DEPART MOZART & FLY TO LONDON
Caryn, thank you for your comments, good wishes and for following our trip. We wish you both the very best.
Betty, we are glad to hear you enjoyed the blog and we wish you a great time in Italy. If we can help with questions please let us know.
Anne, thank you for your comments. We don't have another River Cruise booked yet but plan to find another one to book. We loved the experience.
Doris, thank you for your very nice comments about our Blog and for following along all these months. The nice thing about travel is that there are many options available including different types of vessels to sail on. It is amazing the cruising industry has have between Ocean and River Cruise vessels not to mention the increase in airlines and flights and land trips.
Yesterday afternoon had some interesting items on the schedule including Wine Tasting followed by Team Trivia. The morning also featured a Galley Tour.
We enjoyed our final evening on-board Mozart starting with a pre-dinner drink at Palm Court.
Mark Farris was playing the Piano. There are two pianos on Mozart. One is located in the cove right by the bar where there some seats are located and the other one is in the Palm Court where many chairs are located. Mark changes up where he plays the piano before dinner.
It has been wonderful sailing with Mark.
This was followed by our final dinner of the River Cruise at Waterside
This is the dinner menu from last evening.
It was busy in Waterside and very jovial since this was the final night of the cruise. People traveling together or newfound friends were dining at larger tables. Guests were saying their goodbyes to one another and to the amazing members of team Mozart.
We enjoyed four courses.
Each night the waiter would make a recommendation for each course.
We both had a Crepe for the appetizer, recommended by the waiter. It was delicious between the actual crepe pastry and the filling.
We asked for Spinach Salads which were not on the menu for our next course.
Keith had Lamb Chops for his entree and Anne Marie had Salmon. The waiter had recommended the Lamb.
For dessert, Anne Marie had a strudel. After all we are in Austria. and Keith had Cheese Plate. He had the waiter select the types of cheese some of which were on the menu and some that was not last evening.
It was a wonderful meal. With Mozart going under Genting at the end of the year and not available for bookings we expect that we will likely see some of the waitstaff on other River Vessels, Ocean Vessels, the Yacht and Endeavor.
They took great care of us throughout the cruise.
We said our goodbyes to many of the waitstaff team including those who took care of us regularly at dinner and those who we would have on occasion when we were sitting with other people at larger tables and other locations. Often at dinner we sat at the port side of Waterside. At lunch we dined at or near the same location. During lunch the swap the waiters so the waiter we would have at dinner would be at the starboard side and the waiter who is assigned to the port side for dinner would be at the starboard side for lunch. It's nice how they move them around. Some of the waiters/assistants will be working the buffet area at lunch and back in the dining venue for dinner.
Likewise, earlier in the evening we gave our best to the two bartenders at Palm Court. We also thanked the two people who served the drinks who we saw later as they are runners at Waterside during the dinner time.
Before going to bed we added more items to the luggage and weighed them.
We slept well last night. We were up early but no exercising for Keith. We had breakfast 30 minutes earlier than usual. Butler Paolo was on duty one hour earlier than normal so he brought the breakfast. We gave our best wishes to him. We knew him from his time on Crystal Serenity. We are sure he will move to one of the other River Vessels so he can stay closer to home in Europe.
A difference between the River Cruise and Ocean Vessel is luggage doesn't to have to be placed outside our suite until 45 minutes before departure. In our case that was 7:15 AM with a private transfer scheduled for 8:00 AM.
We kept to the same breakfast of cereal and a banana.
We arranged for a private vehicle transfer with Crystal Cruises to take us to Vienna International Airport. Another option was the complimentary bus transfer to the airport.
Butler Paolo told us when we were ready he would take care of our luggage. We called him at 7:00 AM and he came by the room and took out our two large pieces of luggage.
We left the room at 7:50 AM and we saw our luggage and the concierge Andrea said the vehicle would arrive in the next few minutes. Hotel Director Sonja stopped by to chat with us as did the Captain a few minutes later.
At precisely 8:00 AM Andreea wheeled our two pieces of luggage off the ship. It was raining. With umbrella in hand Sonja escorted Anne Marie and Shore Excursion Manager escorted Keith out to the waiting car. Unlike the Ocean Vessel no necessary to have the ship cards scanned and the vehicle was just a few steps from Mozart. In short, the departure process was as easy as embarkation.
The drive to the airport was quicker than anticipated. We used an airport concierge service which allowed for expedited check-in. We proceed through passport control and to an airport lounge.
The airport lounge was pretty plain but the person at the desk was very professional and helpful. He showed us around the lounge pointing out where everything was; self service breakfast, beverages, rest rooms; tables with outlets, etc.
Security was done when we proceeded to the gate for our flight.
Today's flight only involved traveling from Vienna to London Heathrow where we are staying over at the London Heathrow Sofitel Hotel. We have stayed at this hotel numerous time including a few weeks ago when we flew from Serenity in Athens to London Heathrow. There is a direct flight to our home city but the connection today would have been too tight for us which is why we broke the travel into two separate days.
We arrived to Terminal 3 at Heathrow. The good news is starting last night landing cards are no longer required for those entering the UK from seven countries including the USA. There were no lines to go through immigration. Not sure if this was the reason but it certainly eliminates paperwork, saves money and allows the reallocation of some resources.
