Sunday, December 19, 2010

Great Gift for Wine Lovers & Connoisseurs

ATTENTION WINE LOVERS & CONNOISSEURS:  The French Hotel Barge Amaryllis has devoted two special weeks this summer to a Grands Crus Wine Cruise. Taste the 33 Grands Crus of Burgundy.

Join Amaryllis on a 6-night cruise and experience this unique opportunity for the wine connoisseur to taste the 33 Grands Crus of Burgundy, including Bonne Mares, Montrachet and Romanée Conti. No need to book the whole boat as it is open on an individual cabin, shared charter basis.

  • $10,000/person, double occupancy (i.e. $20,000/cabin)
  • July 17-23, 2011 and July 24-30, 2011
What’s included:
  • 6 nights' accommodation on board Amaryllis
  • Breakfast, lunch & candlelit dinner each day
  • Refreshments on board after excursions
  • Wine with meals, liqueurs and bar drinks on board
  • Sightseeing excursions, including entrance fees
  • Wine expert
  • Use of bicycles
  • Air-conditioned vehicle with guide for sightseeing
  • All transfers as described in the itinerary
  • Return TGV between Paris and the Amaryllis
View the itinerary:  Burgundy Grands Crus Wine Cruise

French Hotel Barge Amaryllis - Barging in Burgundy France

Travel in superb comfort on the luxury barge Amaryllis, where you will enjoy the delightful scenery and culture of Burgundy at a very relaxed pace. The wines that you will come to enjoy during the cruise are the heart and soul of the region, and have an honored place in the wine cellars and at the dinner tables of wine lovers all over the world.

The French Barge Amaryllis is one of the finest river cruisers in Europe, with all the amenities of a luxury hotel and the ambience of a country inn.

Domaine Ponsot

Cruise along the Canal de Bourgogne, River Saône, and the Canal du Centre as you wind your way through the famous wine region between Dijon and Saint-Léger-sur-Dheune.

Be sure to look at our supplemental web page for more information about places you'll see on this special wine tour cruise: REGIONS: Burgundy, Grands Crus

AVAILABILITY: Cabins are still available for both weeks.
As of December 20th, there are only TWO cabins available for the first week and
TWO cabins open for the second week.

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book AMARYLLIS 
View Amaryllis's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges & barging:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hotel Barging Tours & Cruises Special Events

We'd like to remind you of some special events that are scheduled for the next barging season...

  • SHANNON PRINCESS - Shannon River, Ireland
  • LA BELLE EPOQUE - Burgundy, France

  • MAGNA CARTA - River Thames, England

  • MAGNA CARTA - River Thames, England

  • AMARYLLIS - Burgundy, France

  • Dutch Tulip Cruises - Spring
  • 2-week Amsterdam/Belgium-Paris Cruise
  • Itinerary: La Nouvelle Etoile
Belgium to France: May 15-26, 2011
Holland to France: May 15-28, 2011
France to Holland: October 16-29, 2011


L'Impressionniste offers a very special 6-week, 4-country (France, Luxembourg, Germany, Netherlands) voyage! A 1,000 mile journey along Western Europe’s finest inland waterways between the southern French Provencal town of Avignon, right across Europe to vibrant Amsterdam in northern Holland.

  • Christmas Cruise (December 24-28, 2011)
  • New Year's Cruise (December 29 - January 2, 2012)

  • Fete de la Musique: June 21st (Tuesday in 2011)
  • Bastille Day: July 13 (Wednesday), July 14 (Thusday)


For private barge charters, your cruise can be tailored to your interests such as: guided cycling tours, golf, tennis, fishing, cooking, wine appreciation, guided walking tours, family-oriented cruises, antiques... If your chosen barge doesn't list a specific itinerary geared toward your interest, let us know and we'll check it out for you!


September is always a VERY popular month for barging, so please, please, PLEASE... book early!

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book your barging holiday
For more information on our barges and barging, visit our website :

Friday, December 17, 2010

Luxury Crewed French Hotel Barges - Barging Cruises in France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, Italy, Germany

For a selection of luxury crewed hotel barges we represent, please visit our web site, view our blog, read our monthly barging newsletter, or contact us!

