Taking a Cruise on Lake Geneva with the Swiss Rail Pass

About My Lake Geneva Cruise

One of the best ways to see Geneva, Switzerland, is to take a cruise on Lake Geneva. For those interested in taking a cruise of Lake Geneva, it is important to know that the cruises are covered by the Swiss Rail Pass.

For visitors who want to take a quick cruise of Lake Geneva, there is a one-hour option that basically cruises the Geneva Harbour area. Longer cruises are available, including dinner cruises. One of the trips even stops in France and allows passengers to disembark on the French side of Lake Geneva.

I chose to go on a three-hour cruise. Three hours appeared to be the perfect amount of time to relax and take in the beautiful views of Lake Geneva.

Remember, for those who have the Swiss Rail Pass, the majority of these Lake Geneva cruises are free as long as your pass is not expired.

The View from the Deck of My Lake Geneva Cruise
The View from the Deck of My Lake Geneva Cruise

Taking a Cruise on Lake Geneva with the Swiss Rail Pass - Table of Contents

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How to Take a Lake Geneva Cruise with Using the Swiss Rail Pass

For Lake Geneva cruises, there are no tickets needed for holders of the Swiss Rail Pass. If you have the Swiss Rail Pass, simply board your desired Lake Geneva cruise and show the boat’s staff your Swiss Rail Pass upon request. It is important to know that the Lake Geneva cruise ships have two classes. First class has access to the entire ship, including the top deck. Those with a second-class Swiss Rail Pass only have access to the lower level of the boat. For anyone with a second-class Swiss Rail Pass, there is an option to pay an upgrade fee to get access to the ship’s upper level.


A First Class Swiss Rail Pass Allows Access to the Top Deck of the Lake Geneva Cruise
A First Class Swiss Rail Pass Allows Access to the Top Deck of the Lake Geneva Cruise

Lake Geneva cruises depart from various docks and have multiple stops along the way. The two most common docks in the Geneva Harbour area are Jardin Anglais, Pâquis, and Mt. Blanc. My cruise departed from Jardin Anglais.

The Cruise Departed from the Jardin Anglais Docks
The Cruise Departed from the Jardin Anglais Docks

Lake Geneva Cruise - The Boat

The boats that cruise Lake Geneva are extremely unique, dating back to the early 1900s. My cruise was onboard the Rhone, which had its maiden voyage in 1927. The Rhone is more than just a cruise ship, having the ability to have table service for over 150 passengers.

The Rhone - Lake Geneva Cruises
Our Boat - The Rhone

After boarding, I walked up the steps to the first-class deck. Access to the first-class deck was another perk of spending a little bit of extra money to have the first-class Swiss Rail Pass.

Rhone Geneva Cruise Ship - The Stairs Leading to the First Class Deck
The Stairs Leading to the First Class Deck

Since many of the passengers had second-class Swiss Rail Passes or purchased second-class tickets, I had much of the top deck to myself. The lack of people allowed me to switch from side to side based on the scenery I wanted to photograph.

The First Class Deck - Rhone - Lake Geneva Cruise
The First Class Deck

In addition to the first-class deck, my first-class Swiss Rail Pass also gave me access to the first-class dining area. Since this cruise was only three hours, there wasn’t a full meal being served. Instead, passengers had the option to purchase drinks and snacks.

First Class Dining Area - Rhone - Geneva, Switzerland
First Class Dining Area

The Lake Geneva cruise ship, Rhone, had it all. The first-class deck even had access to a small room with a circular table. No one went in this room as it was 80 degrees and there was no air conditioning.

A Room on the First Class Deck - Rhone - Geneva, Switzerland
A Room on the First Class Deck

There was also a second-class dining area on the lower level of the Rhone. Like the upper level, the lower level dining area only served drinks.

Second Class Dining Area - Rhone - Geneva, Switzerland
Second Class Dining Area

Views from the Lake Geneva Cruise

The best views of Lake Geneva are seen from the upper deck. If you don’t have a first-class Swiss Rail Pass, I highly recommend upgrading so you can access the first-class sections of the boat.

My Seat Location on the Geneva Cruise
My Seat Location on the Geneva Cruise

On the way out of Jardin Anglais, we passed the Geneva Water Fountain. The boat got so close to the water fountain that I had to put my camera away to avoid it from getting wet.

The Geneva Water Fountain
The Geneva Water Fountain

One of the other sights on the way out of Geneva Harbour that I enjoyed photographing was the Pâquis Lighthouse. This lighthouse dates back to 1857.

Pâquis Lighthouse
Pâquis Lighthouse

As our boat left the harbor and we began the cruise, we hugged the east shoreline of Lake Geneva.

Geneva, Switzerland
Geneva from the Cruise

On the opposite shoreline was Geneva International Airport, and I was able to photograph this Emirates Airlines Boeing 777-300 taking off for Dubai.

