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wismergirl

Trip report - Crystal Mozart July 10-20, 2018

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We booked this cruise on March 23, 2017, just can’t believe that DH & myself are actually in Vienna now.

 

We chose to do a 2-day pre-cruise tour to Salzburg, so after our super on-time flight from Toronto, Canada, we’re now waiting for the OBB train to Salzburg.

 

I bought the one-way train tickets (1st class) online which cost only €19 per person + €3 seat selection 3 months ago. When I checked the ticket price from the ticket machine here at the station, it cost €104, almost 6 times more!!

 

I always wonder where exactly I should wait for my train so I don’t have to go from car to car inside the train, or walk the whole length of the platform with all my luggage amidst the passengers. This station has a platform map to show the location of all cars so I know the section number that I should wait for my train.

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Time to get ready to board the train.

 

You can also read my travel blog at https://wismergirltravel.com/author/travelwithwismergirl/

 

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Waiting to hear more about your trip. Thank you for taking the time to post and for the info about getting on the train.

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Thank you for reading the initial postings of my trip report! If I can keep my travel blog (Travel with Wismergirl) up to date, I'll post more on the cruise critic site. For now, you can log on to my blog to connect with me.

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Cruise Critic guidelines do not permit threads that merely send people offline to another site (whether it is Facebook or a personal blog), so please post your updates here.

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Cruise Critic guidelines do not permit threads that merely send people offline to another site (whether it is Facebook or a personal blog), so please post your updates here.

 

Thanks for the reminder! I'll do the trip report whenever I have time.

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Hi wismergirl

getting ready to book same cruise for us for next May. Please let me know if you don't find your room too small. Hopefully not

 

and waiting for your reports on everything else

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Hi wismergirl

getting ready to book same cruise for us for next May. Please let me know if you don't find your room too small. Hopefully not

 

and waiting for your reports on everything else

 

Hello,

 

The S1 suite #203 that I'm in has the best location of all French balcony suites (so far). I'll talk about the pros and cons of having that room at the end of the cruise as I have yet to experience the complete journey to give a justified report on the room location.

img_71491-e1531662559194.jpg

 

It's close to the spa relaxation area which is hardly occupied by anybody. I'm writing this reply while watching the ship going through a lock near Passau. Look at the beautiful view from the front windows of the spa.

img_71371.jpg

 

As for the room size, it's only 219 sq. ft., so it's much smaller than a regular hotel room but it's good enough for a 10-day river cruise. I stayed in the Crystal Penthouse on the Serenity before and I just found the furniture too big so although the room was bigger it's still hard to move around. Just pack light for the river cruise and there is not a problem to fit 2 suitcases of clothes in the closets or the drawers. I only brought 3 cocktail dresses & 1 pair of dress shoes for the Michelin-starred restaurant and classical concerts in Musikverein & St. Charles Church. DH just brought 2 shirts, 1 pair of dress pants & 1 pair of dress shoes for the special occasions. If you don't plan on going to concerts, you can totally skip the above and have even less semi-formal clothes. All dinners on board the Crystal Mozart only require smart casual attires. If you know the room size and how much storage you get, this room is adequate for 2 people. Besides, there are 3 washing machines and 3 dryers for self-serve laundry. Crystal provides washing powder and dryer sheets. The 6 machines are always running so that's another reason why you can bring less clothes. The laundry is only a few doors down the same corridor of my suite, so it's super convenient for us to check if we can do the laundry & drying.

 

Here are the room pictures:

img_9766.jpg

 

In the left closet, there is a deposit box sitting on top of 3 large drawers. The drawers are as wide as the whole closet. In the right closet there is no shelf or drawer so we put all our shoes there, with my dresses and 4 Crystal robes.

 

On the 40-inch flatscreen TV there are views of the Port, Starboard & Aft from the ship cameras with lovely classical music. The TV is not movable so although we brought HDMI cable to see our videos and pictures, it's not possible. We'll just have to wait till we do the self-guided post-cruise land tour in Vienna.

