CRUISING THE DANUBE ON THE ROAD TO BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA
Before the evening began we enjoyed scenic cruising.
We attended the Crystal Society Party held before dinner last night. All guests were invited to the party which was held in Palm Court. While seated at the Palm Court we also enjoyed scenic views. Palm Court is located near the front of the ship so it provided the opportunity to see one of the locks before and as we entered it.
There was a large turnout for the party. A difference is that Caviar is served and a very generous portion indeed. It is served by waiters and already in a dish.
Mark Farris entertained before, during and after the recognition of guests with the highest number of milestones on this voyage.
Alexandra Stanga, the Crystal Society Hostess and Future Sales Consultant, gave a very nice speech. She spoke about Crystal Cruises & Crystal Society and noted that there are 1 Million Members of Crystal Society. Members are any guest who has sailed once ore more times with Crystal Cruises on Ocean, River, and Yacht Vessels.
Three parties were recognized by Alexandria. She noted the number of milestones and the number of days sailed with Crystal Cruises, the voyage, month and year of the first sailing with Crystal Cruises, home city and country, and the top reason they enjoying sailing with Crystal Cruises.
The first couple had somewhere between 10 and 20 Crystal Milestones (we can't remember the precise number) and are from Bermuda. We spoke with them afterwards and reminisced about Bermuda where we visited for our honeymoon. They are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary on-board Mozart.
The second recognition is for a woman traveling solo who we know from previous cruise on Serenity and we have some friends in common. She is from Hong Kong and celebrating her 23rd Crystal Society Milestone.
We were recognized last with the highest number of Crystal Society Milestones on this voyage.
At the conclusion of the recognition, Hotel Director surprised us with a gift.
We enjoyed dinner at Waterside. We arrived about ten minutes after it opened and there were already many guests seated.
This is the dinner menu.
There were lots of good choices on the menu. Decisions. Decisions. LOL.
Before our appetizer arrived at one point we could smell some type of burning wood. We couldn't figure out if it was coming from outside the ship on shore or from the kitchen. We soon learned what it was.
For appetizers Anne Marie had the consommé and Keith had the Applewood Smoked Alpine Beef Crudo. When the waiter brought it to the table and lifted the cover smoke came out along with a delightful applewood odor. This was what we smelled when a fellow guest seated somewhere nearby had this appetizer. It was delicious.
We both had salads and changed out the Arugula for Spinach. This was the first time we changed up the salad recognizing for lunch they one of the items they were serving was Spinach which likely had just been brought on-board in Passau. It was accompanied by different slices of fruit and vegetables. Another winner.
For our entree it was Veal Scallopini for Anne Marie. She enjoyed the veal and the sauce which accompanied it. The sauce was tasty and unique from what she normally has on the Ocean Vessel such as at Prego. For Keith it was Dorade Royal fish which he enjoyed. We should have stopped at three courses but Anne Marie had a small scoop of Ice Cream and Keith had a Cheese Plate. Each evening the dinner menu includes which cheese will be served on the cheese plate which we appreciate. We had a wonderful time. Service was marvelous.
We also enjoyed beautiful views from our table and we went through a lock.
Following dinner a DJ played music from the 1950's to the 1970's.
We slept very well. We got to bed later than usual and the wine helps too. LOL.
We began the day as you are accustomed to with an early morning workout for Keith, followed by coffee from the Pantry. Anne Marie had coffee that she made in the room and we both had breakfast. A great way to start the day.
We enjoyed scenic cruising in the morning followed by lunch at Waterside. Waterside luncheon dining begins either at Noon or at 12:30 PM. Typically when arriving to a port in the afternoon like today it opens at Noon whereas when already in a port like yesterday it opens at 12:30 PM.
We are posting early today. Originally a tour that Keith booked had a start time of 3:30 PM. It has been moved up to 2:30 PM with an earlier arrival to Bratislava. We learned that the arrival time can vary depending on congestion in the locks. We were fortunate to be ahead of schedule and prefer the earlier start time of the tour.
Anne Marie & Keith
Passau, Germany & Cruising Danube River
Karin, thank you for your very nice comments about our Blog along with our comments from the tour of the concentration camp. It was definitely a very emotional experience. We were glad to hear that all students in Austria once they reach the appropriate age are required to visit the concentration camp. It is our hope that more knowledge will go along way to help prevent something so horrific from ever happening again.
