Kir Royale Pops the Champagne for European Waterways

European Waterways has launched Kir Royale its newest luxury hotel barge.

The eight-passenger Ultra Deluxe vessel, will debut in the Champagne region of France in May 2024.  The vessel will feature major upgrades.  They include a more spacious layout with modern furnishings, three sundecks and a spa pool.  There is an upper observation deck with a panoramic view, and four air-conditioned cabins. Each with its own en suite bathroom.

Kir Royale has been upgraded to meet the highest standards of luxury

Kir Royale will cruise the River Marne and Canal latéral à la Marne, offering six-night all-inclusive sailings with exclusive excursions to some of the regions’ legendary champagne houses.   Moët & Chandon is just one of them. Guests will also be treated to unique immersive experiences.  They include lunch at the boutique grand cru champagne house of Frerejean Frères.  And all on-board gastronomic meals come with wine pairings, served by the vessel’s own master chef.

Cruise Champagne

Kir Royal will cruise Champagne from May through October. It joins European Waterways’ 12-passenger Panache.  She cruises between Château-Thierry and Châlons-en-Champagne from mid-May to late-June. Both vessels include private transfers from a designated location in central Paris. Reservations are now open, with rates starting at US$8,550 per person for cabins, based on double occupancy.

Kir Royale has been upgraded to meet the highest standards

Whole boat charters will start at US$57,150 thanks to a 10% launch offer, saving $6,350 off the full starting price. The charter special is not valid for September departures and must be booked by October 2, 2023.

With a 6-to-20-person capacity and 1:2 crew ratio, European Waterways is able to provide an impeccable level of on-board service and can transport their guests on the narrower, more intimate inland waterways that are inaccessible to larger vessels. This fascinating network of smaller canals allows for flexibility, spontaneity and ample opportunity to hop off and explore the beautiful surroundings via bicycle or on foot. In addition to these are daily, chauffeured excursions “off the beaten path” to a wide variety of enthralling locations, from exquisite wine tastings to private visits to stately homes.

Kir Royale has been upgraded to meet the highest standards of luxury and comfort. 

“For her maiden voyage with us, Kir Royale has been upgraded to meet the highest standards of luxury and comfort.   These are the hallmarks of all European Waterways vessels,” said Derek Banks, Managing Director of European Waterways. “As a pioneer and champion of luxury hotel barging with more than forty years in the industry, the expansion of our fleet reflects our commitment to providing exceptional and immersive cultural and gastronomic experiences throughout Europe.”

Journey of the Grapes

Kir Royale’ ‘Pops the Champagne’ for European Waterways’s itinerary is all about the grapes. Its cruise region produces the only sparkling wines that can be legally called champagne in Europe and most parts of the world. They earned this distinction thanks to the land’s unique geology and climate.

Among itinerary highlights is a private tour and tasting at the renowned champagne house of Moët & Chandon, the world’s best-selling brand. Guests also visit the boutique winery of Frerejean Frères, known for its premier and grand cru wines. This includes a private gourmet lunch in the salon of the family domaine.

A third excursion includes a private tour and tasting at Maison Pannier, the largest champagne house in the Western Marne Valley. Its vast cellars date back to the 12th century and are several miles in length.

Complementing the wine tastings are numerous excursions that include a visit to Reims Cathedral, once the site of the coronation of the Kings of France. Guests will also visit Château-Thierry and Belleau Wood, sites which saw fighting by American allied troops during WWI.

Kir Royale’s cruise season is really all about experiencing the extraordinary journey of the grapes in Champagne,” said Banks. “The vessel is there at the beginning of the season, when the grapes are growing. So in September when the grapes are being harvested; and later in autumn, when the leaves fall and regeneration begins. The sweeping beauty of Champagne’s majestic countryside, blanketed with vineyards, is on full display, no matter what time of the season you cruise.”