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...
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Beautiful and spacious. We loved everything about the room.