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102 Vienna to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

We were directed to this cruise by our travel agent. We were treated like royalty by the crew. The ship was beautiful,the food was exquisite,and the cities we saw were gorgeous. We could not have expected to be treated so well. Vienna was ... Read More
We were directed to this cruise by our travel agent. We were treated like royalty by the crew. The ship was beautiful,the food was exquisite,and the cities we saw were gorgeous. We could not have expected to be treated so well. Vienna was lovely and warm. All of the cities had something special to offer. The Christmas markets were unique and special. The Nuremberg tour was very sobering. Seeing the Nazi parade grounds,the Documentation Center and courtroom 600 brought everything I had learned in history class to life. Our waitstaff on the ship were excellent. They were attentive and professional. By the second day they knew our last name and always referred to us by name. I had never experienced that on a cruise before. Our cruise director gave us a briefing every evening of what to expect the next day. The tours were informative and fun,especially our trip to the Bavarian Forest. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Our group of 24 friends from Singapore were on our first ever river Cruise though we have travelled on many Ocean ones. It turned out to be beyond our expectations . It was a president`s cruise as Ms Edie Rodrigues was on board. There ... Read More
Our group of 24 friends from Singapore were on our first ever river Cruise though we have travelled on many Ocean ones. It turned out to be beyond our expectations . It was a president`s cruise as Ms Edie Rodrigues was on board. There was nothing the staff could not do for us... everywhere! Service at the Waterside Restaurant was superb thru all three meals. ...the food served at every meal was beyong expectations. So was the Bistrot when we wanted something simpler. The shore excursions on the Crystal owned buses were led by top flight guides who worked really hard to give us a nice time. They were well planned especailly the one to the Vienna museum where we were let in 30 minutes ahead of the public . It gave us the opportunity to view the objets d`art at our own pace. The special event Crystal concert and viewing at the Belvedere Palace was something I will remember all my life. We were given a tour of the Klimt masterpieces and the "Kiss" of course, before a concert by a 17 man orchestra of fine musicians playing Mozart and Strauss! Two ballet dancers performed as well as a couple singing opera. At the end the MC annouced a special surprise...three couples in formal evening wear danced to the same orchestra in the Grand foyer ! They invited the rest of us to dance to the Strauss waltzes... what an opportunity. To dance the Viennese Waltz in the Belvedere Palace to live music in the Grand Foyer!This went on for about half an hour and as we made our way to the buses...it began to snow to everyone`s delight! There s a special person I would like to mention...Sonia Gruber , head of the hotel section. She was everywhere... , when we left and when we returned on our excursions. On a cold day as the ones we experienced to come back to hot chocolate drinks ...warm smiles of welcome...Wow! Our departure time was 6.45 am on the last morning and Sonia was also there... to send us off! Our whole group enjoyed ourselves so much we have booked another Cruise also on the Mozart but this time eastwards to Budapest and beyond in the Fall of 2017. Thank you Crystal.. you guys were absolutely brilliant!! See you next October! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Just got back from this cruise. I'm a veteran sea cruise with nearly a dozen or so previous cruises on Celebrity, Princess, Holland America, Royal Carib, and Carnival. The two star rating is based on the same scale as these other ... Read More
Just got back from this cruise. I'm a veteran sea cruise with nearly a dozen or so previous cruises on Celebrity, Princess, Holland America, Royal Carib, and Carnival. The two star rating is based on the same scale as these other ships. If I were to base the rating on the fact that this supposedly a 5-6 star ship, one star would be more than generous. (Having written and nearly three page review on this forum that somehow did not get published, I am going to keep this relatively brief). On two separate occasions, Crystal was very close to leaving me, my wife, and other guests stranded in in the dark, near freezing temperatures, in a totally unfamiliar environment. Totally foreseeable and unforgivable. Food was mediocre for the first week and selection very limited. Do not try their 'local dishes' for they don't know how to cook them (we tried to local dishes in many restaurants at many stops along the way and they were delicious.) The Bistro that supposedly features street food from all over the world has a fixed menu limited to about 9 items. In my book, ceasar salad, beef tartar, and fried mushrooms is not 'street food.' The food was so bad and limited that I was hungry for the first week. Food did improve during the second week. While I was looking forward to the Michelin rated dining experience - we did not get the menu until the day of the event. With a fixed menu featuring pigeon as the main dish, I decided against going and ended up eating ham and cheese for dinner. Service level is robotic and very confused. With the exception of a few individuals, service emphasis is on efficiency - It was hard to find a friendly smile or a warm conversation in the entire dining room staff. We supposedly had a 'butler' who introduced himself during the second day of our stay and was never to be heard from again. My wife and I had a massage at the spa - we both agree it was among the worst we've experienced in many years. Staff to guest ratio is excellent;however, many staff members stand around with nothing to do - I say put those people to good use - maybe a course on how to say a few words in the local language. Discussions about culture - history - traditions. Host various card and board games... Anything to make the stay aboard the ship more entertaining. Excursions: Some are misleading - castle tour turns out to be a tour of a small museum. Many of the tour guides have difficult to understand accents and are not flexible to accommodate their groups, for example, walking very fast when you have a lot of elderly people in the group, stopping for a prolonged time in a very cold un- sheltered area in near freezing temperatures. Crystal's quality control emphasis appears to be on the back end - so, instead of ensuring quality ahead of time, they employ quality control after the fact to see if everyone is happy. Entertainment: Very limited activities - entertainment staff limited to one member who plays piano to music form the 60's and early 70's. Five local guest 'local' entertainers making limited appearance at various stops - Two were terrible, one was ok, and two were fantastic. On a positive note, the private concert at the Belvedere Palace was incredible. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
--OVERVIEW: This review is about my 10 day Danube cruise from Vienna to Budapest. The Mozart is the largest and I understand it to be the most luxurious river ship in Europe, having been stunningly remodeled this year. I've done ... Read More
--OVERVIEW: This review is about my 10 day Danube cruise from Vienna to Budapest. The Mozart is the largest and I understand it to be the most luxurious river ship in Europe, having been stunningly remodeled this year. I've done over 30 cruises (including some luxury lines and the old Crystal Harmony) and river cruises (including luxury competitor Uniworld), and recommend this all-inclusive ship without reservation as being the most luxurious ship I've experienced. --MY CABIN: The entire ship is ultra-modern, so ignore the unflattering photos of the exterior. I was a single in a gorgeous and comfortable cabin with a window just above the water line. Features included: 40" high-def t.v. with good reception; roomy bath with no-splash shower; great king-sized mattress; Nespresso machine; remote controlled toilet/bidet (I turned it off); controls on iPad that I ignored because it was redundant, etc. Attentive butler service is included, and the female room attendant even wore attractive make-up. The entire ship feels roomy and uncrowded with just a 160 passenger max, tho my trip was not entirely filled because of the time of year. --FOOD: As fine as any I've ever consistently experienced on water or even land. They really know seafood, pork, lamb, and beef, tho they're typically European in not knowing how to make a great steak, including my special order ribeye that wasn't very tender or tasty. (Note: no specialty steakhouse). The lunch buffet offers even a bigger selection than the fine evening meals, including the great pastries & desserts. (I skipped breakfasts in a vain effort to hold down calories). The cruise also offers an included Michelin starred restaurant ashore, but some of us cancelled our reservations because upon seeing its menu we assumed the fine food on board made the Michelin excursion not worth the effort! --SERVICE: The highest staff to passenger ratio I've ever experienced, and also the highest