Regular cruisers are always seeking something different for their next adventure and one sector of the industry that has in recent years been growing in popularity is river cruising.
More and more seafaring cruise lines including Crystal Cruises have been looking into this lucrative niche. Crystal is known to cater to passengers seeking ultra-luxury. They have gathered many awards for their fine service such as being voted by Travel + Leisure readers for 20 consecutive years as the “World’s Best Large Ship Cruise Line” and as Conde Nast Traveller’s Reader Choice Awards for the past 22 years as the “World’s Best Cruise Ship”.
Crystal recently made headlines with the announcement that they were extending their signature quality to the rivers of Europe. Two new river cruise ships sailing under the name of Crystal River Cruises were due to set sail in March 2017.
News in the cruise industry can change quickly and the CEO Edie Rodriguez made it known that the company had a change of plans. They will launch three more luxury river vessels than previously announced; now totaling five in all. Crystal believe this expansion will pay off, making them serious players in the river sector. The new river cruise line will now commence earlier than planned and begin sailing in 2016.
One of the ships scheduled to embark on July 13, 2016 along the Danube River is the former MS Mozart. This vessel was built in 1987 and is scheduled to be the largest river cruise ship on European waters, holding more than 160 passengers and measuring 75.1 feet wide. She is presently going through an extensive dry dock refurbishment and will be known as “Crystal Mozart”.
Crystal Mozart cabins all have window views and the smallest suites have a spacious 203 square feet. The deluxe suites follow at 215 square feet; whilst 322 square feet is the size of the penthouse suite. The two-bedroom Crystal Suites are the largest on any river ship measuring a massive 860 square feet. Several venues are available for dining and there is a wraparound promenade. Everything for a luxurious stay is available including a spa, salon and fitness center, an indoor pool and library.
“Once the transformation of Crystal Mozart is completed, it will truly be the crown jewel of the European rivers” stated Edie Rodriguez.
The remaining four vessels are being built at the German shipyard, Lloyd Werft and each vessel is appropriately being named as “Crystal Bach“,“Crystal Debussy“, “Crystal Mahler“ and the “Crystal Ravel”. Their designs will be along the lines of luxurious yachts and feature the ‘best of the best’ in amenities.
Cabins will boast walk in wardrobes and king sized beds. Debuting in June and August 2017, all of the ships cabins will be suites with the smallest cabins measuring a spacious 220 square feet. The next sizes measure in at 250 square feet (deluxe suite), 500 square feet (penthouse) and 750 square feet (the two-bedroom Crystal Suite). Tentative sailing schedules will offer the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers for two of these new vessels. Both will hold 110 passengers.
The other two are more intimate with an 84 passenger capacity. One of the smaller vessels will follow the Garonne and Dordogne rivers route, whilst the other will sail on the river Seine.
All of the new vessels will feature “spacious public areas” including the Palm Court with a dance floor and glass domed roof. There will also be fitness center, spa, and library. Sporting equipment will be provided for intensive activities such as biking around the countryside or kayaking along the tributaries on exciting excursions, known as “Crystal Adventures”.
The cruise line also plans on including overnight stays which will allow passengers a chance to enjoy the essence of the ship’s destinations after dark.
Crystal River Cruises promises that no matter which of the itineraries are chosen, the passenger will be presented with many scenic stopovers along the way. Bookings for the 2016/17 season on any of the new vessels will begin on the 30th of November.
Written by Veronica Shine