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#1
Bucks County, PA
453 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Hello all! I'm spending the next 10 days seeing what CroisiEurope is all about - first on Douce France on a shortened Moselle/Rhine itinerary and then on Deboarah, one of their barges, in the Loire Valley.

I've been curious about Croisi for a while. The line is French and offers some of the most interesting itineraries out there. However, we've heard issues from Americans and other English speakers who have sailed with them over the years, particularly when it comes to meal choices and feeling "left out" with the language barriers.

Hopefully my experiences on these two different products will give readers here an idea of what to expect, and figure out if Croisi is right for you. More to come! If you have questions, let me know.
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Chris Gray Faust
Senior Editor, Cruise Critic


Exploring the world, one ship at a time.

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#2
Rhine, Germany
2,190 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Hello Chris,

is that the Douce France II?

I would love to know what the meal choices are, if they have vegetarian readily available and if the wines are regional.

Do they have English language television channels?

What is the wifi like?

What are the ports on your Rhine/Moselle itinerary, is it a special or the regular itinerary that you will be on?

Thank you.

Have a great time.

notamermaid
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Transocean Belvedere Danube April 2013
English Channel Crossings 1984 to present:
Calais - Dover
Ostend - Dover
Dutch island hopping 1980's
Many Rhine river short trips
#3
Bucks County, PA
453 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Hi Notamermaid -

First, a clarification: there is no Douce France II. During the renovation, the company kept referring to the ship as "Douce France II," but then once the changes were completed, the name went back to "Douce France." It's all been very confusing. We have Douce France II on our site, and we'll be deleting it as soon as I finish my review (which will live on the Douce France page).

Here's my First Impressions of the ship: https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=8129.

In terms of your questions, there are no vegetarian options on the daily menus. Anyone with food preferences is supposed to talk to the hotel director/chef when they get on, and they will create a vegetarian option for you. Wines are all French (and not all that great); sad not to have Rieslings when we're in the Moselle. The new TVs are very cool - they fold down from the ceiling - but none of the stations are in English. Wifi has been pretty good.

As you know, Croisi has a ton of choice in terms of itineraries. This is a shoulder season four-day cruise that they offer and it stops in Cochem, Rudesheim and Mainz/Speyer before ending up in Strasbourg. Anyone can book it, but the ship is not full - it can take 107 passengers and there are only 64 of us. Eight Americans.
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Chris Gray Faust
Senior Editor, Cruise Critic


Exploring the world, one ship at a time.

Carnival Fantasy * IWJ Diamant * Un-Cruise Wilderness Discoverer * Arabella * Uniworld, River Tosca * Un-Cruise Safari Endeavour * Grand Circle River Adagio * Viking Aegir * TDI Yorktown * Vantage River Splendor * Viking Rurik (Russia) * Alaskan Dream, Baranof Dream * Cunard, Queen Mary 2 * IWJ Sagitta * Norwegian Breakaway * Norwegian Getaway * Celebrity Summit Top Chef cruise * HAL CruiseTour, Alaska (Anchorage-Skagway, plus Zuiderdam) * Celestyal Olympia * Naming ceremony, Regal Princess * Costa neoRiviera, Arabian Gulf * Celestyal Crystal, Cuba * Carnival Triumph * Azamara Journey, Greece & Turkey * Celebrity Eclipse, Norwegian Fjords * Oasis of the Seas * Viking Star, Western Med * Seabourn Sojourn, Hong Kong to Singapore * Avalon Passion, Danube * America, American Cruise Lines * MSC Divina, Caribbean * IWJ Vela, French West Indies * Tauck ms Grace, Rhine * Fathom Cuba * AmaSonata wine cruise * Uniworld India * Viking Hild * Avalon Visionary * Scenic Diamond * Carnival Magic * American Duchess * CroisiEurope Douce France * CroisiEurope Deborah (French barge) * Silver Muse, SA * (upcoming) Grandeur of the Seas * (upcoming) HAL Zuiderdam Panama Canal * (upcoming) Viking Ra * (upcoming) Viking Orion
#4
Rhine, Germany
2,190 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Thank you for the clarification and the answers to my questions. Yes, those short cruises I have seen several of in the German catalogue. They are a regular thing with some cruise lines, five days you see quite often. Very appealing for a short holiday when you do not need to fly long distances to get to a port.

Do you know the other passengers' nationalities (I mean roughly in numbers).

How do they cater for you in terms of language barrier: extra guide, menu in English, etc?

