Riverside Mozart, a river cruise ship under the Riverside Cruises brand name, is by far the best Danube River cruise ship we've ever been on. We were in awe when we sailed on her for a week-long cruise.
Our awe was a result of various features that make Riverside Mozart unique, starting with her width. But the ship’s architecture is certainly where its uniqueness starts, not where it ends, and is one thing of many that make it the ultimate — and most luxurious — way to travel on the Danube River.
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What Makes Riverside Mozart the Best Cruise Ship on the Danube River
Everything is lavish and top-notch on Riverside Mozart, which certainly informed our decision to proclaim it the best river cruise ship to sail the Danube.
Riverside Mozart is unique amongst river cruises in the experience it provides guests, which is multifaceted; tangible and intangible. Luxury is manifested in several ways for guests, from the service the crew provides to the cuisine to architectural design and interior finishes.
While most river cruise ships don’t have a ton of onboard amenities other than something like a small spa, Riverside Mozart is extra special with additional things other ships lack. This includes a pool and a hot tub.
Jen Halboth, CEO of Riverside Luxury Cruises, highlights some of Riverside Cruises and Mozart's notable features:
Riverside luxury cruises is Europe’s newest and most luxurious river cruise brand.
Riverside Mozart is unique on Europe’s waterways for offering the most onboard amenities including soothing spa options, the very best gourmet dining, intuitive personalized service, and the highest average space per guest. The Riverside Mozart’s design is beyond compare, delivering truly luxurious ambience, found in luxury hotels the world over.
Throughout their stay, guests explore some of the most captivating towns and cities on the Danube River and enjoy Riverside’s seamless, all-inclusive experience with round-the-clock dining options, premium beverages, shore excursions, butler service in every suite, and much more.
Let's dive into the specifics of Riverside Mozart's remarkability.
1. Riverside Mozart is a Double-Wide River Cruise Ship
Of all the things that make the ship and experience of cruising aboard Riverside Mozart special, one of the best and most impressive things is that it’s a double-wide ship. That means its architectural width is double that of a usual river cruise ship that sails on the Danube River. The singularity of this permitted the onboard experience to be different than any other cruise ship we have been on.
When we walked around the ship, we felt like we were truly in a hotel — like on land — but with the fun perks of being on the water, like the constant waterfront view. Two small lounge spaces flanked the front desk area, whereas any other “single wide” river cruise ship would have a front desk with a single lounge nearby. The room simply isn’t there on other river cruise ships.
This also meant that the top level of the ship, open to the elements, felt more like an expansive deck in a rather wonderful way. It was easy to feel like we were in command of the river when we walked on the top deck, even if the nearby Captain and crew were the ones truly controlling the vessel!
2. The Indoor Pool Multiples Aquatic Enjoyment
If the first aquatic love of this ship’s passengers is cruising on the Danube River, then the second and third aquatic love are the hot tub and pool.
While it’s not as difficult to find ships with pools, it’s hard to find another river cruise ship with a hot tub. That being said, not all river cruise ships have a pool. For example, Viking ships do not, while Emerald Cruises and AmaWaterways river cruise ships do.
We love it when there is a pool on a cruise ship. Despite always being a small pool, it's a fun, luxurious amenity. Often, when we take a dip in the pool on river cruise ships, we’re the only people in it. Sometimes, another person or two are there.
The pool is indoors, which means that no matter the weather, you can enjoy a swim. So don’t forget to pack a swimsuit. (Check out our favorite female swimwear brand, Change of Scenery.)
3. It Has an Indoor Hot Tub
A great amenity on Riverside Mozart is the hot tub. It’s next to the pool in an enclosed spa area that is complimentary for guests to use. While we’ve been on a few river cruise ships with pools and a barge cruise with a hot tub, it’s the first river cruise ship we’ve been on with one. And we love a hot tub! It’s a fantastic place to unwind any time of day.
4. You’ll Love the Spa’s Complimentary Sauna
The saunas at the spa are another element that makes Riverside Mozart unique. There are two saunas: one for men and another for women.
We both relaxed in the sauna before our massages. The wood smell inside was intoxicating, and the warmth of the sauna during our winter cruise was welcomed. Many guests don’t take advantage of this river cruise ship amenity, which means there’s a good chance you’ll have it to yourself, as each of us did.
5. Indulge in Daily Gelato and Sorbet
Sundaes may be served on many cruise ships as a dessert option. Big ocean cruise ships often have an ice cream station onboard. But we’ve never seen a river cruise experience with this option readily available outside of lunch or dinner at the main restaurant. That is, until we were on Riverside Mozart.
