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Loire Princesse Review

Loire Princesse
Loire Princesse

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Ellen Uzelac
Cruise Critic Contributor

Loire Princesse Overview

The spare but stylish Loire Princesse is "the ship" on the Loire, France's longest river. After all, with the riverboat's 2015 debut, it is the only cruise ship on the Loire, opening a new river to cruisers.

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CroisiEurope, which operates a French-based fleet of more than 40 ships, was the first to figure out how to design a river cruise ship 295 feet long while limiting its draft to 31.5 inches so that it can navigate the tricky Loire River. To achieve this goal, designers got creative. They added two paddle wheels and shaved 300 tons off the ship in part by using aluminum instead of steel for its superstructure. The Loire, commonly known as the last wild river in Europe, follows a natural path more than 600 miles long, but it can only be navigated between its mouth in Saint-Nazaire and quaint Bouchemaine, near Angers. Loire Princesse sails in that roughly 85-mile channel.

The carefully planned interior also stands out -- no nautical themes here but. Instead, you'll see fabrics, lighting and furnishings from well-known designers like Missoni Home, England's Tom Dixon Lighting and Rubelli, the Venetian textile maker. A soothing color palette -- dusty rose, copper, iced brown, burnt orange, sandstone and Bordeaux -- permeates the cabins, dining room and lounge. Lighting is used to optimum appeal and advantage. The soft lighting behind the bar in the lounge, for example, alternates artfully from one color to the next. It's very easy on the eyes.

Because of its size, the ship is lean. You won't find multiple dining venues or a spa, as you might on other riverboats. But designers did a nice job squeezing essentials into a small space in the cabins. And service is stellar throughout.

When booked to capacity, Loire Princesse accommodates 96 passengers. Most are French, although CroisiEurope is making a push to attract more Americans (who represent about 5 percent of the line's passengers). Part of Loire Princesse's appeal, however, is the international experience it provides. French is the official language onboard, but crew -- French, Hungarian and Portuguese, primarily -- speak English as well.

Fellow Passengers

Travelers from France and Germany make up most of CroisiEurope's passenger base. English-speaking passengers -- and Scandinavians are included in the lot -- represent 15 percent of its cruisers. Most passengers are in their 50s and 60s.

CroisiEurope Loire Princesse Dress Code

Casual attire -- and comfortable walking shoes -- are your go-to for both ship and shore. Loire Princesse's five- and seven-night cruises run from April to October, so consider temperatures, of course. Shorts and jeans are the norm. The ship provides umbrellas, but a rain jacket is advised.

There are no formal nights onboard, and evening attire is pretty much what you want to wear. Some passengers opt to stay in their casual clothes. Others dress up a bit for dinner, especially for the captain's gala. Suits and ties or cocktail dresses are the exception not the rule.

CroisiEurope Loire Princesse Gratuity

Euros are the onboard currency. (There is no ATM onboard.) Tipping is left to your discretion, although a reasonable yardstick is $10 per passenger, per day. Tips are paid at the end of the cruise and are divided among the crew. Dollars or euros are accepted, but tips cannot be paid by credit card.

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CroisiEurope Loire Princesse Member Reviews

Loire Princesse
Sail Date: May 2018
I want to say that, in general, we enjoyed our cruise immensely. The Loire Princesse is very well designed and appointed and kept in excellent condition. The staff are all lovely and the food, as I had...Read More
Loire Princesse
Sail Date: May 2017
not possible to see the chateaus and villa alongside the river as the night wore on. The Loire Princesse is lovely--new, quiet, and well-maintained. he lounge and dining room are spacious and furnished...Read More
Loire Princesse
Sail Date: Jun 2015
MS Loire Princesse 8 days on a Deluxe French Barge Châteaux of the Loire Valley July, 2015 took the 8 day cruise on the MS Loire Princesse on the Loire river in France. We had a wonderful time...Read More

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