2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We really wanted to do a Christmas Markets cruise and selected AMA based on advice from our travel agent. The ship was well laid out and very comfortable. The staff from the cabin attendant, cruise manager and hotel manager, dining ... Read More
We really wanted to do a Christmas Markets cruise and selected AMA based on advice from our travel agent. The ship was well laid out and very comfortable. The staff from the cabin attendant, cruise manager and hotel manager, dining staff, front desk folks were all over the top helpful, caring and pleasant. The food and beverages were very good and offered a broad range in choices each day. The bar service was very good and very attentive. The excursions were broad enough to appeal to all types, very educational and we enjoyed them a lot. Made it really easy to enjoy the vacation as a whole. I was interested in the workings of the ship as well and spent a good amount of time with the Captain understanding it as well. Getting on/off ship before and after was very streamlined and they helped with everything. Will be booking another cruise with them in the very near future! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
This was our first river cruise. When traveling, I prefer to stay in luxury hotels and spas. Prior to the cruise, I was anxious about the quality and space onboard, since I had read many reviews of small cabin space. We opted for the suite ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. When traveling, I prefer to stay in luxury hotels and spas. Prior to the cruise, I was anxious about the quality and space onboard, since I had read many reviews of small cabin space. We opted for the suite upgrade and was given suite 304. I was pleasantly surprised at the space and finishes. We were given little extra tokens of appreciation such as in room champagne upon arrival, ama logo travel bags and luggage tags, Ama scarf and ama cap. These were nice little surprises that made us feel appreciated. There were numerous small things that they did for us that made us feel like family and that we mattered. The saying that people may forget what you say and do but never forget about how they make you feel, is so true with this ship. The entire staff was professional and considerate. Our bathroom had both a full sized tub and a smaller shower. The shower was a little tight for my husband as he is 6’3” and a big guy but he managed. The tub was full length and comfortable. We had both a French and traditional balcony. It was too chilly to sit on the balcony but would be nice in warmer weather. We had a computer and a wall of closet space. Very limited drawer space but plenty of hanging space and shelving The Amaserna is a beautiful boat. The interior looks new and well cared for. Due to staying busy with tours, food and finding new friends, We didn’t use the spa or small gym. They also have a small hair salon.a nice walking track and heated pool which were on the top deck. We were told they offer fitness classes in the top deck during warmer weather. The captain was pleasant and efficient. We had no issues with docking, locks or travels. The food was good and at times exceptional. The chefs table was a nice surprise and a fun and excellent dining experience. The breakfast was standard and good. I didn’t have lunch any day on the ship. We were constantly offered food - early breakfast, breakfast and late breakfast, lunch, tea time, sip and sail, dinner, and late night snack! Plus, we are at the Christmas Markets or stopped in small cafes in town. The tours were small groups of around 10-15 people. They offered active, regular and gentle walkers. My husband was having hip pain. So, a few days we did the gentle walker and it was so nice to have door to door service to and from the Abbey and Churches. We were given audiovox headphones to hear the tour guides. This was helpful. We could move away to make pictures while still hearing what they were saying. Of course, there was never enough time at any location. But, this was a 7 day cruise and we had 7 days of towns and cites to visit. It was nice that we were given the opportunity In Linz to (1) stay entire day in Linz (2) short Linz tour and half day excursion to Salzburg (3) full day In Salzburg. (4) morning in Linz and excursion to Chesky Krumlov I wanted to do all of them but chose the morning in Linz and half day to Salzburg. Great choice for us. On board entertainment was what I expected. Not the best and not the worst. We had a pianoman full time and some “lock hoppers” who hopped on board between the dam locks and provided unique local entertainment. We had a trio of classical musicans, “Von Trapp family of singing and dancing, lastly a one man acoustic guitar rock and roll oldies entertainer. These were fine and what one would expect on a small boat. Our transfers to and from the airport were easy and the staff was helpful. We had someone at the airports (arrival and departure) from Ama who helped with our luggage and finding our way to checkin and to security. Overall, it was a great experience and makes us want to do it again with Ama. If we had planned to visit all these cities and towns with tours and food , the cost would’ve been so much more. Currently, we are planning our next trip with Ama Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose the Magical Christmas markets to see Vienna, Salzburg, and Nürnberg, to enjoy some Christkindlmarkts, and to acquaint ourselves with river cruising. Ama has work to do. The cruise administration as we approached our travel ... Read More
