About Us

MEET THE TEAM

Hi, we’re Claire & Graeme and like you we love travel – in fact that’s exactly why we bought Serenity.  

In 10 years together we’d bounced around the planet between New Zealand (Graeme’s home), the UK (Claire’s home) and all points in between, never living anywhere longer than about 18 months.  We knew we wanted to work for ourselves and that hospitality was a good fit for us, but just couldn’t picture ourselves committing to a location – the idea felt suffocating.  

Way back in 2009 when we were spending weekends visiting a friend working in Amsterdam, Claire fell in love with the idea of living on a barge – it was perfect….a house that moved!  

It took a few more years to get Graeme onboard with the idea but in 2014 we took the plunge and bought this 128ft long historic barge.

Bonjour to life afloat

Seeing as we had no experience with boats, lots of people told us we were mad and to start with something smaller, but we jumped in with both feet.  Having Serenity has been a journey of highs and lows, farces, minor triumphs and lessons learnt – but you’ll have to come and cruise with us if you want to hear those stories!

And we’re still travelling….in 2018/19 we cruised to Belgium and the Netherlands and in 2022 we’ll split our cruising season between the Loire and the Champagne regions, transiting via Paris. 

You're our guests, not just customers

Serenity is our home, not just a business and we live in the old Captain’s quarters year round.  We love sharing our life afloat with you and our approach is old-fashioned Kiwi hospitality – we hope you arrive as guests and depart as friends.

Also living on board Serenity are Salt and Pepper, our resident friendly felines – though being cats they probably think they run the whole show.  They may follow in the long tradition of ship’s cats but they favour more unconventional duties such as befriending lock-keepers and demonstrating how to truly relax in a sunny spot. 

And for any guests who are missing their furry friend back home, these boys will happily accept pats, belly rubs and general adoration!

Let our team take care of you

Running a hotel barge means wearing lots of hats, not least pilot, tour guide, cook, engineer, reservations/marketing manager….. A benefit of this is that we are across every part of the business and also have the opportunity to get to know you during the booking process before you even set foot aboard.  

But when we’re cruising there is a lot to do, so each summer our team aboard includes two additional crewmembers.  During our first few seasons we were lucky enough to have some fantastic friends who came and helped us out – like fellow cruiser and author Mike – but now that we have guests throughout the summer, we recruit another couple who typically drive our 9 seater vehicle and take care of all the housekeeping tasks.    

Old picture of Jubilant from 2009
Serenity has had lots over names over her 80+ years, when we bought her in 2014 she was called 'Jubilant'

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Serenity barge cruising along he tree lined canal