5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
First on Crystal River cruise and will be last. Have had great experiences on their ocean voyages; but the river line is a separate division and vastly inferior in most areas. Company was not forthcoming in notifiying us of the low ... Read More
First on Crystal River cruise and will be last. Have had great experiences on their ocean voyages; but the river line is a separate division and vastly inferior in most areas. Company was not forthcoming in notifiying us of the low water level until 2 days before we were scheduled to leave. Itineray changed to all but a couple of ports in the Netherlands. The highlights of the trip were to be the areas where the ship didn't travel. To make matters worse, tour director was disorganized, ship Captain did not speak English, ship docked so far from destination ports it was ridiculous. Other ships were providing buses to take passengers to destination. Not our ship. The few tours offered were primarily ones of walking around the town plazas, etc. And the majority of passengers were over 65! I understand the couple of buses they had were shuttled back and forth between the Danube groups and the Rhine. They seemed to always be with the Danube folks. We were not offered bus/hotel choices to make up for all the ports we did not see. That is standard with other river cruise lines. Passenger complaints to the officers and tour director fell on deaf ears and it was clear the disorganization and confusion came down from the top. The service staff tried their best; but they were understaffed. The spa was good but very limited; the food good except there was a problem keeping the buffet dishes hot. The rooms were way too small for the large beds. We booked 2 rooms for a family of 4 at last minute and top dollar and I never felt like we had spent so much money on something so disappointing. Our trip was in August and now in January we are still waiting for any compensation from Crystal. We all had out of pocket expenses because we had to change return flights from Basel Switzerland (which we never got to see) to Frankfurt. Additional transportation, hotel etc. all added up to more than they promised to reimburse. And there was no compensation even promised for the missed excursions and ports. My advice is to avoid this line at all costs. We are seasoned cruisers on several small luxury lines and have never had an experience like this! How could such an esteemed company as Crystal allow this group to be a part of their company??? We want to go back to take a Rhine cruise; but it sure won't be with Crystal. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
On Aug 1, 15-20 of us that returned after a Crystal excursion dinner found the SHIP HAD LEFT WITHOUT US. We were scanned to get off the ship but manually checked in when the ship returned for us. We were told the people that did the ... Read More
On Aug 1, 15-20 of us that returned after a Crystal excursion dinner found the SHIP HAD LEFT WITHOUT US. We were scanned to get off the ship but manually checked in when the ship returned for us. We were told the people that did the scanning had left. Guess they outsourced their security. Also there was scanner mistake when they told me 3 of my friends were still on shore and 1 came back but in fact all 4 were on shore. We missed Budapest, a main attraction for the cruise, but Crystal made little effort to make up for the changed itinerary even though they knew at the start of the journey and that was 7 days before we would go to Budapest. We had to revisit Linz and they added Karen’s and offered each guest USD500 FUTURE CRUISE CREDIT to be booked within a year. Linz and Krems were not comparable substitutions for Budapest by any stretch of imagination. Also crew told me Viking has 77 ships so they can offer swaps when similar situation arises. Reading some of the reviews, I noticed other cruise operators not only made monetary compensations but also arranged alternative transport and hotel accommodations in order for them to fulfil their advertised attraction. Also Crystal may be late to join the river cruise market, at a couple of stops, the ship was parked so far away from the parking lot that we had to walk about 10 minutes to get to the coach. It was definitely difficult for my friend that had a hip replacement and walking with a cane. I used to view Crystal with high regard, but it seems things may be different under new ownership. A very disappointing experience AND NOT VALUE FOR MY MONEY. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
Actually sailed from Vilfshoven, Germany after 3 days pre cruise in Prague. Those were three expensive and wasted days followed by a horribly uncomfortable bus trip backwards to the port of embarkation in Germany. Shocked when we entered ... Read More
Actually sailed from Vilfshoven, Germany after 3 days pre cruise in Prague. Those were three expensive and wasted days followed by a horribly uncomfortable bus trip backwards to the port of embarkation in Germany. Shocked when we entered the reception area of the ship-dirty carpet and a smell of the just departed last cruisers. More shocked when entering the tiny room, with a tiny, tiny bath and a closet that did not make any provision for travelers that had to carry enough to last 2 weeks. The beds are hard as rocks-felt mattresses on metal slabs and so very narrow that at first we thought they were rollaway cots. The pillows were so flat that we had daily headaches from failing to get neck support. If one sat at the desk, the other person had to crawl over the bed to reach the window area. We felt like prisoners sharing a cell ! Television channels had sporadic reception and facebook communication was slow or impossible. The public areas are small and in the dining room it was very hard to squeeze in and out between tables that were packed tightly together. We had 2 good entrees all week and the rest were poor to very poor. Every meal was loaded with salt and we soon had to deal with tissue swelling and sore tongues from the excessive use of salt. Breakfast was boringly repetitive with watery eggs, burned bacon, and rubbery fruit although there was too little choice of that to bother. Made to order was not much better. The Eggs Benedict were covered with a greasy sauce that tasted suspiciously like salad cream/mayonnaise and omlettes were crusty. Reasonably good soups and lots of breads and rolls which were good in the morning but the bread was always stale at dinnertime. There was no warning that the cruise was unsuitable for anyone with mobility issues. Someone confined to a wheelchair would have been left on the dock and with a rollator-walker it was a bone jarring endurance test, even on the so-called "gentle" tours. With a few happy exceptions, most of the guides were not interested in persons with mobility issues and just frog marched us through miles of cobbles. Many could not be understood as their accents were far too pronounced. On many tours there was no time available for self exploration and if one did want to stay somewhere to have a closer look, the drop point was so far from the ship that a return on foot was impossible for a physically challenged person. There were days spent in dull, uninteresting, and historically insignificant ports and then we were raced through Vienna when a 2 day visit there would have been sensible. A good concert in Vienna helped us to forget a poor one in Prague. We paid an additional 500 euros for tours so do not be fooled when they advertise "all inclusive" and do not look for free drinks at any time other than at meals. Most of the staff members were hard working and friendly but the Cruise Manager was unimpressive and clearly had his "favourites" among the guests. We were ready to abandon this cruise an hour after it started and by the end of it we were really desperate to get off the ship. We have many, many ocean cruises behind us and found most of them perfect. This was our first, and will be our last, river cruise. The price, compared to an ocean cruise, was prohibitive in relation to what was received in value. Easily our very worst holiday in over 40 years.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Don’t select this cruise if you or anyone you’re traveling with has mobility issues— there are no “gentle” excursions. One passenger referred to them as forced marches. The ship docks way out of the towns for the most part so you ... Read More
