Cruise along Europe’s inland waterways on a canal barge cruise with Abercrombie & Kent

Far removed from the bustle of modern life, European Canal Barge Cruises with Abercrombie & Kent gently transport travellers back in time along the waterways of France, Holland, England, Scotland, Ireland and Germany. From the moment they step aboard, guests enjoy picturesque villages, gourmet food and wine and the luxury of only having to unpack once. For 2015, A&K has curated a portfolio of more than 20 of the finest canal cruise vessels operating in Europe, selected for their comfortable surroundings, innovative chefs and attentive crew.

Unique to Abercrombie & Kent, guests have the opportunity to enhance their journey with pre- or post-cruise nights in some of the greatest cities in Europe, such as Paris, Amsterdam and Munich. These four-day extensions are available on select cruises through A&K’s six full-time local offices in Europe.

“Abercrombie & Kent has selected the finest vessels in Europe, renowned for their attentive personal service, to guarantee the most comfortable experience for our guests,” explains Abercrombie & Kent USA President Phil Otterson. “What sets us apart is our unique ability to enable guests to extend their stay with privately-guided sightseeing and privileged access in some of Europe’s most intriguing cities, to assure seamless service from arrival to departure.”

While providing a leisurely experience, canal cruising also represents the utmost in value. Prices for six-night cruises begin at just $2,990 and include accommodations, meals, guided sightseeing and entry fees. These all-inclusive cruises feature three gourmet meals daily, prepared from market-fresh local ingredients sourced by on-board chefs. Lunch and dinner are artfully paired with local wines. Each vessel includes comfortable cabins with en-suite facilities and distinctive dining with exceptional service. Many offer spacious lounges and sundecks for al fresco dining.

From the vineyards of Burgundy to Ireland’s Shannon River, and from the Caledonian Canal in Scotland to the sun-drenched shores of the Canal du Midi, Abercrombie & Kent offers a variety of itineraries across Europe’s inland waterways, including more than 14 vessels that float through the classic vineyard regions of France. Explore both iconic and less-frequented sites, far from throngs of tourists. Visit local markets to experience the culture and connect to artisanal food producers who honor local traditions. It might be a local truffle farm and lavender distillery in the South of France, or a private tour of a winery in Chablis. From walled cities, imposing forts and stunning châteaux to busy markets and a visit to an organic honey farm in Ireland, each experience proves more revealing than the last.

Choosing the Right Cruise

A&K offers two ways to experience Europe by water, each suited to a particular style of travel. Independent bookings are an excellent way to meet new people with a similar taste for exploration, with an itinerary that is carefully planned to include the best local sights. On an independent booking, much like at a country inn, guests share the vessel’s amenities, sightseeing excursions and meals with fellow guests. For added privacy and flexibility, a charter sailing makes it possible for a group of family or friends to hire the entire vessel for the duration of the cruise. Ideal for celebrating a milestone birthday or anniversary, chartered cruises can be completely customized according to include personal passions, such as cycling, antiques or gardening.

Canal cruising has remained under the radar as not only one of the most relaxed and intimate ways to experience the beauty of Europe, but also one of the best values in travel today.

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