Frontiers has known and recommended this barge for nearly 30 years – through the last 3 owners, in fact. But it is this uncommon 4th new owner who has a different vision – not only for the barge itself – but also for its passengers – that we’re most excited about. Custom-built in the late 80s for the deKuyper family (of deKuyper liqueur fame) this vessel has had a successful career in the luxury hotel barge business until the past owner sold the barge to the gent who had been guiding the guests for the past 3 years.
This gent is Edward Anderson – a Rhodesian born grandson of an aviator who flew people over Victoria Falls in the 30s and 40s. His parents arranged safaris and from a young age, Edward too was involved in coordinating the details of a successful private safari. That heritage alone is uncommon in the barge community! With this DNA, combined with his experience of hosting guests through the delights of Burgundy for the past 3 years and an energized enthusiasm (and dare I mention his wife Cindy’s extremely good taste in furnishings), all of us who work with the barges in Europe are impressed and eager to watch this new generation of barge experience come to life. He firmly believes that a holiday is about the memories that you talk about for years to come, and is makes sure the guests on this barge return home with a basket-full of exceptional memories.
The barge is now named Grand Victoria, and has seen simply an ENORMOUS transition from it’s original form. Changes include reducing the previous 4 cabins of various sizes to 3 equal cabins, installing a phenomenal “visit anytime” high-tech kitchen with an elevated balcony for guests to chat and learn from the talented chef, offering Segway tours in Dijon and one of my favorites – situating the gents with beer flights in an atmospheric café while the ladies toiled away in the nearby excellent boutiques. This Canal Barge cruise will NOT be “it’s Tuesday so this must be the Abbey” – instead, Edward and Cindy immerse guests in everyday France for a personal approach to experiencing the quaint cafes, the markets, the culture and traditions.
This beautifully decorated barge, cruising the Ouche Valley on the Canal de Bourgogne this year, is one Frontiers is excited to recommend not only for the canal & barge cruise, but also for the enthusiastic proprietors who will delight in showing their guests an extraordinary experience deep in the French countryside.