We loved being able to go to the Bistro between noon and 5:00 pm every day if we wanted to intake sugar in the form of gelato or sorbet. When we sailed, the gelato flavors included pistachio, cherry, vanilla, and rum raisin. Sorbet flavors included cassis (which is like a tart black currant), raspberry, and apricot.
The apricot was delicious and a personal favorite, along with pistachio. Sorbet and gelato are included for all guests. “Let them eat ice cream,” they say!
6. The Connoisseur’s Club Allows You to Experience a Swanky Cigar Room
Though we are not cigarette smokers, we enjoy a cigar once in a while. They’re relaxing and a good bonding experience. That’s why we appreciated one of Riverside Mozart’s most unique spaces so much, called the Connoisseur’s Club. This is where guests can smoke cigarettes or cigars.
The design of the room cleverly hides vents along the perimeter that aerate the space. It also has multiple sliding glass doors that can be opened to let fresh air in. In fact, if you pass by the room, which you access through glass doors, you don't smell anything from the hallway. It's incredibly well-contained.
Don’t travel with your own cigars? Neither do we. But fret not because there is a humidor inside this special space where the cigar menu inventory lies. Cigars from Cuba and the Dominican Republic are on the menu and range in price from €19 to €28 each. Cigars are ordered from the bartenders in the adjacent Palm Court lounge area.
We were thankful for the ship’s washers and dryers in the laundry room after we had a cigar because it meant we could wash the scent from our clothes.
7. Each Stateroom Has Japanese Toilet Seats
If you’ve ever been to Japan, you know that there are bidet-like toilets or seats on every single bowl, from public restrooms to private ones. People go gaga over them! Having been to Japan several times, we’re no different in our love for this small yet significant luxury.
That’s why we were over the moon to discover that the toilets on Riverside Mozart all have Japanese toilet seats. A remote control on the wall of each stateroom bathroom controls the front and back bidet and the drying features.
What’s more, is that when you walk into the bathroom, the toilet seat cover opens to welcome you via a motion sensor. If you don’t want to use these features, you can simply shut the toilet off with the push of a button.
8. Riverside Cruises Takes Care to Create Extra Special Guest Experiences
When we sailed away from Budapest on our final night in the city, we were very impressed with how Riverside Cruises went above and beyond to make it special. These extra special touches are another reason why Riverside Mozart is the best Danube River cruise ship.
Outstanding Sail Away from Budapest
Everyone was excited to cruise the Danube River and see the iconic waterfront landmarks lit up at night as we sailed towards Vienna. However, we didn’t expect the crew to be roasting chestnuts on the Big Green Egg cookers on the top deck and to be passing hot gluhwein. It was such an incredible — and unforgettable — treat and another thing that made Riverside Mozart unique amongst the river cruise lines we’ve been on.
Memorable New Year's Eve Celebration
Another special event we experienced onboard was a New Year’s Eve Party. They made the evening of December 31st remarkable. First, we dined in Waterside Restaurant with a special New Year’s Eve menu, then moved into the Palm Court to enjoy after-dinner drinks.
Imagine our surprise when we walked in to see the lounge decorated with streamers and balloons, including gold mylar balloon numbers for the new year over the stage.
A live band played from 10:30 pm to 2:00 am as we danced, drank, and sang along to songs to ring in the new year. Just before midnight, champagne was passed around to all. Despite balloons already decorating the room, we were delighted when midnight struck and there was a balloon drop! The crew opened the overhead sunlight windows and dropped dozens of balloons on us. It was a lot of fun. We were further spoiled with passed hors d’oeuvres and cake pops at 12:15 am.
The Riverside Mozart crew really outdid themselves that evening. We were in awe — utterly impressed and grateful for the celebration.
To top it off, New Year’s Day brunch on January 1st was extra special. When we walked into the restaurant, we were offered a mimosa or Bloody Mary. Then we discovered a caviar station and chocolate fondue fountain amongst the brunch buffet options, including roast duck and some of the biggest grilled tiger prawns we’ve ever seen.
The special touches during the nighttime sailing in Budapest and surrounding New Year’s Eve solidified that Riverside Cruises goes above and beyond for their guests.
9. Riverside Mozart Has an Extensive Cocktail Menu
Riverside Mozart had one of the most extensive cocktail menus we’ve ever seen on a ship. Sure, the bartenders can create classics like a Manhattan or a martini. But we liked the creative cocktails on the menu that enabled us to try something different.
An example of that was a strawberry and black pepper gin drink I enjoyed created with Fever Tree tonic (the best tonic around). It was delicious and got our creative juices flowing for new recipes to try at home.
When you book with Riverside Cruises, you want to book their Premium All Inclusive Plus Excursions, which includes top-shelf liquor.
10. The Bar’s Mocktail Menu is What You Didn’t Know You Needed
We loved the onboard cocktails. But since we were literally wined and dined to the max every day and had drinks before and after dinner, sometimes we wanted a break from the alcohol.
