Seeking to create memorable and more immersive, experiential moments for 2018, European Waterways has announced that it has added new, exclusive and sometimes ‘one-of-a-kind’ experiences to its cruise itineraries.

The fleet of luxury hotel barges brings guests ‘up close and personal’ to some of the more unique attractions and personalities in the cruising regions. Opportunities include tours, lunches, entertainment and meet-and-greets with regional personalities that range from local aristocracy, to friendly lock-keepers.

Among the unique experiences on the 12-passenger L’Impressionniste hotel barge, which cruises France’s renowned wine-making region of Burgundy, is a private tour of the moat-encircled Château de Commarin, accompanied by Count Bertrand de Vogue, the current resident and 26th generation of the de Vogue family to maintain continuous residence since the 13th century. Count de Vogue will offer insight into the Château’s history, after which guests will explore the Château’s regal interior, stables and surrounding gardens. Alternatively, the Champagne flows freely for guests on La Belle Epoque, a deluxe 12-passenger hotel barge.

Among the cruise’s various excursions is a private tasting at the Alexandre Bonnet Champagne House in Les Riceys, an off-the-beaten path and unspoiled part of the Champagne region that still retains its authenticity and charm. Following a tasting of an array of Champagnes, guests will take a short drive to Château de Rice-Bas, famed for its 12th century vaulted cellars, where they are treated to an authentic glimpse of family life in a rural château.

For nature lovers and foodies, a ‘one-of-a-kind experience is offered on an October 28 departure of the eight-passenger Anjodi hotel barge. In addition to visiting a local oyster farm, guests will visit the Camargue National Park, renowned for its wild horses, pink flamingos and lush green wetlands.

They will enjoy authentic Camargue cuisine at a local restaurant in Aigues Mortes, as well as tour the Palais des Papes – the Palace of the Popes. Six-night cruise prices start at £2,320 per person, based on double occupancy and include all gourmet meals, fine wines, open bar, daily escorted excursions, admissions and local transfers.

There is currently a 20% discount on multiple charter departures.

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