European Waterways The European Waterways Newsletter
Issue 71
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in this issue...

Diamond Jubilee

Barge Upgrades
Cruise Reviews
New Competition
Barge & Cruise News
And Finally...
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Would you like to see our new 10 minute DVD


Special Offers

We have some great special offers on charter and cabin bookings for 2012...

Derek Banks Intereview

Read about the life and times of our Managing Director.......

Derek Banks Interview

visit our website





Welcome to Issue 71 of The Lock-Keeper

Hello Lock-Keeper Reader,

Welcome to the 71st issue of the European Waterways Newsletter and there is a lot to tell you about!

This is, of course, Diamond Jubilee year in the UK, with many events taking place to mark HM The Queen’s 60 years’ reign, including the much anticipated Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames on June 3rd involving an armada of over 1,000 specially selected vessels. More of that later in this issue.

Our season is now well under way and our barges are looking at their best, particularly after receiving their winter upgrades and refurbishments. Improvements that have been carried out on some barges include refitted bathrooms, new air-conditioning, and even the provision of telescopes and tandem bicycles!

In the last issue of The Lock-Keeper we told you about the new private-driver transfer arrangements we have introduced from Paris to a number of our barges in Burgundy. These have been very well received and we have some photos of our new fleet of very smart, air-conditioned Mercedes minibuses. More in Barge & Cruise News.

Those of you who are lovers of fine food – and I think most of you are! - will be interested to know that European Waterways are now offering an Artisan Cruise aboard Shannon Princess on the River Shannon in Ireland. The itinerary will feature daily visits to award-winning, family-owned suppliers of handmade products such as cheese, honey, chocolate and smoked meats. Read more about this unique experience in Barge & Cruise News.

Once again over the last few months, some entertaining articles have appeared in publications around the world about our hotel barge cruises and we feature two of them. Travel writer Carol Wright writes about her relaxing cruise aboard La Belle Epoque in Burgundy last year and Karen Regn recounts her trip aboard Scottish Highlander in the Scottish Highlands.

We have also produced a 10 minute DVD which, for those of you who have not cruised with us already, gives a very informative overview about the European Waterways hotel barging ‘experience’. You can view it on our website and we will send one with each brochure request.

And in keeping with this year’s Royal Jubilee and River Thames theme, we have 3 copies of a splendid book Royal River – Power, Pageantry & the Thames to give away in our competition.

Finally, don’t forget to look at our latest Special Offers as we have some great charter and cabin deals currently.

As always, it is good to hear from you, so please drop us an email with any comments about The Lock-Keeper, or indeed anything else. And, of course, remember to visit our website for new offers, articles, videos and other barging news, or perhaps to join us on Twitter or Facebook. We also have our own You Tube channel.

Derek Banks
Derek Banks - Managing Director


Thames Pageant

Thames Pageant

Headlines and Cruise Reviews

Diamond Jubilee & River Thames Pageant

On Sunday June 3rd, to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, there will be the most spectacular Pageant ever seen on the River Thames in its entire history. A seven mile-long flotilla, with the Queen at its head, will make its way past all the familiar landmarks of London, watched by crowds of one million-plus.

The 1,000-vessel armada will feature vessels spanning hundreds of years from across the globe; from Thames schooners, rowing boats and skiffs, to Viking longboats, Far Eastern dragon boats and Canadian kayaks. And it will be particularly memorable for Dominic Price, youngest son of our Accounts Manager Isabelle Price. He has been selected to row in the Pageant as a crew member of a traditional wooden Thames skiff representing his club. We will all be cheering him on and there will be a full report and photographs in the next issue.

Although she is not taking part in the Pageant because of longstanding bookings, our 8-passenger hotel barge Magna Carta, will still be cruising the River Thames throughout the summer on the prettiest stretch between Hampton Court and Henley-on-Thames, a charming town known of course for its own world famous royal event – the Henley Royal Regatta.

A gentle 6-night cruise on Magna Carta is the perfect way to admire the splendour of this Royal waterway in high summer, perhaps around the time of one of this year’s major sporting events such as Wimbledon or the London Olympics. You may like to arrange a friends or family charter party, or enjoy the whole experience with other guests who have a real interest in English heritage and history.

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  Barge Upgrades & Refurbishments

We are often asked if our hotel barges cruise all year round, so here is a brief explanation. The main reason we choose not to cruise from around early November to the end of March, apart from there being no leaves on the trees, is that we always have plenty to do every winter to upgrade our vessels to ever increasing standards.

Our refurbishment and maintenance programme is carried out by a team of skilled craftsmen and engineers, overseen by our Operations Manager, all under the overall guidance of Derek Banks and John Wood-Dow, the owners of European Waterways, both avid sailors with a real ‘hands-on’ approach.

