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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We have been on 2 other Scenic river cruises and they were above expectations. We do not know whether Scenic is now cutting corners or whether it was just this boat, but it was a real come down from our previous experiences with Scenic. ... Read More
We have been on 2 other Scenic river cruises and they were above expectations. We do not know whether Scenic is now cutting corners or whether it was just this boat, but it was a real come down from our previous experiences with Scenic. It was not just the food, service and entertainment aboard the ship but also the tours. We had read other reviews about the food quality and variety complaints before taking this cruise, but felt they were just whiners. To our surprise found that their observations were acurate. When entering the restaurant, we could not get the waiters attention to bring us a menu, so our table ended up just grabbing one as we entered the restaurant each day. The food portions were so small, we started taking pictures. Instead of providing a bread basket for the table, the waiter would cut off a small piece of from a bread roll. It was so small, you just put the whole piece into your mouth. Not all the meals were substandard though, as they did serve a great leg of lamb one night and the chateau briand and salmon were great. The fruit selection was mainly water melon and other melon fruits. There were only 2 waiters in the lounge for the talks, so we just went to the bar and got our own drinks. There was a large group of Thomas Cook people that left part way through the cruise and we really noticed a big improvement in service when they left as the crew had more time to look after everyone. Only had 2 occasions where the waiter forgot the order. Most of the tours were just a walk around a local village or town and other than some cobblestone streets, there was not much to see. The trip to the Delta Works in the Netherlands was a must see. The day of cruising on the Moselle provided spectacular scenery. Scenic have what they call Tailormades and they are fanstasic. We had these with us most of the day. They tell you what you are looking at as you cruse along or as you walk around. They are also great for listening to your guides which were very good. Scenic also has e-bikes which we found were really enjoyable for touring around the country side. They should have mirrors though. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Scenic (at least in Australia) actively market the Scenic experience as a five star world quality product. In reality our cruise was really mass tourism and more focused on drinking. The bad: The food is woefully bad. It is ... Read More
Scenic (at least in Australia) actively market the Scenic experience as a five star world quality product. In reality our cruise was really mass tourism and more focused on drinking. The bad: The food is woefully bad. It is not hard to realise that the braised beef one night is the Swedish style meat balls the next lunch. Whilst the Italian concept and French table were actually quite good the main restaurant was nothing more than a salad based cafeteria. Compared to other cruises the food and available selections was bad. The river side café was liked for the ice cream and cakes they served but the beef burgers and pasta were not eaten. Scenic markets up to 5 dining choices, so the Italian section (Invite only and French Table invite only) are again part of the main dining room but are considered 3 dining destinations. The river café is really more coffee and cake and lastly room service from a small menu is the 5th. The menus every day were wrong. The bar staff could not keep up with the amount of passengers and this is more reflective on management rather than the staff who really tried. The nightly entertainment (Ian) was good when he simply tinkled on the piano but the singing was not his best effort. On the last night he was eager to encourage everybody to have a great time. But the comments “I know I sing flat but I am still going to sing” saw many of us leave for better locations or even your room. Those in the back of the boat complained about the noise and constant vibration and these were the best suites. The rooms whilst neat had a problem with the hot water that would change from hot too cold to hold. We were told that every cabin had the same problem with the changing temperatures. Our cruise (Amsterdam to Basel) did not make it to Basel due to river congestion and you have to expect this on congested rivers. The issue being that Scenic simply printed a list of alternative arrangements and left it on the reception counter. So whilst we were warned we had no details. The tours whilst expertly organised do suffer with some bad guides. Two notable excursions the tour guide gave us a detailed analysis for 40 minutes on why people from Cologne do not get on with people from Dusseldorf. The second being a bible lesson after visiting the castle in Heidelberg for 30 minutes. The reception staff were dismissive about any queries or problems. The good: The crew and butlers are excellent. Our cabin was spotless and nothing was any trouble be it food or drinks or anything. It could so easily be a great product and time but on this particular cruise it was more a 2 or 3 star cruise that didn’t deliver on most fronts. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Really regimented agenda so didn't allow for much "downtime". For example, no time to sit up top and have a cocktail at the end of the day, as the excursions returned at 5 or later, and port talk was at 6 and dinner at 7. ... Read More
