One of my favorite river cruise vessels will soon be back in service, the m/s Mozart. I first cruised on the storied ship in 2008, when she was operated by Peter Deilmann. Aside from being awed by Mozart’s impressive width, nearly double that of a typical river cruise ship, I’d never been on a river cruiser with an indoor pool.
Perhaps the biggest surprise for passengers on Peter Deilmann Cruises’ Mozart is that they will get to put their swimsuits to good use. Indeed, many of the passengers I spoke with on a September sailing along the Danube were astonished to learn that the five-star river cruiser offered a warm and welcoming watery respite, situated indoors on deck two at the front of the ship. The fact that Mozart features an indoor pool (the only such ship in Europe to do so) may not necessarily be a key factor in choosing this ship over its competitors on the Danube, but the fact that Mozart is wide enough to accommodate a pool is worthy of consideration. Mozart’s extra width allows for larger staterooms and the addition of super-sized public spaces, including an expansive panoramic lounge, a large library, a sprawling top sun deck and a spacious Wellness Spa.
Following its construction in 1987, m/s Mozart was Central Europe’s largest river vessel and easily recognizable thanks to her unique semi-catamaran design. She remains one of the widest river cruise vessels, and her increased dimensions mean that she can only sail the Danube between Passau and the Black Sea.
Mozart is no longer a single anomaly. In 2019, AmaWaterways launched the double-width AmaMagna, which USA Today readers voted Best River Cruise Ship when it debuted.
Deilmann operated Mozart until 2009, when the German company entered insolvency. Crystal Cruises purchased the ship and after extensive renovations launched her into service in 2016. I was fortunate to attend the ship’s christening in Vienna. During my 48 hours on board, I found Mozart to be much changed – for the better. See My Favorite River Cruises Of 2016: A Visit To Vienna For Crystal Mozart’s Christening.
Following Crystal’s bankruptcy earlier this year, Mozart sat idle in Linz, Austria. (Crystal’s four other river cruisers are tied up in the Netherlands). Fortunately, Mozart will once again sail under a new banner by the name of Riverside Collection, a subsidiary company of Hamburg-based Seaside Collection.
Founded in 1969 by Theo Gerlach, Seaside Collection is a group of 11 boutique properties located in the Canary Islands, Germany, Valencia, and the Maldives, where luxury is celebrated in an unobtrusive, casual style. Each of the hotels is characterized by its exclusive location, architecture & design, high-quality management, unforgettable cuisine, and passionate hospitality.
“When the opportunity arose to take over the Mozart, we didn’t hesitate,” says Gregor Gerlach, who founded Riverside Collection with his sister Anouchka. Having watched the segment for a number of years, the two see great potential in river cruising. Gregor Gerlach continued, “With only 100 to 150 guests on board the Riverside Mozart, we can address guests more individually and provide a much more bespoke experience than on larger ocean vessels.”
Considered one of the most beloved vessels on the European waterways, the Mozart will allow Riverside to define a new standard for river cruising. Utilizing the family’s experience operating resorts in the Canary Islands, Germany, Valencia, and the Maldives, Riverside Collection will stand out in terms of its food and beverage, service, excursions, and wellness offerings, in addition to its already remarkable ship and cabin design and layout.
Riverside Collection’s service will be defined not only by its crew-to-guest ratio but by its service culture, which is authentically personal in nature. Nowhere will this be better exemplified than by its butlers, who go above and beyond to assist guests with any and all needs from reservations and excursions to special requests and one-of-a-kind experiences. Every suite on every voyage includes a personal butler.
Throughout its charming Danube journeys, excursions aboard Riverside will capture those special “money can’t buy moments.” Each excursion is organized and designed by a best-in-class- shoreside team, with the goal of providing guests an open door to a world of exclusive experiences. On shore and on board, wellness experiences will be curated to encourage guests to enjoy the river and surrounding countryside with all their senses. In addition to treatment rooms for tailored massages and facials, Riverside Mozart‘s class-leading wellness center offers Finnish saunas and steam rooms as well as a swimming pool and jacuzzi.
From a culinary perspective, Riverside aims to provide the best cuisine and wine cellar on the water and will place an emphasis on the freshness and quality of all ingredients on board. The ship’s crew of trained sommeliers and bartenders will have access to special regional and global wines as well as some of the best spirits available, with a wine cellar that is unparalleled even among the best restaurants on land. As the ship glides through the different regions of the Danube, the cuisine evolves to offer the most local of flavors and experiences. Four onboard restaurants, including Bistro, Blue, and Waterside, ensure variety to suit the tastes of every traveler. Exclusive dinners are also offered in the ship’s acclaimed Vintage Room, where wine selection by the head sommelier set the tone for the restaurant’s unique tasting menu.
Those familiar with MS Mozart will already know its ship class as the most luxurious on Europe’s rivers. Double the width of most comparable ships, Mozart is home to the same number of cabins translating to more space in all public spaces and within every one of its 81 cabins, with accommodations ranging from 219 – 883 square feet. Throughout the vessel, guests will find a modern, sophisticated design and luxurious amenities. Riverside also offers guests added flexibility, with the option to choose fully inclusive or a la carte experiences.
In addition to the Gerlach family’s deep hospitality experience, Riverside will benefit from the leadership of a carefully curated team of cruise industry veterans, many of whom have come from Crystal. The ship’s Captain Béla Burján, will serve alongside Hotel Manager, Sonja Gruber; Chef de Cuisine, Johannes Bär; and Ulrike Nehls, who is Director of Land Operations. Jennifer Halboth has been appointed as CEO of Riverside Collection, Americas, and is joined by Michelle Rodriguez Suarez the brand’s Director of East Coast & Key Account Sales.
Now available for bookings, Riverside Collection will offer aggressive pricing, competitive commissions and special introductory FAM rates for travel advisors. Fill out the form below if you’re interested in sailing Riverside Mozart.