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Cruise Critic Chris

Cruise Critic heading out on Ama/Crystal

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Hi all -

 

It's river cruise christening season, so I'm heading out on Friday for a back-to-back on different lines. First, I'm on AmaLea, the newest Ama ship, on the Melodies of the Danube itinerary. The ship is going to be christened on May 26, and the line's owners, Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst, will be sailing. I suspect they'll have a lot to say about AmaMagna, the "double wide" river ship coming next year, as well as future plans for the line. Let me know if you have specific questions.

 

The second part of the trip will be with Crystal River. I'll be attending the christening of Crystal Debussy in Amsterdam on May 28, with Walter Littlejohn and other executives. Then I'm spending a few days on Crystal Mahler on their Rhine/Main itinerary (Amsterdam-Wurzburg).

 

Any questions about either line, let me know!

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Hi Chris, would you ask the Crystal folks if they are going to offer a Paris to Normandy itinerary? When I look on their website nothing on The Seine is listed.

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Hi Chris, would you ask the Crystal folks if they are going to offer a Paris to Normandy itinerary? When I look on their website nothing on The Seine is listed.

 

Walter Littlejohn (Vice President & Managing Director, Crystal River Cruises) answered this question in the Q&A section at the top of the forum:

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showpost.php?p=56077815&postcount=2

 

[The answer is that they are not prepared to discuss further itineraries at this time.]

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Walter Littlejohn (Vice President & Managing Director, Crystal River Cruises) answered this question in the Q&A section at the top of the forum:

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showpost.php?p=56077815&postcount=2

 

[The answer is that they are not prepared to discuss further itineraries at this time.]

 

Hi Jazz, thanks.........a bit surprising (in my opinion). I will look elsewhere.

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If you remember the history, the four new Crystal river ships are divided into two with German composer names and two with French composer names. The original announcement was that the 'French' boats would be smaller and would sail on French rivers. Then [and this was a pattern under the previous management] the plans were suddenly changed to make all four boats identical and put them all on the German rivers. Why they didn't change the names was never clear to me [aren't there any more German composers???] as they hadn't even started construction yet. But evidently they felt [and still feel] that there is more demand on the Rhine and Danube than on the Seine and Rhone.

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Good morning Jazz, thank you for the history lesson because I had no clue about any of that......I didn't read about Crystal River Cruises early on so this information is all new to me.

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Thank you for the reminder, jazzbeau. I wonder if in that story of reassigning the ships to the Rhine and Danube the fact that Viking had caused such disappointment among its passengers on the Seine in the first couple of years had anything to do with the decision. As many of you will recall the fact that the new Viking longships dock in Le Pecq due to their size had several here on CC uttering their disappointment. All 135m ships, meaning also the Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel have to dock in Le Pecq. The Paris authorities "had discussions" with Viking but in the end Le Pecq it was instead of Quai de Grenelle. Uniworld reacted to the authorities by building a boat of 125m, the maximum size allowed into downtown Paris. As I said, just a thought of mine, as it coincides, I mean the time frame 2015 to 2016 is right.

 

 

As regards German composers, we all know there are more of course, but I do not think "Mendelssohn-Bartholdy" (to give him his full name) would look too good on a ship's bow. ;) And Schumann attempted to drown himself in the Rhine, perhaps not quite so appropriate a name for a ship although he was part of the Romantic movement.

 

notamermaid

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Thank you for the reminder, jazzbeau. I wonder if in that story of reassigning the ships to the Rhine and Danube the fact that Viking had caused such disappointment among its passengers on the Seine in the first couple of years had anything to do with the decision. As many of you will recall the fact that the new Viking longships dock in Le Pecq due to their size had several here on CC uttering their disappointment. All 135m ships, meaning also the Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel have to dock in Le Pecq. The Paris authorities "had discussions" with Viking but in the end Le Pecq it was instead of Quai de Grenelle. Uniworld reacted to the authorities by building a boat of 125m, the maximum size allowed into downtown Paris. As I said, just a thought of mine, as it coincides, I mean the time frame 2015 to 2016 is right.

 

 

As regards German composers, we all know there are more of course, but I do not think "Mendelssohn-Bartholdy" (to give him his full name) would look too good on a ship's bow. ;) And Schumann attempted to drown himself in the Rhine, perhaps not quite so appropriate a name for a ship although he was part of the Romantic movement.

