The itineraries for Crystal Cruises five luxury river yachts from 2016 to 2018 have been announced, and are now available for booking .
The newly-acquired Crystal Mozart will be first to take to the water, sailing its maiden voyage on the Danube in July next year. Four vessels still to be built – Crystal Bach, Crystal Debussy, Crystal Mahler, and Crystal Ravel, will begin service in 2017.
Fares start at £2,670 per person for a 10-night cruise from Vienna on Mozart; the price includes round-trip air fares from London, overseas transfers, and accommodation in a River Suite. Also included are most alcoholic drinks, all soft drinks, use of bicycles in port, a choice of complimentary shore excursions, and WiFi.
“It’s truly thrilling for us, as well as our loyal guests and new-to-Crystal travellers, as more details of what’s in store for Crystal River Cruises unfold,” said Edie Rodriguez, president and CEO of Crystal Cruises. “We are going to deliver the most luxurious river experience in the industry with a combination of innovative vessel designs, unmatched guest service and fascinating itineraries.”
The luxury river yachts will maintain the celebrated Crystal Experience for savvy world travellers, featuring all-inclusive amenities, elegantly-appointed suites and six-star service for which the world’s most awarded luxury cruise line is renowned. Crystal River Cruises’ itineraries will offer a fresh take on traditional river cruising, focusing on longer and overnight stays and daytime cruising, in addition to sailing less-travelled routes to avoid congestion with other vessels in port.
The itineraries in full:
CRYSTAL MOZART (The Danube), maiden voyage 13 July 2016 –Keeping close to the Austrian roots of its namesake, the 160-passenger river yacht will sail two distinct itineraries of 10 and 11 nights along the Danube, plus a special 10- to 13-night Christmas and New Year’s Eve voyage.
Danube’s Capital and Wachau Valley – taking travellers through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Austria’s Wachau Valley, lined with picturesque towns, terraced vineyards and the stunning charm and architecture of Dürnstein, Melk, Linz and Vienna, Austria; Passau, Germany; and Bratislava, Slovakia.
Countries of Eastern Danube – exploring the eastern realms of the river and the treasures of Vienna, Austria; Esztergorm, Kalocsa, Budapest and Mohács, Hungary; Vukovar, Croatia; the Iron Gate; Belgrade and Novi Sad, Serbia; and Bratislava, Slovakia.
Christmas Markets – celebrating the holiday season in the winter wonderland of Austria, Germany and Slovakia. Guests can get in a festive mood by exploring the traditional Christmas marketplaces and town squares famous for their holiday singing and dancing, cuisine, shopping and holiday cheer, from Munich’s Christkindlmarkt that dates back to the 14th century to the age-old Viennese Christmas Market at City Hall and Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace.
CRYSTAL DEBUSSY (The Seine), maiden voyage 4 June 2017 – as Paris is a year-round dream destination, five- seven- and 10-night voyages will explore the City of Light with multiple overnights. The ship’s sleek design and smaller size (84 guest capacity) will allow the opportunity to conveniently access berths near the Eiffel Tower for guests to extend their stay in Paris.
Best of Paris, Seine River & Normandy – an itinerary that highlights the quaint villages and lush valleys that inspired impressionists such as Monet and Van Gogh, including the garden at Giverny and the charms of Auvers-Sur-Oise and traces the historic footsteps in the gardens of Versailles. A double overnight will leave guests within walking distance of charming Honfleur and position travellers closer to the surrounding areas’ popular attractions including the beaches of Normandy and Deauville.
Paris and The Arts – an in-depth immersion into the priceless masterpieces housed in this great city, from the Musée d’Orsay and d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris to the famed Louvre; then venturing to Rouen in the heart of Normandy before returning to Paris.
Christmas Shopping in Paris – the magic of the season is the focus of this enchanting voyage, replete with indulgent culinary delights and plenty of holiday shopping and fantasy window shopping. Guests can immerse themselves in the Marché de Noël outdoor bazaar and enjoy street performances along the Rue du Gros Horloge in Rouen.
CRYSTAL BACH (The Rhine), maiden voyage 18 June 2017 – The vessel’s 14-night itinerary has overnight stays in fascinating and enchanting cities including Amsterdam, Netherlands; Basel, Switzerland; and Ruedesheim, Germany as it travels along the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. A special 10-night voyage again explores the quaint Christmas markets that are synonymous with the region.
Classic Rhine – visiting the overnight ports mentioned above, as well as Antwerp, Belgium; Nijmegen, Cologne, Cochem, Koblenz, Mainz, Speyer, Kehl, and Breisach, Germany. This voyage also allows for additional stays in Frankfurt to explore the 2,000-year-old metropolis and get a birds-eye view from the Main Tower, one of the city’s tallest buildings.
Christmas Markets – the snow-flecked towns along the Rhine will bring storybook holidays to life, inviting travellers aboard the 110-guest capacity Crystal Bach to visit two of Switzerland’s loveliest markets – Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz in Basel – plus historical abbeys and cathedrals. An overnight in Cologne sets the stage to feel the magic of the holidays in the festively decorated city, which is renowned as having one of the largest Christmas markets in all of Europe.
CRYSTAL RAVEL (The Garonne and Dordogne, and Gironde Estuary), maiden voyage 8 August 2017 – delving into the heart of France’s most renowned wine region beloved by both connoisseurs and novice oenophiles, the 84-guest capacity Crystal Ravel explores the UNESCO-designated cultural site of Bordeaux, which boasts more protected buildings than any other French city outside of Paris.
Bordeaux, the Wine Region and Beyond – the seven-night itinerary spends two nights in Bordeaux before cruising on to Cadillac (overnight), Pauillac (overnight), Blaye and Libourne (overnight), then back to Bordeaux (overnight). The extra nights in Bordeaux allow guests to visit Arachon in southwestern France for the city’s oysters, white wine and the popular Dune du Pilat, which is Europe’s highest sand dune.
CRYSTAL MAHLER (The Rhine, Main and Danube), maiden voyage 29th August, 2017 – the 16-night “Grand Europe” itinerary is the longest offered by the Crystal river fleet. It is also two nights longer than most other lines sailing the same route, allowing guests time to explore this iconic route at a more leisurely place than is currently offered.
Grand Europe – the 110-guest capacity Crystal Mahler will transit the Rhine-Main-Danube with its many locks that connect the continent’s two mightiest rivers (the Rhine and the Danube), to explore the treasures of each. From the iconic windmills of Holland to the fairytale villages of Germany’s countryside, guests will have ample opportunity to immerse themselves in the charm of the destinations, with overnights in Budapest, Vienna, Passau and Amsterdam.
The ships’ inaugural voyages will be on sale only to Crystal Society members until 30 December. For reservations, call Crystal River Cruises on 020 7399 7604 or visit www.crystalcruises.co.uk
(Image credit to Crystal Cruises)