Voila le grand bateau de Monsieur Thibault.*
I’ve never been entirely clear why an Anglo-German travel group should have adopted a macaronic Anglo-French name, Le Boat, for its business of providing “self-drive boating holidays on the inland waterways of Europe“, which is one of the activities within the Marine Division of its Specialist & Activity Sector, which is in turn one of its three main sectors.
Somewhere within Le Boat is the Irish operation, Emerald Star; that brand name is used on the leboat.net website but not, as far as I can see, on the leboat.co.uk site. Furthermore, Emerald Star is not listed amongst TUI Travel’s brands. I mention this because M Thibault’s boat carries the Le Boat brand, not the Emerald Star. I have asked the TUI Travel press office whether the Emerald Star brand is being withdrawn.
Anyway, the boat itself is interesting. It’s Le Boat’s Vision, made by Beneteau. There are variants: it comes with either three or four bedrooms, diesel or hybrid, SL or not. It is available for sale as well as for hire; a buyer can place it in the Le Boat fleet and earn some money too.
There is a brief description here with a link to Waterways World‘s recent report about the boat. There is more here and here. It is extremely well equipped.
Back in the 1970s, many boat owners had either small or elderly boats; a secondhand cruiser, sold out of one of the hire fleets, was the height of luxury, and on average the hire boats were more luxurious than the private (or that at least was my impression). In recent years that has changed; private boats became luxurious and equipped with more toys than hire boats had.
Le Boat’s Vision may change the balance again, but only a very large company could afford a fleet of such boats: Waterways World gave the price as STG£249000.
[* translations by Google]