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Mozart Tunes Up Along the Danube

July 10, 1988|NINO LO BELLO | Lo Bello is an American author and journalist living in Vienna

VIENNA — Mozart's glissandos over the airwaves have a lot in common these days with the Mozart glissandi over the Danube waves.

This time the magic music moniker in question is not the composer but the new Danube river boat called the Mozart, launched in June, 1987.

The Mozart started its full schedule at the beginning of May with passengers making trips up and down the Danube--to Budapest in Hungary or to Passau in West Germany, by way of and with stops at Melk, Durnstein, Linz and Bratislava.

The poshy mammoth craft is serving as a five-star luxury hotel. It has 113 elegant air-conditioned cabins--100 of which are outside, with 16 convertible into two-room suites (sleeping two to four passengers).

The remaining 13 cabins are inside. Every cabin features a private bath, color TV and video, radio/alarm and telephone.

Built for $24 million, the 2,680-ton ship is 398 feet long, has a width of 75.2 feet and can carry 239 passengers. With a crew of 75, the Mozart has a top speed of 14 m.p.h. Its season is May through September.

Decks With Character

Each deck of the boat, furnished sumptuously in mahogany and brass, is named for a character from a Mozart opera.

Boarding is on the Tamino deck that has many of the passenger cabins and a spacious reception area.

The Figaro deck sports a whirlpool, sauna, solarium, massage room, a variety of workout facilities for fitness enthusiasts and an indoor swimming pool with a massive picture window that gives passengers in the pool a movie-screen view of Austria's great scenic attractions--especially in the Wachau Valley (with the Durnstein Castle ruins of Richard the Lion-Hearted fame).

For the best possible view of the geographic choreography on both sides of the Danube there's the Papageno deck (top) where passengers can sunbathe, engage in games or lounge in deck chairs. Other cabins are on Dorabella deck.

The focus of most of the social activities is on the Don Giovanni deck where the main lounge has a stage and a ballroom. On this level the Cafe Amadeus and the Magic Flute whip up their own magic to the tunes of a certain you-know-who composer.

Celebrity Chefs

Seating 250 people at one time the gourmet restaurant, serving five meals a day to each passenger, each week features a different celebrity chef.

This year the Mozart offers three-day (Vienna-Passau-Vienna), four-day (Vienna-Budapest-Bratislava-Vienna) and seven-day trips (Vienna-Passau-Bratislava-Budapest-Vienna), each of which provides land excursions and guided tours. (All passengers must have a legal passport and visas will be taken care of aboard ship.)

Cruise prices are $600 U.S. to about $3,220 per person, depending on cabin and the length of trip. More information, including Mozart departure dates, are available from DDSG Travel Service, Handelskai 265, A-1021 Vienna.

Four other river boats and the DDSG's fleet of passenger ships also offer trips of a special nature.

The Danube Arrow is a fast boat that in only four hours and 30 minutes flies from Vienna to Budapest. Although this boat offers special one-day excursions, it also provides overnight accommodations and meals for longer journeys.

Paddle Steamer

As the last of the paddle steamers, the Schonbrunn skims the 348 miles between Linz and Budapest once a week, stopping at Grein, Melk, Durnstein, Vienna and Hainburg. For those who want to stay closer to Vienna and spend less time on the river, the Vindobona also provides Strauss waltzes and special cuisine.

The 41-cabin Theodor Korner plies the Danube all the way to the Black Sea, a trip of more than 1,336 miles one way (round trip 14 days).

Billing itself as "A White Yacht on the Blue Danube," it maneuvers through the treacherous Iron Gate and sails past six Red countries.

For more information, contact Austrian National Tourist Office, 11601 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2480, Los Angeles 90025.

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