Planning a getaway with grandkids this summer?

You’re more likely to be thinking about a road trip to Legoland or setting sail on the Big Red Boat. But if you’ve “been there, done that” – or want to share a truly unique experience with your entire family – you might want to think about a hotel barge vacation.

Barging is a wonderful way to travel through inland canals and waterways that weave through picturesque towns and villages.

In the past, it was unusual to find children or teens on barge trips because the voyages were largely geared to adults. But with the growing demand for family and multigenerational travel, the folks at European Waterways are making barging an attractive alternative for families with kids of all ages, too.

barging L'Art de Vivre on a canal

L’Art de Vivre on a canal

Barging is family-friendly!

Hotel barges generally accommodate less than 20 passengers on a single barge, so guests can always count on a more intimate experience than they might find on other water-based vessels (ocean or river). Your grandkids won’t be running off to rock-climbing walls or discotheques. Instead, you’re more likely to be doing things together a greater portion of each day. You and your family will also enjoy opportunities to interact with the international crew on your voyage throughout the day.

European Waterways has created ways to keep families involved in age-appropriate, family-friendly onboard activities and excursions – with opportunities for prehistoric cave exploration, go-karting, hot air ballooning, horseback riding, and of course, walking, biking and hiking along scenic canals as the barge meanders to its next destination.

In addition, European barge trips offer families a unique opportunity to experience different foods, languages and cultures. European Waterways has also expanded dining options to include kid-friendly informal barbecues. Having a personal chef onboard each barge means that menus can be personalized for even the fussiest of eaters.

“Every parent knows that hotel rooms are pure torture for restless kids on vacation. A great alternative is a hotel barge, which always cruises ‘the great outdoors,'” says Derek Banks, managing director for European Waterways.

Canal view from a porthole

Canal view from a porthole

“Kids Go Free” summer promotion

While a luxury hotel barge trip can be expensive, European Waterways is offering a “Kids Go Free” promotion this summer for select hotel barges in France and Scotland. For example, during the promotion, the whole boat charter of L’Art de Vivre is priced at $25,125, down from $33,500 (a 25% savings). Eligible departure dates are July 23, August 13, and August 20, 2017. Similar price reductions are available on select departures of three other barges.

The company is also offering fleet-wide, per person (based on double occupancy) discounts on cabin rates on these barges, too. While not kid-specific, these cabin discounts allow a small family to book just the cabins they need at similar savings.


  • To learn more about these and other departures available under the promotion, visit European Waterways or call 1-877-879-8808 toll-free.


See what it’s like barging on L’Art de Vivre