Five Things to Know About Crystal Cruises' Mozart Cruise Ship
Best for: Food and wine lovers, plus high-end cruisers who spare no expense
Sails: The Danube River
At a Glance: The largest ship on Europe’s rivers, the stunningly designed 154-passenger Crystal Mozart may also be the most luxurious, with a standout wine list, upscale regional cuisine, and a long list of well-thought-out excursions.
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The Staterooms Are High-Tech
All greys and slate blues with splashes of green, the chic cabins range from 219 square feet for a cabin with a window to the 883-square foot two-bedroom Crystal Suite, the biggest on any river ship. But what makes these staterooms truly remarkable are the gadgets: There’s an iPad Mini on the deskside table, which allows you to set your stateroom’s temperature, request extra pillows or Etro toiletries, order room service, pick an on-demand movie, check the weather, book excursions, read the newspaper, and turn the electronic “do not disturb” sign on and off—all without leaving your bed. (You can control your cabin’s lights from a bedside switch, too.) Then there’s the automated Japanese Toto toilet, which comes with a heated seat and opens automatically when you enter the bathroom.
The Design Feels Fresh
Stepping onto the Crystal Mozart feels like walking into a boutique hotel in a European capital. Conceived by London’s AD Associates and Toronto’s II by IV Design, the color palette reflects that of the river and the surrounding landscape—blues, greys, and greens, whites, and black—while interiors are covered in luxe materials like leather, velvet, and crystal. The result is a look that’s both elegant and modern. A few of our favorite touches: a faux fireplace that flickers with LED-lit water vapors and windows cut into the floor of the top deck so that the public spaces below are bathed in natural light.
The Restaurants Are Top-Notch
Even when they aren’t on land, passengers never forget where they are in the world, thanks to the number of regional dishes and locally sourced ingredients on every restaurant menu. At Waterside, the main dining room, guests might order a weiner schnitzel and black forest cake one night, and a Viennese goulash and fried Bavarian doughnuts the next. For the meal, the sommelier chooses a white and red wine each evening, mostly Austrian, Slovakian, or Hungarian vintages, or you can order from a menu of additional include or for-fee wines. Passengers can also book a wine-paired dinner at the intimate Vintage Room. Or, they can head to the Bistro Mozart, which serves casual fare like Sacher wurstl by night, and displays a buffet of freshly baked pretzels, charcuterie, and pastries for guests to graze on during the day. Don’t miss lunch at Blue: the Vienna reuben sandwich is a must.
The Top Deck Is Expansive
During the warmer months, the best place to be is on the Vista Deck: There’s a live garden, teak benches, and colorful bean bags and lounge chairs to add vibrant pops of color. In the morning, passengers climb the stairs for yoga, but by the afternoon, they’ve settled into couches and chairs to watch the landscape roll by and order cocktails at the pop-up bar, which retracts when the ship sails under a low bridge. For the evenings, there’s an LED screen, so passengers can watch movies or sports games under the stars.
The Excursions Are Worth It
Most excursions are included in your fare, and passengers will find a special earpiece for each person in their cabin, allowing them to hear every one of their guide’s words during their tour. The ship’s coach buses—which follow the ship all the way down the river—all have a coffee maker and free WiFi, so you can catch up on what’s happening in the world while your driver takes you into the Austrian or Hungarian countryside. Passengers who feel like heading out solo can borrow one of 30 e-bikes, and there are also two Wider speedboats on board for private for-fee tours. But the highlight might be the two signature excursions, which are also wrapped into the cruise price: one complimentary lunch or dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant, such as Le Ciel in Vienna or Tanti in Budapest, and an evening at Belvedere Palace for a guided tour and a private performance of Strauss and Mozart in the Marble Hall.