Review of CroisiEurope
The CroisiEurope travel brand ("Alsace Croisieres" until 1997, croisieuroperivercruises.com / croisieurope.travel) is a French river cruise company, which is family-owned and run, and based in Strasbourg. The line specializes in river cruising and also Mediterranean coastal cruises. Mr. Gerard Schmitter founded CroisiEurope in 1976, chartering ms Alsace - his first riverboat - in 1982.
CroisiEurope (website) is one of Europe's/and the world's largest river cruise companies. Its boats are deployed on Europe's main/largest inland waterways (rivers and France's canals) and also in Asia (Vietnam and Cambodia). The company additionally charters vessels that cruise on Volga River in Russia, on Irrawaddy River in Burma, on Chobe and Zambezi rivers in South Africa.
Two of the company's vessels are ocean-going ships. Throughout the 1990s and the 2000s, the cruise line underwent rapid fleet expansion. As the fleet grew, the company expanded its passenger shipping operations outside France. In 1999, Gerard Schmitter handed the management over to his children.
CroisiEurope currently owns a fleet of premium riveboats cruising on Europe's all large rivers. Passenger capacity varies from 100 to 180 (depending on vessel design). The fleet is partially renovated (each year) and professionally maintained. Most boats are newer (built in the 2000s) with many newbuilds (launched after 2010). All vessels are with Bureau Veritas certifications.
French is the primary shipboard language, although most of the staff-crew also speak English and other European languages. All onboard announcements are in English and French. What distinguishes CroisiEurope from other major river travel brands are the moderately-priced fares. Like on most European riverboats, CroisiEurope deals are inclusive of beverages (soft drinks, beers, wines by the glass) with lunch and dinner. Unlimited drinks are offered during high season (April through October), including house spirits. However, one of the differences is that CroisiEurope passengers have to pay extra for shore excursions (excluding on the barges), unlike many other brands which fares are inclusive of many guided land tours.
In addition to the Main Dining Room restaurant, the ship's signature public spaces also include an indoor Bar Lounge (Salon) serving the company's enrichment program with daily lectures and media presentations and evening live entertainment (ranging from traditional regional to resident musician performances and crew shows). The Lobby's mezzanine level (reception area) houses a small Gift Shop. The outdoor carpeted Sun Deck houses the boat's Wheelhouse (Bridge) and shaded-seating areas (for relaxation and sunbathing) fitted with deckchairs and tables.
In 2006, CroisiEurope celebrated its 30th Anniversary. In 2007 was inaugurated CroisiMer - the subsidiary company that manages the sea-going fleet (La Belle de l'Adriatique). In 2010 was created the brand CroisiYacht to manage all chartered cruises on Russia's Volga River. In 2014, CroisiEurope bought "Compagnie Fluviale du Mekong" (Mekong River Cruise Company), thus adding 4 Mekong-based boats to the fleet.
Barge cruises in France
Most of CruiseMapper's barge cruise ships (excluding CroisiEurope's) are currently grouped in European Waterways. CroisiEurope is currently operating 6x luxury hotel barges sailing on canals in France. With max passenger capacity 22 per boat, these small ships have regularly scheduled departures (with fixed itineraries) but also can be privately chartered (with altered itineraries).
Chartering one of these 6 motorized/self-propelled barges (DeborahDaniele, Anne Marie, Madeleine, Raymonde, Jeanine) is also a unique alternative for vacationing with friends or small family group travel. Daily shore excursions (in each of the visited river ports) are included in the cruise fares.
Fleet expansion (new ships)
In March 2016, CroisiEurope announced the addition of 4 new riverboats to its fleet in 2017. Their scheduled deployment was on the rivers Mekong, Douro, Rhine, and Danube. The newbuilds are in addition to the 2016-inaugurated riverboats Elbe Princesse (80-passenger paddlewheel, designed to navigate on the complicated Elbe River) and two 22-passenger hotel barges - Daniele (Burgundy rivers) and Deborah (Briare Canal in Upper Loire Valley).
The new Douro ships Miguel Torga (2016) and Amalia Rodrigues (2019) are the company's 5th and 6th boats in Portugal. Each carries 132 passengers and has 3 decks and an aft-located sundeck swimming pool. Their itineraries are roundtrips from Oporto and stop in Vega de Terron, Ferradosa,Pinhao and Regua.