ratio on the Danube. The service was truly amazing and friendly everywhere; the ton of extremely helpful waiters had to try hard to look busy. --BEVERAGES INCLUDED: All but the ships very finest wines and spirits are included, starting with the cabin having arrival bottles of good sparkling wine, white wine, red wine, beer, soft drinks, and bottled waters. The very free-flowing alcohol on board exceeded expectations, and the bartenders really know their stuff. Note: ask for the extensive list of included beverages, because otherwise the waiters just offer a more limited selection of good wines if you don't ask for the list showing the rest of the included beverages. --WI-FI: Unlimited satellite wi-fi is included without extra charge, and the speed is a bit sporadic depending on the demand level of other passengers and whether we're passing large hills. --ELECTRICAL: The online and brochure descriptions are confusing. The reality is that the ship offers 220 Volts only, which is usable if your laptop and chargers automatically handle both 110V and 220V. (Check the converter "brick" on your device power cord to see if it automatically converts). Otherwise, while the boat offers a plug adapter for American electronics, you'll have to provide your own 220V to 110V power converter. --INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS: Various excursions are included with several more expensive ones you can pay for; I only used the included ones. Four new full-sized roomy buses (with toilets) follow the ship from port to port. No buses were ever crowded. --MISCELLANEOUS: The large top deck has a pop-up pilot bridge and bar for lowering the height when going under bridges. It also has a viewing area for warm weather movie viewing. The small indoor pool, large jacuzzi, and gym are new and no charge, tho the spa services cost extra. Entertainment: Several musicians came onboard at port stops. Otherwise the ship's permanent and witty singer/pianist/games host was very good, including sing-alongs. --OWNER AMBITIONS: Owned by a Hong Kong company (perhaps with some mainland money?), and they're throwing big bucks at Crystal in order to dominate the top ultra-luxury travel business. Four new-build river ships are being prepared , a super-luxury ocean yacht, a dedicated Antarctic cruise ship (with helicopter), and Crystal's own Boeing 777. This cruise included several Crystal corporate employees to analyze ways to improve the experience, but that'll be tough to do. I even met four Americans who were on the cruise for the duration to install a huge amount of the very finest European Christmas holiday decorations. --BOTTOM LINE: I typically don't do a lot of luxury cruises, but this was such an unexpectedly superior experience that I'll likely have to become a Crystal repeat customer. All the other passengers I met were similarly enthusiastic about this truly lap of luxury experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Best cruise experience ever - river or ocean. Crystal has out-done themselves in creating a beautiful ship, well trained staff and every detail considered and implemented. The food was incredible - best I've ever had on a cruise ship. ... Read More
Best cruise experience ever - river or ocean. Crystal has out-done themselves in creating a beautiful ship, well trained staff and every detail considered and implemented. The food was incredible - best I've ever had on a cruise ship. Guides on shore excursions were all local and among the very best. For a river cruise, the suites were remarkably spacious, although 2 single beds meant that the cupboard could not open fully. The ship was spotlessly clean. I loved the use of technology - the use of iPads/iPhons by staff made things even more seamless - they were used for the embarkation process, leaving and coming on and off the ship, used by the waiters and iPad minis were in our rooms, which doubled as an alarm clock. The iPads in our rooms could have been used even more in terms of adding the daily itinerary (instead of paper). The on-board guest entertainment was very very good. THere was the kitschy local folk/dancing group, which was a bit of a miss, but otherwise, the opera singer, piano and multi-instrument duo, and jazz trio were of fantastic quality. Neil was the Crystal entertainer - this was his first cruise on the Mozart and hadn't been on a cruise ship for a while. Very nice guy but he was obviously rusty and a bit of a disappointment. The evening out at the Belvedere palace was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We had a guide who was passionate about the Klimt paintings and set the stage for a wonderful concert. Something else that set this cruise apart from every other cruise was the Michelin restaurant experience. We went to the Winekitchen in Budapest. One of the best meals I've ever had. At the end of the meal we had the special treat of driving by the Hungarian Parliament buildings -- an evening I will remember for a very long time to come. I should add that the passengers on our cruise were so friendly. That was the icing on the cake for a perfect cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our second Uniworld cruise, having done Basel to Amsterdam two years ago. The Ambassador is among their smaller ships but our suite was outstanding. There was a nice sized witting area with plenty of storage and closet space. ... Read More
This was our second Uniworld cruise, having done Basel to Amsterdam two years ago. The Ambassador is among their smaller ships but our suite was outstanding. There was a nice sized witting area with plenty of storage and closet space. The bath was large, double sinks and a big walk in shower and was well appointed. These suites look like what you would expect to fine in a five star hotel. The other staterooms on this ship were pretty small (10x12) so I strongly recommend you go online to look at the dimensions of the rooms on any of their ships... they can vary greatly. The Ambassador had the best staff I've run across. The tour Director, Ramona appeared to work 24 hours a day to please passengers. She even arranged for some private tours for us along the way, for an additional charge which was very reasonable. Our butler, Zelko treated us like royalty as did the bar staff and wait staff, particularly Zlotko, Sam, De Jan and others. The food was wonderful and the chef was always offering to make us something else if he thought we didn't like what was on the menu. But the menu choices were always varied, well prepared and beautifully presented. This was honestly the most trouble free vacation we've ever been on. The tours were varied and well planned, and all inclusive truly meant All Inclusive! Our third Uniworld cruise is being planned as I write this. Ships from other lines just don't compare. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We cruised with Uniworld in 2014 from Passau Germany to Budapest, Hungary. At the end of that cruise we both had the same conclusion, it was the very best vacation we have ever had. This year we returned to Uniworld once again and cruised ... Read More
We cruised with Uniworld in 2014 from Passau Germany to Budapest, Hungary. At the end of that cruise we both had the same conclusion, it was the very best vacation we have ever had. This year we returned to Uniworld once again and cruised from Vienna to Prague. We even booked the pre Vienna option plus and extra day to enjoy Vienna so much more. The representatives of Uniworld that meet you at the hotel are also the expert tour guides that know the great history of the excursions you are taken on while visiting Vienna on the per cruise portion. I would heartily recommend the pre or post cruise options in conjunction with your cruise. The hotel accommodations are superior to say the least. Once on board the ship one will be wined and dined, pampered, catered to in a way you cannot imagine. My husband remarked after getting on the boat, "I do not have to do anything." Meaning he could just stay on the boat if he chose to and read books, watch out the window or view from the top deck all the great scenery one passes on the Danube, the river traffic, the many towns, villages, and cities one encounters on the cruise. Meals are not to be missed, a fine buffet at breakfast and at lunch has selections to please, dinner is always a four course feast.The attentiveness of the staff in the dining room is superb. After dinner a trip to the nicely appointed lounge for beverages, entertainment is a great way to end a day of activities. We highly recommend Uniworld for European river cruises. The two boats we cruised on River Ambassador, and River Beatrice were smaller than other boats, but were a mighty pleasure to sail on, because of the fine crews on these boats. When we boarded the boat in Vienna, one of the persons at the reception desk recognized by husband by name as well as one of the waiters in the dining room as both had been on River Beatrice 2 years ago when last we cruised. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Whie I had only a special 4-night chartered cruise, it was nevertheless great to sample Crystal's new river line. We started from Vienna and the next day we were supposed to be in Budapest, but due to a technical problem (I heard that ... Read More