We chose the Magical Christmas markets to see Vienna, Salzburg, and Nürnberg, to enjoy some Christkindlmarkts, and to acquaint ourselves with river cruising. Ama has work to do. The cruise administration as we approached our travel date was disrupted by the Woolsey Fire in the San Fernando Valley, where Ama is headquartered. Ama needs better contingency plans if they are going to stay in the Valley. Fires in Calabasas, from my youth in Woodland Hills, are NOT uncommon. We were impacted by the water levels of the Danube. Our cruise was shortened from Nürnberg to Vilshofen, and, after we boarded, to Passau. We missed one of the best Christkindlmarkts in all Europe. I recognize Ama is a hotelier, a restaraunteur, and a ship line, but they need better decisionmaking on how to make the traveller's experience the best possible. That includes leaving ship if need be. The sailing plan? OMW. On Monday, for reasons known only to Ama, we left Vienna for Tulin. Guess what? Everything was closed. DUMB. Then, at 11 at night, we sailed back to Vienna to berth in the nest of ships again. Better to have spent another day in Vienna, and help us see more of that great city. Speaking of bad calls, let's talk about Sunday. There were three ships abreast at Handelskai that morning. Three sets of busses, and no one on shore to direct us to which group of busses. We showed our color coded ticket, and the guide said "This is your bus." Welllllll .... no it wasn't. It was the bus of another ship to Bratislava. You need passports for that tour. Turned out a third of the people on that bus were from our ship, misdirected to it instead of the bus for the Eisenstadt tour. It's late fall, early winter. It was raining most days, so the upper outdoor deck was unusable. The lounge was a hospitable place, with free coffee and tea at all hours. I discuss our cabin elsewhere. The dining? Superb. An advantage Ama has over Windstar and their ocean sailings is the free wine and beer at mealtime. I liked that! Service? Superb. Yes, I paid the expected crew's gratuity, and then some, but I also gave some to my cabin housekeeper and two of the waiters. They deserved it. Vienna and Salzburg are grand cities, worthy of much more time than the cruise could provide. We will be back. Overall, this COULD HAVE BEEN A FIVE BUBBLE CRUISE. The administrative and logistics decision cost it points. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
This cruise was amazing! We chose a Danube cruise for the destinations. My husband is a musician and wanted to go to places where the famous composers actually wrote and performed the music so this itinerary was perfect. Everything about ... Read More
This cruise was amazing! We chose a Danube cruise for the destinations. My husband is a musician and wanted to go to places where the famous composers actually wrote and performed the music so this itinerary was perfect. Everything about this cruise was easy. Checkin was easy, they took our luggage to our room while we were checking in and they explained all the room features to us. We had been traveling for almost a week prior to getting on the ship so we sent out laundry that first night and asked to have it back in 2 days, it was back in our room same night when we came back from dinner! The cabin was well appointed and we opted for a balcony which we enjoyed. The food was great and service was top notch in both the restaurant and the lounge. The DJ in the evenings was entertaining and played great music and the dance floor was always full. The water level in the northern part of the Danube was too low so our itinerary had to change to accommodate that. No one wants a ship to get stuck! They reworked the itinerary on the fly and found other great locations for us to stop at and wonderful tour options. Every night before dinner we met the cruise director Csaba in the lounge and he updated everyone on the changes and let us know where we would be the next day. You could tell he was working really hard to come up with Plan B and he did not disappoint. As a result we did miss out on a few of the scheduled ports but all in all I don't think we really missed anything and we thoroughly enjoyed the options we did have. This was our first river cruise and we were anxious to compare it to the big ocean liners and we were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed the smaller, quieter atmosphere. We plan to do another cruise with AMA in the next year or so. We had a fantastic time and the level of detail and service was above and beyond our expectations. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was our first river cruise and we looked forward to the ease of river cruising: seeing many ports without the hassle of driving/packing and unpacking. However, due to the water shortage on the Danube, this ease of travel was not ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and we looked forward to the ease of river cruising: seeing many ports without the hassle of driving/packing and unpacking. However, due to the water shortage on the Danube, this ease of travel was not delivered. We were forced to bus to two destinations and pack a small overnight bag. Crystal put us up in a four star hotel and gave us a food allowance but we also had to endure a long bus ride between Vienna and Budapest and back. This is not the fault of Crystal but they were not forthcoming about the problem when asked prior to leaving for the cruise. I should add Crystal's lack of transparency was in contrast to Viking Cruise Line which had a website devoted to itinerary changes due to the drought. Many passengers were unhappy with the abrupt change of plans. I think if it had been handled more honestly, the passengers would have adjusted more easily and been happier.. On the other hand, the Mozart delivered on many aspects of the trip. The crew was fantastic. They were always pleasant, smiling and helpful. The food was quite good and plentiful with lots of options. Our cabin was quite nice and well-equipped with a comfortable bed, seating area, a large screen TV and an unending supply of wine, soda and water. The tours for the most part were informative and entertaining, conducted by knowledgeable local people. My only criticism is they should have offered a few more openings for some of the popular bike tours which booked up early. The special event in Budapest was a knockout. 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
