At 128 feet in length, Horizon II (there is no Horizon I) is one of French Country Waterways' most intimate river barges. Carrying just eight passengers spread across four generous suites, Horizon II is more like a country inn on the canals of France. Wood paneling, brass accents, plush furnishings and a gracious crew serving up a variety of French delicacies each day add to the luxurious yet casual ambiance onboard.
A motor coach follows the ship around on its itinerary to allow for explorations further ashore, and a fleet of onboard bicycles remain a popular (and complimentary) pastime for those looking to cycle the pathways along the canal.
Onboard, passengers will find complimentary beverages and cellars stocked with a wide array of French wines and premium spirits and liquors. Public rooms and cabins are all located on the same deck, with an expansive sun deck located one deck above.
Cuisine aboard French Country Waterways vessels is universal in its aim to provide regional specialties, local ingredients and authentic French flavors.
Breakfasts are typically continental, offering pastries and baked goods sourced right from local bakeries. Lunches are a buffet affair, while dinners are a multicourse masterclass in French culinary delights.
Wine is an important part of any French Country Waterways journey, and Horizon II features a cellar stocked with more than two dozen handpicked wines that highlight some of the best vintners in the region.
Passengers aboard Horizon II are also treated to a unique dining event ashore in Gien, where they will sample the culinary delights at Cote Jardin, a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers a carefully curated menu utilizing local ingredients with an emphasis on fresh seafood.
Passengers aboard Horizon II stay in one of four suites onboard, each with king or twin bedding. Each features private baths and rooms decorated with wood paneling, brass accents and rich soft furnishings. Windows provide river views of the passing scenery, and rooms all lack TVs in keeping with the subdued nature of barging.
Onboard electrical outlets are two-prong, European-style 220V outlets. North American passengers will want to bring power adapters along.
Upper Deck includes an expansive outdoor sitting and viewing area that takes up the forward half of the space. This allows for premium, unobstructed viewing of Horizon II's canal transits and passing scenery.
With just eight people onboard, scheduled entertainment is nonexistent. Travelers prefer to mingle with one another over a glass of wine or engage in a friendly game of cards or some quiet reflection with a book. The friendly, convivial atmosphere onboard Horizon II makes this possible, attracting well-heeled, well-traveled passengers who enjoy socializing with one another.
Horizon II carries passengers on itineraries sailing the Upper Loire, with highlights including a tour the Chateau de Sully-sur-Loire, a visit to the porcelain center of Gien, the Chateaux de St. Fargeau, a private wine tasting in Sancerre and dinner ashore at the Cote Jardin.