A barging cruise is a wonderful vacation for singles, couples, family, friends, and corporate trips too!

Come and explore the European waterways aboard a quality, luxury, all inclusive, crewed boutique hotel barge.

Visit our website to view barges in France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Holland / Belgium, Italy, Germany / Luxembourg

Sunday, December 12, 2010

New Years with Hotel Barge Scottish Highlander - Visit Loch Ness

Looking for somewhere different to welcome in the New Year?

How about a 4-night Hogmanay cruise aboard the Hotel Barge SCOTTISH HIGHLANDER???

Hotel Barge Scottish Highlander moored at Urquhart Castle

The Scottish Highlander Hogmanay Cruise is for 4 nights and ideal for people (up to 8) preferring a relaxing and traditional Hogmanay celebration after Christmas. There will be deer-spotting excursions, whisky tastings, traditional music, fireworks displays and some wonderful Scottish fare such as locally-sourced game and salmon. The legends of the past, the taste of single malt and the mythical inhabitant of Loch Ness, all contribute to a special magic at this time of year, uniquely experienced in Scotland's dramatic Highlands.

Say "Hello" to Nessie for us :)

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book SCOTTISH HIGHLANDER 
View Scottish Highlander's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges & barging:

Saturday, December 04, 2010

French Barge LA BELLE EPOQUE: Comments on their recent Guided Walking Tour in Burgundy France

We received a wonderful review of a client's Walking Cruise Experience (week of 10th October 2010) on board La Belle Epoque in Burgundy.

Come to Burgundy next Autumn and enjoy La Belle Epoque's
special Walking Tour with like-minded individuals

Here is the review:
On arrival, our travel-weariness quickly dissolved thanks to the beaming smiles of the crew who welcomed us aboard, handing us a glass of champagne and a selection of delicious canapés.  After our various introductions, we had just one instruction from our Captain, Stephane: “Start enjoying yourself straight away as the week will go by very quickly.”  So we did, and he was right!

Accommodation and Décor
On first seeing La Belle Epoque, I was instantly struck by the size of the vessel. It appeared much bigger than in the photos I’d seen and very impressive with its crisp blue and white paintwork.  The interior décor is dominated by traditional wood paneling and there is space for everyone to sit comfortably in the interior lounge or outside on the sundeck. The cabins are cosy and have everything you need for a very comfortable week.  They have windows or portholes encased in that lovely old heavy brass which you just don’t see nowadays.  The house-keeping team worked very hard at their role, discreetly cleaning and tidying the cabins and providing fresh towels every day.  And the bathrobe and slippers are especially handy for keeping your modesty when walking up to the hot tub on deck!

Food and Wine
Not considering myself a food buff, I wasn’t sure if the gourmet meals would be as important to me as to others.  How wrong I was.  The delicate flavours, imaginative food combinations and beautiful presentation by our chef, Emma, were a delight. Served with seamless efficiency by Kayleigh and Lindsay, each lunch and dinner was accompanied by appropriate red and white wines for us to enjoy and compare, expertly described by our Captain.  And, in true French style, we had a different selection of cheeses at every meal, dutifully described by Lindsay.  It didn’t take long for dinner to become a highlight of our day.  And after one of our slightly longer afternoon guided walks, we laughed as we noticed that everyone had arrived especially early for dinner, perched on the edge of our seats and casting hopeful glances at the kitchen door.

The gentle chug of the engine is more comforting than intrusive.  With locks occurring every 20 minutes to one hour (40 locks in 5 days), the Captain and his effervescent First Mate, Rudy, are kept very busy.  Far from becoming repetitive, this process remained as fascinating for me at the end of the week as it did at the start.  Each lock has its own little keeper’s house, complete with name and number plaque above the front door and a friendly dog eager to greet the barge.  The gardens have their own individual style and one features a selection of bizarre follies, including a huge giraffe!  The lock offers an opportunity for guests to hop off for a tow path walk or cycle ride, or to step back on board for a coffee or to just sit and enjoy the cruise.

