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Top French Country Waterways Ships
French Country Waterways' president Glenn Carr says "we force people to step back from their modern lives" and, indeed, you will find no telephones, televisions, radios or Internet capabilities (horrors!) on these barges, though they are all fully air-conditioned. What you will find? Comfortable, even spacious staterooms, configured both in twin and double categories; cozy, English country-house-esque book-lined lounges and top-deck observation areas. All are equipped with private bath.
Mealtime -- as one would expect on a canal cruise of France -- is a highlight of the day and onboard chefs use ingredients picked up in the village-of-the-moment. French wines are included in the fare.
Otherwise, sightseeing is the primary diversion; each barge organizes daily activities though independent-minded folk can borrow a bicycle and head off on their own.
The biggest difference between a canal cruise and a river voyage is the pace; these barges move at about four or five miles per hour (as opposed to 10 - 15).
French Country Waterways markets primarily to U.S. and Canada travelers in the 50-plus age range and aims for travelers who are more interested in an offbeat and in-depth experience of a particular region of France -- as opposed to folks who simply like to cruise. Passengers are typically very well traveled and are not necessarily fans of the mega-cruise ship experience. This is not an experience good for families with small children (unless the family charters an entire barge).