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Barges In France: Colibri
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Cruise On The Canal du Midi In 2014 Aboard The Deluxe Hotel-Barge COLIBRI

SEVEN DAYS / SIX NIGHTS

The 4-passenger luxury hotel barge Colibri is one of the prettiest and most comfortable barges currently cruising the canals of France. Consider her your own private hotel with ever changing views. Come aboard and allow the crew to take care of every need and make you feel truly pampered. The Colibri offers full board (all meals included, two of which are at restaurants ashore) or half board (includes daily breakfast and lunch plus the welcome dinner) charters.

In 2014, the Colibri's cruise route takes in the Cité of Carcassonne, on the Canal du Midi in the Languedoc - Roussillon region in the south of France. One route cruises from a small Roman village near Beziers to Trebes, a village near the stunning medieval site of Carcassonne. You will cruise along the beautiful canal as it follows the meandering contours of the land surrounded by vineyards and historical villages. The alternative cruise route is from Carcassonne to Castelnaudary and the Summit, taking you to the highest point between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. As the vineyards give way to fields bright with sunflowers, the barge continues to wind its way along the canal, sheltered by trees that are hundreds of years old. This lesser known stretch is the real treasure of the Canal du Midi, where time seems to stand still in a serene and peaceful way.

Colibri is a classic Dutch Luxemotor canal barge built in Friesland, Holland in 1931 and lovingly converted into a hotel barge from her cargo carrying days. Colibri was completely refitted in 2004 with added touches of luxury and elegance. Despite her generous size, Colibri takes only four guests, thus affording space and maximum comfort for everyone. Sleeping accommodations include two staterooms with generous en-suite bathrooms with hairdryers and bathrobes. The beds are European king-size, or you may choose two twin beds to afford flexibility to guest’s arrangements. The cabins are furnished with French oak furniture with ample hanging space and drawers to unpack your belongings and to feel at home. The interior is air conditioned to ensure your well-being. The dining area and salon are light and spacious, the perfect place to relax and feel at home, read a book, or chat over dinner and a glass of wine. There is a music system and collection of music, a small library of books, games and DVD's available to you. Guidebooks for the area are available for you to browse and help us to customise the cruise to your wishes.

On deck, there is the canopied wheelhouse where you will be shaded while chatting with the Captain. The large deck space also allows for shaded al fresco dining, and the chance to relax and find yourselves in awe of the scenery as you pass ancient villages and vineyards.There are lounge chairs for those who wish to take some sun while cooled by the gentle breeze. Four bicycles are at your disposal for riding the towpaths or exploring the villages and surrounding areas. The chauffeured and air-conditioned minibus will take you on excursions so that you can enjoy the sights in the area surrounding the canal.

ABOUT YOUR HOSTS: Owners Earl and Fiona worked for many years in the luxury yachting industry, cruising the Mediterranean, Caribbean, from Australia to Alaska and have now chosen to make the canals of France their cruising ground. They married in France and fell in love with the country, life style, food and wines. They cannot think of a better place to cruise.With a background in catering and luxury service including chief stewardess / head of household on yachts up to 75 metres, Fiona delights guests with her gastronomic tour of the region and the Mediterranean. Earl is Australian, and has cruised widely with many ocean passages as an officer on vessels up to 75 meters, but is delighted to be in command of his own vessel. With the knowledge and experience gained from his super yacht chartering days and his love of people, Earl is fulfilling his dreams in welcoming and entertaining guests aboard his own boat. His enthusiasm for life will be evident as soon as you meet him. Earl and Fiona offer their service to make your holiday a magnificent experience that you will remember for a lifetime. They believe that after spending a great deal of their lives working on luxury super yachts, everyone deserves to be pampered in the same way!


