When Crystal Cruises closed its doors in 2022, the ships were purchased by Riverside Luxury Cruises and there was certainly an emphasis on luxury. Case in point: The 160-passenger Riverside Mozart. Loaded with magnificent perks and all the bells and whistles, this cruising experience is nothing short of exceptional, but the voyage always begins with the accommodations.
Unlike other cruise ships with their extensive lists of living arrangements, every room on the Riverside Mozart is a suite that boasts butler service, spacious seating areas, comfortable beds, espresso machines, and doors that open to turn the room into a balcony view of the river as you’re passing by stunning scenery, cities, and valleys. The Riverside Mozart’s width even adds stability, essentially making it feel like the boat isn’t moving at all.
Step out of these suites, and there’s a beautiful indoor pool, hot tub, spa, sundeck, cigar lounge, piano bar, and dining spaces with spectacular views along the river. Every evening, live music from piano players and professional singers sets the soundtrack for guests, while they participate in thrilling pop-up activities, like a mixology class in which guests learn from the top mixologist on board how to infuse liquors, pair complementing flavors, and, of course, taste the results.
And foodies will enjoy exploring the herb garden on the rooftop deck, which is cared for by the chef, passionate about keeping things fresh and high quality on the menu.
Bring an Ambitious Appetite
When it comes to culinary excellence, the staff is incredibly attentive, memorizing your needs and preferences. There were carefully selected wine pairings at dinner, and the dining experience on board really stands out. Many cruises focus on variety in a sense of having 24-hour, all you can eat buffets; however, the Riverside Mozart is more about quality than quantity—for example, creating a selection of flavored butters displayed like a work of art, paired with fresh breads that change nightly, like their green olive ciabatta bread.
Meals include a starting dish like the Beetroot Tomato Tartare with quail egg and potato paper and the Wild Garlic Soup, and the mains and desserts like the Slow Roasted Lamb Shank with shallots, balsamic flavored gravy, thyme, garlic mashed potatoes, olive oil, and roasted vegetables, followed by the Passion Fruit Mousse Tartlet with coconut praline are full of flavor, colors, and textures. The culinary team does a beautiful job of picking dishes that celebrate the cities, working in dishes like crispy wiener schnitzel, crayfish, sachertorte, and seasonal asparagus soup to name a few.
Guests should not miss out on the homemade pasta dishes each evening. They’re always willing to do half portions, so you have a taste and still order a main dish. During the day there’s a café that has fresh fruit, sweets, charcuterie, cheeses, smoked fishes, soft pretzels, and breads, and more so you have something to pick at if you’re hungry. For a special evening, The Vintage Room offers a private dining experience that accommodates up to 12 people, delivering a 7-course dining experience with wine pairings.
The main dining area, Waterside Restaurant, has an amazing breakfast buffet full of fresh smoothies, green juices, cheeses, meats, eggs, French toast, bagels, fresh fruit, yogurt parfaits, bacon, and more. For lunch, it varies. On certain days, the Blue Deli serves a paired down lunch menu consisting of soups, burgers, salads, sausages, and lighter bites, while other days there are rooftop cookouts on the deck, where they serve giant grilled prawns, steak, potatoes, salads, spreads, pasta, and other delicious dishes.
Where You’re Going
Riverside Mozart specifically sails along the Danube River, with cruise itineraries ranging from several days to a few weeks. For the weeklong itinerary, this cruise began in Budapest, Hungary, and ended in Vienna, Austria. The ship offers incredible tours, celebrating each destination’s culture, food, and architecture while leaving room for guests to explore the area on their own. The ship even has 30 bikes on board that you can rent to cover more ground.
Our tour began in Budapest, where the company offered a walking exploration of the Buda Side and Castle District, complete with an afternoon walk to take in the stunning architecture and a local guide. Guests can expect to see landmarks like the Matthias church and Royal Palace, among others. If you still have time to explore the city or prefer to explore on your own for the entire day, be sure to check out the local foods.