Sail Date: September 2017
This well organized and thoughtfully planned cruise itinerary allowed time at the beginning to explore the culturally rich and historically important city of Vienna and thereafter offered a diverse and fascinating trip up the Danube and ... Read More
This well organized and thoughtfully planned cruise itinerary allowed time at the beginning to explore the culturally rich and historically important city of Vienna and thereafter offered a diverse and fascinating trip up the Danube and then the Rhine with dockings and tours along the way at the most important burgs and cities. The assigned tour guides were well versed in the history and current places of interest. The ship was well appointed, clean and well provisioned. The crew were there whenever needed or wanted and invisible when not, The food was spectacular. It was diverse in its offerings, delicious, and presented all as if you were in one of Europe's fine dining establishments. My special compliments go to the Chef de Cuisine, the Hotel Manager, and the Cruise Director. The on board entertainment was very good to excellent. It consisted of a crew member pianist every afternoon and into the late evening supplemented by a range of extraordinary talent brought on for occasional evenings. 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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
I had a really great 7 night trip on the CroisiEurope Beethoven on July 14, and my non-cruising husband enjoyed it too!! We left from and returned to Vienna on the Danube River. We were 2 of 5 Americans on the boat with the rest being ... Read More
I had a really great 7 night trip on the CroisiEurope Beethoven on July 14, and my non-cruising husband enjoyed it too!! We left from and returned to Vienna on the Danube River. We were 2 of 5 Americans on the boat with the rest being British, French and Danish. Language was not a problem and EVERYONE was terrifically nice and friendly. We enjoyed muddling along in English/French with the French passengers, and everyone else spoke English. There were English speaking guides and announcements. No hint of anything other than happiness to have the USA represented. As compared to Viking, the Beethoven is more homey and less elegant, without the richness of the surroundings and luxury appointments, but comfortable. Small staterooms. Minimal bathroom but functional. No verandas. French balconies with big, wide opening windows. The lounge was decorated with blown glass lamps, flowered curtains, anchor pattern turquoise rug and big sofas. Everything very clean. By the way, most alcoholic drinks and sodas were available without charge throughout the day, not just at meals. Beer and drinks seemed somewhat mild. Wine, bottled mineral water also. It was a nice touch! When I booked I unwittingly ordered the "full package" which included all excursions. I did not know there was another option and I am glad we did what we did. However other passengers, including two of the Americans, had purchased the boat trip only and there was a price list for excursions. Many of the Europeans purchased few or no exclusions and either stayed on the boat or just got off and walked around. For many, it seemed like the boat ride, good food, and activities were all they needed to be "on holiday". The excursions were good and guides varied in quality. Less structured than Viking, no fancy busses, etc. but more to the taste of my no frills husband. He and I had a wonderful time walking up to the ruined castle in Durnstein. Don't miss it if you like a bit of exercise! Food was a biggie with this group!! Your were seated with people who spoke the same language, and our table mates were from the U.K. and kept us laughing!! Breakfast was a buffet. Much less lavish and more European than Viking, with a boil your own egg station, etc. Great croissants and yogurt. The menu for lunch and dinner were posted and much discussed each day. The food was generally excellent (the duck was the best I've ever had!!) but no choices were offered at lunch and dinner. If you did not want venison steak or hake filets, too bad. I had arranged in advance with Michael Costa, the Croisi American rep to have a diabetic and pork free menu for My husband and they rose to the occasion like champs!! His plate was always lovely and they made him a different fruit plate for every meal. Some people at our table also chose to ask for a cheese plate instead of "puddings" for desert and that seemed ok. In general, no plate on the whole ship was returned to the kitchen any way except EMPTY! The "Entertainer" (cruise director?) was a young man who did everything from call bingo to teach napkin folding to open the gift shop (a big deal) to ride with the bus to the concert excursion. He was charming and a great favorite!! There were some games we did not participate in which gave points used later in an auction for prizes. We did