Don’t select this cruise if you or anyone you’re traveling with has mobility issues— there are no “gentle” excursions. One passenger referred to them as forced marches. The ship docks way out of the towns for the most part so you can’t return early if you’d like, and 9 out of 10 times you’re looking into someone else’s cabin as there is a ship docked next to you. If you’re interested in the e-bike excursions, also beware; if you don’t book super early you won’t get on them. There is almost nothing to do if you elect to stay on the ship. The evening entertainment was lame, although the exercise instructor was excellent. Everyone is unfailingly polite in a very impersonal way, and when something goes wrong the response is very corporate. In our case we couldn’t complete the last three days of the cruise because of low water in the Danube and all Celebrity offered was a $250 credit on a future cruise (which they upped to a.$1,500 credit when my travel agent asked). Although the food was great, overall I don’t think this cruise is worth the expense— we booked a penthouse— so we don’t plan to travel on Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We are Heritage members and sailed with Uniworld before on the S.S. Joie de Vivre from Paris to Normandy. Our experience with Uniworld in 2017 was exceptional! BUT THIS EXPERIENCE ON RIVER PRINCESS WAS NOT! Front Desk Hotel Manager ... Read More
We are Heritage members and sailed with Uniworld before on the S.S. Joie de Vivre from Paris to Normandy. Our experience with Uniworld in 2017 was exceptional! BUT THIS EXPERIENCE ON RIVER PRINCESS WAS NOT! Front Desk Hotel Manager and staff looked upset and serious if you asked a question. No smiles at anytime. It was as if all of them had some attitudes. The wait staff were arguing at times in their Romanian or Slavic language-you could see the tension. I even had to get up at dinner to ask for water. They forgot my meal and had to remind them but all they always said was it is coming and then they would turn to each other and argue. It was extremely uncomfortable. The dining room was poorly set up not allowing much choices on seating to meet others and definitely NOT what our last experience was. It was a typical dining room as if it were on a Celebrity Cruise. The food on the River Princess was below standard-not typical of Uniworld’s fine culinary fare. It tasted comparable to most large massive mid budget cruise liners. We were extremely appalled that we were served a buffet one evening for dinner. Our Food was served Luke warm or cold at table side. I sent back several dinners due to flavor and being cold. My husband ordered a simple steak and looked grey in color as if they threw it is a broiler and rushed it out. He sent it back. We waited so long for our food to come a good portion of the time. Having to remind them! Never told in the morning there was a special dish. When the omelet station chef overheard me speak to another guest he said there is always a special and showed it to me. When I asked him to order me one, he said, " sorry, you have to go to your table and ask your waiter". The waiter NEVER CAME! I had to flag them down. That was done more than just one day on a 8 day trip. The choices of food served were the same almost everyday at lunch or breakfast. Many times.I had to wait 30 minutes for poached eggs. Poached eggs take 2-3 minutes to make. I made my own toast. The Eggs Benedict in morning was cold and thick sauce I could not eat it. Our tour guides were not the best and rushed us. Even an expert lecturer who traveled on the ship and spoke about the history stopped our guide during a tour and told her she was not telling the history as per the Jewish Heritage Tour it was to be. The ship was old and tired. My advice would be to remove this ship from circulation. It is old and many issues. The trip was from Vienna to Prague. They went to Nuremberg and bussed us to Prague-(4 hours) not given water bottles and stopped 1/2 way to buy some! Our choices of tours were do as locals with a basic walking neighborhoods, biking, hiking in Bavarian Forrest or Pay for other tours that were not worth the money-Especially the Schoenbrunn Palace-we paid 66Euro per person. We were taken to 4 rooms that were an apartment of a Queen who liked tropical islands and murals on walls, no furniture at all to view. Rushe in and out. There maybe 15 minutes it was so small. Took us on a specific tour in a museum to see directly the Vermeer painting a just a few other paintings. Then told to go to the gardens and walk around for 45 minutes in the blaring heat! She was abrupt and she had 45 minutes to herself and she could have let us stay in the museum if we chose too. But we HAD to leave it! We hung around in the heat and had nothing to do. I wrote a letter to corporate office explaining our experience in detail. They had the audacity to insult us with a $150 per person credit on board to be used on our next trip and expires no later than December 2020! Other passengers who had been on Uniworld before and had good experience prior were also upset and said Viking they took once did a better job on food , staff and quality. We are done with Uniworld. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Choose Crystal due to their reputation for being top notch. We have cruised on Crystal before. Last time I took 60 couples with me on a sales payoff trip and it went well. I found the service excellent, the staff was very friendly and very ... Read More
Choose Crystal due to their reputation for being top notch. We have cruised on Crystal before. Last time I took 60 couples with me on a sales payoff trip and it went well. I found the service excellent, the staff was very friendly and very polite, food was very good, excursions were interesting and varied so almost everyone could find something to do that interested them. The Crystal buses were clean and new and every seat had a lot of leg room . The ship was well maintained. This was a 50th wedding anniversary, a decade birthday and a cancer survival celebration for us so I spent the money for a Penthouse suite (206), but that didn't turn out so well.Read the nightmare that was, in the cabin review. I enjoyed several of the excursions we went on and felt that the guides were well prepared and very friendly. Overall had I been able to get some sleep it would have been a excellent trip. A "reasonably" quiet room is very important for me and by wife. We all expect some noises living close to others but this was on a scale that I have never experienced in over 40 years of extensive business and personal travel. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Mozart, R/T Vienna, June 23-Jul 3 The Danube cruise on Crystal Mozart had its fine moments but I was ultimately disappointed with the whole package. Butler service in the cabin was excellent, and worth the extra money. The variety and ... Read More
Mozart, R/T Vienna, June 23-Jul 3 The Danube cruise on Crystal Mozart had its fine moments but I was ultimately disappointed with the whole package. Butler service in the cabin was excellent, and worth the extra money. The variety and presentation of food and drinks were more than acceptable though not matching what we found on Crystal Serenity's Hawaii R/T voyage from San Francisco in 2016. An egg dish served to me was probably contaminated by uncooked egg. Waitress service and the entertainer were very good the entire trip. Budapest is among the most beautiful cities I've ever visited and I'd not been there before. The entire itinerary was varied and well chosen. On the other hand, our cabin was the size of a hotel toilet and not as well designed or furnished. Shore excursions produced surprisingly contrasting moments. The tour of Melk Abbey was great. So's the choice of Michelin-starred restaurants in Vienna and Budapest. But, although the guide at the Austrian concentration camp was well versed in history, he chose to treat us to offhand homophobic remarks, the kind of thing I doubt he would dare apply to Jews. I called him on it and reported him to Svjetlana, the boat's excellent hotel manager, to the boat's tour manager and in my report to Crystal. Decorations at the Hungarian horse farm included an American Confederate battle flag, probably not an accident in such a country. My well-traveled friend and I both think some of this may be laid on the company trying to expand too fast - e.g., crew were being trained for the newbuild river boats that are coming on line. A bartender, for instance, was moving up to butler status the morning we disembarked. All in all, I would not recommend this trip right now. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
