"September Morning" by Dany via Flickr Creative Commons

Canal and River Cruising Tour Operators

Waterways Holidays (http://www.waterwaysholidays.com, Tel. +44 1252 796400)
Book a canal or river boating vacation from a database of 1000s of options in the United iKingdom. There are 1200 narrow boats and cruisers.
Drifters (http://www.drifters.co.uk, Tel. + 44 8457 626252)
A consortium of award-winning vacation boat companies and nearly 500 boats available throughout England, Wales and Scotland.
Point Afrique (http://www.point-afrique.com, Tel. 0820 830 255)
A French operator offering a fabulous array of boating options, tours and flights for western Africa.
Blue water holidays (http://www.cruisingholidays.co.uk, Tel. + 44 1756 693609)
Blue Water Holidays offer specially chosen river cruises and coastal cruises on every continent.
Blue Lizard Travel (http://www.bluelizardtravel.com, Tel. 01798 861935)
A family operated luxury adventure travel company by people who’ve done the trips themselves. Worldwide options.
Gott-a-Travel (http://www.gott-a-travel.com, Tel. 888-464-6888)
Advice on canal boating and ocean cruising, booking services for escorted groups in Europe and North America.

Do-It-Yourself Options

The ultimate in canal and river cruising are the do-it-yourself options. Nothing beats driving yourself through the calm canal waters in France and Holland, fishing from the lakes of Ireland and Scotland, or wandering past castles in Germany. Once you’ve made this decision you need to work out who you want to go with. More people means less work but small spaces can be intrusive. Plus you need to work out who’s doing what; who gets the plum jobs like steering and who is the dogs body.

In narrow canals like in the UK you will need a ‘narrow boat’. Wider boats or wide beam cruisers can be used on river navigations, wide canals, broads and most European canals. The facilities on both kinds of boat are similar and usually include fully equipped kitchens with gas cookers and fridges, bathroom with shower, TVs, central heating and accommodation. Wide beam boats have more room for accommodation while the narrow boat accesses more miles of narrow canal.

Which ultimately brings you to the question of where you want to go. Ask the boat hirers’ advice to help choose a route that suits your tastes and ability.

Click here for Help Preparing for your Canal or River Cruise