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January 2011

SHANNON PRINCESS adds 'walking cruises' in Ireland

SHANNON PRINCESS at Meelick Lock on River Shannon

ABOVE:The Shannon Princess at the Meelick Lock on River Shannon. BELOW: The saloon on Shannon Princess.

The Shannon Princess River Barge Cruise Company is introducing a "Walking Cruise Itinerary" in 2011. Passengers aboard the MV Shannon Princess will be able to take guided walks during their 7-day/6-night cruises on Ireland's River Shannon, which is the longest river in Ireland and the British Isles.

The walking cruises, which will run throughout the 2011 summer season, are designed to please walkers at most levels of ability. Each cruise includes five walks led by "professional walking guides with backgrounds in archaeology, history, and natural science, along with a smattering of local knowledge."

When they aren't walking, Shannon Princess guests will enjoy "natural beauty, unspoiled landscapes, wild fowl reserves, history, antiquity and folklore" as the 10-passenger hotel barge cruises slowly through the Irish countryside. (Passengers who get tired of walking or admiring the view from the sun deck can retreat to the saloon, which has a library, bar, and dining area. The luxury barge also offers broadband Internet access.)

The Shannon Princess is available for individual cruising or charter. Fares include gourmet meals, wine, an open bar, excursions in an air-conditioned minibus, use of the barge's bicycles, and transfers to and from Dublin.

For more information, visit

Photos: Shannon Princess River Barge Cruise Company.


Cunard wins trifecta in New York

Cunard fleet in New York Harbor

ABOVE: It's win, place, and show as the Statue of Liberty gives a wave of encouragement to Cunard's three-ship fleet.

On January 13, 2011, Cunard Line's newest ship--the Queen Elizabeth--got a fireboat-and-fireworks tribute from the Port of New York. Thousands of well-wishers watched from shore as the new vessel passed in review with Cunard's Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria as escorts.

According to the cruise line, the meeting of the Queens marks only the second time in Cunard’s 171-year history that all three of the company’s ships have met simultaneously in New York.

Cunard's PR department writes: "Most recently, Queen Elizabeth captured the world stage with her Royal Naming Ceremony on 11 October 2010, attended by Her Majesty The Queen in Southampton, England.  Following her maiden call to New York, she embarks on her Maiden World Voyage (103 days), while flagship Queen Mary 2 begins her fifth World Voyage (103 days) and Queen Victoria begins her debut Americas Season, traversing between the east and west coasts through the Panama Canal."

For more information about Cunard Line, its ships, and its transatlantic and cruise itineraries, visit or see the Cunard Line page in our European Cruise Guide 2011 at Europe for Cruisers.

Photo: Jonathan Atkin for Cunard Line.

French Country Waterways adds barge itinerary in Alsace-Lorraine

French Country Waterways hotel barge ADRIENNE

ABOVE: The Adrienne moors for a moment of reflection.

Starting in April, 2011, the luxury hotel barge Adrienne of French Country Waterways will offer cruises on a new route in Alsace-Lorraine until early July, when the barge moves to its classic cruising area in Champagne.

The Adrienne will sail between Strasbourg and Nancy every Sunday from April 3 to July 2. Highlights of the itinerary include a walking tour of Strasbourg's historic quarter, dinner ashore at the Michelin-starred La Cerf in Marlenheim, a private tour and wine tasting at Domaine Bechtold, a visit to the 13th Century chapel of the Cordeliers (with a stained-glass window designed by Marc Chagall), and a stop in Place Stanislas, which is said to be one of the grandest squares in all of France.

Meals on board are prepared by the barge's private chef, with four-course candlelit dinners accompanied by Grand Cru and Premier Cru wines.

The Adrienne has six suites with king-size beds, individual thermostat controls, extra pillows, fresh flowers, heated towel bars, 110/220-volt electrical outlets, and other luxury amenities. Prices (which include meals, wine, an open bar, daily sightseeing excursions, and bicycles for use on towpaths) are $5,295 to $6,295 per person, double, for the Alsace-Lorraine itinerary.

From July 10 to November 5, the Adrienne wll offer cruises in France's Champagne region at the same rates.

The barge is also available for charter bookings by families and small groups. French Country Waterways has negotiated special room rates at deluxe hotels in Paris and/or Strasbourg for guests who'd like to extend their stay.

For more information about Adrienne (including brochures by mail), visit In the U.S. and Canada, you can phone (800) 222-1236 toll-free; from other countries or in Massachusetts, call +1 781 934-2454. Or write to: French Country Waterways, Ltd., P.O. Box 2195, Duxbury, MA 02331, USA.

Photo: French Country Waterways.