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Belmond, with its far-flung network of luxury trains, hotels and river and barge cruises, has just announced the addition of two new barges to its fleet in France for the 2017 season. The new Belmond Lilas and Belmond Pivoine will bring the company’s fleet of Belmond Afloat in France to seven. Private charters for up to eight passengers will cruise the canals of Champagne and Alsace, with visits to family-owned vineyards and historic centers such as Reims and Alsatian Strasbourg.
Belmond has FIT bookings available on two of its vessels in France — Belmond Hirondelle and Belmond Napoleon — but the charter possibilities are quite attractive with the small size and the company’s reputation for luxury. Its products also include the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express luxury train, “21” club in New York City and Sanctuary Lodge in Machu Picchu. English is the main language spoken onboard Belmond Afloat in France.
Meanwhile, Belmond Road to Mandalay, one of the modern pioneers of river cruising in Myanmar, celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. Among its holiday cruises, the line offers an 11-night sailing on the Irrawaddy River, departing Dec. 22, 2016, and finishing on Jan. 2, 2017, onboard the 50-passenger Belmond Orcaella. Guests will visit sites such as Mahamuni Pagoda and the 19th-century Gwechuang Fort as well as dine onshore at the formidable Min Hla Fort, which sees thousands of international tourists each year. Festivities include a Christmas Eve dinner and New Year’s celebration with live musical performances. Like the company’s Road to Mandalay, Belmond Orcaella can be booked by FITs.
Belmond works closely with the travel trade community through a team of regional sales directors in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas and has a central reservations office in Charleston, S.C.