not do this. We did attend the crew show that consisted of dancing to recorded music. It was well received as all passengers knew the crew, which was small. The room cleaners became the wait staff, so rooms had to be cleaned during buffet breakfast, etc. The real heart and soul of the ship was a lovely Portuguese woman named Sonia. She ran the whole show, doing every duty and running every aspect of the whole ship, except perhaps steering it down the river. On Viking she would have been at least 4 people. She set the friendly efficient tone of the whole trip. Incidentally she stays with the Beethoven, so anyone wishing to try Croisi will not go wrong with her!! In short, although my travel agent warned us that this company caters to local European customers and not the luxury- seeking American market, this trip was perfect for us. It was my husband's first river cruise and on Croisi I was not tempted to be a Viking know-it-all! It was different but equally enjoyable! The Danube is so beautiful and we had perfect, sunny, if somewhat hot, weather every day! The itinerary was arranged so that we sailed through gorgeous scenery and into beautiful lit-up Budapest at night twice!! We made many friends among our shipmates of all nationalities! By the way, we stayed 2 days post cruise which was just excellent. I found the hotel on trip advisor, the Beethoven Wein Hotel! Newly renovated historic building in perfect location, 3 blocks from the Opera and right next to the Nachmarkt, where we ate both nights. I booked us two concerts on line and between them, sightseeing, and the summer performance at the Spanish Riding School, we had a full schedule! 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
Sail Date: March 2017
I was lucky enough to win this cruise through my job. I was hesitant to go I was not familiar with this area of Europe. It would have been the biggest mistake of my life if I would have skipped this cruise. The entire crew was helpful ... Read More
I was lucky enough to win this cruise through my job. I was hesitant to go I was not familiar with this area of Europe. It would have been the biggest mistake of my life if I would have skipped this cruise. The entire crew was helpful from start to finish. Special appreciation to Jo Anna our server (Dracula). She is the queen of happy!!!!!. Ship was perfectly clean and had everything that you could possibly want on board. The ship was like new in every way perfect inside and out. In motion the boat was amazing smooth as silk. Fun to sit on my balcony and watch the world go by. So smooth that I never woke from sleep from any vibration or noises even as we docked. It was fun to wake up each morning to see where they have taken me next. Ride this ship you will not be sorry. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
This was the best river cruise we have ever taken. No detail was too small or overlooked. Everything ran like clockwork allowing for a very relaxing yet very adventuresome cruise. We arrived a day early in Vienna and Tauck had arranged ... Read More
This was the best river cruise we have ever taken. No detail was too small or overlooked. Everything ran like clockwork allowing for a very relaxing yet very adventuresome cruise. We arrived a day early in Vienna and Tauck had arranged for us to stay at the beautiful historic Grand Hotel Wien right on the Ringstrasse. We were able to walk to many of the sights from there such as. Viennna Opera House, the Museum Quarter. Being Christmas time, Vienna was a city of a million Christmas lights. You are transported to a feeling of excitement and joy of the season that you do not get when you are running from the mall to the stores. Tauck picked us up at our hotel, The Grand Hotel Wien, and took us directly to our ship. The staff quickly and efficiently checked us in and escorted us to our cabin. Tauck had picked up our suitcases at our hotel that morning and all of our bags were waiting in our room when we got there. Our room steward showed up a few minutes later with a couple of glasses of champagne and introduced herself to us. The shore excursions are all included in the price and there were three to select from each day. For instance in Nuremburg Germany, you had a choice between a bus driving tour of the city, a WWII historical tour, or a medieval walking tour of the old city. There was something for everyone. You did not even have to select your tour until a half hour before disembarkation for the shore excursion. There were a total of 3 tour directors and a cruise director that were available at all times. They were all extremely helpful and knowledgeable about the area. By the end of the trip, they and the other 99 passengers felt like family. We have taken other tours where we were nickeled and dimed to death. Not here. Everything is included in the price. If you want a glass of wine or a burger, it is yours. They passed out bottles of water before we disembarked and had hot cocoa, a heated cloth and some cookies waiting for us when we arrived back at the ship. We never spent a penny on the ship. The ship was immaculate. She was christened in summer of 2016 and we sailed her in December 2016. The staff never stopped cleaning her and everyone was responsible for keeping her in tip top shape. She was well designed and beautiful in every way. The staff learned our names on the first day and we quickly became friends with all of them. Only the Tour Directors and Cruise Directors work for Tauck. Everyone else works for the company that owns the ship, Scylla. Scylla does a marvelous job of hiring. It was almost as if they instinctively answered "yes" to every request and then went about figuring out how to honor it. There were some difficult passengers on our ship (of course) but the Scylla staff were more professional than any cruise staff that I have encountered and they killed them with kindness. I HIGHLY recommend a riverboat cruise with Tauck/ Scylla. It is clear that both companies have the same priorities and mission. Trust me if you get the chance to sail the Danube on the MS Joy and visit all of the amazing Christmas Markets, it will be the trip of a lifetime. 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