Drinking is a social activity nonetheless, so we still wanted to meet friends at the bar at various points of the day. We liked that we could order something besides a simple soda or juice, thanks to the mocktail menu.
The bar’s mocktail menu was an awesome and welcomed option. When you sail on Riverside Mozart, you can look forward to mocktails like the Espresso Tonic, Virgin Cucumber Gimlet, or Pineapple Ginger Beer.
11. Convenience of the Guest Laundry Room
Not all river cruise ships have washers and dryers onboard for guests to use. But we love it when they do, and Riverside Mozart has such a laundry room. There are three washers and three dryers in the Guest Laundry room on Deck 2. Complimentary laundry detergent pods and dryer sheets are also provided. However, we always travel with our own detergent sheets, which is a cruise essential. Dan likes non-scented detergent and the liquid pods seem to always have a scent!
If you want to iron a garment onboard, this is the place to do it. There is an iron and ironing board in the laundry room, which is especially helpful because you can't bring your own (nor should you) as it presents a fire hazard in staterooms.
You can opt to send your laundry “out” and have the crew do it. For this alternative, there is a laundry bag and laundry order form that Riverside Cruises provides in your stateroom. But we always take advantage of doing our own laundry on any river cruise ship where it’s an option.
12. Riverside Mozart Has Multiple Restaurants
Most river cruises we go on have one restaurant. It’s where you eat all your meals, morning, noon, and night. Some cruise ships, like AmaWaterways, have an additional restaurant like a chef’s table where you dine for one night.
But in a wonderful change from the usual river cruise experience, Riverside Mozart gives guests the option to switch up where they dine throughout the cruise at multiple venues.
Dining Venues on Riverside Mozart
The main dining venue is Waterside Restaurant, which is open for three meals a day. However, some days, we enjoyed in dining at the Blue grill at the ship’s aft. This restaurant is a fraction of the size of Waterside Restaurant, giving diners a more intimate experience. The menu includes salad, soup, burgers, flatbread pizza, sausages, and hot sandwiches.
Another dining option is the Bistro, open for early or late breakfast, or food between lunch and dinner from noon to 5:00 pm. This is also where specialty coffee drinks can be ordered.
Extra Special Dining Experiences Onboard
We were grateful for two additional dining experiences during our New Year’s Eve Danube River cruise. One experience is included with the Premium All Inclusive with Excursions fare and the other is an additional cost. If you love food and making memories surrounding meals, consider booking them.
One evening, we enjoyed a tapas menu. It was presented at the Bistro and ended up being one of our favorite meals of the trip. We loved reminiscing about our many travels in Spain through the flavors and dishes that evening, including corn chowder, beef tartare, fried mushrooms, whipped goat cheese with olives, and skirt steak with pine nuts.
Another night, we dined in the Vintage Room. This dining experience can take place with a minimum of six people who book it. The experience maxes out with 12 diners, though if the demand is there during any cruise, Riverside Mozart will have the dinner more than once.
It’s €295 per person and includes wine pairings with its multi-course menu, served in a private dining room. The white glove service was especially exquisite that night.
13. The Extensive Menu on Riverside Mozart Provides Something for Everyone
We were treated to a multitude of options for three meals a day…and then some. Something that makes Riverside Mozart unique is the plethora of food options in the buffets and on the menus you get to order from.
We are not strangers to there being a lot of food on cruises. However, river cruises aren’t the eating frenzy that people say ocean cruises are infamous for. Luckily, there wasn’t an eating frenzy on Riverside Mozart, but we were certainly more well-fed than on other river cruises. This Danube River cruise ship toes the line between too much food and enough options, which makes it perfect for just the right amount of indulgence.
The late riser’s breakfast in the Bistro isn’t much different than the main restaurant’s full buffet. You can still get made-to-order eggs, smoked salmon, toast, fruit, yogurt, and more at this breakfast.
We have found that other cruise lines only offer a few sub-par pastries or packaged yogurt laid out on the ship’s bar that doubles as the early or late riser’s breakfast buffet. But that is certainly not the case with Riverside Mozart. Instead, the Waterside Restaurant and the Bistro buffet — where you can get eggs cooked to order too — are both wonderful.
The lunch options are plentiful. The main restaurant offers a gorgeous and extensive buffet every day, with hot and cold options, including a salad bar, which was a personal favorite.
Several varieties of lettuce, in addition to the expected Romaine and spring mix, were available to us. I was delightfully surprised to find my favorite kind of European lettuce available every day called Lamb's Lettuce, which is very hard to find in the United States. It took me back to our time living in Spain! The vegetables were endless as well. And that's just the salad bar!