Emirates 777-300 Taking Off from Geneva International Airport
Emirates 777-300 Taking Off from Geneva International Airport

As the Rhone headed out into Lake Geneva, we passed many people enjoying the warm weather. Sailing seemed to be one of the favorite activities of the people out on Lake Geneva.

Sailing on Lake Geneva
Sailing on Lake Geneva
Sailing on Lake Geneva
Another Sailboat

The cruise stopped at numerous harbors where passengers were able to embark and disembark. The photo below shows Corsier Harbour.

Corsier Harbor - Geneva, Switzerland
Corsier Harbor

Throughout the Lake Geneva cruise, the Rhone passed numerous buildings. I was unable to catch the name of the church and the castle-like structure next to it.

A Church Seen from the Lake Geneva Cruise
A Church Seen from the Lake Geneva Cruise

We followed the eastern shoreline for about 90 minutes before crossing Lake Geneva and returning via the western shoreline.

Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva

With my zoom lens, the Geneva Water Fountain was visible the entire time. As we returned to Jardin Anglais, the fountain became easier and easier to see. A cruise of Lake Geneva is a relaxing way to see some beautiful sights around the greater Geneva area.

The Geneva Fountain was Visible the Entire Time
The Geneva Fountain was Visible the Entire Time

For anyone holding the Swiss Rail Pass, I highly recommend spending a few hours taking a cruise of Lake Geneva.

Lake Geneva Tours and Packages

I do not recommend any of the tours or packages below for those who hold the Swiss Rail Pass, as almost all of the Lake Geneva cruises are covered by the Swiss Rail Pass. For those who do not hold the rail pass, the packages below all include a cruise on Lake Geneva. Please note that as an affiliate of Viator, I will receive a small commission if you purchase a tour using one of my links. This commission is at no additional cost to you.

Prices are accurate as of November 2023.

Geneva City Tour and Lake Geneva Cruise
Geneva City Tour and Boat Cruise - $94.75

Home to the European headquarters of the United Nations, Geneva is Switzerland's second-most popular city and one of the greenest cities in Europe. Visit Geneva on a bus, go for a ride on a mini-train, and walk around the cobbled streets of the Old Town.

You will be taking a step back in time with Saint Peter’s cathedral, Place Bourg-de-four, original market place, the arsenal and the town hall; lose yourself in the grandeur and beauty of this culturally and influential town.

This sightseeing tour allow you to discover Geneva’s most famous attractions, including the iconic Flower Clock, symbol of the city's watchmakers and love for nature, and the impressive fountain, Jet d’Eau. This is your opportunity to snap some pictures of the magnificent spray from the fountain.

Listen as your guide explains the importance of this city as a diplomatic and financial center, and pass through the district around the UN building.

Geneva Sightseeing Cruise
Geneva sightseeing cruise - $27.92

Enjoy a quiet boat cruise!

Be surprise by the views that offrer Lake Geneva.

From the international disctric, to Colgny, the Alps on the background, the cruise will offer you a unique view on Geneva.

Thanks to our boat is electro solar with 0 emission. That’s the reason why we call it Greta, as the 16th years old Sweden climate activist Greta Thunberg. At age 15, began protesting outside the Swedish parliament in August 2018 about the need for immediate action to combat climate change. She’s sailing from Plymouth to the US.

The Swiss company MW-Line had built different solar boat for the famous « Expo.02 »

You will discover Geneva in a unique way, on the lake, seeing the main attractions of the beautiful town.

Admire the famous fountain, snap a picture or the United nations, see all the famous luxura hotels and admire the beautiful gardens that surrounds Geneva.

Geneva and Annecy Tour with Optional Lake Geneva Cruise
Geneva and Annecy Tour With Optional Lake Geneva Cruise - $130.71

Discover the charm of Geneva and Annecy on this combination sightseeing tour. Start with a 2-hour tour of Geneva to see top attractions like the UN headquarters, the Flower Clock and Geneva Old Town. Travel by coach, tram and foot with an expert guide, followed by an optional 1-hour Lake Geneva cruise. In the afternoon, cross the border into France to explore the enchanting Alpine town of Annecy, whose medieval Old Town is a sight to be seen. Throughout the day, enjoy informative commentary from a knowledgeable guide.

Lake Geneva Sunset Tour
Panoramic sunset over Geneva and Lake Geneva - $89.74

Within 6 hours you will experience 2 countries, riding from Switzerland into France along the Arve river, 3 different modes of transport (cycling, cable car and short hike) and memorable views over Geneva and the Alps’ largest lake. Enjoy a delicious meal at the top of the Salève as you watch the sunset over Geneva and its lake before we transfer you back to Geneva at the end of your evening.

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