The river ship market just keeps getting bigger. Crystal Cruises says that its new brand, Crystal River Cruises, will offer five luxury “river yachts” to the growing niche – that’s three more than it originally had planned when the river unit was announced earlier this year.
Four of the ships will be new-builds and one, the MS Mozart, will be acquired and renovated for cruises starting summer 2016. Crystal president and CEO Edie Rodriguez says the new ships have been ordered for delivery in 2017 from the German shipyard Lloyd Werft. But due to travelers’ and travel agents’ “strong demand for an earlier Crystal river experience,” Crystal has also completed the purchase of the MS Mozart, which it says is the largest river cruise vessel in Europe.
Following an extensive dry dock to create the elegant Crystal experience on board, the newly designed vessel will be renamed “Crystal Mozart” and embark on the Danube River on July 13, 2016.
“In response to travelers and travel agents’ enthusiasm for Crystal River Cruises, and through Crystal’s innovation, we are upping the ante once again, bringing true luxury to the river cruise sector with the largest guest suites and public spaces, the highest crew-to-guest-ratio and Crystal’s award-winning service,” says Rodriguez. “Once the transformation of Crystal Mozart is completed, it will truly be the crown jewel of the European rivers.”
Crystal Mozart is designed to fit into the wider locks of the Danube River from Passau in Germany to Budapest in Hungary, and holds the record of being the largest river cruise vessel on European rivers, measuring 75.1 feet wide, which is double the width of an average industry river boat. The 160-guest capacity Crystal Mozart has window suites of 203 square feet, deluxe suites of 215 square feet, a penthouse suite of 322 square feet and two, two-bedroom Crystal Suites of 860 square feet, the largest suite on any river vessels.
Due to its impressive width and size, the vessel’s unique features will remain, such as the public area that spans a single level and exclusive yacht-like amenities including multiple dining rooms, a wraparound promenade, a spa and fitness center, an indoor pool, beauty salon, and library.
The four new all-suite luxury river yachts will debut in June and August 2017, boasting suites of 220 square feet, deluxe suites of 250 square feet, a penthouse suite of 500 square feet and a two-bedroom Crystal Suite of 750 square feet, and all with plush amenities. The suites will all feature king size beds (an industry first), walk-in wardrobes and bathrooms with double vanities.
Similar to Crystal Mozart’s concept, the luxury river yacht’s public areas and dining venues are all on one level for convenient access. The new vessels will feature a Palm Court with dance floor and glass domed roof, a library, fitness center, spa, and sporting equipment such as electric assisted bicycles, kayaks, and jet skis. Designed with the maximum size to fit into the locks of rivers and under bridges, two of the Crystal River Yachts will cruise the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers with 110 guests. As for the other two, each with an 84-guest capacity, one will be cruising the Seine River and the other the Garonne and Dordogne rivers as well as navigating through the Gironde Estuary.
Crystal Mozart is named after the famous Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and cruises on the Danube River, which passes Austria along with Germany, Slovakia, Hungry and Serbia. Following the same principle, the two new builds cruising on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers will be named “Crystal Bach” after the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach and “Crystal Mahler” after the Austrian composer Gustav Mahler. The two new builds cruising on the Seine River and Garonne River will be named “Crystal Ravel” after the French composer Joseph Maurice Ravel and “Crystal Debussy” after the French composer Claude Debussy.
Itineraries and fares will be announced on Nov. 30.