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12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We were originally scheduled to be on the Crystal Bach for a Rhine excursion from Frankfurt to Amsterdam. However, we were alerted a week beforehand that the cruise was being switched to another ship. We discovered a bit later in the ... Read More
We were originally scheduled to be on the Crystal Bach for a Rhine excursion from Frankfurt to Amsterdam. However, we were alerted a week beforehand that the cruise was being switched to another ship. We discovered a bit later in the cruise that the Bach had been hit by a barge and needed to be repaired. We were offered to switch to the Bach's sister ship, the Mahler. Also, the itinerary was drastically changed due to low water levels in the Rhine. Our point of embarkation was also changed from Frankfurt to Cologne. Crystal took care of transfer from Frankfurt Airport to Cologne. Although it wasn't the ship, nor the cruise for which we'd signed up, we had a wonderful time. The food was wonderful both in the Bistro and in the Waterside. The staff and crew were incredibly cordial and helpful. The excursions were great, especially considering that Crystal had to do some fast thinking to schedule them. Entertainer Neal Fullerton was a treat. He's incredibly talented and also knows how to get the passengers involved. Our cabin/suite was a luxurious, comfortable haven. As always, it was stocked with wonderful wines and the nightly turn-down chocolates. This cruise was relaxing and lovely. Regardless of the need to go to "Plan B," we decided to do an open booking for a future cruise. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This cruise line treated us like royalty! By day two the staff knew our names and preferences. Never did we want for anything....and in fact....had to politely decline service as they were always looking to see what they could provide. I ... Read More
This cruise line treated us like royalty! By day two the staff knew our names and preferences. Never did we want for anything....and in fact....had to politely decline service as they were always looking to see what they could provide. I can’t say enough positive about Crystal. Food was far beyond expectations. I tried things I would never normally try....and lived them. It will be exceedingly difficult to be on any other line after this! In fact, I doubt we will be with any other line! We depart the ship in two days. Already depressed about it! Shore excursions were included and awesome. Guides were well informed and gave us great information. Ships staff was so gracious and friendly. Thanks so much Crystal! Totally thrilled with our experience. Ship was comfortable and easy to navigate. Can’t wait for our next opportunity. When changes in itinerary were required...due to river conditions the crew scrambled to provide us with excellent alternatives. They never missed a beat. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was our first river cruise and we looked forward to the ease of river cruising: seeing many ports without the hassle of driving/packing and unpacking. However, due to the water shortage on the Danube, this ease of travel was not ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and we looked forward to the ease of river cruising: seeing many ports without the hassle of driving/packing and unpacking. However, due to the water shortage on the Danube, this ease of travel was not delivered. We were forced to bus to two destinations and pack a small overnight bag. Crystal put us up in a four star hotel and gave us a food allowance but we also had to endure a long bus ride between Vienna and Budapest and back. This is not the fault of Crystal but they were not forthcoming about the problem when asked prior to leaving for the cruise. I should add Crystal's lack of transparency was in contrast to Viking Cruise Line which had a website devoted to itinerary changes due to the drought. Many passengers were unhappy with the abrupt change of plans. I think if it had been handled more honestly, the passengers would have adjusted more easily and been happier.. On the other hand, the Mozart delivered on many aspects of the trip. The crew was fantastic. They were always pleasant, smiling and helpful. The food was quite good and plentiful with lots of options. Our cabin was quite nice and well-equipped with a comfortable bed, seating area, a large screen TV and an unending supply of wine, soda and water. The tours for the most part were informative and entertaining, conducted by knowledgeable local people. My only criticism is they should have offered a few more openings for some of the popular bike tours which booked up early. The special event in Budapest was a knockout. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Our Crystal Mahler Grand Europe cruise in the summer of 2018 was hit with an unprecedented heat wave and drought which made the Rhine and Danube impassable, so our itinerary from Amsterdam to Vienna to Budapest was diverted once we got on ... Read More
Our Crystal Mahler Grand Europe cruise in the summer of 2018 was hit with an unprecedented heat wave and drought which made the Rhine and Danube impassable, so our itinerary from Amsterdam to Vienna to Budapest was diverted once we got on board and we had to return to Amsterdam via Belgium and the Netherlands. This is a risk on any river cruise, with either flooding or low water levels, but it was a big disappointment when it happened. However, Crystal's Plan B turned out to be excellent and we have nothing but high praise for the ship and its staff. If there's ever a problem, you want to be in Crystal's hands. They pulled a rabbit out of a hat and turned lemons into lemonade by diverting us to many charming ports and sites. Their initial offering of a credit for the inconvenience was paltry, but after negotiations with Crystal, they increased the credit to a very generous one for any future cruise, so that helped ameliorate the disappointment and tension on board. The staff and cuisine were simply excellent. I must have had over 100 courses throughout the various meals and each one was divine. They prepared a wide variety of local and traditional dishes, and favorite standards, all delicious. And the desserts were