My husband and I were looking for an intimate small ship experience in Europe with great food and wine and a relaxed atmosphere. Croisi Europe Jeanine - a luxury hotel barge delivered on all marks!
This was our first time with Croisi Europe and our first barge cruise - and certainly the smallest ship we have sailed on before! Maximum capacity is 22 passengers. The staff and crew were exceptional! Henriette - the hotel manager kept everything well organized.
Most notable for us was the exceptional food and wine. We have sailed on several "luxury" cruises and this cuisine on board Jeanine was as good or better than we have ever experienced! There is no menu. At each meal (lunch and dinner) the very talented young chef Roman, greets the guests with a description of the multiple courses featured for the meal. It's really quite fun to be surprised with the chef's creations. Lunch was just as impressive as dinner, and had an included cheese course featuring two different regional cheeses each day. The cuisine was classic French - and every course was exceptional. During the week we dined on rabbit, foie gras, quail, beef, veal, chicken and fish. For those with less adventurous pallets - the chef is more than willing to accommodate your dining request - just speak to him before the service. On the warm sunny days, we enjoyed lunch on the terrace with white linens and fine china as we sailed along the canals. And on one beautiful evening - we dined outdoors for dinner. It was just exceptional!
The barge slowly meanders along the canals at a pace of about 5km per hour. You are free to get off the barge during a stop at the many locks and either walk or bike along the paths lining the canal. We did a fair bit of biking - and even went off to explore nearby villages and rejoining the ship further down the canal. Henriette - our lovely hotel manager stayed in contact with us by cell phone and text informing us of what lock we needed to meet the boat in order to join them for the lunch. It was amazing!!
We met one couple from Ukraine - who have cruised many times with Croisi and love it. There was another couple from Belgium; and a few people from the USA - and us from Canada. A nice international mix - all lovely people enjoying this amazing experience together.
Well organized shore excursions with local guides were offered complimentary in the main ports. There is no entertainment on board - it not necessary. The overnight stop in Dijon was a fantastic way to end the restful, and culturally rich 6 day journey.
This type of cruise experience would be great for a group of family or friends, and in speaking with the staff - family charters are very popular.
The cabins are cozy. No doubt - they are small at just under 100 sq. ft. but they are smartly organized with ample storage. Pack light - there is no reason not to! The bed was very comfortable and all cabins have a decent sized window. The bathroom is small but functional - with a good shower.