Catherine..Thank you for your comments. It's a personal decision as to whether to visit a concentration camp memorial. I am glad we went ahead and did it. The challenge is returning to the ship knowing the hardships/pain and suffering that others experienced and having an experience that is 360 degrees opposite to that back on-board the vessel.
Steve...We are glad that our advice was helpful on your recent trip and that you are enjoying the blog/postings. We are just two people who love to travel. Although the weather has been on the cooler side we have been told that May is still a perfect time to do this trip. As many river vessels as we see now there will be many more during the summer plus those who visit with a land trip.
We wanted to begin with a shutout for our Butler Paulo and Suite Attendant Linda. They are both very professional, friendly, and they don't miss a beat.
We do have breakfast in our room each morning. It is simple as we both have cereal and a banana. We have it at 7:00 AM. Precisely at 7:00 AM there is a knock on the door and it is Paulo. He is always positive as he sets up the meal. He also gives us great advice about each stop. He also has been very intensive with our water and other beverages. They are always there in the correct quantity. The only other item we have had him take care of is some pressing. He mentioned to us the first day that if we leave pressing by 7:00 PM it will be ready the following day by or before that time. One time we forgot gave it to him in the morning but said we understood it would not be ready until the next day and within hours he had the items pressed and back to us.
Our Suite Attendant Linda has been terrific. We are out of the room before or right after she comes on in the morning and similarly in the early evening. When we return back to the room the room has been cleaned in the morning and turned down in the evening and most importantly she is thorough and does not miss a beat. Everything is there from towels to tissue and precisely looking perfect. She is also very positive and it shows each day.
As mentioned we took the shuttle to the town of Passau yesterday morning.
The drive was 15 minutes and our return was less than 10 minutes.
We drove along the Danube.
As we made it into the downtown area we saw several River Vessels in town along with lunch/dinner Vessels.
From the drop-off point we walked all along the town visiting St. Stephen's Cathedral, Cathedral Square, Old City Hall, Pilgrimage Church of St. Mary along with some local stores, and places selling baked goods.
Even though it is not the peak tourist season there were many tourists in town.
It was on the cooler side while we walked starting in the low 40's (F). By the time we finished the walk it was a balmy 53 degrees (F). When the sun was out it felt good but when the sun went behind the clouds and with some wind gusts it felt cool.
Once back to Mozart we enjoyed lunch and a leisurely afternoon on the ship.
Speaking of lunch. Waterside has a luncheon buffet. There is a salad bar, an area with hot foods, another area with soup, a station with bread and another one with desserts. There is someone to served the soup and when we go to the hot area there is one to two people behind the station who serve some of the food and assist with other items. For example there are some hot pots and they lift the cover while we take the portion we prefer.
Once at the table there are waiters who ask what type of drink we would like. We sit in the same area each day so the two waiters working that areas know the beverages we like. They have also given us great advice about the upcoming areas we are visiting and provide a high level of service as does the entire waitstaff at Waterside.
Last evening we enjoyed a pre-dinner drink at Palm Court.
We sat with two other couples who we have met on this voyage. They are both traveling together. Late afternoon right before we had drinks in the Palm Court there was a talk given on the European Union.
This is the dinner menu from Waterside.
This was followed by dinner at Waterside with Captain Bela Burjan and Hotel Director Sonja Gruber. The Captain began duties on this ship in 2002 and became Captain in 2009. When the parent of Crystal Cruises Genting purchased Mozart the Captain came over to Crystal Cruises. Hotel Director Sonja performed various jobs on-board Crystal Harmony which was the first ship in the Crystal Ocean Fleet before becoming Osaka II and transferring to NYK (former owner of Crystal's) to sail mainly with Japanese guests. After performing various jobs on land Sonja returned to Crystal Cruises as Hotel Director of Crystal Mozart and was actively involved with the deployment of Mozart.
We enjoyed four courses starting with appetizers and a couple of items we would not see on an Ocean Vessel.
This included the Local Crayfish Appetizer we had as an appetizer. It was delicious. it was recommended by the waiter and an excellent choice.
We both had salads.
The other item we had that was unique from an Ocean Vessel was Fresh River Trout which we had. We thought since it was fresh and local we should have this as our entree. We made a good choice.
Fourth course we dessert for Anne Marie and Cheese for Keith.
