Riverside looks at the remaining Crystal River ships
The co-founder of new luxury river cruise line Riverside has confirmed he will buy the remaining Crystal River ships “if the price is right”.
Speaking in Vienna on Mozart by the riverthe company’s first river vessel and also a former Crystal vessel, Riverside Luxury Cruises CEO Gregor Gerlach said he was interested in Crystal vessels, but not if they are too expensive.
In this case, he will build two new ships instead. One will be like Mozart by the riverwhich is twice as wide as normal river vessels, the other will be the same as other vessels on European waterways.
Purchased Crystal mozart from German operator Dertour in 2015 and spent several million dollars during a six-month refit.
Gerlach said: “We had planned to start a river cruise line in 2018, but we couldn’t find a ship that matched the luxury we were looking for. We now have the most luxurious river vessel in Europe. I’m not sure we would have spent so much on this [as Crystal].”
He said food, service and excursions were key priorities for the company. All the crew who worked on Crystal Mozart have been found and will return when Mozart by the river starts sailing in April 2023 and spends a lot of time researching new and different excursions.
Gerlach expects up to 80% of passengers to be English speakers and a mix of river cruisers and newbies. The first language on board will be English, with menus also in German.
He said: “The bulk of sales will be through trade. The luxury needs to be explained, the higher costs need to be explained. Riverside rates will be from €250 per person per day, top suites from €3,000 per person per day.
Industry veteran Stuart Perl has been appointed UK managing director of Riverside and will initially hire two additional people to manage commercial sales and work with agents. He confirmed that he would join CLIA.
Mozart by the river will be based in Vienna and operate three-night Wachau Valley cruises and four-night cruises to Budapest that can be combined into seven-night “nature and city” cruises.
There will also be two seven-night crossings on the Lower Danube to the Iron Gates Gorge.
“The feedback I get is that people are nervous about going to the Lower Danube because of the war in Ukraine so we only do two starts and only go halfway “, said Gerlach. “When things normalize, we will go to the Black Sea.”