Scenic Jewel Cruise Review by CapeGirl22
- Sail Date: August 2016
- Destination: Europe River
The service was outstanding with a crew that exceeded all expectations. The captain was always at the gangway ready to greet passengers fro the day of embarkation and every day as we returned from excursions. On embarkations every woman was handed a rose and we were greeted by the captain, cool towels for refreshing, and champagne. A butler escorted us to our cabin.
The first evening dinner was a buffet but then we set sail on the river for a beautiful evening cruise around Budapest which is a gorgeous evening sight! At the end of the little evening cruise we re-docked across from Parliament which is one of the most beautiful building in Budapest.
The next day, after out excursion, we walked into the shopping district of Budapest. It is a lengthy walk from the ship across Budapest's Chain Bridge, but well worth the walk.
All breakfast buffets were outstanding!
Lunch in the dining room was always an excellent buffet but for lighter choices the lounge and bar area had a wonderful selection of lighter lunches, pizza, soups, salads, burgers, and my favorite which was fish and chips.
Dining in the dining room was always wonderful with excellent food choices, outstanding service, and great company.
The Budapest excursion we chose was good It seems like every river cruise had the same excursion which created some extremely crowded conditions at some of the sights. It would be nice if the cruise ship companies coordinated their excursions so some were in the morning and some in the afternoon to alleviate some of the crowds. Every ship seemed to have groups at the same sights at the same time. The Viking River cruise ships had a much better docking area nearer to the sops and activities in Budapest - but Scenic had a nice quiet, very scenic docking area.
The evening cruises through the locks would sometimes create much bumping and noises in the lower deck but that was expected. Sometimes it woke me but I never seemed to have a problem if we were just cruising.
After having experienced many ocean cruises where the cruise director was always outgoing and energetic I was a little surprised by the dry, humorless cruise director onboard. He often sat by himself. He always seemed to be available for questions but did not have a very outgoing personality. He got a little better at the end of the second week. Don't get me wrong, he was very accommodating but you had to seek him out and expect to only get a minimal answer to your question.
The bartender, waiters, bar staff, service staff, room attendants, butlers , everyone was just outstanding! They worked tirelessly to make sure every need was met. There is not a huge staff and they worked for hours to attend to your needs. One of the things I did not like was that with so few staff, there was very limited service if you were on the sundeck. It seemed like they would come around once in a while but if you decide to stay on the sundeck you should expect to go get your own refreshments I cannot blame the staff. When you are cruising there are many passengers, 1 or sometimes two bartenders, and most often 2 bar service staff.
In Vienna the Schonburg Palace - the early excursion was good since it seemed to get more crowded as the day wore on. My suggestion ... the tour was approximately 1 hour but then you had 2 hours of free time which was way too much a=for just at the Palace. If the excursion included more passes to more of the museums then 2 hours would be good but
this tour only included a tour in the main Palace and then you were on your own.
The bus took you back to the ship or dropped off in town. Unfortunately the ship docks fairly far from the town and the drop off in town was too far from the place I wanted to go. My suggestion is that if you would like to see the Market then do the tour "Shop with the Chef" for that shopping opportunity.
Much of the evening entertainment was too short. There were many good, interesting evening entertainment opportunities but there were all fairly short. There was not a lot to do onboard I the evening once the entertainment ended.
Almost every tour (other than Schonburg Palace) did not have enough free time. I always felt very rushed and wanted a bit more time. The excursions were good but then there was never enough time to do that bit of shopping or to go back and see something that really interested you.
The Best of the Sound of Music excursion was just "OK". It could have been that we had the one rainy day of out 15 day cruise that day so the show was inside a restaurant that was just "ok". The food was mediocre, the room was overly crowded. The show was ok but since it was highly rated I was disappointed. If the sun had been shining the scenery may have made up for the lackluster show and lunch - but it poured. Here we were in the mountains and hills of Austria and the fog and rain was so thick you could not see! Just the luck of the day - not any fault of the cruise line.
For shopping - save it until the final days. The best shopping port was Cologne. There was plenty of time for shopping any many shops.
I have to state that every excursion was very good. I always wanted more time but the content, organization, and areas were well chosen and excellently planned.
Would I go again? YES!!!!!
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