New Luxury Hotel Barge Begins Thames Cruises

Bonjour, a luxuriously fitted 72-foot, self-propelled hotel barge started a career of cruising on the Thames June 8, following her launching in Worcestershire, England.

Her maiden voyage and subsequent trips will take passengers to scenic and historic spots from Hampton Court, past Windsor Castle, Runnymede and Eton to Oxford, taking in many of the activities connected with Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee, throughout the 1977 season.

The full-service hotel barge, which has accommodations for eight guests, will operate on cruises of six days and six nights, with rates from $300 to $350 per person.

Bonjour was built for Stanley and Jarrett Kroll of New York, an experienced yachting couple who have for several years cruised the Thames and the waterways of a dozen European countries. Out of the Kroll's experience has come a book, "Upstream/Downstream, Cruising the Waterways of Europe," to be published next spring by Harper & Row.

The master of Bonjour is Capt.

Norman Riddle, a former lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy, assisted by his wife and first mate, Anna, plus one additional crew member. Mrs. Riddle's artful cuisine was chronicled in the March 1976 Gourmet Magazine, when the Riddles were operating their barge Water Wanderer on the Canal du Midi in southern France.

Bonjour was built by Tolladine Boat Services, Ltd. of Stoke Prior, Worcestershire, which combined the latest in marine technology with high standards of handmade excellence. According to the Krolls, her heavy displacement steel hull, 14-foot beam and quality machinery, including a 113- horsepower Leyland Thorneycroft diesel engine, make the 76-ton vessel an ideal luxury Thames cruiser.

The boat has four spacious, wide-windowed and individually heated staterooms, stall showers, library, dining salon with panoramic windows and stereo, and a 30-foot-long outdoor observation deck. Passengers who want to go ashore can use one of several bicycles carried aboard.

The exterior of Bonjour is colorfully hand-painted in the traditional working barge motif of roses, diamonds and castles — an essentially English folk art. Her interior, of hand-rubbed teak, redwood and parana pine, reflects a standard of old-world craftsmanship rarely seen today.

Guests eat all but three meals onboard; on three evenings they go ashore to dine at inns or restaurants of their choice.

Principal charter agent for Bonjour is Continental Waterways, Ltd., 22 Hans Place, London, SW1, although reservations can be arranged through American Express and other U.S. travel agents, booking through Continental Waterways.

Other stories from July 15, 1977 issue


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