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Cruising the Danube on Riverside Mozart

15/07/2023 by .
Riverside Mozart

Michael Edwards sails on the Riverside Mozart, one of the Danube’s most luxurious ships

Does a double-width ship double the luxury? At over 75 feet wide, every cabin on the Riverside Mozart is a suite, with butler service. Even bathrooms are more spacious. Some bathrooms, very rare for a cruise ship, even have space for a bath.

Size matters. There is room for over 90 staff to care for the needs of up to 162 passengers. Sufficient staff for the room attendant to call in on cabins twice a day. Topping up the refrigerated mini-bar and refreshing the selection of petit fours and the fruit bowl.

Riverside Mozart

Although Riverside Luxury Cruises is a new name on Europe’s waterways, Riverside Mozart previously sailed the Danube as a Crystal Cruises ship until the company went into liquidation in 2022.

Riverside has kept much of the original décor on Riverside Mozart. Blues, browns and greens in the suites and public areas connect with the natural Danube landscape sliding by. The Bösendorfer grand piano remains, from the Crystal days, in the sophisticated Palm Court Bar and Lounge where the pianist plays a selection of jazz and classics.

Riverside Mozart

Riverside Mozart Deck Bar 0144

On the top Vista Deck, a bar, bean bags, solid recliners and deckchairs create the relaxed ambience of a chic beach club. And there’s still space, on warm days, for a pop-up Grill Restaurant. Chefs use the Egg BBQs for giant prawns, sizzling steaks, and vibrantly coloured vegan skewers. A BBQ as the ship cruises through the vine-terraced slopes of the beautiful Wachau Valley is a prime spot for lunch.

Another spectacular BBQ location is when the ship is moored in Budapest: as the day fades, lights illuminate the Hungarian capital’s grand architecture with a foreground of ships sliding along the dark Danube. Though, despite waltz-king Strauss’s optimism, the Danube is never blue, more often a grey-green.

Riverside Mozart

With Blue Restaurant at the bow open for light lunches and the Bistro serving drinks and light snacks throughout the day, the main Waterside restaurant often operates at less than full capacity. There are plenty of tables for two, though waiters quickly combine them for groups who wish to sit together.

Riverside Mozart’s cruise of the Danube is a culinary voyage too. Fifteen catering staff work in a kitchen that is twice the size of a usual river cruiser’s galley. They have space for their own bakery: providing fresh bread, brioche, and croissants for breakfast. Every day they create soups, fresh pasta and their own range of ice creams and sorbets.


Inevitably, a Viennese Schnitzel, as crisp and light as a Strauss waltz, is one of the options in Austria but as the Riverside Mozart heads into Hungarian waters paprika begins to appear in the local speciality of a hortobagyi palacsinta pancake on Blue’s lunch menu or a gundel palacsinta, served with slithers of apricot, as a pancake dessert after a BBQ.

There is more space for wellness too. Down on Deck 1 the gym is exceptionally well-equipped, while above on Deck 2 the spa has treatment rooms, sauna, steam room and hairdressers. Although the indoor pool is a mere half a dozen strokes long and wide, a push of a button starts a counter-current for serious swimmers looking for a testing workout before relaxing in the jacuzzi.

Another key difference with Riverside is the ambition of the excursions. In Vienna, guests are taken to the Upper Belvedere Palace, for a private tour of the artworks, including Klimt’s “The Kiss”, followed by a concert in Prince Eugene’s grandly domed Marble Room. A mini-orchestra of ten, plus a baritone and soprano, play a programme of Mozart, Strauss and other Viennese-themed classics.

Vienna concert

Vienna, Durnstein, Melk, Linz, Salzburg, Bratislava, Esztergom and Budapest – the excursions for the 200 ships cruising the Danube are usually fairly similar. But Riverside, with its peloton of bikes and e-bikes, has plans for bikes and hikes excursions as well as tours and tastings. Keeping excursion groups to a usual maximum of 15 provides a more intimate experience in comparison to some operators whose tours look more like a rambling school trip.


Returning to Riverside Mozart after a spot of late-afternoon beer tasting in Bratislava, a man was staring wistfully at our ship. “I wish I was getting on board with you,” he said, “I think I chose the wrong boat,” he complained, jerking a disconsolate thumb at a humble standard-width cruiser. “Nor did we get any beer tasting.”

Tell Me More About Cruising the Danube on Riverside Mozart

Riverside Mozart Cruise, Riverside Luxury Cruises

E: T: + 34 928 773 020

Sailing from Vienna, in September 2023, prices begin from €2991 per person for full board. Premium all-inclusive, also covering standard excursions, starts at €4316 per person.



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