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2 CroisiEurope Symphonie Cruise Reviews

I was travelling with my 90 year old father. It was our second cruise on a Croisieurope ship. The first one was river cruise from Strasbourg on MS Princesse Sissi back in 2007. I have been cruising on Paul Gauguin, Crystal, Azamara ... Read More
I was travelling with my 90 year old father. It was our second cruise on a Croisieurope ship. The first one was river cruise from Strasbourg on MS Princesse Sissi back in 2007. I have been cruising on Paul Gauguin, Crystal, Azamara and Seabourn lines quite a few times since. For this Vienna to Vienna 8 day cruise we arrived one day prior to the start of the cruise. We stayed 2 days after the end of it for more Vienna sightseeing. We caught a cab from our hotel near Stephan Platz to the mooring peer and arrived around 5:30pm for an official boarding at 6:00pm. The crew let us board anyway. Be aware that traffic in Vienna can be congested and a short trip can turn into an hour bumper to bumper traffic jam. Check in was quick and easy. The crew took our suitcases to our cabin on the lower deck. We discuss dining table sharing options before dinner. The ship was refurbished in 2017 and they upgraded the cabins. They are 1.5 time or twice bigger than the previous configuration of the cabins. The bathrooms also are bigger. The MS Symphonie offers good size cabins with a bathroom including a standard size shower. I believe there is one or maybe 2 cabins for people with wheelchair on the upper deck. Our cabin had 2 twin beds that you can move closer/further away depending on your requirements.The room has 2 small wardrobes and 2 cabinets with shelves. It is plenty of storage space for an 8 day cruise. Suitcases are stored under the beds as usual on a cruise ship. There is one power socket (with 2 round prong European style) at each end of the bed head and one socket under the desk. There is one socket for a shaver in the bathroom. There is an LCD TV hanging from the ceiling with a motorised stowing system. You can hide/show it as you wish. The TV has a selection of French channels but also BBC, CNN and other standard English language channels. Reception is sometimes broken when the ship is moving but it works fine when stationary. Dining is at a shared table of 4. There are larger tables for bigger groups/families and only a couple of smaller tables for 2. Food is very palatable. Breakfast came as a buffet with a selection of scramble eggs and bacon, German sausage, fruit, cheese and other milk products, in other words anything you can expect in a hotel. Lunch time come generally as a buffet. Dinner was served at the table. It was a set menu. I would have enjoyed a dish of the local cuisine. We only had one dinner with Hungarian cuisine. The rest was French/International. I believe they can offer options for passengers with dietary limitations (low salt, low sugar, no porc, etc...) but you have to specify when you book the cruise. The crew was very efficient and polite. In regards to activities, there was a musician playing and passengers on the dance floor in the evening. During the day, there is a selection of games that you can play with your fellow passengers. Cards, Scrabble, Rummykub. On a sailing day there was also a game of deck bowling. One evening the crew organised a 'show'. It was fun. They are not professionals so it was not Cirque Du Soleil or Vegas but the passengers had fun watching them. Shore excursions were generally good. The guides very knowledgeable and interesting. Make sure you let the guide know if you have limitations (climbing stairs etc...) as they do not check if the group is all there before proceeding with the tour. I saw a few kids on the ship and asked them what they thought, They were pleased and they enjoyed the cruise. It was not their first one and they enjoyed this one more than they enjoyed their previous one. The crew is mainly Hungarian. They only speak basic French and English. The Commissaire de Bord (Julien) spoke French, English, Spanish, German, Hungarian and many more languages. I would not recommend this cruise line for non French or English speakers though. Some Spanish passengers who only spoke Spanish struggled a bit when communicating with the crew. Same problem with a Japanese couple. There is a free WIFI on the ship. It is pretty slow and limited. You can only download your mails but don't expect a VoIP call or a Video Call unless you are using your cell phone roaming. In regards to tipping, Croisieurope offers the option of an envelop and a drop box. The contains of the envelop are divided equally between all the crew members on the ship. I'd definitely go on another Croisieurope cruise on the MS Symphonie. It is great value for money. The ship is very nice and the crew efficient. Great time and great memories. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