to die for. Everything gourmet and exceptional. Darryl the sommelier was wonderful, and the chefs did a fantastic job. I've read that the Crystal ships' galleys are much larger than the competitors, so you get a much wider variety and higher quality of cuisine on Crystal. A few in our party had food allergies, but the staff handled that with ease and care. Gluten-free and sugar-free dishes were at the ready and very tasty. We loved all the waiters, butlers, staff, maids, crew, everyone to a person was friendly, helpful, and provided world-class service. We were very sad to leave the ship at the end of the cruise, to be sure. Crystal's ships have half the passengers with the same number of crew as competitors, so you really are waited on hand and foot- all included. Tips are included too, but our waiters and staff were so good that I gave out as many gratuities as I could. The ship itself was a comfort and technological marvel. The Mahler is less than a year old and all the state of the art touches in the room and around the ship were very much appreciated, as was the spotless cleanliness and pleasing decor. While we didn't get to go to most of the ports we had planned on, the replacement itinerary excursions were quite nice. At first, there were some average excursions, then they got better and better (perhaps because the heat wave broke- nothing off the ship is air-conditioned in Europe- be forewarned). Crystal has their own buses that follow the ship so you have the same, new, state of the art and super comfortable buses with the same drivers in every city and village. The tour guides ranged from very good to excellent, and Crystal has their own personal radio listening devices, so everyone can always hear the guide- really a nice system that assigns your device to the correct group. Crystal also put together a private symphony concert in an ancient chapel with world-renown opera soloist Hanne Roos who brought tears to our eyes with her talent. Very special. The on-board entertainer, Neal Fullerton, was a hoot, and an excellent pianist and singer in his own right. There were special local entertainers planned for the original itinerary, but due to the change, Neal had to improvise a bit and some other last minute entertainers were brought on board. So not nearly as many options as a sea-going ship, of course, but we had a great time and Neal was delightful. The gym and spa are necessarily small, but the massage therapist Sally was wonderful and the workout room had everything I needed to lift weights & stretch, albeit just a rudimentary rack. We walked so much in each town that the cardio machines on board weren't necessary. There's also a small pool on board which was lovely on a hot day. All in all, I would highly recommend Crystal Cruises (we've done one ocean cruise with them before, this was our first river one), and certainly the Crystal Mahler. I would suggest for any river-cruiser to avoid June and August as there is a chance of flooding or low water levels. I heard that Viking has so many ships that they had boats on both sides of the breaches, so they bused passengers around to their original ports and swapped them with ships on the other side of the low water. That's OK, I guess, but it sounds like a lot of rigamarole and I ended up really liking the Crystal pampering and luxury in the new itinerary, and will gladly cash in the credit for a replacement cruise. The crowd is mostly older. There were some families like ours. Our 16 and 21 year old weren't as thrilled with the trip as we parents were due to the more relaxed pace, but they still really enjoyed everything. A sea-going ship would have more on-ship options for teens, but the excursions and food on the river cruise were appreciated by ours. they especially enjoyed the 24 included room service. Our 79 year old mother in law had the time of her life too, and was able to do all the excursions and walking and climbing. The only slight negative was the internet. It's all included for free 24/7, but despite being brand new and state of the art, it's still satellite-based and therefore, rather slow and sometimes spotty. We were told ahead of time that the system wouldn't work in the locks, but when we were in the steep Moselle Valley, the satellite signal was also blocked for a long time, I think. It worked well enough most of the time to post pictures and do email, but some of us tried to do some work on line and could not download larger files or apps we needed. Not a problem for most, but could be for some. Most of the time we were within cellular range, so we were sometimes able to use our free international data plans on T-Mobile and get a signal then. The internet was much better than our last ocean cruise, however, but I wish it could still be improved more. The Crystal Mahler and its people are truly exceptional and they are the benchmark for service, comfort, cuisine, excursions, and quality. Kudos to Crystal and the Mahler. Crystal is the pinnacle. We will be back! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
After 15 cruises and over 300 days on Seabourn we decided to try a river cruise, so to be fair my opinion of this cruise is colored by my Seabourn ocean cruise experiences. A river cruise was something we had thought about for the past ... Read More
After 15 cruises and over 300 days on Seabourn we decided to try a river cruise, so to be fair my opinion of this cruise is colored by my Seabourn ocean cruise experiences. A river cruise was something we had thought about for the past several years, and had enticed friends who never did any type of cruise to join us. After evaluating the various lines for a river cruise, Crystal seemed to have the best offerings in a lot of ways. The original itinerary was very interesting Budapest to Amsterdam, but due to low water levels it was changed to round trip Amsterdam, less than 2 weeks prior to the cruise - or at least that was when Crystal let us know. To their credit you could either cancel - as our friends did - and get a credit equal to what you paid or go on the changed itinerary and get a substantial future credit, which we took as the changed ports were not places we had been to. If you took the cruise, they would also cover up to $1000 of airfare per person, which worked out