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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
My wife and I recently took a European River Cruise on the Scenic Jewel from September 15 through 29, 2014. This cruise started in Budapest, Hungary, followed the Danube through Austria and southern Germany, then took the Danube-Main Canal ... Read More
My wife and I recently took a European River Cruise on the Scenic Jewel from September 15 through 29, 2014. This cruise started in Budapest, Hungary, followed the Danube through Austria and southern Germany, then took the Danube-Main Canal to the Main River, and finally ended up on the Rhine, with the cruise ending in Amsterdam, a total distance of about 1800 km. Through good fortune, there was hardly any rain for the duration of our trip, with temperatures above 20 Celsius nearly every day. We are experienced ocean cruisers, but this is the first time we have taken a river cruise. We also arranged air transportation through Scenic, and the transfers between the airport and the ship were quick and flawless. The Jewel is a new ship, completed last year expressly for these waterways. It holds about 160 passengers on three decks, the top two having balconies with sliding windows that can be opened or closed depending on the weather. The cabins are spacious with every amenity and we found the beds very comfortable. All rooms featured an entertainment system with which you could access television, music, shipboard information and the Internet though we found with all the activities we hardly used that. The ship features the ‘Crystal’ dining room which featured buffets at lunch and usually sitdown dinners. The food was uniformly good and they were very careful to point out dishes that might trigger my nut allergy. There is also an Italian restaurant called the Portobello that all passengers can try. The ship has a lounge which also functions as an entertainment venue and bar/café. The entertainment was low key, consisting of folk artists, lectures and demonstrations. For those used to the splashy shows on ocean cruises, it will seem pretty small scale. Finally there is a sun deck where you can watch the world go by, for every day on a river cruise there is something to see. On the Danube Main canal, access to the sundeck was restricted because of low bridges. All excursions were included in the price we paid. The biggest problem we had was trying to choose one of the two or three options sometimes on offer. Scenic attempts to create experiences for their passengers so that in addition to the usual city tours, you can also do things like attend musical performances, wine tastings, “medieval feasts” and so on. There are power assisted bikes for those that like to explore on their own, and audio players that may be used for self tours. We were kept very busy with all the activities. The local guides were uniformly superior and in keeping with the all inclusive nature of the trip would not accept tips. In every respect, this cruise exceeded our expectations. The service from the 50 staff members was uniformly friendly and attentive, and when this cruise company says that their cruise was “all inclusive” they really meant it, right down to the mini bar in the room and the free Wi-Fi. The only extra cost we incurred was laundry. There’s no doubt that all inclusive river cruising in Europe is expensive, but in this case you get what you pay for. Another good thing about river cruising is that with only 160 passengers you soon get to know your fellow travellers, unlike a large cruise ship where you hardly ever see the same person twice. We would unreservedly recommend Scenic to anyone considering a European river cruise and will use them again ourselves.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
From the time we arrived at Budapest Airport to the time we left Amsterdam Airport our river cruise on the Scenic Jewel can only be described as First Class. We were welcomed by our butler and the Captain with a glass of champagne, which ... Read More
From the time we arrived at Budapest Airport to the time we left Amsterdam Airport our river cruise on the Scenic Jewel can only be described as First Class. We were welcomed by our butler and the Captain with a glass of champagne, which set the tone for the whole trip. The Scenic Jewel was impeccable, sparkling throughout, as was the crew and service. This was due to the Captain and Cruise Director running a happy ship. The cuisine was wonderful and when Scenic say "all inclusive" it certainly was. Nothing was too much trouble. The tours were first class and enhanced by the provision of personal GPS units which had details of all points of interest programmed in. There were also Scenic Enrichment concerts, a banquet at Marksburg Castle, what a fun night, and not forgetting the Schnapps tasting!! The passengers were mainly Australian with a sprinkling of British, Canadian and New Zealanders, a great mixture, the whole ship gelled really well and we now have new friends in Australia and Canada. In all it was the best cruise we have been on, have not stopped talking about it since our return. We have now booked a Canadian Tour with Scenic for July 2015. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013
We sailed from Budapest on August 12, 2013 aboard the Scenic Crystal. From the moment we stepped aboard everything was perfect. Greeted with a rose and a drink, we were ushered to the lounge. Our butler then came to collect us and show us ... Read More
We sailed from Budapest on August 12, 2013 aboard the Scenic Crystal. From the moment we stepped aboard everything was perfect. Greeted with a rose and a drink, we were ushered to the lounge. Our butler then came to collect us and show us to our cabin. We were in Balcony Suite 329 on the Danube Deck. Our luggage was waiting for us in our room. I was surprised by the amount of space, especially storage and hanging space. Every aspect of the trip was first class from food, drinks, entertainment, excursions and staff. Due to low water in the locks, meaning our ship couldn't pass through, we were transferred to the Scenic Jewel in Nuremburg. This was done very smoothly and with a minimum of fuss. We had some misgivings as we had developed relationships with the staff and were concerned that the other ship might not be so good but it was! The staff on the this ship were friendly, cheerful and helpful too. The Jewel and Crystal are identical in layout and the few differences were positives, e.g. Better pressure in Jewel's showers and folding doors on the balcony rather than sliding (this meant they could be fully opened). Some personal highlights were the excursion to Cesky Krumlov, a visit to a family run winery, Durnstein in Austria, concert at Litchenstein Palace in Vienna, sailing through the Wauchau Valley and the Rhine Gorge. We completed our cruise at Amsterdam on August 26. I could give a blow by blow description of the whole trip but that would take the shine off your experience. This is a holiday that can be as busy or as relaxed as you want it to be - you choose the pace of your days and select what you want to do or not do. As it is ALL INCLUSIVE, we did not spend a cent whilst on board (except to get some washing done). The greatest attraction of this style of holiday for me, is that we unpacked and were transported from place to place, often as we slept. If you are considering a European River Cruise, my advice is "Do it!" and in my opinion Scenic are the company to do it with. Happy sailing!   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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