Whie I had only a special 4-night chartered cruise, it was nevertheless great to sample Crystal's new river line. We started from Vienna and the next day we were supposed to be in Budapest, but due to a technical problem (I heard that it was because of a canel lock) we sailed to Bratislava instead and arrived at around 8pm for an overnight. Good to have a pleasant walk in fine weather in the old town, which is near the ship's berth. Next morning we were compensated for with an organized coach tour to Budapest free, but I didn't join due to hot weather and the fact that there simply isn't time enough to see Budapest in such a hurry. And of course Budapest is not new to me. Instead I had a good time visiting the new part of Bratislava which is just a short walk by the river from the pier. Next port is Durnstein, a very pleasant Austrian town on the Danube, very scenic. Then back to Vienna arriving next late morning. The ship arranged a Mozart/Strauss concert at Belevedere, a popular touristic activity for Vienna, and it was really enjoyable. Disembark next day to end what is my first taste of Crystal River cruise, as a frequent cruise on the ocean ships and a Crystal Society member. But what an enjoyable trip. I had a PH stateroom which is beautifully decorated and configured as on Crystal Serenity, but smaller (yet more than 300 sq ft) and there is no bath tub. Also French balcony instead of a real balcony (not available in most river boats). Breakfast at Le Bristo is mainly continental but good, with freshly squeeed orange juice. Dining is good but choice is limited unlike on a Crystal ocean cruise, there being no alternative restaurant except the Bristo, which can serve a tapa-type degustation menu of many items for a change. Service attitude is excellent as on Serenity and Symphony, among the very best. Crew seem to have run-in completely. The crew is all European for a change when most ships are serviced by Philipinos. The beauty of a river cruise is that it is scenic all the way, and in this respect the Danube is comparable to the more famous Rhein. The best aspect on this river trip that I enjoy most is to watch the Danube sunset, a long drink in hand, on the top level long sun deck, which has comfortable day beds and bar, all inclusive of course, and even a small garden. It can be an ultra romantic experience with the right companion, and perhaps this is what you do not find in an ocean cruise. The Vienna disembarkation is smooth, but need a taxi to town. Embarkation was great too and passengers are met at airport by a fleet of luxury appointed coaches operated by Crystal. The same fleet of cars also handles excursions. I had a most enjoyable cruise, perhaps more relaxing than anything on ocean. A beautiful ship and the great service still lingers in my mind long after disembarkation. Will surely return. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We understood the Crystal Mozart to be a 6 Star cruise. Upon check-in there was dental floss and food on the carpet. Their web site claimed 110V current which they said was a mistake and said there was nothing they could do. After ... Read More
We understood the Crystal Mozart to be a 6 Star cruise. Upon check-in there was dental floss and food on the carpet. Their web site claimed 110V current which they said was a mistake and said there was nothing they could do. After discussion they did make an attempt to provide. At one location they moved the boat without positioning someone or at least a sign indicating where it had been moved. Food was 4 star on most occasions, 3 on others. The Butler and servers were over the top wonderful. I wrote a list of disappointments and was contacted and told they would review with the ship and they never followed through. It was a very expensive trip as we had one of the Penthouse Suites. Had expected much better. Others said they had taken the Crystal Ocean Cruise and that their river cruise was nowhere comparable and several said disorganized. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We had wanted to try a river cruise and the timing happened to be perfect since Crystal had just launched the Mozart in July. Although not new to cruising this was our first time on Crystal and the expectations were for a top of the line ... Read More
We had wanted to try a river cruise and the timing happened to be perfect since Crystal had just launched the Mozart in July. Although not new to cruising this was our first time on Crystal and the expectations were for a top of the line experience. Needless to say we were not disappointed even with our high expectations. The trip was fantastic with very few exceptions. After seeing the many other ships on the Danube we realized how fortunate we were to be on the Mozart. We always research our options when investing our time and money on a trip and other travelers reviews are extremely important to us. Given the newness of the Crystal river cruises this was more of a leap of faith. Embarkation: After spending 3 days in Prague (great place) we took a train to Vienna to pick up the Mozart. We coordinated our arrival schedule in Vienna and anticipated a car from Crystal to transport us to the ship. Surprise, no car and we tried to call Crystal without any luck in having them help us find replacement transportation. We hoped a cab which took us to the Danube dock where the river cruise ships are docked. Couldn't find the Mozart and when the driver asked no one else knew where to find it. Eventually the cab driver found someone that advised him to travel further up river about 1/4 mile and the ship was there to our relief. Thankfully, this bad start was the only serious malfunction on the trip. As soon as we arrived at the ship we were greeted and shown aboard. Our luggage not far behind. Lunch was being served in the Waterside restaurant and we enjoyed a casual meal with wine. The staff were very attentive and soon thereafter we were shown to our cabin where our luggage was waiting. Cabin: We chose to save some money and settled in to our cabin on deck #1. While there was no view other than a porthole window at waterline we felt that our time in the cabin would be limited considering the itinerary. Was it a good move? If you want a view definitely move up a level but remember that views are dependent on where docked. Even number cabins seemed to be on the outside of the dock at most ports. Regardless of location the cabins are extremely luxurious and tastefully decorated. Remember it is a ship and space is limited. It is tight with a king bed, loveseat, closets, minibar etc.but it was very comfortable. Each room comes with a IPad controller for cabin functions, a fully and continually stocked bar with whatever your favorites are, a 45" flat screen TV and a great bathroom with vanity, glass shower and?? yep a smart toilet!! It lights up when you enter the bathroom, raises and lowers the seat and my wife is hooked on the heated seat!! Would rank the cabin a A+. Some fellow passengers in the luxury suites raved about their cabins with double vanities and bathtubs. Dining: 150 passengers and the food was always good. Each night there is a chef's menu and an alternative. You can mix and match anyway you like. There is always a meat, fish, salad and pasta offering. Food presentation was excellent. Like a fine dinning experience. Breakfast and Lunch are buffet style, Dinner is waiter served. Most all our meals were served in the Waterside but after meeting fellow passengers we discovered "Blue" at the stern of the ship with grilled hambergers and ruebens which were fantastic. In addition there is a bistro that serves snacks all day long so after a day of touring we usually grabbed a plate of fresh cheeses, meats and soft pretzels to bring back to the cabin where a bottle of wine was always chilled. Also, there is a bar in the bistro that serves as a coffee house. Would rank the food as an A. As good as the food was it could get repetitive. Entertainment: The ports of call and scenery were the primary source of entertainment. In the evenings as more couples made their way to the bar, Mark Ferris did a great job of playing favorites on the piano. He did an amazing job of getting to know each and every persons name on the ship and created an environment that encouraged all to participate and become engaged. In several ports local entertainers were brought on. Once in the cabin there was a selection of movies you could watch. Personally we would have liked more options on our TV since after touring all day and having a 3-4 course meal with plenty of wine there were several evenings that we crashed early. Service: The ratio of crew to passengers is one of the highest available and we never lacked for anything. They all always were polite, attentive and smiling and seemed that no request was unfulfilled. Spa: Make your reservations early. They get booked quick. We both had massages and had great experiences. There are male and female locker rooms and each has a steam and sauna as well as a larger shower in the case you want to escape the cabin shower. Additionally, there is a hot tub and small pool. Ports of Call: A nice selection of big and small. Budapest is fantastic, Bratislovia a nice surprise. Do take advantage of the E bikes. It sounded like a long way to bike (20-40 km) in most excursions but the power assisted bike were a breeze and fantastic fun. The motor coaches very comfortable for touring. We privately did a segway tour and wish the boat had offered since it was great fun. Excursions are a subjective review. We like being more mobile and less structured but did take advantage of a lot of the complimentary offerings. The electronic headsets helped explain what you were seeing and kept groups together. Some ports offered beer and wine tasting which we enjoyed. Culinary tours were not as good as we expected. One thing that Crystal needs to work on is the location of docking. We always seemed to be a distance from where other ships were and needed transport to town. Maybe it was the size of the Mozart which is twice as wide as all other ships but I heard it probably is because of a pecking order among cruise lines. Viking, AMA, Touck all have fleets and Crystal doesnt. Go figure. Maybe it will self correct. Hope this helps and all questions are covered. PROS: Most everything important in a river cruise. CONS: Very few Would we do it again. YES Definitely will be looking into the new Crystal ships being introduced with different itineraries. Lastly, we were curious about the ages of fellow passengers. The social aspect is important to us. I would guess the average age to be mid 60's. Some 70's. A few younger in 50's but all middle aged whatever that means. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose this cruise,, quite late,.. Having been aboard BlackWatch in June,when it caught fire and we were flown home. We found everything about the Avalon Vista exceeded our expectations , having done a fair amount of cruising We ... Read More
We chose this cruise,, quite late,.. Having been aboard BlackWatch in June,when it caught fire and we were flown home. We found everything about the Avalon Vista exceeded our expectations , having done a fair amount of cruising We feel able to judge! The Captain, crew and everyone aboard were friendly and helpful. The ship was kept immaculate and the food Very good. We enjoyed being able to open our french balcony window and watch the magnificent scenery pass by. The tours laid on along the way were informative and easy to follow with our hand held mikes and ear pieces. All the entertainment was well chosen and appreciated by the guests. It is hard to fault it with good wines every evening being included., maybe they were being subsidised by the rather expensive drinks ordered during the day??! That being our only slight complaint! Would recommend the cruise to anyone,especially when the sun shone everyday. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Let me preface this by saying we are not cruise people. We've only taken a couple of other cruises on small ships (Windstar - great!! and Antarctica excursion) but never a river cruise. We chose Avalon because they advertised a 3-Day ... Read More
Let me preface this by saying we are not cruise people. We've only taken a couple of other cruises on small ships (Windstar - great!! and Antarctica excursion) but never a river cruise. We chose Avalon because they advertised a 3-Day Cruise Only option that allowed us to do only the river portion with them. We looked at the cruise as Room & Board and transportation only. We weren't interested in any group tours. We booked our own hotels in Vienna and Budapest and did our own thing in every port. Being very experienced world travelers (having already traveled independently to over 100 countries) we don't like groups. All that said, this seemed pretty easy. Wrong! The entire experience was annoying. From boarding the ship to leaving, we felt harassed. The cabins they touted as a room with a view, was adequate but nothing special. Food was really designed for the typical cruise population with an average age of 70. When I asked for a piece of fish with no sauce, which seems like an easy request, the waiter acted as if I was inconveniencing him. The cruise director was the most annoying person I've ever encountered in all my travels. And, above all else, no one on the staff seemed to understand the concept of Cruise Only. They kept paging us and asking about our arrangements. They were annoyed we weren't part of their group. What happened to "it's all about the customer?!" The cruise itself: The ports were interesting — Melk, Durnstein, Bratislava and into Budapest. But river cruising is a very expensive way to see places if you are a good independent traveler. We spent three nights on the river and then three nights in Budapest at a very high-end hotel. When we added up all our expenses there, it turned out we spent half as much — and that included a huge suite, using the hotel car for touring, taking advantage of its spa, eating in some astoundingly fantastic restaurants, and being driven to the airport. And, as if our experience on the ship wasn't bad enough, when I got home and received a welcome home email from Avalon asking for my feedback, I wrote back about some of the problems we had, and was planning to post a negative review on TripAdvisor, I received a reply telling me they were very busy and would take 5 – 8 weeks to reply. Seriously? That's how you reply to a customer who is unhappy? I didn't want anything from them other than to say you did a lousy job. The upshot was I requested to have my address — email, snail mail, and any future delivery systems — removed from all their databases. I do not want to receive anything from them. I know lots of people who love river cruises. If you are one of them, be very careful before choosing Avalon. Customer service is not their strong suit. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
My husband and I have been on Avalon several times already. Organization should be their middle name. They have excellent Directors, staff and accommodations. Pre and post hotels are always top of the line and their locations are in ... Read More
My husband and I have been on Avalon several times already. Organization should be their middle name. They have excellent Directors, staff and accommodations. Pre and post hotels are always top of the line and their locations are in city centers - usually walkable to most of the important attractions. All of the transfers happen without a hitch. Excursions are well planned and well escorted with very knowledgeable guides. Prices compete well with all the other lines. Food onboard is delicious and with so many choices I can't imagine anyone not being happy about the dining experience. I am very happy to see that there were many more local cuisine options this cruise. I love to speak with other travelers on other lines to compare notes. I find we are much happier than most of those on other lines. Since I don't have anything to complain about I don't have too many more words to say about perfection! Just love putting my travel plans in Avalon's hands! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We first looked at this particular cruise because it fit the time slot we had open. Once we started looking in more detail we were very impressed with the design of the rooms on the Panorama. And we liked the combination of several days ... Read More
We first looked at this particular cruise because it fit the time slot we had open. Once we started looking in more detail we were very impressed with the design of the rooms on the Panorama. And we liked the combination of several days in Vienna and Budapest along with 3 nights on the boat. As things turned out we were extremely happy with the overall package and with the boat in particular. We enjoyed the other passengers, the food, the guides, the staff, and the amazing places we got to see! We ended up doing the Schonbrun tour in Vienna as well as the evening concert. Both were really excellent. Along the way we did the bicycle tour and enjoyed that as well. Finally, in Budapest we did the lights of the city at night tour, which was gorgeous! The tours that were included were also very worthwhile. We really ended up learning a lot about the history of the region! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This is the second time we've sailed with CroisiEurope as a result of booking the holiday from Archers/Cosmos and for the price it's very good, ok the cabins are small ish (but how much time do you spend in them). The food was ... Read More
This is the second time we've sailed with CroisiEurope as a result of booking the holiday from Archers/Cosmos and for the price it's very good, ok the cabins are small ish (but how much time do you spend in them). The food was very enjoyable, although it was a fixed menu, but it made us try dished we wouldn't normally try which is all part of the holiday experience. A reasonable quality wine (free of charge) was available at both lunch and dinner plus all standard drinks on board were free. Overall the trip up and down the Danube was wonderful, visiting so many iconic cities and towns however we thought the organised trips very expensive so did our own thing as nearly all of the places visited are within easy access from the place where the boat docked. We especially liked Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna and stayed over for an extra 3 nights in Vienna as there is so much to see and the boat trips seemed quite hurried to get in as much as possible in a day and a half. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Changed from a Viking to the Crystal Mozart , mostly due to additional stops along the way but also Crystals reputation at sea. In fairness, this sailing was only the 6th time the river cruise has sailed. We were in a French balcony, ... Read More