well since we had flights booked to Budapest. We took advantage of the Crystal - included - airport to/from ship transfers on a comfortable coach. Once we got to the ship, the service from start to finish was top notch. But I need to qualify this, the ship can hold 106 pax, we only had 44 due to the changed itinerary. We had a butler who basically was useless, canapes delivered to the room each afternoon, 1/2 the time after we had left to go to the bar for pre-dinner cocktails. Never offered to pack or unpack for us. Nice guy, but one less crew they need to pay, IMO. There is only 1 bar on the ship, excluding the pop-up on the open deck where only one day was anyone actually working there (the hard-working bar waiters always went down one level to the main bar and back up). Given the less than 1/2 occupancy the bar area was nice but if at full capacity not sure how easy it would be to get a seat if one arrived late. The entertainment was varied, when we had over nights in port they brought on some very talented local singers / musicians. When sailing (is that the right term on the river??) we had the on-board entertainer, who was interesting and quite a character but more than a few nights we had karaoke with a few drunk pax and the problem is, this is the only bar on the ship so deal with it or go to your room, or to the top deck depending on the weather. On the ship there are different categories of rooms, unlike on Seabourn that all are basically alike just the deck level determines the category (and deck 5 veranda differences). So I can only speak to what we had, deck 2 not the most expensive. The room was about 200 sq, feet. No walk-in closet, a single sink, but shower was bigger than on Seabourn, but no tub. WiFi is free for all, as are the tours at each port, some worthwhile, others Mhh. No veranda. Window comes 1/2 way down and a screen goes up. Not that useful unless you need some fresh air, IMO. The top deck is spacious with a lot of comfortable seating and not on top of each other. They have a unique popup bar - although it was rarely used, that can go down to deck level when the ship passes under low bridges. All the deck rails on the top deck can also be taken down - as happened one day when we passed under a very low bridge. The crew who run the ship details really work hard, especially when things like having to take down all the rails, which was not expected and then put them back up after we cleared the bridge. Interestingly their title is "Sailor". As far as river ships go, we thought the Mahler was the best looking one we saw - and we saw quite a few at different ports - especially how the top deck was laid out. The ship is relatively new and we did not notice any maintenance issues. Service everwhere was exceptional, but again it is hard to objectively judge since there were only 44 of us. I never waited more than 2 minutes at the one and only bar to have someone appear to take my order, if we were on the open deck someone usually appeared within 5 minutes of us being situated. At all the restaurants we had good service - and friendly, sometimes too friendly, OK I'd like to eat my food now please while it is hot as much as I enjoy hearing your life story - and what we liked was each night the chef prepared a local dish to coincide with the port de jour. We thought the included wines were pretty good. They brought on more wines as the cruise went along. I do have to call out the great people at the reception desk - we had an issue the entire cruise with a bag being lost in airline baggage purgatory and every day they called multiple times for us trying to get the issue resolved. The gym was very small, laundry room (something I missed being able to avoid as a Diamond on Seabourn) was often very busy. Getting on and off the ship at every port was easy, although they hire local people instead of having their own security people. In summary, we very much enjoyed our time on the Mahler and it opened us open to trying a Crystal ocean cruise, and if we ever do another river cruise it will be on Crystal. Read Less
36 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I thoroughly enjoyed my 1st river cruise on Crystal Mozart, sailing the Danube for 10-nights. I’m going to use a different angle to view this cruise and write a not-so-common trip report. I’ll start with a list of the pros and cons of ... Read More
I thoroughly enjoyed my 1st river cruise on Crystal Mozart, sailing the Danube for 10-nights. I’m going to use a different angle to view this cruise and write a not-so-common trip report. I’ll start with a list of the pros and cons of this cruise. Of course, it’s only based on my own opinions, but hopefully it would be helpful enough for fellow cruisers to learn more about the 5-star river cruising experience on Crystal Mozart, as I found that I got very limited information regarding this while doing my research homework on the cruise throughout my almost 2 years’ planning period. I spent a ton of time to write on Wismergirl’s travel blog to include a lot more details if you are interested in my daily activities on board. Refer to photo: Crystal Mozart, “the Giant” of Danube river cruising, docked at Linz on July 13, 2018: Pros 1) Truly all-inclusive – not even one extra cent I had to pay on board. Of course, if you want spa/hair treatments, Connoisseur wine, upgraded excursions & extra tipping, that’s another story. Now, cruise fare, airport transfers, selected shore excursions, meals, entertainment, gratuities, unlimited soft drinks, beer, most wine & spirit, unlimited WIFI on board & on coaches (though quite spotty at times), are all paid for. We even got a complimentary meal at a Michelin-star restaurant (only applicable to guests staying at Penthouses and above or those booked before Aug 7, 2017). Tips for cruisers: Buy a 3G/4G Europe SIM card. I bought one for CA$39 (US$30) with 5 GB data & 3000 talk/text for 30 days that covered all countries that we visited so I had internet access all the time. I only used less than 2GB for 16 days, even sharing personal Hotspot with my husband. 