Our Story

Cafwin Cruises, Boutique Narrowboat Holidays

Dear Guests,

Cafwin Cruises is very much a family-run business.  I’m Catherine (known in the family as Cafwin and hence the rather unusual name of the company) and I’m the Managing Director.  I run every aspect of the business on a day to day basis, but, as needs be, I am assisted by my husband, Mark, our son and his girlfriend, Lewis & Hannah, and of course my fantastic cleaning team and excellent engineer.  Mark and I are both retired from the Armed Forces (Army & RAF) and we’ve each held an interest in narrowboats for about 30 years; either owning one or holidaying on hire barges.  Having run a very successful holiday villa in Florida for over 10 years, we decided on retirement from the Military to combine our love of narrow boating with my love of running a holiday property and so was born Cafwin Cruises. We invested our savings in having our first narrowboat, Arthur Owl, built from scratch and have been thrilled with our guests’ reaction to our very special holiday boat.   Things have gone so well that we have just commissioned our second boat, Annie Owl, so there’s more excitement to look forward to when she arrives in Spring 2022.

The whole ethos in setting up our company has been about family and friends.  Lewis, and Hannah, have been heavily involved from the start.  Lewis, Mark and I have completed a comprehensive narrowboat handling course through Willow Wren Training to ensure that we provide the best service to our guests.  The drawing of Arthur and Annie Owls were designed and produced by the very talented Nina, who was Lewis’ best friend at school.  We  chose our boat builders (NCB & Trinity Boats), because they were skilled, generous with their time, friendly and open.  Our Engineer, John, runs the lovely Chandlery, Bridge 35 at Hanbury Wharf; he is fantastically reliable, hard-working and one of those people who you just know can be trusted!  His partner, Jackie, is part of my cleaning team and is so reliable that she has left her sick bed with a bad back to come to work on handover day rather than let us down.  Carrie, who lives on her own narrowboat in our Marina, was my first cleaner from set up; she has amazingly high standards and has become a pivotal part of the business and a very dear friend.  She then introduced me to Anne, who also lives on a boat in our Marina, and having had to retire from nursing due to health issues, she’s been a fantastic addition to the team and is another lady who takes real pride in doing her job to the highest of standards.  The entire team are an absolute joy to work with; they actually sing along to songs all the way through their cleaning which is lovely to listen to as I complete all the outside tasks.


We love our business and want to ensure that everyone who holidays with us has the best possible experience on the water.  We all know the British weather can be unpredictable therefore making narrow boating an all-weather activity, but we want you to know that below deck there is warmth, cosiness, comfort and real luxury.  Why go to a static boutique hotel or cottage when you can have all the same indulgence and splendour in a vessel that will travel with you and let you enjoy the best of our beautiful countryside and enjoy a different view every day? Why rent an average, old or tired narrowboat for the same or more money, when you can hire our beautiful bespoke and charming boats for the same cost or even less? 

We hope our customers will choose us because they can see that we are offering something a little different, at a competitive price, but with nothing spared to ensure a luxurious, romantic and fun get away.  I will personally do everything within my powers to bring you the best holiday ever.  We also hope that you will enjoy the little extras that we’ll be providing; but we will leave you to find those for yourself when you get on board your boat.  Finally, I am only a phone call or e-mail away if you have any questions, so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you don’t understand something or want more information.

Warmest holiday wishes


MD Cafwin Cruises