It was our first river cruise and our first on Crystal. And the Debussy was pretty much brand new as Crystal entered river sailing just last year.
If you don't read any further, just know how special this boat is, how caring the crew is, how wonderful the food is and how nice the cabins, even the smallest public ones are (how about windows that electronically lower with a nice wooden bar halfway down so you can lean on it and watch the world pass by).
By cruise standards, a boat with 100 passengers and 50 odd crew members is quite small, but it never felt that way. There's plenty of room for everyone. The furnishings are first rate, the food is amazing and dinners are made to order. Breakfast omelets were made to order, and lunches were delicious. We made it a point not to eat in port, but rather enjoy the ship's cuisine. A special acknowledgement for the hamburgers in the Bistro!
A few heartfelt compliments for the crew, starting with the Captain, who I have so much respect for when you see him in his sweats working with the crew in port to load provisions!
Octavian, our butler was a sweetheart! Daniela our sommelier, was there for us every night with a special wine! Istavin, our concierge was right on everytime! (BTW, usually I never trust the concierge). And although I try not to exercise while on vacation, I enjoyed Roman's abs and stretching classes. The fitness room, although very well equipped, is small and if there's 2 people in there, it feels tight!
The servers in the dining room, Marianna, Lukasz and the others were attentive, without being intrusive. And a special shout out to the kitchen staff and Boyan, the breakfast and lunch chef! Who would thought putting freshly grated horseradish on a bagel and lox could be so good! The Room Attendant, Benne, was on top of it, freshening up the room 2-3x a day.
The excursions were first rate, led by interesting guides and the coaches we traveled in (and they traveled with us) were the nicest I've ever been in. Kudos to the security people. The Crystal signature events - Opera, String Quartet, lectures were very good and our entertainment host Martin Kaye was great (even if he refuses to sing Springsteen!).
Being all inclusive, everything from liquors, wines and amenities are all premium. My one nit was the tequila. I realize river ships are smaller than their ocean-going breasts, but at least have some Patron Silver or Partida on board. And the showers were great with Etro products, but I think a little wooden bench would have made it more comfortable.
My other little nit was the "Michelin-starred" restaurants in Amsterdam on the last night of the cruise. Our experience was poor and talking to fellow travelers, we all agreed that the food was so much better on the ship!
Since I was dealing with 9 hours of jet lag, I got to enjoy dawn on the deck several times including going through the locks on the river. It is amazing to see the crew fold everything and the deck bar lowers hydraulically into the deck below!
Small, but the bed was super comfy, the amenities were Etro, the closet was large enough, my wife liked the make up mirror. The floor to ceiling window rolls down halfway, and there were so many current movies on the TV/media center, it was great!