As I have found out I am not alone in my experience with these "river cruise" companies. Please tell your story here and it may be placed on this site. Also, please spread the word by linking to CroisiEuropeSucks.com on your website or blog.
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CroisiEurope - EuroRiverCruises - SmallShips. travel - CORRUPT, DECEITFUL LIARS!!
Reasons why CroisiEurope, EuroRiverCruises and Small Ships' management is deceitful and corrupt:
Reason #1: The management advertises a 8 day/7 night cruise through two rivers of Spain. Day #1 you are not allowed to board until 6 pm. On Day #8 you must be off the boat by 9 am. So you really have only 6 days.
Reason #2: They only stop at two places in Spain - Seville and Cadix - two big industrial cities. If you want to see more than the ports with trucks and garbage outside your window then they will sell you a bus tour to another city - try leaving at 6:30 am and returning at 8 pm! Our cruise stopped on Tuesday and they expected us to accept staying on the boat for three nights straight at this dirty, industrial port.
Reason #3: The food on our cruise was disgustingly mundane. Same scrambled eggs and dried bread for most days. If there was an early excursion that we did not go on then we were only offered bread and rolls. Although advised in advance that I was a vegetarian, the staff was so disorganized that I was served a rabbit dinner covered in some gooey sauce and reconstituted potatoes one night. I thought I was going to vomit! Other lunches and dinners were more meat meals and each time the best alternative the cook could come up with was a salad. Not at all as CroisiEurope's brochure states, "gastronomic cruises...full of taste and flavor" and our "chef designs his cuisine and specific menus in the pure tradition of French cooking."
In fact, there were very little fresh vegetables and fruits other than green salad. Here we are in Spain and Portugal with so much nice food and we did not get a chance to experience it!
Reason #4: The rooms were really, really small and the bathroom was tiny. One can barely turn around in the shower. In a million years we did not expect the only views from our cabin would be of concrete walls or another boat when we were docked. We left the ship two days early rather than live under these conditions. Photos on the website are very misleading and the dimensions of the cabin are omitted.
Reason #5: We were so disappointed as the map shows a trip to Gibralter but this was really a crowded bus tour that takes about 8 hours return and for which Croisi Europe charges very high EXTRA fees for.
See excerpts from reviews written by other passengers below. The complaints are common!
Dining room porthole. You must take 3 meals a day in this dark, dated dining room. Yet the sun shines outside and you see none of the passing scenery. It is very scary to eat here when the ship is moving as waves hit the window constantly making many passengers sick. There is no choice of food - you eat a fixed menu every lunch and dinner.
View from the passenger lounge of a concrete dock, security fence and garbage container in Seville for four days of our six day cruise!!
View from our cabin in Cadix, Spain - hundreds of trailers and trucks moving 24 hours a day. Trapped here for two of our six day cruise!!
When we insisted on a different table at breakfast the view was of another wall! Unbelieveable!
Really! From the main deck a 30 foot high concrete wall and metal fence to look at when docked!
NOT great first impression of Seville to disembark onto train tracks in an industrial area. This company is so stingy and greedy for profits even if it means unloading passengers onto train tracks!
Excerpts from review submissions on the Internet by other passengers of CroisiEurope:
We have just come back from a 6 night CrousiEurope river cruise which was supposed to be around the Chateuax and Winelands.
We spent 4 days in Bordeaux which could have been done by ourselves or on a coach trip. We were supposed to go to Cadillac on the last day of our cruise but they thought they would go on the first. There was a neap tide which meant that our boat MS Cyrano de Berjerac did not fit under the bridge and we came back to Bordeaux. Not only was this poor but we then were supposed to go to Libourne. They send us to Blay where we were coached to Bourg to see the sites. We then sailed to Bourg and were told that this was our detaination for St Emillion because the mayor of Libourne did not want us to dock there due to extensive renovations. When we passed through Libourne nothing was taking place. DO NOT TRAVEL WITH THIS COMPANY OR WITH ITS SISTER COMPANY IN THE UK BLUEWATER HOLIDAYS. BLUEWATER HOLIDAYS DO NOT TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANYTHING WHICH GOES WRONG AS THEY SAY THAT IT IS BEYOND THEIR CONTROL.
We are now trying to sort this through the courts as they did not deliver what was sold.
Our cabin was like a prison cell in terms of size. After tripping over the non-storable luggage, you had to crawl over the pushed together single beds to retire. In the morning you had to hug yourself to take a shower in its claustrophobic confines. The engine noise at night with even more noise in the locks coupled with the bright lights shining through our curtains was simply awful (mon dieu). You would have to pay us to sleep abroad this vessel, MS La Boheme, again!
Regrettably things started badly. On arrival at the Gare Du Nord on Saturday there was no one to meet our party. I personally sought help from the Tourist information desk in the station .They contacted the Renoir & we were collected 30minutes later. On questioning the Manager on the Renoir we were advised that the coach company was in error in that they should have provided an extra member of staff to meet us in the Station.
