Fly Solo With European Waterways

With the travel industry calling solo travel an “unstoppable trend” and barge cruise bookings on the rise, European Waterways has launched an exclusive “Solo Cruise” on the company’s largest luxury hotel barge, the 20-passenger La Bella Vita.

Departing Oct. 11 and sailing from Venice to the Renaissance city of Mantua, the six-night, all-inclusive cruise includes a special offer of 10% off per person. With the special, cabins start at $5,040 for single occupancy, a savings of $560 off the $5,600 rate. For friends sharing a cabin, double occupancy rates start at $3,645 per person – a total savings of $810 off the $8,100 double rate.

“The Solo Cruise is one of our most exciting new offers for 2020. Every aspect has been carefully designed to promote a sense of comradery for both the seasoned solo traveller as well as those who are new to ‘going it alone,’” said Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways. “Special surprises also allow like-minded travellers to share in unique experiences and absorb Italy’s rich artistic and historical legacies – all while enjoying world-class wines and gastronomic meals together in complete luxury and comfort.”

The Solo Cruise launches with friendly crew members greeting arriving guests with a glass of Prosecco – the sparkling wine produced mainly in Veneto – and helping to facilitate introductions among fellow travellers. Guests are soon treated to the first of a number of “extra surprises,” hand-picked exclusively for this departure to complement the solo experience, with an after-dinner stroll through Venice. They will visit the iconic and ornate Florian Café to mingle with the locals and enjoy specialty coffees, wine, cocktails, and desserts. En route the following day, guests will also make a stop on the Venetian island of Pellestrina for an aperitif at a “bacaro,” a traditional corner bar frequented by locals and known for their cicchetti, Venetian-style tapas.

La Bella Vita features a unique cruise route with a diverse itinerary that encompasses the Renaissance, Roman, Etruscan and Byzantine cultures, four major periods in European history. Holding a maximum of 20 guests, it is the perfect size for small groups to enjoy quality time together – but also for every guest, if they wish, to find a space to themselves for quiet “me time.” A guest-to-crew ratio of 2:1 means that someone is always on-hand to cater to guests’ every need.

After cruising the Venetian Lagoon and “mingling with the locals,” La Bella Vita follows the River Po and Canal Bianco on its way to the city of Mantua, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a crown jewel in Italy’s Renaissance.

Journey’s end features a visit to Mantua’s Ducal Palace, home to some 15 gardens and courtyards, a museum, 12,000 paintings and sculptures, a basilica and theatre. It’s all capped with a festive Captain’s Dinner, where guests and crew can all relive the week’s most cherished moments.

“Whether you’re a seasoned solo traveller or the first time on your own, our Solo Cruise can be a transformative experience that offers the best of both worlds – delightful company of like-minded travellers as adventurous as you are, and group activities that spark conversation and create lasting memories,” said Banks.