In 1976, Gérard Schmitter founded the French river cruise company, CroisiEurope. At the time, river cruising was very much a pastime of only the wealthy, and through the cruise line’s unique involvement in every step of the way from conception to operation, CroisiEurope can now offer guests an affordable concept for river cruising. In 1999, Schmitter handed the reins of his company to his four children. Today, it’s the second largest river cruise line in Europe.

Ships: 50 

How Many Passengers: From 8 to 200 passengers, depending upon itinerary. Their lovely French canal barges accommodate the least amount of guests, generally only eight. 

Personality: As a French cruise line, CroisiEurope’s ships have a distinct French ambiance. The newer ships have a fresh, contemporary design.

Fellow Passengers:  Most passengers are European, but the line attracts guests from around the world as well. Many  are seasoned travelers, and each cruise region tends to draw different crowds. French is the primary language spoken onboard, but you’ll find plenty of other languages including English (of the British variety) being spoken, and the primarily French crew also speaks English.

Cabins: The age of the ship will play a big role in what its cabin atmosphere is like. Some are colonial style, some are modern and airy, and some are upscale and trendy. All rooms feature either a window or a balcony. On newer ships, a colorful Murano glass chandelier graces the stairway to the lower deck.

Dining Experience: Cuisine is European, especially French fare. Breakfast is a buffet, and lunch and dinner are sit-down meals with fixed menus, prepared fresh using local ingredients.

Amenities: The lounge bar for evening entertainment, and the sun deck with loungers for enjoying the outdoors.

Best For: This depends on each specific itinerary. Some cruises lean toward older couples; some toward middle-aged adults, and some for families with younger kids. Be prepared to hear other languages onboard, including Japanese. Those who prefer an international experience while in Europe will thoroughly enjoy their time with CroisiEurope.

Included Alcohol: Wine and beer is included with meals on every voyage, and during high season there is also unlimited drinks, including spirits, during the entire cruise.

Gratuities: Additional, not charged automatically. Guests use an envelope in their cabin at the end of the cruise for gratuities, and leave it at the desk as they disembark.

Where They Go: Rhine, Elbe, Paris, Seine, Saone and Rhone, Garonne and Dordogne, Loire, Portugal River, Spain, Italy, Canals of France, Mekong, Russia, and the Mediterranean coast.

Contributor: Sarah Bretz