Choosing your holiday hire boat
In mainland Europe we offer over 1200 cruiser boats and Penichette boats. In the UK we have over 1000 canal narrowboats plus cruisers on the River Thames, Norfolk Broads and Scotland's Loch Ness.
Top destinations in Europe are the Canal du Midi through the sunny south of France, the Burgundy wine regions of central France, the nature and countryside of the Camargue, and the sights of Brittany.
You can cruise the canals of Holland or the Venice lagoons and islands, the unspoilt lakes of Germany and Poland,the waterways of Belgium and Bruges, or explore the famous hospitality of Ireland.
What style of boat?
Every cruising area has its own selection of boats and barges. Each has all the modern facilities you need for a comfortable holiday - a spacious saloon, sleeping cabins giving excellent privacy, a fully-equipped galley, showers with hot and cold running water, toilets and heating. We offer over 60 boat and barge designs in Europe - see the cruiser boat fleet and Penichette boat fleet pages. For UK boats go to UK boating holidays.
Many have dedicated toilets and shower rooms for each cabin. To enjoy the sunshine there are boats and barges with internal and external steering positions, others have opening sun-roofs. Some boats and barges have central or rear steering positions. You can also choose between the cruiser boat style or the distinctive Penichette boat. It’s your choice!
What size of boat?
The biggest boats are for 12 people (including babies), the smallest for two adults. There are boats designed for families or groups of friends, and boats ideal for couples. Your boat or barge must have beds (or berths) to sleep everyone on board.
Some hire boats or penichettes have a saloon sitting area which can be converted at night to a bed for sleeping. This reduces privacy, but means a smaller (and cheaper) boat for the size of party. In our descriptions a boat described as holding 4+2 people means it has bedrooms for 4 people and a convertible saloon bed for 2 people. It is ideal for 4 people but 6 people can sleep aboard.
Deck plans and boat details on our fleet pages will help you choose, or contact our helpful team for independent advice.
How luxurious a boat?
Top of the range boats and barges may feature bow thrusters for easy maneuvering. Luxury items may include air conditioning, electric toilets, and media centres.
How expensive a boat?
Hire charges depend on season, luxury and size of boat. Cheapest is a two-berth cruiser in low season and most expensive a top of the range luxury 10-berth in peak season. Our boat availability searches show the hire charge for the boat for up to its maximum capacity.
Fuel costs are additional to the hire charge, and a security deposit or non-refundable damage waiver is payable. There are early booking discounts, group discounts, and all-year deals or late booking special offers.
How long to go for?
Different types of boat and barge are available throughout the various regions. Boat hire is normally on an out-and-back basis, but in many areas one-way trips are available at a supplement. Your car may be transferred to the return base at a small supplementary charge, or the crew may take transport back to the start base.
Each boat has a specific departure date – usually Monday, Friday or Saturday depending on area. Tariffs are normally on a weekly basis with longer cruises of 10/11 days or 2/3 weeks also available. With the growth of low cost airlines, short breaks are becoming very popular, particularly in France – prices can be found from our boat availability search. Normal takeover time is in the afternoon and return time is by 9am on the final day.
For help on choosing your boating holiday cruise route please select country of interest from the menu opposite.