1 Helpful Vote
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
62 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Hi, We are an English couple, 60 years of age who have just completed our first Costa cruise. This was on Costa Mediterranea, 7 days down the Dalmatian coast in late April 2016. To put our comments in context I should add that we have ... Read More
Hi, We are an English couple, 60 years of age who have just completed our first Costa cruise. This was on Costa Mediterranea, 7 days down the Dalmatian coast in late April 2016. To put our comments in context I should add that we have previously cruised with Cunard, MSC, Princess and Celebrity. If you have experience of different cruise lines you will know that each has its own individual character and indeed its own strengths and weaknesses that make it quite difficult to rank them fairly. However one thing is clear, Costa would comfortably come bottom of the list unless of course you were focusing on value for money. In that ranking Costa can easily come to the table. Our Costa cruise cost £450 pounds each for 7 days. Included in the package was an upgrade from a basement cabin to one with a window (which opened) and a magnificent view of our own personal lifeboat, useful of course should the Captain choose to show off to his girlfriend. In addition we had Easy Jet flights and a two night stay in Mestre (for Venice ) thrown in as a freebie. This is cruising on the “very cheap” indeed. To be fair what should you expect for that money? So how do Costa do it? Well they do it by cutting corners. Some you hardly notice , many other savings are more glaring. For example while there is a show every night, there is no live band, only taped music. I found the dancers and performers to be excellent but the direction and production of all but two shows to be staggeringly amateurish. You could only watch dancers for so long do a routine, do a quick costume change and come out and repeat it, again and again and I do mean again! If you like euro pop, quite loud and continuous you will love Costa. If you like classical music you will search in vain. If you like quiet you have to search hard. Our cabin on the 4th floor bounced along nicely from 11pm to the early hours to the base riffs of euro pop elsewhere in the ship which we were clearly supposed to be enjoying. However this is a ship that appeals to the youngest clientele we have experienced. Two thing strike you immediately when you come on board the Costa Mediterania. The first is that this is a modern, quite brash ship in excellent condition in all respects. The second is that the air quality is poor and even main areas can be a little smelly. We have never noticed this on any other cruise line but it is unmistakable on Costa. We often played the “What does it smell like now game?". Fish was usually the winning perfume. It was fine in our cabin however. Food was unreliable. While there were two sittings in the formal dining room there was a drive for efficiency over quality resulting in everything being placed on your dish or plate prior to serving. To be fair some of the food served in this fashion was good (beef once excellent) but some was poor. I had some chicken that was impossible to cut. Nothing was said however and it was quietly replaced with another choice by attentive staff. If food was 10/10 on say Celebrity and 7/10 on Cunard then you would give this 4/10 overall varying between 1 and 7 ( some sweets and cakes 10/10). It was OK but the illusion of fine dining , enjoyed on all other cruise lines, was completely gone unless you obtained a VIP table. There are no formal evenings. If you put a DJ on, you would be given a drink order. There are two special nights a week (wear something white or where the colours of the Italian Flag - but only about 40% bothered) The worst meals were breakfasts. Cooked food was only available in the main dining room and if you ordered for example an English breakfast it arrived looking like tired airline food. Surely people only ordered this once? (the Norwegian breakfast was fresh, had smoked salmon and was good!) During formal dining, people were crammed into the main dining room and with the truly international flavour of the customers , one could fine oneself surrounded by people only conversing in foreign tongues - - - a problem, if like me your French and German are limited. We found the Germans who predominated to be friendly and very prepared to give their English a go for a bit. I found it just too crowded and claustrophobic. Because of this and absolutely not because we felt unwelcome, I decided to tip appropriate staff and find my way to a quiet table for two from day 2. Tipping on these ships is mandatory and automatically added to your bill (at 9 Euros per head per day on this trip). I found additional cash tipping to be very effective, maybe because it is unusual. Try it should you need anything done. Most people talked about buying the all inclusive drinks package as a must for these cruises as free water, and coffee were in scarce supply and the drinks were quite expensive. Of