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Our Trip on Crystal Debussy
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Upon disembarking our flight to Amsterdam, we were met by a Crystal representative who arranged our transportation to the ship which would be docked in Amsterdam for two nights.

The Crystal Debussy, one of four sister riverboats, entered service in 2018. Accommodating 106 guests in 53 suites located on Decks 2 and 3, ranging in size from 185 to 506 square feet. 

 A guest laundry and a small fitness center were located on Deck 1.  Deck 2 was the location of the dining room, the guest relations and tour desk, a small elevator that only went as far as Deck 3 and a computer for use by the guests.

The main lounge and bar, the venue for entertainment, lectures and viewing the passing scenery was at the front of Deck 3. A Bistro and coffee/espresso bar where snacks and a light breakfast and lunch are available was located mid-ship; and a small swimming pool and masseuse were located at the rear of Deck 3.  

Atop the ship was the Sun Deck with numerous lounges, several areas protected from the sun and a small bar.

We had one of the 253 square-foot Deluxe Suites which featured a walk-in closet and double sink not available in some of the lesser category suites. Every accommodation had a king-size bed, espresso machine, 40 inch, flat screen TV with an interactive system and movies on demand, a bedside digital i-pad directory, a small fold-out table, twice daily  housekeeping service, a butler,  and a refrigerator stocked daily with water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages of your choice. Our glass shower was large with alternate shower heads. The two, 506 square-foot Penthouse Suites could be combined with another suite to offer 759 squared-feet of space.

What we sorely missed was the absence of a sitting area and some version of a balcony. We did have wall to wall, floor to ceiling, glass windows, the top half of which could be opened. However this was not the same as being able to sit out in the fresh air and watch the passing scenery from our suite. 

The layout of the ship has some differences from other riverboats on which we have traveled. The buffet area in the dining room is in a separate space at the rear of the room with four separate displays. At the back of this space is a mini-kitchen with warm dishes and a chef that can prepare dishes to order. On both sides of the space are lavish displays of salads with all the trimmings. At the side opposite the mini-kitchen is a seductive display of deserts. On most other river boats, the buffet is set in the middle of the dining room surrounded by dining tables with less space to present offerings and requiring passengers to circle around several times in order to view what is presented. Also, the room is more attractive than on other riverboats; however we were surprised that there were no tablecloths.

The alternative bistro eating venue is on the third deck above the dining room and has tables on both sides of the ship adjacent to the paths leading to the lounge as compared to bistros on other ships that are in a separate space at the front or rear of the ship. This is unusual since passengers are walking by the tables while you are eating. As a part of the Bistro there is a barista and a buffet counter where coffees and snacks are available throughout the day. In addition to the items displayed passengers can opt to order off a small menu offering hamburgers, pizzas, salads and several other items.

The quality and variety of the offerings at all meals was exceptional, only surpassed by the extraordinary attentive service. Service throughout the ship was superior to any other riverboat upon which we have traveled.

The tasteful lounge area on Deck 3 has a bar at the front and the piano and dance floor at the rear. This is far superior to the situation on many ships that have the piano and dance floor in the middle of the room restricting the view  of passengers sitting  on the sides and the rear of the room.

All beverages throughout the ship are free except for some vintage wines. The service in the lounge was also exceptional.

We were pleased that the ship provided some type of entertainment each evening in addition to the exceptionally talented piano player/singer who performed before and after dinner. Several evenings entertainers were brought aboard and on one evening we were bused to a violin concert at the Concert Hall in Rudesheim.

As on Crystal ocean cruises, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, gratuities, WiFi throughout the ship,  butler service  and most of the daily excursions are all included. The several tours that were not included ran from 49 to 129 euros per person with an Alsatian wine expedition costing 2,239 euros a person. (There were no takers for that expedition).

 Our cruise commenced in Amsterdam terminating ten days later in Basel Switzerland. The itinerary included Cologne, Koblenz, Rudesheim, Speyer, Rudesheim and Breisbach in Germany and Strasbourg in France, with several overnights and bicycle adventures.

The tours visited the most important sites and the tour guides were exceptional. Our biggest complaint was that all of them required a great deal of walking, usually for 3 and 4 hours at a time. The absence of limited walking options and bus tours made the excursions not possible for those with walking difficulties.

Overall we enjoyed our cruise on the Crystal Debussy, especially the outstanding dining and service. Aficionados of river cruising and those who appreciate Crystal ocean cruises will not want to miss this  Crystal experience on the rivers of Europe.


Steven B Stern, author of SternĂ¢â‚¬â„¢s Guide to the Cruise Vacation and SternĂ¢â‚¬â„¢s Guide to European River Cruises and Hotel Barges.





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