Gerard Schmitter has neither the space nor the aspiration to offer ocean cruise levels of entertainment. Typically, days are spent ashore exploring, and on days when the boat is sailing, sightseeing tips and trivia are given (in French and English) over the loudspeakers. Quizzes are offered, too, and can be picked up from reception.
Shore excursions are priced in euros, along with everything else onboard, and can cost as little as 15 euros. The quintessential half-day guided tour of Heidelberg and its castle runs 39 euros.
During the evening and on chilly days, the main lounge on Deck 2 is the entertainment hub on the boat. It features the lounge bar on the port side. Swivel chairs line the bar with its two beers on tap, espresso maker, wines and spirits. The dance floor-cum-stage is directly in front of the bar. The main lounge is surrounded by hip- to head-height windows and decorated in mauve, cream and muted gold. Fabric plants and modern sculpture-like lighting fixtures are dotted throughout the space. The prow of the ship is visible and accessible from the lounge, with the ship's engraved bell taking pride of place.
The main lounge bar is the spot for after-dinner entertainment. This ranges from traditional regional entertainment to crew shows and keyboard music from the resident musician. The lounge is open from 9:30 a.m. to midnight, though it will stay open later on livelier nights. Port talks and lectures also take place in the main lounge, but only on cruises of six days or longer.
For a more intimate space, head to the Piano Bar at the aft of the ship on Deck 3. In addition to clusters of sofas and chairs, it offers a flat-screen TV and a small bar with beer on tap and an espresso maker. Doors lead to a small outdoor area with wicker indoor-outdoor chairs and sofas, along with built-in wooden benches; it's a perfect spot to watch the scenery drift into the distance.
As is the case on all riverboats, Gerard Schmitter has only a few public rooms, so it doesn't take long to get to know the ship -- or your fellow passengers.
The reception area is set in the center of the ship on the second deck. A small oval central atrium is open to the third deck above, with three large, bulbous blown-glass chandeliers. Forward from the reception area on Deck 2 is a hallway to the ship's main lounge. Off the hallway, there are public toilets and the one accessible cabin onboard, in addition to a spiral staircase leads to the third deck. The rest of the cabins on Deck 2, as well as the dining room, are down a hallway to the aft of the reception area.
Deck 3 houses the Piano Bar and more cabins. The top deck is reachable via staircases leading from either side of the reception area on both decks 2 and 3.
The top-deck space is a vast, open area, nearly equal in size to the ship's full footprint. Facilities are minimal, given the height restrictions of the bridges on Europe's rivers, but there are chairs and loungers set on AstroTurf carpet. Drinks are served on the top deck when the weather is nice and the itinerary permits.
The ship has no spa, fitness center, pool nor hot tub. It also doesn't offer bicycles, a free perk on a number of more expensive river cruise ships, or outdoor games like shuffleboard or giant chess. However, as on most river cruises, passengers generally opt to get their exercise via port visits and walking tours; CroisiEurope offers themed walking cruises from time to time.
Gerard Schmitter is very much geared toward adults, and there are no dedicated facilities for children. That said, Croisi does occasionally offer summertime fares that allow children younger than 16 to travel for free -- even in separate cabins.