Additionally, when Blue was an option several times throughout our seven-day cruise, they had a full menu of sandwiches, a sausage platter with a German pretzel, and one soup and salad option.
Lastly is the Bistro, which opens daily at noon and is open until 5:00 pm. If you want a lunch that's more casual or lighter than at the Waterside Restaurant, this is the place to go. It's also a great option if you get back from an excursion in the afternoon and want a pre-dinner snack.
Riverside Cruises Has a More Extensive Dinner Menu than Other River Cruise Lines
Another reason Riverside Mozart is the best Danube River cruise ship is that the dinner menu is a little bit larger than other menus we’ve had on other river cruise lines. This is mostly because it has a pasta course at every meal. You don’t have to order everything, of course, but you certainly can if you want.
Dinner menus always had two starters to choose from: two soups, one salad, and pasta. We were able to order the pasta as an appetizer or entree. There were always four entrees to select from aside from the pasta course and several dessert options.
Vegetarian and Vegan Options
Another nice thing about the menu was that they differentiate between vegetarian and vegan dishes. If you’re a vegan, you’re likely not surprised by how many menus don’t differentiate between the two until you ask because you encounter it too often. But Riverside Mozart was great about differentiating between a dish being vegetarian or vegan.
14. Riverside Mozart is Covered in Tasteful, Luxurious Finishes
The finishes are exquisite on this cruise ship, from beautiful marble floors to the tiles in each bathroom, to the art on the walls, velvet couches and chairs in the lounges, and leather seating in the restaurants. I loved the floor finishings so much that I couldn’t resist posting a few of them to our Instagram account to showcase some of the elegant design choices.
Though it's true that this former Crystal Cruises river cruise ship is responsible for the design choices, we support the decision Riverside Cruises made when they purchased the ship to keep these finishings intact; they are phenomenal and add to what makes the ship exceptional.
15. Blankets are Available on the Exterior Decks for Your Comfort
The next thing that makes Riverside Mozart special may be a small thing but it made a difference to us. We appreciated that the crew put fleece blankets around the exterior areas of the ship for extra comfort.
Even if you sail during spring or fall, when it’s significantly warmer than a winter cruise, you will appreciate this detail. It can get breezy on the outside decks of any river cruise ship and it’s nice to snuggle into a blanket while enjoying fresh air and the scenery along the river.
16. Salon and Spa Treatments Help Maximize Relaxation
Dan and I took advantage of the onboard salon and spa in different ways. Because we travel so much, we rarely have time to stop at a salon for haircuts or manicures when we’re home, never mind time to enjoy a massage.
But because the cruise ship has a spa menu that includes these services, we were able to sign up for some pampering that we don’t prioritize at home. Isn’t that what vacation is for?
I got a manicure and was happy to have pretty nails from when I got them done until the end of the cruise. When I returned home they were a nice memory until I had to take the polish off.
Dan got a hair trim and was in tip-top shape to ring in the new year during our New Year’s Eve cruise. I had a 50-minute Balinese massage, and Dan enjoyed a Swedish massage. The spa offers facials as well.
17. Digital “Do Not Disturb” Room Signs
Riverside Mozart’s “Do Not Disturb” signs are unique because they are digital. We were happy not to have to fuss with a paper sign for the door. Is there anything more frustrating at your “hotel” room than when you have to constantly pick a paper door sign off the floor?
To indicate we wanted privacy, we simply touched the screen to toggle the digital “Do Not Disturb” button on or off. The same could be done to request our room be made up by housekeeping.
18. The Fitness Center is Top Notch
We have yet to see another river cruise ship with a Fitness Center quite like the extensive one aboard Riverside Mozart. The photo below is just one side of the gym; there is another side with cardio equipment.
If you like to work out during vacation, Riverside Mozart has the ultimate workout center for you.
19. Sweet Endings Each Day
The sweetest end to each day on Riverside Mozart was petit fours, macarons, and other treats that were awaiting our return after dinner. When housekeeping came into our stateroom for turn-down service (another lovely and welcomed touch), they would leave a little plate or dish for us.
Our favorite one was marzipan pigs. This traditional German dessert brings good luck and prosperity. We were hoping to find them in a shop in Germany, and though we saw them in one cafe, the only other place we saw them was on Riverside Mozart. We were utterly shocked and delighted to enter our stateroom after dinner one night to discover these cuties awaiting our return.
Cruise on the Best Danube River Cruise Ship
Cruising on Riverside Mozart is sincerely a river cruise experience like no other. If you want assistance booking an incredible vacation on this river cruise ship, reach out to our preferred travel agents who can get you booked right away.
You won’t regret cruising on Riverside Mozart, from the superior service to divine cuisine and a multitude of onboard experiences, not to mention great shoreside excursions at every port.