 

notamermaid

 

I recall that at the time Crystal announced that they wouldn't be going into France there was talk that there was some "governmental" problem. However, I don't think it was the length of the boat as Crystal had planned on making the boats smaller. The size was increased after France was pulled from the schedule.

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Well remembered, Texas Tillie. This was the press release: http://www.crystalcruises.co.uk/crystal-debussy-ravel

 

 

I wonder, if Crystal ever does sail the Seine, will they go with the smaller boat size again or put up with Le Pecq. I doubt the passengers will be willing to miss the view from the Seine towards the Eiffel Tower.

 

 

@ Chris: the Crystal website says the route from 27 May is from Amsterdam to Basel. Würzburg struck me as an unusual port to end a river cruise. that is why I checked. What is correct?

 

 

Where will the ship dock on this journey and what special excursions that might make Crystal stick out from the crowd of other companies are offered?

 

 

notamermaid

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To get all the facts straight, I did a little research into the history of Crystal's river cruising program.

 

Crystal originally announced the river cruise program in July 2015

https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=6452

as part of a series of expansions under its new owner.

 

In 2016 many of these announced plans were scaled back or cancelled, including the design and timing of the river ships.

 

latecruisenews.com reported in October 2016 that Crystal was scaling back its original plans dramatically:

Crystal River Cruises was the first to delay its launch in France with Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel, which were originally due to travel the Seine, Rhone and Dordogne beginning in June and August 2017. Instead, there will now be four newly-built river yachts on the Danube, Main and Rhine.

 

The change means a redesign for the yachts that were intended for France. The increased length will allow for the addition of a swimming pool with a sliding glass roof and more of the ship’s larger suites, which range in size up to 759 sq ft.

The two ships designed to cruise the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers were to carry 110 guests. The two ships designed for French rivers were smaller, with an 84-guest capacity. I can't find any statement of the length of these ships, but I assume the big ones are the industry standard 135m and the smaller ones were going to be 110m.

 

I also need to correct my earlier post: the French itineraries contemplated were the Seine and the Garonne and Dordogne rivers as well as navigating through the Gironde Estuary [not the Rhone].

 

Crystal never really explained why they decided to put all their ships on the same itineraries, but I couldn't help noticing the timing: after the Paris terrorist attack in November 2015 French tourism took a nosedive.

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Notamermaid, the full itinerary on Crystal Mahler is listed as 9 days, from Amsterdam to Regensburg. I suspect that they are letting Chris off early in Wurzburg, about halfway through the cruise. Perhaps she's getting off early for good behavior? ;) Or maybe she needs to get home for work the following Monday...

 

PS - Chris, have a great cruise! Wish we were sailing with you again.

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Notamermaid, the full itinerary on Crystal Mahler is listed as 9 days, from Amsterdam to Regensburg. I suspect that they are letting Chris off early in Wurzburg, about halfway through the cruise. Perhaps she's getting off early for good behavior? ;) Or maybe she needs to get home for work the following Monday...

 

PS - Chris, have a great cruise! Wish we were sailing with you again.

 

 

 

Yes, you are correct. I am getting off early to make it back into the office on Monday. Curse of the working class! Even the limited time onboard should give me a good idea of the ships, dining and service, plus we are spending a lot of time with the executives during the Crystal Debussy christening activities.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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Checking in from Linz on AmaLea. It's been a great cruise so far, with better-than-expected weather. I took quite a few of the active excursions, so look for an article on those coming later today. Rudi and Kristin have been onboard, and they've been doling out a few details about AmaMagna, which will also be coming in an article. The key thing? Because it's twice as big, AmaMagna won't have the rafting issues of other vessels. It will do the Upper Danube, Passau to Budapest itinerary in its first year and will add cruises on the Lower Danube, Budapest to the Black Sea in 2020. Incidentally, we were told that Lower Danube is growing in popularity, so much so that some other vessels have been added there to accommodate demand.

 

Any questions on Ama, let me know. I'm here through Sunday, after which I switch my attention to all things Crystal River.

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Thank you Chris,

 

 

Why will the AmaMagna not have the rafting issues of other ships? Does she have to dock alone because of her size?

 

 

Looking forward to reading your thoughts on the AmaLea.

 

 

notamermaid

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Correct! Its size will keep it from rafting with the other ships.

I'll post the link to the blog once it goes live.

