During the summer season, CGN offers the largest number and variety of Lake Geneva boat cruises ranging from day excursions to gourmet meals, dinner and sunset cruises, Belle Époque paddle steamers, and regular ferry crossings of Lac Léman.
During summer, CGN pleasure cruise boats sail on Lake Geneva throughout the day. Cruise excursions depart from various ports but Geneva, Nyon, Yvoire, Lausanne, Vevey, and Montreux are popular starting points. In addition to regular pleasure cruises, food is available on most Lake Geneva cruise boats with special dinner and lunch cruises sailing daily. CGN currently operates seven Belle Epoque paddle steamers on scheduled routes while more modern boats also operate on many sightseeing cruises. Regular passenger ferry services connect Nyon in Switzerland with Yvoire and Chens in France and Lausanne with Thonon and Evian.
Summer Cruises on Lake Geneva, Switzerland
CGN’s summer schedule is in operation from mid-June to mid-September (with additional cruises in most of July and August). The shoulder-season’s schedule for spring (mid-April to mid-June) and autumn (mid-September to late October see far fewer sailings. During the winter season (late October to mid-April), a very limited number of Sunday excursion cruises are available while fondue and dinner cruises operate on Thursday and Friday evenings. Passenger ferries operate year-round on Lac Léman to connect Swiss and French cities.
Special savings tickets and deals are available to reduce the cost of cruising on Lake Geneva. Most Swiss railway and transportation discount passes and travel cards are accepted on CGN Lac Léman boats.
Cruising on Belle Epoque Paddle Steamers on Lake Geneva, Switzerland
CGN has six Belle Epoque paddle boats sailing on Lake Geneva on regular excursion cruises during summer. These boats, which date from the early twentieth century, offer nostalgia and comfort to Lac Léman cruises. These historic boats require no surcharge (nor time penalty!) making it worth adjusting programs to enjoy these grand boats rather than more modern diesel-powered vessels, which sometimes replace the steamers on some sailings on certain days or at short notice.
The Belle Epoque steamboats usually cruise as follows on Lake Geneva (only main stops are listed):
- La Suisse (1910) – three times per day from Lausanne to St Gingolph and on to Chateau de Chillon before returning to Lausanne via the Lavaux. Three hours for the full circular cruise. Pick this boat (and the cruise past the Lavaux) if scheduling allows.
- Montreux (1904) – daily from Lausanne to Chateau de Chillon Castle and back. Around 100 minutes one way. Also dinner cruises from Lausanne.
- Savoie (1914) – daily from Geneva to Yvoire (via Nyon) and back. Almost two hours each way. Also lunch and dinner cruises from Geneva.
- Simplon (1920) – daily from Geneva to Lausanne and back. More than three and a half hours each way. Also sunset cruises from Geneva.
Two further Belle Epoque paddle boats are fitted with modern diesel engines and they sail on Lake Geneva year-round:
- MS Vevey (1907) – returned to service in 2013 after a full restoration. In summer, the Vevey cruises from Lausanne to Geneva and back with dinner cruises from Lausanne.
- MS Italie (1908)– resumed passenger cruises on Lake Geneva in 2016, after a decade out of service, and cruise mostly in the Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux, and St Gingolph area.
Lunch, Dinner, Sunset, and Gourmet Cruises on Lake Geneva Boats
Food and drinks are available on almost all CGN boats cruising on Lake Geneva. Full meals and restaurant service are available on most boats cruising during meal times. However, special lunch, dinner, sunset, and gourmet cruises also sail most days during summer. Meals are almost always optional (and charged for separately) although special combination deals may be purchased too. Food is generally of a very good standard and priced similarly to regular Swiss restaurants (i.e. rather expensive!) Cheese fondue is only served on Friday cruises during the winter and shoulder seasons and never in summer.
Special cruises include:
- Wine Maker’s Cruise (Croisière des vignerons) – combines modern Swiss cooking with Lavaux wines. This two-hour lunch cruise sails daily around noon from Vevey via the Lavaux to St Gingolph and directly back to Vevey.
- Sunset Cruise (Croisière Coucher de soleil) – a two-hour cruise sailing daily (18:30) for most of July and August on the Rhone steamboat from Lausanne.
- Sunset Dinner Cruise (Croisière du soir) – up to three-hours dinner cruise on the Montreux steamer sailing from Lausanne to Rolle and back.
- Lunch Cruise (Croisière de midi) – two-hour lunch cruise on the Savoie paddle steamer from Geneva.
- Sunset Dinner Cruise (Croisière du soir) – up to three-hour dinner cruise on the Savoie paddle steamer from Geneva to Nyon and back.
Short Pleasure Cruise Boat Excursions on Lake Geneva
In addition to the longer boat cruises along long stretches of Lake Geneva, several shorter cruises are also available. Popular cruises include:
Beautiful shores of Lake Geneva (Belles Rives Genevoises) – hour-long circular cruises sailing six times per day from Geneva.
The French Coast Cruise (Villes Fleuries de France) – up to four times per day from Evian to Yvoire and vice versa with stops in various French towns. (Good ferry crossings are available to Nyon and Lausanne in Switzerland.)
The frequent passenger ferry boat services also offer great opportunities year-round for short cruises on Lac Léman.
For more on Lake Geneva pleasure boat cruises also see: