How lucky are we?   The sun is shining, a pianist is gently tickling the keys to classic smooth numbers as we relax in the panoramic lounge bar and gaze in wonder at the charming villages and countless prominent castles along the banks of mighty Rhine River. The friendly bar attendant is offering anything from cocktail du jour to tea or coffee as we cruise towards Amsterdam where we will disembark this picturesque nine day cruise on CroisiEurope’s M.S.Douce France.

Who/what is CroisiEurope you may ask!  Well let me tell you, this French family-owned line is not only one of the pioneers in this field (est 1976) but one of Europe’s biggest river cruise companies and yet practically unheard of in Australia. Maybe a well kept secret,  which I can ensure you is well worth discovering for a great cruise at a good price which includes all meals (delicious French cuisine) with beverages, an open bar – (that alone will get the attention of most Aussies) and free WIFI.

How lucky are we?   The sun is shining, a pianist is gently tickling the keys to classic smooth numbers as we relax in the panoramic lounge bar and gaze in wonder at the charming villages and countless prominent castles along the banks of mighty Rhine River. The friendly bar attendant is offering anything from cocktail du jour to tea or coffee as we cruise towards Amsterdam where we will disembark this picturesque nine day cruise on CroisiEurope’s M.S.Douce France.

Who/what is CroisiEurope you may ask!  Well let me tell you, this French family-owned line is not only one of the pioneers in this field (est 1976) but one of Europe’s biggest river cruise companies and yet practically unheard of in Australia. Maybe a well kept secret,  which I can ensure you is well worth discovering for a great cruise at a good price which includes all meals (delicious French cuisine) with beverages, an open bar – (that alone will get the attention of most Aussies) and free WIFI.

Meeting the crew – L – R  Head Chef, Aurelia (Entertainment officer) Captain and Purser

Only English speaking – it does not matter, announcements and tour commentaries alternate between clear English and French.  It is an enjoyable and often a comical challenge to communicate with passengers who do not speak our lingo. The purser

seats all English speakers together in the dining-room. We are seated with a couple from Connecticut US and their two adult children. Nationalities on board are mixed, we have Canadians, French of course, Norwegians and only two Australians…..John & Moi!!

This ship has 55 identical double cabins and was completely refurbished in 2017.  Having been on small cruise ships before where one could barely swing a cat in the cabin and only a dribble from the shower head it was a welcome surprise to find generous hanging and cupboard space in the cabins and the en-suite with great water pressure and ample hot water!

WIFI was free and available on the entire ship. TV in our cabin only stopped working for the short time it took the ship to cruise under a bridge.

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After beginning our cruise in Basel, we had six interesting and varied ports of call along the Rhine before disembarking in Amsterdam.

The guided shore excursions visit sites of interest combining culture, architecture and history or it is possible to wander and explore freely. We had been to a few of the ports of call previously so it was wonderful to be able to just mooch around these villages at our leisure, sometimes hiring bicycles for our own sightseeing tour.

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The crew was great, friendly and professional.  The majority spoke at least three languages fluently and seemed to multitask in all areas of the ship. Yosef, the unflappable Purser and Aurelia the  entertainment officer communicated well with the passengers and kept everything running smoothly in a ship-shaped relaxed manner.

The greatest plus point about this and every other cruise is definitely the unpack and relax aspect!!  Selecting what to wear each day is about the only decision one needs to make apart from choosing from the extensive varied buffet breakfast.  Lunch and dinner are three, always yummy, set courses at one sit-down fixed time.

Time to sing goodbye to Yosef (Purser) Our Captain and Aurelia (Entertainent)

Would I cruise with CroisiEurope again?  You bet I would; I’ve discovered I quite enjoy just-chilling while the friendly crew hover discretely ready to bow to my every whim, and I concurrently salivate about the deliciously superb gastronomic masterpiece our top French chef is preparing for me in the galley!!

Dream on……until next time!

Written by Jeanette Savage

Time to go home.