12) - Do the barges have central heating?
Yes, 99% of them do
have it, with individual controls in each cabin or room. There are a few
who do not however. If this is very important to you please check when booking. This is always
indicated in the bullet point list of barge features found on every barge page on this website in
13) – Will there be space to hang our clothes in our cabin?
Yes, each cabin has its own built in storage space
, though we suggest that you don’t pack too
excessively, and the space available varies from barge to barge of course.
14) – What should I bring to wear? – What is the dress code on board?
People usually dress casually and comfortably
whilst barge cruising – after all, you’re not on
ceremony and are aiming to relax! If cruising in the south of France, bring several short sleeved
shirts and shorts for the men, and summer dresses, shorts, skirts and breathable summer tops for
the women. Comfortable shoes
are also a ‘must’. You may wish to bring a pair of light cotton
trousers and a warm jumper for the evenings in the early Spring and Autumn (Fall) as the nights
can become chilly.
If you’re cruising in cooler areas then trousers, light jumpers or shirts, plus a light raincoat is advisable,
just in case!
You may wish to bring something more elegant or formal for the last evening when most barges
have a ‘Captain’s Dinner’
– usually the only meal at which the Captain will join you. Here you
will say your farewells by candlelight, and it can be fun to dress up for this occasion
15) – Does the crew speak English?
Yes. All barges have a fluent English speaking crew
16) – Will there be laundry facilities on board the barge?
As a rule it’s better to presume the answer to this is ‘no’
. If you really need something to be
washed during your cruise then the barge crew will always do their best to help arrange it, but
you should really pack with a view to not needing to wash anything whilst cruising.
17) – Will there be a music system on board? – Or any other means of
Yes, most barges have a music system
. Some have a TV
in the salon, some even have them
in your room (the
and collections of films and videos
are often carried too,
along with a library
of books, perhaps board games, cards and other ‘rainy-day’
. The above varies from barge to barge so do ask if in doubt.
Several barges have satellite TV
so that you can get CNN and similar channels.
and La Nouvelle Etoile
18) – Will I be able to e-mail from the barge or get internet access?
Several barges provide wifi internet access
. However given the rural location of many routes
the connection speed can be very limited, so whilst checking email should
be straightforward please don't expect to be able to skype or stream video whilst on board.
19) – How fast will the barge go?
Usually pretty slowly as there is a speed limit of 4 miles per hour
on the canals! This ensures
that the slow pace of life is experienced by all, and you can easily cycle along the tow path
and keep up with the barge
, and even go ahead and explore small villages on route, then wait
for the barge to catch you up.
20) – I suffer with sea sickness – will this be a problem?
No – not at all. The canals are non-tidal and there will be scarcely any movement discernable
to you whilst you cruise and usually none at all
. There are no waves and the water is usually
stationary, not flowing.
21) – What are the bathrooms like?
Most en suite bathrooms are pleasantly appointed using good quality fixtures and fittings. A toilet,
washbasin and shower are the minimum
that is provided. Often you will also have a bidet
and on some barges a full-sized bathtub
, such as on Esperance
. Double sinks
are often found on our most luxurious barges such as
La Nouvelle Etoile
22) – What about the excursions? – Do I have to go on them?
Excursions will always have been carefully researched by the barge prior to your arrival. Remember,
the barge owners and operators are experts on the area(s) that they operate in and so they
know the best and most interesting places and sites of interest to share with you
client. Excursions are never ‘forced’
upon clients, but are merely proposed
. On most cruises
there will be a charming programme of suggested excursions, which most guests thoroughly enjoy.
If however excursions are not ‘your thing’ and you prefer to go exploring local villages by
bike on your own, for example, then in most cases that will certainly not be a problem. If the
barge has to depart from a mooring at a certain time however the Captain will ask you to be back
in time to go with the barge. All alterations to the usual activities will need to be agreed
with the Captain of course, but this is not usually a ‘big deal’!
23) – I have allergies and food preferences. Will this be a problem?
No, as long as you let us know about them in good time prior to the cruise
. For every
booking we at The Barge Company will e-mail you a special form
on which you should inform
us of any specific dietary requirements or allergies that should be borne in mind by your chef during
the cruise. You may also tell us if there are foods that you prefer to avoid, for example seafood
24) – I have a favourite drink. I would like to enjoy it whilst cruising as
part of the ‘open bar’ arrangement. Will the barge have it on board?
When you tell us about any allergies or dietary requirements you can also tell us if you
have any preferred drinks.
We will then pass that information to the barge and they will endeavour
to stock your preferred brands
. They do not guarantee they will have them, but will
always do their best to accommodate specific requests. Please bear in mind that occasionally it
can be difficult to find certain brands in France, for example, but all efforts will be made, and
there are very few things that cannot be found.