When we mention barge, most of us have an image that is certainly not likely to make us hop on one and float away. But the kind of barge we are talking about….more properly called “hotel barges” is nothing like you might think.
True, these were once used for hauling lumber and other commodities along the rivers of Europe. The rivers were the main means of transport back then and so a series of canals and locks were built to help expedite the shipment of goods.
Nowadays many of those barges have been converted to floating hotels that offer every modern convenience. They offer a chance to really slow down and enjoy the scenery. Most of these are in the U.K. or Europe from the Netherlands all the way south to Venice, so there are bound to be Catholic churches, cathedrals and other places of interest to Catholics.
Such hotel barges hold only 6-20 passengers, so there is obviously a closeness that develops among passengers. An in many cases you can charter the whole barge and have a private hotel barge cruise.
The cruises almost always include a chef on board and 3 or more crew members as well. And normally almost everything is included in the price (even bicycles), so you don’t have to worry about those hidden extras that can sneak up on you and ruin you budget. As you can see, the atmosphere is definitely relaxing.