In the past thirty years I have probably been on over 100 cruises. I’ve cruises the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea. I’ve even cruised the southern Pacific Ocean around the Tahitian Islands. I’m a cruiseaholic!
However, none, and I mean none compares to my first experience on a river cruise. It was a 10 night river cruise along the Danube River in eastern Europe. Sharon and I along with Publisher Dan and “ladylove” Rana just completed a 10 night Danube River cruise on Crystal Cruise Line’s Crystal Mozart. Fantastic, unbelievable and memorable are just a few adjectives that describe our experience.
Our cruise started in Vienna, and ended in Vienna. In between we visited Krems, Durnstein, and Melk all in Austria. At the foot of the Austrian Alps the scenery is majestic. However, our next stop in Linz, also in Austria afforded us the opportunity to visit Salzburg for the Day. Now, we were really in the Austrian Alps. And the music culture of Mozart and yes, the renowned setting for the Rogers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music made this a special setting. Walking along the cobbled streets, passing the birth place of Mozart and some of the settings for the movie version of the Sound of Music, really did make the hills feel alive with “The Sound of Music”.
Another highlight stop along our journey was Passau in Germany. Suffice it to say, when in Germany one must absolutely sit in a Lowen Brauhaus outdoor cafe with a beer in one hand and a German pretzel (with sweet mustard) in the other. Now people watch. what could be better.
Turning back east we cruised along the Danube to Bratislava in the Slovak Republic and then on to Budapest. And Budapest had to be the absolute highlight port call of the trip. Whether it was the Parliament House, or the Castle Hill area, or a stroll down the Grand Boulevard, Budapest is one impressive city. Outdoor markets abound. There are breathtaking scenes at every turn. Be sure to stop at an outdoor cafe for some sweets and local coffee. Budapest is a city really worth immersing yourself in.
Our starting and ending port of Vienna while equal in size to Budapest, in my view, seemed much more imperial, much more palatial. Austrian Hapsburg architecture prevails on a grand scale. But for me a stop in a small pastry cafe for Viennese apple strudel was the highlight. This simple desert is presented in all its majesty like no place in the world.
Finally, our home for 10 night, the Crystal Mozart was extraordinary. The vessel is five star and the crew and staff, well….. is six star. Our every whim was fulfilled. The food was special with a local European flare. And when preparing meals for just over 100 guests, well I can say cooked to order, was the order of the day. All in all the final word for our Crystal Mozart cruise has to be just……………..PERFECT!