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Old 04-11-2006, 08:34   #1
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Canal Cruising in Europe

My wife and I have been sailing for a bit more than 4 years now, about 20 days per year, picking up experience, mostly coastal cruising, Chesapeake, Keys, BC, getting ASA 103/104 certification this winter in BVIs. So we are fairly comfortable on sailboats.

For something different, because our 25th is just 2 1/2 years away, we are considering a "motor barge" charter in Europe.

Two outfits that come up in research (and at boat shows) are Crown Blue Line and Connoisseur (Same owner, sister companies, different itineraries). We have their brochures. They advertise "no experience neccessary". Given our experience on sailboats, we are not that concerned about being able to handle the boat; probably looking at smaller one for 2-4 people max.

Our questions are does anyone have experience with these companies, advice on canal cruises in general (we are focusing on France at this time, but open to suggestions), pros/cons, "look out fors", routes, etc.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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Old 04-11-2006, 15:26   #2
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I have neighbors that did narrow boats in Britain last Spring. They are similar to the French boats. Some folks that own them move them from France to Britain and back and forth as the canal system are quite extensive. ft long and 8 ft wide and they go pretty slow and all the locks are manual and frequent. They handle 4 people well. You sort of go between the rooms to go forward or aft.

They had a whole lot of fun. You just pull over for the night or tie up in the middle of town and grab dinner or lunch. I have to think it wouldn't matter where you went, you could have a lot of fun. Our 4 friends were early 60's and late 60's. This isn't a highly physical activity. Both couples were boaters for a long time. Passing other boats inside tunnels was the most exciting part. It gets dark in the tunnels.
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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