There Are Dozens Of River Cruises….
And Then There Is The Six-Star Crystal Mozart.
If you have been onboard any Crystal ship – you can begin to visualize the style, colors and spaces. I like to call the décor luxuriously bold, yet elegantly understated – as if a billionaire with impeccable taste and an unlimited budget had designed her own private residential villa. Every inch is decorated with purposeful thought and attention to detail: exquisite fabrics, plush, thick and comfortable seating and bedding, designer robes and linens, rich flooring and wall coverings, gas fireplaces and beautiful lighting abound.
The technology on this vessel is a game changer. We don’t need to go further than the suites to see what visionaries the owners are. Each suite boasts an ipad to control the television, order room service, call the butler, have laundry picked up, check the weather, read a half dozen daily newspapers, book shore excursions, set an alarm and review the ports of call. At the touch of a button, lighting can be adjusted to suit different “moods” or ambiances. Bathrooms feature adjustable and heated towel bars and a “smart” toilet . Enter the bathroom; the lid opens and “greets” you. Use the remote control for an “under-carriage” surprise! Laugh, comment, and be totally in awe that THIS exists onboard a ship! Our Penthouse Suite bathroom boasted a glass enclosed shower with two doors on roller blade-style rollers for easy opening. A deep, full-sized bathtub, large round twin sinks, and wall of oversized mirrors complete the room. The bedroom featured a two sided make-up vanity area complete with drawers and a lighted magnified mirror with an outlet for my blow dryer in just the right place! The other side functioned as a desk complete with a mini-fridge “drawer”. A walk-in closet with ample drawers and three bars to hang clothing easily accommodated two passengers’ items. Add in shelves and a safe (at the RIGHT height)! Well-done!
The Mozart features two Crystal Penthouses, 12 Penthouse Suites, 22 French Balcony Suites and 41 Window Suites the latter two offering a comfortable 219 square feet – their only difference being the ability to open up the floor to ceiling glass doors. EVERYONE has a personal butler offering the exact same exemplary European service.
The staff onboard was all hand-selected from various countries in Europe – most hailing from the Danube region – and most impressively – there is not a crew member on this ship who does not speak FLUENT English. What makes the biggest difference on Mozart (as compared with other river cruises)? The size of the staff! There are 92 crew members to serve 154 guests. On Scenic Opal for example – there are 52 crew members to serve 170 passengers. Mystery solved!
There is a full service Spa in the front of the ship – complete with an indoor pool, hot tub, men’s and ladies changing rooms with sauna and steam rooms, a relaxation area with thickly-padded lounge chairs, massage, facial, scrub treatment rooms, a small beauty salon and “cozy” fitness center. No detail was spared!
You cannot sit anywhere on the Mozart without a crew member asking how they can serve you. They will engage you in conversation, give you detailed information and talk in depth about the destination. They exceed all expectations. For example, at dinner one night, I asked the waiter if there was caviar onboard. He told me that it could be ordered if I wanted it. I said “no thank you, I was just wondering.” The following afternoon, my butler Peter found me relaxing in the spa to tell me that at 5 pm this afternoon he had arranged for me to have caviar in my suite. SERIOUSLY? Where in the world does THAT happen? The Crystal Mozart! From the butlers, to the waiters, to the bartenders, the reception desk attendants, the massage therapists, the destination experts…..it is impossible to find anything but over-the-top service on this ship.
Got entertainment? Actually, yes. On many other river ships – in the lounge you will find a portable piano and usually a European guy who plays and sings. On the Mozart, there are two grand pianos – one in Crystal cove – (the piano bar) – and the other on stage in Palm Court (the main lounge). Mark Farris – the current showman onboard Mozart is an American who loves to play Broadway show tunes and contemporary favorites. Each night we were in Crystal Cove until 1 am enjoying the most fun sing-alongs on the river! The ambiance was fresh, young and upbeat! Mark does more formal cabaret shows after dinner on select nights. On other evenings, unique local entertainment ranging from lecturers to instrumentalists, singers and other performers come onboard to share their talents. Additionally, Crystal has just introduced a partnership with Kevin McCollum, a renowned Broadway producer (Rent, Something Rotten, Drowsy Chaperone, Ragtime and about a dozen more) who is engaging Broadway veterans to entertain onboard the Mozart and the rest of the ships in the Crystal fleet! On our voyage, we were treated to a concert by Rachel York, star of City of Angels and Victor Victoria to name a few. What a fabulous addition to Crystal’s menu of entertainment!
Did I forget to mention dining? Onboard the Mozart – open-seating dining can be enjoyed in the following venues: Waterside (main dining room – buffet breakfast and lunch, sit down dinner), Bistro (casual buffet by day, tapas restaurant by night), Blu (water view café for sit down lunch), Vintage Room (wine pairing lunches and dinners at an additional charge), 24-hour room service. You will find waiters serving pizza bites in the Palm Court and Crystal Cove late into the evening. There is ALWAYS something delicious to enjoy. Cuisine is prepared a la minute and completely gourmet! (This cruise should come with a generous gift card to Bloomingdale’s so that you can buy a new “next-size-up” wardrobe when you get home!)
The upper (outside) deck on the Mozart is beautiful and inviting. Lounge on thickly-padded teak chaises, sit in a comfy beanbag chair, relax at the full-service bar (that completely collapses when going under a bridge!), check out the garden replete with live plants and herbs! Walk around, enjoy the scenery and take it all in!
I neglected to mention that the shore excursions are complimentary – and in some cities there are up to TEN different tours! The only “tour” not included – is a ride on the Mozart’s private mini-yacht (capacity six) that can be chartered to explore the river and take you into intimate villages for touring, dining, shopping, etc. Cost is 180 euros per person per hour – and a LOT of fun!
Each cruise comes with a “magical evening” – which is a ship-wide “group” experience – that takes place in a celebrated port. On the Danube this event takes place at the Belvedere Palace where guests are treated to a private classical music concert followed by waltzing. Truly wonderful.
The excursions team has developed a program whereby guests can have dinner in local Michelin-starred restaurants. For guests in Penthouses – the experience is complimentary. All other guests have the option to purchase this. AMAZING!
Get the picture? The Mozart is a bucket list “destination” – even if you just sat in one place and never moved! This is the finest, most unique, most amazing “hotel” I have ever had the privilege of patronizing. If you have the right size group and the budget – RUN…don’t walk and book the Crystal Mozart. You will thank me, but more importantly – your incentive travelers will thank YOU!
Coming soon are the Bach, Mahler, Ravel and Debussey to sail the Danube, Rhine and Rhone. These brand new builds will feature 53 suites – all with French balconies. They will be every bit as lovely as the Mozart! Crystal will gladly charter these ships individually and will consider tandem (side by side) sailings.
Let our team know how we can “Crystalize” your next incentive program!