Wanted to try a new cruise experience, plus visit Austria. This cruise seemed perfect, especially since it was advertised as an Oktoberfest cruise. The cruise itself was a wonderful adventure, and my wife and I would do it again. The staff, especially the waiters, were tremendous. Great service, plus they had wonderful recommendations. The food was always excellent, and did feature some local dishes. The room staff was always keeping the cabin fresh and stocked with towels and whatever else was needed.
Some of the shore excursions were outstanding, like the Belvedere in Vienna and the concert. Simply wonderful. The guide in Budapest (Claudia) was wonderful. All the cruises were very educational. The one major disappointment was Passau and the trip to Munich. In spite as being billed as "Oktoberfest," little was done to accommodate those that wanted to go. A very, very small special trip was arranged for some and considerable cost (plus the driver got lost and service and food was terrible, according to those that went). Instead, it would have been much better on the "Munich" tour to just drop those that wanted to visit Oktoberfest off and let them do it on their own (which is a much better experience). In spite of knowing it was Oktoberfest, the tour bus had no idea of all the road closures and so the bus wandered around aimlessly for quite a while, wasting valuable time. Google Maps had all the road closures, so its surprising that Crystal didn't know.
In short, by the time we got off the bus and took a cab to Oktoberfest, we only had a couple of hours there. This only occurs once a year and Crystal needs to have a better way to go directly to the area (or near there) without all the bus stops on the way up, drop off those interested, then take the rest on the Munich tour. This should be a complimentary option, with no reserved seating at Oktoberfest. This is a much better option. Then a later bus for the return. Ridiculous to advertise it as Oktoberfest and not take advantage of it.
For other shore excursions, there was very, very little "free time." So if you wanted to grab one of the local food specialties, or do some shopping, you couldn't. There needs to be more free time. I think Crystal is catering to an older clientele which is why they make so many bus stops (bathroom breaks) and keep the excursions so short. They might consider two groups--those that want it limited, and those that want more free time and fewer bus stops. They already have several busses going on the same excursion, so this would be easy to do.
As for the cabin, the luxury suites might be quite spacious, but the basic suite (201) is poorly designed. You cannot even access the right half of the closet (no door). The one closet door opens and hits the bed. You have to contort to reach the rest of the closet. Sliding doors would have given better access, or put the bar there and the closet where the bar is. Poor design for hanging and storing clothes.
The ship is extremely quiet (except when transiting the locks). It made for a very pleasant sleep. Temperature control was excellent. The brochures imply that there are both European and American outlets. There is not. Only European outlets, so an adapter is needed. Room cleaning was excellent and they seem to know when you are gone, as the room is always ready!
The pool and jacuzzi are nice. NO temperature control on the jacuzzi, so whatever the ship sets for it is the temperature you get. At the beginning it was extremely hot, but by the end of the cruise it was lukewarm. Spa jets only run for a minute so you have to frequently press the cycle button.
Overall a great cruise. Meals were a delight because of the staff (cooks, waiters, wine, everyone). It was the best part of the cruise. Activities were excellent. As mentioned, the shore excursions were great but needed more free time.
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