Founded in Strasbourg in 1976, CroisiEurope is a pioneer in river cruising. It isn’t a brand that is particularly well known in Britain, which is a pity as this river cruise specialist offers great value for money. This family-owned company is continually expanding its fleet of four-star vessels as well as creating unique itineraries. It has also blazed a trail with new technology which has allowed purpose-built vessels to navigate rivers previously off-limits to motorised passenger river craft.

Locals in carnival masks in Venice during a CroisiEurope cruise

Across the globe CroisiEurope cruises along rivers as diverse as the Volga, Mekong and Zambezi, but as the largest operator of river cruise ships in Europe with a fleet of more than 50 vessels, they navigate many waterways off the radar to other operators. This impressive roster includes the Guadalquivir and Guadiana rivers in Spain and Portugal; the Douro; the Po and Venice Lagoon; the Neckar; the Saar; the Elbe; the Loire; the Oder; the Havel; the Camargue; the Tisza and the Black Sea.

French gourmet dining on a CroisiEurope river cruiseAboard CroisiEurope ships your fellow travellers are most likely to hail from France, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands. A defining factor of this French-based company is its particular take on cruising in assured Gallic style.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the cuisine. The set menus are unashamedly French – the company’s head chef, Alan Bohn is a member of the prestigious Mâitres Cuisiniers de France association. The quality is extraordinarily high and Francophile foodies will revel in the three-course lunches and four-course dinners. A vegetarian option is available if ordered in advance. The hardworking crew are attentive and have a good grasp of English. Complimentary French and German wines as well as beer and soft drinks are offered during lunch and dinner as well as at the bar.

A bright and colourful cabin on-board MS Gerard Schmitter

A cabin on MS Gerard Schmitter

With capacities ranging from 16 to 200 passengers depending on the vessel’s design, accommodation is stylish but unpretentious and there is a range of single, twin and triple-occupancy cabins. Each is equipped with a private bathroom, a hairdryer, satellite TV and a safe.

The modern-contemporary bar on-board MS Lafayette

MS Lafayette bar

This avant-garde company has recently launched a new river cruise ship on the Mekong for sailings between Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City.  The RV Indochine II has a reduced draft that allows it to cruise further than other ships on the Tonle Sap Lake. This colonial-style ship can accommodate 60 passengers in 30 spacious cabins featuring private balconies.

In other news the company is operating its first-ever cruise on the mighty St Lawrence River and Lake Ontario, exploring Canada’s earliest European settlements and taking in the spectacular scenery of the Thousand Islands and the majestic Niagara Falls.

For too long, this river cruise line has been hiding its light under a bushel.

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Gary Buchanan

About Gary Buchanan

Gary Buchanan has been an influential cruise writer for almost 30 years. Based in Scotland, he writes for Britain’s leading national newspapers and respected consumer magazines on a variety of cruise topics. Recipient of several awards for his creative writing, he has also written five books about cruising. His other skills include being an expert lecturer on maritime history aboard Cunard ships during transatlantic voyages. His favourite cruise destinations include the Greek Isles, Thailand and the Norwegian fjords. When it comes to river cruises he rates the Irrawaddy, Mekong and Seine as real gems.

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