Popular ultra-luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises are in the midst of a revolutionary expansion into river cruises, yacht cruises and the new concept of air cruises. The river cruise division was launched in July 2016 with the debut of their first river cruise ship – Crystal Mozart.
Our Six Star Cruise Concierge Kat Gelder enjoyed a cruise on this ultra-luxury river cruise ship.
Having sailed on many river cruise ships, this first thing I noticed about Crystal Mozart is her size. She’s the biggest in Europe – twice the width of a standard river cruise ship. As soon as I boarded, I knew I was on a Crystal ship. The ship had the same signature understated elegance as I’ve experienced on Crystal’s popular ocean ships.
I would say that this ship is upside down. The main dining venue is on the top deck – a fantastic idea as it allows guests to enjoy fantastic views through the floor-to-ceiling windows while they dine. The decor is similar to that of the ocean ships – light and airy spaces with clean block colours. The dining and drinks venues also have the same names – such as The Waterside Cafe, Palm Court and The Cove.
The ship has four decks. On the top deck there’s also the Vista Garden which is a ‘living’ garden with comfy cushioned benches.
The cabins on Crystal Mozart are the largest of any European river cruise ship, with the lead in grade standing at an impressive 219 square feet. The two-bedroom Crystal Suite is a huge 883 square feet.
The suites have some nice touches, such as TVs inside mirrors, rainforest showers and heated toilet seats. Built-in iPads can control lighting and heating and be used to order room service and check the daily programme.
Each cabin boasts a Nespresso coffee machine, a welcome bottle of Champagne and a complimentary bottles of red and white wine, which is a very nice touch. Interestingly, all cabins can hold three passengers, as each has a sofa bed.
On arrival, guests are greeted by their butler who will show you to your cabin and explain how all the technology in the room works. One thing that cruisers love about Crystal Cruises is the staff to guest ratio. This is carried through to the river cruise division, with one member of crew to every 1.6 guests on-board the Mozart.
I think that the best part about the crew is that they all have their own specific job. Your butler is your butler and you won’t see them doing any other job on the ship. This enabled them all to become experts in their field.
Excursions are complimentary, and there’s always a number of choices depending on how you’d like to spend your time. Crystal will guarantee space on any excursion, there’s no maximum limit.
For our first excursion, we enjoyed a trip to Vienna’s historic Belvedere Palace. We boarded the luxury Crystal coach and I was impressed by the leg room and the on-board Nespresso coffee machine. On-route to Belvedere, we enjoyed a talk through the history of Vienna as we drove through the centre. On arrival at Belvedere Palace, we were treated to a Champagne reception and a walk through the art gallery and a concert with an orchestra, opera singers and ballet dancers.
We also opted for a cycling excursion in Melk – the highlight of my trip! We used e-bikes, a fantastic invention by BMW which meant that we didn’t really have to do any work as there was a mini-motor on the chain. We cycled (if you can really call it that) along the river bank as the ship followed us along. Experiencing stunning vineyards and villages along the way, the guides were really informative and helped us all to have a great time.
I couldn’t find a single fault with anything or anyone on-board. I had a wonderful time and would definitely recommend Crystal river cruises to anyone who’s already enjoyed a Crystal cruise or something similar. Crystal’s mantra is ‘Service, Space, Quality, Choices’, something which they certainly lived up to.
A Crystal river cruise is by no means a cheap holiday – but so much is included in the price, and the standard length of a cruise is 10 days, so I feel that in actual fact they offer excellent value for money and an experience that you will treasure forever.