A French barge cruise: Is this the cruise for you?

I loved my days on the Nooit Voolmaakt, but I am aware that it may not be the perfect fit for every cruiser.

Bob and Barbara on the barge

I like the independence and informality of this barge, with lots of time to enjoy the scenery, to think and to absorb the French countryside.

But some will find the barge isn’t their cup of tea. Maybe you would prefer to have a set itinerary and guided tours. If so, then this is not for you. The days on board unfolded with a lack of rigid timing, and guests were free to take a walk, a bike, a tour – or not.

While the rooms are pretty and comfortable, they are not by any means luxurious. If your happy place is furnished with leather sofas and silk drapes, then this is not for you. It is more country cottage than country chateau.

The sitting room

You need to be able to feel at home in close surroundings. The boat takes two couples, one in each bedroom. The bedrooms are at either ends of the boat so there is a lot of privacy but you share washroom facilities and since the boat itself is small you will find yourself together often. Great for close friends and family.

This is not a boat for anyone with a disability that would make it difficult to maneuver down ladders or along narrow deck edges. You don’t have to be an athlete, but you need to be able to move with ease.

The Nooit Voolmaakt

And this is not for those who may feel claustrophobic. My husband is 6’4” and after a while he found the small rooms and low ceilings confining. He had to struggle to get a shower, having to hunch to get wet. And the bathroom facilities were pretty basic.

But for us, the charm and authenticity of this cruise experience was memorable and we enjoyed France in a way we had not done before. We ended our trip happy and relaxed, with good memories and – it has to be said- a few extra pounds.

Check out the barge, if this is your kind of holiday – at www.divabarge.com


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