November 20, 2013 | By Jamey Bergman | No Comments
View of Marksburg Castle from the ms Gerard Schmitter
I’m onboard CroisiEurope
’s ship, Gerard Schmitter, heading down the Rhine from Cologne to Strasbourg, in the company of travel agents and other industry professionals.
I’ve been on river boats before, but never Croisi – so here I share with you a handful of things that stood out about the ship and the line as a whole in my first 24 hours onboard.
Food and wine are authentically French
No surprises here as it is a French cruise line, but nice to have it confirmed. On my first evening onboard, ship staff were trotted out in a short ceremony, with the kitchen staff saved for last. The chef, it was pointedly announced, is French. The main course for my first meal onboard was translated into English as “crispy quail,” and I was sceptical. But not only was it perfectly cooked and deboned, it was presented with a well-crafted mushroom and white wine cream sauce all wrapped in a crispy skin. While there isn’t the delicacy of taste or presentation offered by a high-end restaurant, the food is tasty, filling and – typical of French food – rich. The French table wines that accompany lunch and dinner are solid and unpretentious (as they should be at this price point).
It’s pink … very pink
Like other ships in Croisi’s fleet, Gerard Schmitter has a bright colour scheme that is repeated throughout the ship. The pink and purple furnishings onboard are prevalent, but softened by the neutral colors in the carpet, wall coverings and and the faux-wood cabinetry. All-in-all, pastel reigns on this ship.
The shower design could use some work
The lavatory is big enough, although basic, like the cabins. The whole room is made from fibreglass bathtub material, and the area under the sink and wall-mounted vacuum toilet is overlaid with a non-slip covering. The problem is there’s no separation between the shower and the rest of the facilities. There’s a curtain and a slight depression in the floor to allow the water to drain, but neither protect the rest of the room from getting soaked. Other issues include a puny extractor fan that leaves the surfaces damp and a wall-mounted body wash/shampoo all-in-one dispenser that – bizarrely – is outside of the shower.
It puts the fun in functional
Cabin furnishings are basic. For example, in the middle of the office cabinetry that has been installed as a one-piece shelving unit/wardrobe/counter-top, there’s a heater. The vent sits in the center of the narrow countertop, and cabinet doors, although they don’t have handles, open to reveal the machinery, hoses and wires that comprise the system. All of that is not to say that the rooms are either uncomfortable or unpleasant, just simply furnished. They’re actually pretty spacious, but if you’re looking for plush, you’d want to look elsewhere.
The founder can be spotted onboard…
Well not literally, but Gerard Schmitter founded CroisiEurope in 1976, and his eponymously named ship has both his portrait and original works of art on its walls.