Geneva to Montreux (Switzerland)

The CGN (Compagnie Generale de Navigation) brochure read, ‘on a clear day we show you Mont Blanc.’ That was too irresistible an offer!
The CGN operates the largest fleet of vessels in the world, in terms of passenger capacity from the Geneva Jardin Anglais Pier. These vessels ply on Lake Geneva daily between France and Switzerland and between Geneva and Montreux.

The day was cloudy so there wasn’t any chance to see Mont Blanc; even then Lake Geneva was at its best….blue & mesmerizing; vast and dreamy enough to inspire us to undergo a long journey to Montreux.

We waited in the Pier till the time a pretty floating indulgence sailed in to the pier. The long steam ship with a streamlined body and a bright red Swiss flag flying high, waited for us and we were all welcomed inside. The ship was dressed overall, extremely clean and perfectly organized. It was a double deck ship with a decent set up; a very interesting restaurant, an exciting upper deck and a smiling crew. The ship left the Pier on time and headed for Montreux.

(The Ship)

It is very popularly said that one can find the whole of Switzerland on the shores of Lake Geneva.  Snowy mountains, vineyards, city nightlife, the sound of cowbells, castles, cathedrals and the extremely beautiful blue lake itself.  The southern shore of  the lake is in France, taking in the mighty Savoy Alps as well as Mont-Blanc a little further south. The northern shore being in Switzerland, touching Laussane.

First few minutes in the cruise went off in the orientation on safety; self-inflating life rafts, lifejackets, radio connections, etc. The ship sailed merrily on the light waves of the lake and the famous Jet d’ eau came nearer. 
Jet is the fountain on the lake that reached upto a certain height and drew its water from the lake.  Magnificent it was. While crossing the fountain and we could feel the water on our faces and hands. Gradually the ship took up its speed and we crossed the Port Noir monument that commemorated Geneva’s entry to the Swiss Confederation.

  (The fountain)                                                                                                                                  

The village of Coppet was only a couple of kms on the Geneva–Vaud boundary with the French territory in the north. Halfway between Geneva and Lausanne on the shores of the lovingly called "Lake Léman" (Lake Geneva) and facing the Mont-Blanc came in Nyon, a major town and an attractive little port. There wasnt any view of the mountain as it was very cloudy, but it still looked beautiful.

We got off here; the place seemed to be a perfect stopover on a leisurely tour. Sandwiched between the Jura Range and the lake, Nyon is spread out among elaborate fields, which reach down to the water and is backed by acres of vineyards on the gentle slopes behind; a scene that seemed to be straight out of a canvas.

As the ship pulled out of this port, it was time for some snacks and we visited the restaurant. Since it was not the usual lunch hour, a grand buffet of sandwiches was served; chicken sandwich in mustard bread, smoked salmon in dark bread, salami pretzels for non vegetarians and grilled vegetable sandwich for vegetarians, fruit basket, assorted mini desserts and unlimited coffee. We drank the superb coffee and enjoyed the food along with the magic of the lake. The soft and lapping waves of Lake Geneva touched our ship every second and gently rocked it.  The cries of the seagulls and the soft sound of the steam engine along with the cool breeze made the ambience very peaceful.

Finally it was time for our final port of call Montreaux. Admiring the ports and their chateaus, the hillsides with the vineyards and the snow-covered peaks of the Swiss and Savoy Alps, we approached Montreaux. The dark blue waves became lighter in shade and far away in the air we saw the famous Chillon castle; almost floating in the air and once we reached the port, the huge statue of Freddie Mercury (Queen) welcomed us.

(Montreux & The Chillon Castle)

(Fredde Mercury)

With the usual thank you to the crew and the captain, it was the end of the lovely cruise with resounding success. True, there was no spas, gyms and pools to remain fit all along the cruise, neither was there any boutique or casino to spend time on board, no entertainment programme to keep us amused or happy and divert from sea-sickness, what we had was a glorious weather with no rain, a calm lake and a very down to earth wonderful cruise on Lake Geneva.