Cruise Adviser’s Sam Ballard joins Crystal Cruises in Vienna as the cruise line launches its first river ship, the opulent Crystal Mozart.
From plush carpets to ambient water fireplaces, the Crystal Mozart is the ship that changes everything. That is, according to Edie Rodriguez, Crystal Cruises president and CEO, who also claims that it is the only luxury river ship in the world.
On paper, it’s tough to argue with: 154 guests are looked after by 92 members of staff but, as river aficionados will know, the Mozart is big – twice the width of a typical river vessel. So those passenger numbers are a little misleading. In previous incarnations the Mozart held more than 200 passengers.
The ship is all-suite and all butler, with each cabin coming with an iPad (from which you can do everything from order room service to choose from a selection of newspapers), a mini bar, state of the art Toto toilet and wide screen TV in the room as well as bathroom mirror. On demand movies can be started on the big screen and transferred onto the deck using the iPad.
The company has tried to instil the quality of its ocean product on Mozart. The ship offers open dining as well as 24-hour room service. Passengers can eat in the main Waterside restaurant or have something more casual in Blue. The Bistro serves local gourmet cuisine while Vintage is the fine dining option (which costs €190 per person). If you include room service within there, that’s five dining options on one river ship.
The spa is huge too, with steam rooms and saunas bigger than those on Serenity and Symphony, the company’s ocean ships. The spa’s pool is the biggest on any river ship, and access to the area is free. There are also three dedicated spa and salon professionals on board, who will not double up as anything else.
The company has also helped develop an impressive programme of shore excursions. Most are included in the price of the ticket too. Each passenger will get the opportunity to eat in a Michelin-star restaurant (choosing from four in Vienna and four in Budapest), with groups capped at between 16 and 20 so as not to swamp the restaurant. Signature Events are included too — like attending a classical concert in Viennese palace. Those feeling like splashing out can use the ship’s Wider Yacht for VIP experiences. These will cost €180 per person per hour.
With six more ships on order, this new entrant into the river sector certainly appears to be making all of the right noises.