We enjoyed a lovely dinner between the outstanding cuisine and service and a wonderful non-stop conversation. It was great to get to know the Captain and Hotel Director. We learned so much from them about Austria, Budapest, other places we are visiting, the Danube River, food and much more. It was an honor for us to have an opportunity to dine with them.
We slept well. There was no rocking of the ship as we remained in port.
Keith was up early and enjoyed a workout at the Fitness Center. As we have mentioned he has changed his workout from an Elliptical Machine since they are not available (ceiling too low for them) to a stationary bike. He was able to watch a portion of the Golden State/Portland Trailblazer National Basketball Game making the time go by very quickly. At the same time this is a perfect time to do laundry.
Afterwards, he enjoyed some coffee. While we have a coffee maker in the room since Anne Marie was sleeping that is not a good option. The good news is just four or so rooms from our room and close to the reception area is The Pantry. It is open 7x24. With a push of a button you can make coffee and there are various choices. The pantry has light snacks, and cold beverages.
This photo shows the coffee maker and some other items.
Below the counter with the coffee maker is a refrigerator. Those are peaches along with cold drinks. Peaches look yummy.
We enjoyed breakfast in our room.
As it turned out the weather forecast which called for rain was correct. We had considered going back into town or possibly a bike ride for Keith but with the rain we decided to stay on-board Mozart. We left our room about 8:00 AM so that Linda could clean the room. When we left, she was getting various cleaning items set up outside our room.
We walked over to the Palm Court which is just one deck higher than our room. Anne Marie has been using the iPad that is in each room. One of the nice features are newspapers and magazines which Anne Marie has been reading. Keith worked on our Blog.
With only a few days remaining of this voyage and the continued chance of rain and much cooler temperature (45 degrees F) we decided to take advantage of the time and do some packing. This time around the packing is easier as we don't have to figure out what to ship home and what to pack to take with us. Everything with us stays with us and will come home with us.
At one point we heard an announcement that our vessel would be repositioned. Earlier today we were next to another ship and those guests getting off had to walk thru our vessel. After repositioning we took the inside while another ship took the outside position as we would be leaving in a couple of hours and the other ship would be staying.
The time went by quickly and before we knew it was time for lunch and our departure from Passau at which time we begin scenic cruising.
Anne Marie & Keith
CRUISING THE DANUBE RIVER & PASSAU, GERMANY
Nancy...We are glad you are enjoying the Blog. We are not sure what the entree is at Blue. We will see if we can find out.
Kathie....Many thanks. We both very much appreciate your very thoughtful comments and are glad to hear you are enjoying our posts. Thank you again.
We will begin with our tour from yesterday afternoon.
We took a four-hour tour of the Mauthasuen-Gusen concentration camp memorial. We had never been to a former concentration camp. We have been to many Holocaust Museums including the ones in Israel, and Washington D.C.
It operated from the time that Austria was annexed to Nazi Germany on August 8, 1938 until May 5, of 1945. The precise number of deaths at this camp is unknown but sadly it is estimated that between 122,000 and 320,000 people perished in the entire complex. Think of the towns that many of us live in. In our case this represents the close to two times the number of people living in our town at the 122,000 level.
Our tour guide was exceptional and we would say one of the best tour guides we have ever had and we learned that he is the most respected guide for the tour we were on by the locals and his colleagues. He didn't just give us information. He often began by asking us questions. For example, why are you on the tour? What caused all of this to take place? Was it one man or a large number of people from countries other than just Germany? When did all of this start? Who ran the camps? How did some people survive the entire time. These are just examples of the questions.
We did learn many things. This began many years earlier in terms of how the Jews were treated. This continued in World War I. People from many countries supported this and the hatred for the jews across most places in Europe. It was the locals in the countries that often turned in the Jews. People knew what was taking place and did nothing to prevent it. For example people from Austria went to this camp one weekend day each week to watch the guards play soccer against local teams. People in nearby villages could see the concentration camps. The camps were business. This one was a quarry. How did most of the people in this camp die? Mainly through slavery in terms fo the work they performed. Some died in gas chambers but most died from the work they performed with very little food and also from disease. Within 15 minutes of arrival they received their one and only shower and their hair was removed and they were given a number such as number 25,000 from a survivors writeup he read to us. Without a name your history is gone.
