By: Tully Luxury Travel
Review • Danube • Cruise
Recently Travel Designer Cheri Port spent five days aboard the ultra-spacious Crystal Mozart, joining the ship for a portion of its regular 10-day ‘Treasures of the Danube’ itinerary, sailing roundtrip Vienna. Cheri was impressed by all that it had to offer. Read her full review:
“The Danube is the second largest river in Europe and it flows through some of the continent’s most impressive imperial cities. The itinerary also has a great combination of beautiful countryside scenery. I was pretty excited to sail with Crystal on this itinerary and experience this new ship!
From the moment I stepped on board, I was wowed by the gorgeous contemporary décor, amount of space and onboard amenities. It just didn’t feel like a typical river ship. The ship itself is twice as wide as any conventional river vessel, which allows it to include an oversized spa with pool, hot tub and large steam/sauna rooms on both the ladies’ and mens’ side. This was one of my favourite places on board and I’m sure any spa enthusiast will love it too! There was also a full room for cardio equipment and a separate room for weights. This really helped combat all the yummy cuisine. Dining on board Crystal is an experience in itself, as it is fine dining of Michelin-type quality and a key ingredient for any luxury vacation.
My colleague and I were fortunate enough to stay in the two-bedroom Crystal suite, which is massive at 883 square feet of pure luxury. It has a large walk-in closet, huge bathroom with soaker tub, separate shower and dual sinks, a generous living room area with a fireplace and a dining room with a bar set up. It felt like we were staying in someone’s high-end condo, only better because it came equipped with a French balcony for beautiful views of the river.
Activity options off the ship allow you to do as much or as little as you wish. At most stops, we were offered excursions in both the morning and afternoon, so we could choose to do one, both or none. Each excursion lasted about three hours. One of the loveliest things we found on board are the electronic bikes (e-bikes). These are really amazing because they can function as a regular bicycle and then, with a flip of a switch, they use electricity for power. These would be a great option for anyone looking to be active, but with a concern for getting tired partway through an excursion.
A definite highlight of the trip, and of my own personal life, was the private event held for Crystal guests at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna. We were treated to a formal affair: a magical evening with champagne, hors oeuvres and a viewing of the world’s most extensive collection of the works of Gustav Klimt. The piece de resistance for me was seeing my favourite painting, “The Kiss”. The night concluded with a classical concert in the gorgeous Marble Hall, accompanied by a ballet performance and then followed by some Waltzing. It was a true representation of Vienna and it was unforgettable.
Another absolute highlight of this cruise was the nighttime sail by the Budapest Parliament. There we were cuddled up in blankets, sipping tea and watching this beautiful piece of architecture all lit up from the water. It was just magical and breathtaking.
“One of the excursions that I would recommend is the “Budapest by E-bike Discovery Tour”. It is the perfect mix of activity, culture and history. Budapest is an explorer’s city, with incredible architecture and lovely vistas. Seeing it by bike gave us an intimate feel for the city with the freedom to stop along the way to take pictures. One moment that was truly humbling was when we stopped along the Danube and viewed an artist’s rendition of a piece of history. The work, called ‘Shoes on the Danube’, is a chilling memorial to the Jewish victims of World War II. It consists of various shoes made of metal placed along the shoreline to commemorate the Jews that were shot into the Danube.
Company: Crystal Cruises
Ship: Crystal Mozart
Itinerary: Treasures of the Danube; roundtrip Vienna
Length: 10 days
Capacity: 160 passengers
– The Tully Team
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