2) Unpack and Pack only once – This cruise took us to nine European cities in Austria, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. There was no need to pack our bags every day for a new destination. Setting off along the Danube from Vienna, we passed through the beautiful Wachau Valley; went for guided walking tours in Vienna, Melk & Durnstein; did all-day side trips to Cesky Krumlov & Munich; visited historical landmarks in Budapest with a violin concert in the Imperial Palace & a night cruise on the Danube; and discovered the modern art scenes and Communist-era architecture of Slovakia's capital, Bratislava. What a great itinerary! 3) 5-star Luxury accommodation and service - Cabins aboard the Crystal Mozart started at 219 square feet (except 1 that was only 206 sq. ft.). The high-end amenities like Toto toilets, mini iPad in each stateroom, free use of eBikes, 24-hour complimentary room service, Crystal clear audio device for excursions, free self-serve laundry with detergent & drying sheets, complimentary pressing, plus free butler service for all guests are incredibly awesome! Besides, Crystal Mozart is twice as wide as most river boats (22.85m instead of the normal 11.4m). Its spacious top (Vista) Deck 4 with a bar, big TV & garden features modern luxury! Low guests to staff ratio means top-notched service & 3 restaurants for meals are also big pluses. Food tasted better than that from the Crystal ocean cruises, though not enough varieties. Tips for cruisers: DON’T bring too much clothing as there is limited storage space in the room, plus you only need to wear smart casual attires for dinners. Remember: self-serve laundry is at your service! 4) Compact ship size and seasickness-free – Most of the time we didn’t even feel like the boat was moving. Being a couple of mid 50’s, we kept forgetting things and it was so easy to go back to the room to get them. We met lots of people and could call about half the ship’s passengers and most staff members by names when we left the ship. 5) Great workouts without going to the Gym – Not sure if you classify it as a pro or a con?! We did so much walking while on excursions that we didn’t gain any weight even though we ate like crazy. On average, it’s about 10,000 steps a day, walked for about 7 km with LOTS of steps. 6) Fantastic experience passing through the locks – It was really fun going upstream/downstream with different river levels through the locks. Being so windy, sunny and hot while staying on the top deck to watch the passing of the locks, we mostly stayed at the spa waiting area, lying on the loungers to watch the locks open and close. Even when we passed the locks at night time, the views were great. Cons 1) Docking – This has been a major issue for a lot of passengers. We had a few passengers who needed to use wheelchairs and they either had to get off the wheelchairs and walked with assistance, or crew/family members needed to help lift/carry the wheelchairs for disabled passengers to get on/off the boat. Europe is not N. America and many places are still not wheelchair-accessible, including bathroom locations. The ship elevator could only go up to Deck 3 but not the Vista Deck. When we docked at Passau (Lindau), we had to take the stairs to walk up to Deck 4 and walked off the ramp to the pier (see the picture with the gangway from the top deck to the pier). Besides, many passengers complained that they were always facing a concrete pier when the boat docked, especially if your room was on Deck 1 midship. I advise you to choose your room location properly. We didn’t have any problems being at the front part of the ship on Deck 2 with a French balcony. On a river cruise, midship cabins are not the best locations, always choose Forward. If you choose the Aft cabins, you would feel more vibration because it’s closer to the engine. We could totally experience the difference while eating at Blue on the aft of the ship. Many times, there were 2 or even 3 ships parked and tied together. Look at the picture of 3 boats triple-parked in Vienna. 2) Entertainment – Entertainment was really limited and low-key. We spent most nights at the Cove Bar listening to Derek Conlon’s piano playing, with a couple of very entertaining local shows and professional guest singer/pianist for 2 nights, and a so-called “concert by 3 princesses on the violin” in Budapest. Being a concert pianist myself, I played some Beethoven and did a “Sound of Music” singalong with fellow cruisers for a couple of nights at Cove Bar. It’s actually a social time more than anything. There was no casino and shops to even spend your onboard credits. Use your OBC at the spa or on premium wine or spend it at the Vintage Room. The passing scenery on both banks was the key to river cruising. We ventured out to the city centre on our own while we were in Vienna, Linz, Bratislava & Budapest. It was very easy to move around using public transport being in the city, or Crystal could call a taxi for us. 3) Food – Breakfast buffet was the only choice for breakfast, unless we wanted to go for room service or have a late-riser breakfast at Bistro Mozart. The only varieties we could get were different types of eggs (cooked to order), smoothies and fruit. I really liked their congee with different little ingredients on the side that we could add to our own liking (see picture). There were more choices for lunch as we could eat at Waterside (buffet) or Blue (same menu every day with a different soup and pasta). Dinner menus changed daily, though choices were still limited. We actually liked to have tapas-style dining at Bistro Mozart (reservation needed) rather than eating at Waterside. The ingredients were fresh and the dishes were delicious though again, there was a lack of variety. 