I see the Douce France is in the Rhine gorge right now, probably just past the Loreley. Enjoy the remaining castles and your evening in Rüdesheim. I assume you will dock very close to town there as the ship is 110m.

notamermaid
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Transocean Belvedere Danube April 2013
English Channel Crossings 1984 to present:
Calais - Dover
Ostend - Dover
Dutch island hopping 1980's
Many Rhine river short trips
#5
Strasbourg, France and New York, USA
30 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
Hi Chris,
We're so excited to have you on board and for these 'live reviews'!

Just to clarify about the ship's name - the Douce France went through what is better clarified as a rebuild, rather than a refurbishment. The new ship has a totally new design, all new furnishings, larger but less cabins, and large sliding windows on the Upper Deck. It will only carry the name "Sweet France" from its former life!

Enjoy your time!


-CroisiEurope
#6
Bucks County, PA
453 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Agree that the ship underwent a total redesign. It has that "new ship smell" and looks very modern and clean - very white, with pops of color. Cabins are comfortable.

Notamermaid, they are very helpful with the Americans onboard. There's no menus on the tables, but the daily menu is shown in both French and English on a monitor in the main atrium. Wine lists and such are in both languages. One of the entertainment staff comes over and gives us a rundown of the daily program at dinner. All announcements are made in both languages, and they had an English guide for us at the mechanical music museum in Rudesheim. Games and such are done in both languages.

I will get a passenger nationality breakdown but everyone else onboard save the 8 Americans seems to be French.

One of the Americans onboard is on his first trip to Europe, and he's having a blast! Honestly, all of my fellow English-speakers are doing well - it's the first river cruise for all of them, and they are really "going with the flow" in terms of meals and any cultural differences. One guy said that after a week on a land trip, he appreciated not having to make decisions on what to eat. As I said in my story, maybe Americans aren't as demanding as I think we are? (Nah, we're demanding).
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Chris Gray Faust
Senior Editor, Cruise Critic


Exploring the world, one ship at a time.

Carnival Fantasy * IWJ Diamant * Un-Cruise Wilderness Discoverer * Arabella * Uniworld, River Tosca * Un-Cruise Safari Endeavour * Grand Circle River Adagio * Viking Aegir * TDI Yorktown * Vantage River Splendor * Viking Rurik (Russia) * Alaskan Dream, Baranof Dream * Cunard, Queen Mary 2 * IWJ Sagitta * Norwegian Breakaway * Norwegian Getaway * Celebrity Summit Top Chef cruise * HAL CruiseTour, Alaska (Anchorage-Skagway, plus Zuiderdam) * Celestyal Olympia * Naming ceremony, Regal Princess * Costa neoRiviera, Arabian Gulf * Celestyal Crystal, Cuba * Carnival Triumph * Azamara Journey, Greece & Turkey * Celebrity Eclipse, Norwegian Fjords * Oasis of the Seas * Viking Star, Western Med * Seabourn Sojourn, Hong Kong to Singapore * Avalon Passion, Danube * America, American Cruise Lines * MSC Divina, Caribbean * IWJ Vela, French West Indies * Tauck ms Grace, Rhine * Fathom Cuba * AmaSonata wine cruise * Uniworld India * Viking Hild * Avalon Visionary * Scenic Diamond * Carnival Magic * American Duchess * CroisiEurope Douce France * CroisiEurope Deborah (French barge) * Silver Muse, SA * (upcoming) Grandeur of the Seas * (upcoming) HAL Zuiderdam Panama Canal * (upcoming) Viking Ra * (upcoming) Viking Orion
#7
1,918 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Originally posted by Cruise Critic Chris
One guy said that after a week on a land trip, he appreciated not having to make decisions on what to eat...
Just to be clear, does that translate as 'there are no choices of what to eat'... ?

I did find a sample menu a while ago and it rather looked as though the only dinner choice was to eat it or not...
#8
Bucks County, PA
453 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Correct, there are no meal choices. It's a fixed menu. If you're a vegetarian or have food allergies, they will accommodate you. But you can't change just because you don't like it.
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Chris Gray Faust
Senior Editor, Cruise Critic


Exploring the world, one ship at a time.

