The newest river cruise line is expanding its fleet with the acquisition of four vessels previously operated by Crystal Cruises. The ships will sail on Europe’s most popular rivers.
In November the European hotel group, Seaside Collection, announced it was launching Riverside Luxury Cruises with one ship, the Riverside Mozart. Previously known as Crystal Mozart, the company acquired the 150-passenger vessel – which at 77ft is double the width of mainstream riverboats – following the closure of Crystal. Prior to the pandemic Crystal embarked on a multi-million-dollar renovation of the unusual riverboat which has large suites and a choice of bars and restaurants.
Riverside has now announced it has taken over the former Crystal Bach, Ravel, Mahler and Debussy, which are regular-size vessels. They were also originally designed and operated by Crystal Cruises, and which will also be renamed.
Beginning in April, the new river cruise line will offer Danube cruises aboard the Riverside Mozart, widely hailed as the most luxurious ship on the river. Riverside Ravel will include itineraries on both the Rhone and Saone, sailing from Burgundy to Provence, while Riverside Debussy will sail on the Rhine. Riverside Bach and Riverside Mahler will begin sailing in 2024 and itineraries will be announced later this year.
Gregor Gerlach, who founded Riverside Luxury Cruises, said:
“We are thrilled by the expansion of our fleet to include these vessels. This acquisition allows us to expand our itinerary offerings, showcasing a level of space, personalised service and elegance not found with any other river cruise line.”
Riverside Luxury Cruises will feature a high crew-to-guest ratio, 24-hour room service – which is a rarity on river vessels – butlers and curated shore excursions. Wellness experiences include onboard pools, and the culinary offering will feature menus showcasing fresh, local ingredients and extensive wine lists. Each ship will have a crew of trained sommeliers, and bartenders will have access to special regional and global wines as well as some of the best spirits available. The line says the wine cellar will be unparalleled, even among the best restaurants on land.
The Seaside Hotels Chain, rebranded the Seaside Collection in 2019, was founded in 1969 by Theo Gerlach. He set out to build the type of hotels that he would like to stay in, with an emphasis on casual, unobtrusive luxury. The brand now has 11 boutique properties located in Germany, the Canary Islands and the Maldives.
Known as the ‘River Cruise Queen’, Jeannine Williamson is an award-winning travel writer, cruise expert and our cruise correspondent, who has clocked up thousands of nautical miles.
Photographs courtesy of Riverside Cruises and AD Associates LLP 2022