We have just returned from a 16 day cruise on the Crystal Mahler. We had expected to sail on the Crystal Bach from Frankfurt but low river levels and a barge colliding with the Bach meant everything was changed at the last minute and we only knew the week before travel where we were going which involved changing our flights to Amsterdam. The unexpected can sometimes be wonderful and so it was with this cruise. We loved it!
We learnt a lot about the Netherlands. We visited art galleries, museums, churches and castles. We went to Rubens’ house and Beethoven’s house. We learnt a lot about the Netherlands during WW2. We tasted cheese and beer and wine. We went on canal boat trips. We enjoyed lots of Dutch apple pie! We climbed to the top of a windmill and saw how clogs are made, had coffee in a local home and learnt about many other things Dutch! We had lots of ‘Crystal moments’ including the Signature Event which was a really wonderful concert in an Abbey. As with most river cruises, all these tours were complimentary but Crystal have their own super comfortable coaches which follow the ship and all tours are small groups and accompanied by excellent guides and a member of Crystal’s crew. There were a couple of guests in wheelchairs and the guides and Crystal crew were great in enabling them to see everything.
The entertainers that visited our ship were excellent including a soprano, 2 quartets and a traditional jazz band. Even a Sound of Muisc singalong led by the excellent Entertainment Host which was so funny.
Although this wasn’t our original chosen itinerary, we enjoyed all the ports and tours – beautiful places and beautiful weather for November. At the same time we enjoyed the luxurious surroundings of the Crystal ship and the fantastic service by a wonderful crew and amazing food and all included drinks. The crew really were excellent. What we particularly liked was being able to dine whenever we wanted which hasn’t been the case on the other river ships we have been on which had set meal times. We chose the smallest room which was called a Petit Suite which we found to be fine. The top half of the window opens giving the feel of a balcony but in your room which would be great on a summer cruise. Every room had a butler but we never needed him to do anything!
There was such a friendly atmosphere on board too. We are usually ocean cruisers but we would highly recommend this type of cruise!