Several savings deals make tickets for CGN pleasure boat cruises on Lake Geneva in Switzerland cheaper. Day tickets, half-fare, and junior cards are generally the cheapest deals with the best savings for families. Pleasure boat cruises on Lake Geneva are a fun and relaxing way to enjoy the beauty of the Lac Léman region of Switzerland and France. Several ticket deals are available to reduce the cost of excursions on lake boats. Children can go for free with the Junior Card while adults can often save with the Swiss transportation system half-fare card. The Mouettes passenger ferries in Geneva city is only the price of a standard municipal bus fare.
Tickets for Lake Geneva Pleasure Boat Cruises
CGN Lac Léman has a monopoly on pleasure and transportation boats cruising on Lake Geneva between Switzerland and France. However, all ticket prices must be approved by local authorities, especially as the neighboring cantons are actually subsidizing the running cost of the pleasure boats, which are very important for the local tourism sector.
Tickets for Lake Geneva pleasure boats may be bought from CGN ticket windows at landings in larger cities and towns, or on board – the prices are the same. However, tickets must be purchased before boarding for the ferry boats between Lausanne and Evian, Lausanne and Thonon, and Nyon and Yvoire – these boats are usually blue and whiter rather than the all-while pleasure boats. Cash and all major credit cards are accepted. Tickets are also available through most outlets selling Swiss train tickets if the cruise is an extensions to a railway journey.
It is also possible to buy most tickets and make boat restaurant reservations online from CGN.
Second and first-class sectors are available on most Lake Geneva pleasure boats. On longer cruises, and in fine weather, first-class is worth considering, as the outdoor areas for second class passengers are limited and not on the upper decks.
Cruise fares are the same irrespective of the boats used. The large Belle Epoque steamboats are particularly pleasant – timetables indicate when these boats are used.
Tickets for CGN boat cruises can be bought in either Swiss franc (CHF) or euro. Swiss franc prices are currently slightly cheaper but the advantage depends on exchange rate movements in between the rebalancing of prices.
Saving on CGN Lake Geneva Leisure Boat Excursions
At first glance, Lake Geneva boat tickets seem fairly pricy but many discount tickets and savings options are available. Return tickets are somewhat cheaper than one-way tickets – the savings are around 15%.
Ticket prices are for example one way / return fares from Geneva to:
- Nyon – CHF23 / CHF40 (CHF33 /CHF55 first class)
- Lausanne-Ouchy – CHF45 / CHF66 (CHF63 /CHF92 first class)
One-way / return tickets from Lausanne to:
- Vevey – CHF21 / CHF36 (CHF30/ CHF51 First Class)
- Montreux / Chateau de Chillon – CHF27 / CHF46 (CHF38 / CHF65 First Class)
Several savings options are available to save on Lake Geneva pleasure boat ticket prices:
- CGN one-day pass / La carte journalière CGN or Evasion is CHF64 (CHF90 first class) and valid for all CGN boat travel for a day. The day pass is cheaper than for example Geneva-Lausanne return. The pass is only valid on boats – it is not possible to return for example by bus or train using the CGN pass.
- Family day tickets are excellent value and not always very well advertise so ask for it when buying at ticket windows or search for it specifically if buying online – it is not always available and sold in all seasons. It comes in two versions: one adult with maximum four children or two adults with up to three children. Both versions cost the same: CHF96 in first class and CHF70 in second class. If at least one adult has a half-fare card, the price is CHF10 lower for second class and CHF23 cheaper for first class. A child is required to buy a family ticket – it may not be used by two adults traveling only as a couple.
- Same-day return tickets are usually around 15% cheaper than two single tickets.
- The Half-Fare Card of Swiss Railways gives 50% discount on almost all boat ticket prices including the one-day pass. (Savings on some circular tours and the family day tickets are less than half price.)
- The Junior Card and Children Co-Travelcard are accepted – these cards allow bearers to cruise for free with their parents or grandparents.
- Children 6 to 16 pay half price on all tickets, if not qualifying for the junior or children co-travel card savings.
- Children under 6 years old cruise for free.
- The Swiss Boat Pass is accepted but most travelers will do better with the Half-Fare and Junior Cards.
- International Swiss Transportation System tickets and passes are accepted on CGN boats.
- Groups of ten or more receive discounts of 20%.
- Bicycles may be transported on most Lake Geneva pleasure boats subject to space restrictions – a day ticket is CHF8 per bicycle. Bicycles are not allowed on the smaller Navibus boats.
- Season tickets are available for long-stay visitors and local residents.
Discount combination tickets are available for CGN boat cruises and admission to some sights in the Lake Geneva region. the offers depends on the season but usually include 15% discount at Chateau de Chillon, 15% discount at the Garden of Five Senses in Yvoire, 20% off on the Red Cross Museum in Geneva, 20% off the Palais Lumière in Evian, and 25% off the Léman Museum in Nyon. Buy tickets for the Swiss Vapeur Parc in Le Bouveret at CGN ticket windows for 25% off.
Save on the Boat by Using the Train
If time is limited, it is easy to take the train for part of the journey. The train is faster and cheaper than the boat. Vevey and Montreux offer very easy access from the train stations to the CGN boat landings. The distance from Genève-Cointrin to the boat landings is a bit longer but the walk is relatively flat. It is a steep hike from the boat landings in Nyon and very steep from Lausanne-Ouchy to the train stations. (From Ouchy, it is worth using the metro to the main train station in Lausanne – CHF3.70 if not included in the train ticket already.)
Cheapest Boat Cruise on Lake Geneva
The cheapest cruises on Lake Geneva are on the small Mouettes passenger ferries that cross the lake in Geneva Ville. These small boats require only a standard Geneva Unireso public transportation ticket. Apart from being fun, especially for children, these boats actually provide a fast way to cross the lake without having to make a long detour by tram or bus.
The CGN summer schedule is the busiest for Lake Geneva pleasure cruise boats. During the shoulder season (spring from mid-April to mid-June and autumn from mid-September to mid-October) boat cruises are available every day but the weekend schedule is much busier. During winter, sailings are limited to a few routes on weekends.