As much as we learned from the tour and as much as we have studied about the Holocaust and as many times as we spoke with Holocaust survivors over the years words cannot describe how emotional the experience was for us and how horrible it was for those sent to the camps many of whom died. We can't imagine how anyone could treat humans in such an inhumane way. Unfortunately it was not all do to their leader but all of the people in many countries that allowed this to happen. It did not happen overnight.
There have and will always be bad people. Thankfully there are many more people that are good. We owe so much to our Parent's Generation who Tom Brokaw calls the Greatest Generation for the many sacrifices they made including before, during and after World War II to provide us with the freedom that many of us enjoy today. We do wonder if the issue was not war but only the concentration camps and imprisonment, torture and death to the jews how long this would have gone on.
We also know that history is important. It is important that future generations continue to learn about the Holocaust. Also all of the talk about nationalism that is taking place in countries in Europe and even our own country along with hatred and generalization of people should make us all step back. As we learned from the Holocaust this went on for years before the actual Holocaust took place. It was like seeds being spread with one generation to lay the foundation for the next generation.
We wanted to mention there were only 17 people on our tour in a bus that could fit many more than that. Two people stayed on the bus for the two and one half hours we walked the concentration camp. We were able to ask a number of questions from the tour guide when we were together as one group and when we he guided us along the way.
These are photos that we took. They include memorials from other countries, the quarry, the steps that lead to many deaths because when you marched those steps you were very sick and not coming back. There are photos of where people slept, the names of all of those imprisoned, the showers, the gas chamber, and other areas that we saw.
Before dinner we had a drink at Palm Court. We ended up speaking with two couples.
We dined at Waterside last evening.
This is the dinner menu from last night.
We enjoyed a great dinner. Anne Marie had a pasta entree as an appetizer while Keith had Oysters Rockefeller. Salad for both of us followed by Scallops for Anne Marie and Duck for Keith. Keith had a cheese plate and Anne Marie some coffee. When we arrived back to the room there was Mozart chocolate on our bed.
We left port at 9:00 PM. As usual we slept well as we are sailing to the next place of Passau, Germany.
Keith was up early for a workout and we had coffee and breakfast in our room.
A couple of photos of the scenery from our room shortly after 6:00 AM as we are sailing to Passau, Germany.
Passau, is a German city on the Austrian border. It is located at the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers which is why it is known as the "Three Rivers City" Overlooking Passau is a 13th-century hilltop fortress housing a city museum and observation tower. The old town below is known for its baroque architecture. This includes St. Stephen's Cathedral, featuring distinctive onion-domed towers and an organ with 17,974 pipes.
Originally, we had a beer tasting tour planned but before we boarded, we cancelled the tour. There were other tours to choose from including one to Munich, a biking tour and a walking tour. We decided to go with the shuttle and walk Passau on our own.
We will post photos from our walk around the town tomorrow with narrative.
Back on the ship we enjoyed lunch at Waterside and as we post this we are enjoying the remainder of the afternoon on Mozart.
Anne Marie & Keith
WELCOME TO LINZ, AUSTRIA
We enjoyed the rest of yesterday afternoon on-board Mozart. As mentioned, Keith took the morning off from exercise. After lunch he decided to go to the Fitness Centers for a workout. Although not as large as the ocean vessels, there is quite a bit of equipment.
Before dinner last evening we enjoyed a pre-dinner drink in our room. From there we went to the Palm Court and listened to Mark Farris play the piano. Mark is amazing. He played lots of songs including a couple of songs from The Beatles including one that was appropriate for Mother's Day.
Mark is not only an amazing pianist but we have met very few people having a memory as he does. We haven't seen him for awhile, yet he asked about our children by name. We are so glad he is on this voyage.
We were invited by Crystal Society Hostess Alexandria Stanga and the person she is training who takes her position when she goes on holiday; Mariyana Yordanova for dinner at Waterside.
This is the menu from Waterside.
We had four courses starting with Shrimp Cocktail for Anne Marie and a Tomato Tartar for Keith
For our second course we each had Salad.
All four of us had the Wiener Schnitzel and it was delicious along with the delicious Potato Salad.
For dessert it was ice cream for Anne Marie and a fruit plate for Keith.
It was an absolutely wonderful meal. The Executive Chef came out at the end and we told him how much we enjoyed the meal.
Service was wonderful as it was on the first night we dined at Waterside (we dined off the ship on the second night), cuisine was fresh and delicious and we enjoyed non-stop conversation with Alexandria and Mariyana.