4) Excursions – Lots of senior cruisers depended on travel agents to plan from flights to hotels to transportation for the entire cruise. A lot of travel agents charged way too high while booking hotels and limos for pre- and post-cruise activities but did not help their clients book the excursions. Many ended up booking excursions while on board and they did not have time to fully understand what’s to be expected while signing up. The Crystal concierge had been really helpful but sometimes the tours were full (like eBikes that they only had that many number of bikes) and there’s nothing the concierge could do but to wait for cancellations. A ton of walking was involved in most tours, and many times we had to walk on cobble-stone streets which was not easy for most people, not to say seniors. Having big coaches like Crystal’s, though they were super comfy, they couldn’t park close enough for boarding at most attractions, even in big cities like Vienna. I walked 9,971 steps for 6.7 km just for one 4-hour excursion “Vienna in a Nutshell”, with about an hour on the bus. Tips for cruisers: Use PCPC (Priority Check-in & Planning Center) to book excursions that are appropriate for your own health conditions well in advance. Highlights of the whole trip 1) 2-night pre-cruise in Salzburg & 2-night post-cruise in Vienna so I could visit the 2 cities in depth and attended concerts…of course, I did a ton of homework to plan for the extra 4 days including purchasing train tickets in advance, booking hotels plus “Sound of Music” shows and Mozart concerts at Salzburg Fortress, Sternbrau in Salzburg, Musikverein and St. Charles Church in Vienna 2) Wachau Valley scenic cruising & passing through locks 3) Private tour to Szechenyi Thermal Baths (see photo) and a 1-hour Royal Thermal Massage in Budapest (I booked these in advance before the cruise but Crystal concierge could book it for you with just a few hours’ notice) – taxi ride only 10-20 Euros each way 4) Night cruise on the Mozart in Budapest with an incredible view of the illuminated parliament (see photo) River cruising definitely suited us a lot so we made an open booking on board. I need to do more homework before committing to the next Crystal cruise. All the 4 new Crystal riverboats are very different than the Mozart, so I have to look at the itineraries carefully to book one within the next 6 months. Thank you, Crystal Mozart, for making our 1st river cruise experience so enchanting and memorable! Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This cruise was amazing. We had a two bedroom suite + another room for our parents. Both were fully appointed. The butler, and service on the room fantastic...particularly found the daily personal laundry helpful. In our group of 5, ... Read More
This cruise was amazing. We had a two bedroom suite + another room for our parents. Both were fully appointed. The butler, and service on the room fantastic...particularly found the daily personal laundry helpful. In our group of 5, there were 3 gluten-free vegans. The chef went out of his way to prepare excellent meals daily with freshly made gluten-free bread! We usually have low expectations with our limited dietary choices, but in this case, the ship exceeded what we expected. The daily lunch buffet was amazing and fresh. Outstanding! The crew and service fantastic. Really, nothing to complain about at all. The ship manager appropriately handled a concern we had about an eBike tour. Very professional and extraordinary personnel on this ship. We had a handful of nights with entertainment (although we realized we were not on a "big" ocean ship). Wow, we were surprised, all were outstanding! Loved the bartending course..big plus. This ship is very clean, precisely managed, and has great service and food. Loved all of the tours and the lap pool in the back of ship. Relaxation areas are fantastic. From one picky person to another...you cannot go wrong on this one! Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had an incredibly marvelous time on this 8 day river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. It was magical. The food was delicious and plentiful as was the wine and spirits. The daily excursions were extremely well planned and very ... Read More
We had an incredibly marvelous time on this 8 day river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. It was magical. The food was delicious and plentiful as was the wine and spirits. The daily excursions were extremely well planned and very interesting. We did not take any excursions that cost extra money and were very satisfied with all of them. One of the best aspects of Crystal river cruises is that everything is included in your price unless you choose extra money excursions or extra money wine and spirits. In addition we got about $500 of credits from American Express, whom we had booked through. This paid for laundry and gratuities to the charming staff. The entertainment was excellent for making social friends. Martin Kaye did a great job of getting to know most of the travelers and meeting their entertainment requirements. The other travelers were charming and very friendly. We made good relationships with several couples. The demographics was about 70% American, 20% Asian and 10% European. The ages were generally 60-80 with a few younger couples. By the way, there were no single travelers on this cruise. There were 2 couples of women travelling together. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We selected Crystal based on my partner's experience several years ago. Our instincts were correct, as the entire experience was top-notch. The crew were friendly, professional and very caring. The ship was new, and everything ... Read More
We selected Crystal based on my partner's experience several years ago. Our instincts were correct, as the entire experience was top-notch. The crew were friendly, professional and very caring. The ship was new, and everything worked as expected. We were in a larger cabin (S1 Suite). The bath was well appointed and very functional, the bed was comfortable and the closet fit all the things we brought and really did not need. We had a small electrical issue where we may have thrown a breaker, it was corrected in 15 minutes. Dining was always excellent, with expert preparation and presentation, even the salad dressings were worthy of photos! This being a smaller ship (106 passengers) there was the one dining room and a smaller "Bistro" that was open at certain times. But we certainly were never hungry. there were plenty of choices and the dining staff were accommodating to any reasonable request. Excellent wine selections, too. Overall on board experience was relaxing and comfortable. The Rhine varies from spectacular scenery to industrial blight, but the crew kept us taken care of with a smile. The Vista deck was always a comfortable spot to just hang out and enjoy the ride. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We just returned yesterday from a 10 night sailing on the Crystal Bach, and we had the time of our lives! From our embarkation with a Crystal 'Ambassador' welcoming us 'Home' to Claire, the Fitness Director checking us ... Read More
