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Cruise Ratings
Sail Date: May 2017
For our first river cruise, we wanted to explore the scenic (castle) stretch of the Rhine. After researching several cruise companies we chose Scenic, partly because it was fully inclusive of all tours (generally with a choice of 2 or 3 ... Read More
For our first river cruise, we wanted to explore the scenic (castle) stretch of the Rhine. After researching several cruise companies we chose Scenic, partly because it was fully inclusive of all tours (generally with a choice of 2 or 3 at each port), tips and drinks. We travel on a budget and did not want to be hit by unexpected costs. We were lucky enough to have a cabin upgrade, which meant we had a balcony, which was lovely. The restaurant and lounge were very nice, as was the deck space, with a section under cover. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and excursions and wonderful staff who, without exception, were very friendly and welcoming. The captain even went out of his way to welcome passengers back from trips. The food standard was a bit variable - lovely breakfasts and lunches but occasionally the evening meals disappointed. This is the only minor negative I have on the cruise itself. We stayed independently in Amsterdam for a couple of nights after the cruise finished and Scenic were very flexible with flight bookings and even provided us with a pick-up from Heathrow Airport at the end of the cruise, which was very welcome! However, there was a problem receiving our documentation, which was supposed to arrive 2 weeks before the cruise date. After numerous calls chasing this we finally had it delivered by recorded delivery on Saturday - our holiday was due to start on Monday. This caused a lot of anxiety and many wasted minutes waiting in vain in line for the "previous bookings" section to answer my calls. These waits (sometimes as long as 20 minutes) were made more irritating because the same Scenic advertising messages were constantly repeated. I finally by-passed this and requested "new bookings", which, was answered very swiftly! Once we had received the documentation, my contact in the "new bookings" section rang to check all was well and this was a nice touch of courtesy. However, I think Scenic UK need to look at their staffing levels in documentation so they don't work so close to the wire in future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
First time going on a river cruise and the Scenic Jewel Rhine Highlights exceeded our expectations. It was an experience of a lifetime and well worth the price. We selected a balcony room and found it was more than adequate for the time we ... Read More
First time going on a river cruise and the Scenic Jewel Rhine Highlights exceeded our expectations. It was an experience of a lifetime and well worth the price. We selected a balcony room and found it was more than adequate for the time we planned to spend in it. We were near the back of the ship but not close enough to engine room to affect us. However one couple on the 2nd level asked to be moved because room located over engine area and very loud there. The average age on this specific cruise was 60+...since our first one cannot say if this is normal but likely so. Based on the excursions offered and on ship activities, it definitely is not geared to young families/children. If you have mobility issues this type of cruise could still work for you. Their excursions are rated by mobility and recommend you do additional research if mobility is severe. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this cruise based on the information provided by Scenic in their info booklet. Our travel specialist assured us that what was written was what we could expect. She was right on. We selected this particular cruise itinerary ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on the information provided by Scenic in their info booklet. Our travel specialist assured us that what was written was what we could expect. She was right on. We selected this particular cruise itinerary because it allowed us to visit 4 European countries in the 7 days we were on board. Switzerland, France, Germany and the Netherlands. The ship was lovely and spotless, the food was excellent, the staff outdid themselves to ensure your comfort and satisfaction and the daily itinerary was extremely well organized. The balcony is an excellent added feature. Because the weather was so pleasant we had coffee delivered to our room each morning @ 7:00 and enjoyed it on the balcony. It was also a great way to finish off a busy day touring. One very important feature with Scenic that we failed to appreciate until the end of the tour is the all inclusiveness of the tour price. When Scenic says you can leave your wallet in your room "they really mean it". What a wonderful feature. It is too bad that other companies don't follow suit. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We have been in several ocean cruises, but had heard good reports of river cruising and because we were celebrating special birthdays, thought we would try a cruise down the Rhine. We were met at Zurich Airport and bussed to Basel to ... Read More
