(5:15 p.m. EDT) — In response to cruiser and travel agent demand, Crystal River Cruises — the new river cruise division of luxury line Crystal Cruises — has placed orders for four new river ships, which will launch in 2017. In addition, the line has purchased an existing riverboat, which will be refurbished, renamed and kick off river cruises for the line in July 2016, a year earlier than planned.
The line has adopted a composer theme for its ship names. The current MS Mozart will become Crystal Mozart and sail the Danube. Two new 110-passenger ships will sail the Rhine, Main and Danube and be called Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler, and two new 84-passenger ships will cruise the Seine, Garonne and Dordogne rivers and be named Crystal Ravel and Crystal Debussy.
The four new river ships will debut between June and August 2017. Suites will range from 220 to 750 square feet, with industry-first king-size beds, walk-in closets and bathrooms with double vanities. One deck will be dedicated to all the public spaces, such as the library, gym, spa and glass-domed Palm Court with a dance floor. The boats will carry electric bikes, kayaks and jet skis for passenger use.
Crystal Mozart is currently the largest river cruise ship in Europe, with double the width of most riverboats. After its refurb, the 160-passenger riverboat will offer suites ranging from 203 to 860 square feet, multiple restaurants, wraparound promenade, indoor pool, spa, salon, gym and library.
During days in port, Crystal will offer immersive shore tours, as well as free active excursions, part of a program called Active Exploration Adventures, that allow passengers to keep fit while seeing the sights of Europe. Each river cruise will spend some time doing daylight sailings, allowing for port overnights featuring dinners at Michelin-starred and famous local restaurants, as well as cultural and entertainment events after dark.
River cruises go on sale November 30, 2015 (aka Cyber Monday).