 

Many guests complained that the bathroom is too small but I find it actually bigger than many ocean cruise ships. We close the bathroom door so the Toto toilet won't keep opening and closing. We choose to operate it using the control pad on the wall manually, so it's less annoying but very convenient and hygienic as we don't have to use our hands to touch any part of the toilet.

img_9770.jpg

 

 

It's actually very nice to have a double-seater with lots of cushions to sit on and watch TV or enjoy the river scenery with a drink in our hands. Sometimes there are waves as Mozart is going quite fast at times, so I just wonder if the window suites on Deck 1 get to see much but water.

img_9768.jpg

 

I personally think that the drinks cabinet is too big. I'd rather have more desk space.

img_9765.jpg

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Thank you so much for your report so far. I’m delighted to hear about suite 203, that is the suite our travel agent chose for us for our Christmas Market Cruise. Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your journey.

 

 

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Thanks wismergirl for the quick and detailed reply....This would also be our first River cruise and we are used to bigger room sizes,but sounds like your space is "adequate' and since it is 1/2 cost pf Penthouse, we will definitely go forward with booking S1

 

Looking forward to hearing more about your experience on the cruise

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Thank you for the pictures. My sister and I will be moving into #203 as you vacate, so do leave any chocolates that you don't want!

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so do leave any chocolates that you don't want!

 

Two Mozart chocolate balls or chocolate disk every night delivered under a lovely glass cover. I hasten to add they are the touristy red variety, not the posh original blue/silver ones they sell in Salzburg.

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Has anybody seen any follow up posts from OP on her cruise /Blog anywhere else since a week ago?

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Thank you for the pictures. My sister and I will be moving into #203 as you vacate, so do leave any chocolates that you don't want!

 

Hello Ancientmariner,

 

So good to know that you are coming to the very same room that we're currently in. Two more sleeps then we have to say good bye to the lovely Crystal Mozart. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE river cruising! To be honest with you, Deluxe suite #203 with French balcony is awesome. From the location to the butler to the suite attendant to the functionality of everything in the room it has been fantastic!

 

Regarding the chocolates that got delivered to the room, it's a pity that I just CAN'T leave them for you. The suite attendant has been so quick in cleaning the room that I'm sure anything that gets left in the room will be removed in no time. Here's to show you the "collection" that we have as of today. Of course we have eaten many already, including the yummy Mozart chocolate balls (though not the original Salzburg ones).

img_7458.jpg

 

Not sure if you have signed up to go to Salzburg from Linz. If you do, make sure you get the original ones in blue/silver foil wraps:

mozart-chocolate.png

 

We have ordered a taxi to leave the ship at 10 am on Friday July 20 (the day that you embark), that should give the suite attendant enough time to clean the room before 12 noon. However, we know that our neighbours in Suite #205 are also leaving at 10 am, to go to the same Hotel Bristol in Vienna. Cleaning their Penthouse suite would take a bit longer, and we have the same lovely suite attendant, Viktorija.

 

Is there anything else you'd like to know before you board the Mozart? I'd be delighted to help.

 

Just a friendly reminder for ladies: No high heels needed because there has been a ton of walking on cobble-stoned streets, even to the Budapest Palace to watch the violin concert and the Michelin-starred restaurant in Vienna. Pack light!! Smart casuals are good enough. On the ship's "Daily Activities" page that we received yesterday it stated the following under the Crystal Signature Event: "Recommended: No high heeled Shoes due to walking conditions"... first there was the 40-second walk off the ship on the steep slanted metal/meshed walkway from ship to pier, then it's the 5-minute walk on cobble stones from the coach to the History Museum for the concert...AND BACK!!

img_7413.jpg

 

The video shows the condition of the steep walkway from pier to ship. Click the "Play" arrow and you should see the 40-second walk down from pier to ship.

https://videopress.com/v/ucqGWfdN

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Hi Wismergirl

 

 

We booked 203 for next May, same trip as yours..

 

Hope you are finishing the cruise successfully. Anxious to see report of rest of your days (since July 11)

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Thanks for the information. I look forward to meeting Viktoria tomorrow. You can tell her that sisters Wendy and Trudi will be occupying 203. Bon Voyage to you - hope you enjoy your stay in Vienna.

