Multigenerational travel is hot — so much so companies like European Waterways — which used to attract a more senior crowd — has seen a 60 percent increase in family charters in the last year. To introduce more families to the joys of hotel barge cruising, the company is upping its game in 2019 by allowing guests to “pick and mix” daily tours and activities to meet the interest of every generation on board.
“Families are busier than ever before, so finding quality time together is a major driver of multigenerational travel,” noted Derek Banks, managing director, European Waterways. “A hotel barge charter offers flexibility and freedom for family members of all ages. It’s like having your own ‘private floating villa’ in a different location every day! All excursions are preplanned, and the onboard master chef can satisfy every palate, from hearty children’s meals to sophisticated haute cuisine for adults.”
On the eight-passenger L’Art de Vivre, for example, families can “pick” a visit to Guedelon Castle, where they can watch a team of craftsmen build a castle with just the materials and techniques used in the Middle Ages.
Other kid-friendly activities include playing laser tag or mini golf or visiting a dinosaur park, while Mom and Dad can opt for a wine tasting excursion to the cellars of the prestigious Domaine Laroche. Adults can also tour the 1,000-year-old Obediencerie monastery where monks have been making wine since the middle ages. Foodies of all ages can tuck into dinner at the posh Chateau de Vault-de-Lugny’s restaurant on a secluded estate in the heart of Burgundy.
The six-passenger Nymphea offers families the chance to explore the Charente River by canoe or kayak and to enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the Beauval zoological park, which houses nearly 10,000 animals.
They can also join excursions to the Chateau du Clos Luce and Gardens, once the home of Leonardo da Vinci, where they can see some of da Vinci’s famous inventions and become inspired to create their own.
The eight-passenger Anjodi’s itinerary offers a wide range of family-friendly activities, visits to Pirateland, an amusement park in the beach resort of Marseillan Plage with a waterpark, inflatable games and mini golf, and paintballing at Beziers Forest Adventure Park. Children and parents will likely enjoy the prehistoric caves at Limoussis, home to some of the largest array of aragonite crystals, and the pre-Roman hilltop settlement near Beziers. Sports nuts can get a few swings in at the international Centre of Tennis in Agde or the nine-hole Cap d’Agde golf course near the seafront.
“Excursions can be the highlight of the day, but the boats themselves offer plenty of opportunities for socializing, relaxing and entertainment,” said Banks. “For example, children can help the Captain steer the barge, while the adults relax in the spa-pool on deck, or the whole family can bicycle on the gentle towpaths as we cruise only a few feet away from them.”
European Waterways is offering 20 percent off for select departures in France during the school vacation period of 2019, as well as an additional $300 off for each child under 18 participating in the charters.
Eligible cruises include the Aug. 11 departure of L’Art de Vivre in Burgundy; the July 7 and 28 and all August departures on Nymphea in the Loire Valley; and the Aug. 25 departure of Anjodi, which cruises the Canal du Midi in Southern France.
The limited time offer represents up to $8,600 in savings for a family with two children under 18. Some excursions may require a supplemental fee.
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