While most of our European river cruises accommodate between 120-140 travelers, on our French upscale canal cruiser we’ll take a maximum of just 22 participants in 9 cabins, plus your Smithsonian Journeys Expert, Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director, and the ship’s crew to assist you. While our larger river cruises cover longer stretches of river and move at faster speeds and many times visiting several European countries, our canal cruiser moves at a much slower pace. And because of the barge’s small size, we’ll visit small waterways inaccessible to the larger river vessels which allow even greater immersion into the region. While our larger river ships have been compared to deluxe hotels with more amenities and greater choice, our barge cruise can be compared more to a manor house, with a distinct character, familial ambiance and more intimate and attentive service.
Launched in 2016, MS Deborah is a 22-guest canal barge-style cruiser that will take you into the heart of charming canal-side towns and villages. Savor French cuisine with breakfast and lunch, and enjoy regional specialties and cheeses served with beer, wine, or soft drinks at lunch and dinner. Dinner is plated with a set menu, however, dietary restrictions can be accommodated. At the end of each day, return to your cozy cabin, which features a modern bathroom with a shower. Wi-Fi is complimentary, but access may be limited at certain times during the trip. All cabins are outside facing and include a desk, individual climate control, personal safe, and luggage storage with features like above-headboard storage and USB ports next to the beds. Cabins on the Main Deck are accessed by a spiral staircase and there is no elevator service aboard ship. Every cabin has two twin beds that are fixed to the floor (meaning that couples will need to sleep apart) and a small desk with stool. There's a closet with ample space for hanging clothes. Electric voltage is 220 volts (European plugs only) and one has two USB ports. While most of the TV channels are French, you can get English news channels such as CNN and the BBC. Enjoy breakfasts at leisure and casual single seating for lunches and dinners. The upper deck includes the dining room, a small bar area, lounge with picture windows and a sliding glass door that opens to a charming outdoor area with café tables and a Jacuzzi. Lectures and discussions will be held in the lounge most evenings. The sun deck has umbrellas and lounge chairs to read and take in the scenery.