canal Latéral à la Loire
Seven days from $40,100 per charter (6 guests)

‘Panache’ – Canal de le Marne au Rhin
Seven days from $68,500 per charter (12 guests)

‘L’Art de Vivre’ – Canal du Nivernais
Seven days from $39,000 per charter (8 guests)

‘L’Impressionniste’ – Burgundy Canal
Seven days from $67,000 per charter (12 guests)

‘Roi Soleil’ – Canal du Midi
Seven days from $34,200 per charter (6 guests)

Chartering a barge guarantees exclusive use of the vessel, allowing friends and family to travel together privately, enjoying sightseeing tailored to their interests. On some barges, guests can book individual cabins, sharing the vessel’s amenities, sightseeing excursions and meals with fellow guests. For those who want to explore more of the region before or after their cruise, A&K will tailor make a private itinerary featuring must-see sites, customized to guest specifications.

While providing a leisurely experience, canal barge cruising also represents the utmost in value. Prices for seven-day/six-night private charters begin at just $4,175 per person, double occupancy, and include accommodations, meals, all beverages, guided sightseeing and entry fees. Each vessel includes comfortable cabins with en suite facilities and distinctive dining with exceptional service. Many offer spacious lounges and sundecks for al fresco dining.

A&K’s European offices and extensive local connections can plan a truly comprehensive holiday, including pre- and post-cruise stays in some of Europe’s greatest cities, as well as transportation.

(Abercrombie & Kent)