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We also had Viktorija last autumn. My parents were in the PH in 205 which is next to yours. My god-sister was in 200 PH and I was in 202 PH on the other side of the boat. Viktorija is extremely thorough and efficient. Great room steward. She does the rooms at the front of the Mozart.

Most of the time our rooms were serviced by 9am. My parents loved her and worked around her schedule to have coffee in the bistro (they hardly left the boat).

We had a great butler too, Peter. He is a chubby and friendly Hungarian. He could not believe the various change of outfits I had every day/evening. Hey as a solo passenger, I managed to fill the entire PH walk-in wardrobe.

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We also had Viktorija last autumn. My parents were in the PH in 205 which is next to yours. My god-sister was in 200 PH and I was in 202 PH on the other side of the boat. Viktorija is extremely thorough and efficient. Great room steward. She does the rooms at the front of the Mozart.

 

The front part of the ship has the best suite location. When we were eating at the Blue at the aft of the ship, we felt a lot more vibration from the engine.

 

It’s sad to leave the Mozart, but we made an open booking on board, so we’ll return within the next 18 months.

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Wismergirl, can't wait to read your trip report! I was on the same cruise and had a fabulous time. I'm just too lazy to write, but I posted a lot of pics on Facebook. I prefer pictures to words.

 

I have the best travel agent and she's a Crystal expert. She planned out everything for me, including picking the most appropriate excursions and signed me up including the complimentary Michelin-star dinner. She even wrote to Crystal and informed them about wrong excursion times posted on the PCPC so they could fix the web errors. I was so surprised to see Crystal reps greet me at the platform of Vienna Airport Train Station when I arrived by train. Kudos to my TA!

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Wismergirl, can't wait to read your trip report! I was on the same cruise and had a fabulous time. I'm just too lazy to write, but I posted a lot of pics on Facebook. I prefer pictures to words.

 

I have the best travel agent and she's a Crystal expert. She planned out everything for me, including picking the most appropriate excursions and signed me up including the complimentary Michelin-star dinner. She even wrote to Crystal and informed them about wrong excursion times posted on the PCPC so they could fix the web errors. I was so surprised to see Crystal reps greet me at the platform of Vienna Airport Train Station when I arrived by train. Kudos to my TA!

 

Hi, I am considering a Crystal River Cruise for 2019. Do the reps greet guests at the at the airport if they book directly through the cruise line as well?

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Hi, I am considering a Crystal River Cruise for 2019. Do the reps greet guests at the at the airport if they book directly through the cruise line as well?

 

The reps meet you at the airport even if you don't book directly through the cruise line!

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I submitted a simplified version of my trip report to Cruise Critic for 5 days but still haven't heard back from them or see them post the report, so I'm going to just post it here, rather than waiting for the link.

 

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Crystal Mozart and River Cruising

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my 1st river cruise on Crystal Mozart, sailing the Danube for 10-nights. I’m going to use a different angle to view this cruise and write a not-so-common trip report. I’ll start with a list of the pros and cons of this cruise. Of course, it’s only based on my own opinions, but hopefully it would be helpful enough for fellow cruisers to learn more about the 5-star river cruising experience on Crystal Mozart, as I found that I got very limited information regarding this while doing my research homework on the cruise throughout my almost 2 years’ planning period. I spent a ton of time to write on my travel blog: Travel with Wismergirl, to include a lot more details if you are interested in my daily activities on board.

 

Crystal Mozart, “the Giant” of Danube river cruising, docked at Linz on July 13, 2018:

img_6903.jpg

 

Pros

1) Truly all-inclusive – not even one extra cent I had to pay on board. Of course, if you want spa/hair treatments, connoisseur wine, upgraded excursions & extra tipping, that’s another story. Now, cruise fare, airport transfers, selected (almost all) shore excursions, meals, entertainment, gratuities, unlimited soft drinks, beer, most wine & spirits, unlimited WIFI on board & on coaches (though quite spotty at times), are all paid for. We even got a complimentary meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant (only applicable to guests staying at Penthouses and above or those booked before Aug 7, 2017). Tips for cruisers: Buy a 3G/4G Europe SIM card. I bought one for CA$39 (US$30) with 5 GB data & 3000 talk/text for 30 days that covered all countries that we visited so I had internet access all the time. I only used less than 2GB for 16 days, even sharing personal Hotspot with my husband.

