Multi-generational vacations with grandparents, children, and grandchildren are a desirable, yet challenging endeavor.  Selecting a destination offering appropriate activities for every age group, as well as adequate accommodations, abundant culture, and a private ambiance can be overwhelming and frustrating.  Luckily for vacationing families, Ellen Sack, The Barge Lady, an American based broker of 50 European crewed canal barges, offers multi-generational vacationers a perfect solution for entertaining travelers of all ages: six night, fully crewed, luxury barge cruises in Europe.

“These barge cruises give families an all-inclusive private escape deep in the French countryside, ” Sack explains, “The Barge Lady specializes in making customized arrangements for these multi-generational groups,” enthuses Sack. “Imagine a private experience on board a festive hotel barge with your very own crew to handle every detail. The Barge Lady facilitates the arrangements and everything is ready for you and your family upon your arrival!”

Barges accommodate 4 to 24 guests, with 4 to 6 in crew that cater to every need.  The French cruise routes meander the postcard-perfect countryside while offering a range of daily excursions appealing to all ages, both cultural and active.  The barge Tour Guide can arrange visits to points of interest along the canal – charming and historical towns, vineyards, basilicas, and local markets.  For those seeking more physical activities, bicycling, swimming, horseback riding, and traversing high ropes courses can be all organized.  Family meals offer something for everyone, as the barge Chef can prepare simple fare for the grandchildren, while cooking gourmet Continental Cuisine for the adults, which features local and fresh ingredients, hand selected wine, and sumptuous cheese platters.

The Barge Lady’s favorite barges that can accommodate 2 and 3 generation families are….

“Luciole” – Carries up to 14 and cruises in Burgundy.  The Luciole specializes in family charters, and the crew is experienced and flexible in catering to the needs of these dynamic groups.  Family-focused activities such as zip-lining, kayaking, go-karting, and scrambling over the ruins of a Medieval Castle are exciting and easy to enjoy, as they are all organized by the crew.  For those who like less action and more culture, there will be excursions throughout Northern Burgundy offered on some days. “Barge owners John and Penny Liley have three boys of their own, and all of them grew up on the barge…and are now part of the crew” explains Sack. “As the crew takes care of everything, families can truly bond while also enjoying the traditional pleasures of barging such as gourmet cuisine, cheese and wine tasting, or just relaxing on the Luciole's deck,” Sack reveals.

“Athos” – Carries up to 10 and cruises on the Canal du Midi.  The Athos is a perfect fit for multi-generational groups looking to experience the Canal du Midi. Families can be greeted by the barge dog, Jill, which starts the cruise off on a fun note. Family festivity is offered every day,  including such activities as kayaking, swimming on a Mediterranean beach, bicycling, tennis, picking out produce and then lunch with the chef in a covered food market, and playing French boules with the locals beside the canal. “We are especially pleased to present the Athos Family Fun program as it is planned by barge owners, Julien and Danielle Farrant, who themselves are parents of small children!” says Sack.

“Elisabeth” – Carries up to 6 and cruises in the Upper Loire.  The Elisabeth is owned and operated by the most congenial and creative couple in barging, Peter and Sheena Jenner, “France's Favorite Grandparents”.  They will welcome your family like their family.  Guests can  be taken kayaking and zip-lining, and guided visits include a tour of a family-owned chateau, and, best of all, a magical witches museum. Bicycling and walking on the towpath and into adorable towns will keep further ensure everybody stays active and entertained. The Jenner’s boast deep personal and professional roots in the Upper Loire region, and know all of the best places for families to have fun, enjoy adventures, and receive a warm welcome in the heart of France.

Prices range from $30,000 – $66,000 for a six night family cruise and include all meals, open bar, activities, excursions, and use of the vessel’s facilities such as bicycles and hot tubs. “Barging is more fun when you travel with your ‘favorite people' on your very own barge!” Sack says, herself the mother of two daughters and grandmother to an energetic toddler. “It is one of my greatest professional pleasures to help families to plan the private barge cruise of a lifetime.”

For more information visit

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