Less than two years ago, Crystal launched its first river ship, Crystal Mozart, marking the company’s grand entrance into Europe’s river cruising industry. Yesterday, Crystal River Cruises welcomed its fifth ship and the newest member of the fleet, Crystal Ravel, during a christening ceremony in Budapest, Hungary. "The World’s Most Luxurious River Cruise Line" celebrated the occasion with Crystal’s President and CEO Tom Wolber; the ship’s godmother, Hungarian philanthropist and creator of the hit “Virtuosos” classical music talent show, Mariann Peller; and Crystal River Cruises’ Vice President and Managing Director Walter Littlejohn.
“Today is a proud day for the entire Crystal family. In just over two years, we introduced five ships, which is a tremendous accomplishment of growth for this expansion of the Crystal brand,” Wolber said. “But what makes us most proud is that with each new ship and new experience, Crystal’s commitment to superb quality and exceptional luxury and service has remained unwavering.”
Crystal River Cruises now comprises Crystal Ravel and her identical sister ships: Crystal Bach, Crystal Mahler and Crystal Debussy; as well as Crystal Mozart, which at twice the width of any other river cruise ship, is Europe’s most spacious river cruise ship and launched the brand in July 2016.
“Beyond these exquisite ships – which are earning the acclaim of luxury travelers from around the world – the heart of the Crystal River Experience is the people,” Littlejohn said. “Crystal’s crew is simply unmatched in their warm, genuine service and attention to detail. Our guests are savvy travelers who truly value that personal connection and frequently share the sentiment that sailing with Crystal is like coming home to their onboard family.”
“To be named the godmother of a ship that celebrates the classical musical heritage of this country and the lands that surround her – is an honor that speaks to my heart,” Peller said. “Beyond the connection to the musical masters of this region, Crystal River ships represent the stunning grace, elegance and beauty of the rivers that flow here. I am honored to become part of the Crystal Family, as this company embodies a dedication to excellence.”
Tenor Steffan Mullan performed during the ceremony, while Young Virtuosos artists performed aboard the ship following the traditional blessing, including clarinetist Ali Dániel Lugosi, double bassist Tamás Kökény, violinist Amira Abouzahra, violinist Mariam Abuzahra, and Budapest Festival Orchestra harpist Ágnes Polonyi with a special performance onboard the ship.
The ceremony took place during the ship’s overnight stay in Budapest on its weeklong “Danube Serenade” voyage, allowing guests aboard the sailing to participate in the festivities, while Crystal crew members also looked on from the decks of the ship. Travelers from around the world joined the celebration via the Facebook Live broadcast on Crystal’s Facebook page.
Crystal Ravel is currently sailing itineraries of six to 14 days between Vienna and Basel; and in 2019 she will be the only river ship to sail seven-night Danube cruises round-trip from Vienna to ports in Austria, Hungary and Slovakia.
Crystal’s new river vessels are the river cruising industry’s first and only all-balcony, all-suite, all-butler vessels in Europe, with every category of accommodation positioned above the water line. All suites feature Panoramic Balcony-Windows and walk-in closets and dual vanity in the bathrooms are featured in most categories. Crystal Mozart is Europe’s most spacious river ship, at twice the width of any other, and offers an unrivalled number of social spaces, restaurants and the largest spa on the rivers. All of Crystal’s river ships feature acclaimed butler service in every room category, king-sized beds, ETRO amenities, robes and slippers, and wall-mounted flat-screen HD TVs. Additional enticing features include farm-to-table cuisine in multiple, open-seating eateries: the elegant Waterside Restaurant, namesake Bistro cafés and the exclusive Vintage Room; and the Palm Court for entertainment, enrichment presentations and sweeping views of the countryside.