WHY IT RATES: Crystal River Cruises today resumed its European river cruises as Crystal Ravel embarked on her first voyage in almost 18 months, with the vessel Crystal Debussy to sail tomorrow, as well. For the remainder of 2021, Crystal will offer voyages ranging from seven and 11 nights along the storied Rhine, Danube and Moselle rivers. — Laurie Baratti, TravelPulse Associate Writer
Today, Crystal River Cruises celebrated the resumption of European river cruise operations and its return to Europe’s beloved rivers as Crystal Ravel sailed from Vilshofen on a seven-night Danube itinerary featuring calls in Germany, Austria and Hungary, shipboard overnights in Vienna and Budapest, and cruising of the UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley. In Vilshofen, the officers and crew welcomed guests back to Crystal Ravel after a nearly 18-month pause in operations. Tomorrow, August 30, sister ship Crystal Debussy is set to cruise from Basel on a seven-night Rhine itinerary with calls in Switzerland, France, Germany and Netherlands and overnight calls in Koblenz and Amsterdam.
“After months of planning and preparation we are excited to welcome our guests back on board to experience the attentive service and personalized care of our devoted staff on cruises to the best-loved destinations of Europe’s scenic rivers and waterways,” said Walter Littlejohn, Crystal River Cruises’ senior vice president and managing director.
“We know our guests are also incredibly eager to return to the luxurious accommodations, Michelin-level cuisine and unrivaled social spaces aboard our ships as well as the enriching discoveries that await ashore,” Littlejohn said. “The effortless luxury and relaxation of river cruising seems perfectly designed for the moment in which we find ourselves, allowing our guests to escape to a world of natural beauty along Europe’s rivers, highlighted by great art, architecture and history, and with unique opportunities for cultural immersion to create cherished memories of a lifetime.”
The ships’ staff have been prepping the vessels, refreshing their training, and implementing new Crystal Clean+ procedures that address the unique challenges of COVID-19 with stringent health protocols in place to provide guests a safe and enjoyable experience. Crystal River Cruises requires all guests and crew to be fully vaccinated as part of Crystal Clean+, which due to the mandatory vaccination requirement, allows guests to explore ashore independently.
Inherently spacious, the line’s luxurious all-suite river ships allow for ample social distancing, accommodating just half as many guests as similarly sized vessels and offering a la carte restaurants, open-seating dining, and an abundance of tables for two.
In 2021, Crystal River Cruises will offer 32 voyages ranging from seven to 11 nights exploring the historic cities, cultural treasures and UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Rhine, Danube and Moselle rivers with a focus on the line’s most popular and destination-rich seven-night Rhine and Danube itineraries, as well as voyages showcasing the fairytale beauty of the Mosel Wine Region. Every 2021 river voyage is also highlighted by at least two overnight stays, with many voyages offering three overnights, allowing guests to further immerse themselves in the ports’ charm and history, or venture to nearby towns for broader experiences.
Crystal River Cruises’ 2021 deployment reflects a gradual return of service and the consolidation of sailings from Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler to similar voyages on their identical sister ships, Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel. There is still time and availability to book on select voyages, including limited availability on 2021 Holiday voyages. Crystal Ravel is set to ring in the New Year in Vienna during an extended three-night call, while Crystal Debussy will celebrate New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam with a two-night call to enjoy all the festivities and enrichment the city has to offer.
On Crystal River Cruises’ itineraries, timeless medieval towns mix beautifully with modern hubs of culture and commerce. Guests can explore Melk’s Benedictine Abbey, Vienna’s famed Ringstrasse, and the windmills of Amsterdam, and cruise through the magnificent landscapes of the Rhine River Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage site. On every voyage, Crystal’s Destination Discoveries features inclusive and optional curated experiences ashore, as well as Signature Events and extended journeys designed to enhance the journey for guests with selections that cater to a variety of interests, including a complimentary Signature Event at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna for select 2021 Crystal Ravel sailings.
Crystal’s award-winning Rhine-Class river ships are the industry’s first and only all-balcony, all-suite, all-butler vessels in Europe, with every category of accommodation positioned above the water line. All suites feature Panoramic Balcony-Windows™ and walk-in closets and dual vanity in the bathrooms are featured in most categories.
All of Crystal’s river ships feature private butler service in every room category, king-sized beds, Caudalie amenities, robes and slippers, and wall-mounted flat-screen HD TVs. Additional enticing features include farm-to-table cuisine in multiple, open-seating eateries: the elegant Waterside Restaurant, namesake Bistro cafés and the exclusive Vintage Room; and the Palm Court for entertainment, enrichment presentations and sweeping views of the countryside. Crystal’s attention to detail reaches ashore, as guests are transported on adventures in luxury motor coaches equipped with complimentary water and Wi-Fi for added convenience and comfort.
For more information, visit crystalcruises.com.
SOURCE: Crystal River Cruises press release.