Vaccinated Baby Boomers Drive Resurgence in Travel, Says European Waterways
Baby boomers, one of the first groups to be vaccinated against COVID-19, are leading the resurgence in bookings in the travel industry, with companies like luxury hotel barge specialist European Waterways among its beneficiaries.
With more free time and disposable income than younger travelers, baby boomers “are some of our best customers,” says the company’s Managing Director, Derek Banks.
“Baby boomers enjoy the more leisurely, culturally rich experiences to be found cruising in the fresh air and the picturesque European countryside in destinations like France, Italy and the U.K.,” says Banks. “Our hotel barges offer luxury accommodations, gastronomic meals prepared every day by our onboard master chefs, and experiential off-the-beaten-path excursions that reveal the true ‘soul’ of the region.”
Banks adds: “Since our hotel barges hold just six to 20 passengers, our guests can charter the entire vessel for their group or family, or share their experiences with a small number of like-minded fellow travelers. Hotel barges also create an ideal ‘travel bubble’ for families and friends, who travel together the entire cruise.”
A ‘Special’ Time
An added incentive fueling advance bookings for European Waterways are their latest special offers of up to 20% off on select departures. They are available on cabins and charters for a range of cruises in Southern France and Italy, valid when booked by April 5, 2021. Depending on the vessel and departure, savings can be as high as $17,000 for whole-barge charters and $2,860 per cabin, based on double occupancy.
European Waterways’ special offers are available on hotel barges that cruise the heartland of destinations such as the French regions of Burgundy, Gascony and Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, and the Canal du Midi. They are also available on select departures of the company’s largest vessel, the 20-passenger La Bella Vita, which cruises Italy’s Venetian Lagoon, River Po and Canal Bianco.
Sites to Behold
European Waterways’ luxury hotel barge cruises offer travelers the opportunity to visit some of Europe’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. Among these are the vineyards of Burgundy and Saint-Emilion in Bordeaux, both a wine lover’s idyll; the historic Loire Valley with its aristocratic estates, palaces, vineyards, and orchards; and the Abbaye de Vézelay and its hilltop basilica in Burgundy. The Canal du Midi, the route for several vessels, is itself a UNESCO site. Guests can also tour the Italian Renaissance city of Ferrara, whose design paved the way for modern town planning and development.
Food and wine are integral parts of luxury hotel barging. European Waterways’ guests can enjoy private wine tastings and ‘vine dining’ at some of France’s most prestigious vineyards, such as the Domaine Laroche in Chablis, where guests will also tour its thousand-year-old cellars. Lucky guests aboard their Northern Burgundy cruises can visit the Alexandre Bonnet Champagne House for a sample of its renowned bubbly. Other gastronomic experiences include visiting a goat farm for a comparative tasting of young and mature goat cheeses, or an olive oil press that features the famous Lucques Picholine and Ascolana varieties of green olives and tapenades (paste) along the Canal du Midi. Guests can even visit an escargot or oyster farm, as well as go truffle hunting, in season.
And back “home” on their “floating boutique hotel,” guests can stretch their legs and take in the fresh air of the countryside by walking and biking along the level towpaths. Depending on the cruise region, they can also rent electric bikes to explore the local villages or just to take the edge off an extended ride.
“Or guests can simply sit in the saloon or deck, sipping a glass of wine, and watch the world slowly drift by!” says Banks.
Book With Confidence
European Waterways’ “Book with Confidence” policy provides flexibility in rescheduling future cruises, should they be impacted by government restrictions. The health and safety of guests are also top priorities, with strict protocols in place that include crew and passenger temperature checks as well as deep cleaning and disinfecting of all cabins and public surfaces on the boats.