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
22 Helpful Votes
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
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
The biggest question mark about booking this cruise is whether you like group excursions or not. You'll be paying for them whether or not you partake because all ports have multiple excursions available at no extra charge. If you ... Read More
The biggest question mark about booking this cruise is whether you like group excursions or not. You'll be paying for them whether or not you partake because all ports have multiple excursions available at no extra charge. If you don't mind trooping along with 1-3 full coaches or if you are okay skipping them, you're fine and we can move along... Crystal's Mozart was a surprise on first, second and every subsequent glance. At first glance, her lines are a bit dated and utilitarian. Definitely not the sleek looks of competing ships from AMA, Avalon, Tauck ... (Viking ships are pretty utilitarian as well). On second glance, you realize she's double hulled and at least a third again as wide as all other river cruise ships. You come to appreciate the extra space provided from her broad beam. On third glance, you start noting how well Mozart has been refurbished and maintained. The ship is immaculate. A few more glances and you realize how beautiful she is. On top of the ship's appeal, with 90+ crew for 150+ guests, service is impeccable. Dining service can sometimes be a little slow but that's because all dishes prepared on board use fresh produce and all dishes are prepared to order. Unlike every other cruise I've been on, the food started out being very high quality and, if anything, got better as the cruise progressed. We plan a future ocean cruise with Crystal and look forward to comparing the culinary offerings serving a much larger guest list. The itinerary was fantastic, introducing us to cities locked behind the iron curtain for much of our lives. And, of course, Vienna is a hard city to top on any other river itinerary unless you add Budapest. Then it's a toss up. Read Less
51 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Crystal Mozart is twice the width of other boats on the river and the standard of equipment on the boat is superb. Some boats that are half the width can take 200 passengers compared to Crystal Mozart taking 170 i.e. less than half the ... Read More
Crystal Mozart is twice the width of other boats on the river and the standard of equipment on the boat is superb. Some boats that are half the width can take 200 passengers compared to Crystal Mozart taking 170 i.e. less than half the space per person. The bathroom fittings, towels etc are of the highest quality. Good water pressure in shower but no bath. A toilet that will perform tricks that made my eyes water! Nespresso coffee in the cabin but no kettle to make tea. The bed and pillow were exceptionally comfortable and the linen was of the highest thread count quality. The staff are nothing less than magnificent. They were all so friendly, efficient and charming. Among the best I have ever come across. The management accepted my comments when I approached them during the trip and were polite in dealing with me and responded to my comments. The shore excursions were well organised. I particularly enjoyed the concert, the E- Biking and the tour buses were of the very best and latest standard. Airport transfers were efficient and we were immediately greeted at the airport. The tenor and pianist that were flown in especially for an evening’s entertainment on the boat were nothing less than spectacular. They were both of the highest international standard. The other performers brought on board were also very good. Not Crystal’s fault but we were moored up next to other boats too often. This is due to the unbelievably high number of large river boats being operated on the Danube but it means that one’s view from the French Balcony of our suite was often the side of another boat only a few feet away and not the local scenery. This can also shield their communications systems so the internet doesn’t work. This is the price that has to be paid for there now being 330 monster river cruise boats on the Danube. This won’t happen at Passau as Crystal are relative new boys on the block and are therefore not high enough up the pecking order to actually go into Passau so the boat moors up a 10 minute bus ride from the town. This obviously prevents casual shore visits. I bought a VPN for the trip so that I could watch Wimbledon on board but I was advised by their IT man that their IT system is not comprehensive enough to operate with a VPN. So no BBC. Budapest is a beautiful city with many spectacular buildings. Having visited Budapest before I know just how stunning the night time river cruise is. Unfortunately the river was closed on the one night that we were in Budapest so we were relegated to a bus trip which definitely did not compare to the river cruise. We specifically chose not to opt for the free/inclusive dinner at a Michelin Stared restaurant so that we could do the river cruise. Again not Crystal’s fault but another aspect that was very disappointing. Our friends went to Costes Downtown and were bitterly disappointed. Not Michelin Star food by any imagination but I guess Crystal don’t pay Michelin Star prices. Similar comments were to be heard from everyone who chose to visit one of the offered Michelin restaurants. It’s a great marketing ploy to say that a Michelin Star meal is included in the trip but it’s absolutely not what it purports to be. I am horrified that restaurants of such renown are prepared to demean themselves to such an extent. Now for the most outrageous bit. On our first night we were offered flat or fizzy water that were both chlorinated tap water. We complained and were brought bottled water. Two nights later we were offered water from the bottles that they use for the tap water so we declined and asked for bottled water. We were informed that the bottled water for our table had been decanted into the tap water bottles as everyone else had seen us having bottled water and they wanted it as well. In other words they were disguising the fact that our table was having better quality water that must have cost one or two Euros a bottle as opposed to free tap water. To me this is nothing less than fraudulent. On reporting this to the management we were told it was a misunderstanding between a supervisor and a member of staff. This can’t be true as our waiter had already told us it was to prevent too many customers asking for bottled water. There must have been more to this as bottled water was handed out everywhere we went. All the waiters, in every restaurant, were offering chlorinated tap water to all for the whole trip. The reasonably extensive complimentary wine list is just that but don’t expect them to all be available throughout the trip. When we boarded the Italian, Spanish and American wines were not available, only Austrian. We were advised that the week before the boat had had a wine group on board and that they had drunk all the better wines and that as the boat was only 400 feet long they were restricted in their stock. On our last night they had again run out of the Italian red so the next group of customers would have been restricted in their in the same way as we were. The food is well cooked but initially the selection was very limited and unimaginative. I was told by the Manger, Restaurant Manager and Chef that we could not expect normal cruise quality food on a river boat. Prior to booking I was lead to believe that the quality of food on the Crystal Mozart was one of its features. After my comments to the Management Group we were told to look at the menu in the morning and if we didn’t like the look of the choices to order anything else we might fancy. The main restaurant stops serving breakfast at 9.0 when in port and 9.30 when cruising which, in my opinion, is far too early for a holiday situation. The eggs for the first 5 days were stale, cheap mass produced and totally tasteless. When fried they spread out to the size of a plate which is a sure sign of poor quality stale eggs. The chef told me it was because of the temperature they were cooked at! After my comments about the eggs my wife and I were offered our own special free range organic eggs that had been especially bought for us! Not for all the other 150 or so passengers. The friends we were traveling with were needless to say appalled by this. After the boat was re-stocked at Passau the wine selection improved to 95% available and the quality, style and imagination of the food was very substantially better. In fact on one night we had a superb meal that ended with a truly memorable Grand Marnier soufflé. It is manifestly wrong that we had to go through half the trip with an inadequately stocked boat when the quality was so good after the boat was re-stocked. It seems crazy that it can go from average to excellent overnight. The boat and trip overall was great but sadly let down by the food and lack of wine selection during the first 5 days especially as it cost £700 a day for 2. The first part of the trip was not worth this and the last part was worth every penny. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
