In 2020, Crystal Cruises will bring a new city exploration to a classic European river itinerary. Passengers on the Crystal Ravel – part of Crystal’s 2018 fleet expansion, along with 106-passenger sister ship Crystal Debussy – can opt for a four-day stay in Prague before an eight-day Regensburg-to-Budapest cruise on the Danube River.
“Sailing with Crystal River Cruises is an experience like no other,” Virtuoso travel advisor Melissa Turpin Marcos says. “They think of every little personal touch – and the staff, food, and onboard service is exceptional.”
Here’s what to expect on Crystal’s Prague tour.
First, guests settle in to the 99-room Mandarin Oriental, Prague, in the picturesque Malá Strana district. Located on the left bank of the Vltava River, the hotel began as a monastery in the fourteenth century. High ceilings, limestone bathrooms, and tall windows set the scene in this historic building, which includes a two-story spa set in a former chapel. Here, relaxing treatments incorporate the surrounding area with details that range from natural (the two-hour Linden Embrace includes a massage and scrub with a hot linden poultice, sourced from the Czech Republic’s national tree) to cultural (the two-and-a-half-hour Prague Symphony pays homage to the city’s classical music legacy while pampering guests with a harmonized foot massage and steam shower).
The second day takes travelers on a four-hour tour of Prague Castle that includes access to rooms typically not open to the public, such as the Glass Salon, the Golden Lounge, and the south wing’s Throne Hall. Weather permitting, the outing continues to the patio at Lobkowicz Palace Café for lunch with a view of the city. In the afternoon, those who opt for a four-hour tour of the city of Pilsen can taste beer, learn about local ingredients, tour a modern brewery, and more.
The UNESCO World Heritage-recognized town of Kutna Hora, home to the Czech kingdom’s royal mint in the thirteenth century, sets the scene for a slower-paced day outside the city. At Dacicky, a traditional restaurant, dishes such as smoked goose breast, wild boar with prune sauce, and bread dumplings fill the lunch menu.
After breakfast, travelers depart Prague for Regensburg, Germany, to board the Crystal Ravel for an eight-day cruise to Budapest. Six ports with more new excursions await. In Austria, there’s a chance to meet Princess Anita in Melk, or taste wine in Herzogenburg. In Hungary, Budapest’s mazelike Great Market Hall is a must for produce and mementos.
When to Go
The Crystal Ravel begins eight-day voyages from Regensburg to Budapest with an April 3, 2020 sailing. The four-day pre-Prague experiences include breakfast daily, hotel and ship transfers, three nights’ accommodations at the Mandarin Oriental, Prague, and specified activities. Virtuoso travelers receive a $125 shipboard credit.
This article is sponsored by Crystal Cruises.