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Our Top 5 Reasons to Take a Hotel-Barge/River Cruise Vacation

Our Top 5 Reasons to Take a

River Cruise or Hotel Barge Vacation

If you've tried cruising on an ocean-going ship and loved it, we have another option for you--consider meandering down a lazy waterway aboard a river vessel or luxury hotel barge. You'll find it to be a totally different and infinitely relaxing experience, with just the right amount of culture, excellent culinary adventures, and plenty of shore-based activities in less-traveled ports.

Of course, other times you want to share the celebration with good friends or extended family members. All these special occasions require a good deal of thought, advice, and planning to be totally successful for everyone involved. That's why we suggest you contact Hideaways Travel Services for help planning and booking your celebration-worthy getaways.

Don't go it alone! Count on the expertise of your Hideaways Cruise Specialist to match you with a luxury river or hotel-barge cruise that hits all the right highlights for you, whether you're a foodie, a wine connoisseur, or a culture junkie. Just give us a call at 800-843-4433, or email

1. A Slow & Steady Pace

There's nothing hurried about this style of cruising. You can almost feel the stress melt away as you watch the landscape unfold along the river or canal of your choice. That said, Type-A personalities still will find plenty of ways to ramp up the active fun with things like on-board cooking lessons and wine tastings, cycling from town to nearby town in smaller ports, and taking advantage of walking tours when docked in larger cities.

2. Small & Intimate vs. Large & Boisterous

River and hotel-barge cruises are, by their very nature, intimate experiences when compared to ocean-going cruises. Without all the bells and whistles of larger ships, these small vessels lend themselves to meeting fellow passengers and sharing a sense of camaraderie with like-minded traveling companions. Even when striking out on your own for on-shore adventures, you're likely to bump into other couples from your cruise in the smaller, less-touristed ports that many hotel barges and river vessels frequent. Who knows, you might end up joining new friends for a drink at some quaint waterfront café!

Though you can opt for taking one of three to six (or more) cabins on a luxury hotel barge, these vessels are perfect for booking in their entirety for a family reunion or couples' celebration. Read about one such voyage that Hideaways member Hunt Harris and his wife shared with three other couples, cruising France's Canal du Midi with European Waterways, at "Cheers to Wine, Food & Friendship!"

3. Cultural Immersion

River and hotel-barge cruises offer more authentic cultural interactions by virtue of their smaller scale. You'll dock in right-there ports with easy access to local pubs, shops, and even quirky museums. And chances are the locals will be thrilled to share the names of their favorite restaurants for you to try. Your cook or chef is bound to take advantage of local fresh fish and produce for on-board meals; in fact, you might even be invited along to visit the market and choose some of those ingredients!

Hideaways President Mike Thiel found the decidedly Scottish feel of his Caledonian Canal barging excursion much to his liking, right down to the Scottish Highlander's on-board selection of single-malt Scotches. Discover his other favorite bits of Scottish culture, including the haunting wails of the bagpipe, when you read "Hotel Barging with a Scottish Flair."

Worth noting: European Waterways is debuting a 12-passenger sister ship to the 8-passenger Scottish Highlander, called the Spirit of Scotland, on a 6-night cruise on the Caledonian Canal and lochs of Great Glen, departing Jun-4-17. You can take advantage of a 10% discount on all cabins and full-boat charters of the Spirit of Scotland in June and July, when you book with Hideaways Travel Services (800-843-4433) by Mar-31-17. Fares start from $4,450/person for a double cabin, and from $49,500 for a 12-passenger charter. Prices include meals, wine and open bar, daily escorted excursions, and more.

4. Family Fun

If cruising with your kids and/or grandkids sounds like the antithesis of fun, think again. Given the right river cruise, your kids can take to water like a duck and be perfectly content, with age-appropriate on-board activities along with shore excursions and adventures designed to pique their curiosity and leave them pleasantly exhausted at day's end.

Family river cruising in Europe is a relatively new trend that we heartily recommend for its engaging cultural opportunities disguised as great fun. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection does a good job of appealing to school-aged children with its "2017 Family Adventures in Europe" program. Select itineraries have family activities centered around one or more themes, including "Art Lovers," "Curious Minds," "Mysterious Stuff," and "Thrill Seekers!" This year's adventures include a Segway ride through Vienna, exploring Nuremberg's secret tunnels, and learning pretzel-making in Germany.

Hotel barging can work for families with older children who don't need to be constantly entertained and who are interested in a particular destination, be that Holland, Ireland, Belgium, France, or Italy. Family-oriented shore excursions might include visiting an Irish castle--maybe even a haunted one!--and watching artists create hand-painted Delft pottery in Holland.

Here's the Deal!

Don't miss Uniworld's "Our Best Offer Ever" promotion. Save up to 20% on a wide array of select 2017 European cruises, from Italy to Russia and everywhere in between; repeat River Heritage guests save an additional 10%, for up to 30% savings! Offer good on new bookings only with Hideaways Travel Services through Feb-28-17.

Uniworld is known for its comfortable luxury, impeccable service (in-suite butlers in most of Europe!), and relaxed, all-inclusive sailing with complimentary Wi-Fi, personalized excursions, gratuities, and unlimited beverages including many premium spirits. Contact Hideaways today to take advantage of this special offer, available only through Feb-28-17; call 800-843-4433, or email

5. Endless Destination Choices

While luxury hotel barging tends to be limited to the canals and smaller waterways of Europe, river cruising is available in virtually every corner of the world, including the U.S. Exotic rivers that are popular for cruising include the Ganges in India, the Mekong in Cambodia and Vietnam, China's Yangtze, the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar, Peru's Upper Amazon, the Nile in Egypt, and the Zambezi in Africa.

Aqua Expeditions Amazon cruise

Be sure to have your Hideaways Travel Specialist help you navigate these unique waterways, so you can confidently cruise on a safe and comfortable vessel with a knowledgeable crew and English-speaking staff--and with all the amenities you desire. We can recommend any number of small-ship lines that will do a wonderful job of unveiling the mysteries of these fascinating rivers.

Check out one Hideaways member's account of cruising through Cambodia at "High Water on the Mekong," part of the article entitled, "Southeast Asia: Land of Cultural Treasures."

For a taste of cruising down the Nile, read Hideaways President Mike Thiel's article, " Egypt: Dicey, or Travel Delight?"

Choose Your Own Ideal Way to Cruise!

We'll help you find just the right way to take to the water, whether it's a slow boat in China or an intimate luxury hotel barge meandering through wine country. We'll also help you plan your cruise every step of the way, including land-based travels at either end. Call us at 800-843-4433, or email today.

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* Hideaways Aficionado Club is a registered trademark of Hideaways International, Inc.
Copyright © 2021 Hideaways International, Inc.
All Rights Reserved