Crystal’s new river cruises are selling well. Within hours of unveiling fares in November, the company reported a “tremendous response” in bookings for its five luxury vessels, the first of which is set to embark in July 2016 and the other four in 2017.
“We expected strong reservations for these sailings … but these numbers are overwhelming,” says Crystal’s president and CEO Edie Rodriguez. “It simply reaffirms that we are on the right path, continuing to offer global luxury travelers more of what they seek – the very highest standard in their vacation experiences.”
The five inaugural voyages, which are exclusively open to Crystal Society members (Crystal’s loyalty guest program) through December 15, were more than 40 percent booked the same week they were announced. Additionally, Crystal tells us it is seeing significant booking activity for its maiden voyages in Paris along the Seine River, and Bordeaux while cruising through the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers and Gironde Estuary.Crystal Mozart (The Danube River), maiden voyage July 13, 2016 – The queen of European river cruises is currently being redesigned and will emerge in 2016 boasting Crystal’s signature elegant style and luxurious public spaces, accommodations (160 guest capacity) and special touches. Keeping close to the Austrian roots of its namesake, the 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 & Wachau Valley – Taking travelers 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; Esztergom, Kalocsa, Budapest, and Mohács, Hungary; Vukovar, Croatia; the Iron Gate; Belgrade and Novi Sad, Serbia; and Bratislava, Slovakia.
- Classic Rhine – Visiting the aforementioned overnight ports, as well as Antwerp, Belgium; Nijmegen, Holland; Cologne, Cochem, Koblenz, Mainz, Speyer, Kehl, and Breisach, Germany, and this voyage also allows for additional stays in Frankfurt to explore the 2,000-year-old metropolis and get a birds-eye view from atop the Main Tower, one of the city’s tallest buildings.
Crystal Debussy (The Seine River), maiden voyage June 4, 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 like 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 travelers closer to the surrounding areas’ popular attractions including the beaches of Normandy and Deauville.
- Paris & 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.
- Pre–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 River), maiden voyage June 18, 2017 – The vessel’s 14-night itinerary boasts 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 aforementioned overnight ports, as well as Antwerp, Belgium; Nijmegen, Cologne, Cochem, Koblenz, Mainz, Speyer, Kehl, and Breisach, Germany, and this voyage also allows for additional stays in Frankfurt to explore the 2,000-year-old metropolis and get a birds-eye view from atop the Main Tower, one of the city’s tallest buildings.
- Christmas Markets along the Rhine – The snow-flecked towns along the Rhine River will bring storybook holidays to life, inviting travelers 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 known to have one of the largest Christmas markets in all of Europe.
Crystal Ravel (The Garonne & Dordogne Rivers, & Gironde Estuary), maiden voyage August 8, 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 & Beyond – The seven-night itinerary spends two nights in Bordeaux, before cruising on to Cadillac (overnight), Pauillac (overnight), Blaye and Libourne (overnight), France, then back to Bordeaux (overnight). The extra nights in Bordeaux afford guests to visit Arachon in southwestern France for the city’s oysters, white wine and the popular Dune du Pilat which is Europe’s tallest sand dune.
Crystal Mahler (The Rhine, Main &Danube Rivers), maiden voyage August 29, 2017 – The 16-night “Grand Europe” itinerary is the longest offered by the Crystal river fleet; also two nights longer than most other lines sailing the same route, to provide guests more time to explore this iconic route at a more leisurely place than 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.