The Central Market Hall, Nagyvásárcsarnok is in the city center and filled with vendors selling stuffed cabbage, goulash, sausage, cheeses, salami, pickles, sajitos, and more. Be sure to visit one of the local bathhouses like the Szechenyi Thermal Bath for a soak and take a walk over to Szimpla Kert, one of the many ruin bars in Budapest with mismatched furniture, plants, art, and graffiti covering the walls.
Next door is the outdoor food vendor garden, Street Food Karavan Budapest, selling traditional dishes like goulash and chimney cake.
Through the Riverside Mozart, guests can book a walking tour in Bratislava, ending with a Slovakian beer tasting—a great way to explore the city! Throughout the tour through Bratislava, the guide showed us historical sites and local shops, pointing out colorful buildings and unique architecture.
We ended at Kolostor Sörfőzde (Kláštorný pivovar) where the group tasted Slovakian beers with a snack of meats, cheeses, and pickled veggies. We added on an order of bryndzove halusky, a traditional dish consisting of small potato dumplings coated in sheep cheese and topped with crispy bacon that melts in your mouth.
While in town, take a walk over to The Blue Church – Church of St. Elizabeth and stop by the Man at Work, Čumil statue for good luck (simply rub the button on his hat). The Most SNP, nicknamed the UFO Bridge spans across the Danube, so be sure to take a look while sailing out of the city.
The Vienna panoramic drive and walking tour is a fantastic way to see and do a lot in a short amount of time. Explore the capital, Volksgarten, and palaces along the way, with some free time at the St. Stephen’s Cathedral to see the impressive gothic architecture and browse through the vendors and artists surrounding the church, selling everything from pretzel bread to handmade crafts and goods for souvenirs.
Stop into Aida for a Viennese malange coffee and sachertorte, before heading to the Naschmarkt to try wiener schnitzel, fresh oysters, baked goods, olives, tin fish, cheeses, and other Austrian treats. In the afternoon, the ship has a tour of Schloss Schonbrunn (Schönbrunn Palace), where the Habsburg rulers summered.
The Proud Fortress Greinburg Tour through Riverside brought the group up to Greinburg Castle, with stunning views of the Danube from above. The castle was built between 1488 and 1495, so there’s plenty of history behind the walls. Explore the corridors to discover rooms like the stone theater covered in pebbles from the river or the diamond vault. After the tour, walk down through the city to get some ice cream and take a bike ride around Grein.
Linz is more of an industrial city, quite busy with plenty of shopping, cafés, and restaurants where you can try the Linzertorte, which is a short cake base with a pastry, shell, nuts, lemon, and cinnamon. Although Linz is beautiful and certainly worth checking out, there is a full day Mozart Salzburg expedition offered through Riverside Mozart.
The trip provides transportation to and from Salzburg, a tour of the area where you can see Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s home, Fortress Hohensalzburg, UNESCO world heritage sites, The Cloak of Conscience and Tolerance statue, cathedrals, Friedhof Salzburg (St. Sebastian) cemetery, and plenty of scenes from the Sound of Music before exploring the town on your own. Visitors can taste local beer and Salzburger Nockerl (a triple peak soufflé with raspberry sauce) at Restaurant Stiegl-Keller and get some strudel at Cafe Würfel Zucker before shopping for souvenirs.
Melk and Dürnstein
On the last day of the trip, the boat will stop in two destinations: Melk and Dürnstein. The Baroque Wonder Melk Abbey in the Wachau Valley is a must see and the ship offers a tour of this incredible landmark. Browse through the Abbey, exploring the library and the church that is so magnificent it will take your breath away.
Travel further through the Wachau Valley before docking at Dürnstein to explore the town, searching for apricot treats like Wachauer marillenknödel, a traditional dish with a full local apricot tucked into dough, cooked, and then coated in buttery breadcrumbs and served with ice cream. The area is known for its wine, so after exploring the cobblestone streets to shop for apricot liquors and souvenirs, stop into Weingut Böhmer to taste some local wine. Exploring the Danube River with Riverside Mozart is such a treat. You can take mixology classes, listen to live music, or enjoy fine dining while sailing steadily and calmly to the next destination.