Features

  • Size of barge: 87 ft by 17 ft
  • Number of Passengers: 4
  • Number of Cabins (all with private bath): 2
  • Crew: 3
  • Air Conditioning and Central Heating: Yes
  • Salon: Light and airy salon with three windows, glass doors, two arm chairs and a sofa, plus a game table.
  • Bar: Open bar
  • Deck: Canopied wheelhouse with guest seating. Partially shaded deck with dining table for al fresco dining and lounge chairs. Teak deck furniture.
  • Spa Tub: No
  • Cabin Features: Aft cabin 156 sq ft, Forward cabin 132 sq ft, both with twin beds or king and large ensuite bathroom with shower.
  • Vehicle for Transfers/Excursions: Air-conditioned minibus seating for 4 passengers
  • Accessibility: Steps to salon and cabins.
  • Bicycles: Four 21-speed mountain bikes.
  • Meal plan: Full board (2 meals on shore included) or half board (five dinners not included)
  • Wi-Fi: No - no internet access


Colibri's Deck Plan


Colibri's Deck Plan


Dining Aboard The Colibri:
SAMPLE MENU


Lunches are an assortment of salads and platters served ‘family style’ so you may help yourselves
and enjoy the relaxed informal setting. Dinners are four course feasts, using the best ingredients to
produce fine dining. Desserts are a favorite course of Fiona’s, they are all delicious and ‘mostly fruit’!

  • Caramelized pear and blue cheese salad
  • Poussins (chicken) with crunchy country ham & sage butter
  • Rosemary potatoes
  • Mediterranean vegetables
  • Lemon ricotta flan with berries
  • Selection of local cheese and figs


Passenger Comments:


The overall trip was SUPERB! Cabin accommodations were better than expected, service was 'over the top' and the wine and meals were the best I have ever had. Excursions were well planned with good information from the leader. There was nothing that could have been improved!
D.H., KS, USA, October 2012

It was our first barge trip and we enjoyed the experience very much. It is a change of pace from our usual fast pace of travel so be prepared to slow down and sit back and relax. We paid first class prices and got first class service along with excellent accommodations. The meals definitly exceeded our expectations!
N & K K., CA, USA, June 2008

Overall trip was excellent. Accommodations were fabulous, just like a four seasons hotel. The meals and wines could not have been better and the excursions were interesting and informative.
G & A T., Canada, June 2008

SAMPLE ITINERARY*
Canal du Midi
Beziers to Carcassonne 2014

Sunday
Guests are met by the Captain, Earl, between 4 and 5pm at the arranged meeting point. Warm welcome on board with aperitifs, and cruise slowly overlooking the vineyards near the Roman village of Poilhes, to whet your appetites for dinner and the days to come.

Monday
Morning visit to the Enserune Oppidum, a site inhabited by man since 800BC. After lunch aboard we cruise past Capestang, a small town dominated by a huge church that we can see for some kilometers as the canal meanders along.  From here we cruise on towards La Croisade and a beautiful mooring beneath the trees.

Tuesday
The bustling markets and the historic sites of Narbonne are on offer for today's excursion; Earl takes you ashore for lunch today.  In the afternoon we cruise to Le Somail, a staging post that was used by passenger boats in the 18th century. The village is pretty and one must visit the antique bookshop.  Dinner is a taken aboard tonight.

Wednesday

The Abbey de Fontfroide is a beautiful tranquil setting and with its garden of 3000 rosebushes, a wonderful place to visit. We commence our climb through the locks today, and cruise towards the town of Homps. Looking forward to a sensational dinner aboard.

Thursday
Visit to the Cathar fort and hilltop village of Minerve, a stunning location with a museum that tells of its history. We cruise just beyond the village of Puicheric this afternoon, to "The sculpture lock," a great place to sit under the trees and relax, and watch the world go by. Tonight you dine ashore, at a beautiful restaurant, with a chance to view the Cite of Carcassonne by night, to fire your imagination with fairy tale castles.

Friday
Tour of the Cite of Carcassonne, to take in the fascinating medieval city, a wonderful journey into history.  In the afternoon we cruise the final leg of our journey to a quiet location for the farewell dinner aboard.

