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Sail Date: August 2019
The cruise and staff overall were great with efficient transfers and well organised tours. The staff did their best to provide support and information when necessary. The supply of special dietary need could have been better organised and ... Read More
The cruise and staff overall were great with efficient transfers and well organised tours. The staff did their best to provide support and information when necessary. The supply of special dietary need could have been better organised and there was significant waiting for special types of food, which sometimes never turned up. The cabin was well positioned, spacious and well maintained throughout. The Scenic coaches for the daily excursions from the ship were comfortable and provided WiFi and USB points for charging. They were driven safely and with the passengers in mind.The negative point was that if the coaches had hydraulics to aid boarding and departing they were not used to lower the step's height from the road. The stepping up and down from the bottom step at the back and front doors were significantly high making it difficult to get in and out of the coaches. At the end of the 14 day cruise/tour, both knees were inflamed and swollen from the strain and is still present 2 weeks after cruise and gradually improving. Sometimes the bar staff/waiters got the cocktails wrong and often long wait for service. The stops were well organised and the Scenic coach followed us by road to ensure a smooth tour. The stops were mainly to visit port/wine producing villages or Quintas. The highlight was the visit to Salamanca in Spain, which was achieved by coach from Vega de Terron. Salamanca was vibrant and busy with other tourists. The tour included a tour of the Cathedral and the square. Lunch was provided at a beautiful restaurant in the square and as well as excellent food and wine we were treated to a traditional all female trio of Spanish flamenco dancing. 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
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
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise, after going to Scenic information nights. And had not been to Portugal before. Arriving in Lisbon was not smooth transfer. Had to wait to get into our room, after a very long flight from Canada. Sheraton in ... Read More
We chose this cruise, after going to Scenic information nights. And had not been to Portugal before. Arriving in Lisbon was not smooth transfer. Had to wait to get into our room, after a very long flight from Canada. Sheraton in Lisbon not up to Scenic standards. Leaving Lisbon fine. Transfer to Madrid not good, out of cabin at 9 am, waiting in lounge until 1 pm. Could have taken a bus trip instead? Steps between floors, are not wide enough, and dangerous. Surveys should be given out early in trip, either on line or paper, so we can accurately fill in what we liked or didn't. Trip to Salamanca good, but needed more time in city. Need to be able to add buses and trips, when the first is full. Taste of Coa valley, should have had another bus trip, as it filled up early. The Coa museum, was not good, too detailed and boring, would only rate it 4/10. Raquel Miranda cruise director very knowledgeable, however very young, and needs to loosen up, connect to passengers better. Felt she treated us like young children. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
We explored Lisbon before we embarked our ship in Porto. I found Porto difficult to walk around with lots of potholes in the sidewalks and lots of empty buildings. In the future, I would skip Lisbon and head into Porto a little earlier. ... Read More
We explored Lisbon before we embarked our ship in Porto. I found Porto difficult to walk around with lots of potholes in the sidewalks and lots of empty buildings. In the future, I would skip Lisbon and head into Porto a little earlier. That being said, the hotel was lovely and our waitress in the hotel lobby knew her wines, and was generous in her information about Portuguese wines. Embarkation went smoothly. Our cabin was on Sapphire deck and was quite comfortable to our needs. Very comfortable bed. Housekeeping always kept the room immaculate and refreshed our little bar daily and gave us extra water. Loved the balcony which I could open and close at leisure. We ate mostly in the Crystal dining room, but often ate a lighter lunch in the sun lounge. We ate once in the Portobellos, the specialty restaurant. Food was delicious on all counts. Our entertainment and activities were light but highly interesting. Tours also were interesting, and there were always washrooms available. I am going to try to make the candied almonds that one person demonstrated on one tour. We especially liked the Fado music both on and off board, the cork demonstration, shopping with Chef and his demonstration, and tours to the wineries and villages. Service was always with a smile and we loved the staff, their hard work and humor. After disembarking at Porto, we flew on to Madrid. The only negative thing I have to say is about Portuguese airlines. Small and not on time. We loved Madrid. Our tour guide was knowledgable, warm and welcoming. She was always more than available and helpful. The streets are pedestrian friendly. We would definitely go there again. And our city tour guide who was also our guide at the Prado Art Gallery was exceptionally knowledgable. In conclusion, we loved Scenic. I love the all inclusive, I loved the wonderful variety of shipmates. I loved that the ship was Portuguese built, and the crew was Portuguese. But never fear - their English is impeccable. We would travel with Scenic again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We'd been on a previous Scenic river cruise and enjoyed it very much. This was our first cruise in Portugal and it was very enjoyable - food 9 our of 10, service 10 out of 10, cabin (junior suite) a bit short of space but this was to ... Read More
We'd been on a previous Scenic river cruise and enjoyed it very much. This was our first cruise in Portugal and it was very enjoyable - food 9 our of 10, service 10 out of 10, cabin (junior suite) a bit short of space but this was to be expected, butler service was impeccable The crew were all very helpful and we enjoyed the first night's dinner (Welcome Party) at the Captain's table. It was October and weather was dry but cool so we didn't see much of the Sun Deck. Excursions were well organised and very interesting. Embarkation and disembarkation were trouble-free. Bar service in the lounge in the evening was under-staffed but the bar tender and the two waiters did their very best. The scenery was fantastic. We missed most of the enrichment activities and port information talks as they coincided with our siesta time. We'd certainly use Scenic again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2016
