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Cruise Ratings
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Positives and negatives. First the good news. All shipboard personnel were terrific...helpful,friendly, eager to please and competent. Great attitudes in spite of grueling work schedules. The cabin, on the diamond deck, was ... Read More
Positives and negatives. First the good news. All shipboard personnel were terrific...helpful,friendly, eager to please and competent. Great attitudes in spite of grueling work schedules. The cabin, on the diamond deck, was super.....spacious enough, quiet, and kept spotless by our room attendant. Both arrival and departure from the ship were extremely well organized. Daily briefings by the cruise director were clear and informative. Multiple onshore activities from which to choose.....all included in the "all inclusive" price of the cruise. No surprises there. Now the not so great news. First, I should note that this was our first river cruise, so some of these obversations may be applicable to all such trips and not specifically applicable to this one alone. The overall impression is that the business model here involves cramming the maximum number of paying customers onboard while providing the minimum number of staff possible to attend to their needs. The "personal butlers", for instance, were more often serving as waitstaff in the dining room than as butlers. Ours was more than willing to deal with our (infrequent) requests, but was clearly relieved whenever I handled whatever task was at hand rather than intruding on his other duties. Again....this MY impression, and not a reflection on his thoroughly professional demeanor. The brochure gave the inaccurate impression that there are there are three separate "restaurants" on board. NOT true. In reality, there is ONE. The "river cafe" is in fact a small salad and dessert station and two chafing pans setup in a corner of the bar. Tiny selection of pre-cooked and often mediocre fare. The "portobello" venue is actually a few tables set up to the front of the bar and used as seating for the aforementioned "River cafe" during the daytime. In the evening those same tables host a small number of invited guests for a dining event which is indeed superior to the otherwise unremarkable fare served in the ship's only real dining room, the "Crystal". Though there is open seating, meals are actually served at a single seating time, with little leeway given. Indeed, when we entered the dining room 30 minutes into the 90 minute "window" listed as the dinner period we were informed that we must be seated at once, or miss dinner, as the "first course had already been served.". The real problem is that all of the passengers, wherever seated, are eating food prepared in a kitchen woefully too small and understaffed for the job. Having owned several restaurants, my wife and I identified the problem immediately. All staff were doing their level best to deal with unrealistic workloads. With the exception of a few "alternative choices" available at dinner, virtually nothing is cooked to order on the ship. Breakfast and lunch are served as buffets with nearly identical setups daily. Dinner offers a choice of three main courses. In general, this feels like an assembly line operation. Overall, the food on board was uneven in quality and a real disappointment given the cost of the trip. Adding to the feeling of "mass production" is the fact that the dining room is over-crowded with tables sitting much too near each other. The scenery ashore was a major disappointment for much of the trip. Other than a few hours one day in the Rhine Gorge (where all of the brochure pics must come from) we might as well been anywhere in the midwest U.S. The shore excursions often involved coach rides of varying lengths with guides of varying quality. Strasbourg and Heidelberg were lovely. Some of the others not so much. Anyway, Good luck! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
The cruise deconstructed....Our cabin (Deluxe Balcony Suite) was great. The bedding excellent, the space roomy, plenty of closet storage, comfortable balcony chairs (we loved that the large window rolled down to open), and the roomy ... Read More
The cruise deconstructed....Our cabin (Deluxe Balcony Suite) was great. The bedding excellent, the space roomy, plenty of closet storage, comfortable balcony chairs (we loved that the large window rolled down to open), and the roomy shower made the bathroom feel larger. The public space lounge area was also nice with large viewing windows and lots of comfortable chairs and couches. The staff was incredibly hard working and cheerful. I don't know when any of them get time off as they all seemed to double up (our butler was also a dinner waitperson, ditto for the lounge cocktail waitress, etc.). Our cabin person cleaned our room in the morning (it was always done when we returned from breakfast - better service than many high-end hotels offer) and refreshed it in the afternoon. The cruise director was totally on top of all aspects of the cruise and excursions. Plus the arrival and departure from the ship was impressively organized. So, why only three stars? Two reasons. When you look at the description and photos describing the trip, you might reasonably think that the scenery will be beautiful and idyllic all the way. Uh, uh, not even close - in fact, talking with other passengers, this was the biggest disappointment of the cruise. We had one day of traveling through the Rhine Gorge that was beautiful and truly reflected the cruise description. Aside from that, the rest of the cruise was primarily trees, a few towns, and some almost industrial areas. If this is an aspect of the trip that is important to you, you will be disappointed. Second reason - the food. As one table mate said, the best meal he had was at a restaurant in one of the towns we stopped at. Another table mate (our fabulous new friends M and T) said during one good dinner, "this meal let's you know they can make a good meal". The meals were hugely inconsistent. Our first night dinner at the invitation only Portobellos was very good and we had another couple of dinners that were good also. But, the breakfast and lunch buffets and other dinners were very disappointing. Having spent many years in the restaurant business and being slightly foodie snobby, we felt that there were really two problems. First, too many of the ingredients were not quality. Secondly, they are trying to do way too much in too little space. The food just doesn't reflect what is supposed to be a high-quality experience. That is partially what we paid for, yes? So, the week was relaxing, the other passengers friendly, and we loved spending time with our new friends, but I wouldn't plunk down the money for another river cruise anytime soon. Read Less
Scenic Jewel Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.6
Dining 5.0 4.3
Entertainment 2.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.7
Family 1.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.3
Enrichment 3.0 4.3
Service 4.0 4.7
Value For Money 5.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 3.3

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