Not even a nasty thunderstorm could stop the celebrations in Smith Falls, Ont. Wednesday (June 13) as Le Boat officially launched its first expansion into North America.
While the boat rental company began operations on Canada’s Rideau Canada near Ottawa on May 18, officials, dignitaries and media were on hand Wednesday for the, at times soggy, “grand opening.”
Le Boat is Europe’s largest boat rental company and now has a fleet of 16 Horizon cruisers in Canada, especially designed to meet Ontario Maritime and Le Boat customer requirements.
Bookings began last year and Le Boat officials announced that they are currently 72% sold out for the 2018 season.
“The Rideau Canal is a vacationer’s dream, offering the best of all of Le Boat’s European destinations in one place. It has the elegant beauty and charm of French waterways, the delightful lagoons of Italy, and the dramatic, scenic lakes and rivers of Ireland, Holland and Germany,” said Cheryl Brown (pictured above), managing director at Le Boat. “Most of all, it is a mecca for lovers of nature, with every imaginable water sport such as fishing, paddle boating, canoeing, swimming, as well as hiking, biking and bird-watching.”
Brown told PressToday early bookings show 65% from North America and 35% from Europe, with half being repeat customers.
Headquartered in Smith Falls, described as the “heart of the Rideau Canal,” travellers are able to cruise through a chain of lakes, rivers and canals that winds through 202 km from Ottawa to Kingston.
No experience or boating license is required to rent with Le Boat. To facilitate the ease of handling for new and experienced boaters, the Le Boat Horizon is equipped with bow and stern thrusters for easy maneuvering into and out of locks. It has bumpers around the whole boat for safety and has a capped speed at 10 km an hour for the Rideau.
The boats, as discovered Wednesday, are roomy and comfortable. Weekly rates range from $2,500 to $4,070. Three- and four-night itineraries are also available.
Le Boat’s Premier Horizon cruisers offer large forward staterooms, a roomy top-deck area with BBQ, diverse amenities and a high level of comfort. There are four different models to choose from and they sleep from two up to 10 people.