On most autumn mornings, the mist hangs heavily over the water. It’s beautiful.  Stepping outside, you need to be wrapped up warmly while the mist lingers but it becomes surprisingly warm if the sun burns through.  One of my fellow passengers commented as we strolled along the tow path “There is something very pleasant about having your hotel bedroom gliding along the river beside you.”  As well as the option to walk along the canal towpath, there is no doubt that having the experienced walk guide, brought an additional dimension to the trip.  He led us on a two to three hour leisurely walk into the surrounding countryside each morning or afternoon.  The walks were not fast paced or demanding.  They were designed to give us time to absorb the views and relish the quietness of our surroundings.  We also had regular pauses to hear his anecdotes, bird and wildlife observations and snippets of local history.  Under his gentle leadership, we passed through pretty pale limestone villages, saw evidence of wild boar foraging, tasted a grape or two in a fine Chablis vineyard and, on the morning we walked to Les Clefs de Rochefort, this derelict castle was appropriately enshrouded in Hammer Horror-esque mist.

Our sightseeing visits were guided by our well-informed and articulate Captain who brought to life the classic French Château de Tanlay and the stunning Abbayé de Fontenay – a ‘must-see’ if you visit this area.  He kept our attention whilst knowingly mispronouncing the occasional English word with a glint in his eye!
We were surprised to be guided around one of Chablis’ leading wineries by a bright young Australian whose extensive knowledge of French wine growing and Australian wine blending belied his youthful looks.  He explained the sometimes complex production methods with remarkable clarity.  Finally our curiosity got the better of us and we asked “What brings an Australian to live in France?”  With the panache of his adopted country, he smiled and shrugged “A girl!”

I had two personal concerns before this walk:
Firstly, as a single person accustomed to living alone, would I feel the need to ‘escape’ from the barge and my fellow passengers?  I can honestly say that this thought did not cross my mind at all during the whole week.  Far from being a challenge, the mix of cultures in our group (Canadian, American, Australian and English) added to the interest of the trip and the mix of visits, walks and fine-dining kept me occupied but not at the expense of relaxation.
Secondly, being on the most susceptible end of the motion-sickness scale, would I suffer any effects of the barge’s movement?  Not at all – I felt as stable as on dry land.  In fact, being surrounded by water had a truly therapeutic effect.

And After…
If you are considering this type of voyage but haven’t done anything like it before, I cannot recommend it highly enough.  Don’t hesitate to take the opportunity.  It’s an experience which will leave you well-rested, enriched and smiling at your memories for a long time afterwards.  Would I go again?  Absolutely!
We have two departures in 2011 for this same cruise, departing 16th October and 23th October 2011 (value priced weeks). You can view the full itinerary for the Guided Walking Tour cruise on La Belle Epoque's brochure.

The difference with this theme cruise is that it is available for individuals or couples to book a cabin and join others on board. No need to charter the whole barge and no extra supplements to pay for the services of the on board professional walking guide.

If you are part of a couple and not as keen about walking as your "better half", pas de problème... There are other activities available if you wish, or you can just chill out on La Belle Epoque and watch the countryside glide by while listening to tunes on your iPod or reading a book in the jacuzzi!

This all-inclusive deluxe barge is 128 feet long, has two levels, a crew of 5 or 6, and accommodates up to 13 guests in 7 cabins, each with private, ensuite bathrooms. La Belle Epoque is fully air conditioned and has central heating. They have two sundecks with steamer chairs, recliners, parasols, a large dining table, plus a Jacuzzi spa pool.

Sounds good? Contact Paradise Connections and let's get started. This is a very popular cruise and it books up quickly. Currently (10 months before cruise) there are already 2 cabins booked for October 16th and 4 cabins booked for October 23rd, so don't dilly-dally too long!

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book LA BELLE EPOQUE 
View La Belle Epoque's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges & barging:

Friday, December 03, 2010

News from the French Hotel Barge ENCHANTE

With 2010 coming to a close, Roger & Louisa are now at their land-based home for the winter, while Enchanté is moored near the Barge Athos in Argeliers.

Our YouTube slideshow for the French Hotel Barge ENCHANTE

Enchanté had a brilliant 2010 season... much better than they had expected for their first year of barge charters. Roger & Louisa are ecstatic with the interest Enchanté has generated and 2011 is already looking like it will be a great year.