Saturday

Leisurely breakfast, and transfer between 10 and 11am to the arranged drop off point.

Note: This is a very much a guideline, and we can do as much or as little as you would like. It is your holiday and our pleasure to tailor the cruise to your needs. This itinerary runs in reverse on alternate weeks.

SAMPLE ITINERARY*
Canal du Midi
Carcassonne to Castelnaudary 2014
Alternate Cruise Available Upon Request

Carcassonne to the Summit of the Canal du Midi

Sunday
Guests are met by the Captain, Earl. Between 4 and 5 PM at the arrange meeting point. Warm welcome on board with aperitifs, and cruise slowly through the vineyards near the village of Trebes, to whet your appetites for dinner and the days to come.

Monday
Tour of the Cite of Carcassonne, to take in the fascinating medieval city, a wonderful journey into history. In the afternoon we cruise the "heights" of Carcassonne and passing through the Port of Carcassonne to a tranquil mooring for the evening.

Tuesday

The hill top Cathar castle of Saissac is on offer for today's excursion. The drive up to the castle is beautiful, the Pyrenees Mountains, often capped in snow can be viewed across the valley from the castle. In the afternoon we cruise toward Villesequelande, a pretty and relaxing cruise to a quiet location for dinner aboard.

Wednesday

In the morning, we visit the town of Limoux, and the Sieur d'Arques winery, information on the wines and not forgetting tasting including the Cremants and Blanquettes of Limoux. Lunch is taken ashore today. We cruise a very pretty stretch of the canal today, stopping for the evening beneath the tree near St Martin Lalande.

Thursday

We visit the medieval market town of Mirepoix with half-timbered houses and a beautiful square. On the way back to Colibri we visit an ancient church made in the the rocks, an amazing site. We cruise in the afternoon through a series of locks, into the Grand Bassin of Castelnaudary, the home of Cassoulet, a local dish.

Friday
Morning visit to Ravel, renowned for its covered market and Lac Saint Ferreol, taking in the new Museum du Canal du Midi and gardens. The museum beautifully shows the vision and working to create and operate the Canal du Midi, with delightful gardens. We cruise the final leg of our journey to the Seuil de Naurouze located on the highest stretch of the Canal, a 194 metres (650 ft) above sea level. This is the watershed between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. One can take a stroll and visit the obelisque to Pierre Paul Riquet, the builder of the canal set in a beautiful park. Farewell dinner aboard.

Saturday

Leisurely breakfast, and transfer between 10 and 11am to nominated drop of point.

Note: This is a very much a guide-line, and we can do as much or as little as you would like, it is your holiday and our pleasure to tailor the cruise to your needs. The itinerary runs in reverse on alternate weeks.



Colibri
2014 Season Cruise Schedule*
Week Route Season
Mar 30 Beziers-Carcassonne Main
Apr 6 Carcassonne-Beziers Main
Apr 13 Beziers-Carcassonne Main
Apr 20 Carcassonne-Beziers Main
Apr 27 Beziers-Carcassonne Main
May 4 Carcassonne-Beziers Main
May 11 Beziers-Carcassonne Main
May 18 Carcassonne-Beziers Main
May 25 Beziers-Carcassonne Main
Jun 1 Carcassonne-Beziers Main
Jun 8 Beziers-Carcassonne Main
Jun 15 Carcassonne-Beziers Main
Jun 22 Beziers-Carcassonne Main
Jun 29 Carcassonne-Beziers Main
Jul 6 Beziers-Carcassonne Main
Jul 13 Carcassonne-Beziers Main
Cruise Schedule* ... continued
Week Route Season
Jul 20 Beziers-Carcassonne Main
Jul 27 Carcassonne-Beziers Main
Aug 3 Beziers-Carcassonne Main
Aug 10 Carcassonne-Beziers Main
Aug 17 Beziers-Carcassonne Main
Aug 24 Carcassonne-Beziers Main
Aug 31 Beziers-Carcassonne Main
Sep 7 Carcassonne-Beziers Main
Sep 14 Beziers-Carcassonne Main
Sep 21 Carcassonne-Beziers Main
Sep 28 Beziers-Carcassonne Main
Oct 5 Carcassonne-Beziers Main
Oct 12 Beziers-Carcassonne Main
Oct 19 Carcassonne-Beziers Main
Oct 26 Beziers-Carcassonne Main
Colibri
2015 Season Cruise Schedule*
Week Route Season
Mar 29 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Apr 5 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Apr 12 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Apr 19 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Apr 26 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
May 3 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
May 10 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
May 17 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
May 24 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
May 31 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Jun 7 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Jun 14 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Jun 21 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Jun 28 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Jul 5 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Jul 12 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Cruise Schedule* ... continued
Week Route Season
Jul 19 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Jul 26 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Aug 2 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Aug 9 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Aug 16 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Aug 23 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Aug 30 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Sep 6 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Sep 13 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Sep 20 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Sep 27 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Oct 4 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Oct 11 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Oct 18 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Oct 25 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main