Also in 2017, Indochine 2 (announced in 2015) started cruising on Mekong. This is the 5th CroisiEurope Mekong ship (60-passenger, all-balcony cabins). In 2017, for Rhine and Danube shipping, the company built two new boats - Symphonie 2 (April, 106-passenger, 54 cabins) and Douce France 2 (June, 135-passenger, 68 cabins).
In 2019, to CroisiMer was added the acquired from Silversea Expeditions superyacht "Silver Discoverer". This 1989-built ocean-going vessel was initially named "Clipper Odyssey" and joins the fleetmate La Belle de l'Adriatique in 2020-Q1 - under the new name La Belle des Oceans.
CroisiEurope France river cruises
In 2016, CroisiEurope expanded the company's "Cruise and Bike Program" on 3 European rivers, adding Loire River to Danube and Rhine.
- Prices for an 8-day Loire River cruise and biking tour start at USD 4,880 per person. These deals are on the Loire Princesse ship (launched in April 2015) and include professional guided cycling trips on a daily basis, plus all meals, unlimited beverages, and free Wi-Fi.
- The "Cruise and Bike Program" is operated in groups averaging 8 passengers per tour (max 14 passengers), 1 group leader (for every 4 passengers) and cycling along Loire River. Included are stops for walking tours in all local towns (along the river) and also wine tasting (ashore).
- The program also includes 8-day "Garonne Biking Cruise" (pricing per person from USD 4,490) and 8-day "Saone and Rhone Biking Cruise" (pricing PP from USD 4,790).
- Early booking discounts (done by October 31) are 10% per person.
All cruise tours are price inclusive of all meals and complimentary unlimited drinks and onboard Wi-Fi.
(Coronavirus crisis) passenger shipping pause 2020-2021
Due to the Coronavirus crisis, CroisiEurope suspended its entire fleet's passenger shipping operations (all vessels - ocean and riverboats) canceling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures in the period March 14, 2020, through early-July 2021.
Operations were planned to resume in July-August 2020, with the following restarting dates - July 13 (Seine River), July 16 (Rhone River, Burgundy Canal barges), July 20 (Rhine River), July 26 (Mediterranean / Corsica Island via CroisiMer), July 31 (Loire River, Danube River), August 3 (Elbe River), August 7 (Douro River Portugal), August 13 (Croatia Adriatic Sea cruises via CroisiMer), August 26 (Gironde River). However, in October, all November-December 2020 departures fleetwide (Europe-Asia-Africa) were canceled.
All affected bookings received a full (100%) monetary refund. For new bookings, CroisiEurope allows penalty-free cancellation up to 30 days prior departure - excluding booking fees and any ancillary charges.
Itinerary of CroisiEurope
CroisiEurope operates on Europe's major waterways. Among the line's specialties are the France river cruises, including on luxury hotel barge ships.
In mid-April 2021, CroisiEurope announced its 2022 summer program for 55 cruise ships. The fleet's ocean ship La Belle des Oceans offers two new itineraries - in Corsica and the Canary Islands. The 7-night CroisiEurope Corsica cruises (May-October 2022) are priced from GBP 2294 per person with double occupancy. The 7-night Canary Islands cruises (between Arrecife Lanzarote and Santa Cruz de Tenerife / November 2021-April 2022) are priced from GBP 2175 pp.
Danube cruises are between Budapest and Vienna or Bucharest. The CroisiEurope 2022 program includes 180+ itineraries across 16 rivers, 6 French canals, 2 coastal routes, also Lake Kariba in Africa (between Zimbabwe and Zambia).
The 16-passenger houseboat Zimbabwean Dream joins the sistership African Dream, to offer 4-day roundtrips on Lake Kariba combined with 4-day land stays close to Chobe National Park (overlooking Zambezi River) as well as overnights in Victoria Falls and Johannesburg (South Africa).
