First River Cruise; Experienced Ocean Cruiser needs advice (Crystal Debussy)

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#1
Orlando, FL
974 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Hi all,

We are experienced ocean cruisers as you can see from my signature. The past 6 cruises/years have all been on Oceania and we believe this is a great fit for us (not too fussy, but still classy, and wonderful ships and itineraries). That said, we've decided to give river cruising a try. We have booked the Crystal Debussy from Basel to Amsterdam (7 nights) for next July. I've heard Crystal ocean cruises are quite nice and similar to Oceania, if not more upscale and these new ships look very nice. Here is the cruise we are taking: http://www.crystalcruises.com/voyage...msterdam-8s12r

A few questions so we can get the most out of this...

1) Laundry? We pack light (1 carryon each) and do laundry frequently. Is this an option and is it prohibitively expensive or similar to what one would pay on a cruise ship (e.g. around $5-10 to wash a shirt)? We are spending 10 days in Switzerland hopping around before meeting the cruise so we will need to do laundry upon embarkation most likely. Also, this will be our first time with a butler (we usually cruise in verandah cabins) - do they typically press your clothes if you ask?

2) Dress Code? What kind of dress code for evenings on ships of this level for men? We are hoping to avoid schlepping our sports jackets around. I know there are some onshore fine dining experiences at night included on this cruise (they say Michelin star level stuff). Would it or would it not be prudent to bring the coats or can we get along without them?

3) Roll Calls? Given how each port has a variety of included excursions, I don't really see the need to start or join a roll call (and the ship is only 84 people). Is that a correct assumption? I always join or start one for Ocean cruises as we typically organize our own small group tours with other passengers - but this does not seem necessary on this cruise.

4) Activity Level? When a tour description says "moderate" for the intensity, it seems to correlate to just long periods of walking. We are relatively fit, however DH has had knee surgery that can act up sometimes. The real issue would be long periods of uphill walking. For example, we just recently walked up to the top of the Acropolis and that was pushing it for him, though do-able.

Thank you for your help. I'm actually looking forward to *not* having to plan out all the details for this cruise as I usually do with Ocean cruises or land trips and just kicking back and "going with the flow" for a week.
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2016 - Oceania Nautica- Beijing to Hong Kong (4 Days in Beijing prior, 3 days in Hong Kong post)
2015 - Oceania Marina - Sydney to Auckland (5 Days in Sydney prior, 3 days in Auckland post)
2014 - Oceania Marina - Southampton to Southampton around the British Isles (with 4 days in Amsterdam prior)
2013 - Oceania Marina - Stockholm to Copenhagen (4 days extra on each end)
2012 - Azamara Quest - Rio to Buenos Aires (4 days extra on each end)
2011 - QM2 - New England & Canada
2010 - Celebrity Millenium - Alaska
2009 - Carnival ??? - E. Caribbean
2008 - Carnival Conquest - W. Caribbean
2007 - Celebrity ??? - E. Caribbean
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1997 - Cunard QE2 - E. Caribbean
#2
Houston, TX
5,058 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
We were on Viking so YMMV but I suspect most of my thoughts below will be more or less correct.

Originally posted by corpkid
Hi all,

We are experienced ocean cruisers as you can see from my signature. The past 6 cruises/years have all been on Oceania and we believe this is a great fit for us (not too fussy, but still classy, and wonderful ships and itineraries). That said, we've decided to give river cruising a try. We have booked the Crystal Debussy from Basel to Amsterdam (7 nights) for next July. I've heard Crystal ocean cruises are quite nice and similar to Oceania, if not more upscale and these new ships look very nice. Here is the cruise we are taking: http://www.crystalcruises.com/voyage...msterdam-8s12r

A few questions so we can get the most out of this...

1) Laundry? We pack light (1 carryon each) and do laundry frequently. Is this an option and is it prohibitively expensive or similar to what one would pay on a cruise ship (e.g. around $5-10 to wash a shirt)? We are spending 10 days in Switzerland hopping around before meeting the cruise so we will need to do laundry upon embarkation most likely. Also, this will be our first time with a butler (we usually cruise in verandah cabins) - do they typically press your clothes if you ask? On Viking, the cost for laundry was about the same as we have experienced on Ocean cruises BUT there wasn't the fill the bag special we were used to. You might want to consider doing laundry just before boarding - that's what we did before an ocean cruise from Cittavechia after spending 10 days touring Venice, Florence and Rome. We easily found a local laundry nearby our accomodations in Rome who did it by the pound rather than the piece.