Changed from a Viking to the Crystal Mozart , mostly due to additional stops along the way but also Crystals reputation at sea. In fairness, this sailing was only the 6th time the river cruise has sailed. We were in a French balcony, room was beyond small. Had two passengers and needed the bed split. All the furniture is mounted, so this was no easy task. Made it so you couldn't open the closet, which itself is only 2 feet. There is little to know storage for a 10 day voyage and no storage or counter space in the bathroom. Although wonderfully decorated, very poor design. We requested a cabin change or even willing to purchase a second, but the ship was sold out. Thought the cruise and getting to know passengers, this was a complaint of most passengers we came across, and we were the only ones not traveling a husband and wife. In short, all the furniture is too oversized for the room. Food was exceptional, bar staff and spa were wonderful as well. Entertainment was the best! (Shout out to Mark who made every night more and more enjoyable with your witty humor and exceptional piano playing). Excursion, is another story. Hours on a bus each day only to spend a few hours touring a city with little time to explore on your own. My recommendation. Do your homework for every stop, book things outside the options given by the boat. Example, glass blowing tour, hour there, hour back, 40 minute demonstration, 15 minutes to explore a wonderful shop. (Just try to make a purchase and have it shipped home in that amount of time with a language barrier) Culinary tour in Vienna, 20 minute bus ride, walk through several alleys looking at locals restaurants, wine tasting (at 9:30 am, but they give you 5 kinds and bread), then coffee shop and a piece of cake... Not so much culinary involved. Salzburg tour, hour and half each way, and we didn't get the full experience of the "sound of music highlights ", but if I would have done more research, I would have booked through a local tour group, out of our port of call and seen it all with transportation provided. Only last recommendatio for Crystal , have some type of splash pool or misting system on the top deck, just for cooling off on the long sail days. We kept having to run down to the pool in the spa and then back up again. Overall, I think this will be a wonderful cruise once some kinks are ironed out and the learning curve is over. Nothing to keep me from taking another one in the future, and I plan to. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was our first river cruise, so we cannot make comparisons. We have sailed on Symphony, and the Mozart met our high expectations. Here are some notes that may be of use: Getting to the ship: A Crystal rep met us at the ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, so we cannot make comparisons. We have sailed on Symphony, and the Mozart met our high expectations. Here are some notes that may be of use: Getting to the ship: A Crystal rep met us at the airport, led us to the bus, and a short time later we were at the ship. Please note if you are transfering on your own, you will have difficulty finding the ship, which is docked by itself off a bike path, Cab drivers will probably not know the location. We arrived at 9 am and just walked onboard as previous guests were leaving. No security or checkin desk. Find a staff dressed in white; she will take your picture and give you your card. That's it. We had to wait until 1 pm for our cabin, but that is not normal. The cabin: adequate size, smaller than Symphony. The king bed is nice, but takes up a big portion of the room. Limited but adequate storage space for us. The bathroom is a good size, but very little storage. The ipad to control temp, lights, tv may be a help for some, but we couldn't work it. Everything operated fine manually. We had a lower level room. Being below waterlevel was unnerving at first, but we quickly got used to it. Lack of light when against the dock was no issue for us. Keep in mind, some of the docks are high; you leave the ship from the third deck. and level 2 cabins will have no light either. Only 240 volt outlets, but plenty of USB ports for phones and ipads. We brought a converter/adapter and had no problems. Dining: very good to excellent. Equal to or better than Symphony. Only buffets for breakfast & lunch, but that is our preference. Certainly a more limited menu than Symphony, but we always had something we loved. Local foods and wines are emphasized, and were excellent. You dine by yourselves unless you bring your own group. The complimentary dinner at a Michelin star restaurant was fantastic. Staff: all friendly and reasonably competent. They're learning a new ship. Any concerns were addressed immediately. Other passengers: a mix of nationalities and ages. Mostly Americans. All friendly. Clotthing: casual every day. No need to bring any fancy clothes ( although some did). The Michelin dinner and the symphony performance at Belvedere Palace were the only times we saw "dress up", but even there most were dressed casually. Weather was sunny & hot every day, but some public spaces onboard were chilly, and we were glad to have brought sweaters. Entertainment: we expected little evening entertainment, but had a great time with Mark Farris in the piano bar. Mark also brought on local and international talents and conducted the usual game show events. One highlight was the Sound of Music sing-a-long- quite a rousing performance from the audience. Cruising: we spent many daylight hours cruising the Danube. Don't miss the Wachau Valley going upstream out of Vienna, and downstream out of Passau as the river twists through heavy forest with castle ruins on the hills.Sitting on the top deck sipping a local Wachau Valley Gruner Vetliener while looking at the vineyards where it was made: priceless! The many locks are interesting to go through. Occasionally the top deck is closed and the bridge is lowered into the deck so the ship can get under low clearance. One caution- the first night there was horrible banging sounds at 1 am and 2 am, which they later claimed was just going through the locks. But not expecting it, we were terribly startled. The ship's engines are underpowered for its new heavier weight, making for a slow crawl upstream. New engines are promised over the winter. Tour buses: the four Crystal buses followed us throughout the cruise. They were very roomy, with a lot of leg room for even the tallest guests.Even long rides were comfortable. Disembarkation: We put our bags outside the cabin at 9 am, left the room before 10, got on the bus for the airport. That's it. No security, no waiting to be called. At the airport a Crystal rep met us and escorted us to our proper airline checkin line. Well done. We had a great time, and will certainly consider another Crystal river cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We just returned from a 10 day Danube River cruise on the Crystal Mozart. The old Peter Deilmann boat had been taken down to the hull and totally rebuilt by Crystal, and they did a beautiful job. It was only the fourth sailing of the ship ... Read More
We just returned from a 10 day Danube River cruise on the Crystal Mozart. The old Peter Deilmann boat had been taken down to the hull and totally rebuilt by Crystal, and they did a beautiful job. It was only the fourth sailing of the ship and the staff were still trying to work out some kinks which often accompany a new ship with so many new employees. Some of the staff have prior experience on Crystal or on other river cruise companies, but many were new. The common areas were well planned and attractive. Embarkation was quick and efficient, once we were able to find the ship. Because Crystal is new to river cruising, they are in a different area than other river boats in Vienna, and it is very difficult to drive down to the boat, even after sighting it from the road. Crystal did provide a shuttle service from the airport and railway station, but we had a driver coming from Prague, and locating the ship was very difficult as there were no signs or directions to guide us. We were given two different phone numbers for the boat, but neither one worked. Once onboard, we were immediately shown to our room. Cabin 250 was at the end of the hall and had a French balcony. I believe it was 215 square feet but seemed very small. There was plenty of room in the closets but the bed took up most of the room and it was difficult for two people to pass each other. The bathroom was well appointed, and the automatic toilet with heated and lighted seat and bidet was a big hit with my husband. It welcomed us by opening and closing every time we entered the cabin or moved anywhere near it. My one complaint with the bathroom was that the oversized sink took up the entire top of the vanity, and there was nowhere to put hairbrushes and makeup. Such a big sink was not necessary or appropriate. A nice supply of Etro bath products was provided, although we had to remind our room attendant to bring fresh shampoo, bath gel, toilet paper, etc. She was very sweet but thoroughly inexperienced, and also knocked on the door at strange times, although she did get better as the cruise progressed. The brochure describes “butler” service, “Butler service (upon request) is complimentary and available to all passengers (regardless suite grades). Butler service is