CroisiEurope: a family owned, Alsatian and independent business

As the European leader in river cruising, CroisiEurope welcomes nearly 200 000 passengers each year on board its 55 small-scale ships on rivers, seas and canals in Europe and around the world.

As a pionner in construction technologies and a forerunner on many rivers in respecting the environment and local cultures, we offer the widest choice of river cruise destinations.

 

One of our main assets lies in an unbeatable value for money, thanks to our complete mastery of the fleet’s trades. From the design of the ships to the marketing of the cruises, including production, hotel and commercial management, maintenance, decoration, purchasing and training, everything is managed from A to Z by our company.

On our ships, we offer a very advantageous formula that allows you to travel worry-free about the various drinks ordered throughout your stay: “all inclusive on board” which means a complete service which includes in terms of full board.

  • all meals: buffet, breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • all drinks served with meals: water, wine, beer, fruit juice, coffee... 
  • drinks ordered at the bar

 

Carefully maintained and partially renovated each year, our fleet includes new units every year. Each of the boats, of category 4 or 5 anchors, is Veritas certifies and presents an elegant design, harmonious volumes, and an optimal comfort. The décor is refined, the cabins are spacious, comfortable, and functional, the welcome is warm and the staff welcoming.

The art of the table is also one of our strongest arguments and is highly appreciated by our passengers. The refines menus designed by our chefs pay tribute to French gastronomy. The surprise is always there, with local touches and flavors that are conducive to an immersion in the country visited during the itinerary. The dishes are prepared on the spot on the same say, essentially with fresh products and are accompanied by a selection of wines chosen for their quality and their harmony with the dishes.

In association with some great starred Chefs, we also offer gastronomic and oenological cruises, rich in tastes and flavors. Within a wide range, other themes (music, hiking, biking…) offer cruisers the opportunity to combine their passion with the pleasure of travelling on water. As a responsible and committed family business, we have created a Foundation, which supports multiple actions in various fields: art, culture, sports, social and humanitarian. Aware that nature is our first ally, we have long been sensitive to the subject of the environment. Pioneers in the field, our commitment to the protection of nature goes far beyond the legal requirements.


Proudly attached to our independence, we have been at the helm for three generations and radiate throughout the world from our home port: Strasbourg, where the company was created more than 40 years ago.



HISTORY OF THE COMPANY:


The history of our company, which was originally named Alsace Croisières (translated as Alsace Cruises), began in 1976, near Strasbourg, on the edge of the Plobsheim lake.

Gérard Schmitter, a potter's son from Betschdorf and an inventive technician, had given up everything to devote himself to his passion: the leisure of others. He had opened a restaurant in his hometown and one day, he had the idea of renting a boat by the day to attract the many tourists from Strasbourg to this popular resort. It was innovative, and the success was immediate.

 

He then bought a first boat, the Alsace 1, which he renovated. He extended the trip and sailed up the Rhine to Rudesheim and started to build boats with cabins to offer a night on board. In the 1980s, he moved upmarket with four other second-hand boats: the Hansi, the Petite France, the Kléber and finally the prestigious Kellermann. That is how he launched river cruises in France.

 

In 1990, on the strength of its success, the company opted for the status of shipowner and had its first boat built: the MS Liberté. This elegant ship, with its exclusive line, prefigured the fleet that was to be born and which today counts 55 units in the world. He sailed on the Rhine, where it all began...

The boats, built in Namur (Belgium), St-Nazaire (France) and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), are designed by the respective architectural firms, arrived one after the other. The destinations were expanding at the same rate: Rhone and Saone, Danube, Seine.

 

In addition to the freedom of being able to steer our boats as we please, we now control our fleet from A to Z: from construction to marketing, including logistics and control of all services on board.

 

In 1997 our company asserted its new European dimension by changing its commercial name to CroisiEurope.

 

Gérard Schmitter left the helm of the company in 1999 to his four children, and the horizon widened to privilege the development of the North/South European axis. Italy, around the Venice lagoon, Portugal on the Douro and Andalusia, and the Elbe around Berlin initially widened the offer.

 

After one of the only river-sea boats in the world, built and put into service in 2005 on the Guadalquivir so that it could travel by sea to the Guadiana in Portugal, CroisiEurope is trying its hand at sea. A 4-deck maritime ship, with a capacity of 200 passengers, also unprecedented, was built in Brussels in 2007. It will sail in the Adriatic Sea and explore Croatia in season. It is unique in the world and is a technical and technological feat that demonstrates the know-how of our teams.

 

With the MS La Belle de l'Adriatique, a new sea route is taking shape, a route that will be expanded in 2019 with La Belle des Océans, the latest flagship of our maritime fleet.

 

A new perspective of far-away destinations has also opened on other continents. Russia along the Volga and Neva rivers, on chartered ships, Burma on the Irrawaddy River, Vietnam and Cambodia on the enchanting Mekong River, are among the very high-end cultural destinations successfully launched.