 

2) Unpack and Pack only once – This cruise took us to nine European cities in Austria, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. There was no need to pack our bags every day for a new destination. Setting off along the Danube from Vienna, we passed through the beautiful Wachau Valley; went for guided walking tours in Vienna, Melk & Durnstein; did all-day side trips to Cesky Krumlov & Munich; visited historical landmarks in Budapest with a violin concert in the Imperial Palace & a night cruise on the Danube; and discovered the modern art scenes and Communist-era architecture of Slovakia's capital,Bratislava. What a great itinerary!

 

3) 5-star Luxury accommodation and service - Cabins aboard the Crystal Mozart started at 219 square feet (except 1 that was only 206 sq. ft.). The high-end amenities like Toto toilets, mini iPad in each stateroom, free use of eBikes, 24-hour complimentary room service, Crystal clear audio device for excursions, free self-serve laundry with detergent & drying sheets, complimentary pressing, plus free butler service for all guests are incredibly awesome! Besides, Crystal Mozart is twice as wide as most river boats (22.85m instead of the normal 11.4m). Its spacious top (Vista) Deck 4 with a bar, big TV & garden features modern luxury! Low guests to staff ratio means top-notched service & 3 restaurants for meals are also big pluses. Food tasted better than that from the Crystal ocean cruises, though not enough varieties. Tips for cruisers: DON’T bring too much clothing as there is limited storage space in the room, plus you only need to wear smart casual attire for dinners. Remember: self-serve laundry is at your service!

 

4) Compact ship size and seasickness-free – Most of the time we didn’t even feel like the boat was moving. Being a couple of mid 50’s, we kept forgetting things and it was so easy to go back to the room to get them. We met lots of people and could call about half the ship’s passengers and most staff members by names when we left the ship.

 

5) Great workouts without going to the Gym – Not sure if you classify it as a pro or a con?! We did so much walking while on excursions that we didn’t gain any weight even though we ate like crazy. On average, it’s about 10,000 steps a day, walked for about 7 km with LOTS of stairs.

 

6) Fantastic experience passing through the locks – It was really fun going upstream/downstream with different river levels through the locks. Being so windy, sunny and hot while staying on the top deck to watch the passing of the locks, we mostly stayed at the spa waiting area, lying on the loungers to watch the locks open and close. Even when we passed the locks at night time, the views were great.

 

Cons

1) Docking – This has been a major issue for a lot of passengers. We had a few passengers who needed to use wheelchairs and they either had to get off the wheelchairs and walked with assistance, or crew/family members needed to help lift/carry the wheelchairs for disabled passengers to get on/off the boat. Europe is not N. America and many places are still not wheelchair-accessible, including bathroom locations. The ship elevator could only go up to Deck 3 but not the Vista Deck. When we docked at Passau (Lindau), we had to take the stairs to walk up to Deck 4 and walked off the ramp to the pier:

 

img_7066.jpg

 

Besides, many passengers complained that they were always facing a concrete pier when the boat docked, especially if your room was on Deck 1 midship. I advise you to choose your room location properly. We didn’t have any problems being at the front part of the ship on Deck 2 with a French balcony. On a river cruise, midship cabins are not the best locations, always choose Forward. If you choose the Aft cabins, you would feel more vibration because it’s closer to the engine. We could totally experience the difference while eating at Blue on the aft of the ship. Many times, there were 2 or even 3 ships parked and tied together. Look at the picture of 3 boats triple-parked in Vienna:

 

img_5579.jpg

 

2) Entertainment – Entertainment was really limited and low-key. We spent most nights at the Cove Bar listening to Derek Conlon’s piano playing, with a couple of very entertaining local shows and professional guest singer/pianist for 2 nights, and a so-called “concert by 3 princesses on the violin” in Budapest. Being a concert pianist myself, I played some Beethoven and did a “Sound of Music” singalong with fellow cruisers for a couple of nights at Cove Bar. It’s actually a social time more than anything. There was no casino and shops to even spend your onboard credits. Use your OBC at the spa or on premium wine or spend it at the Vintage Room. The passing scenery on both banks was the key to river cruising. We ventured out to the city centre on our own while we were in Vienna, Linz, Bratislava & Budapest. It was very easy to move around using public transport being in the city, or Crystal could call a taxi for us.