these accusations, I only found the free coffee (breakfast only) to be in short supply. I had no trouble with water which was available 24/7 maybe not everywhere but at least somewhere on the ship. I had two refilled bottles in my fridge most of the time. Drinks are cheap for a cruise. In the wine list basic choices start at 20 Euros plus 15% and go up to about 55 euros. (Cunard would die of shock) Cocktails are about 7.45 euro plus 15% , beer from about 3.5 Euros (small) and coffee from about 2 euros plus 15%. At these prices, with the all inclusive packages at about 58 euros for two, per day, I calculated I would have to drink quite heavily and consistently to make a package an economic choice. Furthermore there are openly available promotions. One night we had a bottle of white wine in the dining room for 11 Euros and two cocktails (pina coladas) for 9.99 Euros plus 15% for two. If you are happy to be directed to the bargain offers then this must be the cheapest way to drink on board. Official water bottles are about 3.5euros per litre. The cocktails were not as good as on other cruise lines. Sometimes there was plenty of spirit included and little else. For example, I had a margarita that was unrecognisable (did not contain the ingredients in the cocktail list) but was certainly strong enough! Other times they seemed very thin. I found this hard to explain bearing in mind there were specific cocktail staff. What was going on? Our room was excellent and the bed fresh and pleasant but very noisy at night (4th floor front ) . The bathroom is up to size but smells a little stale at times (not of sewage etc.) Air temperature worked well. All staff were very helpful, approachable and polite. To my surprise my waitress insisted on dancing with me on the final night. Getting on and off was simple, easy and well organised. For me, best in class and well done. When I needed help I got it without queuing. Princess cruises, simply awful in this respect in my experience would do well to study how Costa do it. Would I Costa cruise again? Yes if the cruise had an itinerary like this one which was one of the best, stopping in a fresh and amazing place everyday. Would I cross the Atlantic with them? Absolutely not. Was it good value? Yes Did we have a good time? Yes . Is it a very different cruise experience ? Yes it is. Hope that helps....... Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
We enjoyed this trip very much. Viking had not disappointed us from river cruises to ocean cruises. The ship is tastefully decorated, so beautiful and so much innovated. The activities on board were very interesting, especially the ... Read More
We enjoyed this trip very much. Viking had not disappointed us from river cruises to ocean cruises. The ship is tastefully decorated, so beautiful and so much innovated. The activities on board were very interesting, especially the lectures which enrich our knowledge. The service is also excellent. The staff are not only friendly but also attentive to details. My spouse had a special diet and the staff remembered and paid special attention to these details. We loved the included tours and also had added three special excursions which we really enjoyed them with the experienced tour guides. We love the Manfredi, the Chef Table and the World Cafe: excellent menus and such a variety! All in all, we are proud to recommend Viking Ocean cruises to our friends. Thank you so much for making our lovely trip memorable. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
My wife and I (both in our late 30's/early 40's) booked a Category 1 stateroom (201) on the River Ambassador for May 2015. She had always wanted to visit Prague and go on a river cruise along the Danube, so this itinerary was the ... Read More
My wife and I (both in our late 30's/early 40's) booked a Category 1 stateroom (201) on the River Ambassador for May 2015. She had always wanted to visit Prague and go on a river cruise along the Danube, so this itinerary was the perfect fit. We really can't rave about this cruise enough! The service and staff on the ship was top-notch: friendly, enthusiastic, knowledgable, and professional. The food was truly fine dining with all alcohol included. The chef always cooked a local dish using local ingredients each night. Presentation was excellent, and the food tasted even better! The excursions were excellent with knowledgable and friendly local guides. Didn't expect as many bus rides, but at least the bus itself and the drivers were all excellent. The cabin itself, while small, was well-appointed and comfortable. The ships amenities were quite convenient and in good order, and we loved the location of our cabin: right off the lobby but set back enough so that you didn't hear any noise whatsoever. The port talks every evening were very helpful in deciding which of the tours to go on the following day. There were several optional tours that cost a little bit extra that were well worth doing. Although, I would give a second thought on doing all the optional excursions in Vienna along with the featured excursion as you buy yourself a total of six bus rides on the first day, which was a little excessive and tiring. All transfers were handled very well. The Captain did a great job navigating the river, always staying a couple steps ahead. The Danube river level was rising and the Captain got us moving a little earlier than anticipated one evening so that we wouldn't get stuck behind a low bridge, thereby ensuring we made our next stop. All in all a phenomenal experience, and we are Uniworld fanatics for life! Read Less

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