Switzerland, renowned for its postcard-perfect landscapes, has no dearth of picturesque sights and experiences. But when you add a serene boat cruise across its pristine lakes to the mix, the experience is nothing short of magical. In an interview with Niklaus Hotz, Sales Manager, BLS Interlaken Lake Cruise, we had an in-depth look into what sets this cruise line apart.
– Vartik Sethi
Setting Sail with Distinction
BLS Interlaken Lake Cruise operates a fleet of 12 boats — 8 on Lake Thun and 4 on Lake Brienz. “BLS Interlaken Lake Cruises is a subsidiary of the BLS Railway Company, which is the largest private train operator in Switzerland. Our fleet of 12 boats offers services on Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, making us stand out from our competitors on these lakes,” shared Niklaus Hotz, Sales Manager, BLS Interlaken Lake Cruise.
A Daily Dose of Natural Beauty
With up to five daily departures on Lake Brienz during the summer season (from April to October), and Lake Thun boasting hourly departures, tourists have a plethora of options. The beauty of these cruises? The strategic location of their piers. Situated mere footsteps from railway stations and coach parks, the transition from train or bus to boat is seamless.
A trip from Thun to Interlaken West takes just 2 hours and 10 minutes. This journey presents an unparalleled opportunity to soak in the natural beauty, from the vivid turquoise hue of Lake Brienz — thanks to the glacial particles — to local attractions like the Giessbach Falls and the idyllic village of Iseltwald. “The hopping on and off principle lets guests enjoy multiple sites in one day, complementing the big mountain excursions available in the area,” Hotz pointed out.
Every cruise comes equipped with an onboard restaurant, allowing passengers to indulge in delectable meals as they take in the breathtaking views. For those spontaneous souls, reservations are possible but not mandatory for individuals. However, for larger groups (10 or more), prior booking is essential.
Lake Thun and Lake Brienz combine to offer a dual-lake experience in the core of Bernese Oberland.
Beyond the Cruise
The cruise isn’t just about floating on water; it’s a gateway to several other excursions. The Niedherhorn Mountain, St Beautus caves, and majestic castles like Oberhofen and Spiez can be seamlessly integrated into the itinerary. For those seeking a slice of Swiss culture, the paddle steamers in the fleet offer a supervised play cabin for children, allowing adults to relax on deck.
Speaking of what’s new in 2023, Hotz gleamed, “We have our completely refurbished flagship on Lake Brienz, the MS Brienz.”
Tailoring to Taste
For events, birthdays, or even weddings, private charters are available, catering to personalised requirements, be it food, music, or ambiance. Niklaus emphasised their awareness of varying culinary preferences. While European vegetarian options are aplenty on scheduled cruises, those yearning for authentic Indian cuisine can avail it through private charters. According to Hotz, food, undoubtedly, plays a crucial role in enhancing the travel experience. Addressing the diverse culinary preferences, especially of the Indian travellers, Hotz assured, “We have fixed vegetarian options and for private charters, the possibility of an Indian buffet.”
Speaking on Charter Cruises Hotz expanded, “We offer customised cruises for both corporate and private events. Our boats vary in capacity, accommodating from 32 to 376 guests in banquet settings. Moreover, the catering is à la carte, ensuring a personalised experience.”
A unique highlight of their service is the vintage steamboats, which have a delightful surprise. Hotz shared, “Our steamboats come with supervised play-cabins, specially designed for children, allowing families to enjoy their journey with utmost peace and delight.”
In line with global sustainability trends, BLS Interlaken shines through its actions having achieved the Sustainable Label Level 2 under Switzerland Tourism’s sustainability programme called Swisstainable. Not stopping at accolades, they’ve equipped MS Jungfrau which has an electric hybrid engine, reducing fuel consumption and the carbon footprint.
Targeting the Indian Traveller
With an Indian sales agency and strategic digital marketing initiatives, including a user-friendly website, BLS aims to tap into the burgeoning Indian tourist market. With brochures, tailor-made charter options, and an emphasis on unique Swiss experiences, BLS Interlaken Lake Cruise is all set to be a preferred choice for those seeking a tranquil Swiss escape.
In a nutshell, a journey with BLS Interlaken Lake Cruise is more than just sightseeing; it’s about experiencing Switzerland in its true, untouched glory. Whether you’re a solo traveller or with a group, make sure to set sail with them on your next Swiss sojourn!