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European Waterways has added itineraries and shore excursions to its luxury hotel barge cruises, an ideal option for sightseeing in Europe at a leisurely pace, away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. New itineraries include a voyage onboard the hotel barge Rosa through the Bordeaux wine region of southwestern France from August to October. The cruise features an excursion to Saint Emilion, center of the most famous Bordeaux wine appellations and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as a wine tasting at Chateau Beau-Sejour-Becot and visits to the medieval towns of Nerac, Vianne and Le Mas d’Agenais. The company has also extended the route for its luxury hotel barge Enchante, which will give travelers a chance to see more of the historic region between the ancient cities of Narbonne and Carcassonne.
The cruise line’s new excursions in Burgundy, southern France and Scotland supplement its culture-rich itineraries by taking guests onshore to explore the local countryside, visit charming villages and historical sites and sample wine. Starting in 2014, for example, the luxury hotel barge L’Impressionniste will visit Chateau de Bussy-Rabutin, a 12th-century castle surrounded by moats and manicured gardens. A highlight of the castle tour is the extensive portrait gallery assembled by Roger de Rabutin, a disgraced courtier who was exiled to the castle in the 17th century. While cruising on the luxury hotel barge Absoluut2, guests will enjoy a wine tasting at Chateau de Meursault, a renowned castle and vineyard estate, as well as a tour of Beaune, which is regarded as the wine-growing capital of Burgundy. Across the Channel, guests onboard the hotel barge Scottish Highlander, which cruises the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness, will experience new excursions to a clan chieftain prehistoric burial site and a famous whisky distillery founded in 1838, among others.