also inclusive of gratuities and offers shoeshine, packing-unpacking, laundry-pressing-dry cleaning, private arrangements, in-cabin dining (Hors d’oeuvres, canapes).” We did not even see our butler until late on the second day and the only thing he did was to make sure the drinks were replaced in the refrigerator daily and never asked if we wanted fresh fruit, canapes, etc. He was very pleasant and we subsequently found out that he was also a busboy in the dining room at lunch and dinner. No wonder he had little time to do things for us. The first three nights we were awakened by loud noises above us, something like someone dropping bowling balls, between 11:30 and 1:00 AM. There was also noise between 6 and 7:00 AM and late in the afternoon, but not nearly as loud. When we finally complained, the reception desk sounded very surprised and said we were the first to complain. They did put in calls to the kitchen staff and the late night noises stopped for the most part. I had carefully chosen this particular cabin because it was not under the dining room. Little did I know that it was under the kitchen, which didn’t even have carpeting to muffle the noise. This is something Crystal need to work on, and we later found out that many people had complained as well. Food was very good, as on other Crystal cruises. There were buffets for breakfast and lunch with a fairly large selection. Dinner consisted of 3-4 entrees, but there was something for everyone, and the food was consistently well prepared and of a high quality. Throughout the day there was always something available in the Bistro, and that included fancy coffees, ice cream, pastries and other snacks. Blue served hamburgers during lunch hours but the Waterside dining room was much nicer in my opinion. There was also a bar and lounge with a fairly entertaining MC and piano player. Periodically Crystal brought in an outside entertainer. There was little to do in the evening, but drinks flowed in the bar and there was always a sense of camaraderie among the small group that congregated in the lounge area. There was a wide selection of tours, both morning and afternoon and sometimes in the evening as well. Tours were first class and a highlight was the evening concert at Belvedere Palace and the choice of dinner at a one star Michelin restaurant in Budapest or Vienna. We chose Costes Downtown in Budapest (Costes was already taken) and had a wonderful dinner. Crystal Mozart departed from Vienna and stopped at Durnstein, Melk, Linz, Passau, Bratislava, Budapest and back to Vienna. Stops were similar to other river boats, but Crystal ran first class trips from each port. From Passau, Germany there was a day trip to Munich which was well worth the travel time. All in all, we had a wonderful time and when Crystal works out all of the little kinks, everything will be first class. Probably the worst thing was the late night noise above us, so I would be very careful in picking out a cabin. When the ship is in dry dock this winter, they are supposed to be working on the sound insulation and will be putting bigger engines in the boat to accommodate the extra weight that all of the marble adds. It is a wonderful way to see ports along a river and I highly recommend this form of travel. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Having sailed with Crystal before we were not disappointed with the Crystal Mozart as it was the quality we have come to expect from Crystal. Speaking to fellow passengers who had been on other river boats they all said that the Mozart ... Read More
Having sailed with Crystal before we were not disappointed with the Crystal Mozart as it was the quality we have come to expect from Crystal. Speaking to fellow passengers who had been on other river boats they all said that the Mozart was more like an ocean liner than a river boat such was the extensive range of amenities, quality of design, furnishings and fittings, faultless food and superb service from all the Crystal staff. The main dining room 'The Waterside' was excellent. The food was of exceptional quality. Speaking to those who had experienced the Michelin restaurants many had said that the Waterside was an equal if not better. The staff were very courteous and friendly without being obsequious. The open dining worked very well and there was no shortage of fellow passengers to talk to thanks to the restaurant managers. The choice available for evening dining was not as extensive as would be the case on any of the Crystal cruise liners but this is expected given the respective sizes of the two types of vessels. Wherever possible the dining room staff tried to cater for passengers individual requirements. Like staff on their sister ocean cruise liners whenever a passenger had a specific request they only needed to ask once. The service was very personal. The excursions were generally very good especially as Crystal had their own fleet of luxury coaches that included a toilet and coffee machine. Also many of the excursions were only between two and four hours in duration unlike many excursions on sea voyages which can last all day and very often on inferior local transport often not suitable for elderly European and North American posteriors. The local guides that Crystal used were very informative, engaging and often quite humorous. They all spoke perfect English. Like sea cruises passengers need to do their homework before embarking on some excursions. On some evenings local entertainers performed. The Pressburger Duo from Bratislava were outstanding and shouldn't be missed for future passengers. The local host Mark Farris was the life and soul in the evenings. He deserves a medal. The voyage could be enhanced if there were presentations on the countries and towns the Mozart was due to visit. The Mozart provided excellent coloured maps but some did not identify where the Mozart would be moored so it was sometimes difficult orientate with nearby surroundings. It would also help if Crystal listed on their website where the Mozart will be moored to enable passengers to plan ahead. For example the Mozart was moored a bus ride away from Passau and therefore we couldn't make any impromptu walks off the boat into the town. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth. Overall we where very satisfied with our first river cruise. It was as we had come to expect from Crystal. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We travel a lot (visited 67 countries)and have been cruising sixteen times with different companies such as Seabourne,Ponant,Oceania,Silversea etc... According to the Crystal's advertising this river-cruise was supposed to be at the ... Read More
We travel a lot (visited 67 countries)and have been cruising sixteen times with different companies such as Seabourne,Ponant,Oceania,Silversea etc... According to the Crystal's advertising this river-cruise was supposed to be at the highest standards.... What a disappointment!!! This ship is old(25 years) and, in spite of a major refit, suffers from many technical problems, such as:air conditioning(impossible to adjust:too cold or too warm) Drainage's noises as well as different noises wherever you stand.(you cannot stay on the upper deck for a long time because of the rumble due to the motors...) The"Blue" restaurant, located at the rear of the ship, is not usable while sailing because of vibrations and noise created by the motors. Members of the staff have even told us that everything vibrates like in a shaker! In our cabine 236(cabin and not suite) we could hear different disturbing noises coming from the kitchen, located above.(furniture moved,steps, very Noisy sink drainage etc...) In addition to this discomfort, the ventilation was very Noisy. All these constant noises didn't allow us to rest and relax. Furthermore, name a smallcabina "suite" is totally inappropriate. The dining room's decoration in "Bistro"style with plastic sets on the tables(its OK for the breakfast, but not for dinner) stained after two or three days, was not welcoming and didn't incite people to get dressed.That's why some people were in shorts, sandals and so on even for dinner.Dress code did you say? Neither did we appreciate the buffet style at breakfast and lunch. At 9 am sharp the buffet was closed without a warning from the staff(the same for lunch) therefore you had to hurry to fill up your plate in advance in order to be able to finish your meal. Five stars, is it really? One can just imagine how more difficult it can be for people with whatever disability. It was possible to continue your breakfast in the "Café Mozart" but the buffet was very scanty with a very restricted choice and filled with products of low average quality(salmon, cheeses etc...) Happily there were cereal boxes, pickles, jams in small jars, all things which have no chance to spoil !! 