We just returned yesterday from a 10 night sailing on the Crystal Bach, and we had the time of our lives! From our embarkation with a Crystal 'Ambassador' welcoming us 'Home' to Claire, the Fitness Director checking us in with a glass of champagne, seamless registration and introduction to our cabin, to our final moments on the sailing, it was truly divine. Crystal goes above and beyond to ensure every request is not only met, but anticipated before you even have to ask. The service and attention to detail were both impeccable, as was the food, the beverage offerings, and every facet of the sailing. Our cabin was BEAUTIFUL! We were worried before we sailed about the size of the cabin, but they are extremely well designed, with ample space for everything (and we packed a LOT). One benefit to odd-numbered cabins on this particular sailing, was that we were rarely blocked by another river boat and almost always had an open view of the water, or our port. However, I cannot say this would be the same on any other sailing...so keep that in mind. We had absolute confidence in Captain Hans' leadership, and he ran a tight ship, while still being extremely personable and friendly with guests and encouraging his team to do the same. The entire Crew could not have been more professional, while also being engaging. They took the time to get to know each and every guest...bartenders and Palm Court staff, from our first cocktail knew our names, and specifically how we liked our libations. Dining and culinary staff made each and every meal a joy and a delicious delight. We were hesitant upon hearing that breakfast and lunch would be served buffet style in Waterside (Room Service and the Bistro had full service with limited, but delicious offerings, in addition to an all day spread that could easily suffice for a meal). However, the Chef went above and beyond in ensuring that it NEVER became repetitive - even the salad buffet offerings and desserts completely varied each and every day. For two people that hate buffets as a byproduct of having to dine at far too many of them at conferences in our professional lives, we were actually excited to see what was going to be offered each meal. It never became monotonous...not even remotely. The servers were outstanding, ensuring our wine and water glasses were never empty, and would bring you anything else desired, including coffee and tea service post-meal. Our suite attendant, Diana, was like an incredible genie - she magically knew our schedule and somehow made our room perfectly spotless, whenever we left the room even for a few minutes. I swear - the digital room systems must have an alert that notifies attendants and your butler when you depart from your cabin, because even when we didn't select the 'make up room' toggle, it still happened. Relative to excursions, Crystal is without peer. Each port offered several complimentary excursions, and many were once in a lifetime opportunities. In Strasbourg, they closed the Cathedral (stunning) for a private Organ recital/concert and tour, exclusively for our group. In another, we had a private concert with 4 ladies playing string instruments, in a stunningly lit castle, complete with champagne welcome. Yes, you heard me right - we had a private concert in a CASTLE. We paid for one all day, optional excursion to Colmar and the Alsation Wine Route. It was not to our groups standards (or Crystal's), and when we shared our disappointment, they immediately refunded the cost and apologized profusely. It was still a fun day, but had been misrepresented in the description and didn't hold a candle to the experience we could have had on the ship, beyond the fabulous morning in storybook Colmar, which was also offered as a complimentary activity. The ship also has a gorgeous spa suite, with a remarkably talented massage therapist and aesthetician. I had the best massage I've ever had - and I've had countless, and my spouse said the same about her facial. As for any negatives, there were only two. The first is that the gym is extremely small, albeit the equipment is in exceptional shape and offered full technical/digital capability with tv, music, news, etc (recumbent bike, another racing-style bike, ample free weights, exercise ball and rowing machine). The ceiling was also standard ship height, so if you wanted to do tricep raises or any other lifting, you had to do so sitting down on the weight bench or ball. However, Claire was available each morning for a scheduled exercise class, optional personal training if desired, and almost all days' excursions offered plenty of walking/cardio opportunity. There was also a gorgeous pool room (indoor) with a resistance pool, lounge chairs for relaxation, etc. I wanted to spend more time there, but there were simply too many other things to do! But the guests that did spend time in the pool or relaxation room, shared they enjoyed it immensely. The other negative, not for us, but for others on the sailing, was that it was promoted both as a Holiday sailing along the Rhine, but also as a Christmas Market Cruise. With the departure date on December 23rd, almost all Christmas Markets close either on December 23rd, or certainly on the 25th - with the exception of Strasbourg and minimal other markets that converted to 'Winter Markets' (a scaled down version, with most booths closed down - such as in Heidelberg). However, my spouse and I flew in early and spent 4 days in Belgium and an extra night in Amsterdam, so we were able to get our Christmas Markets fix. But keep this in mind, as you select your sailing date if this is an important reason for your sailing. On a positive note, the Crystal Bach Crew did an exceptional job making the Bach feel festive and joyful for both Christmas, New Year's Eve and Day. The New Year's Day Brunch was one for the record books - the best I've ever experienced and a glutton's heaven (freshly shucked oysters, caviar bar, poached cold-water lobster tail salad, crab cakes, made to order crab pasta, truffled this and that, incredible pork, beef and protein offerings, extensive dessert selections and more). New