River Cruise Spacious and luxurious, the Crystal Mozart arrives By Sarah Feldberg / July 10, 2016 Share 1 -- The Vista deck has lounge chairs, a fitness area and a retractable bar. Photo Credit: Sarah Feldberg VIENNA — Crystal Cruises is calling the Mozart the first luxury European river cruise ship, and the vessel exudes modern elegance from every corner.In the last seven months, the former Peter Deilmann yacht was stripped down to the steel and rebuilt as Crystal's first river cruise vessel. While the architectural layout remains the same, virtually everything within that frame has been redone. On July 13, the refurbished yacht will depart on its maiden revenue voyage on the Danube.“This was a 30-year-old ship,” said Crystal River Cruises managing director Walter Littlejohn as he strolled on the 360-degree outdoor promenade. “The decking is new. The railing is new. Everything is new.”CEO Edie Rodriguez described the transformation more colorfully. “It’s not a facelift, she said. “It’s stem cell surgery.”The Crystal Mozart arrives in Vienna. Photo Credit: Sarah Feldberg The reborn Mozart is a stunner. The color scheme is black, white and gray with bright blue and emerald flourishes, while luxe finishings, bold art and metallic accents give the decor a hint of glam without veering into gaudy. Velvet softens many furnishings, and 300 tons of marble have been deployed around the vessel. Rodriguez compares the yacht to a Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons hotel. “This is not your grandparents’ river trip,” she said. Guests have numerous options for how and where to spend their time. Public spaces are plentiful and pleasant. Atop the stairs to deck three, a seating area frames a grand faux fireplace where water vapor is lit to approximate flame. The nearby Cove lounge is intimate and chic, while Palm Court can seat all 158 guests in various configurations surrounding a shiny black piano. That instrument is one of few souvenirs from Mozart’s past. Crystal kept five paintings, five tables and the piano. Guessing which items made the cut could make for a fun scavenger hunt. Upstairs, the top Vista deck has many deck chairs and beanbags for lounging. There’s an outdoor fitness area for daily yoga and exercise classes, and a pop-up bar on hydraulics that can be lowered for passage under bridges. The dining area inside an 830-square-foot Crystal Suite. Photo Credit: Sarah Feldberg Dining also offers a wealth of options. Along with room service (available 24/7 and deliverable to anywhere on the ship), there’s the self-service Pantry for light snacks, casual Bistro Mozart (which goes white tablecloth for dinner featuring local street cuisine), upscale Waterside restaurant (with classic and local menus) and Blue, a low-key cafe serving sandwiches and snacks. Everything is made fresh, from the bread to the pastries to the ice cream. Furthermore, one meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant along the route is part of the cruise, with transportation, wines and gratuities included. The Mozart itself also offers a gourmet experience inside the intimate Vintage Room, where a tasting menu paired with vintage wines is available for 190 euros per person. Lest clients worry over boredom aboard, there are plenty of activity options. Shore excursions are included, and each river cruise route will boast a “signature” experience, like a private concert and champagne reception inside the Belvedere Palace in Vienna. Thirty electronic bikes are available for guided tours or exploration on your own, and all of Crystal’s river yachts will have their own Italian-made, 32-foot Wider speedboats, ready to whisk guests away on a private excursion or tour for an extra fee. No other river cruise ship has had such an amenity, Rodriguez boasted as she took a turn behind the wheel Sunday afternoon. The Mozart's spa has a whirlpool, underneath crystal features on the ceiling. Photo Credit: Sarah Feldberg The enrichment lecture series from Crystal’s ocean line is coming aboard, and when guests just want to relax, the Mozart’s spa is something special. Along with men’s and women’s saunas and steam rooms, there’s an indoor pool and whirlpool, with crystal features on the ceiling that almost make it look like they’re bathing beneath the stars. Perhaps the best feature of the boat is its breathing room — in the public spaces, in all 79 suites, in the restaurants and the corridors. The 394-foot Mozart is twice as wide as most European river vessels“We have the luxury of space,” said Littlejohn. And Crystal has made that space delightfully luxurious.