5 stars choices !!! Self-service in the morning, self-service for lunch... like in a canteen.. For the buffets, at breakfast and lunch, the choice was limited and almost identical every day.At midday,on the cold buffet:4 salad bowls, tomatoes( not ripe), onions, gherkins,a few dressings ... Warm buffet(such as it is):dry and tepid rice, vegetables almost raw and tepid,the fish,very cheap(halibut) one roast and so on. The chef told us that he had a problem to keep the food warm because of a heating system not well thought of. Only the pasta was warm...because reheated when served! Moreover, the penultimate evening, before going to a concert held in the Belvedere Palace, a buffet identical to the midday's one was proposed with the same salads, the very same "hot" dishes and so on. We were hoping to have, at once, a buffet worthy of a 5 stars category, buffets we were used to have in other ships we cruised on. In the evening, on the other hand, the food was good and well prepared, even though it was not at a Michelin-Star level, as you pretend. The staff was very kind and professional. Regarding the evenings:the 3 shows on board were pleasent and of good quality but the entertainer, Mr.Marc, was not at the level of what was expected.Games at the level of a home for very, very old retired persons or for children. In brief: the evenings very boring. The excursions were well organized with very comfortable buses and, in general, good guides. The SPA was agreable but, in the lady's changing rooms, where the sauna and hammam were, there was a counter slope in the shower and, thus, the water was inundating the changing room's floor. In the sauna two mini-benches very uncomfortable(place just for 4 personne not more) In the hammam a mildewy smell was lasting. To conclude: Very interesting cruise but not restful, neither relaxing,food not good,activity in the ship: poor. Too many problems!! What compagny Regent's compagny offers doesn't correspond to the standards promised by its publicity. WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We chose the Mozart for our first river cruise because we have done quite a few ocean cruises with Crystal and after a lot of research it seemed that a lot of ocean cruisers seem to be disappointed by the established river cruise lines. ... Read More
We chose the Mozart for our first river cruise because we have done quite a few ocean cruises with Crystal and after a lot of research it seemed that a lot of ocean cruisers seem to be disappointed by the established river cruise lines. We are thrilled with our choice and are extremely impressed by how Crystal rolled out such a beautiful ship in a very short timeframe and with standards of dining and service matching those of the ocean ships. We arrived in Vienna around noon, were met by the Crystal reps and taken to the pier very promptly on one of the Crystal tour buses. Embarkation was a breeze and we were having our first lunch on board at The Blue Grill within minutes. Our cabin was a fixed window category on Deck 1 (bottom of the window is at water level) measuring 219 sf, beautifully appointed with a King size bed, full size flat screen tv, iPad and with a tight but luxurious bathroom including a Toto toilet. We found the size of the cabin, storage and bathroom tight but adequate. The ship is 25 years old but no one could tell. It was taken down to the metal and re-imagined as a spacious, understated, modern and luxurious ship. The refurbishment was very successful and managed to recreate the feel of Crystal's ocean ships. There were a couple of small issues, like water leaking from the glass shower enclosures and another leak that resulted in a flooded cabin but unless one looked very hard, it was impossible to tell that this ship was just out of the dockyard. The public areas are bright and light, with lost marble and other natural stone, copper and brass accents and bright jewel tone fabrics. Mozart has plenty of dining alternatives including Waterside (main restaurant), The Blue Grill, The Bistro, The Pantry and 24 hour in-room dining. The food is amazing (we found it to be even better and more consistent than on the ocean ships) and reflects local influences and typical dishes, but there is something for everyone. Executive chef Dirk is a rising star. The included alcoholic beverages are of very high quality, in particular we found the included wines to be excellent. Sommeliers abound and are ready to help with substitutions and suggestions. Entertainment is one of those things mostly non-existent on other River cruise lines. Crystal made the smart decision of bringing Mark Farris as the entertainment director and he is doing an amazing job of entertaining the crowd with his signature piano bar style but complementing it with several local entertainers brought on board for special performances, such as a concert pianist and opera singer, or a troupe of Viennese children doing local dances. In addition, he organizes Disco nights (there is an area for dancing in the Palm Court) as well as other fun events like a "Not So Newlywed" game show. Kudos to Mark for his unending energy and enthusiasm and to Crystal for filling a void in the entertainment area of River cruising, In addition, there were two included special events; dinner at a Michelin star restaurant (we went to Winekitchen in Budapest for a five course meal with exquisite Hungarian wines) and an evening event at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna exclusive to Crystal guests where we got to enjoy a champagne reception followed by a private viewing of various Austrian artists' work including the famous "The Kiss" by Klimt and capped with a delightful performance by a 10 piece orchestra, opera singers and ballet dancers. All in all a very successful event. The complimentary shore excursions were all very good with the exception of a shortened up culinary discovery in Vienna (we arrived in Vienna almost three hours later than originally scheduled) which was just way too short to be enjoyable. We particularly enjoyed taking part in a couple of e-bike tours, one along the Danube from Passau into Austria and back, and another one in Bratislava. The bikes are amazing and the tours count with Anthony, the fitness director and at least two local tour bike experts to make sure guests are well looked after during the rides. Arno is in charge of all excursions and special events and is doing an excellent job. There were a couple of bugs regarding the included shore excursions but they appeared to be related to how new Crystal is to the river cruising scene and I assume these will be smoothed out under Arno's watchful eye. Service is amazing with an incredible crew to guests ratio (the largest in the industry) that ensures nobody has to wait for anything and there are always smiling and pleasant crew members around looking for ways to make guests happy and comfortable. This is due in large part to having more than a few crew members from the ocean ships setting the standards on the Mozart. Congratulations to Christian Mondaca for a very well run dining operation. We would definitely do another River cruise with Crystal in the future and are looking forward to the new builds and itineraries. I would not choose a fixed window cabin again (we had no choice this time) as we found the absence of light on the days in which the cabin window is against the dock or another ship (rafted) which happened about half the time bothered us. We would have also enjoyed having a French balcony door open to the breezes. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We chose this cruise because of the all inclusive setup and the variety of excursions. It was the Danube cruise from Vienna to Prague. The whole cruise was truly first class. I was amazed at how good the food was. We ended up not eating ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the all inclusive setup and the variety of excursions. It was the Danube cruise from Vienna to Prague. The whole cruise was truly first class. I was amazed at how good the food was. We ended up not eating off of the ship much because the offering on board were much better. The fact that Uniworld has so many offerings for excursions and many of them are exclusive to Uniworld made for a great experience. When you went on an excursion there were no other busloads of tourists to compete with. My favorite was the concert in Vienna the first day. What a memorable experience. we shared Champaign with the musicians before the concert and a traditional layout of sausages, pretzels and beer waiting for us upon the return to the boat. Little extras that show up every day really put everything over the top. The tour of the BMW plant was spectacular. My wife especially enjoyed the trip to the Bavarian forest with a village tour in horse drawn wagons and a tour of the glass factory. The owner of the glass factory was our host. They also added a culinary tour which was new. A visit to a village butcher shop and a visit to a brewery. With samples of course.The last day they gave us a group photo of the crew and a pack of recipe cards from the chefs. First class all the way. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
First river cruise and we loved it. General age of cruisers were older than us - probably more in their 70's. Not everyone mixed but most people were friendly. Lots of Americans on our cruise. As far as I could tell everyone enjoyed ... Read More