Really regimented agenda so didn't allow for much "downtime". For example, no time to sit up top and have a cocktail at the end of the day, as the excursions returned at 5 or later, and port talk was at 6 and dinner at 7. Hard to shower, dress for dinner and have some downtime in the space of an hour. Food was ok, not great. Worst part was that the Danube is so busy that 5 nights out of 7 we were tied up at the dock right beside another boat -- sometimes there were 3 or 4 across. Couldn't use the balcony as a result (for which you pay extra) and had to keep the drapes closed. Cooking vent from next door boat would spew grease fumes into our room. Lounge and dining room were nicely decorated, beds were comfy, staff was very good. Just not for us. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Every day since we left, our ship docks next to at least one other. Sometimes there are 3 abreast - this, in the low season. As a result, our view from our balcony (which we paid extra for ~silly us!) is into the window of the cabin of the ... Read More
Every day since we left, our ship docks next to at least one other. Sometimes there are 3 abreast - this, in the low season. As a result, our view from our balcony (which we paid extra for ~silly us!) is into the window of the cabin of the other ship. So, no view. One night, we were apparently near the exhaust vent of another ship and so for days after, our room and all others on this side smelled of cooking grease. Food is average to poor, you have to eat at 7pm regardless if ypu’d like to eat later, so no opportunity to have a leisurely cocktail hour, most of the towns in between are largely unremarkable, just a means to provide some diversion between the two main cities of interest (in our case, Budapest and Prague). No one on the ship other than the cruise director knows anything about the itinerary, landmarks, upcoming events, so if you can’t find the cruise director, you’re in the dark. There’s about 20 of us in our mid`50s and all have did “never again”. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We were told Scenic was top of the range with excellent food. Not true. Food was poor to mediocre - dry chicken, leathery veal, limited fruit selection, uninspiring lunch buffets, watery wines. Also evening meals took 2 to 2.5 hours ... Read More
We were told Scenic was top of the range with excellent food. Not true. Food was poor to mediocre - dry chicken, leathery veal, limited fruit selection, uninspiring lunch buffets, watery wines. Also evening meals took 2 to 2.5 hours as everyone had to be served at the same pace. The crew were as helpful as they could be, given they had to serve 165 people with drinks and food simultaneously. Shore excursions were fine. Head office admin was very poor. Asked where tickets were and was told they'd been sent. Another set would be sent immediately. They never arrived. At least three different people seemed to be involved with each not knowing what the other had said. Eventually the tickets and cruise information arrived with a week to go. As for the air transfers, the cheapest economy tickets were bought by Scenic - think last row at the back of the plane next to galleys and lavatories. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2013
As a preface, we are a couple of active, still working adults somewhat on the low end of the age range of typical river cruisers. I cancelled a back to back Celebrity cruise touring Iceland and the Baltic after reading about river ... Read More
As a preface, we are a couple of active, still working adults somewhat on the low end of the age range of typical river cruisers. I cancelled a back to back Celebrity cruise touring Iceland and the Baltic after reading about river cruising. Our experience has been mostly with the Royal Caribbean/Celebrity product. I considered Tauck, Uniworld and a few other lines when booking this trip last October. I chose Scenic based on the inclusions(tips, alcohol, all excursions, butler, internet), greater population of Australians, and appeared to have more "active" inclusions such as a gym and use of bicycles as well as "tailor made" self touring. As many of CC members, I researched and read reviews and had a good idea of what river cruising was about -- or so I thought. We booked the Jewel - the newest ship of the Scenic fleet-- based upon itinerary, and the fact that it included a gym (we love to eat). We arranged our own air/hotel stays which included 10 days in Europe prior to our July 1st Scenic cruise. Budapest is just as wonderful as all of the reviews. We stayed in a lovely B&B (Kapital Inn) for 3 nights. Our first disappointment came 2 days prior to the cruise in a forwarded email from our TA. We would not be cruising on the Jewel in Budapest, but instead would be on the Diamond for 3 nights, then we would be bussed to the Jewel which was upriver and unable to make it to Budapest due to a lock being closed up the Danube. We took a taxi to the Marriott to drop our luggage and take transportation to the ship. Quite a few people had not received word that we would not be on the Jewel. Most of us had been aware of the flooding, and although there was a little grumbling about not being told in advance, it wasn't a huge problem. Our cruise director Marin was the only staff that stayed with our group during our very challenging cruise. He did an amazing job considering the problems he faced. I'd like to mention the other ships we stayed on, as we found huge differences that impacted our trip. We ended up having to change ships