13 Crystal River Crystal Debussy Cruise Reviews

I was a reluctant river cruiser, but timing was right so we booked the Christmas cruise to give it a try. I can't say enough good things about the ship or the experience. My first surprise was on boarding - I couldn't get over ... Read More
I was a reluctant river cruiser, but timing was right so we booked the Christmas cruise to give it a try. I can't say enough good things about the ship or the experience. My first surprise was on boarding - I couldn't get over the elegance of this ship. The public rooms are well designed and maintained. Check-in was a breeze, took about 5 minutes - enough time to begin to sip on the welcoming drink they provided while the process was completed. We had one of the "smaller" suites, and it too was elegant and more than adequate space for the amount of time spent in the room. The quality and variety of the meals was perfect - not a lot of options at dinner, but what was served was consistently very good to excellent. We also liked being able to show up whenever within dining hours and sit where we wanted. Entertainment was limited - naturally - but good nonetheless with our entertainment director/piano player. The private concert in Strasbourg Cathedral was special. The staff was amazing. Too many people to thank, but special mention to Peter the bartender, Juris who oversaw the restaurant with incredible attention to detail, and Milo who was on the restaurant staff and took good care of us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We looked forward to a relaxing trip with great food and being docked in the center of towns. Unfortunately most of the docking locations required a bus ride or very long walk to town. There was only 1 therapist in a 1 room ... Read More
We looked forward to a relaxing trip with great food and being docked in the center of towns. Unfortunately most of the docking locations required a bus ride or very long walk to town. There was only 1 therapist in a 1 room "spa". She was rude and didn't listen to our concerns. Some of the food was outstanding including the lobsters flown in from Maine but other dishes were only average. The ship offers a tapas experience in their bistro as an alternative dining venue but will not offer that option unless at least 8 people sign up. Guides on the included excursions were also inconsistent. Some were excellent and others were poor. Took us to a private concert one evening which was excellent. Entertainment director was a one man show most evenings but did a very good job. Hotel manager was unwilling/unable to resolve a relatively minor complaint. Crystal needs to improve their senior management if they want to command premium pricing once the river ships become a few years old. Captain was very gracious when we wandered onto bridge area one evening when ship was passing through a lock. He allowed us to stay on the bridge and explained how lock system operated. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The ship is new and very elegant. Never feels crowded. Pop up bar on top deck is great when you have nice weather. We were in lowest level room and it was equivalent to higher rooms on other ships. Don’t be afraid to book the least ... Read More
The ship is new and very elegant. Never feels crowded. Pop up bar on top deck is great when you have nice weather. We were in lowest level room and it was equivalent to higher rooms on other ships. Don’t be afraid to book the least expensive option. While small, it was just fine. Only criticism of the room is the toilet is a little difficult to use if you are large. There is a very large shower but a squished toilet and small sink. Beds extremely comfortable and they even brought me a temperpedic pillow when I wanted more support. We have been on Ama, Uniworld and Scenic. Food and wine on Crystal and Ama were equally good and consistent. I won’t go on Uniworld or Scenic again because the food was disappointing. Crystal is a little fancier on presentation than Ama but I think Ama overall was slightly better food. Both very good culinary treats! Crystal provides drinks all day vs Ama lunch and dinner only with having to pay rest of time. If you are a big drinker, crystal may be a better deal. Entertainment was good, with the violinist exceptional. I don’t expect great entertainment on river ship. Jed did a nice job with Elton John night. Service exceptional but I expected that from Crystal. They even anticipated some needs. Saw my husband had a c-pap machine and brought distilled water. Overall, great trip although the Rhine isn’t my favorite river. Strasbourg is beautiful and the UNESCO world heritage part of the river is lovely but the rest is ho-hum and dependent on good weather. If you only do one river cruise, I’d take the Seine any day over the Rhine. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We spent 8 days prior to leaving Basel in Switzerland....and spent an extra 3 days in Amsterdam at the end. They check you in while you are sipping on a nice Prosecco....We had EXCELLENT bartenders, shore excursion people, the guides ... Read More
