(3:20 p.m. EDT) -- Crystal River Cruises received 106-passenger Crystal Bach -- the first river cruise ship custom-built for the line -- in Wismar, Germany on Thursday.
The all-suite ship, built by MV Werften shipyard, will sail itineraries on the Rhine and Moselle Rivers between Amsterdam and Frankfurt and Amsterdam and Basel. It's the first in a series of four "Rhine Class" ships for Crystal River Cruises; the second vessel, Crystal Mahler, arrives in September. The line launched with Crystal Mozart, a refurbished ship that's one of the largest on European rivers, last summer.
Features of Crystal Bach (and the Rhine Class ships that will follow it) include butler service, king-sized beds, walk-in closets and a choice of specialty restaurants. All cabins sit above the waterline, so there are no "aquarium class" staterooms.
Crystal president and CEO Edie Rodriguez attended the handover, along with local dignitaries. "It is a thrill to welcome Crystal Bachto the family, as she is one of the most anticipated vessels to embark on Europe's rivers in years," Rodriguez said in a statement. "Her design, abundant space and standard of amenities and luxury are groundbreaking in and of themselves, then, combined with the acclaimed Crystal brand of service and attention to detail, create an unprecedented experience in the river cruising industry."
Crystal Bach embarks on its inaugural voyage on August 13, with a 14-night sailing between Amsterdam and Frankfurt.
--By Chris Gray Faust, Senior Editor