Nantes, the stylish capital of the Loire-Atlantique region, serves as the starting point for the Croisi Europe Princess Loire, the only river cruiser on France’s longest river. Undoubtedly, the Loire is also considered the most stunning river in the country. Constructed in 2014, this innovative cabin riverboat spans 90 meters in length and operates with paddle power, boasting a draft of merely 0.8 meters. During a five-night cruise that combines river exploration and coach excursions, travelers will have the opportunity to discover the captivating allure of the West Loire region. Immerse yourself in the splendor of magnificent chateaus, savor the delicate Muscadet wines, delve into the rich history of Nantes, and indulge in the finest French cuisine offered by Croisi Europe. The Princess Loire may resemble a Mississippi paddle steamer, but it is actually an elegant riverboat that exudes French sophistication, complete with exceptional culinary offerings.
Once the captain approaches Princess Loire, he will promptly receive the luggage. The entire crew is ready on deck to give a warm welcome. Upon checking our tickets, the entertainment director will accompany us to our cabin and adjust the air conditioner to meet our individual preferences. At 7 pm, all guests will gather for welcome cocktails and canapés. An impressive ceremony, combining elements of a catwalk and a disco, will follow to introduce the crew. The lounge bar is already open even before the cocktail event. With the exception of champagne and fine wine, most beverages, including tea and coffee, are inclusive of the price.
On the upper deck of the ship, there is a clean and pristine cabin with a white color scheme. The beds in the cabin can be pulled together to form a double bed or separated to create two single beds. The main focus of the cabin is the window, which offers a picturesque view of the Loire. In addition to the beds, there are two chairs on the balcony, inviting guests to relax and enjoy the scenery. A small desk is placed behind the bed, providing a convenient workspace, and there is also access to a wardrobe for storage. Once guests have unpacked, there is ample space under the bed to store their suitcases. The cabin is equipped with a ceiling-mounted screen that displays the daily programs and menus. Among the available TV channels is BBC World.
The shower on the cruise ship is incredibly roomy. It sets an example for many hotels on land, showcasing both its simplicity of use and impressive water pressure. The toiletries provided are from Croisi Europe’s exclusive brand.
Begin your day with a delectable breakfast buffet at the elegant restaurant, which offers a stunning view of the river. You can even have eggs cooked to your liking. The attentive waiter ensures that the coffee, orange juice, and buffet items are constantly replenished. For lunch and dinner, you can choose between a three-course meal and the buffet. One of the standout dishes is the squid ink linguine, which is grilled with pork in a creamy sauce and served on a beautiful plate. Many guests rave about the dark chocolate pudding with its velvety souffle center, which is a popular dessert choice. During gala dinners, the waiters don extra fancy gold blades. The gastronomic experience begins with a rich mushroom soup served in a cappuccino-sized cup, followed by foie gras, veal, and a sampling of reblochon cheese. Essentially, this is a five-course tasting menu unique to the region. The grand finale of the feast is the impressive Baked Alaska, accompanied by a flaming Grand Marnier presentation.
Currently, CHIC Nantes is ranked as the sixth most populous city in France. Croisi Europe’s classic tour takes passengers on a journey through the rapidly expanding 18th-century city, showcasing its interest in the arts by building a magnificent neoclassical opera house. The prosperity of the 19th century led to the creation of Passage Pomera, widely regarded as one of the most beautiful shopping galleries in the world. An evening cruise along the tranquil Erdre River allows guests to explore the historical sites where Cooper and Washer Woman once worked, with strict regulations against creating waves.
Despite the challenges faced after the closure of the Nantes shipyard in the 1980s, a new era has begun. Cruising downstream along the estuary art trail, the Princess Loire passes under the impressive Saint-Nazaire bridge before docking for a tour of the shipyard, which has been relocated to Saint-Nazaire. The cruise line industry is thriving, with numerous purchase orders expected over the next eight years. Visitors have the opportunity to witness the construction of a ship, costing over €1 billion and accommodating more than 6,700 passengers and a crew of 2,100, as it is assembled section by section. A visit to the Escal Atlantic Museum in Saint-Nazaire also offers a glimpse into the charm of Reiner, who crossed the Atlantic before the era of air travel.
The Loire region is renowned for its Muscadet wine, and after exploring the captivating Italian village of Clisson with its romantic castle ruins, guests can indulge in a wine tasting experience. The highlight of the Angers Excursion is the world’s largest tapestry, dating back to the 14th century. The tapestry of the apocalypse spans an impressive 144 meters in width and 6 meters in height and took seven years to complete. It offers a fascinating insight into medieval beliefs surrounding heaven and hell.
The day’s excursion commences with a visit to the enchanting Château Da Zile Rido, situated on an island in the Indre River. Its mirror moat reflects a striking gray slate roof and a defensive conical tower. Lunch is served in a restaurant surrounded by the magnificent gardens of Villandry Castle. Each of these meticulously curated geometric gardens, tended to by ten gardeners, represents different themes such as love, music, and vegetables, recreating the style of the Renaissance.
Other nice touches
Each cabin is furnished with two audio devices and one charger. During the tour, guests can effortlessly listen to the guide’s commentary, typically available in both French and English. In the evening, the lounge bar offers entertainment, often featuring live music and dancing. After each excursion, guests are warmly greeted back on the ship with a refreshing ice-cold soft drink.
The guide provided by CroisiEurope is a captivating and knowledgeable professional in the fields of architecture, culture, and history. Prior to our day-long exploration of the ancient castles of the Loire, Jean-Louis delivered an informative presentation on the region’s history, shedding light on some castles that we unfortunately did not have enough time to visit. He explained that the staircases in these castles were not straight, but rather spiraled, until Catherine de’Medici’s reign. Additionally, he mentioned that during that time, meals could only be consumed using a knife. It was Catherine who introduced the civilized practice of using a fork. However, she is also rumored to have employed deceitful tactics, such as poisoning locked drawers, in order to eliminate her political adversaries.
Embark on a culinary voyage designed for food enthusiasts, exploring one of the most captivating regions in France. The serene Loire River, adorned with graceful white birds, flows through a land steeped in history, from the tumultuous Hundred Years War to the transformative French Revolution. With its extraordinary offerings, Princess Loire promises an unparalleled cruise experience that will leave an indelible impression and provide an authentic taste of France.