again due to lock strikes in Germany after being docked in a commercial area in Bamburg for 3 nights and long bus trips for excursions. We started on the Diamond, moved to the Jewel and ended up on the Pearl. Our vision of unpacking once and enjoying the river from our balcony ended up being not so ideal. We spent much more time being on big bus tours than we thought. Did the interruptions impact our cruise enjoyment? Probably. We never did experience the "afternoons enjoying the villages on our own" The only village we stayed at required a 10 Euro one way taxi ride. I thought there would be smaller than the 40-50 groups were regularly on and the long bus rides to our destinations.Diamond: Some wear and tear obvious on the ship. It didn't matter to most of us, as we knew we would be meeting the Jewel in a few days. Some negative comments "we didn't get what we paid for", some people ended up in different cabins due to the ships not being identical. The staff however was lovely. We were greeted with cool towels, glass of champagne and a rose for the ladies. Passengers waited in the lounge. We were escorted to our standard balcony cabin after a very brief and orderly check in process. The room was explained by the very friendly stewardess. The balcony was a great feature, space for two chairs and a small table. It was somewhat annoying that the railing was just at eye level when sitting. The ability to move the window up and down was what i guess is Scenic's "signature" feature. To get the A/C to work, the sliding door to the balcony needed to be closed. Our butler "Zoltan" came to introduce himself. He was a favorite on the ship. Most wished we could take him with us. The bed was two two twins (full size twins) pushed together to make a king. L'Occitane bath products, and shower had a complicated spray system, gave it a somewhat higher end feeling. There was a "meet and greet" before dinner, where officers made some comments and the CD explained the river situation, assuring all that we wouldn't notice the ship change, that all would be seamless. Buffet first dinner, somewhat chaotic. The dining room was noisy, most were tables of 6 with a table for 2 right next to it. We found fun tablemates the first night and ate with them frequently during our trip. The wait staff was friendly and seemed very busy and hardworking. We were treated to a night sailing on the Danube to see the lights of BUdapest. We enjoyed the Diamond. DIdn't enjoy packing up three days into our trip. The plan was to take the scheduled tours with being bussed to the ship which was ahead of us. Jewel: We were to have a BBQ lunch on the top deck. Kinda sounds like fun, but it wasn't. The lines were long around the buffet, there weren't too many near tables. Drink service was odd, with waiters asking what we wanted, then never bringing it. No reception when entering the new ship. Not much in the way of greeting. Given our room keys. We find the new cabin to be much nicer -- a better use of space, no sliding door to the balcony, but a nifty folding door that we just left open. The bathroom had a huge shower!! no more complicated shower system. The public rooms were somewhat the same, it was just obvious that overall the physical layout of the Jewel was much better. You would think that this would make happy campers, right? Well, there was a HUGE difference in staff across the board on the Jewel. The ship captain was a substitute and the hotel director appeared to be on vacation. I wish this was an exaggeration. While we saw the hotel director working alongside his people, and checking on dining room status, the hotel director was never seen. People were scratching their heads, how can waiters and bar staff seem to look so "busy" all the time, but people couldn't get any service. Overall, it impacted our experience. We heard there were many verbal and written complaints. We didn't put ours in writing, because at the time I wasn't sure what was going on. THe wait staff didn't appear to be trained on how to do their job, so rather than say it was the problem with the staff, I place the blame on the uninterested hotel director. I did notice that we seemed to "warm" up the staff, mainly because I think we had a very tolerant, fun loving group of passengers. Pearl: like the DIamond, great, hardworking staff. It's hard to believe the difference. I had low expectations for food quality, and high expectations of service, but the reverse actually happened. For example, there were only two menus placed on each table of 6-8. Never did a waiter point out there were alternate selections each night. We were offered a "red" or "white" wine, and it took a few days to figure out they stock more than one choice. You had to be on guard as the waiters often would just pour what was in hand, not noticing you perhaps were drinking a Chianti that night. There was no coffee served dinner. Dining choices on the menu were limited, the food was well presented. I was pleased with my meals. Dining by buffet is difficult when all passengers eat at the same time. I never stayed in the long line for the carved meat or breakfast selections.Scenic promises much more than they are able to deliver. If you enjoy large organized bus tours, or walking tours where you are herded from one location to another Scenic can give you that experience. Our best days happened to be those which we decided to take a pass on the bus tour, and stayed on the boat while it was moving to the next port. The best experience was meeting new friends. 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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