We have been in several ocean cruises, but had heard good reports of river cruising and because we were celebrating special birthdays, thought we would try a cruise down the Rhine. We were met at Zurich Airport and bussed to Basel to board the boat. Both embarkation and disembarkation were very good. Our luggage was taken care of by the crew. Our cabin was on the lower deck, the same as the gym and the crew quarters. It had a high window which enabled you to look out to see where you were, but it was not suitable for watching for long! The bathroom is tiny. Adequate but tiny. The bed is very comfortable and the cabin has everything you could want, from a small fridge, restocked daily with spirits, wine and soft drink. There is adequate storage, good lighting, a wall-mounted tv on which you can access the internet as well as the latest news, movies etc. The bathroom is stocked with lovely toiletries, which will be replenished as required. A bar of soap is not quite so readily available. A butler is allocated to each cabin, but it was some days before we knew who our butler was, and then we didn't know what we could ask for, or indeed how to ask! That was probably our fault as we didn't ask, but we felt information should have been provided. Returning passengers (of whom there appeared to be quite a few) would know what to do. There were a few empty cabins on our deck. The boat was very clean. The decor was modern and quite bland. First impression was that it was quite stark, but later, having to walk through another vessel to go ashore, we realised that our decor was preferable to the chandeliers and faux French furnishings of one of Scenic's rivals! The lounge area was very comfortable, the sundeck was large and well set out. The dining room had a mix of tables from tables for two to larger ones. The staff were really excellent. They came from many countries including Indonesia, Romania and Bosnia. They work extremely hard, are unfailingly helpful and polite. There were a few hiccups, wrong drinks, requests that were never met, water glasses that weren't filled during meal times but I think that could be put down to pressure of work. Scenic promotes its included drinks policy and cruisers certainly seem to take advantage of it. There is a wine list at meal time, but most people take the proffered red or white wine. French champagne is included in the "free" alcohol, and Moet is available every breakfast. Unfortunately, people about to undertake a busy day on shore generally don't want to start the day with a glass of champagne and so the bottles are put away until the following morning. If you want champagne at any other time, you must have the only other one the bar has, and it's pretty horrible. In the lounge area is a snack area where you can have a light lunch or snack. You can order "anything" from the kitchen. We didn't test it, but I wonder if "anything" includes lobster! The food was somewhat disappointing. Whilst a good variety was offered for breakfast, if you wanted poached eggs, pancakes or waffles, an order had to be sent to the kitchen. At lunch, two dishes were obtainable from the kitchen, and the waiter was meant to give you details. This didn't always happen. We were disappointed that more seasonal produce didn't appear - asparagus, strawberries, cherries, all in peak season at the time of our trip. Salads were always the same, lettuce, peppers, wedges of tomato, carrot sticks, radish. We felt there was a limited choice at dinner, but we did enjoy some superb meat dishes. A fruit platter for dessert was astounding in its five small bits of fruit. Two shore excursions had to be chosen before leaving home. The description of the options was minimal and we found the same as the trip started. The audio guides worked very well although some people had units that refused to charge properly, so they had to stick close to the guide. Walking tours sometimes ended with free time. As we had warm to hot weather, it meant the days on shore could be long and tiring. The local guides were generally very good. The real "jewel" in this journey was the staff. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
We had never been on a river cruise and chose Scenic after much research. The first couple of days were not so interesting but Heidlberg, Koblenz, Cologne and Amsterdam were all very lovely. Our cabin was small but very well designed and ... Read More
We had never been on a river cruise and chose Scenic after much research. The first couple of days were not so interesting but Heidlberg, Koblenz, Cologne and Amsterdam were all very lovely. Our cabin was small but very well designed and we had all we needed and more. The food and beverage service was excellent and all gratuities were included. The shore excursions were well organized and again no extra charge. All of the guides we had were friendly, spoke English and were very knowledgeable. The cruise director Andreea was excellent. Breakfast and lunch were our favourite meals as there was lots of choice and quality of food was excellent. Dinner was average most nights. Service staff was always excellent. The rooftop BBQ lunch was really enjoyable and of course we lucked out with fabulous weather. The cruise director Andreea was wonderful. She is a valuable member of the Scenic cruise group and her dedication and interpersonal skills did not go unnoticed! We would definitely recommend this cruise line and would likely be return customers. Thankyou! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
We searched online for a cruise liner that had great reviews & chose Scenic for that reason. The reviews were dead on. One of our favorite events was an evening at the palace for a private performance. We will never forget it. ... Read More
We searched online for a cruise liner that had great reviews & chose Scenic for that reason. The reviews were dead on. One of our favorite events was an evening at the palace for a private performance. We will never forget it. The boat is so steady you wouldn't even know you're on a boat. The views, staff, food, drinks & extra entertainment are terrific. The choices of escursions are also terrific. There is no poor choice. You also meet so many terrific people and they are an important part of your memories. The staff for sure as well as fellow tourists. It's great fun all around. It was extremely well organized from the point of arrival, all of the excursions, meals, the daily talks explaining what was going on the following day right up to departure. They have it down to a science. We will definitly be taking another Scenic Cruise Vacation. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Retirement celebration trip of a 1st time one week Rhine cruise and we treated ourselves to a top price suite on the Emerald deck. It had a full size bathroom with bath and separate shower. To be honest we didn't really get our ... Read More