For several years now I had wanted to cruise the Danube, maybe from watching all the Viking ads on PBS’ Masterpiece programs. So I began researching river cruises around the time Crystal first entered this market, and the reviews ... Read More
For several years now I had wanted to cruise the Danube, maybe from watching all the Viking ads on PBS’ Masterpiece programs. So I began researching river cruises around the time Crystal first entered this market, and the reviews immediately pegged it as the top of the line for luxury cruises. By the time we were able to actually book a cruise, Crystal’s river fleet had expanded and we wound up on a 10-day expedition on the newest addition, the Crystal Ravel. We were not disappointed: In fact, it was one of the rare experiences that totally exceeded expectations. First, the ship itself was smallish (four decks), with about a hundred passengers. I loved that it felt intimate—I have a horror of the 10-deck behemoths that cruise oceans. At the same time it was also stylish and modern. Our cabin wasn’t huge, but it had a small walk-in closet, a bathroom with two sinks and an excellent shower, and a very comfortable king sized bed. It also had a large flat screen TV, and we enjoyed watching a movie on it one night. Overall it was a very comfortable refuge. Then there was the food. We live in San Francisco, a foodie Mecca, but the cuisine on the Ravel was nothing short of marvelous, especially the sit-down dinners (they only had a buffet one night). Almost every meal was like eating at a five-star restaurant, with service to match. Wines on the all-inclusive menu were good to great (you can opt to pay extra for premium wines but we never felt the need). Two special meal options are worth mentioning: The bistro dinner in the smallish cafe (it’s free but you must reserve a seat since they can’t accommodate more than a couple of dozen diners), and the gourmet experience in the Vintage Room, a pricey but amazing 8-course meal with awesome wines (you must also reserve this ahead of time—we ate with four other people). Even if you don’t splurge on the Vintage Room, definitely try the bistro meal, which is sort of tapas-like—a lot of small plates with everything from steak tartare and gravlax to prime beef, shrimp, and caviar. It was outstanding. Breakfast buffets were great, and you could opt for ordered specialties (e.g. eggs Benedict); I rarely even ate lunch but people I spoke with also enjoyed casual bistro and served options. Crystal’s all-inclusive shore excursions covered all the basics, and we also opted for a couple of esoteric extra-cost outings (for example, Vienna’s Jewish history). Guides were generally excellent, especially the one who escorted us through the infamous Mauthausen death camp. I liked that he didn’t sugar coat his comments on the complicity of the Austrian people. Finally, the service. Every single crew member, from housekeepers and wait staff to tour organizers, the couple who provided musical and games entertainment at night, and the butler who twice a day refreshed the ice in our ice bucket, seemed truly dedicated to pampering and otherwise seeing to our comfort and satisfaction. By the end of the 10 days they seemed to know all of us by name, and always greeted us as we walked by. This cruise was a splurge for my husband and I, but we both felt it was well worth it. Crystal In our view lived up to its reputation as the best European river cruise line out there. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
After sailing on many cruise lines throughout the world we decided this year was when we would sample a river cruise. We booked on a Ukranian cruise with another company and really did not enjoy for several reasons , however we were not to ... Read More
After sailing on many cruise lines throughout the world we decided this year was when we would sample a river cruise. We booked on a Ukranian cruise with another company and really did not enjoy for several reasons , however we were not to be deterred as we had heard so many good reviews from people and decided to jump straight back in. We chose the Xmas markets cruise on the Mozart in November 2018 as it is something that my wife had wanted to do . Feeling slightly anxious that this would not end up feeling as though it would be throwing good money after bad I contacted Crystal concierge regarding a few queries such as change of itinerary, arriving late on the ship and transfers from the airport as we were arriving independently. We received responses straight away and were given the information that we required. Transfers are free with Crystal even if you arrange your own flight which was great news as sometimes finding exact location of river cruise vessels can be difficult. On arrival which was late the embarkation was really smooth and within 10 minutes of arriving we were in our suite ordering room service.The suites are compact yet of good quality . The wardrobe is a pretty tight squeeze but their is more than ample storage space. The bathroom is top quality and the products offered are also top quality. The next we wandered round the ship and as expected everywhere was top quality , the sauna and pool area was really nice. For a ship which only caters for 151 guests there is plenty of seating areas and the restaurant is a good size and there are plenty of tables for 2 should you wish to dine by yourself. We very early eat breakfast but lunch and dinner are of a high standard and if you wanted something different from the menu the waiters were always happy to see if they could help. The menus are small compared to larger ships but I would imagine that it would be quite difficult to have a large menu for so few guests. The food was always of a good standard and you could use 2 restaurants for lunch and a choice of 3 dining venues if an evening. The guests were mainly American , Canadian , Chinese and a few from other countries so we were the only people from the United Kingdom aboard. Everybody seemed to get on and in the bar if an evening there was a good atmosphere whether it be quizzes, dancing or the entertainers James & Ros playing music. James & Ros were really good in getting the guests to mingle and take part in the activities. The excursions were mainly Xmas markets in Bratislava, Salzburg , Vienna and a few walking tours in Passau , Linz and Melk. These were well organised and most of them guides were knowledgeable and interesting. The Crystal coaches were excellent and very comfortable and even had Nespresso coffee machines onboard . We have travelled with many cruise lines and have always had good service on the ships and until now my favourite was Seabourn because the staff were so friendly and professional and always smiled when they spoke and took the time to talk to you . I always believed that was the best cruise crew we had been with . They have been matched by Crystal as we found the staff to be so helpful , professional and friendly. Wherever we went on the ship they all seemed happy . The staff on the Mozart are such an asset because we booked another cruise whilst on board and that is something we have never done before.There was no one area that we could make a negative criticism even when we received a letter in the cabin saying that we were not sailing to Bratislava because of the low level of the water , they took us by bus and gave us 250UD off a future cruise and I already knew that there were problems with the water level. I would definitely recommend Crystal to anybody who likes the nice things in life and like being looked after. Read Less
38 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I thoroughly enjoyed my 1st river cruise on Crystal Mozart, sailing the Danube for 10-nights. I’m going to use a different angle to view this cruise and write a not-so-common trip report. I’ll start with a list of the pros and cons of ... Read More
