First Look at Crystal Mozart
Photos courtesy of Crystal River Cruises
Butler service. Farm-to-table dining. King-sized beds. Televisions embedded in bathroom mirrors. These are but a handful of myriad features and amenities that make Crystal River Cruises’ first riverboat, the Crystal Mozart, nothing short of spectacular.
For starters, the vessel essentially serves as a “mini-me” of Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, and is equipped with several public areas found on those ships, including the Bistro coffee bar and cafe; The Vintage Room for winemakers’ dinners; Blue, a casual aft dining venue similar to Serenity’s Taste; and the Palm Court entertainment lounge, which is reminiscent of the Palm Court aboard Symphony.
But make no mistake: Crystal Mozart needs no help at all when it comes to shining on her own. Built in 1987, the 3,341-ton vessel once sailed as the MS Mozart in the Peter Deilmann fleet and was dubbed the “Queen of Europe’s Rivers.” It is the largest riverboat plying European waterways today, measuring in at 395 long and 75 feet wide.
Crystal, which completely overhauled the four-deck vessel prior to its debut last week, has put that space to good use. Some of the vessel’s notable features are a wrap-around promenade deck; a spa and fitness center with an indoor pool and separate steam and sauna rooms for men and women; two luxury Wider tenders (think speedboats) for customized excursions; and a rooftop deck with cushy furnishings, a pop-up bar area and a “vanishing” movie screen.
PHOTO: Elisabeth Gurtler, managing director of Vienna’s Hotel Sacher and Spanish Riding School about to christen Crystal Mozart
The riverboat also shines on the food-and-beverage front, with culinary offerings that are unquestionably on par with what guests will find aboard Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. In all, Crystal Mozart offers four dining venues, an unprecedented number for a riverboat. In addition to the Bistro coffee bar and cafe, The Vintage Room and Blue, Crystal Mozart houses the elegantly appointed Waterside main dining room, serving inventive farm-to-table cuisine, which includes breakfast and lunch buffets, and open seating dining at night with a selection of truly excellent wines. The ship also houses the self-service Pantry for grab-and-go snacks, wine and other beverages.
The all-suite vessel carries 154 guests in accommodations that include two 883-square-foot two-bedroom Crystal Suites with French balconies, 12 Penthouse suites measuring 330 square feet with French balconies, 21 suites measuring 219 square feet with French balconies, one 204-square-foot suite with French balcony, and 41 suites measuring 219 square feet with picture windows.
All suites come with Crystal butler service and are equipped with king-sized beds, walk-in closets, Nespresso machines, 40-inch flat screen televisions and digital iPad directories. The marble bathrooms are a marvel of technology. In addition to televisions embedded into mirrors, they also boast heated towel racks and TOTO Washlet systems, which provide an electronic bidet of sorts, along with heated toilet seats that open and close automatically.
On land, Crystal Mozart guests are privy to an array of complimentary shore excursion options, including dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants. Guests will also be offered a Signature evening event at Vienna’s Belvedere Palace, for a Champagne reception, private access to the museum and a concert showcasing the works Mozart and Strauss.
Fittingly, the vessel was christened by Elisabeth Gurtler, managing director of Vienna’s Hotel Sacher — which is believed many to be Vienna’s top hotel — and the city’s legendary Spanish Riding School for Lipizzaner horses.
Crystal Mozart departed Vienna on its first revenue cruise with 143 guests, 90 of which were Crystal Society past guests. “Much like Esprit (Crystal Yacht Cruises’ new vessel that debuted in the Seychelles) 50 percent are new to Crystal and new to river cruising,” said Edie Rodriguez, president and CEO of Crystal Cruises. “We are attracting a younger demographic, a global demographic — and in general this is not your grandparents’ river experience.”
PHOTO: Gurtler and Edie Rodriguez, president and CEO of Crystal Cruises
Demand for the Crystal River Cruise product has been vigorous — and began in earnest last July when Crystal announced the brand and its four new-build riverboats scheduled to enter service in 2017. “Crystal Mozart wasn’t even in the portfolio when we announced Crystal River Cruises,” said Rodriguez. “The demand was so robust that we went out and bought the ‘Queen of the Rivers’ to speak to market and meet that demand.”
Crystal Bach, Crystal Debussy, Crystal Mahler and Crystal Ravel will debut next summer. “The design palettes for the new-builds will be almost identical to Crystal Mozart,” said Walter Littlejohn, vice president and managing director of Crystal River Cruises. “The difference will mainly be in the layout in the suites. The beds on the new builds will all face the water.”
Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel will enter service in June and August 2017, respectively, plying the waterways of France and carrying 78 guests. The 110-passenger Crystal Bach will set sail on Rhine River itineraries in June 2017, and the 110-passenger Crystal Mahler will embark on Rhine, Main and Danube river voyages in August 2017.
For its part, Crystal Mozart is operating on a series of 10- and 11-day Danube River sailings roundtrip from Vienna.
Plans are also underway for an additional two riverboats scheduled to enter service in 2019.
For more information, visit crystalrivercruises.com.
More by Claudette Covey
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