We spent 8 days prior to leaving Basel in Switzerland....and spent an extra 3 days in Amsterdam at the end. They check you in while you are sipping on a nice Prosecco....We had EXCELLENT bartenders, shore excursion people, the guides were very good....The service and the waiters in the dining room were excellent.....The ship is the perfect size. We spent 3 lovely days on the rooftop with wonderful weather and view of beautiful scenery......The staff could not have been better, and hard to go home and not have my butler, bartender, and waiter to spoil me each day........You could always stay in town and there was always a later shuttle....the groups were never to big.....Did not know Crystal allowed kids, but there were 6 on board and they were well behaved....We have done Viking, and this is FAR better....Just having the all inclusive is key.......Wished Crystal had more river ships, but we have always liked the Crystal brand, so not surprised we were this happy. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Debussy staff and ship were more than expected. We were in the “low water” season and initially were worried about the lack of information shared with us on what changes would be made to the itinerary. As we sailed we realized that ... Read More
Debussy staff and ship were more than expected. We were in the “low water” season and initially were worried about the lack of information shared with us on what changes would be made to the itinerary. As we sailed we realized that Crystal’s objective was to keep us onboard, and stay true to the itinerary no matter what...The captain was brilliant and did just that with creative maneuvering. Embarkation and disembarkation was highly personalized with a crew member sitting with us explaining all aspects of the cruise and confirming the requests that were made in advance. When our room was ready we were escorted to the cabin and introduced to the staff that would be caring for us during the sailing. Our departure was also cared for on a one to one ratio. Staff knew our names by the time we set sail! The ship is elegant with personal service that made us feel that we were their favourite guest. Enjoyed that we were able to dine when it suited our schedule and that we had the option to dine alone or with others. The food was incredible and again the service outstanding, with staff remembering our likes and dislikes very quickly. We never felt rushed to leave meal service at anytime which was refreshing. Entertainment varied, with a talented couple leading musically and enthusiastically with trivia and other activities. We had guest speakers with varied topics, a gifted violinist, so truly something for everyone! Shore excursions were a delight, lead with well educated, informative guides and small groups which allowed for an excellent experience. The Crystal busses and drivers were also exemplary. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Chose the original cruise 15 months in advance splendors of the rhine... trip of a lifetime. Total cost $20,000 by the end of it 3 days prior notified we would be in the Netherlands 7 days and Germany 3..how rude of corporate..we only ... Read More
Chose the original cruise 15 months in advance splendors of the rhine... trip of a lifetime. Total cost $20,000 by the end of it 3 days prior notified we would be in the Netherlands 7 days and Germany 3..how rude of corporate..we only cruised 5 hours of daylight and saw the country side of germany..I know the river was low.we should have been offered a refund. A rebooking for next year...or a discount because the itenery substituted was inferior for the price we paid...the crew was awwsome..Crystal only offered us $500 per cabin toward a future trip with them..they should have given passengers a partial refund or other options and more than 3 days notice of a drastic change in our itenary. We spent 3 days in amsterdam..too many...dorchdeht Netherlands. Rotterdam. Nijmegen cochem they skipped bonn and lastly kolbenz..we cruised at night AMD our trip was half as.long as planned..Hoping that crystal corporate comes through with a better compensation for an inferior itenary...otherwise we have learned a hard lesson and spent alot of money for an inferior product and poor customer service from corporate headquarters Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
the really no downsides to anything on this cruise. Food, service and planning were first rate. This is a serious contender for a Rhine river cruise- I would certainly take a hard look at Crystal vs Viking et al. embarcation was 5 ... Read More
the really no downsides to anything on this cruise. Food, service and planning were first rate. This is a serious contender for a Rhine river cruise- I would certainly take a hard look at Crystal vs Viking et al. embarcation was 5 minutes with the iPads that they use and we were in the room in 10 minutes Food was outstanding in every way. There was a set menu with 2 or 3 choices along with suggested regional favorites. One poster said that they didn't follow dietary requests. The ship could probably do a few things but hard core gluten free, reduced salt etc users should look elsewhere - the same as any cruise ship (or restaurant) It isn't a personal chef. Breakfast was good with enough choices as well as lunch. There was a Bistro setup throughout the day for snacks. This isn't a ocean cruise ship with 15 stations set up with every conceivable meal all day - Indian, chinese, sandwiches etc. wine and liquor are included all day and it was top shelf with plenty of choices. Rhine cruises have mostly German and Austrian wines, although there are some French and Italian - mostly for sales as "upgrades". Most would be fine with the wine selections included service around the ship was excellent including the restaurant. The