As an avid Cruiser, I had not been on river cruise and Croisi offered a combo Cruise where we'd stay 5 nights on the Symphonie, cruising the Rhine, then transfer to the Van Gogh to Cruise the Rhone- ( Read the second half of this ... Read More
As an avid Cruiser, I had not been on river cruise and Croisi offered a combo Cruise where we'd stay 5 nights on the Symphonie, cruising the Rhine, then transfer to the Van Gogh to Cruise the Rhone- ( Read the second half of this review on the Van Gogh pages). Upon arrival we were met by the purser who was pleasant and gave us a very warm greeting. I knew we might be in for somewhat of a budget vacation when we received our table assignment on a yellow sticky note but that aside the initial arrival was great. A staff member escorted us to our cabin. The Cabins. I feel I need to add some color here. The Symphonie is an older ship. The cabins are small and the bathroom even smaller. Very basic in design, reminded me of ships from the 80's and 90's. The big note here is the beds do not make up together on this vessel as the rooms air conditioning vent, is located inside the cabinet between the two beds and thus is set and unmovable. We saw a much newer Croisi ship in a port and looked into their windows and saw that this was not the case so BE SURE to check bed configurations with your travel agent. As we sailed in late June/July it was warm outside but the cabin could always be kept at a cool temperature. There is ample storage both under the twin beds as well as in a wardrobe closet. The Bathroom is tiny and note there are no washcloths on the ship. That may be a common thing in Europe, but we missed having them). No bar soap ( Again, is that a euro thing?) but shampoo and conditioner was provided ( so if you are a "bar of soap" kind of person bring some!). The Public spaces-Again with an older ship comes challenges, there are two reasons why I didn't rate the ship higher- One was the Public spaces and I'll get to the other later. Both the Dining Room and the Lounge once filled for presentations or meals were hot as heck. Staff were sweating, guests were sweating, it was unbearable at times and we had to leave a couple of times to go outside to actually cool down. The biggest issue I had however was the fact that the ship is 100% nonsmoking (Inside) which I thought was great, but in the forward section of the main lounge is a stairwell that leads to both Crew and Guest areas on the lower deck. Obviously the Crew is allowed to smoke inside their cabins on this ship and that cigarette odor traveled and permeated throughout the main lounge. This is obviously a policy issue that Croisi needs to deal with this right away, as many guests commented on how smoky the lounge smelled. Dining-The food was excellent - Top notch - I'll admit I was a little scared about not having any choices for dining. It was like eating in someone's home every evening. You ate what they served. Our table asked one night if we could pass on the cod in Lobster sauce an get something else instead and it was done without a fuss from the staff. The breakfast is a buffet - Similar to what you'd see in small European hotel- Meats cheeses - very different from what we normally see. Fruit was limited in choice but fresh and good - One thing- Powdered eggs on the buffet- Big miss! So easy to keep real scrambled eggs coming to the buffet. Lunch was like a dinner at mid day- Multiple courses and again very good. Desserts were amazing. I wouldn't call this 5 star cuisine but a solid 4 star for sure. Crew- On this ship versus the Van Gogh - English was a distant language and we often were met with stares when speaking with the crew. For example, I asked for a plate, the waited just stared and repeated the word plate ( The plates on the buffet had all been used and needed to be replenished.) I went over to a table which had dirty dishes on it and pointed at the plate, It was frustrating but in the end together we managed to get more plates onto the buffet. there is very little "interaction" with the crew as they serve and that's it. Dining staff simply drop plates pick them up and don't engage with the guest ( any language) much at all. the crew on board was mainly from Hungary. We saw lots of eye rolling from crew members when they were asked this or that and there were just so many misses in terms of crew performance this is the other reason I can't give the ship better marks. On our voyage we had open bar and that was great but a huge amount of time we were sailing on the river thus everyone was up on the top of the ships, lounge staff never came up to the top deck and often we'd collect empty glasses and bring them down to the bar. In a way the cruise felt like a cruise from 20 years ago and while I love nostalgia, the newer Croisi ships I'm sure provide a different experience of a higher caliber. We found this to be a great "value" for the money but be aware of limitations based on the ships age. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Symphonie Ratings
Category Editor Member

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