European Waterways is helping travelers “get back to nature” for spring 2019 with 10% off cabins and charters on select hotel barge cruises that take guests through the “deep countryside” of Europe. Navigating the picturesque canals, the vessels meander through the less populated regions of the country, providing an ideal platform from which to view the rituals of spring, when nature comes to life along the banks. The specials are available on select cruises in April and May 2019, good when booked by January 7, 2019.
“Most of our cruises take you far away from bustling cities to where nature is on full display,” said Derek Banks, European Waterways’ managing director. “In Burgundy, blackthorn and wild cherries are blossoming and flowers such as wild orchids, lilies and yellow irises are bursting into bloom. Insects such as dragonflies flit among the rushes and the aptly named water boatmen appear to row themselves across the surface with their long, oar-like hind legs.”
If you’re a birdwatcher, Banks noted, you can delight in kingfishers, motionless herons and swallows darting above the water. The towpaths echo to the call of the cuckoo and the melodic night time song of the nightingale. The evening chorus of bullfrogs and cicadas complete the natural theater that is Burgundy in the spring.
“From otters and eagles in Scotland to tulips in Holland and the wild horses of the Camargue on the Mediterranean coast, there are always amazing natural sights to see, but Burgundy in the heartland of France is special, particularly in April and May,” said Banks.
Among the hotel barges offering 10% off on cabins and charters is the 8-passenger L’Art de Vivre. The vessel is ideal for discovering Burgundy, where guests might catch glimpses of perch and pike in the water or water voles along the canal banks. Mallards, swans and moorhens can be spotted nesting in the rushes or taking their first swims with newly hatched young, while Charolais cattle and maybe an occasional wild boar will come down to drink.
Special rates on select L’Art de Vivre departures in 2019 start at $4,221 per person, based on double occupancy, a total saving of $938 per cabin. Whole boat charter prices start at $31,500, a saving of $3,500. Some restrictions may apply.
A Spirited Display
In Scotland, European Waterways’ 12-passenger Spirit of Scotland and 8-passenger Scottish Highlander hotel barges will treat guests to a wide variety of wildlife as they cruise the Caledonian Canal and traverse a chain of inland lakes, or “lochs”. While “Nessie” is often too shy to show herself in Loch Ness, guests may be lucky enough to see otters in the water and birds of prey in the skies above. For stretches, the canal is bordered by forests where red squirrels still thrive and, in spring, a carpet of bluebells adorns the floor. On the hillsides above the waterway, April brings the flowering of the gorse in a sea of yellow. For those wanting a closer look at the raptors, they can get “up close and personal” with exclusive “birds of prey” demonstrations, featuring the aerial acrobatics of falcons, hawks, eagles and owls.
The Scottish Highlander is offering special rates on select departures in spring 2019 starting at $4,005 per cabin, based on double occupancy, for a total saving of $890 per cabin. Whole boat charter prices start at $31,050, a saving of $3,450. Some restrictions may apply.
“Of course, our guests will also get a ‘taste’ of the cruise regions through the gourmet meals prepared by the vessels’ master chefs,” said Banks. “Our chefs will pick wild herbs from along the canal banks, for example, as well as source fish, game and fowl from local markets. All of this is complemented by some fine local wines and spirits.”
He added: “No matter which European Waterways vacations you select, you will find the local offerings to be both a feast for the eyes and a feast for the pallet!”
For more information, call 1-877-879-8808 or visit europeanwaterways.com.