During the meal we had beautiful views from the ship and we watched as we went through a Lock. The view of the lock was a different perspective. Before we went into the lock we could see that. The difference was once in the lock we could see the concrete out the window. On the ocean vessel going through the Panama Canal we are used to seeing it from a higher deck.
We enjoyed lots of good laughs. One of them was a discussion about Toto. Toto is the manufacturer of the toilet that is in each of the guests bathrooms. This toilet is one smart toilet. You go inside the bathroom and it is preparing for you. It even heats the seat.
Moving from toilets. LOL....
We had mentioned the freshness of the cuisine we want to digress for a moment. Earlier in the day we stopped by The Bistro which serves light snacks and other items. We saw the ice cream and assumed it was Ben & Jerry's as this is what they serve on the Ocean Vessels. We learned they make their own ice cream and pretty much everything that is served on-board. For example, they even make their own hamburger rolls.
Keith mentioned that the roll we had at our first dinner was the best he has had at sea and pretty much on land. The person from Mozart mentioned something we hadn't thought of and that is not only the recipe and the talent of the chef but also the ingredients used. Items such as Flour are local from Austria as is the milk.
We have been very impressed with the quality of the items from produce and fruit to the items prepared for each meal along with the recipes and the taste of the cuisine.
There was a special Mother's Day Show performed last evening by Mark Farris. It was a SIng-A-Long Sound Of Music show which was a tribute to the fabulous Grandmothers of Crystal Cruises, including dame Juie Andrews. This fit very well with our upcoming visit to Salzburg.
When we returned to the room there was chocolates (Mozart Candy) on our bed.
We slept well last evening. We were tired from the night before making it easy to fall asleep. Some have asked us about the comfort of the beds and for us they are very comfortable.
After enjoying breakfast in our room we got ready to visit Linz, Austria. We went on a long walk. It was cold outside. We could have used gloves.
Linz is the third largest city of Austria. It is located nineteen miles from the Czech border. The population within the city is 200,000 people.
Linz is well known for the Linzer Tote thought to be the oldest cake in the world with its first recipe dating all the say back to 1653. We passed by a store featuring them.
The city was founded by the Romans. They called it Lentia. The name Linz was recorded in AD 799.
The city is known for its shopping and we passed by many shops, restaurants, cafes and other businesses.
It is a well organized city. The motorists are very respectful for pedestrians crossing in the crossing walk.
We saw several electric trams which efficiency take people to various points on their route.
There were several churches and government buildings with domes reminiscent of churches.
We did come to a clothing store dating to 1914 with our surname.
We had lunch back on-board Mozart. Once a 10 day cruise Waterside is closed for lunch. It made sense today with many guests on full-day tours.
We had lunch at Blue Bar & Grill which is a restaurant open 12:00 to 2:00 PM each day for lunch. For those of you familiar with the Trident Grill on Crystal Symphony and Serenity it serves a few items found on those ships. It also has some items that are not served at Trident Grill such as the one we had which was Cobb Salad. It also is table service. We've included a photograph of the menu. Because Waterside was closed there were two or three items added to the menu.
We are posting early as we are getting ready to take a tour for the rest of the afternoon and will post about that tomorrow.
Blue menu followed by some photos at Blue.
This restaurant is only on Mozart and not on the other River Cruise vessels as Mozart is larger and can accommodate this venue.
Anne Marie & Keith
DANUBE SCENIC CRUISING/CROSSING THE SCENIC WACHAU VALLEY/DURNSTEIN, AUSTRIA, MELK, AUSTRIA
Michael you are right. I had taken a photo of the name of the Church and two names were listed and since the writing was not in English it was difficult to distinguish. We should have said St Francis of Assisi Church.
Theresa glad to hear that Linda also took care of your room last year. She has been terrific.
We wanted to begin with some photos of our room. We are staying in a PH category.
We enjoyed a pre-cruise drink in our room yesterday afternoon.
We wanted to mention how attentive the crew has been. Anne Marie mentioned to one of the members of the reception desk that the detergent for the washing machine was scented and that scents bother her. Upon return to the ship in the afternoon, the reception person let Anne Marie know that they obtained unscented detergent and placed it in the laundry room.
When we met with Concierge Andreea earlier in the day we were discussing the upcoming ports of call and she mentioned that she can assist us in any of the ports. At the end of the conversation without us asking she said she would send to our suite a complete set of maps for the ports on this voyage. When we returned from our walk she had sent an envelope containing a complete set of maps for all of the locations we will be visiting on this itinerary.
