Physically Challenged Guests Can "Go Barging"

April 24, 2007
In a revolutionary move for a cruise niche notorious for being inaccessible -- barge trips -- European Waterways' Go Barging has redesigned a vessel specifically to accommodate physically challenged and mobility-impaired guests.

Originally built in 1923, the eight-passenger Reine Pedauque has been fitted with a lift for wheelchairs and a stair lift for access between decks. All common doorways are wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, and the minibus, which provides the land tours and transfers, is also fitted with a wheelchair lift. Two of the four staterooms, the Royal Suites, have wider doors for wheelchair access, offer bathrooms with handrails and shower seats, and beds that are lower -- just 28 inches high -- for easier access.

It appears, though, that at least some level of mobility is required to use the bathroom/shower in the staterooms, which were too small for full roll-in access.

The voyages, available through October, travel through the Ouche Valley and Beaune, the wine capital of the Burgundy region. The fully air-conditioned luxury barge features a lounge, dining room, sun deck and crew of four. Rates include all meals, regional wines, and daily excursions.

--by Jana Jones, Cruise Critic contributor