Chris Gray Faust
Cruise Critic Managing Editor
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Cabins

Crystal's affluent passengers likely have pretty nice digs back home (or homes plural), so why should they skimp when they're on vacation? Thus the cabins all have true king-sized beds -- unusual in Europe, let alone river cruising -- walk-in closets with spaces for shoes; double vanities and heated floors in the bathroom; full-sized bath products; USB ports near the bed; and iPads for passenger use. The smallest cabins are 188 square feet and the majority are 237 or 253 square feet (compared to a competing luxury river line where cabins start around 150 square feet and the majority are at 225 square feet).

Highlights of the rooms include panel molding on the walls that makes the space seem like a hotel instead of a ship cabin; an insect screen that fits the drop-down panoramic window; a rainforest shower head that starts up with the touch of a button; and the fact that the view from that cushy bed to the river is unimpeded by posts, a railing or a TV. Other niceties include daily canapes delivered by your butler promptly at 4:45 p.m. and a fully stocked mini-bar. Our only quibble is that the towels aren't as large or plush as you might find in a luxury hotel.

Each cabin on Crystal Mahler comes with two glass-topped night tables, padded headboard, reading lamps and bedside charging via European outlets and USB ports on each side. All suites also include wall-mounted flat-screen TVs with on-demand movies as well as live TV, Nespresso machines, iPads for use onboard, desk/vanities and full-length mirrors. Binoculars, bathrobes, safes, umbrellas, shoehorns, lint brushes and listening devices for shore excursions are provided for use during your cruise.

Because every cabin is located above water level, all rooms have panoramic balcony windows, which open from the top down with the push of a button. For safety reasons, the windows are sensitive: Any perceived obstruction -- hand, curtains, furniture -- will cause the windows to stop opening. You have to move back everything and stand to the side to get it to work.

Bathrooms are decorated in quartz and stone tiles, with lighted mirrors, shelves and drawers for storage and large showers featuring wall-mounted rainfall and handheld showerheads. Bathroom amenities include full-sized bottles of Etro shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, shower gel and lotion, made exclusively for Crystal Cruises, as well a shower cap, ear swabs and cotton pads. Cabins include two hair dryers: one mounted on the wall in the bathroom, one in a bag in the closet, which can be used anywhere there is an outlet. The toilet paper dispenser is at a slightly weird angle; we've been told that the line is considering adjusting this in a refit.

Every cabin on Crystal Mahler has a butler, who will help with tasks such as packing and unpacking, making optional shore excursion arrangements and delivering nightly canapes. We found ours unobtrusive to the point of anonymity; we rarely saw him (we would have liked a bit more interaction, or at least the offer to bring coffee in the morning, but we didn't seek him out either). Laundry and dry-cleaning services are provided for a per-item fee, though pressing is complimentary. Accessible cabins are available, as well as a variety of connecting cabin arrangements, which would suit families. Rollaway beds are available for some categories of cabins, depending on availability, though they must be requested before sailing.

Petite Suite: Crystal Mahler's 16 Petite Suite cabins are located on Decks 2 and 3 and measure 188 square feet each. These introductory-level cabins feel a little cramped with the king-sized bed, but still include a good-sized desk/vanity with lighted mirror and chair, plus a plush chair and coffee/dining table that can be raised or lowered as well as expanded for meals. Closets are large enough to accommodate long dresses, and you'll find cubbies for storing smaller items. Crystal provides more than enough wooden hangers. Bathrooms include a small single sink and Caesarstone quartz shelf.

River Suite Deluxe: Cabins in the River Suite Deluxe category are located on Decks 2 and 3, and they come in at 253 square feet or 237 square feet, depending on the location on the ship. Beds in this category and above face the windows. Furniture in the River Suite Deluxe category is the same as in the Petite Suite. The 37 River Suite Deluxe cabins also feature walk-in closets, including a sizable chest of drawers along with an angled shelf for shoes. Much of the additional space in this category went into the bathrooms, which feature dual sinks with lots of drawer and shelf space beneath for storage.

Crystal Penthouse: Those seeking out more space and a larger array of amenities should book one of Crystal Mahler's two Crystal Penthouses, which comes in at 506 square feet each. The two suites, both located on Deck 3, feature a separate living area, which has an entry vestibule, faux fireplace, large TV, seating area that includes a sofa, and a dining table that seats four. Penthouses also include a full bath with large shower that features an exterior window, allowing lots of natural light. (Don't worry: It includes a shade that can be drawn to ensure privacy.) The bathroom also includes a massive dual sink and vanity unit. The toilet is located in a separate powder room.

Each Penthouse includes one bedroom, which has a large walk-in closet with full-height rail and removable lower rail. The bedroom also has an armchair. Both Crystal Penthouse suites can be combined via a connecting door with River Suite Deluxe cabins to create a two-bedroom space coming in at 759 square feet.

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Deck:
Harmony Deck
Seahorse Deck
Crystal Deck
Vista Deck

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