Plan a Girlfriends Getaway on a Hotel Barge

Deckhand on European Waterways' Panache (Credit: Jerome Levine)

Planning a getaway with girlfriends? If you’re bored of beaches, tired of all-inclusive resorts, and would like to try something more intellectually stimulating than a jaunt to Las Vegas, consider something truly different: a girlfriends getaway on a hotel barge. European Waterways has just announced a time-limited discount on charter prices for these getaways.

A luxury barge trip down one of Europe’s historic canals offers “besties” opportunities to laugh, reminisce, and create new memories that will strengthen the bonds of their friendship, while they explore the charming villages and towns that dot Europe’s inland waterways.

You deserve a girlfriends getaway

At midlife and beyond, women often wind up juggling work commitments with caregiving responsibilities (for kids, aging parents, or both), affording them precious little “me-time.” In fact, carving out time to spend with girlfriends may feel self-indulgent.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Time spent with girlfriends is restorative, making women better mothers and partners. It’s a chance to slow down and spend uninterrupted time with a tribe who can understand and support you.

Local musicians come onboard during a cocktail hour
Local musicians come onboard during a cocktail hour

Chartering a barge is a great way to celebrate a milestone birthday (40th, 50th or 60th) or career success. But you really don’t need any excuse at all to gather a group of female friends, business associates, neighbors and/or relatives for a women’s only get-together—without the guys.

Why barging?

Hotel barging is an intimate, slow and immersive way to travel. Compared to ocean-going vessels and riverboats, barges move at a crawl, generally about 4 miles per hour. The boats only cruise during the day on uniformly calm waters, without any waves or swells, so no one is likely to get queasy or seasick.

The barges cruise through picturesque countryside almost hugging the banks of narrow canals as they pass through a series of locks, offering opportunities for guests to get off the barge and either walk or ride bicycles along the towpath before catching up with the boat at the next lock.

Bicycles on board a hotel barge
Bicycles on board a hotel barge

Most boats hold 6-20 people so a small group of girlfriends can charter an entire vessel. Guests get to interact with the crew (The ratio of crew to guests is usually 1:2 or better) who handle all the logistics of shopping, cooking, cleaning and leading excursions in chauffeured vans—creating an experience that is hassle-free for guests. If friends live across the country (or across the globe), all they need to do is to gather at the city from which the barge departs.

All crew on deck to welcome guests onboard with a champagne toast
All crew on deck to welcome guests onboard with a champagne toast

Gourmet food and wine experiences are integral to the barge experience. An onboard chef designs breakfast, lunch and dinner menus to highlight local food specialties. Menus can be personalized to address individual food preferences. Wines are local, too, with ample opportunities not only to taste new wines but also to learn about them.

A cheese course follows dinner
A cheese course follows dinner

Except for gratuities and air transportation, barge trips are a fully inclusive mode of travel (including a well-stocked open bar) so there’s no need to worry about splitting bills or racking up added costs.

European Waterways Girlfriend Getaways

European Waterways recently announced a time-limited discount on Girls’ Getaways hotel barge charters. The company, which is the largest operator of barges, is offering 10 percent off charter prices on select cruises for spring 2019, when booked by September 14. These getaways can be personalized to meet the interests of a group, focusing, for example, on culinary experiences, art appreciation, shopping, or wellness.

“Today’s women travelers are more confident and independent than ever before,” said Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways, in a press release announcing the getaways.  “The social nature of hotel barging makes it an ideal way to take a break with like-minded friends in a relaxing setting.”

All photo credits: Jerome Levine

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