From there we made our way to Terminal 5 where Sofitel is located after we cleared immigration, picked up our luggage and cleared customs.
We will post more tomorrow before we take off on our flight back to the states.
Anne Marie & Keith
SCENIC CRUISING BUDAPEST TO VIENNA
Thank you Mary for following our travels and for taking the time to provide comments. It is very much appreciated.
Thank you Emily. Keith was glad that he was able to prevent what would have been a tragic accident.
As mentioned in our previous post, we took another long walk yesterday morning around Budapest. We did this in lieu of taking the organized tour of the Parliament Building and the Market. It was a little overcast until the sun finally came out. The temperature was comfortable.
Keith showed Anne Marie where the Four Seasons Hotel is. We took a similar route as we did the first day. When crossing the first bridge we saw the Parliament Building with its impressive size and architectural beauty.
We walked along the Danube as we headed in the direction of the ship. Several people were out walking, jogging and bicycle riding.
We crossed another bridge to get back over to the Pest side and we revisited the Great Market Hall. We picked up a few items including Paprika and two hand painted Pepper Mills. We ended up looking at a few different shops and bought the Paprika at one shop (they didn't carry the Pepper Mills) and the Pepper Mills at another shop. We made our decision based on the two very friendly ladies from each of these two shops. Friendliness is good.
These are from the two places we made our purchases.
Depending on where we are docked sometimes we need this reminder to be careful as we enter and exit Mozart. On more than one occasion Keith has forgotten about ducking. On his way off the vessel he said to George one of the two men who do security that he tapped his head once again. George who is bald says "this is why I have no hair". LOL.
Speaking of security some of the river cruise lines do not have security personnel. Guests swipe their own cards as they arrive and leave the ship. We appreciate the Crystal River Cruise Vessels have security.
Returning to Mozart we enjoyed lunch at Waterside and took in the scenery before and after we departed Budapest.
We made a stop to The Bistro where Darrell made a Cappuccino Coffee for Anne Marie. He topped it with a heat. Very nice.
Anne Marie attended a talk given by Hotel Director Sonja about The Life and Music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. After the talk there was an Apple Strudel Demonstration given by the Pastry Chef Jozef and this included tasting of Apple Strudel along with coffee.
Many guests went up to the sun deck to enjoy the scenery. Drinks were served from the retractable bar. The weather was sunny and the temperature warmed up making this an ideal location to enjoy.
We enjoyed a pre-dinner drink at the Palm Court. Thank you Mark Farris for playing a Beatles song for us. We loved it.
The views of the Danube and the surrounding areas including villages and town was spectacular and this carried over to dinner.
This photo is Anne Marie outside of Waterside. When Mozart was refurbished it was completely redone inside the ship with pretty much every screw and nut along with everything else redone. Two paintings remain from the original Mozart and Anne Marie is standing next to one of them in the photo.
These are the dinner menus from Waterside for last evening
Hotel Director Sonja dined with us this evening for the second time of this voyage. It has been a pleasure for us to get to know Sonja during this voyage.
We enjoyed four courses.
Keith started with the appetizer caviar and Anne Marie had a half portion of the tomatoes and mozzarella salad. Although it wasn't on the menu we were told that a mixed salad was available and that is precisely what we each had. Anne Marie had the sirloin beef for her entree while Keith had the branzino seafood entree. Dessert was a cheese plate for Keith and cheesecake for Anne Marie.
We didn't finish dinner until half past nine and didn't attend the evening entertainment which was the newlywed game.
As usual dinner was terrific between the non-stop conversation, delicious cuisine and terrific service. The waitstaff team has been great throughout the cruise. Often we have the same waiter and assistant waiter and sommelier at dinner and sometimes at lunch depending on where we are seated at Waterside.
We've included only a couple of food photos and a couple of photos showing views that we enjoyed during dinner.
We enjoyed another good sleep as we are sailing back to Vienna where this wonderful voyage began. Keith worked out for the final time of this adventure followed by coffee and breakfast in our room.
After our room was cleaned we worked on packing as we depart Mozart tomorrow morning. Packing at an end of a trip is relatively easy compared to when we were packing on Serenity and had to decide what to take with us for the River Cruise and what to ship home.
We enjoyed our final lunch at Waterside. Oh the word "final" sounds like the end is near. LOL.
At lunch today there were several examples of how attentive the waitstaff team is. For example there are dinner plates for the salad and yesterday Keith saw a waiter with a large bowl which holds the ladle for the soup. Keith said that is his kind of salad bowl. The waiter said he will be sure Keith has a bowl for today. Keith completely forgot about it and as he was going to the salad bar the waiter came up to him with the bowl. A minute later he gave Keith a larger plate to place below the bowl with a napkin on top of it.
Another example was after we were seated and Keith remarked how cold it was and a couple of minutes later one of the waiters who assists us for lunch let us know that he had reported it being cold to see if they could adjust the temperature.
A third example is the kindness shown each and every day by Waiter Hanaganut who offered to take us around should we visit his country. We will miss Hanaganut and this extraordinary Mozart team.
After lunch we went by The Bistro so Anne Marie could get a take-out coffee. In addition to Coffee and Tea there is an array of food items including sweets.
We will close now as we have a busy afternoon.
Anne Marie & Keith