From May, two of the most stunning and authentic barges to grace the Canal du Midi, Esperance and Savannah, are teaming up for one unique offering. In addition to their regular cruises, they will be joining forces to provide tandem cruises for groups of up to 12 guests.

Hotel barge Savannah and a 2CV tourA tandem cruise brings added excitement, fun and challenges between the barges, with guests having the opportunity to invite each other aboard for drinks, meals and musical entertainment.  It allows people the chance to enjoy the pleasures of both barges whilst taking advantage of the gorgeous backdrop of the Canal du Midi.

Hotel barge EsperanceGuests will be able to choose from two options:

Luxury tandem cruise
The luxury cruise for 12 guests follows the same advertised itinerary as an individual cruise on either Esperance or Savannah – just choose which of the itineraries you wish to follow or be tailored to suit your party.

Esperance’s three cabins and saloon have all been refurbished for 2016. If you can tear yourself away from the sun deck, its itinerary includes a day at Chateau Villemange where you’ll taste and savour the wines of an 8th generation vineyard and enjoy the best picnic you’ll ever attend, courtesy of Esperance’s chef. Aside from Narbonne and Carcassonne, guests can hop off and discover the Cathar village of Minerve perched above deep gorges through which the rivers of La Cesse and Le Briant tunnel meet. It’s also home of the delicious Minervois wines. Let’s not forget Pezenas, said by some to be the most beautiful town in Languedoc. And depending on which history book you read, it was home to Moliere (however briefly).

The Esperance guest experience costs from $4,750pp.

Savannah’s itinerary takes in pretty French villages and historic towns and cities. Its 2016 cruises include the opportunity to explore the countryside and find the perfect restaurants in your own Citroen 2CV, hired for the day. For those on the tourist trail, hop off in coastal Narbonne where you’ll find a gothic cathedral and the underground labyrinth of Roman warehouses, The Horreum. Then there’s beautiful, medieval Mirepoix with its picturesque market square in the foothills of the Pyrenees and Languedoc-Roussillon’s iconic ancient city, Carcassonne, which really needs no further introduction. Both on board and off, you’ll be gastronomically spoilt by Savannah’s fabulous onboard chef plus an evening’s dining at Chateau de Pennautier.

The Savannah guest experience costs $5,500pp.

The departure point of the tandem cruise will be Homps and the cost includes all of the amenities, visits, musicians and the 2CV drive.  However, the barges will be travelling in tandem so you will have the chance to hop between Esperance and Savannah and experience the luxury of both.

Group activity cruise

The group activity cruise, between Homps and Carcassone, is a flexible and cost-effective option that allows guests to create and plan their own daily activities. It’s a cruising B&B that will take you from one beautiful French town to another via your chosen stops and activities. Have a think about what activities you’d like to experience as part of your holiday in France… family fun, golf, cycling, oenotourism (wine and vineyards), musical and art festivals or, if it all becomes too much, simply relaxation! You can ‘DIY’ your itinerary or ask your travel agent to create one for you. We’ll provide you with the cruise route and suggested stops and moorings, and you can create your itinerary from there.

Each barge will prepare breakfast and host guests on board for the afternoon cruise. Guests will be free during the day to follow their planned activities and organise their own lunch and dinner, allowing them the chance to sample fine dining in a local restaurant or make their own picnic.  Of course guests have access to all facilities on the barge, including the on board hot tub, bicycles and TV.

The cost for B&B cruise will be $2,900 per guest.

This tandem cruise is a truly unique and exceptional experience for guests to enjoy the stunning scenery and romance of a river cruise, on board two of the finest barges operating on the Canal du Midi today.