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A French Paddle Ship in Berlin

by Véronique

30 April 2016 • The question came if I wanted to participate in a press trip on board of the newest ship of French company CroisiEurope.

There she is!

Once arrived at the airport Tegel, Berlin, a short taxi ride brought me and my Belgian colleague Daniel to the colourful Greenwich Promenade next to the equally pretty Lake Tegel, the second largest lake of Germany. 

On the second day we got a chance to experience live the ballasting system as the ship had to sail under a particular low old bridge. 

The rivership named ELBE PRINCESSE is a special one. She has two paddle wheels at the stern, and the draft is remarkably low. The ship is designed for year round cruises on the shallow Elbe and Vltava Rivers between two exceptional cities: Berlin and Prague. To be able to pass under all the bridges, even with high water levels, the air draft has also been kept to a minimum.

I’m always very eager to discover my cabin. This one was very cosy and comfy, I would say minimalistic, modern and Scandinavian design inspired. I was particularly charmed with the bed facing the large windows. You just have to experience how lovely it is to watch the landscape pass by lying on your bed or hanging out of your window (in the cabins on the upper deck you can open the slide windows). Another nice surprise was the large shower, with a sliding shower screen – no dancing with sticky shower curtains here. In this shower you will want to stay for a long time! The desk is perfect for writing/working and there is ample closet space with real clothes hangers (not those annoying hotel hangers without hook).

More about the ship later as there is an important event to talk about first, as the ship was christened on April 14th and I was lucky to be there.

I talked about the christening in a news post before but let me add how nice and what a warm atmosphere there was during the event. CEO Christian Schmitter did most of the talking with behind him: Anne-Marie, Kim, Deborah & Lucas. CroisiEurope as you might know has been in the business for 40 years, once started by Gérard Schmitter

Gérard opened the Rhinland, a restaurant in Strasbourg at the Plobsheim Lake in 1976. When he noticed that the restaurant was quite empty during the week, he decided to start Alsace Croisières chartering a ship that offered lunch and afternoon dances. France’s first river cruising company was born! This was immediately successful and soon the company started offering real cruises to Rudesheim in Germany. In 1984 the overnight stays in hotels were replaced when the first cabin ships appeared. In 1997 the company offers also cruises on the Rhône and the Saône. The name Alsace Croisières was replaced by CroisiEurope to be more in line with the company’s strategy and new European dimension.  

Nowadays the second generation is steering the company into further success. Followed closely by an eager and enthusiastic third generation

It was a pleasant crowd of invitees by the family, international press, tour operators and a delegation of the general sales agent Anton Götten Reisen.

After the speeches and the actual christening with the bottle, the party went on with lots of appetizers and Alsatian specialities. CroisiEurope sure knows how to make people feel welcome. 

Blogger and journalist Aaron Saunders was also onboard. I heard so much about him, he was interviewed for the blog… it was so nice to finally meet him in real life. I also met German photographer Oliver Asmussen, mostly disturbing him while he was taking pictures of the interior during the early hours. 

Oliver - Véronique - Aaron

CroisiEurope and press officer Axel made sure that all our questions were answered and that we lived the real Croisi experience. And I want to thank them for that! Same goes for the bunch of French speaking journalists from whom I learned a lot and where I shared so many awesome moments with. 

The life of a journalist...tough but someone has to do it...A new star is born!

And then no more words, just pictures to give you a glimpse of this pretty ship.

RestaurantBaked alaska: a cruise classic!LoungeReception

Safe sailing ELBE PRINCESSE and safe travels to all you wonderful people on the road, the water or in the air.

Véronique

Text & pictures: Véronique

www.croisieurope.com