Beyond Cruises continues to sail beyond the ordinary, adding two enchanting and upscale French barge cruises to their wide range of exciting itineraries. One can select between the Canal du Midi Classic Cruise Aboard the Athos Premium Barge (7 Days) or the Northern Burgundy: 7 Day La Belle Epoque Premium River Cruise. What is unique to these programs is that the vessels themselves are historic working barges that have been renovated as floating country inns.
Beyond Cruises’ barge programs take guests on an experience like no other. At a totally relaxed pace, the program focuses on the authenticity and experiences each port has to offer, providing guests an opportunity to participate in activities to explore the historical or cultural offerings of the cities along the barge's route. Group charters may also be themed to guest’s special interests, family celebrations, golf, culture, and art as well as gastronomy themed or wine appreciation.
Historical highlights include a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Abbaye de Fontenay, gourmet lunch with the Baroness Segolene de Taisne at the magnificent Château de Ricey-Bas - with its thousand-year history, it's the ideal location to appreciate the rolling vineyards France has to offer.
The barge cruises along at a very leisurely pace (only 6-7 kilometers - xxx miles per hour), enabling guests to walk or bike (bikes available to all guests) along the towpath easily keeping up with the barge. Going through the many locks along the canal is an experience in itself. Passengers aboard the Athos Premium barge can also admire the beauty of France from the luxury of the onboard spa pool/jacuzzi.
Among the many "foodie" activities are cooking classes, visits to olive oil presses and wineries, where they can learn who both the oil and the wine are made. Guests can also accompany the onboard chef as he stops by local markets of France to select local fresh ingredients being used in the gourmet meals served on board. In the evenings, guests can enjoy a relaxed four-course gourmet dining experience.