European Waterways, a leading European luxury hotel barge cruising company, springs into the 2012 season with cruises in the British Isles that include spectacular views of the Scottish Highlands, one-of-a-kind excursions through the magical land of Ireland, and visits to some of the legendary sites of England that bring to life the history of some of Europe’s most fabled attractions. And, for a limited time, passengers can take advantage of special savings on select departure dates.
Taking You Higher
The eight-passenger Scottish Highlander cruises through the legendary Highlands, an area of immense natural beauty that makes up more than half of Scotland and is home to the Grampian Mountains, the Great Glen, and Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis. Scottish Highlander cruises through the best of the region along the Caledonian Canal, with ancient castles and palaces, legendary lakes, and charming waterside villages.
Scottish Highlander cruises feature tours of some of the world’s most famous medieval castles, including Cawdor Castle, which was the setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Passengers will also tour picturesque Eilean Donan Castle, featured in the movie Highlander, which is perched on an island where three “Lochs” (the Scottish word for lake) meet. This commanding location offers a view of the Isle of Skye, and rewards guests with frequent sightings of dolphins and otters. History buffs will enjoy a trip to Culloden Moor, site of the last battle of the Jacobite rising in 1746. The barge also navigates through several lakes including Lochs Oich, Lochy, Dochfour, and the famous Loch Ness, the deepest lake in Great Britain, where the Monster “Nessie” is said to be lurking, just waiting to be photographed by someone aboard the Scottish Highlander.
“Scottish Highlander offers a truly magical journey, with great castles, turbulent battle history, folklore, and vibrant local cultures, all set against a wonderful mountain backdrop and deep lakes. Passengers really enjoy the sight of abundant wildlife that includes whales, birds, seals, and even monster sea creatures – or so I’m told,” said Derek Banks, Managing Director of European Waterways. “Even our barge crew joins in the entertainment, with Captain Dan Clark regaling passengers with local Highland tunes on his accordion at the captain’s dinner on Friday night. During the cruise, our guests will also enjoy the Bagpipe serenading of Selwyn Urquhart and the toe-tapping tunes of Charlie Menzies on his fiddle.”
A Royal Escape
On the hotel barge Magna Carta in England, passengers experience the wonders of the Royal River Thames. Cruising on the prettiest stretch of the river that’s “fit for a queen or king,” it makes guided stops at Windsor Castle, official residence of Her Majesty the Queen, and the Tudor Hampton Court Palace. Passengers will also tour Christ Church, Oxford’s grandest college, and can even choose optional experiences like flying in a hot air balloon.
Meanwhile, on Shannon Princess II, the only luxury hotel barge cruising the waterways of Ireland, passengers will feel “as lucky as leprechauns.” The cruise offers access to Ireland’s beautiful lakes and sweeping countryside, ancient castles and cathedrals. There is also a full day visit to the culture-rich university city of Galway, allowing passengers to take in the renowned music, art, and entertainment scenes.
European Waterways is offering some seasonal specials on these cruises. On Scottish Highlander, there is 25 % off per cabin for April 22 and May 20 departures, based on double occupancy. Or charter the whole 8-passenger vessel for any April and May departure and again get 25% off. On Magna Carta, save $1,000 off per cabin on the April 22 departure or 25% off the full 8 passenger charter price for all departures in April and May. On Shannon Princess II, receive $1,000 off per cabin on the May 13 departure.
European Waterways, 877-879-8808, www.gobarging.com