River Cruising is the trendiest cruise form at the moment
River barge is the new cruise ship. Taking a river cruise in Europe is the fastest growing cruising niche at the moment.
Who doesn’t love a good cruise, right? But if you have read any of the news about the latest cruise ships in the USA (Carnival cruise ship disabled for five days in the Gulf of Mexico, or another one of their ships failing health inspections just this week), no wonder many are second guessing on booking a cruise on a major cruise line at the moment. I still would love to take the Mediterranean Disney Cruise with my children this summer on my favorite cruise line, but this week I am riding on the trendy wave and taking a river cruise in France.
The biggest difference between cruise ships and river barges is the size and the amount of guests on board – from thousand(s) of guests to less than a 100, often less than 20 passengers. The setting is much more intimate, the pace is slower, and yet the emphasis is actually seeing more of the European landscapes than on cruises that have many days on the sea. They both really have their own appeal, but I love ANY kind of boats and being on water, whether it’s a river, lake or sea, so I am beyond thrilled to try this kind of cruising. I live in Sweden by Kinda canal and see this type of river cruises all the time and river boats going by my house, and I also saw them on Main-river when we lived in Germany in the Main-river valley. I have always wanted to take a river cruise.
I am going on a cruise with Go Barging, on their L’Impressionniste river barge, and one of Skimbaco’s newest team members, Reeta, is coming with me. We are boarding on the L’Impressionniste in Fleurey sur Ouche on Sunday, and continuing on a wine tasting cruise through Burgundy. I can’t imagine a better ladies’ trip and a Skimbaco team meeting with brainstorming.
A few weeks ago I received a thick ship log book with all of the information about the cruise; the history of the locations we will be visiting, the information about the river barge, even the wine details (with wine tasting note pad!) and dinner menus (with recipes!) making me more than equipped for the cruise.
Instagram travel with me to Burgundy
Want to see more what this is about? Follow me as Skimbaco on Instagram the next few days and see my photos from the trip as it happens. Of course stay tuned for more information here on the site as well, after the trip.
Our itinerary is below!
Fleurey-sur-Ouche to La Bussière
Sunday, April 14 – Paris to Fleurey-sur-Ouche to Paris
You are met at the Hotel Westminster in Paris at 2.30pm and transferred to the elegant L’Impressionniste moored in Fleurey sur Ouche. A champagne reception welcomes you on board and provides you with a chance to meet the crew and perhaps explore the towpath.
Dinner on board.
Monday, April 15 – Fleurey-sur-Ouche to Gissey-sur-Ouche
This morning experience your first day’s cruise along this enchanting canal, which also promises a walk or cycle along an ever-present towpath cruising past sleepy villages and pretty lock houses. After lunch we visit the Clos de Vougeot, headquarters of the esteemed Chevaliers du Tastevin, who every year award a special prized label to the finest Côte d‘Or vintages. On the way back to the barge, we visit one of the great cellars of Burgundy where we enjoy a private tasting of fine Burgundy wines. Dinner on board.
Tuesday, April 16 – Gissey-sur-Ouche to La Bussière
After breakfast, we take a walking tour of old Dijon including a visit to the vivid produce markets, mustard shops and the impressive Notre Dame de Dijon, or enjoy some excellent shopping time. Return to the barge for lunch and a leisurely afternoon cruise to La Bussière, where we will enjoy an exclusive tour of the magnificent 12th Century Abbaye de la Bussière. The ornamental gardens and lake, wine press, crypt and cellars are interwoven with ancient colonnades, stone staircases and huge stained glass windows. After a Kir Royale aperitif we walk back to the barge for dinner on board.
Wednesday, April 17 – La Bussière to Paris
After breakfast, disembark the barge and transfer back to Paris.
Disclosure: I am a media guest of the Go Barging, and received a free one night stay at Hotel Westminster, flights and the river cruise on L’Impressionniste. All other costs associated with this visit are my own, and my opinions are always my own.