2) Dress Code? What kind of dress code for evenings on ships of this level for men? We are hoping to avoid schlepping our sports jackets around. I know there are some onshore fine dining experiences at night included on this cruise (they say Michelin star level stuff). Would it or would it not be prudent to bring the coats or can we get along without them? We didn't take or need them on Viking but we didn't have any high end dining like it sounds you do.

3) Roll Calls? Given how each port has a variety of included excursions, I don't really see the need to start or join a roll call (and the ship is only 84 people). Is that a correct assumption? I always join or start one for Ocean cruises as we typically organize our own small group tours with other passengers - but this does not seem necessary on this cruise. I don't think you will find a place to start a roll call....and from our experience, as you have said, no real point in doing so.

4) Activity Level? When a tour description says "moderate" for the intensity, it seems to correlate to just long periods of walking. We are relatively fit, however DH has had knee surgery that can act up sometimes. The real issue would be long periods of uphill walking. For example, we just recently walked up to the top of the Acropolis and that was pushing it for him, though do-able. I like your hubby have knee issues (mine however are going down) and had no issues. But, you might want to chat with the concierge or cruise director to confirm the specifics. Unlike on an ocean cruise, it is very easy to get face time with the ship staff.

Thank you for your help. I'm actually looking forward to *not* having to plan out all the details for this cruise as I usually do with Ocean cruises or land trips and just kicking back and "going with the flow" for a week.
Have a great cruise!
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Clay

CruiseBlog: www.CruisinWithClay.wordpress.com
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Sailed: NCL Gem-Southern Carribean-April 2017 / Viking Njord-Danube-April 2016 / NCL Sun-Panama Canal-April 2015 / PRINCESS Caribbean Princess-Western Caribbean-Jan 2014 / NCL Jade- Rome to Venice - April 2013/NCL Gem- Canada - Sep 2012 /NCL Sun - Western Caribbean - Oct 2010 / NCL Sun - South America - March 2010 / Costa Atlantica - Caribbean - Nov 2009 / NCL Star-Mexican Riviera-Thanksgiving 2008 / NCL Jade-Eastern Med-Apr-May 2008 - 50th Birthday Celebration / Celebrity Infinity-Southern Caribbean-March 2006-Atlantis Charter / NCL Sun-Western Caribbean-New Years 2005 / Celebrity Summit-Alaska-August 2003-DDP's 40th Birthday Celebration / Carnival Mardi Gras-Eastern Caribbean-March 1980
136 Days at Sea.....not nearly enough!
#3
Nashville, Tennessee USA
994 Posts
Joined Mar 2014
Originally posted by corpkid
1) Laundry? We pack light (1 carryon each) and do laundry frequently. Is this an option and is it prohibitively expensive or similar to what one would pay on a cruise ship (e.g. around $5-10 to wash a shirt)? We are spending 10 days in Switzerland hopping around before meeting the cruise so we will need to do laundry upon embarkation most likely. Also, this will be our first time with a butler (we usually cruise in verandah cabins) - do they typically press your clothes if you ask?
If you check on the DeBussy Rhine web page, I think that you'll find that the Mozart has a self-service guest laundry.
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FuelScience

2018: The Douro: Portugal's River of Gold & Spain w/Madeira extension, Vantage Douro Serenity (April)
2017: Burgundy & Provence, Avalon Poetry II
2016: Canals, Vineyards, and Paris, Avalon Affinity II
2015: Switzerland & the Heart of the Rhine & Moselle, Vantage River Navigator
2014: Tulips & Windmills, Viking Atla
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#4
Toronto, Canada
850 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Originally posted by FuelScience
If you check on the DeBussy Rhine web page, I think that you'll find that the Mozart has a self-service guest laundry.
However, the Mozart is wider than any other river cruise ship; what is doable on the Mozart might not be on other Crystal ships.
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Nomi


Aegean Odyssey, Istanbul to Venice, 2015
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Uniworld, Vienna to Basel, 2011
Uniworld, Tulips and Windmills, Antwerp to Amsterdam, 2010
#5
California
254 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
Crystal's first two Rhine-class river vessels, Bach and Mahler, have free self-service laundries. There are two washers, two dryers, an ironing board with iron, as well as laundry soap and fabric softener, all free. I'm not sure if Debussy and Ravel will also have self-service laundry, but I suspect so.

