Guest Blog: Cruising with The Barge Lady

November 16, 2020  |  By Peg Kern
Filed Under

Today we’re pleased to highlight a guest blog by our friends over at The Barge Lady. Barge cruises are a great way to experience a travel destination: let The Barge Lady tell you why!

Ellen Sack, the Barge Lady, herself, has been a broker of European canal barge vacations since 1985, but does not consider it “work.” She feels so lucky that she still cannot wait to get to the office each morning and speak with customers and barges owners! Ellen was all of 19 when she visited Europe – and fell in love with it.

The Barge Lady, Ellen Sack In 1978, Ellen began a career as a retail travel agent, which proved to be the perfect background for segueing into the barge industry. When an opportunity came in 1985 to help launch a small barge in Burgundy, it was too fascinating to pass up, and since then, both her personal and professional lives have been deeply intertwined with barging.

Barges are handsome vessels carrying 4-24 passengers which cruise through European canals, primarily in France. Barging focuses on the gastronomic pleasures of Europe’s gourmet food and regional wines, while a dedicated crew cooks and cleans, pilots the barge, and coordinates chauffeured tours of local vineyards, produce markets, and historical attractions. Each trip is six night and seven days, and season is from mid April – the end of October, taking advantage of Europe’s mild spring, summer sunshine, and crisp autumn.

La Bella Vita moored near Mantua Boletti wine estate

As we personally visit all of the barges we represent, we are thrilled to match guests to the perfect barge cruise, taking into consideration the party size, travel preferences, and regions of interest. For those especially intrigued by the celebratory leanings of the Italian culture, the Barge Lady is delighted to present our newest barge cruise: La Bella Vita!

Barge cruising in ItalyItaly is a fresh destination for barging, and is sure to be very popular, as a barge cruise will offer the truly different experience of seeing Italy from the water. Our barge floats in and out of Venice, a city located on its own lagoon and crisscrossed by canals. The centuries-old Venetian lifestyle in the small fishing ports will be on full display, as will the colorful villages near to the center. Moving to the Po River Valley, barge guests will enjoy a personal introduction to family owned wineries and villas, as well as Renaissance palaces and churches. Art, culture, and beauty are everywhere on this route!

Oenophiles and gastronomes will especially revel in the food and wine itinerary as only experienced in Italy. Guests aboard La Bella Vita are invited to visit the Bagnoli Estate for a private tour and tasting at the cellars of the 17th century Villa Widmann Borletti. This winery has been supplying Venetian society for centuries! Italian cuisine comes alive during a sumptuous dinner ashore, hosted by the owners at the beautiful 17th century Villa Ca’Zen, a private stately home along the River Po. On board dining and drinking is equally as spectacular, as guests enjoy menus by an on-board gourmet chef while indulging in the region’s many wines.

We could not be more pleased to offer La Bella Vita as an option to our guests in 2015, 2016, and beyond! For more information about the cruise, menu, and itinerary of this marvelous Italian vessel, please visit

Interior of the barge Want to combine the best of Italian cooking classes with the luxury of a barge cruising experience? The Barge Lady and The International Kitchen are pleased to announce a new travel experience appealing to gastronomes who appreciate the pleasures of food, wine, and culture. “COOK AND CRUISE” highlights the top options in Italy for hands-on cooking lessons coupled with the pleasures of barge cruising for the complete Italian holiday. The Barge Lady’s newest vessel, La Bella Vita, is a First Class boat offering up to 20 lucky guests a mesmerizing week of art and beauty through Venice along the River Po, and when combined with a cooking vacation to the Chianti wine estate of the famed Antinori wine producers through the International Kitchen, becomes the Italian trip of a lifetime! Dates for the 2015 season are still available for this exciting tour featuring the best of the Italian landscape, waterways, and culture, and cuisine.

By Stephanie Sack

For more on The Barge Lady cruises, please visit their website, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter. You can also reach them by phone at 800.880.0071.

Find more photos, videos, food facts, and travel stories from The International Kitchen on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube.

Sign up to receive our newsletter, which includes travel tips, recipes, promotions, and information on our best cooking vacations.

Print This Page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *