7 Crystal River Crystal Ravel Cruise Reviews

This cruise was excellent. Food was great. Excursions are top notch. Service was the best We were on Crystal Debussy last summer. This was an identical experience - just colder We had the S1 category room with an expanded closet ... Read More
This cruise was excellent. Food was great. Excursions are top notch. Service was the best We were on Crystal Debussy last summer. This was an identical experience - just colder We had the S1 category room with an expanded closet and double sink. For a winter cruise the larger closet makes sense as the outwear take up a lot of space. Room is immaculate and well laid out. In room amenities are excellent. coffee, wine, water are all included Dining is really a major part of our experience and this ship does not disappoint. Dinner is absolutely stellar. It really is Michelin level food. Every dinner is spot on. Breakfast and lunch is mostly "buffet", but that isn't a downgrade. There is always something good to eat as an entree. Starters and deserts are small - that allows sampling of a variety While the two entertainers are very good, I viewed them as just entertainers. They really don't command the room and take you on a journey. We had a piano player last year -Martin Kaye - and he was great. They need someone with more of a stage presence given the size of the room. They had a few other entertainers brought on board - all good and enjoyable Service in every aspect was excellent. restaurant, butler, housekeeping - everything. They knew your name in a day, they knew your drink in a day Excursions are generally small in size and well explained. Guides are knowledgable. The bus service is great My one gripe is that very young kids are allowed on the boat - two in this case. I know every discussion of "I have been with loud adults, my kid is well behaved etc..." On a river cruise there really isn't a place for the kids to do what kids do. Palm Court becomes a play area during the day, dinner is listening to Barney on an iPad. Moody teenagers staring at their iPhone is one thing, watching a 3 yo dance at 10 pm in Palm Court is another Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I happened upon a great sale on Crystal River Cruises and my husband and I had never sailed the Danube, so I thought, why not? This wasn't even meant to be our big vacation for the year - we went to Australia last May. I arranged ... Read More
I happened upon a great sale on Crystal River Cruises and my husband and I had never sailed the Danube, so I thought, why not? This wasn't even meant to be our big vacation for the year - we went to Australia last May. I arranged our own airfare on American in Premium Economy (nice and roomy for the flights both ways although the seats don't lay flat, they are at least more comfortable and the food is better). We always fly in at least 1 day prior to the cruise to insure that no travel delay affects our ability to board the ship. We stayed in Vienna at Hotel Das Tyrol which was an excellent location and lovely boutique hotel with all the sights of Vienna in close walking distance and many nearby restaurants. We had Weiner Schnitzel for lunch and then headed to the Imperial Palace to take the Sisi tour. Much of Sisi's story reminded me of Princess Diana, including her tragic and early death. It was very interesting seeing reproductions of her gowns and jewels as well as seeing where she lived, her fitness equipment and learning her story. The next day we boarded the Crystal Ravel. It is important to know that there are 2 places that Crystal docks in Vienna. One location is near the Hilton Vienna Danube hotel and the other is further away, so prior to leaving for this cruise I asked the onshore butler for the addresses of both locations and the phone number for the Ravel and from Hotel das Tyrol, we called the ship and asked where they were docked that morning so we would know where to direct our taxi driver. That morning they were at the dock further away (really about a 15 minute cab ride and no problem whatsoever.) As soon as we arrived at the ship, the crew took our luggage and we were taken to our suite to check in. We were in suite 226 which is a Deluxe Suite with Panoramic Balcony Window S2. The cabin included a bathroom with a large walk in shower and 2 sinks, walk-in closet with safe and there was plenty of space for all of our stuff. The cabin felt too warm to us so the butler had a word with the ship's engineer and they were able to make the room much cooler and more comfortable in no time. They were also able to provide me with the right foam pillows as I am allergic to down pillows. The food in the Ravel's Waterside Restaurant was excellent. We had a light lunch and then a fabulous dinner and the included wines were extremely good. The next day we took the Estergom and Danube Bend tour - it was wonderful and we met the ship in Budapest. Budapest is stunningly beautiful - especially at night. We definitely want to go back for a land vacation. The ship was docked near the Market Hall and about a mile walk to the Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial. It is a very touching memorial - so simple and poignant, it really drove the message home that even the youngest and most innocent among us were not safe. That evening we went to see The Princesses of Violin for a private show for Crystal Ravel guests. It was a great show. Many guests mistakenly expected an all classical music show and were surprised to hear both classical music and modern music. The next day we took the tour of Parliament and the Market Hall where I bought cherries enrobed in chocolate and cognac, paprika and AIKA crystal cut to clear glasses. They don't ship these glasses, however, I was prepared with a universal sized carry on roll-aboard so that I can bring back fragile items safely. The next day, we were in Bratislava and went on a tour and then beer tasting experience and some more shopping. Bratislava has a very charming historic town center and it was fun walking among these buildings, looking in the shop windows and enjoying the sights. In Krems we went to the Schloss Gobelsburg Wine Tasting - this tour was only taken by 10 passengers and included a cellar tour and wine and appetizers in the beautiful castle. In Melk, we walked into the charming town and did more shopping and in Linz, we took the day long tour to the Cesky Krumlov. It was a cold day but luckily the shops and restaurants were open. We had a great lunch and then walked around the town, going into many of the shops. I looked at some Czech crystal - 4 goblets and a decanter and the store clerk quoted me the craziest price ever - $2,500. I collect cut-to-clear crystal and know what the prices should be (glasses are usually less than $50 per stem and the regular decanters should be well under $300 and the larger ones under $500) so I just laughed and told him no. He reduced the price twice more and offered $1,800 for the set - still way too high (should have been no more than $1000 and probably more like $700), his explanation for the high price was the color I chose (not true - all colors are priced the same, the pricing is based the number of cuts) so I left the crystal behind at that shop. If you are interested in cut to clear crystal or hand cut crystal, before you go on a Danube cruise, get on Ebay and look at the prices and brands and designs to figure out what you like. AJKA is one of the best brands. Their crystal is exported to the US as Wedgwood, Tiffany's, Rosenthal, Waterford Crystal, Polo Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior, Moser and other high end French Crystal Manufacturers. If you buy your crystal in Budapest at the Market Hall, you will get your crystal at a fraction of the price charged in retail stores in the US. This video is helpful in learning about AJKA Crystal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQFyOmw12oQ. and this video is helpful for learning about the Romanov collection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FxtRrQlbh4. For our final day. in Vienna, we went to the Schonbrunn Palace - it was super cold that day. and the guide was determined to walk us around the garden, so I headed for the tea room and had some hot fruit tea! My husband joined me after an attempt at taking a few photos in the garden. After 45 minutes it was time to meet to enter the palace and we had a very nice tour inside. That evening, we went to Michelin-star dining at Edvaard. My husband didn't like the faux garlic, faux oyster or sardine courses and I began to recall the disastrous Omakase dinner on "Odd Mom Out". It hadn't occurred to me that there would be several courses in a tasting menu he would not like as we regularly have tasting menus. LOL!. Fortunately he loved the pork and venison courses and the pumpkin and white chocolate dessert. I liked all the courses but found the wait between courses to be a bit long compared to other restaurants where I have experienced tasting menus. All of the wines served were extremely good. Meanwhile back on the ship throughout the cruise, we had a lot of great food, great wine and there was a young couple who were the entertainers - they were very talented. There were also two enrichment lectures and a couple of different local entertainers who put on good shows. If I had any criticism of this cruise at all, I would say it was too short. Every single day I woke up thinking how great the previous day had been and every single day I enjoyed all the new things we did, the food and everything on the ship. Other than some rain and a very cold day on our return to Vienna the weather was actually very good. On disembarkation day, you are allowed to stay in your cabin until 10am, so we had a leisurely breakfast and then headed out for our post cruise hotel - the Ritz Carlton. This proved to be another great hotel choice and we walked down the street to Cafe Swartzenberg for another lunch of Weiner schnitzel and a mixed vegetable salad followed by a chocolate dessert and hot tea. Although most things in Vienna are closed on Sunday, the local mall had been taken over by an antique sale, so we walked through that and looked at the various items on offer. If you are considering a cruise on the Crystal Ravel, my advice is to go. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Crystal met us at the airport, helped us with luggage to their coach (bus), and had our cabin ready early. The staff (with only a few exceptions) were overwhelmingly helpful and friendly. We had put the provided tags on our luggage, so ... Read More
Crystal met us at the airport, helped us with luggage to their coach (bus), and had our cabin ready early. The staff (with only a few exceptions) were overwhelmingly helpful and friendly. We had put the provided tags on our luggage, so once we left the airport we didn't have to worry with it until it showed up in our cabin--and pretty quickly at that. The Butler service would have unpacked for us but we preferred to do that ourselves. My husband asked for several shirts to be pressed (complimentary service) and they were done well. There was always some type of food and beverage available. Meals were very good. The dining room wait staff was always nice and didn't show stress, although it is the one area where I thought they might be slightly understaffed. Service was still very good. Shore excursions were mostly great, with included choices as well as "pay extra" choices. Guides were all good, and the majority were Excellent. One of us did a couple of bike tours and those were great as well. The only excursion I wish we would have skipped was a horse show near Budapest. It was fine, but had we known more about it we would have preferred to spend more free time in Budapest instead. Tours travel on Crystal's buses which seem brand new and are very nice. Loved the Listening Devices as I have always struggled to hear tour guides. Popular tours sometimes had a few more people in each group than I would have preferred but the listening devices made it feel more intimate. I had a relaxing massage on board, and a friend had a more deep tissue massage. Masseuse rating: 5 stars. There were a few entertainment "extras" which were excellent. And the adorable couple who entertained nightly on board the ship were each talented and fun. Loved them! We loved the low number of passengers (106 max) and high staff ration. Most passengers were in the 50-70 age range. Never seemed crowded; never had to wait in line. We are already thinking of which Crystal River Cruise to do next! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We thoroughly enjoyed our recent Crystal Ravel cruise, round-trip from Vienna. We found the level of service to be outstanding. The staff were wonderful in all departments. The food was overall delicious, with plenty of choices. ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our recent Crystal Ravel cruise, round-trip from Vienna. We found the level of service to be outstanding. The staff were wonderful in all departments. The food was overall delicious, with plenty of choices. Embarkation was a little confusing because the ship was docked away from the main docks in Vienna. But they had a representative stationed at the main dock with a Crystal wind feather, so arriving passengers could get specific instructions on the location of the ship. Once we were aboard, check-in was fast and easy. We were in one of the "petite suites", which lacks the double sinks and walk-in closet of the full-sized suites. Nevertheless, it was sufficient for our needs, spotlessly clean, quiet, and very comfortable. There was a good choice of excursions in every port. We loved the bicycle tours, although they should only be selected by people who are experienced cyclists. The ship offered a few extra activities, including a tour of the galley, and an evening sail through Budapest so we could see it lit up at night. Disembarkation went smoothly. While most other ships require passengers to be out of their room by 8:30, we were allowed to stay in ours until 10:00, giving us a few extra minutes of sleep, and a more leisurely disembarkation. This was our first Crystal river cruise, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
For several years now I had wanted to cruise the Danube, maybe from watching all the Viking ads on PBS’ Masterpiece programs. So I began researching river cruises around the time Crystal first entered this market, and the reviews ... Read More
For several years now I had wanted to cruise the Danube, maybe from watching all the Viking ads on PBS’ Masterpiece programs. So I began researching river cruises around the time Crystal first entered this market, and the reviews immediately pegged it as the top of the line for luxury cruises. By the time we were able to actually book a cruise, Crystal’s river fleet had expanded and we wound up on a 10-day expedition on the newest addition, the Crystal Ravel. We were not disappointed: In fact, it was one of the rare experiences that totally exceeded expectations. First, the ship itself was smallish (four decks), with about a hundred passengers. I loved that it felt intimate—I have a horror of the 10-deck behemoths that cruise oceans. At the same time it was also stylish and modern. Our cabin wasn’t huge, but it had a small walk-in closet, a bathroom with two sinks and an excellent shower, and a very comfortable king sized bed. It also had a large flat screen TV, and we enjoyed watching a movie on it one night. Overall it was a very comfortable refuge. Then there was the food. We live in San Francisco, a foodie Mecca, but the cuisine on the Ravel was nothing short of marvelous, especially the sit-down dinners (they only had a buffet one night). Almost every meal was like eating at a five-star restaurant, with service to match. Wines on the all-inclusive menu were good to great (you can opt to pay extra for premium wines but we never felt the need). Two special meal options are worth mentioning: The bistro dinner in the smallish cafe (it’s free but you must reserve a seat since they can’t accommodate more than a couple of dozen diners), and the gourmet experience in the Vintage Room, a pricey but amazing 8-course meal with awesome wines (you must also reserve this ahead of time—we ate with four other people). Even if you don’t splurge on the Vintage Room, definitely try the bistro meal, which is sort of tapas-like—a lot of small plates with everything from steak tartare and gravlax to prime beef, shrimp, and caviar. It was outstanding. Breakfast buffets were great, and you could opt for ordered specialties (e.g. eggs Benedict); I rarely even ate lunch but people I spoke with also enjoyed casual bistro and served options. Crystal’s all-inclusive shore excursions covered all the basics, and we also opted for a couple of esoteric extra-cost outings (for example, Vienna’s Jewish history). Guides were generally excellent, especially the one who escorted us through the infamous Mauthausen death camp. I liked that he didn’t sugar coat his comments on the complicity of the Austrian people. Finally, the service. Every single crew member, from housekeepers and wait staff to tour organizers, the couple who provided musical and games entertainment at night, and the butler who twice a day refreshed the ice in our ice bucket, seemed truly dedicated to pampering and otherwise seeing to our comfort and satisfaction. By the end of the 10 days they seemed to know all of us by name, and always greeted us as we walked by. This cruise was a splurge for my husband and I, but we both felt it was well worth it. Crystal In our view lived up to its reputation as the best European river cruise line out there. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We are still in disbelief as to what happened to us at the hands of Crystal. More unbelievable is the uncaring, disregard they have exhibited since our return. We were assured this would be handled with the utmost attention. That has not ... Read More
We are still in disbelief as to what happened to us at the hands of Crystal. More unbelievable is the uncaring, disregard they have exhibited since our return. We were assured this would be handled with the utmost attention. That has not happened almost five months later. I could write pages describing this ordeal but will try to keep it concise. Our cruise documents we received had no information regarding the embarkation for our cruise. We figured maybe they did not have this information when they sent our tickets, and we would be hearing from them by text, cellphone, or email giving us this vital information. How else would we know how to find the Ravel ? They certainly have no problem contacting you when they want your money. We were in Budapest 6 days at a 5 star hotel prior to our cruise so we asked our concierge if he had this information. We thought it must be routine for them to know, although the ultimate responsibility was Crystals. He gave us the information he had and we went out to find the pontoon where our boat would be. We found it and were confident in his information. We never heard from Crystal. On the morning of our cruise we had arranged for a cab to take us and our 3 - 50+ bags and 4 carry ons to the pontoon (dock). There was a marathon with hundreds of runners that we were unaware of which closed the street we needed to be on. We did not know this until our cab could not get through. The cab had to let us out as he could go no further. We had no choice but to walk the 1/4 of a mile to the pontoon (5), the road was going to be closed till late evening. I was really worried because I was still recovering from major shoulder surgery I had in December but we had no choice. The race had ended so we dragged our bags through the street. It was littered with cups and debris which was getting caught in the wheels of our bags, not to mention almost being run over by the street cleaning truck spewing water everywhere, we barely got out of their way. When we got to the pontoon there was NO Ravel there. My husband called Crystal and they put him through to the Ravel. They were clueless as to what was going on outside on the street and told us to get a cab. They were at another pontoon 5 way down in the other direction. My husband told them of the dire straits we were in and asked them to send someone by foot to help us. I saw what looked like a dock master