Your Canal and River Cruise, what are Hotel Boats like?
The different types of hotel boats
Hotelboats vary from the traditional canal ‘narrowboats’ which are under 7 foot wide and up to 70 foot long, to wide beam ‘barges’ and larger craft designed for rivers and estuaries. Most hotelboats operate a cruising schedule between May and October, which can takes them around the waterways network or operate over a section of it. You can see a summary of those schedules here. Some operate on a charter basis where the route may be chosen by the passengers.
Facilities on board.
Hotel boat cabins are often compact but cosy, usually with a choice of single, twin and double bedded accommodation. Most hotel boats have en-suite facilities; others may have shared showers and toilets. All have hot and cold running water and flush toilets. They are normally fully centrally heated, some have mains power, others low voltage power. Hotel boats, like most canal boats, are powered by diesel engines and are tiller steered by the skipper from the stern on an exposed rear deck. Many hotel boats have a covered seating area at the bows where passengers can watch the world slip by and avoid the occasional shower of rain. Wide beam boats may have covered wheelhouse and riverboats are different again.
What does the holiday provide?
You get a canal and or river cruise usually for a minimum of one week, although some hotelboats do now also offer shorter breaks. Most hotelboats cover different routes each week so you will see something different if you stay for more than 1 week. Our Hotelboats page contains links to Hotelboat online brochures which give details of routes, boats and in prices. We also have some Late Booking Hotelboat Holidays during the cruising season. You pick the hotelboat cruise and boats that appeal to you most. Your choice may be limited by the period that you can travel in of course.
You can normally check that the hotelboat cruise you want is available and make a reservation by email. Most will then want a booking form posted with cheque or faxed with credit card details. You deal directly with the owner operators and they are also used to entertaining overseas clients.