Carnival Fantasy * IWJ Diamant * Un-Cruise Wilderness Discoverer * Arabella * Uniworld, River Tosca * Un-Cruise Safari Endeavour * Grand Circle River Adagio * Viking Aegir * TDI Yorktown * Vantage River Splendor * Viking Rurik (Russia) * Alaskan Dream, Baranof Dream * Cunard, Queen Mary 2 * IWJ Sagitta * Norwegian Breakaway * Norwegian Getaway * Celebrity Summit Top Chef cruise * HAL CruiseTour, Alaska (Anchorage-Skagway, plus Zuiderdam) * Celestyal Olympia * Naming ceremony, Regal Princess * Costa neoRiviera, Arabian Gulf * Celestyal Crystal, Cuba * Carnival Triumph * Azamara Journey, Greece & Turkey * Celebrity Eclipse, Norwegian Fjords * Oasis of the Seas * Viking Star, Western Med * Seabourn Sojourn, Hong Kong to Singapore * Avalon Passion, Danube * America, American Cruise Lines * MSC Divina, Caribbean * IWJ Vela, French West Indies * Tauck ms Grace, Rhine * Fathom Cuba * AmaSonata wine cruise * Uniworld India * Viking Hild * Avalon Visionary * Scenic Diamond * Carnival Magic * American Duchess * CroisiEurope Douce France * CroisiEurope Deborah (French barge) * Silver Muse, SA * (upcoming) Grandeur of the Seas * (upcoming) HAL Zuiderdam Panama Canal * (upcoming) Viking Ra * (upcoming) Viking Orion
#9
1,918 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Originally posted by Cruise Critic Chris
Correct, there are no meal choices. It's a fixed menu. If you're a vegetarian or have food allergies, they will accommodate you. But you can't change just because you don't like it.
Not for us then, we have no allergies, nor are we vegetarian, but we don't go on vacation to be told what to eat with no options.

For the cost of river cruises, even Crossi level prices it doesn't seem unreasonable to have at least a little choice...

Still as long as this is made clear upfront then people are free to decide if that is what they want, but they could do a better job of making that point clear on their website to avoid unpleasant surprises...
#10
Bucks County, PA
453 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Agree that it's not for everyone. That's why I'm on here - to make things crystal clear to our readers and make sure that people know what it's all about!

Full review will be completed shortly. Tonight is our gala dinner and then we're off tomorrow to Deborah, a barge on the Loire.
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Chris Gray Faust
Senior Editor, Cruise Critic


Exploring the world, one ship at a time.

Carnival Fantasy * IWJ Diamant * Un-Cruise Wilderness Discoverer * Arabella * Uniworld, River Tosca * Un-Cruise Safari Endeavour * Grand Circle River Adagio * Viking Aegir * TDI Yorktown * Vantage River Splendor * Viking Rurik (Russia) * Alaskan Dream, Baranof Dream * Cunard, Queen Mary 2 * IWJ Sagitta * Norwegian Breakaway * Norwegian Getaway * Celebrity Summit Top Chef cruise * HAL CruiseTour, Alaska (Anchorage-Skagway, plus Zuiderdam) * Celestyal Olympia * Naming ceremony, Regal Princess * Costa neoRiviera, Arabian Gulf * Celestyal Crystal, Cuba * Carnival Triumph * Azamara Journey, Greece & Turkey * Celebrity Eclipse, Norwegian Fjords * Oasis of the Seas * Viking Star, Western Med * Seabourn Sojourn, Hong Kong to Singapore * Avalon Passion, Danube * America, American Cruise Lines * MSC Divina, Caribbean * IWJ Vela, French West Indies * Tauck ms Grace, Rhine * Fathom Cuba * AmaSonata wine cruise * Uniworld India * Viking Hild * Avalon Visionary * Scenic Diamond * Carnival Magic * American Duchess * CroisiEurope Douce France * CroisiEurope Deborah (French barge) * Silver Muse, SA * (upcoming) Grandeur of the Seas * (upcoming) HAL Zuiderdam Panama Canal * (upcoming) Viking Ra * (upcoming) Viking Orion
#11
463 Posts
Joined May 2013
We were on the Lafayette last month. I felt the food was, on the whole, quite good, and consistently better than meals I've had on other "luxury" ocean cruises. There were a few people with food intolerances, and dh won't eat fish, and the staff were very accommodating given advance notice.

That said, you do get what you get. If you are not an adventurous eater or unaccustomed to European style meals, you may be disappointed. During the course of the week we had venison, a German meat plate featuring a liver meatball, pate, and an odd, gritty meat terrine. One course was a giant hunk of seriously stinky cheese. The French table asked for a second helping. Most of the Americans took one sniff and set it aside. The fresh raspberry sorbet served after the cheese more than made up for it, however.