Enchanté has modified their Canal du Midi itinerary with the new route cruising between Sallèles d'Aude and Puichéric. Their Provence route is already booked up except for a cabin cruise week beginning June 12th (Agde to Avignon). This week will fill up quickly... Book now!

Roger & Louisa - Owner-operators of French Hotel Barge Enchanté

Roger & Louisa will be back, of course, but there may be a couple of crew changes for 2011.


As some of you know, Kate, their hostess, was married on November 6th. She looked radiant and the weather for the wedding was classic South of France. They are hoping she'll come back next year, however getting married might change her plans of canal cruising for 2011. Best wishes to the happy couple!

Kate and Peter

The well-known & respected Peter Shaw was Enchanté's Chef for 2010, but due to plans of opening his own B&B, they're not sure how available he will be for next season.

Skilled pilotage
Barges on the canal du midi are designed for the maximum possible
with taking the bridge heights and canal & lock dimensions into consideration 

Even though this was Roger & Louisa's first year with their barge Enchanté, they are both very experienced in the world of barging and the hospitality industry. We look forward to having our valued clients aboard Enchanté next year.

Autumn sunrise - Enchanté moored along the canal du midi
in the south of France

Enchanté has a crew of four, is 100 feet in length, has two decks, is fully air conditioned and has central heat as well. She provides luxurious accommodation in her lower level for up to eight guests in four equal (approx. 200sq ft) en-suite twin or double suites each with superbly appointed bathrooms with showers. The barge is tastefully furnished in exotic hardwoods creating a bright and airy atmosphere.  Enchanté's upper deck has a large, spacious saloon where the attention to detail is noticeable, along with a demonstration galley for guests to view the chef.  Outdoors, there is a spacious sun deck with al fresco dining, gorgeous hot tub and comfortable sun loungers. Each guest cabin on Enchanté has a mobile phone for their personal use while on board. When the guests arrive there's about 5 euros credit and they can top up anytime. Other amenities include a guest computer with internet connection, DVD/TV, and bicycles.

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book Enchanté 
View Enchanté's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging:

Thursday, December 02, 2010


Paradise Connections is pleased to announce a new addition to the fleet of hotel barges that we represent for 2011, La Bella Vita.  What better way to explore Venice?

La Bella Vita - Barging in Italy

La Bella Vita (the beautiful life), a luxury 20-passenger hotel barge, offers a very special cruise along some of Italy’s most charming waterways between Venice and the Renaissance city of Mantua. She has been refitted to very exacting standards and will begin chartering in April 2011.

Click image to enlarge
The special cruise route gives passengers the opportunity to enjoy the diverse landscapes and nature en route, from picturesque lagoon islands with their colourful houses, to wild beach dunes and pine woods with an abundance of birdlife; from the charming Venetian port of Chioggia via the River Po and Bianca Canal to the captivating lakeside setting of the Renaissance city of Mantua. Mantua, the cultural and musical center of Northern Italy, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008 for its medieval and Renaissance planning and architecture.

Cruise Highlights:
  • Guided tour of historic Venice – hidden gardens, Pavilion of the Gondolas
  • Tour of the colourful port of Chioggia and its famous red fish market
  • Private wine tastings at renowned local producers
  • Tour of ancient Adria, including the opera house and cathedral
  • Visits to the Ducal Palace in Mantua and Estense Castle in Ferrara
  • La Bella Vita has a friendly, knowledgeable English-speaking crew with a captain, gourmet chef, hostesses, and a tour guide.

Every 6-night/7-day cruise aboard La Bella Vita includes comfortable, air conditioned accommodation in en suite cabins which can be configured as twins or doubles, gourmet meals, open bar, fine wines, daily escorted excursions, entrance fees, local transfers and the use of barge facilities such as bicycles to explore the towpaths and a large sundeck to laze on.

Prices for a cruise aboard hotel barge La Bella Vita are from $3,490 per person in a twin/double cabin and from $57,000 for a private, full boat charter.

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book LA BELLA VITA 
View La Bella Vita's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges & barging: