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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
After 15 cruises and over 300 days on Seabourn we decided to try a river cruise, so to be fair my opinion of this cruise is colored by my Seabourn ocean cruise experiences. A river cruise was something we had thought about for the past ... Read More
After 15 cruises and over 300 days on Seabourn we decided to try a river cruise, so to be fair my opinion of this cruise is colored by my Seabourn ocean cruise experiences. A river cruise was something we had thought about for the past several years, and had enticed friends who never did any type of cruise to join us. After evaluating the various lines for a river cruise, Crystal seemed to have the best offerings in a lot of ways. The original itinerary was very interesting Budapest to Amsterdam, but due to low water levels it was changed to round trip Amsterdam, less than 2 weeks prior to the cruise - or at least that was when Crystal let us know. To their credit you could either cancel - as our friends did - and get a credit equal to what you paid or go on the changed itinerary and get a substantial future credit, which we took as the changed ports were not places we had been to. If you took the cruise, they would also cover up to $1000 of airfare per person, which worked out well since we had flights booked to Budapest. We took advantage of the Crystal - included - airport to/from ship transfers on a comfortable coach. Once we got to the ship, the service from start to finish was top notch. But I need to qualify this, the ship can hold 106 pax, we only had 44 due to the changed itinerary. We had a butler who basically was useless, canapes delivered to the room each afternoon, 1/2 the time after we had left to go to the bar for pre-dinner cocktails. Never offered to pack or unpack for us. Nice guy, but one less crew they need to pay, IMO. There is only 1 bar on the ship, excluding the pop-up on the open deck where only one day was anyone actually working there (the hard-working bar waiters always went down one level to the main bar and back up). Given the less than 1/2 occupancy the bar area was nice but if at full capacity not sure how easy it would be to get a seat if one arrived late. The entertainment was varied, when we had over nights in port they brought on some very talented local singers / musicians. When sailing (is that the right term on the river??) we had the on-board entertainer, who was interesting and quite a character but more than a few nights we had karaoke with a few drunk pax and the problem is, this is the only bar on the ship so deal with it or go to your room, or to the top deck depending on the weather. On the ship there are different categories of rooms, unlike on Seabourn that all are basically alike just the deck level determines the category (and deck 5 veranda differences). So I can only speak to what we had, deck 2 not the most expensive. The room was about 200 sq, feet. No walk-in closet, a single sink, but shower was bigger than on Seabourn, but no tub. WiFi is free for all, as are the tours at each port, some worthwhile, others Mhh. No veranda. Window comes 1/2 way down and a screen goes up. Not that useful unless you need some fresh air, IMO. The top deck is spacious with a lot of comfortable seating and not on top of each other. They have a unique popup bar - although it was rarely used, that can go down to deck level when the ship passes under low bridges. All the deck rails on the top deck can also be taken down - as happened one day when we passed under a very low bridge. The crew who run the ship details really work hard, especially when things like having to take down all the rails, which was not expected and then put them back up after we cleared the bridge. Interestingly their title is "Sailor". As far as river ships go, we thought the Mahler was the best looking one we saw - and we saw quite a few at different ports - especially how the top deck was laid out. The ship is relatively new and we did not notice any maintenance issues. Service everwhere was exceptional, but again it is hard to objectively judge since there were only 44 of us. I never waited more than 2 minutes at the one and only bar to have someone appear to take my order, if we were on the open deck someone usually appeared within 5 minutes of us being situated. At all the restaurants we had good service - and friendly, sometimes too friendly, OK I'd like to eat my food now please while it is hot as much as I enjoy hearing your life story - and what we liked was each night the chef prepared a local dish to coincide with the port de jour. We thought the included wines were pretty good. They brought on more wines as the cruise went along. I do have to call out the great people at the reception desk - we had an issue the entire cruise with a bag being lost in airline baggage purgatory and every day they called multiple times for us trying to get the issue resolved. The gym was very small, laundry room (something I missed being able to avoid as a Diamond on Seabourn) was often very busy. Getting on and off the ship at every port was easy, although they hire local people instead of having their own security people. In summary, we very much enjoyed our time on the Mahler and it opened us open to trying a Crystal ocean cruise, and if we ever do another river cruise it will be on Crystal. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
The biggest question mark about booking this cruise is whether you like group excursions or not. You'll be paying for them whether or not you partake because all ports have multiple excursions available at no extra charge. If you ... Read More
The biggest question mark about booking this cruise is whether you like group excursions or not. You'll be paying for them whether or not you partake because all ports have multiple excursions available at no extra charge. If you don't mind trooping along with 1-3 full coaches or if you are okay skipping them, you're fine and we can move along... Crystal's Mozart was a surprise on first, second and every subsequent glance. At first glance, her lines are a bit dated and utilitarian. Definitely not the sleek looks of competing ships from AMA, Avalon, Tauck ... (Viking ships are pretty utilitarian as well). On second glance, you realize she's double hulled and at least a third again as wide as all other river cruise ships. You come to appreciate the extra space provided from her broad beam. On third glance, you start noting how well Mozart has been refurbished and maintained. The ship is immaculate. A few more glances and you realize how beautiful she is. On top of the ship's appeal, with 90+ crew for 150+ guests, service is impeccable. Dining service can sometimes be a little slow but that's because all dishes prepared on board use fresh produce and all dishes are prepared to order. Unlike every other cruise I've been on, the food started out being very high quality and, if anything, got better as the cruise progressed. We plan a future ocean cruise with Crystal and look forward to comparing the culinary offerings serving a much larger guest list. The itinerary was fantastic, introducing us to cities locked behind the iron curtain for much of our lives. And, of course, Vienna is a hard city to top on any other river itinerary unless you add Budapest. Then it's a toss up. Read Less
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
--OVERVIEW: This review is about my 10 day Danube cruise from Vienna to Budapest. The Mozart is the largest and I understand it to be the most luxurious river ship in Europe, having been stunningly remodeled this year. I've done ... Read More
--OVERVIEW: This review is about my 10 day Danube cruise from Vienna to Budapest. The Mozart is the largest and I understand it to be the most luxurious river ship in Europe, having been stunningly remodeled this year. I've done over 30 cruises (including some luxury lines and the old Crystal Harmony) and river cruises (including luxury competitor Uniworld), and recommend this all-inclusive ship without reservation as being the most luxurious ship I've experienced. --MY CABIN: The entire ship is ultra-modern, so ignore the unflattering photos of the exterior. I was a single in a gorgeous and comfortable cabin with a window just above the water line. Features included: 40" high-def t.v. with good reception; roomy bath with no-splash shower; great king-sized mattress; Nespresso machine; remote controlled toilet/bidet (I turned it off); controls on iPad that I ignored because it was redundant, etc. Attentive butler service is included, and the female room attendant even wore attractive make-up. The entire ship feels roomy and uncrowded with just a 160 passenger max, tho my trip was not entirely filled because of the time of year. --FOOD: As fine as any I've ever consistently experienced on water or even land. They really know seafood, pork, lamb, and beef, tho they're typically European in not knowing how to make a great steak, including my special order ribeye that wasn't very tender or tasty. (Note: no specialty steakhouse). The lunch buffet offers even a bigger selection than the fine evening meals, including the great pastries & desserts. (I skipped breakfasts in a vain effort to hold down calories). The cruise also offers an included Michelin starred restaurant ashore, but some of us cancelled our reservations because upon seeing its menu we assumed the fine food on board made the Michelin excursion not worth the effort! --SERVICE: The highest staff to passenger ratio I've ever experienced, and also the highest ratio on the Danube. The service was truly amazing and friendly everywhere; the ton of extremely helpful waiters had to try hard to look busy. --BEVERAGES INCLUDED: All but the ships very finest wines and spirits are included, starting with the cabin having arrival bottles of good sparkling wine, white wine, red wine, beer, soft drinks, and bottled waters. The very free-flowing alcohol on board exceeded expectations, and the bartenders really know their stuff. Note: ask for the extensive list of included beverages, because otherwise the waiters just offer a more limited selection of good wines if you don't ask for the list showing the rest of the included beverages. --WI-FI: Unlimited satellite wi-fi is included without extra charge, and the speed is a bit sporadic depending on the demand level of other passengers and whether we're passing large hills. --ELECTRICAL: The online and brochure descriptions are confusing. The reality is that the ship offers 220 Volts only, which is usable if your laptop and chargers automatically handle both 110V and 220V. (Check the converter "brick" on your device power cord to see if it automatically converts). Otherwise, while the boat offers a plug adapter for American electronics, you'll have to provide your own 220V to 110V power converter. --INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS: Various excursions are included with several more expensive ones you can pay for; I only used the included ones. Four new full-sized roomy buses (with toilets) follow the ship from port to port. No buses were ever crowded. --MISCELLANEOUS: The large top deck has a pop-up pilot bridge and bar for lowering the height when going under bridges. It also has a viewing area for warm weather movie viewing. The small indoor pool, large jacuzzi, and gym are new and no charge, tho the spa services cost extra. Entertainment: Several musicians came onboard at port stops. Otherwise the ship's permanent and witty singer/pianist/games host was very good, including sing-alongs. --OWNER AMBITIONS: Owned by a Hong Kong company (perhaps with some mainland money?), and they're throwing big bucks at Crystal in order to dominate the top ultra-luxury travel business. Four new-build river ships are being prepared , a super-luxury ocean yacht, a dedicated Antarctic cruise ship (with helicopter), and Crystal's own Boeing 777. This cruise included several Crystal corporate employees to analyze ways to improve the experience, but that'll be tough to do. I even met four Americans who were on the cruise for the duration to install a huge amount of the very finest European Christmas holiday decorations. --BOTTOM LINE: I typically don't do a lot of luxury cruises, but this was such an unexpectedly superior experience that I'll likely have to become a Crystal repeat customer. All the other passengers I met were similarly enthusiastic about this truly lap of luxury experience. Read Less
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