All of the main crew spoke very good English, and I had no problems communicating. The cruise director spoke so fluently that there was not gap between her English and French phrases and we had to listen carefully to catch when she transitioned to English.
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Croisieurope, Rhine river cruise, 2017
MSC Med, Splendida, 2017
DCL 4 Night MerryTime Cruise, Wonder, 2016
DCL Baltic, Magic, 2016
Oceania, Marina, French Polynesia, 2014
USS Belleauwood (LHA-3), Sasebo, Japan, 1995-97
#12
Colorado
120 Posts
Joined Jun 2015
For those concerned about no choicdes n meals, don't forget that you have 3 or 4 courses for every meal. I'm sure you'll still have something you like. And no, don't expect steaks, burgers and pizzas. Chances are, it'll be stuff you've barely heard of. You're traveling, enjoy it. Meals are part of the experience
#13
1,918 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Originally posted by exbiologist
For those concerned about no choicdes n meals, don't forget that you have 3 or 4 courses for every meal. I'm sure you'll still have something you like. And no, don't expect steaks, burgers and pizzas. Chances are, it'll be stuff you've barely heard of. You're traveling, enjoy it. Meals are part of the experience
Without wanting to over-labour the point, I am European, I have worked and travelled across Europe (and the USA for that matter) for many years so I am more than familiar with the extremes of regional cuisine having eaten most of them in the context of business related meals on multiple occasions.

I also have no desire to find steak, burgers and pizza on the menu, nor any USA oriented comfort food

I just like to decide what I want to eat on any particular occasion and rarely need more than a couple of choices to find something I'll enjoy rather than something I have to 'experience'.

If you enjoy playing pot-luck with the meals then this line is probably a good choice, if you don't then it seems reasonable to expect them to make it a lot clearer than they do that this is the way they operate...
#14
463 Posts
Joined May 2013
Yikes, my English is bad today!

"No" gap in the cruise director's English to French translations!
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Croisieurope, Rhine river cruise, 2017
MSC Med, Splendida, 2017
DCL 4 Night MerryTime Cruise, Wonder, 2016
DCL Baltic, Magic, 2016
Oceania, Marina, French Polynesia, 2014
USS Belleauwood (LHA-3), Sasebo, Japan, 1995-97
#15
Strasbourg, France and New York, USA
30 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
Hi Mark_T,

We appreciate your feedback and really hope you will consider coming on board some time! Our food is really something special!
We try to be as clear as we can about our menu - we offer a fixed menu, and refer to it as such both on our website's cuisine page, and FAQ Page. While there is just one choice, we can always cater to dietary restrictions, allergies, or preferences. It makes it much easier for our staff when we have this information in advance.
Menus are posted daily, so guests who do not like what is being offered can ask for an alternative, but you are correct that there won't be two or more distinct options to choose from on the Menu. We find this works very well for the majority of our cruisers.
#16
1,918 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Thanks for your reply, I always appreciate it when cruise lines engage directly on the forums here, it does create a good impression generally.


Originally posted by CroisiEurope USA
We try to be as clear as we can about our menu - we offer a fixed menu, and refer to it as such both on our website's cuisine page, and FAQ Page.
I think the problem is with the language, a 'fixed menu' does not necessarily convey that there are no choices, rather that there will be no variations which actually seems the opposite of what you are actually saying.

While there is just one choice, we can always cater to dietary restrictions, allergies, or preferences. It makes it much easier for our staff when we have this information in advance.
Menus are posted daily, so guests who do not like what is being offered can ask for an alternative...
That is pretty much exactly what you need to put into your FAQ.

I have no real problem with that as an approach, but you cannot discern that this is what is available, from anything you currently put on the website.

With this new information I am happy to put CroisiEurope back on our list
#17
London, England
240 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by Cruise Critic Chris
Correct, there are no meal choices. It's a fixed menu. If you're a vegetarian or have food allergies, they will accommodate you. But you can't change just because you don't like it.
I was very surprised to see this statement regarding not being able to change food you did not like. I have been on 5 CroisiEurope ships and have seen passengers have alternative meals because they did not like the main course. In fact I had an alternative last year when I felt I could not eat rabbit. No problem as I saw the menu the previous day and spoke to the purser. When the waitress came to the table she asked who was eating different. When I replied my knife and fork were crossed and when the table was served my alternative was given to me.
I do hope CroisiEurope has not changed it policy on this.
#18
1,918 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Originally posted by squarevanman
I do hope CroisiEurope has not changed it policy on this.
If you look two posts up, you'll see CrosiEurope have confirmed that your experience is still their policy.

