The Rhine and its tributaries

The Rhine between Romance and Realism

The Rhine and its legendary romanticism ... The Rhine, aahistorical river, the witness to the inception of the current European Union ... The Rhine, the first destination for our Cruises when we were still called Alsace Cruises. It began in 1976 when founder Gérard Schmitter pioneered a new form of tourism in France. The Rhine remains today one of the key routes of our catalogue. Around 40% of our clients, or about 53,000 passengers a year cruise along the Romantic Rhine Valley. Discover this "old patriarch" who’s history is still clear even with modernization along its long troubled course.

An International river

The Rhine is by definition an international river. It begins to flow at its source in the Alps, in the Swiss Grisons, and flows over 1350 kilometres further north to the North Sea in the Netherlands, where it meets the waters of the Meuse before exploding into several estuaries. As the border river between Switzerland and Austria, between Switzerland and Germany, between France and Germany where it remains in the Alsace for 180 kilometres, it separates the Vosges and Black Forest between Basel and Mainz. Its course then goes to Luxembourg and the Netherlands where it becomes broader and more powerful. The Rhine is the 29th largest river of the world after the Danube (2892 kilometres) and in front of the Loire (1010 kilometres). It belongs to all its residents, it does not cross any city, it runs along them. This is the case in Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Mainz, Koblenz, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Strasbourg, which are the major Rhine ports and some of our outstanding stops.

Prudence in the romantic area

The Rhine is the busiest waterway in Europe and arguably the most modernized and developed one today. It is possible to cruise 883 kilometres from its origin in Basel. It is governed by the Mannheim Convention signed in 1868 between France, the Grand Duchy of Baden, Bavaria, the Grand Duchy of Hesse, the Netherlands and Prussia. In Strasbourg, a Central Commission of the Rhine, ensures the free circulation on this "international waterway" navigable by boats measuring up to 3000 tons. There is no major difficulty in navigating this important economic axis of Western Europe, certifies Admiral Franck Fiorillo. It is only recommended to keep a watchful eye on traffic, that tends to be very dense on the navigable channel.  Be prepared to be amazed by the famous Lorelei, a legendary mermaid perched on her rock, which deeply touched and inspired Guillaume Apollinaire: "At Bacharach, there was a fair witch who made all the men die of love in the round... "So be careful in the romantic part of the Rhine where blankets of fog can be a source of accidents. But the sorcerer does not illuminate the Rhine alone! There are also the vines that intoxicate the river where they are placed in its waters, and the castles perched on the hillsides on either bank. No less than thirty “Castles of the Rhine" are located over a distance of 60 kilometres between Koblenz and Mainz. Among others, the fortress of Ehrenfels, the Mouse Tower, the castle of Stahleck and the impressive Pfalzgrafenstein castle, just after the Lorelei, which stands like a stone ship in the middle of the waves.

Between war and peace

The Rhine is a delight for the boatmen as well as for the passengers of our rivercruises, always in love with this river that has seen so much over the centuries. It has kept track of the valiant soldiers of the Revolution. The small Petersberg Cemetery, just before Koblenz, pays tribute to them. While Kellermann triumphed at Valmy, the revolutionary armies advanced into the Rhine valley. Thus, one evening in April 1792, in Strasbourg, Rouget de Lisle, garrison lieutenant, composed the war song of the army of the Rhine that became the Marseillaise. After several bloody conflicts, the Rhine witnessed the first act of Franco-German reconciliation that led to the construction of the United Europe of today. Charles De Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer made it the symbol of a future under the sign of peace.

Sailing in Clear Waters

The Rhines waters are so clear that the salmon, which disappeared for a time, have returned to its waters, showing the river is in good health… Over industrialization harmed the river through the 19th and 20th century. Thanks to the combined efforts of local states, the Rhine has gradually become a clean river. CroisiEurope opened the way of river tourism on this mythical river. It all started with Alsace I, the first used ship acquired to go to Lauterbourg, for lunch and dancing for a day, then to Rudesheim for a crazy night. In the 80s arrived the first cabin ships: Petite France, Hansi, Kléber, and finally Kellermann. Later, with clean construction since the Liberte, the ships have become more and more chic, more and more comfortable, celebrating the unique beauty of this river (and its tributaries), as did poets from both shores.