These are just some examples of how the members of Mozart go out of their way to make the experience special for each guest.
These are the dinner menus from Waterside from last evening.
Before we talk about where we had dinner we wanted to mention dinner on-board the ship.
Waterside was open starting at 7:00 PM and took guests until 9:00 PM. This is its standard hours.
On selected nights they have Dinner at Bistro Mozart. and they had this last night. Reservations are made at Reception as seating is limited. As we understand they serve Tapas.
Another option for dinner is from the room service menu.
As we understand in the early days of Crystal River Cruising there was an opportunity for all guests to have dinner one evening on shore at a Michelin Restaurant at no cost. In time this was limited to the suites. We are in a PH suite and a few months ago learned that going forward the there will be a charge for those in the PH suites as there are for those in the standard rooms to attend the dinner. Since we booked this voyage prior to the change we were grandfathered and there was no fee.
On the first day we received the tour tickets for this dinner and a detailed letter from Andreea Zala the Concierge.
The letter confirmed our dinner at Das Loft in Vienna. It noted the Epicurean Experience included a four-course dinner and wine pairing detailing the wines for the pairing and that water, soft drinks, coffee and the would be provided. She also noted that should we have any concerns or dietary requirements to stop by the reception desk.
One of the aspects that makes this restaurant unique and special are the extraordinary views of Vienna. We were fortunate to be seated at a two-person table by the window and that was special.
We enjoyed a nice dinner with beautiful views.
The menu included:
Tuna & Belotta.
Turnup & Cabbage Soup with Seafood. This was very tasty.
A choice of seafood or beef. We chose Monkfish which was over a tasty sauce and accompanied with spinach. The entree was wonderful.
For dessert there was Fermented Banana. We were asked ahead of time if either one of us has food allergies. Anne Marie is allergic to two different fruits (not bananas) and evidently one of them is an ingredient in this dessert. They served a chocolate dessert with ice cream in its place. Anne Marie enjoyed it. Keith passed on it although it looked delicious to him We didn't get a photo of the dessert.
We enjoyed three different wines.
It began raining about an hour before we left the restaurant With rain in the forecast, we brought one of our own umbrellas. Before we walked from the restaurant to the bus the driver brought over umbrellas for everyone. A couple of members of the extraordinary Mozart team met us at the bus after we arrived back to the vessel to see if we needed assistance. Another example of wonderful service on-board the vessel.
All in all a wonderful evening.
We got to sleep later than usual and slept well. The ship left a couple of minutes after we arrived back.
Keith took the morning off from an early morning workout. We had coffee and breakfast in our room.
We enjoyed scenic views from our room.
We were moving faster along the river than we imagined.
We arrived to Durnstein a couple of hours ahead of schedule. Durnstein has a population of 900 people. The major drivers of its economy include tourism, wine cultivation and agriculture.
Major points of interests include: Kuenringerburg Fortress, Augustinian Abbey, Parsh Church and the Ossuary, Main Street, Durnstein Castle, Kellerchlossl Castle and City Hall.
With an early arrival, we walked into town on our own. This turned out great as no other tourists were there. By the time we left groups from two of the other three vessels were heading in the direction of the town for their respective walking tours.
We saw young age children on bicycles riding to the Monastery. It reminded us of the late 1950's/to mid 1960's in our own country where children could do the same without parent supervision.
The town was certainly charming. Locals were friendly. We went into the small shops that were already open.
Our granddaughter's name is Emma.
When we returned to the ship, Hotel Director Sonja was with the Captain and gave Anne Marie a box of candy and wished her a Happy Mother's Day. There was also another box on our bed. Anne Marie was happy.
We signed up for a two-hour walking tour of Durnstein and the Monastry. Most of the tours are inclusive with a few that have a fee such as ones with private vehicles.
Our tour guide was born in this town. She said that only four hundred people live there on a full-time basis. There were more people visiting today by River Cruise than residents.
The major wine produced from this area is Riesling Wine. Also, apricots are the main fruit produces and you can find them in the town in a variety of items including jam and liquors.
The street that they refer to as Main Street is the only street of the town so very easy to find and not a town you can get lost in. LOL.
Most of the homes are five hundred years old.
She discussed flooding of the Danube which tends to happen every ten years. She also spoke about how in the old days many ships used the Danube to take supplies between towns.