Why Portugal? Because my husband wanted to experience Portugal Was an interesting cruise but very short on cruising. The River Douro is very short, hence we stayed several nights at the same spot. I enjoyed the Scenic Azure but the ... Read More
Why Portugal? Because my husband wanted to experience Portugal Was an interesting cruise but very short on cruising. The River Douro is very short, hence we stayed several nights at the same spot. I enjoyed the Scenic Azure but the Junior Suites were very short on space - I chose a Junior Suite as the Budapest cruise suites were very spacious. Glad of the extra space per favour of the closed in balcony. We choose to sail because of the scenery - not the wines as the crews seem to think. No way would we attend a 'Captain'/ Dinner'! A Scenic bar which, I believe is Australian, cannot make a lemon, lime & bitters - an Australian favourite. Internet was great. No break in service. Ship staff were very obliging and dealt admirably with my husband's requirements for daily injections that had to be kept between 5 & 8C. Australian staff had no idea of assistance with being able to take the needles overseas! Caused many grey hairs which was totally unnecessary! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2016
We like Scenic. Having done all the Scenic river tours in France, we wanted to visit Europe again and the country in which two famous seafarers were born - Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan. This is the first year this cruise was ... Read More
We like Scenic. Having done all the Scenic river tours in France, we wanted to visit Europe again and the country in which two famous seafarers were born - Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan. This is the first year this cruise was available, and most of it was excellent. However, what was terrible, was truly terrible. POSITIVES: We were fortunate to have included on our tour a visit to the Cathedral containing the tomb of the Vasco Gama, so we achieved that. Our business class flights from Perth via Singapore to Frankfurt on Singapore Airlines were excellent, but .. NEGATIVES: 1. the 2.5 hour flight to Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Lisbon was a nightmare. Definitely choose another airline or route for that leg! The 3 nights in Lisbon were OK at the Sheraton, very nice staff and room, but they had never heard of porridge or Vegemite .. so some education of the chefs to give Australians (38 of us, so worth bothering about) a choice of recognisable food would have improved our stay. 2. An evening dinner at "Tagine" restaurant in Lisbon near water on Saturday 23rd July was terrible. After half an hour on a bus It took an hour for half a cup of lukewarm tomato soup to arrive (by this time I had consumed the 2 small pieces of bread allocated to the four people around me), then there were some reasonable vegetables wrapped up in a piece of fish, then an hour later the dessert (a bright pink concoction which barely covered the base of the same size plate the soup had arrived in, with a strawberry on the top). There was plenty of red and white wine, served copiously. 3. More variety in on-board entertainment essential (not the same guy every night!) FINALLY We liked Portugal, found most of the tours excellent (except the afternoon ones when it was 43 degrees, which we declined) the ship, most Scenic Staff. However third parties (hotels, restaurants) need more careful selection. Onboard the "Scenic Azure" the food and staff was excellent. We needed a rest and once on board were happy to stay put. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We chose this cruise because the scenery is beautiful and because we love Portuguese food. The Duoro River in northern Portugal is spectacular: steep banks that have terraced vineyards right to the top, also olive and almond trees. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the scenery is beautiful and because we love Portuguese food. The Duoro River in northern Portugal is spectacular: steep banks that have terraced vineyards right to the top, also olive and almond trees. The Scenic Azure is a lovely brand new ship, contemporary design with spacious cabins, very comfortable. All the staff are Portuguese, many from Porto where we set sail. The service is very professional but friendly and relaxed. 96 guests and 39 crew. Guests were mainly from Australia and UK with about a dozen Canadians and half as many Americans, mostly couples and mostly active seniors from ages early 60’s on up. There were interesting excursions, many of which required some level of fitness due to the steep hills and cobblestones .... Guests who were not as able could be accommodated by bus tours. Buses were new and very comfortable. The tour guides use communication systems which guests wear so that when they dial in they can hear the commentary without the guides’ having to yell. We sailed during the day so were able to appreciate the scenery --- we docked at interesting places and there are stretches of the river that are not heavily populated. The Duoro is becoming popular but so far not over-run --- we were only rafted a few times and the other ships tended to leave early in the morning in many cases, allowing us to have our coffee on the balcony. There were no noticeable exhaust fumes from the engines. The crew were friendly and professional, and not obtrusive. They all spoke fluent or almost fluent English. We were disappointed with the food. Meals were beautifully presented and professionally served with plenty of choices, but rather bland for the most part, lacking acid balance and seasoning. We were hoping for some more strongly flavored Portuguese specialties. This certainly did not spoil our experience and we recognize that chefs must accommodate many tastes – but other guests stated the same concern, one offering the opinion that the food lacked "zest". This is an all-inclusive cruise, with no added charges and no tipping. We recommend this luxury cruise. 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 4.6
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.9
Family 1.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.3
Enrichment 3.0 4.2
Service 5.0 4.6
Value For Money 5.0 4.3

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