I thoroughly enjoyed my 1st river cruise on Crystal Mozart, sailing the Danube for 10-nights. I’m going to use a different angle to view this cruise and write a not-so-common trip report. I’ll start with a list of the pros and cons of this cruise. Of course, it’s only based on my own opinions, but hopefully it would be helpful enough for fellow cruisers to learn more about the 5-star river cruising experience on Crystal Mozart, as I found that I got very limited information regarding this while doing my research homework on the cruise throughout my almost 2 years’ planning period. I spent a ton of time to write on Wismergirl’s travel blog to include a lot more details if you are interested in my daily activities on board. Refer to photo: Crystal Mozart, “the Giant” of Danube river cruising, docked at Linz on July 13, 2018: Pros 1) Truly all-inclusive – not even one extra cent I had to pay on board. Of course, if you want spa/hair treatments, Connoisseur wine, upgraded excursions & extra tipping, that’s another story. Now, cruise fare, airport transfers, selected shore excursions, meals, entertainment, gratuities, unlimited soft drinks, beer, most wine & spirit, unlimited WIFI on board & on coaches (though quite spotty at times), are all paid for. We even got a complimentary meal at a Michelin-star restaurant (only applicable to guests staying at Penthouses and above or those booked before Aug 7, 2017). Tips for cruisers: Buy a 3G/4G Europe SIM card. I bought one for CA$39 (US$30) with 5 GB data & 3000 talk/text for 30 days that covered all countries that we visited so I had internet access all the time. I only used less than 2GB for 16 days, even sharing personal Hotspot with my husband. 2) Unpack and Pack only once – This cruise took us to nine European cities in Austria, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. There was no need to pack our bags every day for a new destination. Setting off along the Danube from Vienna, we passed through the beautiful Wachau Valley; went for guided walking tours in Vienna, Melk & Durnstein; did all-day side trips to Cesky Krumlov & Munich; visited historical landmarks in Budapest with a violin concert in the Imperial Palace & a night cruise on the Danube; and discovered the modern art scenes and Communist-era architecture of Slovakia's capital, Bratislava. What a great itinerary! 3) 5-star Luxury accommodation and service - Cabins aboard the Crystal Mozart started at 219 square feet (except 1 that was only 206 sq. ft.). The high-end amenities like Toto toilets, mini iPad in each stateroom, free use of eBikes, 24-hour complimentary room service, Crystal clear audio device for excursions, free self-serve laundry with detergent & drying sheets, complimentary pressing, plus free butler service for all guests are incredibly awesome! Besides, Crystal Mozart is twice as wide as most river boats (22.85m instead of the normal 11.4m). Its spacious top (Vista) Deck 4 with a bar, big TV & garden features modern luxury! Low guests to staff ratio means top-notched service & 3 restaurants for meals are also big pluses. Food tasted better than that from the Crystal ocean cruises, though not enough varieties. Tips for cruisers: DON’T bring too much clothing as there is limited storage space in the room, plus you only need to wear smart casual attires for dinners. Remember: self-serve laundry is at your service! 4) Compact ship size and seasickness-free – Most of the time we didn’t even feel like the boat was moving. Being a couple of mid 50’s, we kept forgetting things and it was so easy to go back to the room to get them. We met lots of people and could call about half the ship’s passengers and most staff members by names when we left the ship. 5) Great workouts without going to the Gym – Not sure if you classify it as a pro or a con?! We did so much walking while on excursions that we didn’t gain any weight even though we ate like crazy. On average, it’s about 10,000 steps a day, walked for about 7 km with LOTS of steps. 6) Fantastic experience passing through the locks – It was really fun going upstream/downstream with different river levels through the locks. Being so windy, sunny and hot while staying on the top deck to watch the passing of the locks, we mostly stayed at the spa waiting area, lying on the loungers to watch the locks open and close. Even when we passed the locks at night time, the views were great. Cons 1) Docking – This has been a major issue for a lot of passengers. We had a few passengers who needed to use wheelchairs and they either had to get off the wheelchairs and walked with assistance, or crew/family members needed to help lift/carry the wheelchairs for disabled passengers to get on/off the boat. Europe is not N. America and many places are still not wheelchair-accessible, including bathroom locations. The ship elevator could only go up to Deck 3 but not the Vista Deck. When we docked at Passau (Lindau), we had to take the stairs to walk up to Deck 4 and walked off the ramp to the pier (see the picture with the gangway from the top deck to the pier). Besides, many passengers complained that they were always facing a concrete pier when the boat docked, especially if your room was on Deck 1 midship. I advise you to choose your room location properly. We didn’t have any problems being at the front part of the ship on Deck 2 with a French balcony. On a river cruise, midship cabins are not the best locations, always choose Forward. If you choose the Aft cabins, you would feel more vibration because it’s closer to the engine. We could totally experience the difference while eating at Blue on the aft of the ship. Many times, there were 2 or even 3 ships parked and tied together. Look at the picture of 3 boats triple-parked in Vienna. 2) Entertainment – Entertainment was really limited and low-key. We spent most nights at the Cove Bar listening to Derek Conlon’s piano playing, with a couple of very entertaining local shows and professional guest singer/pianist for 2 nights, and a so-called “concert by 3 princesses on the violin” in Budapest. Being a concert pianist myself, I played some Beethoven and did a “Sound of Music” singalong with fellow cruisers for a couple of nights at Cove Bar. It’s actually a social time more than anything. There was no casino and shops to even spend your onboard credits. Use your OBC at the spa or on premium wine or spend it at the Vintage Room. The passing scenery on both banks was the key to river cruising. We ventured out to the city centre on our own while we were in Vienna, Linz, Bratislava & Budapest. It was very easy to move around using public transport being in the city, or Crystal could call a taxi for us. 3) Food – Breakfast buffet was the only choice for breakfast, unless we wanted to go for room service or have a late-riser breakfast at Bistro Mozart. The only varieties we could get were different types of eggs (cooked to order), smoothies and fruit. I really liked their congee with different little ingredients on the side that we could add to our own liking (see picture). There were more choices for lunch as we could eat at Waterside (buffet) or Blue (same menu every day with a different soup and pasta). Dinner menus changed daily, though choices were still limited. We actually liked to have tapas-style dining at Bistro Mozart (reservation needed) rather than eating at Waterside. The ingredients were fresh and the dishes were delicious though again, there was a lack of variety. 