The Colibri's route through the south of France, from Carcassonne to Beziers on the Canal du Midi.
The Colibri's route through the south of France, from Carcassonne to Beziers on the Canal du Midi. For a more detailed look at the cruise route, view our map of the Canal du Midi.

*Note: Cruise directions and sample itineraries may be in reverse and are subject to change and may depend on bookings and local navigation conditions. Alternate excursions of equal appeal are substituted when needed. For charter cruises special itineraries can be arranged.



COLIBRI
2014 SEASON PRICES in US DOLLARS
ACCOMMODATION MAIN
Mar 30 thru Nov 1
Charter for up to 4
$19,500
Half Board Charter for up to 4
$18,500

COLIBRI
2015 SEASON PRICES in US DOLLARS
ACCOMMODATION MAIN
Mar 29 thru Oct 31
Charter for up to 4
$22,000
Half Board Charter for up to 4
$21,000


What's Included for 2014 & 2015
Full board:
- 7 days and 6 nights on the barge in 2 cabins with private baths
- Transfers from local rail station, hotel or other point in the cruise area to the barge and return, as agreed with the barge owner
- All meals beginning with dinner on Sunday through breakfast on Saturday, including 2 meals in restaurants on shore
- All wines with lunches and dinners
- Open bar
- All escorted side-excursions (golf, etc at extra cost)
- Use of bicycles

Half board:
- 7 days and 6 nights on the barge in 2 cabins with private baths
- Transfers from local rail station, hotel or other point in the cruise area to the barge and return, as agreed with the barge owner
- Welcome dinner on Sunday and breakfast and lunch daily through breakfast on Saturday.
- Selected wines with lunches
- Open bar
- All escorted side-excursions (golf, etc at extra cost)
- Use of bicycles

What's Not Included for 2014 & 2015
Full board:
- Overseas air transportation to Paris and return
- Transfers from Paris to the barge pickup point and return
- Suggested minimum 5% gratuity for the crew, to be given to the captain in equivalent Euros

Half Board:
- Overseas air transportation to Paris and return
- Transfers from Paris to the barge pickup point and return
- Five dinners, to be taken on shore at passenger's expense
- Suggested minimum 5% gratuity for the crew, to be given to the captain in equivalent Euros

Please visit our Special Offers page to see potential discounts for this barge or many others.
Special Places Travel, LLC
"Barges in France (and the rest of Europe) ... for the experience of a lifetime!" ™

For booking information,
Phone (toll-free): 1-877-64-BARGE (1-877-642-2743)
Outside of the U.S.: 001.443.321.3614
or E-mail: info@specialplacestravel.com



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Last Update: June 7, 2014

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Accredited, Better Business Bureau. Member, ASTA-American Society of Travel Agents, 
CLIA-Cruise Lines International Association, OSSN-Outside Sales Support Network. 
Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover Cards Welcome