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The European Waterways office staff smiling in the snow
|Private Limited Company|
|Headquarters||Datchet, Berkshire, United Kingdom|
|Derek Banks, John Wood-Dow|
Number of employees
|50 - 75|
European Waterways is an international company based in Berkshire, England that operates a fleet of 17 river cruising vessels along the rivers and canals of Europe. The company takes old trading barges and converts them into "boutique luxury" hotel barges.
European Waterways, a UK company based in England, was established in 1977 by owner Derek Banks with the purchase of an existing French inland waterways cruising company which had been created 3 years earlier in 1974. The first hotel barge was Anjodi, which was originally purchased in 1982. In 1994 the company built the 12 passenger La Belle Epoque followed by its sister ship, 12 passenger L'Impressionniste, in 1995. After these acquisitions European Waterways expanded steadily and, as a result of cooperation with several companies in the travel industry and additional acquisitions, now operates a fleet of 17 hotel barges along the inland waterways of 9 countries in Europe.
Derek Banks, the company founder, was brought up on the River Thames and has enjoyed all aspects of life afloat. It was as a result of this early exposure to the inland waterways that he was inspired to move to a lock house in the middle of France in the mid 1970s and start the now thriving European Waterways.
The company originally focused on the Canal du Nivernais in central Burgundy, France, but as the company grew, cruises were programmed all over Europe. With purchases such as the barges L'Art de Vivre, Scottish Highlander and Panache the company expanded to cover Scotland, France, Italy, Holland, Belgium, England, Germany, Luxembourg and Ireland. Today, with an international clientele, European Waterways has clients from all over the world, primarily from the United Kingdom, USA, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, France, Canada and Hong Kong.
European Waterways' barges carry between 6 and 20 passengers and also provide tandem cruises to accommodate up to 20 passengers. The cruises are marketed as being unique from other tours in that they provide the inland cruising vacationer, views and access to areas that, in a car or on a bus tour, are not ordinarily accessible in addition to other tourist attractions such as Châteaux, markets and villages
The cruises are a minimum of 6 nights long and take place on the Nivernais Canal, the River Yonne, the Burgundy Canal, the River Rhône, the Canal du Midi, the River Cher the Venetian lagoon, the Brenta Canal, the Garonne River, the Caledonian Canal, the River Thames and the River Shannon. All voyages include at least one guided shore excursion per day.
Geared toward the North American and UK tourist market, European Waterways provides English-speaking staff on its barges and fully escorted tours. Many of the tours are guided walks that showcase history, culture, art and architecture of the visited towns and villages.
|Ship name||Year built||Length||Crew||Guests|
|La Belle Epoque||1930
|L'Art de Vivre||1917
|Spirit of Scotland||2003
|La Nouvelle Etoile||1964
|Shannon Princess II||2003
|La Bella Vita||1960