She also spoke about perspective of driving time. For example saying that driving one hour somewhere seems like a long time and that is because to drive one side to the other side of Austria only takes a few hours.
It was good that we visited early before the tour. As the tour began there was a light drizzle which turned into some heavy rain. With umbrellas it would have been more challenging to take photos.
In our room are the handheld devices used to hear the tour guide which worked perfectly on the tour.
Shortly after returning back to Mozart we enjoyed lunch at Waterside where we had a salad entree.
We enjoyed scenic cruising from Noon to almost 4:00 PM. At 2:30 PM there was a lecture given about the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918) by local historian Karin Bruch. We arrive to Melk late afternoon
We are posting early.
Happy Mother's Day.
Anne Marie & Keith
CRYSTAL MOZART - DAY 2
Rob...Thank you for sharing your experience from your two and soon to be three River Cruises. I too wondered if the experience could be duplicated on the river cruise vessels and it can. This is truly Crystal. Amazing team on board to take care of each guest.
Catherine M. we hadn't realized there was an indoor pool. It's actually just adjacent to our room at the end of the hallway. The laundry facilities are nice given the size of the ship. We are two doors from these facilities. There are three washers and three dryers.
After we posted Butler Paolo who we know from Serenity came by to go over the room with us and any of our needs. He explained dry cleaning and the laundry service and we went over the beverages we desire in the refrigerator. He took note of the beverages and a few other items such as needing an additional European plug.
We spent the rest of the afternoon getting everything unpacked and put in its proper place.
Anne Marie met our Suite Attendant Linda. She was very helpful. She knew about our preferences from our time on Serenity and Symphony. Keith met Linda on our way to the room after dinner. She was already preparing our room for turn-down service at around 5:30 PM when Anne Marie returned to the room to get sunglasses to go outside for the muster drill.
This is the daily Reflections program from yesterday. In addition to this program there is a hard copy listing which details times for the daily activities. Inside the first edition was the summary of all of the tours we booked on-line with two sheets; one per person.
Before the safety briefing we had a pre-dinner drink at the Palm Court. The bar staff who is also the wait staff for dinner was very helpful. There were several wines to choose from. Keith asked about some of the choices for Red wine in preparation for dinner.
We attended the safety briefing and mandatory muster drill for all guests which was held at 6:00 PM. It was very well done. The captain went through all of the details and it was very informative. The crew placed our life jackets on us almost like Northwest Passage. For those of you who have sailed on a Crystal Serenity cruise the recording about the drill was done by Cruise Director Gary Hunter. Keith picked up on that as soon as the first word of the recording was uttered by Gary.
We then attended the Meet the Officers get-together at Palm Court which was hosted by Entertainment Host Mark Farris. We know Mark from the ocean vessels. He is a wonderful entertainer and we are happy that he is on-board for our sailing. Right before the officers were introduced we spoke with the Captain and the Hotel Director. We learned that the Captain has been on this vessel since 2002 and Captain since 2009. He and the crew members came over to Crystal Cruises after the vessel was purchased by the owner of Crystal Cruises; Genting
Mark gave a great introduction including introducing each country that guest are from and playing a portion of a song associated with the respective countries. Countries included United Kingdom, Belgium Australia (yes Australia not Austria), Mexico, The United States of America and a handful of other countries.
Mark introduced the officers and senior staff starting with the Captain. Others included Vice Captain, Hotel Director, Restaurant Manager, Shore Excursion Manager, and Crystal Society Hostess.
Mark also mentioned that we would have local entertainment the next two nights including something special for Mother's Day.
He introduced the Shore Excursion Manager who spoke about tours and gave advice as to the type of shoes to wear in port and also about being careful with valuables. All good advice.
We had dinner at Waterside and following is the dinner menu.
The dinner was terrific. After entering Waterside we were welcomed by Restaurant Manager Cristian who we know from his time on Serenity before he went to Symphony. He assigned a table and we were escorted to the table by one of the Waiters. We were at a window table. On the ocean we have learned that often the view from a window table is not anything special.
The window view last evening was completely different as we enjoyed wonderful views. We saw the shoreside, several ducks (yes ducks) and many River Cruise Vessels.
The food was fresh and delicious.
Even the rolls might have been the freshest and tastiest rolls we have had at sea and in most cases tastier than on land.
