Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine

All aboard the Crystal Mozart!

For those seeking to escape the constant demands of life in the fast lane and yearning for that illusive tranquil space, a voyage on board the Crystal Mozart is just the ticket writes Rebecca Underwood.
Recipient of the Condé Nast Traveller’s Readers Choice Award for ‘World’s Best Cruise Ship’ for 24 years and winner of the ‘World’s Best Large Ship Cruise Line’ by Travel and Leisure readers for 20 years, Crystal Cruises provides the highest levels of comfort and service and a luxurious cruise experience in every sense.

Launched in July 2016, the Crystal Mozart offers a choice of suites ranging from 82 to 20.3 square metres and penthouses from 61.6 to 30.6 square metres, and with a total passenger figure of 158 and a crew of 92 the passenger to crew ratio is an impressive 1.67, which remains the highest in river cruising. The vessel’s length of 120 metres and width of 23 metres ensures she is the largest river cruise ship in Europe.
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Crystal Mozart Top Deck
We embarked on the elegant and sleek lined Crystal Mozart for the round-trip 10 night ‘Treasures of the Danube’ voyage, sailing from Vienna. We were thrilled with the prospect of cruising the enchanting Danube Wachau Valley, and visiting Durnstein, Melk, Linz, Passau, Bratislava and Budapest.

Check-in procedures were swift and efficient; we were escorted to our suite and delighted to discover a welcome bottle of chilled sparkling wine awaiting our arrival. All suites feature a Nespresso coffee machine and a well-stocked mini-refrigerator, 24-hour room service with options available from the excellent Waterside Restaurant, a 40-inch flat-screen interactive television with complimentary films on demand and an extensive music library. Every suite features an Apple iPad device, which serves as a digital directory for each passenger’s requirements.

Following our afternoon tipple we made our way to the chic Crystal Cove lounge and whilst sipping on piping hot tea and indulging in a few tasty snacks we got to know some of our fellow passengers and our conversations soon centred on dining options and excursions.

Recipient of the 2017 Cruise Critic UK Editor’s Pick Award for Best Dining, Crystal Cruises is recognised throughout the industry for its culinary expertise. The Crystal Mozart offers guests open seating in a choice of dining venues from the casual Waterside Restaurant, which presents locally sourced ingredients highlighted in continental and regionally inspired breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. The succulent slow-roasted lamb shank, served with shallots, thyme-balsamic flavoured gravy, garlic mashed potato and olive oil roasted vegetables, accompanied by a glass of Barbaresco Sori San Lorenzo, Angelo Gaja Langhe 2013 was simply divine.
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The Crystal Mozart Bistro
For an elegant and more intimate dining experience, the Vintage Room seats up to 12 diners for optional luncheons and dinners featuring vintage wines and champagnes paired with extravagant menus and I was fortunate to sample the 36 hours slow roasted beef short ribs served with a black truffle, Macallan, celeriac, onions and potato confit and the Chateau Latour Pauillac, Bordeaux 2000 enhanced the flavours perfectly.

Blue, a chic café, serves upscale bistro fare for lunch and includes global comfort food and shareable plates and the Bistro Mozart offers coffees, delicious pastries and charcuterie by day and wines and tapas during the evening. In the unlikely event you require something, the Pantry, which is self-service, offers speciality coffees, teas, wines and non-alcoholic beverages.

After dining, we headed for the Crystal Cove Piano Bar and we were enchanted by the performance of the talented soprano Ioana Mitu, accompanied by Francesco Carlo Leone expertly tinkling the ivories of a magnificent Bosendorfer piano. The party was still in full swing when we returned to our stateroom, slipped on our fluffy bathrobes and comfy slippers and retired.

Up with the larks and following a brisk walk around the promenade deck we headed for the rejuvenating yoga class, then a dip in the gorgeous indoor pool, and for a spot of pampering I headed for the on board spa for a well-earned deep tissue muscle massage and a spell in the steam room.

Passengers are welcome to explore each port unescorted or select one of the on board eBikes, or choose from a wide variety of excursions, many of which provide the opportunity to get a personal destination experience with tours led by local experts and artisans. Other excursions include gastronomic adventures with hands-on cooking and the chance to sample signature dishes and specialities related to each port. Cultural tours include popular museums and architectural sites and there are exhilarating adventures for the very active. All excursions are limited to a total of 15 guests. There is also the option to design a personal itinerary with the assistance of the on board concierge service.
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Crystal Mozart Deluxe Suite with a French Balcony
Our Treasures of the Danube voyage was an exceptional river cruise experience and one of the many highlights was the tribute to Dame Julie Andrews, a Godmother to Crystal Cruises, which was presented in the Palm Court, the ship's main entertainment venue. The focus was on her unforgettable contribution to the Austrian - American film The Sound of Music.

On our last evening aboard, passengers gathered in the Waterside Restaurant for another sumptuous dinner and glasses were held high as a toast was proposed to, surely the most dazzling treasure of the Danube, the Crystal Mozart.

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