4) Excursions – Lots of senior cruisers depended on travel agents to plan from flights to hotels to transportation for the entire cruise. A lot of travel agents charged way too high while booking hotels and limos for pre- and post-cruise activities but did not help their clients book the excursions. Many ended up booking excursions while on board and they did not have time to fully understand what’s to be expected while signing up. The Crystal concierge had been really helpful but sometimes the tours were full (like eBikes that they only had that many number of bikes) and there’s nothing the concierge could do but to wait for cancellations. A ton of walking was involved in most tours, and many times we had to walk on cobble-stone streets which was not easy for most people, not to say seniors. Having big coaches like Crystal’s, though they were super comfy, they couldn’t park close enough for boarding at most attractions, even in big cities like Vienna. I walked 9,971 steps for 6.7 km just for one 4-hour excursion “Vienna in a Nutshell”, with about an hour on the bus. Tips for cruisers: Use PCPC (Priority Check-in & Planning Center) to book excursions that are appropriate for your own health conditions well in advance. Highlights of the whole trip 1) 2-night pre-cruise in Salzburg & 2-night post-cruise in Vienna so I could visit the 2 cities in depth and attended concerts…of course, I did a ton of homework to plan for the extra 4 days including purchasing train tickets in advance, booking hotels plus “Sound of Music” shows and Mozart concerts at Salzburg Fortress, Sternbrau in Salzburg, Musikverein and St. Charles Church in Vienna 2) Wachau Valley scenic cruising & passing through locks 3) Private tour to Szechenyi Thermal Baths (see photo) and a 1-hour Royal Thermal Massage in Budapest (I booked these in advance before the cruise but Crystal concierge could book it for you with just a few hours’ notice) – taxi ride only 10-20 Euros each way 4) Night cruise on the Mozart in Budapest with an incredible view of the illuminated parliament (see photo) River cruising definitely suited us a lot so we made an open booking on board. I need to do more homework before committing to the next Crystal cruise. All the 4 new Crystal riverboats are very different than the Mozart, so I have to look at the itineraries carefully to book one within the next 6 months. Thank you, Crystal Mozart, for making our 1st river cruise experience so enchanting and memorable! Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We spent 10 nights on a Vienna round trip to visit Christmas Markets. The ship is new, the cabin was roomy. The itinerary was good. Shore excursions, concerts and a special 5 star dinner were all included. The food on board was above ... Read More
We spent 10 nights on a Vienna round trip to visit Christmas Markets. The ship is new, the cabin was roomy. The itinerary was good. Shore excursions, concerts and a special 5 star dinner were all included. The food on board was above par compared to other cruises. The service was excellent. The ship is wider than most river boats. There was an indoor pool. One disadvantage of having a larger river boat is that it is forced to park away from the city center which smaller river boats don’t. Crystal provided shuttles to the city center so docking was never an issue. The entertainment on board was good. There was a piano player, Mark, who made it a point to recognize everyone as they entered the loung. On several nights, out side entertainment was available which was excellent. We had VOXs for use during our excursions. The also provided commentary while cruising. Read Less
33 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Wanted to try a new cruise experience, plus visit Austria. This cruise seemed perfect, especially since it was advertised as an Oktoberfest cruise. The cruise itself was a wonderful adventure, and my wife and I would do it again. The ... Read More
Wanted to try a new cruise experience, plus visit Austria. This cruise seemed perfect, especially since it was advertised as an Oktoberfest cruise. The cruise itself was a wonderful adventure, and my wife and I would do it again. The staff, especially the waiters, were tremendous. Great service, plus they had wonderful recommendations. The food was always excellent, and did feature some local dishes. The room staff was always keeping the cabin fresh and stocked with towels and whatever else was needed. Some of the shore excursions were outstanding, like the Belvedere in Vienna and the concert. Simply wonderful. The guide in Budapest (Claudia) was wonderful. All the cruises were very educational. The one major disappointment was Passau and the trip to Munich. In spite as being billed as "Oktoberfest," little was done to accommodate those that wanted to go. A very, very small special trip was arranged for some and considerable cost (plus the driver got lost and service and food was terrible, according to those that went). Instead, it would have been much better on the "Munich" tour to just drop those that wanted to visit Oktoberfest off and let them do it on their own (which is a much better experience). In spite of knowing it was Oktoberfest, the tour bus had no idea of all the road closures and so the bus wandered around aimlessly for quite a while, wasting valuable time. Google Maps had all the road closures, so its surprising that Crystal didn't know. In short, by the time we got off the bus and took a cab to Oktoberfest, we only had a couple of hours there. This only occurs once a year and Crystal needs to have a better way to go directly to the area (or near there) without all the bus stops on the way up, drop off those interested, then take the rest on the Munich tour. This should be a complimentary option, with no reserved seating at Oktoberfest. This is a much better option. Then a later bus for the return. Ridiculous to advertise it as Oktoberfest and not take advantage of it. For other shore excursions, there was very, very little "free time." So if you wanted to grab one of the local food specialties, or do some shopping, you couldn't. There needs to be more free time. I think Crystal is catering to an older clientele which is why they make so many bus stops (bathroom breaks) and keep the excursions so short. They might consider two groups--those that want it limited, and those that want more free time and fewer bus stops. They already have several busses going on the same excursion, so this would be easy to do. As for the cabin, the luxury suites might be quite spacious, but the basic suite (201) is poorly designed. You cannot even access the right half of the closet (no door). The one closet door opens and hits the bed. You have to contort to reach the rest of the closet. Sliding doors would have given better access, or put the bar there and the closet where the bar is. Poor design for hanging and storing clothes. The ship is extremely quiet (except when transiting the locks). It made for a very pleasant sleep. Temperature control was excellent. The brochures imply that there are both European and American outlets. There is not. Only European outlets, so an adapter is needed. Room cleaning was excellent and they seem to know when you are gone, as the room is always ready! The pool and jacuzzi are nice. NO temperature control on the jacuzzi, so whatever the ship sets for it is the temperature you get. At the beginning it was extremely hot, but by the end of the cruise it was lukewarm. Spa jets only run for a minute so you have to frequently press the cycle button. Overall a great cruise. Meals were a delight because of the staff (cooks, waiters, wine, everyone). It was the best part of the cruise. Activities were excellent. As mentioned, the shore excursions were great but needed more free time. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We wanted to try a river cruise snd explore new parts of Europe. We were uncertain about the other offerings and booked based on Crystal's reputation. Our experience exceeded expectations. The service was impeccable. The vessel was ... Read More
We wanted to try a river cruise snd explore new parts of Europe. We were uncertain about the other offerings and booked based on Crystal's reputation. Our experience exceeded expectations. The service was impeccable. The vessel was thoughtfully decorated and felt very high end. The food was wonderful, well presented, and perfectly prepared. There were several special touches- a private concert in the Belvedere Palace where we were greeted with champagne, special onboard entertainment, some lovely excursions (most complementary), and a special dinner at a Michelin star restaurant. Le Ciel was the passenger favorite for restaurant options and we were so pleased to have dinner there. If it is booked, get wait-listed. The Budapest restaurants did not receive the same comments, so I would avoid them. Most tour guides were knowledgable and friendly. Czesky Krumlov was very social and the brewery a highlight of our trip-skip Munich-so not worth it from what we heard. Agree that the smaller cabins can feel a bit cramped, but that was more than offset by the amenities. We had to ask our butler for evening hours d'oevres, which are included, but that was the only misstep. When you arrive and unpack, send out clothes for pressing (no charge). You will feel pampered and relaxed at the end of this trip! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Good experience with Crystal Mozart, over what we did expect. It has been an amazing 10 days onboard. The crew is very friendly, polite, always smiling and willing to assist with everything. The weather was unfortunately not so nice, ... Read More