 

Wonder about this. The Crystal Mozart is wider too and although it doesn't raft often, I have seen pictures on the Crystal website Live Views where it was rafted. Have been on the Mozart twice and we didn't raft either time, however.

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Hi all -

 

 

 

It's river cruise christening season, so I'm heading out on Friday for a back-to-back on different lines. First, I'm on AmaLea, the newest Ama ship, on the Melodies of the Danube itinerary. The ship is going to be christened on May 26, and the line's owners, Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst, will be sailing. I suspect they'll have a lot to say about AmaMagna, the "double wide" river ship coming next year, as well as future plans for the line. Let me know if you have specific questions.

 

 

 

The second part of the trip will be with Crystal River. I'll be attending the christening of Crystal Debussy in Amsterdam on May 28, with Walter Littlejohn and other executives. Then I'm spending a few days on Crystal Mahler on their Rhine/Main itinerary (Amsterdam-Wurzburg).

 

 

 

Any questions about either line, let me know!

 

 

 

Hi! Have you been on the AmaDante?

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Still out and about! Here's my blog on my experience so far on Crystal Mahler. As I noted, the real difference is the lack of nightly port talks or group activities (although there is a music trivia coming up today). It's a river cruise for those who dislike the idea of eating with other people or forced socialization.

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Still out and about! Here's my blog on my experience so far on Crystal Mahler. As I noted, the real difference is the lack of nightly port talks or group activities (although there is a music trivia coming up today). It's a river cruise for those who dislike the idea of eating with other people or forced socialization.

 

Crystal treats their guests like adults who can make their own choices!:D

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Thanks so much for your review -- we haven't taken a river cruise yet and have been considering Crystal and it sounds like it is a very good fit for us as we have been hesitant due to the "group tour" and "group dining" focus of many lines. And we are foodies. Any idea when we will see 2020 itineraries?

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Hi all -

 

 

 

It's river cruise christening season, so I'm heading out on Friday for a back-to-back on different lines. First, I'm on AmaLea, the newest Ama ship, on the Melodies of the Danube itinerary. The ship is going to be christened on May 26, and the line's owners, Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst, will be sailing. I suspect they'll have a lot to say about AmaMagna, the "double wide" river ship coming next year, as well as future plans for the line. Let me know if you have specific questions.

 

 

 

The second part of the trip will be with Crystal River. I'll be attending the christening of Crystal Debussy in Amsterdam on May 28, with Walter Littlejohn and other executives. Then I'm spending a few days on Crystal Mahler on their Rhine/Main itinerary (Amsterdam-Wurzburg).

 

 

 

Any questions about either line, let me know!

 

 

 

We are doing the same Danube trip Melodies of the Danube with AMAlea. Any difference between the BB and the CA categories as the BB gives more room and a double balcony for 900 more per cabin?

 

 

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Just verified that Crystal will not be doing France even in 2020.....was waiting to book a France cruise with Crystal....lucky Viking!!

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Just verified that Crystal will not be doing France even in 2020.....was waiting to book a France cruise with Crystal....lucky Viking!!

 

They can't. When French tourism tanked after the terror attacks, Crystal decided to cancel their two 110m ship orders and replace them with 135m ships like the first two. Therefore all four Crystal new builds are designed for the Danube and Rhine itineraries and will never be able to sail the Seine – only Viking tries to do this itinerary with a 135m ship and therefore isn't allowed into Paris where all the other cruise lines start and end their cruises.

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Just to make this clearer, hostjazzbeau, for the others who have perhaps did not follow the hiccups with Viking on the Seine in 2015. The authorities had signalled that docking in Paris downtown - by that I mean around the Eiffel Tower - might be allowed with 135m ships. In the end they decided it would be too dangerous and the maximum length now allowed is 125m. Uniworld then got its purpose-built SS Joie de Vivre with - 125m! The ships that are 110m or shorter are allowed further into downtown Paris.

 

 

Crystal has three option: 135m - has to dock in LePecq, 125m - can dock near the Eiffel Tower, or forgetting grand amenities and build 110m - can go almost into all of downtown Paris. Or option four: forget the Seine...

 

 

notamermaid

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Very exciting that you are will be visiting the Debussey. We are scheduled to sail on her mid September. Would welcome your comments, as I am finding very little info from previous passengers. We are staying in S5-227. Will this cabin be dark when docked? Also not sure of the travel time between ports in Bassel and Amsterdam to city center. Would love to know that.

Thanks for your help, happy sails!

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