Year's Eve we had a phenomenal dinner, followed by champagne toast, passed hors d'oeurves, and headed up to the top deck for a 360 degree view of the most splendid fireworks display many of us had ever seen. The guests on the Bach were just wonderful, and it was a much younger (and/or younger at heart) sailing than many of us had been expecting. A few families were traveling together for the Holiday break, and we made friendships that will last long beyond the sailing. We had ample romantic time to reconnect as a couple, but plenty of time to engage and get to meet amazing people from all over the globe. Most fellow guests were American, but there were others from the UK, Australia, Mexico and beyond. This is well beyond a cabin review alone, but my point is, if you're considering a sailing on Crystal Bach, DO IT! It's truly one of the best decisions we've ever made and we will remember it fondly forever. We loved it so much, we already booked the Danube sailing for the same dates next December. Well done, Crystal Bach (and more importantly, her Crew)...VERY well done! Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
For a number of years, we have wanted to experience the Christmas Markets of Germany. We had also wanted to give Crystal Cruise lines a try. When the Crystal Bach was announced, we made our booking immediately and waited nearly two years ... Read More
For a number of years, we have wanted to experience the Christmas Markets of Germany. We had also wanted to give Crystal Cruise lines a try. When the Crystal Bach was announced, we made our booking immediately and waited nearly two years for the ship to be built in anticipation off a once in a lifetime experience. It was worth the wait! From the time that we were greeted at the airport in Amsterdam until we were dropped off at the airport in Basel, the service and the warm hospitality that we received from the Crystal Bach team was exemplary. The ship was immaculate, the cabin spacious for a river cruise, and everything was immaculately kept. While breakfast and lunch were served buffet style, it was not a typical buffet. The buffet simply allowed us to select what we preferred and in the quantity that we liked, It also afforded us to interact with the friendly team that was more than happy to prepare something special to our liking. Every evening the dinner was top shelf. The Chef frequently incorporated local ingredients in the dishes of the region and the staff in the dining room was very attentive Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Choose Crystal due to their reputation for being top notch. We have cruised on Crystal before. Last time I took 60 couples with me on a sales payoff trip and it went well. I found the service excellent, the staff was very friendly and very ... Read More
Choose Crystal due to their reputation for being top notch. We have cruised on Crystal before. Last time I took 60 couples with me on a sales payoff trip and it went well. I found the service excellent, the staff was very friendly and very polite, food was very good, excursions were interesting and varied so almost everyone could find something to do that interested them. The Crystal buses were clean and new and every seat had a lot of leg room . The ship was well maintained. This was a 50th wedding anniversary, a decade birthday and a cancer survival celebration for us so I spent the money for a Penthouse suite (206), but that didn't turn out so well.Read the nightmare that was, in the cabin review. I enjoyed several of the excursions we went on and felt that the guides were well prepared and very friendly. Overall had I been able to get some sleep it would have been a excellent trip. A "reasonably" quiet room is very important for me and by wife. We all expect some noises living close to others but this was on a scale that I have never experienced in over 40 years of extensive business and personal travel. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
The biggest question mark about booking this cruise is whether you like group excursions or not. You'll be paying for them whether or not you partake because all ports have multiple excursions available at no extra charge. If you ... Read More
The biggest question mark about booking this cruise is whether you like group excursions or not. You'll be paying for them whether or not you partake because all ports have multiple excursions available at no extra charge. If you don't mind trooping along with 1-3 full coaches or if you are okay skipping them, you're fine and we can move along... Crystal's Mozart was a surprise on first, second and every subsequent glance. At first glance, her lines are a bit dated and utilitarian. Definitely not the sleek looks of competing ships from AMA, Avalon, Tauck ... (Viking ships are pretty utilitarian as well). On second glance, you realize she's double hulled and at least a third again as wide as all other river cruise ships. You come to appreciate the extra space provided from her broad beam. On third glance, you start noting how well Mozart has been refurbished and maintained. The ship is immaculate. A few more glances and you realize how beautiful she is. On top of the ship's appeal, with 90+ crew for 150+ guests, service is impeccable. Dining service can sometimes be a little slow but that's because all dishes prepared on board use fresh produce and all dishes are prepared to order. Unlike every other cruise I've been on, the food started out being very high quality and, if anything, got better as the cruise progressed. We plan a future ocean cruise with Crystal and look forward to comparing the culinary offerings serving a much larger guest list. The itinerary was fantastic, introducing us to cities locked behind the iron curtain for much of our lives. And, of course, Vienna is a hard city to top on any other river itinerary unless you add Budapest. Then it's a toss up. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
I'm a frequent cruiser - although mainly the larger ocean liners. I recently strayed from course and took my mom on a CRYSTAL CRUISES RIVER CRUISE ON THE DANUBE. It was, in a word, SPECTACULAR. Let me start by saying I'm in my ... Read More