Good experience with Crystal Mozart, over what we did expect. It has been an amazing 10 days onboard. The crew is very friendly, polite, always smiling and willing to assist with everything. The weather was unfortunately not so nice, but we were able to enjoy the tours in every location we docked. The food was extraordinary, presentation and taste wise, and very varied menu, all over higher then what we expected. We felt happy with personal service from Mrs Judy. The entertainment was also great! Very talented local singer and musician, able to make everyone sing and dance. The spa is also luxurious, which includes a Jacuzzi, female and male sauna and steam room, and very well trained therapist for Hair treatments, body massage, facials... Front desk is also very kind and always helpful, willing to answer any inquiries with a big knowledge, smile and making sure we are comfortable onboard. We got especially great help by Mrs Patricia by solving my IT questions. We look forward to join Crystal again! Read Less
33 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
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 ... Read More
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. The food at dinner-time was excellent. We found the quality a lot better and with speedier service than on the ocean ships since there are fewer passengers in a smaller restaurant. Chef Dirk Magg does a great job. Lunch is a more moderate affair with a choice of a buffet in the Waterside (main dining room) and Blue (bistro at the end of the boat). For lunch, there is always a freshly made-to-order pasta (the tastiest we had was fusilli with caviar in a vodka sauce) and something on the carvery which is tucked behind the chefs so you have to look out for this. Lunch is a reasonable offering but does not compare to the quality and selection at dinner-time. We only made it to breakfast buffet at the Waterside a couple of times. There is an egg/omelette station, a waffle/crepe station and a Chinese congee station in addition to the usual hot and cold buffets. Late breakfast is served at the bistro where you can even make your own toast in the toaster provided. Top experiences during the cruise included: • Free-flowing champagne and caviar at the Crystal Society Party • The Crystal Exclusive event at the Belvedere Palace (drinks reception, tour of the art galleries, a typical Viennese concert of Mozart and Johann Strauss II with a small orchestra, two opera singers and two ballet dancers) • Early entry to the Museum of Fine Arts, exclusively for Crystal guests, with small group tours led by art experts supplied by the museum. The guides even used iPads to help us zoom in on the finer aspects of the artwork. • Tapas-style dinner at the Bistro (a similar experience to Taste on the Crystal Serenity) • Half the Café Sacher blocked off for exclusive use by Crystal guests for coffee and Sacher cake despite there being an outdoor queue in the cold for the other half of the café (this was a complimentary excursion too!) • Visiting a German brewery where they filled our glasses with cold beer directly from the pipes leading from the fermentation tanks to the bottling area. • Enjoying a modern-day “Von Trapp Family” perform a Sound of Music and Holiday concert on Christmas Day. • Seeing Filip Wojciechowski, a regular headliner who performs on the Crystal ocean cruises, performing with both his wife and son – tight squeeze at the piano. • The check-in experience. We were seated in the pantry area on our own after walking up to the reception desk. This was about 12:20pm. We arrived at the same time as three or four other cars/taxis with each party was taken a separate seating area. Equipped with an iPad, the receptionist found our reservation after I quoted our suite number. She took a photo of each of us for our key cards with her iPad and then said she would check if our suite was ready. After about 5 minutes, she returned with our key cards and said as our Penthouse suite was ready, we should follow her to the room. Our our six bags were already in the room, nicely laid out on the bed and sofa for us to start unpacking. We were totally unpacked by 1:10pm For us, a key ingredient to this successful cruise was Neal Fullerton, the Entertainment Host. He happily played songs that everyone shouted out at him in the evenings, chatted with guests around the boat during the day, dealt with guest announcements and organized the logistics of the guest entertainers who came on board. Crystal flew in a four-person band from the UK to cater for the ballroom dancers for the second half of the holiday cruise. The Paul James Band were good at judging the mood of the audience and adapted their set accordingly each evening. Each one of them is a great musician and there was an amazing after-hours “jam session” in the Palm Court, to a very small audience, where they were not restricted to the strict tempo of ballroom dance music. The one downside of the Mozart is the on-board wi-fi and was the subject of much discussion on board. On the plus side, the wi-fi was completely free. However, Crystal really imposed very strong firewalls. Any website that used a secured interface or needed a log-in was blocked. I could not even log into my office secure system which would have been a real issue had this not been the Christmas period. The speed of the wi-fi on the Crystal coaches was so much better. It does vary from bus to bus and depends on the cellular signals on the highway; i.e. it can come and go. Crystal laid on buses for a 3.5 hour transfer to Budapest as the Mozart was unable to sail past Vienna. 100 guests did the transfer and were put up at the lovely Ritz Carlton hotel, which was very centrally located in Budapest. Most of the Crystal Excursions were maintained but the Michelin-starred restaurant had to be swapped for new bookings in Vienna as we were in Budapest on a different day to that originally scheduled. 35 guests remained in Vienna and had their own separate excursion programme. The Paul James Band and Neal Fullerton continued to entertain the guests who remained in Vienna. Crystal also laid on buses for the one-hour transfer to Bratislava for an afternoon’s sightseeing, dinner and New Year’s Day concert performed by the Slovenská Filharmónia, a 75-person orchestra plus a 65-person choir. Interestingly, for those guests who chose to have dinner on board the boat, two key members of the orchestra presented their own extraordinary concert in the Palm Court. The butler service advertised is really glorified room service. Do not expect the type of service you see at Penthouse Level on the Crystal Symphony and Serenity. We saw in the New Year with the Mozart cruising around the Danube within the Vienna area so we could see the fireworks going off along the river. We do not think these were organized fireworks but private residents celebrating themselves along the river. The Paul James Band played until 2am, the countdown was done by the Captain and the Hotel Director. The German bistro server dressed up as a German chimneysweeper and handed out good luck gifts of marzipan. Given this cruise is so close to Christmas, there were only opportunities to visit the Christmas Markets in Vienna (at the start of the cruise), Salzburg (Boxing Day) and Budapest (Dec 29). While the biggest Christmas market in Budapest had ended, we came across two Christmas market (mainly serving food and mulled wine) still going strong. The Salzburg Christmas market was very large. Only 50% of the passengers were past cruisers with Crystal. The other half are mainly cruisers from Regent and Seabourn looking the luxury ocean cruising experience on the rivers. Almost all the guests were very chatty. Tables for two at the Waterside a conveniently placed close enough for conversation. It is the same with the tables for two at the Bistro. This also helped make our cruise experience so splendid. The newly installed lift was definitely in use and is definitely key to Crystal securing a wider demographic of passengers. For a blow by blow account of our cruise experience with a pictorial diary, have a read of my blog - http://johnken3.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/dec-22-boarding-crystal-mozart-and.html The dinner menu and offerings can be found at http://johnken3.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/dinner-on-board-crystal-mozart.html and some comments on stateroom selection are at http://johnken3.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/some-logistics-points.html I am looking forwards to a return cruise on the Mozart in September 2017 - hopefully when I get to use the top deck more in the warmer weather. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
