Battlefield cruising on Backwaters Tours Natalia

Spirit of Remembrance is proud to partner with Backwater Cruises to develop and bring you a FULL RANGE of Battlefield Tour/Cruises (and general French regional canal boat tours!) in late 2019 - early 2020 - covering all the main WW1 & WW2 Battlefields in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Please do not hesitate to contact us also for any special groups you might have for this exciting new cruise & touring option - we welcome tailor made and special groups!

Backwater Cruises is a revolutionary new breakthrough for modern canal boat cruising in Europe for 2018-2019. In France and Belgium alone there is some 10,000 km of navigable inland waterways, mostly on lesser rivers and canals not accessible to larger vessels - especially 'so called' 'liveaboard' large canal boats. Big hotel boats cannot travel on these lesser waterways and whilst some small converted barges do operate as hotel-cruisers on the minor waterways, they are relatively limited in scale and their number of passengers and are quite an expensive option.

We explore these extensive and attractive French "backwater canals" using our high-comfort and modern day canal boat whilst we stay in a nearby hotel overnight, with many regular cruise passengers quite liking the novelty and relative freedom of being on dry land morning and evening - especially to stay in the same hotel room for multiple nights and explore local attractions and restaurants!

 

 'Natalia', the first of Backwater Cruises revolutionary new electric powered canal cruise boats  accommodates up to 50 persons in relaxed and spacious comfort.

 

(A word from Backwaters Cruises CEO: Mr Lynn Woods) "Our 2019 season starts in March 2019 with a succession of short breaks in Northern France, and after Easter we make our way south through Champagne region to Paris and onwards by mid-May to Northern Burgundy where we spend the rest of the season. We have integrated many themes and interests into the 2019 programme including our initial battlefield tour program (much more in 2020!) and music, birdwatching, antiques and food & wine - there so there is  something for everyone!

 

 

Cruise boat features Include:

  • Outside viewing deck with sun awning
  • Spacious 19-metre air-conditioned lounge which can comfortably seat 55 persons
  • An onboard  galley serving drinks, including free mineral water, tea and coffee available all the time• 
  • Wine served with a light lunch, usually supplied by a local boulangerie
  • A range of prestigious local wines - including Chablis, Bordeaux, Sancerre and Crémant de Bourgogne – which can be purchased by the bottle to enjoy during your cruise
  • Bikes available to hire at no cost if you're feeling energetic and wish to cycle the towpath :-)
  • Two toilets on board, including one suitable for wheelchair users.

(Up to two wheelchairs users can be accommodated on board also)

Backwaters Tours and Cruises explore these attractive unspoilt "backwaters" using their NEW premium - comfort day boat for half and full day cruising whilst you stay in a nearby hotel overnight. In a typical cruising week, you can expect to do about 90 km at a very gentle pace interrupted by locks, lift bridges and even the occasional tunnel. And - with lovely flat towpaths all the way beside the boat - hop off - and take a gentle walk after lunch - or if you are really feeling the need to get out into the countryside -  hop on one of the free bikes provided for passengers on the cruise and ride your bike on the towpaths - the choice is yours! Enjoy the best of both worlds!

 

This new concept in canal boat cruising in France means you usually stay within range of one central - easily reached hotel all week by coach - without having to travel any excessive distances on the coach. Most days, the boat will cruise in the morning and, after lunch on board, visit the battlefields with your expert Battlefield Guide - along with other great excursions such as grand chateaux, gardens, vineyards and historic towns and villages. It's an ideal way to see the real France at your leisure and especially suitable for learning about the war-torn WW1 & WW2 hIstory of these countries with our battlefield touring options!

 

Backwaters Cruises also work closely with local country French providers to bring you a superb taste of France for lunch while aboard the boat. During your cruise you can expect to enjoy a local cheese-board with fresh baguettes, quiche, delicious local hams and cheeses and smoked sausage. Not forgetting of course the delicious cakes from the local patisserie! And - Wine (French of course!) is free (!) with lunch along with an endless supply of water, tea and coffee.

 

Backwaters Tours' boat is hybrid electric/diesel engine-powered and usually charges overnight from shore supply. Its diesel engines are only used if battery power is exhausted, and the saloon roof is bedecked with solar panels which reinforce battery endurance and support the boat's air conditioning system.

8 Day /7 Night tour
Cruising the canals
Our 7 night 8 day 'Monash' WW1 Battlefield Cruise/Tour is named in honour of Sir John Monash, Australia's great WW General. This tour also includes the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Villers-Bretonneux, scene of Australia's greatest WW1 victory. This WW1 Australian Battlefield canal boat cruise/tour includes: 7 nights 3-star plus  accommodation, entry fees to all museum and attractions as detailed in the itinerary, most meals, 3 days amazing canal boat cruising, all premium coach transport as detailed, certified SOR Historian/Battlefield Guide, full Family History research work-up for ALL clients (if requested)  - and much more!  Starting in Lille and finishing in Amiens, this tour/cruise first takes you by coach southwards from Fromelles & Ypres and includes famous Australian, Canadian and British actions of WW1, with the cruise segment then taking you north from Saint Quentin to Cambrai as the navigable canal(s) weave their way through a network of lakes formed centuries ago by flooded peat extractions, further enhanced by pristine neighbouring woodland and cultivation, with just the occasional village and lock to navigate. 
Our first groundbreaking 2020 WW1 Australian Battlefield canal boat cruise/tour is proudly named after the famous and explosive Major General 'Pompey' Elliot, who commanded the legendary 15th Brigade who fought so fiercely in the famous 2nd Battle of Villers- Bretonneux. This anniversary tour includes: Anzac Day Dawn Service at Villers-Bretonneux, 6 nights 3-star plus  accommodation, entry fees to all museum and attractions as detailed in the itinerary, most meals, 3 days amazing canal boat cruising, all premium coach transport as detailed, certified SOR Historian/Battlefield Guide, full Family History research work-up for ALL clients (if requested)  - and much more!  Starting in Lille and finishing in Amiens, this tour/cruise  takes you southwards from Fromelles & Ypres and includes famous Australian, Canadian and British actions of WW1, with the cruise segment also taking you further southwards between Cambrai & Saint Quentin as the navigable Somme weaves its way through a network of lakes formed centuries ago by flooded peat extractions, further enhanced by pristine neighbouring woodland and cultivation, with just the occasional village and lock to navigate.