LAKE GENEVA CRUISES
Lake Steamers From the Golden Age
How more elegant to enjoy the beauty of Switzerland’s largest lake than from the deck of a “La Belle Epoch” golden age historic paddle wheel steamer cruise ship. Hop between ports of call along the Swiss Rivera, or take a round trip theme cruise and enjoy local cuisine from top flight Swiss chefs while the majesty of the Savoy Alps or the ancient wine vineyards of the Lavaux region pass on the shore. Visit Switzerland’s most picturesque castle made famous by Lord Byron, or salute Freddie Mercury triumphant on the shoreline plaza at Montreux with its jazz Festival or the reflection of Mont Blanc shimmering in the waters.
The cruise ships on Lake Geneva are operated by the CNG fleet. The line operates five of the historic steam paddle wheelers which make regularly schedules stops around the lake shore, along with more modern diesel cruisers as both ferry ships from town to town or as excursion scenic tour cruises. The paddle steamers are in themselves works of art as well as transportation. When the coast of Lake Geneva with its temperate warmer climate attracted the Le Belle Age tourists of the industrial age to its shores from Geneva to Lausanne, Vevey and Montreux, a class of ship equal to the elegance the grand dame hotels was called upon. The Montreux is the oldest steamer in the fleet, originally setting sail in 1904. Each newer ship grew larger and grander. The La Suisse was christened in 1910 with room for nearly 700 passengers and dining room seating for 376, and her sister ship The Simplon was launched in 1920, even larger.
The CGN regular Lake Geneva cruise line schedule allows hop-on and hop-off at all the ports around the lake with a day ticket. You can take multiple journeys or purchase a ticket for one or more stop segments. The cruise ships of Lake Geneva, both the classic paddle steamers and modern ship can be traveled without a reservation, except for special theme cruises and cruise-dinner packages. The schedule of stops begin the shortly after sun-up in the morning and end around 10 pm at night. The routes around the lake are broken into segments from Geneva to the west, Lausanne in the middle and Haut Lac from Vevey to Villenueva at the eastern end. There are no individual cruises that travel the full lake, which would take way to long. Routes are limited in the winter months.
The CGN line offers specialty dining cruises which depart from either Geneva or Lausanne-Ouchy. Lunch Cruises depart at noon and Dinner Cruises at 6:30 pm. Try a special Fondue Cruise for a particularly Swiss experience. The specialty cruises operate in the spring, summer and autumn months. The lake ports connect with train and bus transportation, making it easy to travel portions of the lake by cruise boat and part by rail. Busses stop directly at the port while train stations can be a short walk, or in Geneva and Lausanne, a tram ride away. Bicycles are allowed on the ships for an extra charge.
Passage on the Lake Geneva Cruise boats is purchased as a Day Tickets which allows travel on all scheduled ships for a full day, with a price based on a distance segment basis. A Swiss Pass allows travel on the standard day cruise schedule, with a 50% discount. For special dinner and lunch cruises the fare is half-price with a passs, but not the meal. Children from 6 to 16 travel a half fare and kids under 6 are free.
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More on Switzerland By Rail:
Blanc - St Bernard
Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn
Lauvaux Wine Train
Lake Thun & Brienz
Scenic Switzerland By Train
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