I'm a frequent cruiser - although mainly the larger ocean liners. I recently strayed from course and took my mom on a CRYSTAL CRUISES RIVER CRUISE ON THE DANUBE. It was, in a word, SPECTACULAR. Let me start by saying I'm in my mid 40's and my mom is an active 73. We live in the NYC area and are from the entertainment/media fields. We were looking for something more mellow than the traditional big ship offerings, as well as something elegant and steeped in culture-rich activities (tours). CRYSTAL CRUISES surpassed both my mom's and my expectations. The Mozart is CRYSTAL's first foray into the river cruise biz. It's an older ship, retrofitted and refurbished to the line's usual high standards. It's simply stunning. We landed in Vienna and headed straight to the ship. We opted to set up a private car thru Crystal, which was set up weeks prior to departure. The car service rep was waiting right as we walked out of baggage, led us to our driver and off we went for the 30 minute drive to the Mozart. The large SUV was spotless and the driver was friendly and professional. Upon first seeing the Mozart - you may or may not have a little moment of panic ("Wait, this is it?!?") The outside of the ship is very...river cruise-ish. Nothing mindlblowing. But the second you walk up to the glass entryway - WOW. The decor is modern yet elegant. It's clean lines, muted grays and creams...really classy. I looked into another line early on in my planning stages and was turned off by the decor, which looked like a botanical garden gone haywire (lots of florals and brocade-ish appointments; nice but NOT my style). The entire span of the interior of Mozart was dazzling in Christmas decor, since this was a Christmas Market-centric itinerary. Beautifully decorated Christmas trees in every corner, sweet winter gnomes popping up here and there (not creepy looking) and wrapped presents in silvers, golds, greens and reds. With the chill in the air it fast forwarded me right to Christmas Eve. Couples will no doubt feel a wave of love, moms/daughters (there were a couple of these tandems on board actually) will feel grateful for the opportunity to bond. Seriously, I probably sound corny but the Mozart brought such warmth to guests the second we walked on, and it really meant a lot I know to everyone. The crew is, again, amazing. And gorgeous by the way. My mom and I joked with our adorable "butler" Daniel that we were quite pleased with the aesthetics of the ship - EVERYTHING on the ship lol. Handsome young men and lovely women in their 20's and 30's mainly from places like Poland, Slovakia, Latvia. Hard working, friendly, patient and extremely professional. Things to just point out randomly: The average age of the guests I would say is mid to late 60's. This isn't a party ship by any stretch. THAT SAID - if you want to have fun on board, you can absolutely have it and more. My mom and I met two other couples on Day 2 and became inseparable. We would probably be considered the "fun crew" (there were little pods of us that grew as the days went on, then began to morph into one LOL). We would meet up in the mornings before our complimentary tours, sit on the same bus and hang together thru the day. It was fun to share these amazing cities with others. If we wanted alone time, we could easily have it. Everyone "got it"; no one was offended if you split off. But I have to tell you - stumbling on an authentic, locals-type German restaurant after our tour of Munich with new friends, drinking wine, beer, eating delicious food surrounded by a hundred old German men and women who had clearly loved this place forever was AWESOME. Tour buses were spacious, prompt and comfortable - luxury buses. Drivers were safe and friendly. Tours were great. Mozart offered many complimentary tours each day and those were perfect. Guides were just what they should be: Informative, pleasant, professional. We took a tour of the Mauthausen concentration camp. Do this, please. Those of us who did are so grateful. It was very overwhelming but it bonded many of us -- we realized in very stark terms how incredibly lucky we are. People who can afford a luxurious vacation with not a concern in the world walking in the same footsteps as those who were tortured by barbarians was not lost on any of us. Men, women, young, old from The States, Spain, Australia, etc all weeping like children. It was intense but left us feeling very lucky. After the tours wrap up, we usually found ourselves back on ship heading straight for the lounge. Attire on board and off was pretty much the same: Comfort, comfort, comfort with a splash of cute. The lounge can be summarized in one word: Neal. He's the entertainer; a one man show who really made the trip EVERYTHING. He's a cute Brit who plays piano, sings, charms and is hilarious. He sat with my mom and I on night two and we ended up grabbing him for dinner where we continued the laughs. He is equally warm to everyone on board, which is a feat given there are about 185 guests. Our group pitched in and jokingly "presented" him a blue sequined blazer on one of the last nights. He is quite fond of snazzy duds that only HE could get away with. That's the thing - 6 adults, touring Munich, giggling like schoolgirls as we ran around trying to grab that ridiculous jacket. It says it all. Neal, Brian - everyone was just so cool and so cute. And always professional. Watching women who are sitting there with their husbands of 30 years screaming and preening as crazy Neal performs his piano man routine was epic. The memories will last a lifetime. I will follow this up with the names of some folks to keep an eye out for - I don't have them handy but it's important to me to mention them. The food: As good - OR BETTER - than any NYC top tier restaurant, and that is no joke. Part of our crew was in the restaurant biz and they were very, very impressed. The restaurant is run masterfully. You can dress up or keep the causal vibe going but either way you are treated with excellent service from everyone. (Stefan the sommelier was adorable. I told him I wanted to bring him home so my fiancé and I could adopt him. But then he told me he was 32...). I could go on and on, and pretty much have. I just wanted to express how wonderful CRYSTAL CRUISE's Mozart experience was. Any questions - I'm happy to answer. Read Less
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