German hotelier breathes new life into Crystal Mozart

Riverside Luxury Cruises to enter service in April 2023

German hospitality company, Seaside Hotel Collection, is reviving former Crystal River Cruises’ extra-wide ship, Crystal Mozart, with bookings now open for sailings on the Danube for 2023.

Targeting the “top luxury segment”, Seaside will operate the 81-suite ship under the new brand of Riverside Luxury Cruises, offering seven itineraries aboard the rebranded Riverside Mozart between Budapest, Vienna and Linz. Sailings will range from 3 to 11 nights in length. There are also a collection of Christmas Market itineraries in November and December 2023.

Due to the ship’s width of 22.85 metres (close to double that of standard river cruiers), Riverside Mozart will remain wholly on the Danube River.

Initially launched 35 years ago, Riverside Mozart has operated under a handful of brands in its history including Peter Deilmann and Detours, but was most recently owned by the original Crystal Cruises outfit which collapsed in February this year. Crystal River Cruises fully restored the ship six years ago, converting it into one of the most luxurious on the European rivers.

Riverside is retaining the names of the former Crystal branded vessel for its restaurants and bars (namely Waterside, Vista Grill, Cove Bar and Palm Court) as well as service levels, with Butler service for all guests. Suites will range from Harmony and Symphony Suites, through to the Mozart Suite and the two-bedroom Owner’s Suite.

“We had been observing the river cruise ship market for a number of years and when the opportunity arose to take over the Mozart, we didn’t hesitate for long,” said Gregor Gerlach, owner of Seaside Hotel Collection who with his sister Anouchka founded the Riverside Collection brand to enter the lucrative river cruise field.

“With only 100 to 150 guests on board the Riverside Mozart, we can address guests more individually. River cruise ships are much closer to the theme of luxury than the ocean giants,” Gerlach added.

While launched in Europe a few months ago and already listing sailings in Euros, the start-up cruise operator has clear intentions for international expansion, appointing a former Globus executive of 19 years as its Chief Executive Officer in the United States.

Jennifer Halboth commenced last month in the role of CEO, Riverside Collection, Americas and is currently recruiting for a number of roles. She was most recently Globus family of brands’ Director, National Accounts in the US, a role she held for 7 years. Prior to that, she was Globus’ Director of Channel Marketing for over 7.5 years and Manager of Channel Marketing for another 4.5 years.

The fate of Crystal River Cruises’ four 106-guest sister ships – Crystal Bach, Crystal Debussy, Crystal Mahler and Crystal Ravel, which were built in 2017 and 2018 – still remains to be confirmed, with the four vessels currently sitting in limbo in the Dodewaard Shipyard in the Netherlands.

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