They were followed by many other destinations, in South America on the Amazon and in Peru, in Southern Africa in the heart of the Chobe National Park and Lake Kariba. They are all built on the same framework of the original, of authenticity, far from mass tourism, to get closer to local life.

 

Gérard Schmitter, the founder of the company, who passed away in 2012, left a legacy of a taste for novelty, a desire to innovate and to give himself the means to make his clients' dreams come true. His children and grandchildren keep the ship moving with the same passion and professionalism. They promise you many more surprises.

 

CroisiEurope is today considered as the most important European ship owner in the river category.

Our range of destinations is the widest and most varied on the market. The advanced technology that equips our fleet allows our boats to have exclusive access to certain rivers and to dock in the heart of cities.

 

From 2 to 16 days for the longest stays, our cruises have the ambition to help you discover the most beautiful historical, artistic, and architectural treasures of the world and particulary the ones classified as world heritage by UNESCO, by embarking our passengers on board a true floating hotel where they will only have to unpack once and then let themselves be carried along the waters.

 

To make each cruise unique, each experience unforgettable, each memory everlasting. To allow our passengers to sail the most beautiful rivers and seas in the best conditions. To "dream the world" and discover its riches through spectacular and authentic itineraries, on board magnificent ships with a human dimension and in a friendly atmosphere. This is the philosophy of CroisiEurope, firmly anchored in its corporate culture, its daily requirements, its trademark.

Main dates of the company

1976: Creation of the company

Gérard Schmitter, originally from Alsace, creates Alsace Croisières and launches the River Tourism trend by offering lunches and afternoon dances around the port of Strasbourg.

 

1982: The first boat

Gérard Schmitter buy his first boat, called “L’Alsace 1” and offer a cruise along the Romantic Rhine from Strasbourg to Rudesheim, in Germany.

 

1984: The first boats with cabins

The first boats with cabins, the ‘Hansi’, ‘Kléber’ and ‘Petite France’ offer longer cruises with nights on board, extending the journey along the Rhine an its affluents such as the Neckar, the Moselle, the Main et the Sarre, as well as navigation on the waters of Holland.

 

1986: The first "Prestige" category boat

CroisiEurope acquired its first "Prestige" category boat, the "Kellermann". This newly designed vessel offers particularly good comfort.

 

1990: The company becomes its own ship owner

The company decided to oversee the entire design of its boats. An internal engineer designed and built all the company's boats. The "MS Liberté" is the first boat of this conception, controlling the fleet from beginning to end. By choosing independence, Gérard Schmitter deliberately choose to be different from the concurrent.

 

1991: Creation of the Paris office

The opening of his Paris office became essential to cope with the growing expansion of CroisiEurope.

 

1993: First cruises on the Danube

Launch of the first cruises on the Danube to answer the needs and expectations of the clientele

 

1995: First cruises on the Rhône and Saône rivers

Launch of the first cruises on the Rhône and Saône rivers in responses to the emeging demand.

 

1997: Alsace Croisières becomes CroisiEurope and asserts its new European dimension

The name "CroisiEurope" replaces "Alsace Croisières" to reflect the European dimension of the company, which extends far beyond France. The desire to conquer new river and maritime horizons is in line with this strategic choice.

 

1998: First cruises on the Seine

The Seine and its meanders welcomed the first CroisiEurope cruises, which were a great success.

 

1999: The succession is well and truly assured

This year marks a turning point since Gérard Schmitter and his wife Jeannine decide to pass on their flourishing company to their four children: Patrick, Philippe, Christian and Anne-Marie. Each in his own field of competence will keep the company on course for success. Christian as General and Commercial Manager, Patrick as Technical General Manager orchestrating and supervising the construction and fitting out of the boats, Philippe as General Manager controlling the Catering and Hotel business and Anne-Marie as General Manager in charge of the financial flows on board the company.

 

2000: Development of the North/South European axis

Expansion continued in Northern Europe on the Elbe in Bohemia, then towards Southern Europe, with the first cruises on the Po in Italy.

 

2001: Opening of the Lyon office

It was in this year that CroisiEurope opened its Lyon office.

 

2002: First cruises in Portugal, inauguration of the Strasbourg River station and opening of two agencies

  • CroisiEurope set course for Southern Europe with the first cruises on the Douro in Portugal.
  • Completely renovated, the Strasbourg River station was inaugurated that same year, while two new agencies were opened, one in Nice and the other in Brussels.

 

2003: Launch of 2 new boats

The first boat, the "MS Fernao da Magalhaes", reinforced the company's presence on the Douro in Portugal, and the second, the "MS Leonardo da Vinci", on the Rhine, as the flagship destination of CroisiEurope.

