Happy New Year, 2016…. We also thank our talented barge crews in France and on behalf of them all, wish our guests and friends a “Happy Crew Year.” Barge crew perform many official jobs, such as chef, hostess, guide, and pilot, but their most important role is to make barge guests feel welcome. Here are crew whose personalities and smiles welcomed guests all around the French canals – creating happy times aboard and happy memories afterward.
Tom — Matelot on the LUCIOLE
A family friend of the Liley boys as a child, Tom joined the Luciole crew as Matelot in 2010. His “ready steady” personality and witty sense of humor has made him a passenger favorite over the years. Tom’s many talents extend to on-board gardening, growing cherry tomatoes in the flower pots on the Luciole’s deck; expertly writing and managing the boat’s blog; and songwriting, singing, and guitar-playing. He also travels regularly during the off-season, recently taking a motorbike tour of Vietnam! A native of England, Tom loves his tea, which is imported directly from the UK to satisfy his strict requirements.
Amanda — Hostess on the EMMA
Described as “the Hostess with the Mostest”, Amanda has already begun her fifth season as a senior member of the Emma’s crew. A creative soul with a passion for hosptality, she studied art at University, and with stints at Guinness and Di Agio, brings her dynamic background in spirits to the Emma’s guests. This winter she is working in the Alps at various chalets, training the dining staffs all about wine. Amanda is also very involved with local wine producers in the Languedoc, and offers her seasoned insights in choosing the Emma’s various wines. She is also the best cocktail shaker in the business!
David — Chef on the ESPERANCE
Born and raised in Provence, David Sevestre always had a passion for innovative cuisine, coupled with an longtime love for barge cruising, as his uncle owned a canal barge. At the age of 14 he attended cooking school, eventually working at a Relais and Chateaux property. Several years later, he discovered a beautiful hotel barge on the Canal du Midi — and his new life began: cruising and cooking simultaneously! David’s favorite dishes are Provençal specialties, revisited with his own style, including secret family recipes from his grandmother in Burgundy. His decadent cakes are also a signature treat aboard the Esperance!
Richard — Captain on the SAVOIR VIVRE
With a 20-year barge resume that reads like a “who’s who” of French barges, it is no exaggeration to say that Richard Megret has become the “face'” of Savoir Vivre! Coming from a prestigious barging family, Richard’s many roles aboard canal cruises includes that of Chef, Pilot, and now Captain aboard a Barge Lady favorite, the Savoir Vivre. Guests adore his professional acumen and personable style, combined with a hilarious sense of humor and inimitable charm. Bilingual in French and English, Captain Richard ensures the Savoir Vivre is one of the most pleasurable barges to be on anywhere.
George and Susan Kovalick — Owners/operators on the MEANDERER
The Kovalicks are unlikely barge owners, but their maturity and varied professional experiences make them welcome additions to the industry. This personable couple make it all look easy due to their pre-barge stints in the travel, restaurant, and fashion industries. As well, their personal lives – George grew up in Paris, Susan in London – and their personal interests of bicycling, hiking, boating, cuisine, history, and the arts – match them well to the lifestyle of their guests. They work together as a compatible team (As George says: “I am the Captain, she is the Admiral!”) that attends to all aspects, including cuisine, housekeeping, décor, and excursions.