I'm a frequent cruiser - although mainly the larger ocean liners. I recently strayed from course and took my mom on a CRYSTAL CRUISES RIVER CRUISE ON THE DANUBE. It was, in a word, SPECTACULAR. Let me start by saying I'm in my ... Read More
I'm a frequent cruiser - although mainly the larger ocean liners. I recently strayed from course and took my mom on a CRYSTAL CRUISES RIVER CRUISE ON THE DANUBE. It was, in a word, SPECTACULAR. Let me start by saying I'm in my mid 40's and my mom is an active 73. We live in the NYC area and are from the entertainment/media fields. We were looking for something more mellow than the traditional big ship offerings, as well as something elegant and steeped in culture-rich activities (tours). CRYSTAL CRUISES surpassed both my mom's and my expectations. The Mozart is CRYSTAL's first foray into the river cruise biz. It's an older ship, retrofitted and refurbished to the line's usual high standards. It's simply stunning. We landed in Vienna and headed straight to the ship. We opted to set up a private car thru Crystal, which was set up weeks prior to departure. The car service rep was waiting right as we walked out of baggage, led us to our driver and off we went for the 30 minute drive to the Mozart. The large SUV was spotless and the driver was friendly and professional. Upon first seeing the Mozart - you may or may not have a little moment of panic ("Wait, this is it?!?") The outside of the ship is very...river cruise-ish. Nothing mindlblowing. But the second you walk up to the glass entryway - WOW. The decor is modern yet elegant. It's clean lines, muted grays and creams...really classy. I looked into another line early on in my planning stages and was turned off by the decor, which looked like a botanical garden gone haywire (lots of florals and brocade-ish appointments; nice but NOT my style). The entire span of the interior of Mozart was dazzling in Christmas decor, since this was a Christmas Market-centric itinerary. Beautifully decorated Christmas trees in every corner, sweet winter gnomes popping up here and there (not creepy looking) and wrapped presents in silvers, golds, greens and reds. With the chill in the air it fast forwarded me right to Christmas Eve. Couples will no doubt feel a wave of love, moms/daughters (there were a couple of these tandems on board actually) will feel grateful for the opportunity to bond. Seriously, I probably sound corny but the Mozart brought such warmth to guests the second we walked on, and it really meant a lot I know to everyone. The crew is, again, amazing. And gorgeous by the way. My mom and I joked with our adorable "butler" Daniel that we were quite pleased with the aesthetics of the ship - EVERYTHING on the ship lol. Handsome young men and lovely women in their 20's and 30's mainly from places like Poland, Slovakia, Latvia. Hard working, friendly, patient and extremely professional. Things to just point out randomly: The average age of the guests I would say is mid to late 60's. This isn't a party ship by any stretch. THAT SAID - if you want to have fun on board, you can absolutely have it and more. My mom and I met two other couples on Day 2 and became inseparable. We would probably be considered the "fun crew" (there were little pods of us that grew as the days went on, then began to morph into one LOL). We would meet up in the mornings before our complimentary tours, sit on the same bus and hang together thru the day. It was fun to share these amazing cities with others. If we wanted alone time, we could easily have it. Everyone "got it"; no one was offended if you split off. But I have to tell you - stumbling on an authentic, locals-type German restaurant after our tour of Munich with new friends, drinking wine, beer, eating delicious food surrounded by a hundred old German men and women who had clearly loved this place forever was AWESOME. Tour buses were spacious, prompt and comfortable - luxury buses. Drivers were safe and friendly. Tours were great. Mozart offered many complimentary tours each day and those were perfect. Guides were just what they should be: Informative, pleasant, professional. We took a tour of the Mauthausen concentration camp. Do this, please. Those of us who did are so grateful. It was very overwhelming but it bonded many of us -- we realized in very stark terms how incredibly lucky we are. People who can afford a luxurious vacation with not a concern in the world walking in the same footsteps as those who were tortured by barbarians was not lost on any of us. Men, women, young, old from The States, Spain, Australia, etc all weeping like children. It was intense but left us feeling very lucky. After the tours wrap up, we usually found ourselves back on ship heading straight for the lounge. Attire on board and off was pretty much the same: Comfort, comfort, comfort with a splash of cute. The lounge can be summarized in one word: Neal. He's the entertainer; a one man show who really made the trip EVERYTHING. He's a cute Brit who plays piano, sings, charms and is hilarious. He sat with my mom and I on night two and we ended up grabbing him for dinner where we continued the laughs. He is equally warm to everyone on board, which is a feat given there are about 185 guests. Our group pitched in and jokingly "presented" him a blue sequined blazer on one of the last nights. He is quite fond of snazzy duds that only HE could get away with. That's the thing - 6 adults, touring Munich, giggling like schoolgirls as we ran around trying to grab that ridiculous jacket. It says it all. Neal, Brian - everyone was just so cool and so cute. And always professional. Watching women who are sitting there with their husbands of 30 years screaming and preening as crazy Neal performs his piano man routine was epic. The memories will last a lifetime. I will follow this up with the names of some folks to keep an eye out for - I don't have them handy but it's important to me to mention them. The food: As good - OR BETTER - than any NYC top tier restaurant, and that is no joke. Part of our crew was in the restaurant biz and they were very, very impressed. The restaurant is run masterfully. You can dress up or keep the causal vibe going but either way you are treated with excellent service from everyone. (Stefan the sommelier was adorable. I told him I wanted to bring him home so my fiancé and I could adopt him. But then he told me he was 32...). I could go on and on, and pretty much have. I just wanted to express how wonderful CRYSTAL CRUISE's Mozart experience was. Any questions - I'm happy to answer. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
This was our third trip with Uniworld. We have totally enjoyed every trip that we have taken with them. The ships are beautiful, the service exemplary, and the tour guides are knowledgeable. We especially like the fact that the final price ... Read More
This was our third trip with Uniworld. We have totally enjoyed every trip that we have taken with them. The ships are beautiful, the service exemplary, and the tour guides are knowledgeable. We especially like the fact that the final price includes everything. We are then comfortable with making the decision to sit back, relax, and enjoy the cruise. We would not hesitate to go with them again. Our trip traveled the Blue Danube from Venice to Nuremberg. Since our passion is all things Christmas, we certainly got our fill with the Christmas Markets on this trip. If we have any criticism, it would be that we would have liked more time in some of the ports. We would have gladly extended our trip to 12 days and spent more than one night in some of the towns, taking in some of the museums or just roaming. The exclusive excursion to a concert in Vienna of Mozart and Strauss music with dancers performing the waltz was a highlight for me. Read Less
32 Helpful Votes
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
3 Helpful Votes
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
2 Helpful Votes
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
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 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

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