The Creators of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Train Are Launching a Luxury Barge in Champagne Country

Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, Champagne is set to hit the water in May 2023.

The outdoor lounge area on the deck of Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat
Photo: Belmond

Belmond, already known and loved for its luxury Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train, is preparing to step up its boat game, too.

In October, the travel company announced its plans to add to its fleet of riverboats with the addition of Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, Champagne, set to hit the water in May 2023.

The vessel, which TravelWeekly reported is an updated version of Belmond's Hirondelle barge, is getting a redesign thanks to the French duo Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet. The pair is turning the barge into a luxury haven with three double cabins, all boasting marble ensuite bathrooms and copper soaking tubs, along with neutral and cream-toned decor and just the right touch of soft pinks and baby green so that guests can unwind in style.

The bar on Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat

"By its moniker, the Coquelicot is a nod to discovery, a journey past appearances, and a study of what lies beneath the surface," the company shares on its website about the trips to come. "Just like our new boat, the Coquelicot is a sophisticated invitation to embark on a sensational journey, a voyage towards excellence."

Beyond the rooms, a highlight of the barge is its new open kitchen, which will likely serve as the heartbeat of every trip, as food appears to be a primary feature of the journeys.

Upon boarding, the company says, the staff will greet guests with "a refreshing flute of Ruinart, the very soul of Champagne and our partner in this adventure."

Bilnis service aboard Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat

Guests will then continue down the river to visit the Ruinart vineyards for more tastings as well as a private lunch featuring a four-hands menu by Ruinart's chef Valérie Radou and the Coquelicot's chef.

Back onboard, guests can indulge further in "distinctive menus designed by your Coquelicot chef" for dinner before finishing the evening with flowing Champagne alongside the barge's sommelier. And in the morning, travelers can get ready to do it all again over coffee and local pastries.

The living room space on Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat

"Experience locally-sourced cuisine while learning modern recipes. Appreciate the marriage of heritage and contemporary furnishings," the company adds. "At the end of your voyage, Coquelicot will leave you longing for more escapism." Though really, that's happening for us before the journey even begins. See more about the new barge and book your getaway here.

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