Five Things to Know About Crystal Cruises' Mahler Cruise Ship
World's Best 2018 Awards Rank: #6 River Cruise Line
Best for: Luxury lovers searching for memorably fabulous Continental cuisine and top-notch service.
Sails: Danube River, Rhine River, Main River
At a Glance: Crystal Cruises’ river ship cabins all have balconies and butlers … and they’re also all-ages, too. You may not think of them as family ships, but you’ll see a number of kids in the summertime.
Butler Service Is a Big Upgrade on the River
Don’t assume that just because you’re on the river, and rivers aren’t known for butler service, that you won’t get the full Crystal treatment. Your butler can unpack for your when you arrive, bring you different pillows, pick up your dry cleaning, shine your shoes, and stock your mini-bar with your soft drink of choice. Butlers also deliver the 24-hour room service — and did we mention that the Crystal River cabins are some of the most sleek and luxurious in Europe?
You’ll Have Dining Choices
While most river ships just have one dining room, Crystal River Cruises’ offer options. The Waterside restaurant is the ship’s main dining room, and the menu there is a mix of local favorites and elegant, modern takes on Continental cuisine. The bistro serves tapas-style small plates, such as sliders and salads. And there’s always room service as an option. All of that is complimentary, and there are also gorgeous wine-pairing dinners (for a fee) in the Vintage Room.
The All-inclusive Rates Are a Treat
The ship’s rates may be high, but they are all-inclusive, with few exceptions. Fares include gratuities, fitness classes, unlimited complimentary WiFi, all drinks (wine, beer, and cocktails — except for a few rare vintages), shore excursions (except for a few serious upgrades), and all dining venues (except for the Vintage Room). If you arrive and depart on embarkation and disembarkation days, your airport transfers will be included, too.
There’s a Small Pool
Not all river ships have a swimming pool, but this one does. It’s indoors, so you can use it anytime, regardless of the weather, and you’ll find it stocked with towels and water, too. It has a glass roof, which is lovely on a sunny day, and it’s open late for those who are looking for place way to unwind after dinner.
There’s a “Pop up” Bar on the Top Deck
On deck you’ll find plenty of seating — from lounge chairs to sectionals — as well as a bar. So how do they handle the bar when the ship goes under bridges? The entire thing is lowered into the ship, like an elevator, including the bartender — who may be shaking up cocktails when it happens. Our advice: Sure, you have a balcony, but you’ll want to hang out here when the ship does an evening sail around Budapest.