butler is "a butler". he isn't serving food in the off hours. when we had some requests he easily got them for us. Housekeeping was first rate martin kaye was the performer on board and he made the cruise. Piano, singing dancing - he did it all. excursions were good and well planned. The guides included University students who were passionate about telling a story. Take the e bike tour in amsterdam - it was fun. On the top deck it was a collection of couches (under an awning) chaos and padded deck loungers. It doesn't appear that other lines have that. These were comfortable and allowed plenty of space to relax The Petit Suite was big enough for us. Great layout Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We are experienced ocean cruisers, and have landed on Oceania as our preferred line. We have been wanting to go on a river cruise, and decided to give Crystal a try as they had beautiful new build river cruises and a itinerary that met our ... Read More
We are experienced ocean cruisers, and have landed on Oceania as our preferred line. We have been wanting to go on a river cruise, and decided to give Crystal a try as they had beautiful new build river cruises and a itinerary that met our needs and wants. We made the correct decision and are now big fans. Here's why... EMBARKATION: We were in Switzerland for a 1 1/2 weeks prior (amazing!) and were making our way to the ship via the Lucerne, Mürren (alps), Montreux (4 days of partying at the Jazz festival), Bern, and finally taking a train to Basel and a quick Uber to the ship. We were ready to settle down on the ship after moving around so much. Our driver dropped us off and there was a tent set up with a nice man there to take our bags. We walked right on the boat and it was only 11:00 We had a seat in the lounge (Palm Court) and were immediately greeted and offered a drink (tanquery ten and tonics) from their extensive bar. We knew these new ships were very nice from pictures and reviews, but we had no idea just how nice they were. As we sipped our drinks and nibbled mixed nuts nodding at new passengers joining, we marveled at all the detail in this ship. The adjoining "bistro" was set up with a nice setup of light snacks, a lunch menu to order from (think salads, burgers, etc) and a full (and delicious) coffee bar and people were slowly filing in. A few minutes later, a staff member came up and took our photo with a phone, and told us our room would be ready shortly, which it was (about 12:15). CABIN: We entered our cabin and were delighted. We booked an S2 which is the mid-grade room and we would highly recommend this room. It was spacious, comfortable, and the bathroom is amazing (we are re-doing our bathrooms and are incorporating the shower they had - it's that good). Very impressive. We never felt crowded and the french balcony window system is great. We spent the first night with the window down, screen down (use the screen at night always)... We passed through quite a few locks and this was all new and I barely slept laying in bed watching (and listening to this process) over and over. It was fascinating to me. My partner was blissfully asleep in the very comfortable bed. These are top notch cabins. FOOD/DINING: Everything we ate was very good to excellent. The main dining room is well laid out and you can always get a table for two, four, etc. Service is absolutely top notch, friendly, and predictive. We're big fans. EXCURSIONS: I won't go through each of them, but know that sans one, all were very good to excellent and I wouldn't hesitate to book again. The coaches are state of the art and comfortable. Crystal doesn't pack you in - 50% full is the most I've seen on their coaches. Free wifi. If you have to ride a bus, this is the way to do it. ENTERTAINMENT: The bars are always a fun social point and the bartenders are excellent, fun, and on point. Many days there was a guest speaker in the afternoon and several nights there were guest musicians from the port of call. It was quite nice. Our fellow passengers were very social and we ended up making quite a few new friends and had some great dinners. SERVICE: From top to bottom, the best I've ever experienced. It's everything I didn't know I wanted. Non-intrusive, predictive, genuine friendliness. Everyone delivers. MISC: The wifi worked great. The guest laundry worked well, but can get very busy (typical stuff). The fitness center is obviously very small, but worked well for me. I jogged for 30 minutes every morning except for one where I had to use the bike. I didn't use the spa. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The Debussy looked very new which it should since it just entered river sailing last year. By cruise standards, it was quite small (a boat with 100 passengers and 50 odd crew members), but it never felt that way. There's plenty of ... Read More
The Debussy looked very new which it should since it just entered river sailing last year. By cruise standards, it was quite small (a boat with 100 passengers and 50 odd crew members), but it never felt that way. There's plenty of room for everyone. The furnishings are first rate, the food is amazing and dinners are made to order. Breakfast omelets were made to order, and lunches were delicious. We made it a point not to eat in port, but rather enjoy the ship's cuisine. the hamburgers were my favourite! I like to take my time to exercise even on vacation and, I enjoyed the fitness room and stretching classes. The fitness room, although very well equipped, is small and if there's 2 people in there, it feels tight! It was definitely too small for a cruise ship. 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
