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We have cruised on Crystal a fair amount of times and were most anxious to try a river cruise as opposed to an ocean voyage. There are many fine lines that are represented on the rivers, but we decided to remain loyal to Crystal and see how they managed cruising on the Danube. The beginning and end of the cruise had major problems - a matter that I will discuss with Crystal's Air Department. All I can say is make certain there is more than just the "legal" connection time at overseas terminals because you had better count on a delay between crowds, security, customs and weather. Aside from the air problems, this was a wonderful adventure highlighted by a superior staff that went far and above the line of duty. I had often heard that the river cruises were much more intimate that the ocean voyages. This was very true not only of the staff but also fellow passengers. Top "kudos" go to Arno, the excursion manager and all around contact person for just about anything. Whether it was an issue or information, Arno was there to help and soothe. I could not believe that, while waiting for our 5am shuttle from he boat to the airport, Arno was already up, moving luggage. readying the shuttle and still had time to ask if I'd like a latte. He is a joy to work with. Next, I'd like to single out Sonia, the hotel manager. Bright, cheery, knowledgable and well informed. A super nice lady who called us by name by the end of the cruise. I'd like to also mention that our room stewardess, Sylvia, was efficient and charming and made you feel that you really were both a guest and a friend. The room itself is not as large as the ocean going vessels but once you got used to it, it was very functional. I have no basis to compare it with other boats as this was our first river cruise. It was decorated with modern decor and functional. I couldn't believe all of the high tech features that were employed - including a Toto bidet lid. An IPad is in your room which controls everything from the lights, temperature, TV, and even the "Do not disturb" light. The king sized bed was extremely comfortable and when I mentioned to Sylvia that the large King pillow was a bit awkward for me, she promptly brought me a more manageable size. The big screen HD TV had a lot of recent movies which I'd missed. Since there is no "official" entertainment in the evenings similar to an ocean cruise, the was a great time to put on one of Crystal's comfortable robes and enjoy a quiet evening. You'll need the down time. We really enjoyed the daily excursions. There are a lot of walking tours conducted by excellent guides on brand new Crystal busses. I was so happy that they offered excursions to Salzburg as an inclusive. It may have been a 2 hour trip in but very well worth it. My favorite excursion was the concert in Belvedere Palace. The art, of course was amazing. However, the wonderful orchestra played masterfully and the guest vocalists sounded like their voices descended from heaven. There was a thunderstorm that night and the lightning and thunder added an incredible ambiance to the evening. The boat itself was kept in immaculate condition, as one would expect from Crystal. The dining room was much more casual than the ocean going ships but fit in perfectly with the less formal feel. One comment I will be making to Crystal, is that the dining room should have some kind of sound baffling as the low ceilings make it almost impossible to carry on a conversation. A favorite spot was the Mozart Bistro where coffees, expressos, tea, and snacks are served. The servers were young and full of smiles and helpfulness. They would laugh and joke with you like you knew each other for a long time. We did attend a local concert in the Palm Court which was a quality treat. Next time, we may try to do more in this lovely part of the ship. Another example of genuine interest in the passengers, occurred when my husband and I both came down with a virus. I was so tickled because everyone from the waiters to the assistant butler, offered their "home" remedies from Schnapps to Lemon Ginger tea with honey. They cared that you weren't feeling well and wanted to help make it better. On the whole, it seemed to me that the participants were younger than the ocean voyage and more more active. When friends have asked me why we spend the $ to go on Crystal, I've always responded that you get what you pay for. The experience on the Mozart was worth the cost and I am already considering our next river cruise on Crystal.

Our First River Cruise

Crystal Mozart Cruise Review by Carol Ann K

20 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We have cruised on Crystal a fair amount of times and were most anxious to try a river cruise as opposed to an ocean voyage. There are many fine lines that are represented on the rivers, but we decided to remain loyal to Crystal and see how they managed cruising on the Danube.

The beginning and end of the cruise had major problems - a matter that I will discuss with Crystal's Air Department. All I can say is make certain there is more than just the "legal" connection time at overseas terminals because you had better count on a delay between crowds, security, customs and weather.

Aside from the air problems, this was a wonderful adventure highlighted by a superior staff that went far and above the line of duty. I had often heard that the river cruises were much more intimate that the ocean voyages. This was very true not only of the staff but also fellow passengers. Top "kudos" go to Arno, the excursion manager and all around contact person for just about anything. Whether it was an issue or information, Arno was there to help and soothe. I could not believe that, while waiting for our 5am shuttle from he boat to the airport, Arno was already up, moving luggage. readying the shuttle and still had time to ask if I'd like a latte. He is a joy to work with.

Next, I'd like to single out Sonia, the hotel manager. Bright, cheery, knowledgable and well informed. A super nice lady who called us by name by the end of the cruise. I'd like to also mention that our room stewardess, Sylvia, was efficient and charming and made you feel that you really were both a guest and a friend.

The room itself is not as large as the ocean going vessels but once you got used to it, it was very functional. I have no basis to compare it with other boats as this was our first river cruise. It was decorated with modern decor and functional. I couldn't believe all of the high tech features that were employed - including a Toto bidet lid. An IPad is in your room which controls everything from the lights, temperature, TV, and even the "Do not disturb" light. The king sized bed was extremely comfortable and when I mentioned to Sylvia that the large King pillow was a bit awkward for me, she promptly brought me a more manageable size. The big screen HD TV had a lot of recent movies which I'd missed. Since there is no "official" entertainment in the evenings similar to an ocean cruise, the was a great time to put on one of Crystal's comfortable robes and enjoy a quiet evening. You'll need the down time.

We really enjoyed the daily excursions. There are a lot of walking tours conducted by excellent guides on brand new Crystal busses. I was so happy that they offered excursions to Salzburg as an inclusive. It may have been a 2 hour trip in but very well worth it. My favorite excursion was the concert in Belvedere Palace. The art, of course was amazing. However, the wonderful orchestra played masterfully and the guest vocalists sounded like their voices descended from heaven. There was a thunderstorm that night and the lightning and thunder added an incredible ambiance to the evening.

The boat itself was kept in immaculate condition, as one would expect from Crystal. The dining room was much more casual than the ocean going ships but fit in perfectly with the less formal feel. One comment I will be making to Crystal, is that the dining room should have some kind of sound baffling as the low ceilings make it almost impossible to carry on a conversation. A favorite spot was the Mozart Bistro where coffees, expressos, tea, and snacks are served. The servers were young and full of smiles and helpfulness. They would laugh and joke with you like you knew each other for a long time. We did attend a local concert in the Palm Court which was a quality treat. Next time, we may try to do more in this lovely part of the ship.

Another example of genuine interest in the passengers, occurred when my husband and I both came down with a virus. I was so tickled because everyone from the waiters to the assistant butler, offered their "home" remedies from Schnapps to Lemon Ginger tea with honey. They cared that you weren't feeling well and wanted to help make it better.

On the whole, it seemed to me that the participants were younger than the ocean voyage and more more active. When friends have asked me why we spend the $ to go on Crystal, I've always responded that you get what you pay for. The experience on the Mozart was worth the cost and I am already considering our next river cruise on Crystal.
Carol Ann K’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Dining
Public Rooms
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