So often European summertime cruising refers to the Mediterranean or the Adriatic but there many more cruising opportunities for other types of craft.
While surfing the Internet for summer trips on the French canals I stumbled upon details of the barge Maria and discovered there is such a thing as a superyacht of the inland waterways.
Maria is a classic Dutch Luxemotor canal barge built in Hoogezand, Holland in 1931.
She is 25 metres long, 4.8 metres wide, is constructed of riveted steel, displaces approximately 80 tons and is TRIWV certified and registered in the Netherlands.
Her unusually graceful lines and luxurious amenities, together with the meticulous care with which she has obviously been maintained, set her apart as a foremost example of a classic Dutch canal barge.
Maria was fully converted and professionally refitted to her current high standard in 1992 by master shipwrights in Haren (Ems), Germany.
The conversion included her well appointed interior, a new 216 horsepower Mercedes-Benz V-6 diesel engine and hydraulic steering.
In 2001 (Germany) and again in 2004 and 2006 (France) she was further upgraded with new equipment including a SidePower bow thruster, a Victron Phoenix MultiPlus inverter/battery charger, a new central heating system with independently controlled radiators throughout the barge, a Permo water purification and filtration system, a completely upgraded aft/owner’s cabin, and new opening skylights.
The interior is luxuriously fitted out to extraordinary detail with abundant amenities and finished with solid mahogany and teak. Unlike many converted barges on the canals today, one enters by way of a large companionway staircase designed for safe, forward-facing descent.
Upon entering, one steps into her high-ceilinged dining room and galley area. The dining room is furnished with an expandable dining room table suitable for seating up to eight. Her large, open galley includes a propane stove and oven, ample counter space, cabinets, storage pantries and a dishwasher. Adjacent is a utility room with two refrigerators, a microwave oven, a washer and dryer, and storage space.
Moving forward and up two steps leads you to the living room/saloon with its built-in curved settee and upholstered cane chair, book cases, TV and CD/DVD with high definition sound system, and built in niches with antique ship models. The living room/saloon and kitchen settees have recently been professionally reupholstered, and there is ample storage space beneath all the built-in settees. The living room/saloon and separate dining area have opening bronze ports and a large opening skylight that provide an abundance of natural light and fresh air.
Moving further forward past a doorway and through a small hallway are two spacious, private en-suite staterooms, each with its own bathroom with sink, electric macerating toilet and shower. Each room has plenty of storage space in mahogany cabinets, drawers and wardrobes.
The port-side stateroom has a king size bed; the starboard-side stateroom has a queen size bed, each with large built-in storage space underneath. All staterooms and bathrooms have opening bronze ports for natural light and fresh air.
All you need now is 389,000 €uros