 

2004: Towards the conquest of the East

CroisiEurope's conquest continued towards the East with two long new cruises; a 11-day cruise on the Blue Danube, from Passau to the Black Sea; and another one of 9 days in the heart of Hungary on the Tisza. It was also the launch of the company's largest ship, the "MS Beethoven", 110 meters long and 11.40 meters wide, with 3 decks and a capacity of 180 passengers.

 

2005: Development on the North/South axis

CroisiEurope endeavors to expand on the North/South European axis by launching its first cruises in Spain on the Guadiana and Guadalquivir rivers, between Spain and Portugal, as well as towards Northern Europe, from Berlin to the Baltic Sea Islands.

 

2006: CroisiEurope celebrates its 30th anniversary!

This is the year of CroisiEurope's 30th anniversary! To celebrate this anniversary proudly, the company has initiated a large-scale partnership with the UNESCO, with a symbolic gesture of solidarity. It is also the arrival of the MS Europe which will reinforce our presence on the Danube.

 

2007: CroisiEurope launches its sea cruises

  • Construction of the MS BELLE DE L'ADRIATIQUE with a capacity of 200 passengers.
  • First itineraries along the Adriatic along Dalmatia and in the Mediterranean sea.

 

2008: The development increases...

  • Opening of a CROISIEUROPE agency in Lausanne
  • Construction of a new ship that will sail on the Danube: the MS VIVALDI
  • Launch of cruises between Egypt and Jordan to discover the Red Sea. CroisiEurope continues its development, and the success is there!

 

2009: Music in the spotlight...

  • Inauguration of the MS VIVALDI in April 2009
  • Launch of the CROISIMUSIC brochure offering cruises with classical music artists under the direction of Marie Claude Hemeret-Tharaldsen and with the participation of Alain Duault.

 

2010: CroisiEurope offers a new destination

  • Creation of cruises on the Volga

 

2011: CroisiEurope celebrates its 35th anniversary and inaugurates a new destination!

  • For its 35th anniversary, CroisiEurope has a new logo
  • Inauguration of a new destination: the Gironde estuary, the Garonne and the Dordogne
  • Construction of a new boat that will sail on the Rhine, the MS GERARD SCHMITTER

  

2012: New boats are coming...

  • Inauguration of the MS GERARD SCHMITTER
  • Construction of a new boat which will sail on the Gironde, the Garonne, the Dordogne: the MS CYRANO DE BERGERAC
  • Restoration of a barge named "Jeanine" which will offer new cruises on the canals of France

 

2013: Launch of a new boat and barge

  • Inauguration of the MS CYRANO DE BERGERAC in Bordeaux in May 2013
  • Inauguration of the barge JEANINE in Strasbourg

 

2014: Launch of a new boat and four barges. CroisiEurope registers Burma in its catalog.

  • Inauguration of the MS LAFAYETTE
  • Inauguration of the barges Madeleine, Anne-Marie and Raymonde
  • Acquisition of the Mekong River Company

 

2015: The third generation is coming - Inauguration of 3 5-anchor boats

  • Inauguration of the MS Loire Princesse
  • Inauguration of the MS Gil Eanes
  • Inauguration of the MS Camargue

 

2016: 40 years celebrated proudly

  • A special 40th anniversary Open House
  • A 40th anniversary cruise specially designed for the year 2016
  • Inauguration of 3 new boats: the MS Elbe Princesse, the barge Déborah, the barge Danièle

 

2017: New 5 anchor boats

  • Inauguration of a 5th boat: the MS MIGUEL TORGA sailing on the Douro in Portugal.
  • Inauguration of the MS DOUCE FRANCE and SYMPHONIE - 5-anchor boats sailing on the Rhine
  • Inauguration of a 5th boat for the Mekong: the RV INDOCHINE II
  • Opening of a CROISIEUROPE agency in Nantes.


2018: The development continues with new destinations and 3 new boats

  • Safari-cruise in Southern Africa: an exclusivity CroisiEurope
  • New sea itineraries for MS La Belle de l'Adriatique:
  • Sicily & Malta
  • Cyprus & the Holy Land
  • Croatia with Greece, Albania and Montenegro
  • 3 new ships: on the Elbe, the MS Elbe Princess II, sister ship of the MS Elbe Princess, sails between Berlin and Prague. The MS Renoir and MS Van Gogh have been completely renovated to offer more comfort to cruise passengers and sail respectively on the Seine and the Rhône and Saône rivers.


2019: Launch of 3 new boats and a new lodge

  • A new boat will expand the fleet on the Douro in Portugal: the MS Amalia Rodrigues
  • A second maritime boat and its new itineraries, joins our fleet: La Belle des Océans
  • The Zimbabwean Dream joins the African Dream on Lake Kariba
  • A new Lodge completes our safari-cruise formula in Southern Africa

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