European Waterways The European Waterways Newsletter
Issue 72
Lock-Keeper banner
in this issue...

New 2013 Brochure
Clair de Lune
Reviews and Videos
New Competition
Barge, Cruise & People News
And Finally...
Back Issues

YouTube Channel

Would you like to see a hotel barge halfway up a mountainside?...


Special Offers

We have some great special offers on charter and cabin bookings for Spring 2013...

Clair de Lune

Our new hotel barge offers a delightful cruising experience.......

Derek Banks Interview

visit our website





Welcome to Issue 72 of The Lock-Keeper

Hello Lock-Keeper Reader,

Welcome to the 72nd issue of The Lock-Keeper newsletter and there is certainly plenty of news to tell you about this time.

In November we released our 2013 brochure and it included two new double-page features. One was about our cruises in Alsace-Lorraine aboard Panache which we introduced this year, and the other featured the ‘Longer Waterway Journeys’ we offer in several European countries connecting such cities as Amsterdam, Bruges and Paris. More of that later in this newsletter. If you have not received a copy of the new brochure with its accompanying DVD, please do contact us, or if you prefer, order one online from our website.

We are also pleased to announce that another hotel barge will be joining our fleet for 2013 – the stylish 6-passenger Clair de Lune. She will be cruising the 330-year-old Canal du Midi on one of its prettiest stretches between Le Somail and Carcassonne.

A perfect time of year to enjoy a hotel barge cruise is in the Spring and in this issue we highlight a number of hotel barges and destinations in Holland and France that have a lot to offer.

Theme cruises are certainly becoming more popular in the world of hotel barging and in this issue we tell you more about our itineraries that have wide appeal, from Regatta cruises in Venice to Flower Show cruises in England. More in Barge & Cruise News.

For the first in a regular new feature about people in the European Waterways ‘family’, we profile Ruairi and Olivia Gibbons of Shannon Princess, the only luxury hotel barge cruising on Ireland’s River Shannon.

Since the last issue of The Lock-Keeper, many articles have been published about our hotel barge cruises and two of our favourites were by Susan Parker, recalling her cruise aboard Scottish Highlander in the summer, and by Irene Levine who cruised through the heart of Burgundy’s wine-growing region on L’Impressionniste. You will enjoy reading them later in this issue.

And for those of you who like to watch a video or two, there is a growing number of clips on the European Waterways YouTube Channel - the number of views recently exceeded 30,000. You can also follow us on Facebook and on Twitter, to keep up to date with the latest news and, of course, make your own contributions with photos, videos and comments. Whichever way you choose to get in touch with us, it is always good to hear from you.

If you are considering a hotel barge cruise in 2013, don’t forget to look at our latest Special Offers as we have some great Spring charter and cabin deals currently.

Finally, I am very pleased to say that this year has been another successful one for us here at European Waterways and I would like to thank you all for your continued interest and support.

With very best wishes for a peaceful Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Derek Banks
Derek Banks - Managing Director


New 2013 Brochure

Headlines and Cruise Reviews

New 2013 Brochure

In November we mailed out our 2013 brochure which this time included a 10 minute DVD giving an overview of the ‘hotel barging experience’ which was very well-received. There were also a lot of new photographs, some taken by our guests for which we were very grateful, so please keep them coming.

Following her successful inaugural season, there was a double-page spread for Panache featuring her fascinating cruise along the Canal de la Marne au Rhin in Alsace-Lorraine. This cruise was very popular in 2012 and guests loved highlights such as the Arzviller boat elevator, candlelit lunches while cruising through tunnels and tours of Saverne and Strasbourg.

We also added a new spread on the iconic Champagne region of France and the cruises we offer along the River Marne, featuring chateaux visits, champagne and Brie tastings. And finally, we introduced a new section called Longer Waterway Journeys, describing a selection of ‘voyages of exploration’ along some wonderful waterways in Holland, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg.