Retirement celebration trip of a 1st time one week Rhine cruise and we treated ourselves to a top price suite on the Emerald deck. It had a full size bathroom with bath and separate shower. To be honest we didn't really get our money's worth as we didn't take advantage of the butler service, being reasonably fit and healthy, and didn't spend a lot of time in our room, but that was our choice. We did enjoy the welcome bottle of champagne and daily fruit plate, were glad of the pillow menu for something firmer to support my neck and I did manage to watch 3/4 of the newest James Bond film on the multi functional Apple widescreen TV. We also had a couple of invitation only special dinners, one of which was to eat at the captain's table. The service was excellent; all the staff were very personable, worked extremely hard and seemed to pull together as a team. Most were from Eastern Europe, with some Indonesian and other nationalities in the kitchen; all spoke excellent English. The captain and our butler were both delightful and charming. The range and quality of food and drink was excellent, with a good selection of healthier options and something was always available. it would be very easy to over-indulge on both food and alcohol, but portions were small and light enough that you could have a taste, and not overdo things, given sufficient willpower. Fellow passengers included British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand couples, a couple from Chile and some larger groups from the USA. The age range was mainly late 50s upwards; there were a few people with walking difficulties, but somehow they managed to get on and off the boat, which was tricky on the couple of occasions that we had to go through another boat and there were a lot of levels to negotiate. they tended to spend more time in their cabins. We enjoyed the scenery and the excursions. Best was Heidelberg- very pleasant to walk around, not too touristy. Rudesheim's mechanical museum was well-worth visiting, but the town itself was very crowded with tour groups and it was good to escape via the cable car to see the view from the Niederwald Monument (very "Prussian" and intimidating to those with an interest in subsequent history!) Koblenz was also interesting to walk around and find pleasant corners and I enjoyed exploring the castle and its varied exhibitions, accessed by cable car a short walk from the boat.My husband found it all too hot walking through the stone fortifications in temperature of top 20s C and the heat bouncing off the walls, so I was left to wander and use my imagination. There was an interesting collections of bicycles and a number of people were able to try out some old-fashioned ones and weird ones eg penny-farthing, various historical displays and an atmospheric son & lumiere in the castle basement explaining how people used it to hide from wartime bombing. We were glad to start in Basel as the 1st stretch was the least interesting and it's worth noting that the 1st 2 locations are industrial areas and not scenic. Best to think of it as an opportunity to relax, watch the lock process and get to know the boat. Really the Rhine gorge/castles bit is just a half day and I was underwhelmed by the Lorelei! Didn't spot any sirens of the maiden variety!!. We did the Alsace wine trip, which was excellent (the owner was a star performer!), but missed Strasbourg which was the other option, (in my innocence I thought we would cruise past Strasbourg and perhaps be able to pop in on our own, but we weren't that near or on that bit of the river so couldn't). The best mooring locations were at Koblenz, Cologne and Amsterdam as it was very easy to stroll back to the boat after the organised trip. It seemed to take longer to get us all in the coaches to get to the sightseeing point than to walk back afterwards, but I suppose it was easier to get us altogether at the start. I was impressed by the walking/cycling routes, cafes and parks alongside the river for much of its length. The quality of the concert at the Mannheim palace, both the palace and the 3 artistes (soprano, baritone & pianist) was excellent - the repertoire was well-chosen to appeal to people, whether they were familiar with opera or not, and the performers were lively and engaging. Finally, an interesting orientation tour of Amsterdam, inc. a canal trip. Was able to see the old and the impressive new Amsterdam, finishing in a cheese shop- recommend the old matured cheese from cow, sheep or goat milk. I would have liked to explore more, but unfortunately we had both came down with really nasty colds, and felt quite ill and the weather was suddenly unseasonably hot, even on the canals. A sad end to an enjoyable trip, but shouldn't put others off. One final observation, I found the information device really hard to use as I have small ears and the earpiece would not stay on (I obviously need to get my own earpiece)- but it was a mine of info and did mean you could hear the guide whilst still looking around some distance away. Would I go again? Possibly, on another river. It was a good compromise between my husband's and my tastes in holidays and we both enjoyed it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I chose this cruise because I was intrigued by the idea of a cruise that really was all-inclusive - all