A spring cruise in Holland aboard La Nouvelle Etoile reveals the colorful tulips, gorgeous greenery, and signature spirits for which the country is celebrated.
Beginning in the 2022 season, this opulent barge is under new ownership. Bill and Lisa Desmond are an American couple with wide-ranging professional experience in hospitality management, engineering services, and high-end retail.
Bill explains their goals for La Nouvelle Etoile: “The guest experience will be the same exceptional caliber of attentive service, fine cuisine, and unique excursions for which La Nouvelle Etoile has become widely known. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have been able to acquire this unique vessel, and we have every intention to preserve and build further upon its stellar reputation.”
La Nouvelle Etoile is also unique in that it cruises in five countries over the course of a single season: Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, and Luxembourg. Providing continuity in 2022 during these European adventures is Captain Jan Meijer, former owner of La Nouvelle Etoile who returns on select sailings in his new role as Chief Operating Officer.
The vessel boasts a long list of premium innovations, such as an elevator, hot tub, exercise room, and guest laundry facilities. The spacious deck is the perfect place to linger with a glass of wine, admiring the idyllic scenery as the barge gently cruises through the inland waterways of Europe. Over the past three years, the barge has undergone extensive redecorating and refitting, which included modernizing the décor in the cabins and upgrading the salon to international standards of comfort.
Gourmands thrill to La Nouvelle Etoile’s extraordinary culinary experience, which features seasonal ingredients and regional specialties, served at a table replete with elegant Wedgewood china, Christofle silver, and the finest crystal. Wines are selected from the barge’s cellar of 2,500 bottles, while the Chef can easily snip fresh seasoning from the on-deck herb garden.
Springtime guests immerse in the millions of blooming flowers at Keukenhof Gardens, Holland’s largest and most famous garden. Leisurely cruising to quaint towns, visiting a museum featuring gorgeous paintings of the Dutch masters, and sampling locally made cheese augment the insider’s view of this fascinating country, its lively waterways, and its friendly people.
Note that La Nouvelle Etoile’s biking opportunities are not as plentiful compared to traditional canal cruising in France.