I have heard that the river butlers will provide free ironing services.

Regarding the Michelin-starred dinner experiences at a shoreside restaurant, they are no longer being offered as a freebie. I believe they will still offer them at 189 euro.
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#6
Orlando, FL
974 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Thank you all - I actually did find that the two new ships also have complimentary laundry. We will most likely want to try at least one of the onshore dinners, even if they are an extra cost (we are both "foodies"). Waiting for them to post the list and I guess I could always just do a little research and see what is considered appropriate attire.

Great news for the butlers - neither of us can iron very well and oftentimes, I end up with clothes that look worse than before I started! We would just need a couple dress shirts ironed - I'd feel bad asking for much more.
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2016 - Oceania Nautica- Beijing to Hong Kong (4 Days in Beijing prior, 3 days in Hong Kong post)
2015 - Oceania Marina - Sydney to Auckland (5 Days in Sydney prior, 3 days in Auckland post)
2014 - Oceania Marina - Southampton to Southampton around the British Isles (with 4 days in Amsterdam prior)
2013 - Oceania Marina - Stockholm to Copenhagen (4 days extra on each end)
2012 - Azamara Quest - Rio to Buenos Aires (4 days extra on each end)
2011 - QM2 - New England & Canada
2010 - Celebrity Millenium - Alaska
2009 - Carnival ??? - E. Caribbean
2008 - Carnival Conquest - W. Caribbean
2007 - Celebrity ??? - E. Caribbean
(COLLEGE & STARTING CAREER )
1997 - Cunard QE2 - E. Caribbean
#7
California
254 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
One thing to keep in mind when considering signing up for a Michelin-starred restaurant is that you will not be ordering from the regular restaurant menu. You will be served a fixed menu, usually three courses, with choices in each course.

From what I've gleaned from reviews by Crystal Mozart guests, the dinners on board the vessel are as good (or better) than the restaurant dinner.
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10-31-2012 Crystal Symphony
09-16-2013 Crystal Symphony
10-26-2014 Crystal Serenity
11-06-2014 Crystal Serenity
05-25-2015 Crystal Symphony
11-24-2015 Crystal Symphony
05-28-2016 Crystal Serenity
11-22-2016 Crystal Serenity
09-30-2017 Crystal Mahler
04-30-2018 Crystal Symphony
10-03-2018 Crystal Mahler




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#8
London, UK
1,671 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by skybluewaters
I have heard that the river butlers will provide free ironing services.
I can confirm this is the case in the Crystal Mozart. You can do your own laundry with the washer and dryer. Pressing is complimentary so you can get the butlers to finish off the laundry

Originally posted by skybluewaters
Regarding the Michelin-starred dinner experiences at a shoreside restaurant, they are no longer being offered as a freebie. I believe they will still offer them at 189 euro.
On the Debussy and other Rhine Class, this will still be complementary for those in a Crystal Penthouse (two per river yacht). On the Mozart, this will still be complementary for those in a Crystal Penthouse (two on board) and Penthouse level.

Originally posted by skybluewaters
One thing to keep in mind when considering signing up for a Michelin-starred restaurant is that you will not be ordering from the regular restaurant menu. You will be served a fixed menu, usually three courses, with choices in each course.

From what I've gleaned from reviews by Crystal Mozart guests, the dinners on board the vessel are as good (or better) than the restaurant dinner.
We had our Michelin restaurant dinner at Coates Downtown in Budapest last night. I enjoyed it. In fact, I enjoyed more than at Le Ciel in Vienna last December. The menu looked really boring and average. However, the presentation and quality of the meal was very nice indeed. It was a four course meal paired with four different local wines as pairings. Given this is Hungary, this include a Tokaji white wine and desert wine which is usually fairly pricey outside Hungary. There was also a rose and a red for the soup course and main course. This meal ended with pettit fours and coffee/tea.

I did hear one other dinner guest who commented the dinner at the Waterside was better than our meal. I felt it was very comparable.

One compliant for those going to Coates (the main restaurant) was that Crystal guests were offered an option apperitive drinks for 10 euros a glass at the start of the meal which kicked the evening off on a sour note. This is probably the restaurant not the Crystal's idea.

I know I need to update my Live from the Crystal Mozart thread. Too chilled at the moment.
#9
London, UK
1,671 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
No prices on the pressing list


Prices on the laundry list


Prices are depending on the stops where you ask for the cleaning service and the cost of transporting the clothes to the next port of call for delivery.



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