Just returned from a wonderful holiday cruise on the Crystal Mozart (Dec 22 – Jan 4). While the weather may have been very cold and bleak on certain days and our itinerary had to be modified halfway through the cruise because the Mozart could not sail on to Bratislava and Budapest, we still concluded our trip with great memories of a wonderful cruise.
Crystal has definitely managed to get that “Crystal Onboard” feel transferred from the oceans to the river. Although all the rooms were booked, it never felt busy or full onboard; there were several solo passengers, so the boat was not completely full. There are a number of intimate seating areas (like small living rooms) scattered around on Deck 2 and Deck 3, along with the Bistro area, the Crystal Cove area and the Palm Court. There was always somewhere to sit in the public areas for individuals, small groups or larger parties. The Vista Deck was effectively off-limits for this cruise except for short brisk strolls, when the sun peeked out from under the clouds, given the cold, inclement weather. It was the middle of winter so we were expecting this. In fact, for New Year’s Eve, when the crew knew guests would go out to the promenade deck to see the fireworks along the Danube, the outdoor promenade deck was heavily gritted as it was below freezing. Team Crystal were great at keeping the outdoor promenade deck gritted everytime the tempreture went below freezing.
The pool/spa area was very under-utilized despite the cold weather. While there a small pool, it has one of those rather powerful “current” device, so you can happily swim away as if you were in a large swimming pool since the current of water keeps you from moving forwards. The current is suitable for the serious swimmer and is way too powerful for a leisure swimmer like me. The jacuzzi is a decent size - the bubbles automatically turn off after about three minutes so you have to keep pressing that button by the side. There is large steam room and a large sauna in both the men’s and the ladies’ changing rooms. I was often the only person in there.
I knew we had to pay extra to secure a larger room on the river cruise. All rooms on river boats are usually quite small. The Crystal Mozart’s Penthouse Suite is just the right size to stretch out without too much wasted space. I loved the very long, large sofa to stretch-out on while looking out at the floor-to-ceiling picture window. The bathroom was very nice, with a very irritating automatic toilet seat. Using motion sensors, it opens and closes every time someone enters the bathroom. You could turn this off but we did like the heated toilet seat feature so left it turned on. Toiletries were replaced immediately when used, even towards the end of the cruise.
We had Suite 221 which allowed us to access the reception area very quickly. I loved the ability to just pop over to the pantry to make a cup of tea or coffee at any time of day, rather than having to walk upstairs to the bistro and have it made for me.
A minor irritant is when the kitchen crew roll a trolley along the promenande deck on Deck 3 which is directly above the portside rooms on Deck 2. The rooms along the portside from the middle of the boat to the back (where Blue is located) are likely to be affected by this. One morning, we had an interesting sight watching the garbage being lowered from the promenande deck to the dock just outside our room.
Suites to avoid:
Deck 1: Suite 123 to Room 157 are against the concrete dock when the Mozart is in Vienna. As such daylight is almost non-existance and there is a concrete wall or pilings by the window. Where small docks are used, like in Melk, only suite 119 to Room 129 loose their view. On this cruise, the Mozart was only docked starboard side in Passau. No experience of docking at Budapest and Bratislava since the Mozart stayed in Vienna due to the low river levels.
Deck 2: Avoid Penthouse Suite 205 since the opens directly opposite the Crystal Saloon. As such, it is very bright outside the room, and a bit noisy when the hair dryer is on since the saloon door is permanently open when the Saloon is operational.
The laundry room doors are on both corridors and remain open while the machines and dryer are in use; probably for the ventilation. As such, there is likely to be noise coming through for Penthouse Suite 209 and 206.
Suite 212 (S1 category) is directly under the Crystal Cove piano. In the event, the Entertainment Host stomps on the floor when crooning away on an upbeat number, there will be vibration on the ceiling. Only choose this room, if you are likely to stay on at the bar until midnight every night.