Written by our advisor Diana Gardner at our Eugene, OR location, this blog recaps her week aboard Crystal Cruises new river ship Ravel on the Danube.
Crystal Ravel (built for the 2018 season) is sleek with an open feel and the decor ranging in shades of sea colors from blues to greens in the dining room and from whites to silvers in the Palm Court – the central meeting area with lots of windows allow the light to flow in. Staterooms are large with a walk in closet, dual sink vanity, mini fridge, Nespresso machine, large screen TV (with rather limited channels & movie selection), an iPad Mini.
Have you ever had a butler?
One of my immediate concerns was the idea of having a Butler. I wondered what I would do with one? I know that many folks have the same question. Here you go with my assessment. The good news is that while he was always around, we rarely saw him, but occasionally in the hall way. On our 6 night cruise he brought us a cheese tray on two days. He offered us assistance and he was always available.
On a related note, the staff uniforms went with the brightness of the ship. No tails for the Butlers, or formal jackets for our dining room servers. The crew wore checked shirts with a denim bistro type apron. It gave the ship a fun, light and fresh ambiance.
Outdoor Deck Spaces
On the sundeck, there was an array of sofas, teak chaise loungers and club chairs for guest to relax. Toward the bow of the ship, there were brightly colored sling back chairs as well. The Sundeck also had a pop up bar staffed with a bartender.
Service & Meals
Let me say this from the start, the service aboard was superb. Interesting to note that some of the crew came from Crystals' ocean going vessels. Food was excellent as well and lived up to Crystal’s expectations with beautiful presentation and a nicely varied menu.
From a food selection perspective, choices on the buffet included made to order eggs, varied fruit, breads, cheeses, and the usual buffet fare. For lunch there always was a fresh salad bar with additional hot entrees. Dinner was served as open seating and the food is accompanied by regional wines. I found the menu to be diverse to please many palates and the service to be spot on.
The Bistro is an alternative to the main dining room, ideal for late risers and for people who just wanted a snack during the day. A staple of the Bistro is the wonderful coffee bar, both open daily till 6PM. In the evening the Bistro became a tapas type dining area, complimentary but guests are required to make reservations to manage the crowds. The menu was casual and interesting.
The bridge was accessible at all times, the captain always willing to chat. The staff was courteous and they navigated the ship with precision and ease.
After a week on board, I would definitely recommend Crystal Ravel. As you know, it's the small things that elevate an experience from ordinary to extraordinary.
Additional Tip: Transfers
Note that transfers are included to/from the airport on the day of embarkation/disembarking. It is especially nice as the airport is far away from the pier.
To learn more about this sailing or if you have other questions about Crystal Cruises, please contact Diana Gardner.