There are many regular winter tasks that we always carry out. We deep-clean or renew sofas, carpets, bedding and other soft furnishings; overhaul air conditioning, heating and mechanical systems; service or replace the barge bicycles; oil, varnish and replace the deck furniture.

Then we make specific improvements to each barge. For example, over the last two winters, La Belle Epoque in Burgundy has been fitted with a quieter engine, new jacuzzi and air-conditioning, Then to add to those, she now has beautiful satin-varnished, mahogany and hardwood panelling,  French Lys bed linen, English woven carpets, Turkish rugs and solid brass Porto-Antiqo light fittings. Click here to see some photos.

We are always looking to enhance the whole barging experience for our guests aboard. Everything from mini onboard herb gardens used every day by our chefs to flavour their creations, to telescopes for star gazing and on certain barges a tandem for the romantic bikers amongst you!

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Scottish Highlander


Cruise Reviews

One of our favourite cruise reviews recently was written by Carol Wright for Wine Traveller magazine. She reminisces about her cruise through the heart of Burgundy winemaking country aboard L’Impressionniste last Autumn, describing it as a ‘memorable wine education’. To read all about her trip click here.

Another UK travel writer Karen Regn and her husband spent a week aboard Scottish Highlander in the glorious Scottish Highlands last year, hoping to spot ‘Nessie’. To read the full article, click here.

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Panache Competition

Last Issue Competition

Last Issue's Competition Winners

In Issue 70 of The Lock-Keeper, to celebrate the arrival of our new hotel barge Panache, we were giving away a fascinating biography of one of France’s best-loved kings, Henry IV, who always wore a striking white plume or ‘panache’ in his hat.

The lucky winner of this impressive book was: Shirley Summers from Carman in Canada. Congratulations Shirley and the book will be on its way to you very soon.


Royal River
  New Competition - Especially for History Lovers

To coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the spectacular River Thames Pageant taking place on June 3rd, this time we are giving away three copies of Royal River – Power, Pageantry & the Thames. This lavishly illustrated book, co-written by leading historian David Starkey and published to accompany the major exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich in 2012, explores the history of the Thames as a stage for Royal power, celebration and major events from the Tudor age onwards.

Enter the Book Competition

Competition Rules

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New Transfer Services


Barge and Cruise News

New Transfer Service to Barges

In December we announced that, from this year, we would be offering a new transfer service to and from central Paris for passengers cruising on hotel barges La Belle Epoque, L’Art de Vivre, L’Impressionniste and Renaissance in Burgundy. Passengers cruising in Holland or the Alsace on the latest addition to our hotel barge fleet, Panache, will also benefit from these new transfer arrangements.

The transfers are being made using brand new, air-conditioned Mercedes minibuses and, of course, these comfortable vehicles will be on hand every day to take our guests on their excursions. Click here to see some photos taken of our smart new blue minibuses in Dijon.

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Artisan Theme Cruises

Artisan Theme Cruises

  Artisan Theme Cruises in Ireland

We have just introduced an ‘Artisan’ theme cruise aboard Shannon Princess in Ireland which will particularly appeal to people interested in the crafting of handmade food products. Guests will enjoy tours to see the finest craftsmen at work, such as Ralph Haslam, the owner of Mossfield Organic Cheeses, or the owners of award-winning Meadowsweet Apiaries & Farm Shop, renowned for their delicious honey. 

There will also be a trip to the world famous Clarindbridge oyster beds on the shores of Galway Bay, as well as a tour of Portumna Castle’s kitchen garden, full of beautiful herbs and berries used by the barge’s chef.  Two visits to the “Wilde Irish Chocolate Makers” and to McGeoughs Craft Butchers & Smokehouse, an award-winning charcuterie producing among other delights, smoked Connemara lamb, complete the itinerary. And to cap it all, throughout the week you will indulge in wonderful gourmet meals prepared by the highly-skilled onboard chef Olivia Gibbons!

On this fascinating voyage of discovery, each artisan our guests meet will have a story to tell. The Irish people in this region are convinced that fine locally produced products are fundamental to their quality of life and after their cruise, Shannon Princess’s guests will definitely think so too. Click here to see the itinerary.

  And Finally....

After centuries of speculation and despite the efforts of many people to spot it, including our intrepid Captain Dan on Scottish Highlander, crew members, many passengers and even the occasional travel writer, it seems that the fabled Loch Ness Monster really does exist...! Click here to see it.

That's about it for this issue of The Lock-Keeper. We hope that you’ve enjoyed it and the next one will be out soon with some more news, so we'll see you then.

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