First river cruise and we loved it. General age of cruisers were older than us - probably more in their 70's. Not everyone mixed but most people were friendly. Lots of Americans on our cruise. As far as I could tell everyone enjoyed it as much as we did. We had a bit of trouble with flooding on the river and at times we were rushing to get under low bridges. Didn't really matter to us - we don't know what we missed anyway. Not heaps of time in the towns although some of them were quite small towns. Bikes are on the ship and in Regensburg they had a local biking company that supplied bigger bikes who took us 20 kms through farms, around the town etc. It was fabulous and gorgeous scenery. Our itinerary was changed so didn't get to do as much riding as we hoped. Food was all amazing - could not really fault any meal we had. The wait staff were also excellent and eager to please. Was very surprised that the all inclusive drinks just kept coming. Alcohol at any time of the day and as much or as little as you wanted. We had a French balcony room and yes they are small. However you're never in the room so it didn't bother us. It is cleaned twice per day and fresh towels supplied. River Ambassador is old but has been refurbished and we thought it was lovely. Only thing we didn't like were the locks - quite a lot of them between Vienna and Nuremburg and it was noisy at night banging and scraping at times as we went through the locks and disturbed our sleep. We felt like we were treated like royalty - thoroughly enjoyed our cruise and hope to do another one soon!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
After two cruises on Uniworld, we decided to try Avalon. We liked their "panorama suite" design. Sadly, that was the only thing outstanding about our Avalon experience. Our "journey" started with "check-in" ... Read More
After two cruises on Uniworld, we decided to try Avalon. We liked their "panorama suite" design. Sadly, that was the only thing outstanding about our Avalon experience. Our "journey" started with "check-in" at the Hotel Intercontinental in Vienna. By this time, we had already been in Europe for 3 nights, on our own. There was a large window to check bags in, from 8am to 3:30pm, but this entire process really messed up any possibility to do anything meaningful on that day. (With Uniworld, we were actually able to present ourselves to the ship itself, at any time during the day. They also had light snacks available in the lounge.) Not the case with Avalon. There was a conference room, at the hotel, with chips, peanuts, water, and coffee. We were required to be back, at the hotel, at 3:30, so we could be bussed, as a group, to the ship. Again, having to schedule events around this time frame, was inconvenient. As we had travel cards, we could have easily traveled to and from the ship much easier on our own.....but, that wasn't an option. Moving on to orientation......there were only 50 people on our cruise. We were assembled in the lounge, where our cruise director gave us a brief overview of the ship, and upcoming cruise. We did the mandatory muster drill, and then were escorted to our rooms by a staff member. Basically, this involved......"here's how your room key works," and, "here's your room"......our luggage was then delivered, one piece at a time.....(Now, comparing to Uniworld, we got an overview of the room, outlet locations, "how-to's", and, our luggage was already in our room when we arrived). Cabin: We had a Panorama suite on the middle deck, 4 cabins from the rear of the ship. The cabin was very spacious, and we loved that the bed faced outward (though we were often rafted, and couldn't open the curtains). The bathroom was also very spacious, and well appointed. The bed was comfortable. The couch and chair, not so much. There was a minibar/fridge, which we used to keep our own water cool. Hanging closet space and shelf space was adequate, but there really weren't any drawers. The desk chair was uncomfortable, and had a solid back, which made it difficult to pull in and out. We were provided with two large bottles of water at the beginning of our trip. We had to fill the ice bucket ourselves. Comparing to Uniworld, this cabin was a clear winner with regard to space. The Uniworld beds are much more comfortable, and the staff much more attentive with Uniworld. However, factoring in rafting makes the extra $$ for the suite not worth the concept. Public space: Avalon's decor is more contemporary, and simplistic, than Uniworld. However, it is also much less comfortable. From the dining room to lounge, the furniture was very uncomfortable. The seating on the sundeck was also of inferior quality to Uniworld. By the end of our cruise, my husband said, "Give me the brothel look anytime!" Shore excursions: honestly, we really didn't participate in many of these. The first day (the hotel day mentioned above) didn't include any. The second day, we remained in Vienna. Tours included a morning city tour (we were on our 3rd day, so did the Spanish Riding School in the morning, and Schonbrunn Palace-on our own-in the afternoon). The third day, we started off with the Durnstein walking tour, but as there were 4 ships there, the one street was pretty congested, so we opted to walk to the castle ruins. We sailed to Melk that afternoon, and did do the Melk Abbey excursion, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Day 4 took us to Cesky Krumlov. After 45 minutes, we left that tour, as we hadn't even made it across the river yet, and our guide was more focused on telling us where to shop and eat, than about the city itself. The last day was a short city tour in Passau, but we opted to climb to the castle on the right side of the city, and the church on the left side. We did meet up with the tour guide afterwords, with members from our cruise, and enjoyed a beer. In general, since we are "young" river cruisers, we like to get out and do our own thing. Food: Is always subjective, but Avalon certainly was mediocre to average here. Variety, and quality, were lacking. Choices were few, and didn't really reflect the local cuisine. Thank goodness there were menu items for breakfast and lunch, because the buffet offerings were of cafeteria quality. The beer/liquor selection was equally underwhelming. Lastly, there was no "open seating" with regard to time. We were "asked" to proceed to the dining room for dinner, 15 minutes after the appointed "start" time. Entertainment: "Typical" regular piano player/singer. We had one night of special entertainment, in Melk, from a man from New Zealand, who played guitar and sang 60/70/80's music. He was very good, but sadly, only played for an our, and was gone......The on board musician wasn't good, at all, and often played, and sang, the same songs over and over. When he wasn't playing, the music choices were awful. When we asked the bartender about it, he said they had a playlist provided by corporate...... Staff: Despite there only being 50 passengers aboard, the staff seemed very unengaged. Most really didn't seem to care that much. There were a few waitstaff that went out of their way, and learned our likes/preferences, but that was it. The front desk staff wouldn't initiate conversation, and would only reply if spoken to first. Housekeeping would store their carts in the halls, and their "uniforms" looked like something they had worn to bed the night before (t-shirts and casual, pull-on style pants) General Avalon comments: As noted, we had done two Uniworld cruises previously, one pre all-inclusive, and one after they went all-inclusive. This is my observation of Avalon. They are too corporate focused, and not customer focused. There is a place for procedure, but, in the river cruise business, the customer has to be attended to, and they don't do a good job here. From their regimented check-in, to bussing to the ship.......I'm not sure how other lines handle it, but Uniworld definitely gets the nod here. The "approved" music list in the bar......Also, their headset system, not nearly as good as Uniworld's, and they kept them at the front desk, instead of in the cabins.....I can't imagine the chaos this would cause on a full ship, as it caused chaos on our less than half-full one! Also, their passenger tracking system leaves a lot to be desired. With Uniworld, we would scan our room cards in and out, with an electronic card scanner. With Avalon, they give you small laminated cards to carry offshore with you. On the Durnstein-Melk day, there was a notice to not turn in your card if you planned on doing the afternoon excursion (Melk). So, we didn't.....the cruise director had seen us come onboard, and came up to the sun deck to retrieve our cards.....he said, "You didn't turn in your cards" I said, "When we left this am, there was a sign up telling us not to!". Perhaps one of the most disappointing parts of our cruise, and one where corporate prevailed over customer, was on the last full day of the cruise. We were enjoying a beautiful morning of sailing between Linz and Passau, and the crew was assembling furniture, running wire, etc, on the sun deck, in anticipation of the next sailing, which was chartered by Goodyear. In addition, once we reached Passau, we attempted to come back to the ship, only to find them loading supplies for the next sailing. It was a chore to get to our cabin, with the staff heaving crates of water bottles down the hall. While I realize it has to be done sometime......they do kick you off no later than 10am, and don't let anyone on again until 4pm on embarkation day! And, in this case, they had an entire day between our disembarkation and the next cruise's embarkation. In closing, I didn't feel like a valued passenger......Avalon did nothing to make me feel special, and did nothing to make me want to be a repeat passenger. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016

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