CroisiEurope River Cruise Experience
A roof deck view from our ship of The Netherlands and Mas River.
Cabins decorated in the "Romantic Rhine" theme of our river cruise.
Castles float by as you sail the Rhine River in Germany.
Meeting the crew on Welcome Night aboard the Gerard Schmitter ship.

On a CroisiEurope river cruise through Germany our family experienced the joie de vivre of France’s prized lifestyle, while learning about German history. CroisiEurope, celebrating 40 years and three generations of management in France, now operates 43 ships a la Francaise on rivers ranging from France’s Seine, Rhone, Dordogne and Garonne Rivers; to the Danube in Croatia, the Tisza in Hungary, the Guadalquivir in Spain, the Douro in Portugal, the Mekong in Vietnam and the Irawaddy in Myanmar.

One signature item consistent across all ships — croissants are baked fresh daily.

Serving Up Cuisine and Cultural Immersion

As sophisticated families are discovering, river cruising is a delight because there’s no packing and unpacking, no hassle finding the hotel, no wait in long museum lines as you schlep around Europe. The CroisiEurope cruise experience has the added bonus of being very French – service and food are excellent, there’s a friendly, multilingual staff; and shore excursions emphasize expert guided tours of local arts and local history.

The company is justifiably proud of its onboard catering, designed by star chefs like Paul Bocuse, Marc Haeberlin and currently, Alain Bohn, who supervises 150 chefs fleet-wide. Bountiful meals feature local cuisines (paella in Spain, duck and white asparagus in France, wurst and sauerkraut in Germany); while always providing seasonal specialties, fresh fish and salads, elaborate desserts, and wine pairings.

We heard a few laments about lack of pizza, and overheard from others that expensive river cruises typically have several restaurants with more varied cuisine, but it was not an issue for us. All parents will appreciate the children’s menus; we also saw food allergies and special diets accommodated with ease.

Selecting the Best Itinerary for your Family

We sailed on CroisiEurope’s “Romantic Rhine” itinerary from Strasbourg to Amsterdam, one of Europe’s most popular river cruising routes. The active river winds through Germany’s picturesque heartland, where history and family vineyards meet; “To your left is a 13th-century castle, while on the hillside to the right is a Medieval church,” is typical of the bilingual narration we heard.

Coal-laden barges passed by, busy tug boats plodded along, locks opened and closed, yet watching life go by from the sundeck’s chaises was remarkably relaxing… not always a good thing when traveling with children.

According to the cruise line, historical routes along the Seine to Normandy’s WW2 sites, and themed cruises like “Castles of the Rhine,” are a hit with school-age kids. “The most popular cruises for families are our themed Christmas Market cruises, where families can enjoy Holiday festivities,” Nicola Iannone, US Director of Sales, told us. “The excursions include stops in various European cities, where travelers can visit Christmas Markets with activities geared to children.”

Families like CroisiEurope’s Cost and Culture

While there are no scheduled kids programs, about 4,000 children under 18 sail annually on these river cruises. Parents like that all shore excursions are included in rates so they can join or just explore on their own, easy to do since these smaller ships are able to dock at old ports in the heart of Europe’s historic areas.

“We’ve learned that kids and teenagers do not always enjoy the same programs [as other passengers],” adds CroisiEurope International Sales Director, Michel Grimm. “Therefore, for 2017 we have developed two kinds of excursions: a classic package, and a discovery package, which is a bit more fun with hiking and biking.” Roofdeck exercise classes were held on several days of our cruise and other itineraries include more time ashore for recreation: CroisiRando for hikers, CroisiGolf for golf lovers and CroisiMusique for music lovers. Take a look: