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Sail Date: July 2019
We chose Scenic based on a couple of things. First, we had cruised with them before and thought they were great. Second, it is truly and all inclusive cruise, no extras other than laundry. Great food, top shelf liquor and all excursions. ... Read More
We chose Scenic based on a couple of things. First, we had cruised with them before and thought they were great. Second, it is truly and all inclusive cruise, no extras other than laundry. Great food, top shelf liquor and all excursions. Finally, the 11 nights appealed to us as we did 2 days just cruising and relaxing, a vacation from vacation! The food was outstanding and so were the wines served with lunch and dinner. Breakfast was a buffet with something for everyone including a few menus items. Lunch was also a buffet. Dinner was sit down with table service. There are 2 specialty restaurants onboard and we ate at both and were impressed with the food and wine pairings. The first and last nights the boat was out hotel in Porto. So we were able to see some of the city. The level of service is outstanding. 8 of us had a wonderful time! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
This trip has been a trip of a lifetime and a huge credit to Scenic for being responsible for a wonderful cruise. We have been indulged with amazing food and wine. Have met lovely people. But the true credit goes to the all Portuguese crew ... Read More
This trip has been a trip of a lifetime and a huge credit to Scenic for being responsible for a wonderful cruise. We have been indulged with amazing food and wine. Have met lovely people. But the true credit goes to the all Portuguese crew which have cartered to our every need with a smile on their faces. The cabin is spacious with a big wardrobe. The dining experience for every meal has been 5 star with a huge selection and also chartering well to dietary requirements. Entertainment and activities been fun. The service is impeccable with butlers and all the crew covering every request. Port and shore excursions have been very interesting and informative. Looking forward to doing another river cruise in the near future. One of the big positives was that it was all inclusive. The crew are. Rey professional and polite at all times. The ever changing scenery of the Douro River has been an absolute joy to see. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We love the mediterainan coast, Portugal to Salamanca Spain fabulous , The Portuguese staff highly trained lovely calm people, all down to the Hotel Manager Joao Paula Oliveira. we felt comfortable from getting on and getting off at the ... Read More
We love the mediterainan coast, Portugal to Salamanca Spain fabulous , The Portuguese staff highly trained lovely calm people, all down to the Hotel Manager Joao Paula Oliveira. we felt comfortable from getting on and getting off at the end of the tour, the cruise down the river Duro was green and calming with houses dotted amongst the hills , you could do as much or as little as you wished at each place they anchored. The director Of touring staff Carla you felt you had know for years, and anyone of the staff who took you on tours was knowledgeable and looked after each person and answered all questions. We have learned more about Portugal and there history than I ever could imagine. and I am so grateful for that . Not forgetting all the other staff who are there to make your cruise a happy relaxing time, Butlers, Bar staff, Cabin attendants , Managers of dinning rooms, Chefs, Waiters, cleaners. plus all above and below deck, most important of course the Captain , not forgetting the evening entertainment . None of our 1st. Time experience would have been so good but for all those people pulling together. All we did was enjoy each and every moment of it and let them guide us to what we could achieve to make this our cruise. not knowing how hard they must have worked together to make such a lovely cruise. Thank you scenic Azure.x Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My husband and I took the advice of our Travel Agent when booking a birthday and retirement celebration cruise for my 70-year-old Mom. Our Agent assured us Scenic was a "luxury cruise line," up to our standards. However, our ... Read More
My husband and I took the advice of our Travel Agent when booking a birthday and retirement celebration cruise for my 70-year-old Mom. Our Agent assured us Scenic was a "luxury cruise line," up to our standards. However, our time on board had disappointing service challenges, even bewildering at times. I wanted to take this opportunity to share our experiences aboard the Scenic Azure during the Delightful Douro Sailing. We have cruised extensively, including multiple sailings with Aqua Expedition River Cruises, Regent, and Crystal Cruises. When we booked "Scenic Luxury Cruises," we were expecting a similar service experience to the brands mentioned above. We had two cabins on this cruise, one for my Mom and the other cabin for my husband and me. Disappointments & Challenges: The Crew, especially the Cruise Director, Butlers, and the Ship's Manager were not particularly friendly or service oriented in our opinion, and this created multiple service failures that were not anywhere near to a luxury line. We learned early into the sailing that this was the entire Crew's last sailing. The boat was going into dry dock for the winter, and we were the last group they had to endure. The Crew was burnt out, provisions were sparse, and food was absolutely awful during our cruise, prompting us to take Uber's at every Port with a street into town and eat ANYWHERE else but in the Scenic dining room. It was raining in Porto; we had a Scenic outdoor walking tour booked with 45 minutes in the rain. I asked our Butler for an extra umbrella. Navigating the slippery, uneven cobblestones is severe enough, trying to share an umbrella while doing so - impossible! Also, this excursion specified a high difficulty because we needed to go down a considerable number of stairs or hills. Butler's answer to my umbrella request, "No, only one umbrella per suite, sorry, that's just the way it is." We bought an extra umbrella in town, but I got soaked first. What kind of company denies their guests an umbrella on an outdoor tour day when the forecast is rain? Unbelievable, but in alignment with our other experiences onboard. Crew: We found the Cruise Director, to be aloof, and not particularly keen with assisting in our minor requests. For example, on our first day, Mom asked for a piece of cake that was on display in the River Cafe. She remarked that they had been put away for the evening and she could not, under any circumstances, enjoy that cake (not even through room service) until the next day at 4 pm when they would be on display again. It was almost as if she delighted in telling us "NO." How difficult could it be to get my sweet old Mom a piece of cake? After all, this cruise was her birthday gift. Perhaps a, "My pleasure, please have a seat while we get you one" would have been more in line with what we were expecting from a company with the word "Luxury" attached to their name. Front desk young man was very unhelpful. He failed to deliver messages to our Butler on multiple occasions and sometimes didn't answer the phone at all. Also, he provided no help whatsoever when we tried to figure out how my Mom could have breakfast at 6 am before her 7 am morning walk with the Wellness coach in Port. He condescendingly said breakfast information was in our rooms, including the breakfast card for the door. None of this was previously pointed out to us by the way. The young man begrudgingly handed us another breakfast order form for the door... when I looked at it, I pointed out to Jose that it didn't start service until 7 am. He said, "Well, I guess you'll have to wait until after your walk." Once again, just perplexing guest relations. Excursions: Excursion planning was unnecessarily involved in our opinions. Instead of being able to choose all tours pre-trip we had to wait for a talk about the port excursions while on the cruise. None of the pertinent details for the port excursions were printed out ANYWHERE- they were only briefly discussed during the port talk slide show. We checked off the boxes of the tours we were interested in for the upcoming week, and we turned in the sheet to the cruise director. It occurred to us we had nothing at all to refer to for future reference, and nothing was provided. We NEEDED to know: 1. Start times and duration of each tour we booked for the week ahead. 2. Level of difficulty of each excursion we chose (need to prepare my Mom) 3. Please provide footwear suggestions (athletic shoes for hills, or casual) 4. Please give the duration times of transportation in the motor coach to each destination. This reasonable request for information necessary for our adequate planning and comfort of my 70-year-old Mom who has weak knees, a weak bladder, and hip spurs. I didn't think it was an unreasonable request. This information is also STANDARD on every other cruise we have ever taken and provided pre-cruise. However, the Butler informed us that the Ship Manager denied this information to us stating," You must attend all Port talks each evening (even though we were tied up) or make an appointment during our cruise vacation to meet with the ship manager privately so that he could discuss how Scenic corporate does things." REALLY? I was dumbfounded. I asked the Butler, "So he refuses to provide this information? This simple information, am I understanding you correctly? I have to take time out of my vacation to make an appointment to see him so he can explain why he will not supply this information?" The Butler said, "Yes, that is correct." I was so infuriated by this I hardly slept the entire night. I couldn't even begin to comprehend what kind of manager or company withholds the most basic of information from its guests. Outrageous. Information You Can Use: The Taylor Made audio devices in our cabins were a nice touch for Port tours. However, no one mentioned they could also be used during the cruise (back on board) to learn about the areas we were cruising through. We were up on deck every single day of the cruise - for hours, we would have LOVED to know that feature was accessible. We only learned about it because we saw another passenger on the last day of sailing listening to hers on deck. We asked her, "What on earth are you listening to? Taylor Mades are for the Port tours." She explained that she had been to a Scenic presentation (she was a travel agent), and had learned about them from the marketing video. Wow! Why on earth wouldn't Scenic mention this to guests? Why not have a sign or note of some kind in the rooms letting guests know? Why didn't the staff or Butlers mention this? What a disappointment, we would have loved this, especially my Mom. We asked several other guests if they knew about this great use of the Taylor Mades while cruising, and not a single one knew about it - they too were disappointed. We missed out on what could have been a memorable highlight to our sailing. Other frustrations that didn't line up with our expectations: - Bottom shelf Alcohol. A luxury cruise with only Jose Cuervo? We would have gladly paid more to have some top-shelf brands on board. My husband ordered Jose Cuervo Silver as the only tequila choice on board, and they were out until the 2nd or 3rd day of the cruise. They were also out of Pringle's, Bellini ingredients and other items we were told they needed to restock at Port on day 2 or 3. - Dining room service for lunch was slow. Fountain Sodas were flat and if you were drinking anything other than wine you had to wait a while for the only waitress to go downstairs and get your beverage order. - We waited through our entire lunch only to get flat Coke Zero. When I told Food Bev Mgr, the Coke was flat, he argued that I am just not used to Coke Zero in this country, "It's different here" he firmly exclaimed. It was uncomfortable. Why is the Scenic staff so combative? Later they fixed the issue with serving cans of Coke Zero that had adequate carbonation. - Food choices at all meals were minimal and not very good. Though the head Chef, was a lovely man, and passionate about his job, the food was far from great, and some dishes were inedible (pretty much all of the seafood). On our last night, we had rotten avocado tempura. We left the ship and ate in Port every chance we got, even paying an Uber $60 each way just to get into town. The port excursions could have been better managed. Would have loved more time in Salamanca, especially after the two-hour coach ride in. The lunch at the Hacienda Zorita was hardly edible, except for the dessert. Would have preferred an option to stay in the town of Salamanca and had an authentic Spanish lunch instead of the funky, undercooked salmon and campy tourist dance show at Hacienda Zorita. What we LOVED: -Our cabin steward. Our cabin was flawlessly clean each and every day. She's the only crew member we tipped. She deserved it. -Our tour guide in Salamanca -The Fado concert in Porto - The Captain was absolutely amazing. Incredibly genuine and friendly, we really enjoyed time chatting with him. - The adjustable beds were fantastic, my Mom purchased one back home she loved it so much. - Showers were incredibly spacious for a ship. - The open-air balconies were spectacular. - The coach drivers on the tours were great, felt safe. - All three of us loved the onboard tile painting class - our tiles came out great. My Mom was thrilled with her keepsake. All in all, I could not feel comfortable recommending Scenic to my friends and colleagues at this time, considering the service challenges that experienced. I did hear from Scenic's Senior Director after a letter I emailed about our consistent service challenges. He didn't have much to say, he said he would follow up with me on these issues and never did (it's now been 7 months). I was eager to learn if this is simply Scenic's standard level of service or if our disappointments were merely a result of a tired crew ready to be done for the season. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We did a 3 day pre cruise in Lisbon, the transfer from the airport to the Sheraton, well we waited over an hour for the rude gentleman, and we were not the only ones who had issues, Scenic you have to do better. The stay here was very ... Read More
We did a 3 day pre cruise in Lisbon, the transfer from the airport to the Sheraton, well we waited over an hour for the rude gentleman, and we were not the only ones who had issues, Scenic you have to do better. The stay here was very good, our Scenic Rep Pedro was excellent, a good orientation that evening, followed by a delicious meal at the Sheraton where we met fellow guests and our table of six, gave way to new friends for our cruise. The room was well appointed,buffet breakfast each morning was delicious, staff pleasant and attentive in dining room. Reception staff was also pleasant and informative, no issues checking in or out. Porters were also pleasant. Lunch and dinner were on your own, except for Sunday evening which was arranged in Lisbon, by coach, with a wine pairing, we had cod, duck was also on the menu, delicious. Saturday, was a morning Lisbon tour by coach followed by a visit to Sintra Palace, beautiful but had a lot of stairs. We stopped at a cafe for a delicious desert and coffee , and time for shopping. Back in Lisbon we went to dinner across from the Sheraton, an Italian restaurant with delicious food. Sunday was a free day, Pedro had arranged a walking tour to a beautiful botanical garden, and a museum tour if you wanted. Our transfer to Porto with stop at Coimbra was very good, some touring of the university and lunch on our own, with time for shopping Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We took a 10 day Douro river cruise in Portugal on the Scenic Azure in October 2018. This was our third cruise using Scenic and like the others we have taken this cruise was outstanding in every way as well as totally inclusive. ... Read More
We took a 10 day Douro river cruise in Portugal on the Scenic Azure in October 2018. This was our third cruise using Scenic and like the others we have taken this cruise was outstanding in every way as well as totally inclusive. But every kind of Scenic cruise is also different in its own way, and the one along the Douro is no exception. What stood out for us most of all was the authenticity of the experience. It’s a relatively short distance cruise with the total distance sailed about 400 km (beginning in Porto, going to the Spanish border, and back again) so there is a lot of time for excursions. Overnight cruising is not allowed on the Douro, and in some cases, you’ll stay moored for two nights. You’ll therefore do a lot of walking both on ships excursions and exploring on your own, frequently up and down hills on cobblestones. Not a trip for a person with mobility issues, or someone who doesn’t like to walk. All excursions are in Portugal aside from a visit to Salamanca, Spain. The entire ship’s crew is Portuguese and they are proud of their country and want everyone to experience it. We went to small villages, churches, castles, and wineries and in every place, we got to appreciate some different aspect of Portuguese culture and history. You’ll learn more about port wine, sardines, cork, the Portuguese royal family, the 1910 revolution, and fado singing than you ever thought possible. Scenery along the river is beautiful particularly in port wine country where there are terraces containing grape vines, olive trees, and almond trees, along with pretty villages with red roofed buildings. The Azure is smaller ship, with only room for 96 passengers. Cabins are on the small side too but were very comfortable. We appreciated that the beds could be adjusted into chairs (like a hospital bed) and that the balcony was integrated into the cabin, thus increasing the efficiency of the cabin. By the way, be sure to book on the starboard (right) side as we did, for we usually faced the river than a wall or dock with all the limits to privacy that can bring. Small ship size is necessary given the size constraints of the five locks along the way. Ship was built in 2016, so it has amenities such as pool up top that we’d not seen on other scenic ships. Food was very authentic too with a special focus on Portuguese dishes and wines. The executive chef and the drinks manager would tell us each day about the special choices on offer. Be aware that the Portuguese diet includes lots of fish, pork products, cheese, olive oil, and eggs. For those that don’t like such things, there are lots of more standard choices available. There’s no getting around the fact that Scenic cruises are more expensive than offerings from other cruise lines such as Viking. But you get what you pay for – there are no extras (including service charges; tipping is expressly forbidden) and we ended up paying no incremental costs whatsoever. We choose Scenic’s three day add on to Lisbon prior to the cruise and the three add on to Madrid afterwards. These were also excellent in every respect. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Scenic mainly manage to give you a perfect river cruise. The staff on this trip were all Portuguese and the were so friendly, they did their jobs very well. The chef's out did themselves, the food section was amazing with a ... Read More
Scenic mainly manage to give you a perfect river cruise. The staff on this trip were all Portuguese and the were so friendly, they did their jobs very well. The chef's out did themselves, the food section was amazing with a Portuguese dish every now and then. You have the choice of the full dining room or the lounge bar where you can have something light. Drinks, the bar tender made the"cocktail of the day" which was very good or you could have anything you ordered, some even had Moet for breakfast, that was a little to early for me. The port stops were good, you would be transported by bus for the am to the destinations and then back on board for lunch, either the full dining or the light lunch. I am not a great church or cathedral visitor and I found there were just a few to many trips that included churches and cathedrals. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The Azure is the smallest river cruise ship in the scenic fleet. That has its good and bad points.its wonderful to cruise with a small number of people but it does suffer in the main restaurant and bar with lack of space.The staff did ... Read More
The Azure is the smallest river cruise ship in the scenic fleet. That has its good and bad points.its wonderful to cruise with a small number of people but it does suffer in the main restaurant and bar with lack of space.The staff did everything they could but probably the restaurant suffers most from lack of space mainly in the evenings when Portobellos is closed. When open it takes about 25 guests which to an extent releaves the pressure. Does not seem to stop the scrum to get favourite tables which does seem to spoil the atmosphere that Scenic tries to create. Overall the staff were amazing especially Elia the cruise director and her team. Our room was always immaculate cleaned quickly by Suse, our butler Filipe did a great job along with the other two butlers who were always about and so helpful. The bar staff led my Miguel and his team also made sure that our glass was never empty! The only down side was the food , good but seldom excellent and too often cold even from the buffet. Dinner one night though in Portobellos was really excellent. Either than the staff the best part about the cruise was the scenery which is captivating. Trips are OK but even Salamanca left a what if , feeling at the end. A more relaxed visit to the city would have been better and not so much time spent in a banqueting room outside the city where we had a long lunch. I must say the administration of this side by Elia was incredible. Perhaps the best we have ever experienced on the rivers or at sea. This is our second Scenic River Cruise the improvements are quite noticeable especially the little touches the do to make the guests feel special. Would certainly use them again but would need to be careful about the space issues and to a degree research food issues. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
we have done all the Scenic European River Cruises at least twice but never the Douro so we were looking forward to it and are very glad that we did - and we will do it again. The crew was exceptional and nothing was too much. Our ... Read More
we have done all the Scenic European River Cruises at least twice but never the Douro so we were looking forward to it and are very glad that we did - and we will do it again. The crew was exceptional and nothing was too much. Our butler Alexandra was amazing and came up with new ideas to spoil us and make us feel special. Philipe, the cruise director together with Maria, one of the on-ship guides have excellent knowledge about the area and passed it on with great enthusiasm. The ship is the smallest of the Scenic fleet but well appointed, cabin layout makes use of every little space, the balconies provide a lot of privacy and the ship has even got a little pool which was used by a number of people. Local entertainment was well presented and very enjoyable shore excursions were well organised. We had a late departure and the crew made sure, that we were looked after until we left the ship - Thank you all for a wonderful experience! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We did hear a lot of positive comments about the Douro River Cruise and having done all the other European Rivers twice (except Russia), we gave it a go! We did hear a lot of positive comments about the Douro River Cruise and having ... Read More
We did hear a lot of positive comments about the Douro River Cruise and having done all the other European Rivers twice (except Russia), we gave it a go! We did hear a lot of positive comments about the Douro River Cruise and having done all the other European Rivers twice (except Russia), we gave it a go! The Scenic Azure is the smallest in the Scenic fleet, but perfect for this river needing only 2 meters of water and at times the river can be low. We started in Lisbon with 4 days on our own followed by 3 days with Scenic as part of the overall booking. The Sheraton Lisboa whilst a good hotel is a bid too far from the 'old town' and the places to see. However, we got our self a 72 hours '4-in-one' ticket which included the must do 'hop-on-hop-off' bus, 2 old trams - red and green (stay away from Tram 28 - too crowded and pick-pockets), a river sightseeing boat and all public transport busses. It turned out to be the right choice to get around. Sintra was a waste of time at this time of the year with crowds queuing for hours in mid 30 degrees heat. Belem and Cascais are definitely worth a visit at any time of the year. The Douro river and its valley exceeded all our expectations! Until now the 'South of France' River Cruise from Chalon-sur-Saone to Tarascon with a Nice extension was our favorite one, but the Douro River comes very close. The ever changing scenery is just stunning and the excursion to Salamanca in Spain was another highlight. The entire crew from the captain to the cleaner, from the chefs to the waiting staff is to be commended for their outstanding professional and always friendly service they provided to their guests! Using their own on board guides rather than externals was another great benefit. We’ll do this cruise a second time as well in a couple of years time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was probably one of the best Scenic river cruises we have done. Staff were excellent, from cabin workers to the head honchos. Filipe the cruise director was exceptional as were his two other guides. The Douro is a beautiful river with ... Read More
This was probably one of the best Scenic river cruises we have done. Staff were excellent, from cabin workers to the head honchos. Filipe the cruise director was exceptional as were his two other guides. The Douro is a beautiful river with extraordinary landscapes. Definitely a must do. Excursions were good and varied and of course lots of port wine to be had. The on board facilities are excellent a great gym but also great early morning yoga stretch and even early walks through the quant little towns we stopper at. No night sailing so lots to see in the day sails until you reach you night destination. The day trip to Salamanca was also great. Plunge pool a bonus on the warm sailing days. The nightly entertainment was great as was the wonderful food. Thanks for the wonderful experience would definitely recommend this to anyone looking to experience a luxurious Scenic river cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We have cruised with Scenic Tours before and they have always paid a lot of attention to detail. Each shore excursion is planned out to the infinite detail, but if you want to do your own thing then that is fine as well. All the cabins ... Read More
We have cruised with Scenic Tours before and they have always paid a lot of attention to detail. Each shore excursion is planned out to the infinite detail, but if you want to do your own thing then that is fine as well. All the cabins are well appointed with the majority having their own balcony. The beds are like sleeping on a cloud. The room service is of a very high standard. Every member of the crew greet you and make you feel as if you were royalty. If something is not right it is fixed immediately. The meals are abundant leaving you with the need to expand your belt. Everyone is able to dine in the specialty restaurant on the cruise. The wines match the meal being served. But if you do not want wine there is the option of having another type of drink. This is not a cruise for children as there are no activities for children. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We really liked the all inclusive nature of Scenic with no further charges once on board apart from spa options. Dining was enjoyably varied and generally very good. The crew were great. Dining staff were attentive and soon got to know our ... Read More
We really liked the all inclusive nature of Scenic with no further charges once on board apart from spa options. Dining was enjoyably varied and generally very good. The crew were great. Dining staff were attentive and soon got to know our preferred drinks, breakfast orders etc. The services of Sonja and Nuno in the bar were wonderful - always ready to serve with a smile. Loved my 'Bandy and Braileys'! The cabin was compact but very well appointed with a lovely sun balcony area. The bathroom was very well equipped too and all was kept very clean by Susana. The river Douro far exceeded our expectations - stunning scenery, quiet and some lovely places to visit. The weather was unseasonably chilly for late April and although we had some very good days, the wind was a challenge on occasions. We did have a problem with our butler as we didn’t meet her for 24 hours and which presented some difficulty trying to operate various things in the cabin- including our shower which we abandoned trying to take on arrival as couldn’t find the on/off lever. The butler finally came to our cabin the following afternoon when 2 men and a child knocked asking to come into the cabin to repair a curtain. My friend, who was alone, became very upset at this unnannounced intrusion as our safe was open as was our luggage as we were reorganising our use of storage etc. She had to do to reception as the phone was not answered to find out if these visitors were genuine. The butler came later and was very supportive to my friend. This seemed to be a safety issue as no one had informed us of this and they could have walked on from shore as we were still in Porto. After this we tried on subsequent days to make contact with the butler for simple requests like a pot of tea but didn’t ever make contact. We gave up trying after a few days.This was disappointing as others spoke very highly of their butler's service and I felt we missed out on a benefit we had paid for but not received. Our butler was very pleasant and friendly when we saw her on the ship, but the service was very poor probably because this was her first sailing. A final issue was the lack of emphasis on using the hand sanitiser at the entrance to the dining room. Many people became ill with a cold during the course of the cruise as my friend did as well as in the days following disembarkation, like myself, and also others we have heard from since. We always made a point of using the spray before dining unlike many others. A reminder by the crew would have helped embed this as common practice. Thank goodness it wasn’t Norovirus. We did enjoy very many aspects of the cruise and hope that these shortfalls can be addressed in the future. We particularly enjoyed the company of the passengers who proved to be very good company and a lot of fun! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This was our third Scenic river cruise. All have been great but this one was the best. Great boat, friendly crew, fantastic food and excellent day tours. Portuguese food and wine is superb, and the cruise focus on local dishes, ... Read More
This was our third Scenic river cruise. All have been great but this one was the best. Great boat, friendly crew, fantastic food and excellent day tours. Portuguese food and wine is superb, and the cruise focus on local dishes, ingredients and wines was well placed. At each daily brief the chef and tour director highlighted that night’s recommended local dish and wines. As always with Scenic there was lots of choice on the menu, but the local dishes were our favourites. We had a little trouble with high water given the heavy rains before we arrived and were required by the Portuguese authorities to dock at unplanned locations. But Scenic did a great job of keeping us informed, arranging for day trips when we were docked unexpectedly, and making sure everyone got to the airport to get on to their next destination. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone who likes history, food and wine. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Friends had good experiences with Portugal and we wanted to try another cruise with Scenic, so this cruise was a great fit. Overall, it was a fantastic experience and we felt it was well worth it. We took the 3 day extension in Lisbon ... Read More
Friends had good experiences with Portugal and we wanted to try another cruise with Scenic, so this cruise was a great fit. Overall, it was a fantastic experience and we felt it was well worth it. We took the 3 day extension in Lisbon ahead of the cruise and are glad we had a chance to visit there. The one day tour organized by Scenic gave a good overview so we could go back and revisit some of the sights on our free day. Great city to visit. The Scenic Azure is a great ship.The crew was great. All very friendly and attentive to our every wish. All crew members were Portuguese and very friendly, so gave us another source of information about the area and the food. One of the advantages of the small ship experience. It will be hard to adjust to normal life after being spoiled like that. The dining was excellent, with lots of tasty choices at every meal and always some local dishes, so we could experience the area were passing through. My wife's gluten free diet was never a problem as the chef adjusted dishes for her, or offered tasty alternatives. The visits along the Duoro were well planned, well executed and interesting. Many days, there were multiple choices, so you didn't have to suffer from "ABC". One example was a canoeing experience that I enjoyed (although it was a kayak, not a canoe!), while my wife went on a visit to a local farm where she learned how they lived, had a tour of the home and sampled preparation of coated almonds. The guests on this particular cruise were mostly Australian, lots of Canadians and a few Brits to make up the roster. That is a great mix and made it that much more fun. Most of the group was seniors and no children were aboard. Note that the ship departs from its own Quay in the city of Porto, not from the cruise ship port of Leixoes, but the menu above doesn't give that choice. On the down side - internet connectivity was shaky a few times, but the wifi was free and good most of the time. One of the moorings we had to use due to river water level issues was not great since there was nowhere to walk and no wifi, but the rest were excellent. I would definitely recommend this cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We saw this Cruise listed in one of Scenic's brochures and thought this was a little different. It was a unique experience and were fully occupied by our Tour Director Raquel. The villages and port making establishment visits were ... Read More
We saw this Cruise listed in one of Scenic's brochures and thought this was a little different. It was a unique experience and were fully occupied by our Tour Director Raquel. The villages and port making establishment visits were well balanced as was the whole trip. Having cruised the Danube and Russia on Scenic's boats as well as the Inside passage, this cruise was very contrasting both in the scenic sense but culturally. The were able to interact more closely with the locals than ever before. Although the growing of grapes and the making o port was much of the focus of this cruise, and there was certainly no shortage of beautiful ports, the beauty of the countryside was stunning. So too was the attention paid to detail on the Scenic Azure that was equal to previous Scenic River Cruising boats. We concluded our tour by saying "we could easily live here". Our River Cruise was preceded by a 3 night extension in Lisbon that is really worthwhile with plenty of time to "do your own thing". Don't wait, just do it! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We were in Lisbon three days before we boarded the ship. Lisbon is a beautiful city with great buildings to look at. We had great tours from Scenic to many areas of Lisbon plus went to the ocean to see the beaches. Great accommodations in ... Read More
We were in Lisbon three days before we boarded the ship. Lisbon is a beautiful city with great buildings to look at. We had great tours from Scenic to many areas of Lisbon plus went to the ocean to see the beaches. Great accommodations in Lisbon at the Sheraton, within walking distance of lovely old areas. Getting on and off the ship was very easy and orderly, a young crew but were fantastic. So accommodating and really enjoyed there job. The dining was wonderful for breakfast, lunch, and dinner always a special treat awaiting us. The wine was excellent as it was from the local areas we were in. We had a wonderful piano player who looked like Richard Gere with a wonderful voice. There were always games to partake in at night or just enjoy a night cap with the other guests. The shore excursions were top of the line just as you would expect from Scenic and its crew. A cocktail event at the Douro Museum with Port Tonic. Or touring the town of Lamego to see Portugal's first toll bridge. The city of Salamanca that is a world heritage site along with the history of wine production. The small village of Provesende where we were brought into a bakery to see how they still use the old ovens to bake the bread. WE also enjoyed port in a restored manor house. The owner actually took us around his estate. We went to a dinner like none other at Taylors Cellars that included traditional Fado music and wonderful views of the Douro River. All in all the cruise was excellent and Portugal is a wonderful place to visit. This should be your next cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
This is our sixth river cruise, and our third one with Scenic. While we have had very good experiences with AMA and Uniworld, we just loved the all-inclusive Scenic experience, with interesting excursions and great fellow travellers - the ... Read More
This is our sixth river cruise, and our third one with Scenic. While we have had very good experiences with AMA and Uniworld, we just loved the all-inclusive Scenic experience, with interesting excursions and great fellow travellers - the Australians! On this cruise, there were plenty of Canadians, Kiwis and Brits with the Aussies, and we all enjoyed our Commonwealth experience:) The Scenic Azure is a new ship, and the crew are all Portuguese. They were wonderful! All passengers remarked repeatedly on the professional and personable service we all received. The ship is very modern and built specifically for the Douro locks, so rooms and public areas are less spacious, but then there are only 96 passengers on board. Our room had an enclosed balcony, and an extremely comfortable bed with settings so you can sit up in bed. This was our first time to Portugal, and in comparison to other European rivers, this is much more quiet, with very small ports. This allowed for lots of great sailing time with drinks on the top deck enjoying the gorgeous scenery and tranquility. There were lovely excursions to Mateus, to beautiful gardens, the Coa Museum, and, of course, port houses and tastings. Breakfast was a delicious hot and cold buffet, and you can order hot items as well. Lunch could be a buffet in the dining room with different specials, or a lighter lunch in the lounge. Desserts and snacks were always available in the lounge. Dinner was a sit down affair, and you could reserve a space at the specialty restaurant Portobello, or a special set menu with Table d'hôte. After dinner, we would head for the lounge to either play trivia games or sing and dance with the musician. I learned some Aussie dances (Nutbush?!) and we all had a very good time. Excursions are included, alcohol is included, tips are included - you don't need to open your wallet. Scenic makes sure to pick you up from the airport, take you to all the excursions, and bring you to the airport (we were the only ones leaving Madrid at 6 am, but there was a beautiful Mercedes coach to take us to the airport, included) Some passengers came one day late due to airline issues, and the Scenic butlers came out to help them to the ship, and made them a special lunch as the rest of the group were out on excursions. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We have been on 3 previous Scenic River Cruises which we enjoyed but this was the best yet. Arrangements were good, the crew were excellent and the weather was great. Using a crew who were all Portugese proved to be an inspired ... Read More
We have been on 3 previous Scenic River Cruises which we enjoyed but this was the best yet. Arrangements were good, the crew were excellent and the weather was great. Using a crew who were all Portugese proved to be an inspired decision.They were all most polite and extremely helpful, nothing was too much trouble for them. The Azure sensibly had a smoking area at the rear of the sun deck, unlike the other boats we have sailed on, Our cabin was spotless and well maintained during the voyage. Food was varied and good quality. Unfortunately, being elderly, we could not tackle all the shore trips but enjoyed the ones that we could manage. The on-board musician was talented and the activities were interesting though, being elderly, we couldn't manage all. Our tour manager was very knowledgeable but inexperienced and wasted too much time giving unnecessary detail at great length. Overall not quite 5-star but 4 1/2 say! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
On board dining excellent although "The Portbello Experience" was sadly lacking. Not helped by the cruise director walking around the area giving the very lengthy port briefing. No greeting or farewell by the butlers at this ... Read More
On board dining excellent although "The Portbello Experience" was sadly lacking. Not helped by the cruise director walking around the area giving the very lengthy port briefing. No greeting or farewell by the butlers at this event. General dining could not be faulted especially Tiago our waiter who was excellent. Evening drinks served by Sofia and her assistant was excellent again. Thank you Sofia and assistant. Excursions when accompanied by Maria Helena were excellent and she could not be praised enough for her humour and also extensive knowledge. The last full day was a rush as we wanted to go on both the morning and the afternoon tours, which we did. Unfortunately this left us only 40 minutes on return to shower and change for the Taylors meal which has been put back from the previous day. A tiring day not helped by the fact the meal was terrible. There were no choices of menu, the soup was lukewarm in a cold dish, the meat, again on a cold plate and lukewarm was far too rare for us, my wife's meat was raw in the middle and she did not eat it. This was mentioned casually to the cruise director who told my wife to see the maître de. Half of the people on our table did not eat their meat for the same reason. The few vegetables on the plates were also haphazard, different portion size. Finally I would have expected more than a small glass of port when you visited such an establishment although there was ample wine. We were unable to do the online survey as we had no time, receiving late the evening before and having such a busy final day. The transport to and from the airport was excellent. Not the best way to finish what is a luxury holiday and leaves me undecided if I would use Scenic again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We previously had a great experience with Scenic when we went to New Zealand 18 months ago. Our expectations of this river cruise were met and exceeded. The ship's specifications and comfort level were very good indeed. The ... Read More
We previously had a great experience with Scenic when we went to New Zealand 18 months ago. Our expectations of this river cruise were met and exceeded. The ship's specifications and comfort level were very good indeed. The customer service was excellent with a can-do attitude, very friendly and professional standards. The food was lovely. All the crew were very friendly and made you think you were their only customers and not that they were repeating this time and again. There was a small problem with the room which was repaired thoroughly and very quickly with no inconvenience to us at all. The meeting and greeting each time we left and boarded the ship was very welcoming and also very reassuring that security was taken responsibly. The pianist played almost continuously and really came into his own during the top deck barbecue one lunch time. This was glorious. Great food, atmosphere, music and sunshine!! Food and drink were lovely at all times - just go on a diet before you start your holiday. We were not left wanting at any time. I found the holiday thoroughly relaxing in every way. I would recommend it 100%. More coaches were provided for our excursions than actually needed to give us more space, rather than filling each seat. The excursions were varied, good choices offered and very well conducted. When an excursion was led by a local guide, the tour staff based on our ship came along too to ensure smooth running. They were the "tail-end Charlies" to ensure no one was left behind but they were discreet in doing this. The only criticism we all had was the poor meal provided by the restaurant in Salamanca, the trip there itself, though, was lovely. Regarding the ship, Wifi is very intermittent but there is a warning about this in the information provided before the trip. The public rooms could also be chilly at times so a jacket / wrap would be useful. We did ask for the temperature to be increased but this wasn't always effective. Regarding Scenic, I would like to suggest that they don't colour code the name badges with the silver, gold and platinum customer status. Sometimes it can lead to a type of attitude amongst some client which we noticed on our New Zealand tour - but not so much on the river cruise. I suggest there is a points system to reward regular clients which doesn't then need to be publicised. I would definitely go again. It was one of my best holidays. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our first River cruise. We were interested to see how Scenic compared to Seabourn as we have been on 2 of their cruises & were delighted with every aspect. Gladly, Scenic exceeded our expectations & was on a par with ... Read More
This was our first River cruise. We were interested to see how Scenic compared to Seabourn as we have been on 2 of their cruises & were delighted with every aspect. Gladly, Scenic exceeded our expectations & was on a par with Seabourn. From the food, service, staff, comfort, attention to detail & enjoyment. We were happy that all drinks & alcohol were included as this didn't seem very clear on the paperwork. We like that the tips & food are included also, so that we didn't have to worry about money. We enjoyed staying 2 nights in Poto Sheraton pre cruise. We would like to make a special mention to Maria Helena, Tiago, Sophia, Miguel, Jose, Rodrigues,Fillipe & our Brazilian room assistant. I would only request that there was a fitness class i.e yoga later in the day about 5pm. We enjoyed the excursions but having a toilet on the coaches would be helpful, as the queues in restaurants for the ladies loo were ridiculous. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was a lovely cruise on a smallish classy boat, with a hugely attentive and friendly local crew, Food and cabin were good, but most important of all the ambiance and feeling on the trip was wonderful with the Douro being a truly ... Read More
This was a lovely cruise on a smallish classy boat, with a hugely attentive and friendly local crew, Food and cabin were good, but most important of all the ambiance and feeling on the trip was wonderful with the Douro being a truly unspoilt and magnificent destination. The excursions were well organised with entertaining and knowledgeable guides. It of course helped that the weather (October) was neither too hot nor too cold. In summary we would highly recommend - it wasn't cheap but the inclusive nature, alcohol and tours, made it better value for money than it seemed on the ticket price. The flights were via Portuguese airlines, which were both surprisingly pleasant and punctual. The transfers were fine, albeit the traffic from Porto airport to the ship was awful. Overall highly recommended on this our second scenic tour - they have developed a way of employing good staff who seem genuinely to enjoy helping all their passengers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
It is not common these days for an actual experience to live up to its billing.However,this tripdid and more!In 11 days, we were immersed into the wonderful country of Portugal and itspeople.Portugal and its people are to be be admired.The ... Read More
It is not common these days for an actual experience to live up to its billing.However,this tripdid and more!In 11 days, we were immersed into the wonderful country of Portugal and itspeople.Portugal and its people are to be be admired.The landscape is beautiful and the people are hard-working and friendly. The Scenic Azure is a modern, state of the art, cruiseship.The staff (all Portuguese) are efficient and customer-focused.Our butler was incredible. The cruise director was impressive.The excursions were interesting & relevant.The Sceniccoaches were comfortable and the drivers were amazing.The food & Portuguese wines were first class.The ship captain & crew were highly skilled.The airport transfers & hotelaccommodations were first class.The trip was over too soon! Lastly,we met some wonderful people from Canada,the USA,Australia & elsewhere. The people that you meet working on the ship and the other passengers create lasting memories which cannot be replicated. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
Scenic used to be a very good River Boat Liner. The reason I always choose Scenic is they are taking good care of their customers, good restaurant service and cabin is always clean. Plus, all excursion & tips are included. Apparently, ... Read More
Scenic used to be a very good River Boat Liner. The reason I always choose Scenic is they are taking good care of their customers, good restaurant service and cabin is always clean. Plus, all excursion & tips are included. Apparently, I am kind of disappointed with Scenic Azure compare with Scenic Diamond & Scenic Sapphire, I have to admit Scenic Azure has to do lots before it can compare with the other two cruise ships The following are my complaints with Scenic Azure: - Restaurants: Drastic cutting cost on foods & waiters. Only 4 waiters serving over 90 customers in the Crystal dining room. Usually there are always waiters or bus boys around us, we never have to wait for our refill of wine, tea or coffee, but not on the Scenic Azure we always have to wait for quite sometime before we have our refill on wine. - Quality of foods on all meals have been drastic cutting costs. All seafood are not fresh and terribly cooked, desserts are terrible as well. Only good thing is steaks are always cooked well. - Cruise Director , Rachell , lack of experience and unknowledgable. I always enjoyed with the tour directors on Scenic, they are all very friendly and well experienced. They always brought good atmosphere on the daily Port talk, but on Azure, every Port talk seems like teacher giving lecture to all kids. Rachell, treated us like kindergarden kids and have no respect. She cancelled all my Excursion Tours, cos she said the way I marked the circle are all wrong. Being as a Canadian, we usually put a check mark or a stroke on the circle, but according to Rachell, these indicate that they are cancelled, we [=have to circle them, perhaps this is the Portugal way of doing multiple choices.She made a big mess on all our excursion tours. making us all frustrated. - railings on Scenic Cruise Lines are always sparkling clean and shiny but not on Azure. All fingerprints can be seen easily on all railings, even spider webs are around on some of the railings too. -Hotel Manager , we can hardly see him around. Only thing I have to give credit on this boat is.....cabin is a bit spacious compare with the other boats and is always clean. Read Less
Scenic Azure Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.8
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.9
Family 1.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.3
Enrichment 3.0 4.1
Service 5.0 4.6
Value For Money 5.0 4.2

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