Hoseasons is hoping to cash-in on the popularity of TV chef Rick Stein’s recent French Odyssey series by offering customers the same type of boats used in the programme.

Product director Sara Zimmerman said 12 of the featured wide-beam canal boats have been introduced to the Boating Holidays 2008 programme, while five boat bases on the Canal du Midi, where Stein spent much of his time, will cater for the expected additional customers.

She added: “The impact of this programme should not be underestimated, it is a great way of showing what the experience is about and having celebrity endorsement helps.”

Prices lead in at £1,340 for a four-berth barge on the Canal du Midi in the south of France, for one week over Easter.

Zimmerman said two new regions in France are being introduced to the programme with the opening of a boat base on the Charente in Cognac country.

The inclusion of three new boat bases on the Aquitane will allow customers to visit the southwest.

An additional 27 new boats in the UK brings the British fleet to 750.

The operator is continuing its green commitment with non-polluting toilets, noise-reduction systems for the engines and bio-diesel fuel trials.