After many enjoyable river cruises we wanted to try hotel barge cruising. We were not disappointed. Cruising the Rhone-Sete canal and the Rhone between Sete and Arles on the Anne Marie met and often exceeded our expectations. We booked through UK based, Blue Water Holidays, which gave a high probability that we would be with English speakers. The barge carries a total of 22 passengers and 6 crew. The dining room, lounge, and terrace are all spacious enough to accommodate everyone. The cabins are small but very functional, with enough storage for a 6 night cruise. Dress code is casual. Our chef, Pierre, entertained us with 3-course lunches and dinners, as well as a buffet style breakfast. Our cruise director, Zoltan, also educated us each lunchtime with his knowledge of the various cheeses from the region. Daily excursions ashore had the same guide for the whole cruise, which I understand is normal practice, although not necessarily the same guide week to week. Our guide was Miriam, who did an excellent job keeping us organized and informed with her knowledge of the region and its customs. In summary, a very enjoyable experience, and one we will hope to replicate on the other itineraries that Croisi-Europe offers.
Because the Anne Marie is a barge, the cabins are necessarily small. However, they are well designed and functional so that, with a little practice, time spent in the cabin is pleasant.