Back to top


Clair de Lune Cabin



  Welcome to Clair de Lune

We are delighted to announce that Clair de Lune is joining the European Waterways fleet in 2013. She is a stylish, 6-passenger hotel barge with a sophisticated, modern interior and superior accommodation in three contemporary double or twin en suite staterooms.  There is a comfortable, spacious dining area and saloon with picture windows and a large sundeck with a spa pool from which to admire the passing countryside, together with bicycles for exploring the famous towpath.

Clair de Lune will cruise the Canal du Midi between the charming village of Le Somail and the magnificent fortified city of Carcassonne, meandering past sleepy canalside villages, sun-drenched vineyards and offering views of the snow-capped Pyrenees.The itinerary will include visits to historical sites such as the spectacular Cathar town of Minerve, the elegant city of Narbonne and, of course, Carcassonne itself. There will also be visits to medieval Lagrasse, Montolieu - known as ‘the Village of the Books’ - and tours of renowned local wineries. All in all, we believe it is a wonderful combination.

Back to top


Cruise Reviews

Scottish Highlander




Cruise Reviews

Susan Parker, a well-regarded travel writer enjoyed a week in July cruising the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness with fellow guests aboard Scottish Highlander, and her article ‘The Slow Barge to Inverness’ was published on the very popular website The Avid Cruiser. To read all about her trip click here. She certainly seemed to have a great time.

Another article, written by Irene Levine, appeared courtesy of The Huffington Post. Irene wrote about the cruise she and her husband Jerome took through Burgundy aboard L’Impressionniste. They had both cruised at sea and on large river vessels before, but soon realised that hotel barging was a very different experience. They loved it. To read the full article, click here.


Throughout this year, we have been filming in places such as Burgundy, the Midi, Alsace-Lorraine and Scotland with the aim of creating a series of short videos that get across the many aspects of the whole ‘hotel barging experience’.

Examples of those we have uploaded onto YouTube so far include The Locks at Fonserranes and A Visit to Narbonne and over the coming months we will be uploading many more. So do please take a look at our YouTube Channel regularly to see what new videos we have added.

Back to top


Last Issues Competition

Last Issue Competition

Last Issue's Competition Winners

In the last issue, to commemorate HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the River Thames Pageant on the River Thames, we were giving away three copies of Royal River – Power, Pageantry & the Thames, a beautifully illustrated book co-written by leading historian David Sharkey.

The lucky winners of this impressive tome were:

Steve Switzer from Wadebridge, UK
Kathy Kasley from Williamsburg, USA
Christine Burridge from Sunderland, UK

Congratulations to you all and the books will be on their way to you very soon.


Royal River
  New Competition

To mark the introduction of hotel barge Clair de Lune to our fleet next year, we are offering 3 boxed sets of The Complete Piano Music by Debussy. These boxed sets each contain 4 CDs featuring Debussy’s best works, including of course, perhaps his most well-known work, Clair de Lune.

The performing pianist is Gordon Fergus-Thompson, who has been highly praised for his interpretation of French "Impressionist" music, with much of his reputation based on this particular Debussy collection.

Enter the Book Competition

Competition Rules

Back to top




L'Art de Vivre



Barge, Cruise & People News

Springtime - Perfect for Hotel Barging

Springtime really is a glorious time of year to embark on a hotel barge cruise and we offer a wide variety of destinations, from the colourful waterways of Holland to the picturesque landscapes of Burgundy; from the sunshine of the Canal du Midi to the unspoiled countryside of Gascony. Here are just a few examples that will whet your appetite:

A Tulip’ Cruise aboard Panache, including tours of the Delft pottery, Gouda, and the Keukenhof Gardens with its magnificent displays of millions of tulips. It is also a perfect time for you to visit Amsterdam as there are several milestones in 2013 - the Van Gogh Museum celebrates its 40th anniversary and 160 years since the great artist’s birth; the Rijkmuseum reopens its doors on 13 April after 10 years of renovations; and Amsterdam’s canals themselves mark 400 years since their construction first began.

A cruise along the delightful Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy aboard Art de Vivre. This canal meanders alongside the River Yonne through a largely undiscovered area near the rolling Morvan Hills. You will enjoy visits to the riverside city of Auxerre and the beautiful, medieval villages of Noyers and Vezelay, as well as a private tour of a renowned Chablis winery. Transfers to and from central Paris in a comfortable, air-conditioned minibus are also included for Art de Vivre’s guests, and indeed on our other Burgundy barges.