It was the earlier suggestion, that you could not change something you didn't like, that was wrong.
#19
Bucks County, PA
453 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Interesting that on another Croisi ship, you were given menus in advance. On Douce France, the lunch and dinner menu for that day only were broadcast in the main atrium (in both English and French). It wasn't handed out. It's up to the passenger to find out what the meals are and - if you don't like a meat, like rabbit - ask for something different.

So yes, you can have a choice. But it's reliant on the passenger to seek it out and ask for the swap. Perhaps that's the best way to say it. It's not like most other river lines where the menus are on the table, with several choices, and there are "always available" selections.

Thanks for the clarifications, all.

I'm now on Deborah, the company's barge on the Upper Loire. It's gorgeous, very well designed and thought out. Really a different experience from river cruising. The meals here too are fixed - but the quality of them, as well as everything else, is a "step up" from what I found on Douce France. Only problem I'm noticing is that we're being told that we can't use the bikes onboard to ride along the canal aside the ship because the paths aren't maintained. That's definitely different than what the brochure says, and several passengers are disappointed. (FWIW, the paths look just fine). Trying to get more information on this.

Articles to come!
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Chris Gray Faust
Senior Editor, Cruise Critic


Exploring the world, one ship at a time.

Carnival Fantasy * IWJ Diamant * Un-Cruise Wilderness Discoverer * Arabella * Uniworld, River Tosca * Un-Cruise Safari Endeavour * Grand Circle River Adagio * Viking Aegir * TDI Yorktown * Vantage River Splendor * Viking Rurik (Russia) * Alaskan Dream, Baranof Dream * Cunard, Queen Mary 2 * IWJ Sagitta * Norwegian Breakaway * Norwegian Getaway * Celebrity Summit Top Chef cruise * HAL CruiseTour, Alaska (Anchorage-Skagway, plus Zuiderdam) * Celestyal Olympia * Naming ceremony, Regal Princess * Costa neoRiviera, Arabian Gulf * Celestyal Crystal, Cuba * Carnival Triumph * Azamara Journey, Greece & Turkey * Celebrity Eclipse, Norwegian Fjords * Oasis of the Seas * Viking Star, Western Med * Seabourn Sojourn, Hong Kong to Singapore * Avalon Passion, Danube * America, American Cruise Lines * MSC Divina, Caribbean * IWJ Vela, French West Indies * Tauck ms Grace, Rhine * Fathom Cuba * AmaSonata wine cruise * Uniworld India * Viking Hild * Avalon Visionary * Scenic Diamond * Carnival Magic * American Duchess * CroisiEurope Douce France * CroisiEurope Deborah (French barge) * Silver Muse, SA * (upcoming) Grandeur of the Seas * (upcoming) HAL Zuiderdam Panama Canal * (upcoming) Viking Ra * (upcoming) Viking Orion
#20
198 Posts
Joined May 2011
I have sailed for river cruises on AMA, APT (alone) Uniworld and Croisi.

As I have travelled from the Suite on Uniworld, to a single tiny cabin on Croisi, I would put the food and care I received on Croisi well above AMA, and APT. One of the things that affects my enjoyment and value for $ is being allergic to capscium and a vegetarian. So when you all receive 3 or 4 choices, I have one, just one . And I don't drink either, but love France and try and go one a year - hold me back from the cheese!

So, apart from the very new, modern but tiny cabin (other singles on that cruise had regular cabins), I was blown away by the care and quality of my food. It truly cleaned the floor with the main meals on the other lines. That said, breakfast was very basic for a vegetarian, so I had a little crackers, cream cheese, a pastry and coffee. At one meal, we received a menu and decided then (like in hospital) what we wanted to eat that next day. Whilst I found it quite boarding school, any issues were blown away when I saw the quality I received, and they must have dealt with at last 20 special meal "people" every sit down . It goes a long way for me that the Maitre 'd don't just SAY yes yes, no problem, and what is actually delivered. I sat with a lady could not tolerate onions of any kind, including garlic, what a chore for the staff and chefs.

I would sail with them again, but would definitely want a larger cabin when my husband was with me, but, wow, I went with no or low expectations (it was reasonably priced too), and came away feeling very cared about during my week. There also seemed far less awful welcome and farewell "do's" - I loathe those, so it was more low key on Croisi.