CroisiEurope boat deployments
CroisiEurope owns and operates the following vessels:
- African Dream (2017) and Zimbabwean Dream (2020) - newbuild houseboats on Chobe and Zambezi rivers (departures from South Africa / flights and hotels)
- Amalia Rodrigues (Douro River, Portugal)
- Anne-Marie (barge on Rhone river canals, France)
- Beethoven (Rhine and Danube)
- Botticelli (Seine River)
- Camargue (Rhone and Saone)
- Cyrano de Bergerac (Gironde, Dordogne and Garonne rivers)
- Daniele (barge on Briare Canal, Burgundy and Upper Loire Valley, France)
- Deborah (barge on Garonne Canal, France)
- Douce France (Rhine River, Holland, and Germany)
- Douce France II (Rhine and Danube)
- Elbe Princesse II (sailings between Berlin and Prague on Elbe and Vltava rivers)
- Fernao De Magalhaes (Douro River, Portugal)
- France (Seine River)
- Galateia (yacht, Atlantic coastal) chartered
- Gerard Schmitter (Rhine and Danube)
- Gil Eanes (Douro River, Portugal, and Spain)
- Jeanine (barge /France canal cruises on Saone river)
- RV Indochine (Mekong River, in Vietnam and Cambodia)
- RV Indochine II (Mekong River, in Vietnam and Cambodia)
- Infante Don Henrique (Douro River, Portugal)
- L'Europe (Rhine and Danube)
- La Belle de Cadix (Guadalquivir and Guadiana rivers, in Spain)
- La Boheme (Rhine and Danube)
- Lafayette (Rhine river)
- RV Lan Diep (Mekong River)
- Leonard de Vinci (Rhine, Moselle, and Saar)
- Loire Princesse (Loire River, in France)
- Madeleine (barge /France canal cruises on Rhine river)
- Michelangelo (Po River, Italy)
- Miguel Torga (Douro River, Portugal)
- Mistral (Rhone and Saone)
- Modigliani (Rhine and Danube, also on Senne and Scheldt)
- Mona Lisa (Rhine and Elbe, also on Spree and Havel)
- Monet (Rhine river)
- RV Princesse Apsara (Mekong River, Vietnam, and Cambodia) 60 passengers, 30 cabins
- Princesse d'Aquitaine (Gironde, Dordogne and Garonne rivers)
- Elbe Princesse (paddle steamer, on Moldau and Elbe river)
- Elbe Princesse II (paddle steamer)
- Raymonde (barge /France canal cruises on Seine river)
- Renoir (Seine River between Paris and Honfleur)
- Seine Princess (Seine River)
- Symphonie (Rhine and Dutch waterways)
- Symphonie 2 (Rhine and Danube)
- RV Toum Tiou (Mekong River)
- RV Toum Tiou II (Mekong River)
- Van Gogh (Rhone and Saone)
- Vasco de Gama (Douro River, Portugal)
- Victor Hugo (Elbe, Rhine, and Danube, also on Tisza River in Hungary)
- Vivaldi (Danube river)
- Jacques Cartier (launched in 1924, reconstructed in 2017) is operated under a charter. The boat cruises in Canada (on Lake Ontario and St Lawrence River) between May and October.
- La Belle de l'Adriatique (2007-built seagoing ship) cruises in the Mediterranean/Adriatic Sea with roundtrips from homeport Dubrovnik Croatia
- La Belle des Oceans (1989-built seagoing ship) is currently still operated by Silversea as "Silver Discoverer").
Note: Mekong cruises (in Cambodia and Vietnam) are operated between August and April.
CroisiEurope is the only cruise tour company that offers 6-day Douro River itineraries in Portugal. These voyages include towns that are usually not listed in other companies' itineraries, among which are Folgosa and Ferradosa, as well as Senhora da Hora and Leverinho (both in the Porto Metro City district).
CroisiEurope cruise ship tracker
Our CroisiEurope cruise ship tracker is a function integrated into all CroisiEurope river cruise review pages. On page-bottom on each page, you'll find a map with the boat's current location (AIS position). All the real-time tracking data is provided by VesselFinder. It's all about convenience - you will find where is your CroisiEurope ship cruising today and now along its current itinerary! Enjoy the "luxury France" river cruising on your CroisiEurope vacations!
Note: You can see the CruiseMapper's list of all river cruise ships and riverboats in the "itinerary" section of our River Cruises hub. All river passenger shipping line companies and their fleets are listed there.
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