The choice of items is not as extensive as those on the Ocean Vessels. This is not a surprise given that we are sailing with one-sixth of the number of guests we might have on a Crystal Ocean Vessel. There was still plenty to choose from.
We had the same items. This included a mushroom tarte, Spinach Salad and Black Bass. The tarte was amazing in its creation and taste. You can see the difference as this is something you would not find on the ocean vessel which likely is due to far fewer guests on-board the river cruise vessel. The salad was fresh and the Sea Bass was as the waiter described, very moist.
Anne Marie had a small portion of a cake and Keith had some cheese.
During the course of the meal the Head Waiter came by to check on us and we also met the Executive Chef. The Executive Chef came by to speak with two couples who were sharing a near-by table but stopped by our table for a moment and knew our name. Amazing.
Throughout the ship many of the staff already know our names Again, amazing.
As we were returning to our room we saw Butler Paolo. He had mentioned to us that on the pressing to call him when we left the pressing and if we left it before 7:00 PM we would get it back the next day before 7:00 PM. We called him before we left the room. When we saw him he said he had just left the pressing in the room. It was one sports jacket for Keith and so nice they turned it around in a couple of hours.
When we walked in our room there were chocolates for each of us which was a very nice touch.
We slept well on the first night of the River Cruise. We remained in port.
Keith was up early and enjoyed his first workout of the River Cruise and also did laundry. Since there are no elliptical machines he worked out on a Stationary Bike and watched the news and a portion of the National Basketball Association Playoff game between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets.
After the workout he got some coffee at the Pantry which is right near our room and has coffee, water/juices and wine along with some cookies/pastries 24 hours each day.
We had coffee and breakfast in our room. Sound familiar. LOL.
Butler Paolo arrived to our room precisely at 7:00 AM with cereal and bananas. He had thought we wanted one bowl of raisin bran and one bowl of all-bran but we actually have half and half. In a blink of an eye he brought additional bowls and we were all set.
After breakfast before leaving the ship we spoke with Concierge Andreea Zala about a few items. She was very helpful and mentioned several times she would be happy to assists us with any plans in each port.
We then went on along walk which included walking by several River Cruise vessels including the Crystal Raval as we made our way to a destination we picked out. Our stop included a visit to the Kleiner Kirchenfuhrer Cathedral and a nearby residential area.
When we returned Keith thought it would be nice to ride a bike. Anne Marie encouraged him to do this. While he teaches indoor cycling at home as well as taking the classes he is not an outdoor cyclist. He always worries about falling down and breaking something. However given the paths he decided to give it a try and had a wonderful time. The bikes are also electric but Keith primarily biked without the benefit of the electric portion of the bike. He biked long past where we went this morning and then returned in the other direction past Mozart and way beyond the marina. From there he went past Mozart and halfway towards where he first biked and back to Mozart. He had a great time.
When Keith returned to Mozart he was speaking to one of the people from the front desk about Ravel. She said that guests from can visit the ship and all you have to do is show your room card. Keith decided to do just that and this time he ran from Mozart to Ravel. Their position changed from earlier in the morning when another ship was in front of them so to get on and off Ravel you have to walk through the other ship. Tomorrow Ravel begins a new voyage and the moved the ship close to the pathway as they were taking on new supplies.
Once on-board Keith spoke with the Concierge. The would have given Keith a tour but no-one was available to cover the area for the Concierge. She took time to point out where the public rooms were and Keith visited them. He could clearly see the difference in width between Mozart and Ravel as Mozart is double the width. Ravel is typical of the ships that sail the Rhine. The ship is beautiful and is one of four ships that were built exclusively for Crystal Cruises. These ships carry 106 guests whereas Mozart carries up to 154 guests. Total crew on Mozart is 92 versus 68 on the other four ships. All five have a terrific guest to crew ratio.
Shortly after Keith returned we enjoyed lunch at Waterside where we had a large sized salad entree.
After lunch we walked over to Ravel so Anne Marie could take a tour and see it herself. While on board one of the head waiters came up to us who used to be a waiter in Prego on Serenity.
When we arrived back to Mozart we were speaking outside with Sonja the Hotel Director. While we were speaking one of the crew members was walking off the ship and she came up to us to say hello as she had been a stewardess for us many years ago.
We are enjoying the rest of the afternoon in Vienna as we post this with dinner plans off the ship for this evening.
Anne Marie & Keith