On arrival in my cabin I decided to have a shower but found no sachets of shampoo, conditioner, or soap. The Manager subsequently advised me that they did not provide such items, as the soap dispenser by the sink was satisfactory.1 star service not 5.
Our first meal was very poor, my suspicions were that the food was all "convenience" type being brought in prepared & just re-heated. We never had fresh vegetables once in the whole trip. All meat/fish dishes were of a pre-pack variety .I even recognised "potato nuggets" served with processed rabbit & frozen cauliflower for a lunch one day.
Despite the ship being well below capacity (6 vacant tables by entrance) we were "squashed" into the area by the kitchen access door. Trying to move from ones seat was an impossibility during the meal being due to being "entrapped" by other seats. Following the meal we were advised that the excursion "Paris cruise at night" had been cancelled due to high water levels.
Breakfast was probably the best meal of the day .Unfortunately there was no variety. Everyday the same thing: Scrambled eggs sausages & bacon. The same repetitive choice with cold meats & cheese no change in variety .This evidence only compounds my view that everything was pre-pack.
Clearly "Croisi-Euro" is trying to maximize profit on a 1 star standard.
Every morning circa 2 am the Renoir up anchored & raised gangplanks. It then cruised all night. can you imagine the level of noise we had to endure with gantries being raised, engines started, as well as going through locks. I have never ever had to endure such interrupted nights None of us slept while this was going on.
As I have already stated the quality of the food was dire .It was I believe all brought in semi-prepared. Too much pastry was served. One lunch consisted of puff pastry filled with a fish smelling substance ??
One of the worst meals was Rabbit with noisette potatoes & frozen cauliflower. The rabbit was some kind of re-constituted meat over spiced served with prepared powdered potato in "noisette" style.
The final straw for the group was on Wednesday evening when "Beef Wellington" en croute was served. The pastry was totally raw in that the pastry was slimy. I personally spoke to the Manager on behalf of our group & was amazed to be told that "The pastry was supposed to be served like that" I disagreed & I was given a totally tough inedible steak, subsequently replaced by chicken.(Third time lucky ) Would you believe all those dishes were served in the same sauce as the beef en croute!!
One evening a guest not in our party on another table next to us had a glass of wine accidently overturned onto his shirt by a member of staff. The following day a glass of wine was upset over my trousers by a member of staff. A day later a whole tray of dessert glass dishes was dropped off a tray about 6 inches from my friends back .I do wonder if the fact that we were so closely seated together making it impossible for staff to move round to serve customers had some influence on the "accident" factors!! I gave the Manageress my trousers to be dry cleaned. They were returned the following day not pressed still stained .More 1 Star service!!
I personally feel that having spent circa £2.5k on this sub-standard holiday that Croisi-Europe should offer compensation. In our case all the cost of food, the entertainment & the lost night cruise in Paris, as well as the unnecessary night cruising which took place every single night. Should be included in the refund package.
The cabins however were not indifferent to an old fashioned touring caravan, very cramped but kept clean by the efficient staff! Entertainment was very poor but we went for the scenery. .... Would we do it again hmmmm perhaps, no, i dont think so!!!
The itinerary was changed so we had our day in Vienna brought forward, but the trip to Bratislava on Tuesday was by coach, and the next day we were to clear our cabins and be bused to Budapest to stay on another stranded cruiser for 2 nights then return to Vienna for our last night. We booked this cruise for my husband to recover from Chemotherapy.
Getting up at 6 am to have early breakfast prior to the departure of the coach each day was not our idea of relaxation. We were sandwiched in between two other boats, so the cabin upgrade we had paid for was a waste of money as all we could see was the metal side of another boat, which we could touch through our picture window. Long coach journeys are no pleasure to us, so we decided to return home. We managed to find a flight from Vienna back to England (at great expense, which we had to pay for ourselves) and returned home on the Tuesday. We have written to the company (we booked with Archers), they say it will take up to 28 days to investigate. We have kept all our paperwork for reference. Food good, but no choice at all at lunch or dinner, the plate of food was just put in front of you - I have never had that on a cruise before.
The only guided tour we chose was Melk. That was fortunate because the boat had to dock elsewhere, and we were taken by bus to the Abbey.
A cruisemate noted that the engine noise did not let him sleep. That was the case with one of us, too.The elevator was out of service the entire trip.
I upgraded to a double cabin which was fine for me alone, but I think would have been extremely small for 2 people. It was in no way luxurious but adequate for a few nights & had a picture window but unfortunately we moored next to a sister ship for 2 nights so had to keep the curtains closed at all times as the 2 vessels were literally side by side so passengers on each boat could see directly into the other boat's cabins.
Wifi was only available in the main bar/salon which was rather inconvenient as that is where everything happens. I think they need to address this problem & make it available in the cabins.
We invite other passengers to submit a review of their experience on their Croisi Europe cruise.