excursions, drinks, entertainment, tipping were included, and nothing was to be paid while on board. And that's exactly how it ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I was intrigued by the idea of a cruise that really was all-inclusive - all excursions, drinks, entertainment, tipping were included, and nothing was to be paid while on board. And that's exactly how it was! I was picked up at the airport and driven to my hotel, then the next day taken from the hotel to the boat (there were lock delays, so our embarkation location was changed from Basel, Switzerland to Breisach, Germany). Disembarkation was also very smooth - a number of us were taken by bus to the airport in Amsterdam with plenty of time - which we needed, due to rush-hour traffic, and a rather crowded airport. Entertainment on the ship was great - approximately every other night entertainers were brought on the ship. This ranged from cowbell music, to a classical trio, to electric violin (my favourite!), to a klezmer band, and local styles of music. Once we also were taken to Schloss Rastatt for a concert - beautiful location for beautiful music! At the Delta Works in the Netherlands, we also had a Dixieland concert band to listen to. The local guides were always very interesting and informative to listen to, as they took you around their towns. But you didn't have to go on these tours - there were enough people who generally just went their own way, or even stayed on the boat if they wanted. The meals were always delicious - breakfast and lunch were both buffets, with breakfast being the same every day, and lunch having different options (two different soups each day, four different kinds of salads each day, plus local specialities to try out, and different dessert and ice cream every day!). Dinner was formal, with 4 courses each night - appetizer, soup, entrée, and dessert. Portions were tiny, but incredible tasting. Wine and cocktails flowed freely, so much so that my liver had to work overtime in comparison to usual. I had an incredible experience, and would easily choose to go again! Read Less
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose to cruise with Scenic after friends referred them. Being our first river cruise, we wanted to move forward with the confidence that someone else had enjoyed their experience. I cannot say enough about Scenic, and the Jewel ... Read More
We chose to cruise with Scenic after friends referred them. Being our first river cruise, we wanted to move forward with the confidence that someone else had enjoyed their experience. I cannot say enough about Scenic, and the Jewel Captain and Crew. While other river boats were unable to sail their itinerary because of low water levels in the Rhine, we did not miss one of our ports of call. The food, wine, entertainment, tours were all exceptional. I would highly recommend the Scenic family of cruises, and we will definitely call upon Scenic for our next cruise. The tours were exceptional with clean coaches, the scenery was beautiful, the transfers to and from the airport were seamless. Everything ran so smoothly. We enjoyed the bicycle tours, although found that there wasn't enough bikes on board for all the passengers that wanted to participate. This would be their only downfall. I would suggest signing up for the bike tours early to avoid disappointment. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We booked to leave Basel on 10/15/18 and arrive in Amsterdam on 10/21/18 on Scenic Jewel. The Rhine river had been low since end of June beginning of July according to many locals and crew. This trip was a disaster. We met to board ship in ... Read More
We booked to leave Basel on 10/15/18 and arrive in Amsterdam on 10/21/18 on Scenic Jewel. The Rhine river had been low since end of June beginning of July according to many locals and crew. This trip was a disaster. We met to board ship in Basel ( met at Airport) and were bussed to Worms as river was too low to allow ship to go to Basel. We took a BUS to Worms. We were in Worms two days being bussed to some of itinerary and many changes to itienerary. We asked Cruise director about status of cruise at airport first day—she told us this event happened within last week and accommodations would be made to itinerary. This trip had multiple deviations to schedules and we missed over half of Rhine river. Being bussed was difficult for many. Our cruise -turned into a BRUISE ( Bus/Bruise). We had to be be bussed to Cologne to do a ship swap—had to pack and unpack and get into a new room. This crew was beat up on new chip ( Scenic AMber) and we all sensed their frustration and tension. Many things went wrong with this cruise. We went to Frankfort and docked ( not on itinerary). My wife and I finally couldn’t take the daily mistruths and changes to itinerary and we disembarked in cologne and took train to Amsterdam to salvage a few days of this vacation. I understand the cruise line has no control over river water levels—but they do have control over information and to be deceptive ( and not tell us the truth up front about this cruise changes; nor give us an option to cancel before starting in Basel and potentially taking another trip in future) was wrong. In light of this, we met a new group leaving Amsterdam on this ship to go to Basel—-No information given to them. How information that is bad is handled is just as important as the information. They were terribly deceptive and not forthcoming. Buyer be aware. I will never cruise Scenic again nor recommend them to anyone I know. This is our 3rd river cruise( first on Scenic); One other cruise had a problem ( Viking) and it was handled so well—we went and did another cruise with them. 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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