Staycations indoors may not be everyone’s cup of tea this year after being housebound for several months during the pandemic.
As an alternative, some may opt for a boating holiday as a means of embracing the great Canadian outdoors.
This is where Le Boat comes in.
As a leading provider of boating vacations on lakes and canals in Europe and Canada, the company has one of the world’s largest fleet of canal “Home Away from Home” boats (penichette), not to mention a wide range of destinations to choose from.
No boating licence is required either, making this type of vacation an accessible one.
5Continents, notably, has created a dedicated LeBoat section for travel agents on its website.
“Canada’s UNESCO World Heritage Rideau Canal is undoubtedly the featured destination of 2021,” said David Boigné, President of 5Continents. “However, we also wanted to start introducing our European destinations offering perfect opportunities to travel to Europe in a ‘bubble’ when the time is right.”
Boat-rental only booking is available online here.
The booking engine is password protected and exclusive to travel agents. (Travel agents can visit 5Continents’ website to get a password).
“LeBoat is an exceptional product but it can also be difficult for travel agents to navigate the mandatory supplements as well as different pricing options available to clients,” Boigné said. “It sells much easier when packaged with transportation to and from the base and/or with a pre or/and post-stays and this is exactly what we are offering travel agents and their clients.”
“We are the one-stop shop, making the booking experience stress-free.”
Experiencing a houseboat vacation
PAX’s resident cruise expert Ming Tappin had an opportunity to experience a houseboat vacation with Le Boat through Ontario’s Rideau Canal system last summer.
She noted a simple pick-up process in Smiths Falls, ON, where a manager reviewed everything about her boat and its operation.
“It may seem daunting to remember how everything works, but it is all documented in a photo-filled operations manual which clients can refer to later,” Tappin said.
Boats are “custom built with the non-boater in mind,” the company says.
Passing through canal locks is also not as intimidating as it sounds.
“Once the boat is inside the lock chamber, loop the bow and stern lines around the cables on the lock wall. After the lock gates reopen, unloop the lines and drive out. Easy as that, and every lock works the same way,” Tappin wrote.
There were Parks Canada staff at each lock station to assist wherever possible, too.
“We found them to be extremely friendly and showed genuine interest in us and our travels,” wrote Tappin.
Click here to read Tappin’s full account.
Booking 2021 travel
Le Boat’s 2021 packages are offered offline and offer a higher commission, too.
“I am looking forward to presenting these packages through interactive webinars and connecting this new product with the industry,” said Michele Rauzon, national sales director at 5Continents. “Discovering the amazing Ottawa region and the UNESCO World Heritage Rideau Canal this summer sounds like a perfect plan.”
Le Boat’s fleet has been compared to a floating cottage or condo and has everything for a comfortable stay, including fully-equipped kitchens, private showers and bathrooms, comfortable cabins, a top deck and a memorable experience out on the water on your own private yacht.
Being on a private boat also makes social distancing easy.
Guests can plan their own itinerary and enjoy the spectacular views as they cruise the historical waterways on wide open lakes, enjoy some fishing, try kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding or enjoy one of the many walking/hiking trails or bike paths along your route.
“We are extremely happy to see our products being packaged and offered to the travel agents’ community in a 'ready to book' format” said Lisa Mclean, Le Boat sales and marketing manager, North America and Latin America.
Boating season in Europe opens as early as March 2021 and in Ontario, Canada on May 22, 2021.
Travel agents can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-866-239-6474.
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