A relaxing voyage through Cathar country along the world famous Canal du Midi aboard Anjodi or Enchanté, where you will discover a marvellous blend of Gallo-Roman influences reflected through this historic part of Southern France. As well as a fascinating itinerary on each hotel barge, you will enjoy delicious meals prepared by your own master chef, accompanied by excellent local Corbieres and Minervois wines. A wonderful combination!

We are also offering 10% off charter and cabin bookings on these and a number of other cruises in March and April. Please see our Special Offers for more details.

Back to top


Vogalonga Regatta Cruise

Chelsea Flower Show Cruise

Chelsea Flower Show Cruise

  Theme Cruises - Something for everyone

Because our hotel barges accommodate from just 6 to 20 passengers, we are able to offer a wide range of bespoke theme cruises that appeal to all sorts of interest groups – and we are always looking to add more. Next year, for example, we are running these two theme cruises in May next year:

The Vogalonga Regatta Cruise on La Bella Vita in Italy, departing on May 19. Guests will enjoy a wonderful view of this amazingly colourful Regatta in Venice from the rooftop sundeck while enjoying a delicious lunch, before embarking on a 6-night cruise past the islands of the Venetian Lagoon and through the Po Valley to the Renaissance city of Mantua.

The Chelsea Flower Show Cruise on Magna Carta, again departing on May 19. This cruise along the Royal River Thames will really appeal to the horticulturalists among you, because as well as a visit to the world-famous flower show, there will be tours of Kew Gardens with its glorious glasshouses, Savill Gardens in Windsor Great Park and the magnificent riverside estate and gardens of Cliveden.

And for those of you who would perhaps like to embark on a longer ‘voyage of exploration’, there are several 11 and 13 night cruises in May to choose from, such as from the charming city of Bruges in Paris through the hills of Picardy to Paris.

We even have a 1,000 mile, 6 week ‘voyage of a lifetime’, departing on November 3, from Provence in France all the way to Amsterdam! This is an extraordinary cruising experience that offers a combination of cruising, sightseeing and city tours while enjoying the cultures, cuisine and wines of so many regions of Europe. Click here for more details.


Ruairi and Olivia Gibbons

Shannon Princess
  Say hello to...

…Ruairi and Olivia Gibbons, captain/tour guide and chef respectively of Shannon Princess, the only hotel barge on the River Shannon in Ireland.

Ruairi grew up in Howth, a coastal village outside Dublin and often called the ‘home of sailing’ in Ireland. An enthusiastic young club sailor, he enjoyed dinghy & yacht racing in and around Dublin Bay. Later, while at college, Ruairi spent many summers sailing on the inland waterways of Ireland.

It was on the River Shannon that Ruairi discovered hotel barging. Ruairi says “I cruised with some friends aboard a 20 metre converted traditional Irish barge that during its heyday had transported barrels of Guinness & Irish whiskey from the Guinness Brewery at St. James' Gate in Dublin. It was a great experience and kick-started my love of hotel barging”.

As well as being a skilled hotel barge pilot, Ruairi loves to regale passengers on Shannon Princess with tales of local history & folklore.

Olivia is a very talented chef who grew up in a culture rich with food & hospitality. After college she attended Ballymaloe Cookery School, and has trained internationally, working all over the world in top hotels, restaurants and on exclusive yachts.

An avid forager, Olivia has been known to muster together guests & crew for an hour or two’s wild fruit & herb picking “I like to pay tribute in my cooking to the really fresh, high quality ingredients that are available from the land and from the amazing local producers”, she says. “It’s a great privilege to be able to use them on a daily basis and I’m sure our guests can taste the difference.”

Together, Ruairi and Olivia make a great team, as testified by the many guests who have experienced their warm hospitality and wonderful cuisine.


  And Finally....

 …just to break the ice, we thought you would like to see this short clip of one of our hotel barges, Art de Vivre, cruising to her winter mooring in Burgundy. Merry Christmas! Click here

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.

Back to top