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Goldring Travel Blog – Making Waves

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Riverside Luxury River Cruises – Definitely Worth a Hard Look!

Riverside Luxury River Cruises is a new, and somewhat unique, approach to luxury river cruises; definitely with an international flare…which you know I love!

Its first ship is the luxury Riverside Mozart. You know, the former Crystal Mozart, which in many ways, set the luxury standard for river cruise hardware due, in part, to her being so wide with a unique – almost catamaran-style – hull.

Riverside Mozart

Riverside’s approach is not to reinvent the ship and its offerings, but to appreciate what they are and use them to provide a wonderful river cruise experience.  But before I get into the ship, let’s discuss its new owner and its plans!

While the cruise line is a new startup, the owner is anything but. Riverside is part of the Seaside Collection (formerly Seaside Hotels), a very well-regarded hotel group owned by the German Gerlach family. They own numerous four-and-five-star properties in Germany, Spain, the Canary Islands, and the Maldives, but are now focused on diversifying their tourism portfolio…and their customer base, which is currently primarily German.

The Seaside Collection, and thus, Riverside Luxury Cruises, is not content with its acquisition of the former Crystal Mozart, but is looking to purchase the other former Crystal river cruise ships as well. 

Riverside has brought on Jennifer Halboth, a former longtime – and very well-known – Globus Family of Brands (Avalon River Cruises, etc.) executive – as CEO, as well as many highly experienced former Crystal Cruises folks, including Captain Bela Burjan, Hotel Manager Sonja Gruber, Chef de Cuisine Johannes Bar, and Director of Land Operations Ulrike Nehls.  With this backbone, the luxury experience (onboard service and cuisine as well as land-based) is assured.

Riverside Mozart Penthouse Suite

With this background, Riverside Luxury Cruises intends to elevate the culinary, overall onboard, and off-ship, experiences with a philosophy of “Money Can’t Buy Moments“.

The Riverside concept is to offer a variety of short (3-4 day) and longer (7-11 day) sailings – all of which can be combined – coupled with a unique pricing strategy, to attract both Europeans looking for a shorter getaway and North Americans interested in a short-stay moving hotel to guests looking for the more traditional seven-to-eleven-day (or longer) Danube River cruise. (Note: Because Riverside Mozart is essentially a double-wide river cruise ship, she cannot venture into other rivers…which is why the Seashore Collection is working to secure the other four former Crystal river cruise ships!)

Riverside Vintage Room

It intends on providing the very best cuisine – changing menus as the ship sails to different regions – and wines onboard, with a focus on local and global vintages and spirits, delivered in four dining venues (Marketplace, Blue Bar & Grill, Vista Bar & Grill, and the more traditional Waterside) plus the Vintage Room culinary and wine experience!

Riverside’s 2023 itineraries are interesting, but one is most definitely my favorite…and one I am hoping to be on (and you may want to join me on it!): From Vienna to The Iron Gates, visiting Austria, Slovakia, Hungary (including two overnights in Budapest), Croatia, Serbia, and Romania (though the cruise through the Iron Gates – actually a spectacular series of gorges – there is no stop there).

Riverside is offering a wide variety of shore excursions, from vigorous bike rides and hikes to culinary experiences (including cooking classes), to religious, historical, art, walking, and other options. Clearly, delivering meaningful experiences to the intended guest demographic of diverse interests is a primary focus.