Riverside Debussy will launch in March. Credit: Riverside Luxury Cruises

Why this should be your year to experience Riverside Mozart

Author: Vicky Mayer

Published on:

Five-star river cruising with a personal touch awaits guests onboard Riverside Mozart as Vicky Mayer discovers

There’s a horizontal view from my bed onboard Riverside Mozart. Through the Juliette balcony I can see the late afternoon sunshine sparkling on the Danube while the river laps loudly across the hull of the ship.

Lying stretched out while gazing at a moving riverscape has to be one of travel’s greatest pleasures and new ultra-luxury line – Riverside Luxury Cruises – offers guests the chance to relax, unwind and enjoy some incredible journeys on four of Europe’s most popular rivers, the Danube, Rhine, Rhone and Saone.

When Crystal Cruises’ popular river ships were put into receivership following the Covid crisis, German hotel company The Seaside Collection quickly snapped them up and from April, the company’s first ship Riverside Mozart has been sailing on the Danube.

As one of the first journalists to be invited on board the company’s flagship, I am keen to see what’s in store for river cruise fans who like the finer things in life.

For those of you who were lucky enough to have previously travelled with Crystal Cruises, the good news is that the ships’ stylish and elegant interiors, private butler service and renowned cuisine choices have all been retained.

Accommodation elates onboard Riverside Mozart. Credit: Riverside Luxury Cruises

What’s new is an emphasis on individual choice with 24-hour room service and a no-set time dining policy offered to all guests. Gregor Gerlach is known in his native Germany for running a successful luxury hotel business, and he is keen to bring all the best bits of hotel stays to river cruising.

With four decks and at 77-foot-wide vessel, Riverside Mozart is one of the largest ships sailing on Europe’s waterways.

While other river ships often feel poky and narrow, light floods in from both sides of the ship (which intriguingly has been crafted from two separate catamarans) and you’ll find plenty of stylish areas to sit and relax on every deck. I particularly love the wrap-around promenade deck which is perfect for an early morning or sunset stroll.

Riverside Mozart has been beautifully designed with a palette of muted tones mixed with bold blues and emerald greens, and whether you spend most of your time relaxing in your cabin or choose to lounge around the ship wishing you could achieve this look at home, you’ll feel like you’re staying at a swish five-star hotel.

What’s extra of course, are the moving views and the chance to visit some many wonderful destinations in a short space of time.

With four decks, Riverside Mozart is one of the largest ships sailing on Europe’s waterways. Credit: Riverside Luxury Cruise

From the entry level Symphony suites (at 215 sq ft) to the whopping 833 sq ft Owner’s suite –
that comes complete with two bathrooms, two bedrooms and a living room with its own fireplace – every cabin on board is a river-facing suite that boasts a comfy kingsize bed, TV, coffeemaker and perhaps best of all, a private butler.

As I walk into my Penthouse cabin, I literally say, ‘Wow’. At 333 sq ft it’s far more spacious than the cabins on any other river line I have sailed on, and comes complete with a bath and shower, fancy Japanese-style toilet, dressing room and desk. Add a floor-to-ceiling Juliette balcony to that and you’ve got the cabin of your dreams.

Sailing on a mini Danube cruise that takes in some of the area’s most historical destinations, I’m keen to see if Riverside Cruises can produce a five-star service both on and off the ship.

But a cheeky pre dinner cocktail beckons first and as I join my fellow cruisers at the Cove Bar on deck three, there are smiles all round.

After all, the night is young, the ship is shimmering and the hardest thing we’ll have to do all night is find our way back to our cabins. Lucky then, that I’ve got a personal hotline to my lovely butler Dilip.

All drinks (including alcohol) are included onboard Riverside Mozart. Credit: Riverside Luxury Cruises

Boasting that you’re an ultra luxury ship means of course that you’ve got to deliver on all fronts and Riverside Mozart gets top marks for its generous size, impressive wellness centre complete with mini pool, jacuzzi, roomy gym and sumptuous spa.

Unlike other river ships, guests can also choose from four different dining areas – the Waterside Restaurant, Bistro, Blue Bar & Grill and private dining area, the beautifully decorated Vintage Room.

During my cruise, I enjoy some great meals at all four but the stand-out venues for me are the Waterside Restaurant, where you’ll find something you love on the daily changing menu; and the Bistro, where between excursions, I can’t get enough of their freshly prepared teas, coffees and tempting pastries and ice-creams.

The Bistro was a standout dining spot for Vicky Mayer. Credit: Riverside Luxury Cruises

I also love the relaxed feeling onboard – there’s no need to dress to the nines and this new line understands what modern luxury is really about – the chance to be totally spoilt on your cruise holiday in a bespoke manner. Whether that’s skipping breakfast, requesting something off menu, enjoying or siesta or just getting stuck into the cocktail menu (more snacks please!).

This modern approach to cruising applies offshore too, with the chance for travellers to enjoy at least three different complimentary excursions at every destination – from traditional first-time city walking tours to once-in-a-lifetime experiences including a helicopter ride along the wine-growing Wachau Valley or the chance to conduct your own orchestra in Vienna.

On this cruise, I’m keen to see three of the Danube’s most-celebrated port stops – Melk, Durnstein and Krems.

Melk is famous around the world for its perfectly preserved Benedictine Abbey which painted in striking yellow, shines in Baroque brilliance against a bright blue sky.

Melk Abbey, arguably Europe's most spectacular baroque monastery, is a must. Credit: Shutterstoc

Equally intriguing is the ruined castle that overlooks Durnstein, where, according the legend, Richard the Lionheart spent three long years in captivity in the 12th century.

It’s Krems though that steals my heart – a low-key cobbled waterside town packed with cool coffee shops and lifestyle boutiques, resplendent with some great baroque churches and statues.

Back on board, as the sun starts to set on the horizon, I realise how relaxed I feel. It’s the magic of travelling on such a special ship – but don’t just take my word for it; try a journey on Riverside Mozart for yourself.

Get on board

Enjoy a full board four-night round trip Vienna cruise from £813 per person. Visit riverside-cruises.com to find out more. A premium all-inclusive including excursions package is also available from £1,429 per person.

Fast facts
158 guests
82 crew
4 restaurants
£2,184 average cost of a seven-night Danube cruise

Great for: Anyone looking for a luxurious river ship experience with 5-star service and cuisine
Don’t miss: The chance to live like a King or Queen with your own personal butler on board
Best bar & restaurant: The Cove bar for cool cocktails and the Waterside Restaurant for leisurely evening meals with fast-changing menus and paired wines
Value for money? Yes, it’s expensive, but the all-inclusive fare offers great value with a choice of some amazing excursions and wide choice of drinks and cuisine
Saving the planet The ship grows its own herbs on the top deck
Star rating 4/5

Most recent articles

About Vicky Mayer

Vicky began her career working on young women’s magazines before moving on to TV and entertainment titles. Her passion, though, has always been travel, so as Editor of World of Cruising, she combines her love of magazines with the chance to shout about cruise holidays around the world.