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Crystal plans roomy, all-suite river 'yachts,' routes that avoid congestion

Luxury Crystal river 'yachts' - all-suite ships, Palm Court with a dance floor, high-intensity shoreside options
Crystal River Cruises—to begin sailing in Europe in late March 2017—will field two boats with a yacht-like design, all-suite accommodations, lots of space, six-star service and high-intensity shoreside options, Crystal Cruises said Monday.

Crystal president and ceo Edie Rodriguez noted past guests want to experience river cruises on a luxury Crystal vessel, adding that their desires will be fulfilled on 'luxury Crystal river yachts.'

The 70-suite vessels, to be built at Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven, will have 250-square-foot suites with walk-in wardrobes, American king-size beds and bathrooms with double vanities. Two 500-square-foot Penthouse Suites will offer added comforts and conveniences. And public areas will include Palm Court ( a familiar Crystal space) with a dance floor and glass-domed roof and a fitness center and spa.

Itineraries, fares and bookings will be available beginning Dec. 1.

Crystal said it will take advantage of its large suites to avoid multiple packing and unpacking with pre- and post-cruise hotel stays as is common with some river operators by having itineraries that maximize time in port. This will afford virtually front-row access to some of Europe’s most charming cities and guarantee the award-winning Crystal service and dining 'without the hassle and uncertainties of local hotel services and standards,' as Crystal put it.

The line also said it will deviate from traditional river cruise routes to avoid congestion in port.

Destinations will include France, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, with port calls during daytime hours. Also, passengers can experience the nightlife in select destinations with port overnights, which often will present inclusive culinary experiences ashore at Michelin-starred restaurants and local eateries, and exclusive evening events and entertainment.

During days in port, Crystal River Cruises will offer immersive 'Crystal Adventures' along with a new shore program, 'Active Exploration Adventures.' These are for travelers seeking a high-intensity shoreside activity, and are included in the fare. Bicycles (electric and manual), Segways and other active gear will be available on board for independent exploration.

A luxury yacht tender will facilitate private yachting experiences that take participants to even more secluded areas within the destinations.