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
Sail Date June 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
Sail Date May 2018
It was our first river cruise and our first on Crystal. And the Debussy was pretty much brand new as Crystal entered river sailing just last year. If you don't read any further, just know how special this boat is, how caring the ... Read More
It was our first river cruise and our first on Crystal. And the Debussy was pretty much brand new as Crystal entered river sailing just last year. If you don't read any further, just know how special this boat is, how caring the crew is, how wonderful the food is and how nice the cabins, even the smallest public ones are (how about windows that electronically lower with a nice wooden bar halfway down so you can lean on it and watch the world pass by). By cruise standards, a boat with 100 passengers and 50 odd crew members is quite small, but it never felt that way. There's plenty of room for everyone. The furnishings are first rate, the food is amazing and dinners are made to order. Breakfast omelets were made to order, and lunches were delicious. We made it a point not to eat in port, but rather enjoy the ship's cuisine. A special acknowledgement for the hamburgers in the Bistro! A few heartfelt compliments for the crew, starting with the Captain, who I have so much respect for when you see him in his sweats working with the crew in port to load provisions! Octavian, our butler was a sweetheart! Daniela our sommelier, was there for us every night with a special wine! Istavin, our concierge was right on everytime! (BTW, usually I never trust the concierge). And although I try not to exercise while on vacation, I enjoyed Roman's abs and stretching classes. The fitness room, although very well equipped, is small and if there's 2 people in there, it feels tight! The servers in the dining room, Marianna, Lukasz and the others were attentive, without being intrusive. And a special shout out to the kitchen staff and Boyan, the breakfast and lunch chef! Who would thought putting freshly grated horseradish on a bagel and lox could be so good! The Room Attendant, Benne, was on top of it, freshening up the room 2-3x a day. The excursions were first rate, led by interesting guides and the coaches we traveled in (and they traveled with us) were the nicest I've ever been in. Kudos to the security people. The Crystal signature events - Opera, String Quartet, lectures were very good and our entertainment host Martin Kaye was great (even if he refuses to sing Springsteen!). Being all inclusive, everything from liquors, wines and amenities are all premium. My one nit was the tequila. I realize river ships are smaller than their ocean-going breasts, but at least have some Patron Silver or Partida on board. And the showers were great with Etro products, but I think a little wooden bench would have made it more comfortable. My other little nit was the "Michelin-starred" restaurants in Amsterdam on the last night of the cruise. Our experience was poor and talking to fellow travelers, we all agreed that the food was so much better on the ship! Since I was dealing with 9 hours of jet lag, I got to enjoy dawn on the deck several times including going through the locks on the river. It is amazing to see the crew fold everything and the deck bar lowers hydraulically into the deck below! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
My wife and I chose this cruise for two reasons: (1) Our experience on the Crystal Symphony last year was excellent and we were able to obtain great pricing for this river cruise; and (2) the itinerary gave us a chance to visit our son who ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise for two reasons: (1) Our experience on the Crystal Symphony last year was excellent and we were able to obtain great pricing for this river cruise; and (2) the itinerary gave us a chance to visit our son who is studying abroad at a university in Germany. Our journey was just seven days. We had no time to explore Switzerland or the Netherlands on either end of the trip. We felt this was plenty of time and did not regret the schedule at all. Crystal's high quality was evident throughout our trip. The food and drinks were excellent. The staff was always cheerful and eager to assist. The boat was spotless and the itinerary and excursions were very well planned. We had a wonderful time. Martin Kaye provided terrific music each night. He played a little of his own music, but mostly had the crowd singing to pop favorites from the 60s, 70s, 80s, etc. We also greatly enjoyed a special concert at a palace in Koblenz. It was a fancy production and a one-of-a-kind experience. We are kicking ourselves for not taking advantage of the organ recital in the Strasbourg Cathedral. The food was magnificent, especially appetizers and desserts. The coffee and espresso need improvement, but then again, I find that we Americans tend to be dissatisfied with much of the coffee in Europe. Finally, anyone who has problems with seasickness should consider a river cruise. I've never been on a more stable vessel. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Crystal Debussy Ratings
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