Crystal Mozart: An Elegant Way to Visit Christmas Markets on the Danube

Accént On Travel affiliate Frank Blanco writes about his cruise on the Crystal Mozart.

Crystal Cruises entered the river cruise market in 2016 with the Crystal Mozart, and I wondered whether Crystal would be able to maintain the same level of service, space, quality, and choices on the river as they have on the ocean. The answer is a resounding ABSOLUTELY! 

Overview:

Crystal bought the Mozart, stripped it to its bones, and rebuilt and reimagined it to carry 154 passengers. At 75 feet wide, it is double the width of all other European river ships and thus can only navigate sections of the Danube.

Interior spaces are stunning, from the public rooms to the spacious suites, and there are thoughtful touches everywhere. The ship has a spa, salon, and fitness center area that is larger than on most river cruise ships. 

Cuisine and Spirits:

There are three dining venues plus the Vintage Room (for private wine pairing dinners), a snack counter, and room service.

The main restaurant, Waterside, is totally open seating dining when you desire, with plenty of tables for two. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style; the à la carte dinner menu changes daily and includes choices that reflect the local city or country.

The Bistro offered reservation-only themed dinners several times during the 10-day cruise. Wines and spirits are complimentary and are available throughout the day and evening.

The included daily wine choices are primarily from German or Austrian vineyards, but there is also a limited selection of wines available from throughout the world if one prefers.

Service and Hospitality:

The wonderfully trained staff goes out of their way to ensure that you experience the traditional Crystal superior standard of service.

All staterooms are classified as suites on the Mozart and thus each has butler service, regardless of the size and location. Although the staterooms on a river cruise ship tend to be smaller, there is no lack of amenities on the Mozart.

All staterooms have beds that can be configured into twin or king, i-Pads and Toto toilets. Most suites have French balconies; the lower deck suites have fixed windows.

Inclusions and Amenities:

Aside from a wide range of complimentary wines and spirits, the Mozart has a high standard of all-inclusive amenities: a selection of daily excursions with audio headphones and always fewer than 20 in a group; pre-paid gratuities; constant Wi-Fi/internet access; complimentary transportation to and from airports on embarkation and disembarkation days; self-service laundry; daily yoga or fitness classes; and use of Nordic walking poles.

Crystal has their own buses for excursions and our itinerary had at least three Crystal buses assigned to us at every port, each configured for what I would call “premium economy” seating – no cramped seats and spotlessly clean.

Immersive Exploration:

Crystal’s exclusive shore excursions use guides who are local experts in culture, history, and the arts.

Each excursion included a “Crystal moment”: a stop for Glühwein, a pastry or “local” treat, private insight into an attraction, an organ recital in a cathedral, a private evening string quartet concert at an Augustinian Monastery dating from the early ninth century, and local entertainers providing song and music in the Palm Cove.

Exploring the wonderful Christmas markets of Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia was a rewarding experience.

How else to more easily visit squares with historic buildings and churches that are transformed into enchanting and magical markets filled with sparkling lights and delicious aromas, selling a vast array of seasonal goods, body-warming drinks, and mouthwatering treats than from a beautiful ship sailing on the Danube!  

THE BOTTOM LINE:

On a Crystal river cruise, every aspect of your holiday will be enhanced. If you would like to learn more about Crystal cruises or river cruises in general, call or email your Accént On Travel Certified Cruise Advisor today!