European Waterways is investing more than US$500,000 on an extensive program of refurbishing and upgrading its 17-vessel fleet in preparation for the 2016 cruising season.
According to officials, every vessel has been thoroughly inspected to ensure they meet the highest standard of comfort and luxury as they prepare for the new season cruising through some of the most scenic inland waterways of France, Holland, Italy and the British Isles.
“We carry some of the most discerning passengers in the cruise industry, so we pay attention to every detail, from replacing linen, glassware and fine china, to more extensive upgrades and refurbishments to enhance their experience,” said Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways.
Among the company’s major improvements was the reconfiguration of cabins on the eight-passenger Anjodi, which cruises the Canal du Midi in Southwest France. The new design now permits hotel style twin or double bed accommodation in all cabins. Other improvements include a new bar for the Renaissance, the eight-passenger luxury hotel barge that cruises the county’s oldest canal, the Canal de Briare. A new bar area has also been created on the 12-passenger Panache, popular for its Spring tulip cruises in Holland as well as its cruises through Picardy, Champagne and in Alsace-Lorraine later in the season.
The Scottish Highlander, which cruises Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal, features a new panoramic observation lounge area that has been created by enlarging the vessel’s wheelhouse at the stern. And in Ireland, the cabins and bathrooms of the 10-passenger Shannon Princess have been upgraded.
In addition and across the fleet, European Waterways continues to work with established British interior designer Marion Falchi on enhancing the barge interiors, including new floors, upholstery, soft furnishings and general décor.
Finally, to help passengers stay in touch while on board, many of the hotel barges will have improved Wi-Fi for the coming season, which starts in April.
“The 2016 season is shaping up to be one of our most successful, with cruise bookings strong throughout the year,” notes Banks.