 

3) Food – Breakfast buffet was the only choice for breakfast, unless we wanted to go for room service or have a late-riser breakfast at Bistro Mozart. The only varieties we could get were different types of eggs (cooked to order), smoothies and fruit. I really liked their congee with different little ingredients on the side that we could add to our own liking.

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There were more choices for lunch as we could eat at Waterside (buffet) or Blue (same menu every day with a different soup and pasta). Dinner menus changed daily, though choices were still limited. We actually liked to have tapas-style dining at Bistro Mozart (reservation needed) rather than eating at Waterside. The ingredients were fresh and the dishes were delicious though again, there was a lack of variety.

 

4) Excursions – Lots of senior cruisers depended on travel agents to plan from flights to hotels to transportation for the entire cruise. A lot of travel agents charged way too high while booking hotels and limos for pre- and post-cruise activities but did not help their clients book the excursions. Many ended up booking excursions while on board and they did not have time to fully understand what’s to be expected while signing up. The Crystal concierge had been really helpful but sometimes the tours were full (like eBikes that they only had that many number of bikes) and there’s nothing the concierge could do but to wait for cancellations. A ton of walking was involved in most tours, and many times we had to walk on cobble-stoned streets which was not easy for most people, not to say seniors. Having big coaches like Crystal’s, though they were super comfy, they couldn’t park close enough for boarding at most attractions, even in big cities like Vienna. I walked 9,971 steps for 6.7 km just for one 4-hour excursion “Vienna in a Nutshell”, with about an hour on the bus. Tips for cruisers: Use PCPC (Priority Check-in & Planning Center) to book excursions that are appropriate for your own health conditions well in advance.

 

Highlights of the whole trip

1) 2-night pre-cruise in Salzburg & 2-night post-cruise in Vienna so I could visit the 2 cities in depth and attended concerts…of course, I did a ton of homework to plan for the extra 4 days including purchasing train tickets in advance, booking hotels plus “Sound of Music” shows and Mozart concerts at Salzburg Fortress, Sternbrau in Salzburg, Musikverein and St. Charles Church in Vienna

 

2) Wachau Valley scenic cruising & passing through locks

 

3) Private tour to Szechenyi Thermal Baths and a 1-hour Royal Thermal Massage in Budapest (I booked these in advance before the cruise but Crystal concierge could book it for you with just a few hours’ notice) – taxi ride only 10-20 Euros each way

p1130151.jpg

 

4) Night cruise on the Mozart in Budapest with an incredible view of the illuminated parliament

img_7375.jpg

 

River cruising definitely suited us a lot so we made an open booking on board. I need to do more homework before committing to the next Crystal cruise. All the 4 new Crystal riverboats are very different than the Mozart, so I have to look at the itineraries carefully to book one within the next 6 months.

 

Thank you, Crystal Mozart, for making our 1st river cruise experience so enchanting and memorable!

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When we have cruised on AMA river trips in Europe, they always had three levels of shore excursions: slow walkers, regular, and fast. Did Crystal not do this? It really helped the mobility-challenged that way AMA does it: the 'slow' group gets to see everything on the regular tour, but they are dropped off closer to the action and/or just lose some shopping time at the end.

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When we have cruised on AMA river trips in Europe, they always had three levels of shore excursions: slow walkers, regular, and fast. Did Crystal not do this? It really helped the mobility-challenged that way AMA does it: the 'slow' group gets to see everything on the regular tour, but they are dropped off closer to the action and/or just lose some shopping time at the end.

 

I wished Crystal did something like that. The amount of walking was not specified in the excursion description, though they did have classifications of the type of walking involved. While their onboard service was excellent, Crystal was below par in terms of web info and customer service pre- & post-cruise. I had to email them several times to correct their errors because the reps were not reading my emails properly so they asked me info that I already stated in the email. I had to call them to have the post cruise survey to be sent to both myself and my husband. Didn't know why they would miss that. You definitely need a VERY good travel agent to stay on top of Crystal before and after you sail.

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