Multi-generational vacations with grandparents, adult children, and “les petites” are a desirable yet challenging endeavor. For private parties up to 12, selecting a destination that offers appropriate accommodations, exciting activities for all age groups, and scrumptious meals for all palates can be overwhelming and frustrating.
Happily, the Barge Ladies offer the perfect solution…Welcome aboard your week of fabulous floating “Family Fun” aboard an all-inclusive European barge cruise!
“The vessels we recommend to families come with a dedicated crew, including a Captain, Tour Guide, and Chef,” says Barge Lady Ellen, herself a grandmother of two. “These hospitality professionals facilitate all details and logistics, such as getting to and from the barge, organizing daily excursions, and serving all meals. Accordingly, the family can truly relax and enjoy spending time together, making the best of memories on a barge cruise!”
With family-focused travel becoming a popular option for private multi-generational groups, enjoy this blog post about our five favorite family-friendly barge cruises.
Randle – 4 guests, Northern Burgundy
Ahoy there matey! Even the kid’s cabin is a part of the adventure aboard Randle’s special cruise just for families. Pint-sized fun seekers will have a ball in their own bunk-bedded stateroom – climbing up and down, pillow fights between whispered stories, giggling in the dark – while the grown-ups enjoy the quiet comforts of their own Queen bedded accommodations.
High energy excursions keep everyone busy and happy; discovering prehistoric cave paintings, zip-lining, rock climbing, guided bicycle tours, kayaking, and fly fishing are among the many jolly jaunts easily arranged by the Randle’s knowledgeable captain. For spontaneous fun, there’s a pop-up movie screen for a cinema night complete with popcorn, as well as a petite rowboat perfect for splashing around during sunset sails.
Owner and Captain Tim Harrold says, “From wild water swimming in the river Yonne to horseback trekking through the vineyards, the Randle’s Family Adventure cruise is all about the carefree days of summer fun in France.”
Featuring a combination of meals onboard and ashore, Randle’s locally-focused dining program ensures that every palate is pleased. Of course, on such a family-friendly cruise, a seasoned crew of three looks after even the tiniest cruisers with professionalism and warmth. Guests are whisked away from to and from Paris in the barge’s van, making transport with little ones easy and breezy!
Prosperite – 8 guests, Southern Burgundy
While its most famous export might be off limits for the smallest barge cruisers, Southern Burgundy still has loads to offer multi-generational groups who want to explore the region’s beauty and bounty as a family! Floating in the heart of France’s wine country along the Canal de Borgougne, Prosperite offers just eight guests the ultimate in privacy, activity, and luxury.
Family-friendly activities include go-karting, ziplining, tennis, swimming, and kayaking, while exhilarating bike rides and leisurely strolls are always available along the manicured towpath. Onboard, the Prosperite’s four luxurious cabins offer every comfort for cruisers of all ages, while an attentive crew of six augment the many prosperous memories made aboard the Prosperite.
Travel expert Dana Freeman says, “A buffet breakfast of pastries, fruits, and yogurts is set out each morning by the attentive crew. Grown-ups can savor fresh croissants on the deck, while grandchildren can take a dip in the hot tub.”
Guests are further invited to socialize in the salon with a glass of wine or sip of soda, join Chef in the open kitchen and watch him make the evening’s desserts (YUM!), or slip on a swimsuit and splash around in the hot tub. The scrumptious cuisine served at al fresco luncheons and festive dinner parties means everyone enjoys mealtimes. Private chauffeured transfers to and from Paris ensure seamless family travels.
Athos – 10 guests, Canal du Midi
Sun, fun, and the leisurely lifestyle of southwestern France beckon to active multi-generational cruisers on the charming barge Athos! Carrying just 10 lucky guests along the historic Canal du Midi, the Athos glides past Roman ruins, expansive vineyards, and adorable villages.
Athos is owned and operated by an experienced husband-and-wife team, themselves the parents of two young children. Their Family Fun itinerary offers sunbathing and splashing at a nearby Mediterranean beach; a guided visit to the preserved Medieval walled city of Carcassonne; and even a special al fresco picnic along the way.
Amie O’Shaughnessy, CEO and founder of Ciao Bambino, reports, “Our family-focused itinerary on the Athos balanced different cultural and historic excursions every day. From olive oil tasting to exploring one of the Languedoc’s most picturesque villages, no two activities were alike.”
Back onboard, the Athos claims the bragging rights for the barge with the largest deck on the Canal du Midi, offering the perfect perch to soak up enchanting scenery and sweet sunshine. Mealtimes are convivial culinary affairs, while the five cozy cabins are decorated with a “country French” theme. The cruise route is easily reachable by train via Paris or Barcelona, making a family cruise on Athos the perfect choice for private groups with international itineraries.
Shannon Princess – 10 guests, River Shannon
Leaping leprechauns! A warm Irish welcome awaits multigenerational parties of up to 10 on the Shannon Princess. Owned and operated by an experienced family team, Shannon Princess plies the inland waterways of the Emerald Isle, floating past quaint villages, wildlife preserves, and incredible scenery.
Guests may elect to substitute family-friendly activities in place of the usual daily excursions. Horseback riding, zip lining, ghillie fishing, and a visit to an artisan food producer are among the many active and fun choices available at a supplementary cost. Back onboard, Chef Olivia invites you into her kitchen for a bread making lesson, arguably the most delicious cooking class in barging!
Chef Olivia says, “We choose our free range and organic ingredients from dedicated local producers with a genuine love of food. Our handmade farmhouse cheeses are unique to each cheesemaker’s farm and their dairy herd.”
Indeed, Chef Olivia’s modern “New Irish” cuisine is uniformly praised by cruisers of all ages for her creative use of traditional ingredients, focusing on Ireland’s regional products and locally-sourced produce. Five double occupancy cabins offer comfortable and cozy hideaways for every guest, while the topside hot tub will become the hub of onboard socializing. Private transfers in the barge’s van to and from Dublin ensure the most seamless of family travels.
Luciole – 12 guests, Northern Burgundy
Presenting the Luciole, a family owned and operated barge on which multigenerational family groups of up to 12 are welcomed… well… like family! Luciole cruises in Northern Burgundy on the divinely beautiful Canal du Nivernais, where miles of manicured towpaths beckon for exhilarating bicycle rides or leisurely strolls.
An attentive and energetic crew coordinates active excursions such as zip-lining, kayaking, fishing, and horseback riding, while visits to historic chateaux and boutique vineyards inspire exciting connections with French heritage. Best of all, aspiring chefs of all ages are invited to select seasonal produce and sumptuous cheeses at the lively local market for that evening’s dinner.
Luciole’s owner Penny Liley says, “Our multigenerational families feel at home as soon as they step onto the vessel, and this we believe creates the Luciole’s magically relaxing atmosphere.”
Onboard, the gourmet cuisine showcases Burgundy’s regional specialties, with craft cocktails on offer for the adults and marvelous “mocktails” for the kids. Six double occupancy cabins and two single occupancy cabins ensure that everyone enjoys ample personal space, while privately chauffeured pick up and drop off in central Paris makes it easy to add a stay in the City of Light to this ultimate family vacation.
For more information about selecting, planning, and booking one of our fabulous Family Fun cruises, click here.