office and went in. They barely spoke English but pointed in that same direction. We tried to walk fearful that more festivities were starting soon and we would really be in trouble. That is when the Budapest police came along and told us we could not be in the street. We told them of our situation and asked them to please drive down and verify that the Ravel was indeed where we were told, which was almost a mile away. They did and came back and said it was there. We asked them to please help us. They took us, one at a time with our luggage to the boat. Their car was so small that only one officer, one of us and some of our luggage would fit at one time. No one from Crystal ever came to help. Thank god for the wonderful Budapest police. You can only imagine how embarrassed we were arriving with the police. We filled the survey they sent right away. We heard from various Crystal employees promising a swift response. It mostly fell on deaf ears until we received an offer of $125.00 each toward another cruise with a lot of stipulations. Still no answer as to how they were going to tell us where the boat was. We finally heard from the manager of cruise relations she said "the river boat industry is very different than ocean cruising and that Crystal must find a better way to inform guests as to where the boat is located. She went on to say they are currently doing that with the assistance of their IT and marketing department and hope to have a solution soon. One would think a company that touts themselves as five star would have had this important aspect figured out long ago She wished me a full recovery of my shoulder. That was it. I asked her in an email who in corporate was aware of this situation and she never responded. I am still seeing my doctor for the pain I have had since dragging our bags and may need another MRI to see if I did any damage. I agree with Radar 65's comments. Also know if there is a drought like they had in 2018 your expensive river cruise (ours was $10,000) could easily turn into a bus tour. Not exactly what you envision when wanting to cruise the Danube or other European river. We heard the details from our cruise director and they sounded bad. Through all my conversations with our cruise consultant in 2018 she never mentioned one thing about this drought that was so adversely affecting Crystal. More cons than pros with this form of travel. Breakfast only served till 9 AM in the main restaurant, limited other choices if you are a late riser. Cooked to order pancakes, waffles were only available by special request, very tight quarters in the suites, drought or too much water means boat cannot sail. too much water and they cannotget under the bridges. Small spa treatment room with one esthetician and almost impossible to reschedule. One of our excursions was changed and Crystal did not tell us so we had to change our treatments to a time that was not good. They also are getting rid of the Mozart. The river boat they touted as the Grand Dame of their fleet, the Queen of the Danube. It is NOT going to be a luxury river boat in 2020 and is going to Asia. They spent a lot of money refurbishing this boat not that many years ago, so who knows what is going on with Crystal. I also think this company has been sold maybe a few years ago. I would be very careful booking with Crystal. Read all the other reviews especially the lack of reimbursement due to the drought. If you don't mind spending big bucks on a bus trip, you might be fine with it. We have traveled all over the world and this was by far the most harrowing, dangerous experience we have ever had. Our first and last river cruise. Never again for us !! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I have cruised on many ocean lines with Seabourn being my favorite. This was my first river cruise. The service was great, food ok, room well designed, but, we had a huge problem. The river water was too low for us to navigate the ... Read More
I have cruised on many ocean lines with Seabourn being my favorite. This was my first river cruise. The service was great, food ok, room well designed, but, we had a huge problem. The river water was too low for us to navigate the Danube so we did a 3 day round trip from Vienna to Wachau valley and did not sail to Slovakia or Budapest. That was a major disappointment to not sail into Budapest. The ship made a weak attempt to still cover the itinerary by booking us into a 4-star hotel in Budapest and giving us an $80 euro dining credit for our final day! Does not begin to cover the cost of the cruise which was around $1600 a day. The worst part was how while we were in Vienna for so many days we were sandwiched between two boats so had to keep the curtains closed at all times as the boat next to us was literally 2 inches away from us and a guest room on that boat! Claustrophobic! It was very overpriced for what was delivered and I will not cruise agin on Crystal. I consider it to be a total rip off. Horrible experience, never again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
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