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Retirement celebration trip of a 1st time one week Rhine cruise and we treated ourselves to a top price suite on the Emerald deck. It had a full size bathroom with bath and separate shower. To be honest we didn't really get our money's worth as we didn't take advantage of the butler service, being reasonably fit and healthy, and didn't spend a lot of time in our room, but that was our choice. We did enjoy the welcome bottle of champagne and daily fruit plate, were glad of the pillow menu for something firmer to support my neck and I did manage to watch 3/4 of the newest James Bond film on the multi functional Apple widescreen TV. We also had a couple of invitation only special dinners, one of which was to eat at the captain's table. The service was excellent; all the staff were very personable, worked extremely hard and seemed to pull together as a team. Most were from Eastern Europe, with some Indonesian and other nationalities in the kitchen; all spoke excellent English. The captain and our butler were both delightful and charming. The range and quality of food and drink was excellent, with a good selection of healthier options and something was always available. it would be very easy to over-indulge on both food and alcohol, but portions were small and light enough that you could have a taste, and not overdo things, given sufficient willpower. Fellow passengers included British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand couples, a couple from Chile and some larger groups from the USA. The age range was mainly late 50s upwards; there were a few people with walking difficulties, but somehow they managed to get on and off the boat, which was tricky on the couple of occasions that we had to go through another boat and there were a lot of levels to negotiate. they tended to spend more time in their cabins. We enjoyed the scenery and the excursions. Best was Heidelberg- very pleasant to walk around, not too touristy. Rudesheim's mechanical museum was well-worth visiting, but the town itself was very crowded with tour groups and it was good to escape via the cable car to see the view from the Niederwald Monument (very "Prussian" and intimidating to those with an interest in subsequent history!) Koblenz was also interesting to walk around and find pleasant corners and I enjoyed exploring the castle and its varied exhibitions, accessed by cable car a short walk from the boat.My husband found it all too hot walking through the stone fortifications in temperature of top 20s C and the heat bouncing off the walls, so I was left to wander and use my imagination. There was an interesting collections of bicycles and a number of people were able to try out some old-fashioned ones and weird ones eg penny-farthing, various historical displays and an atmospheric son & lumiere in the castle basement explaining how people used it to hide from wartime bombing. We were glad to start in Basel as the 1st stretch was the least interesting and it's worth noting that the 1st 2 locations are industrial areas and not scenic. Best to think of it as an opportunity to relax, watch the lock process and get to know the boat. Really the Rhine gorge/castles bit is just a half day and I was underwhelmed by the Lorelei! Didn't spot any sirens of the maiden variety!!. We did the Alsace wine trip, which was excellent (the owner was a star performer!), but missed Strasbourg which was the other option, (in my innocence I thought we would cruise past Strasbourg and perhaps be able to pop in on our own, but we weren't that near or on that bit of the river so couldn't). The best mooring locations were at Koblenz, Cologne and Amsterdam as it was very easy to stroll back to the boat after the organised trip. It seemed to take longer to get us all in the coaches to get to the sightseeing point than to walk back afterwards, but I suppose it was easier to get us altogether at the start. I was impressed by the walking/cycling routes, cafes and parks alongside the river for much of its length. The quality of the concert at the Mannheim palace, both the palace and the 3 artistes (soprano, baritone & pianist) was excellent - the repertoire was well-chosen to appeal to people, whether they were familiar with opera or not, and the performers were lively and engaging. Finally, an interesting orientation tour of Amsterdam, inc. a canal trip. Was able to see the old and the impressive new Amsterdam, finishing in a cheese shop- recommend the old matured cheese from cow, sheep or goat milk. I would have liked to explore more, but unfortunately we had both came down with really nasty colds, and felt quite ill and the weather was suddenly unseasonably hot, even on the canals. A sad end to an enjoyable trip, but shouldn't put others off. One final observation, I found the information device really hard to use as I have small ears and the earpiece would not stay on (I obviously need to get my own earpiece)- but it was a mine of info and did mean you could hear the guide whilst still looking around some distance away. Would I go again? Possibly, on another river. It was a good compromise between my husband's and my tastes in holidays and we both enjoyed it.

Everything taken care of

Scenic Jewel Cruise Review by ChristineL48

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Retirement celebration trip of a 1st time one week Rhine cruise and we treated ourselves to a top price suite on the Emerald deck. It had a full size bathroom with bath and separate shower. To be honest we didn't really get our money's worth as we didn't take advantage of the butler service, being reasonably fit and healthy, and didn't spend a lot of time in our room, but that was our choice. We did enjoy the welcome bottle of champagne and daily fruit plate, were glad of the pillow menu for something firmer to support my neck and I did manage to watch 3/4 of the newest James Bond film on the multi functional Apple widescreen TV. We also had a couple of invitation only special dinners, one of which was to eat at the captain's table.

The service was excellent; all the staff were very personable, worked extremely hard and seemed to pull together as a team. Most were from Eastern Europe, with some Indonesian and other nationalities in the kitchen; all spoke excellent English. The captain and our butler were both delightful and charming.

The range and quality of food and drink was excellent, with a good selection of healthier options and something was always available. it would be very easy to over-indulge on both food and alcohol, but portions were small and light enough that you could have a taste, and not overdo things, given sufficient willpower.

Fellow passengers included British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand couples, a couple from Chile and some larger groups from the USA. The age range was mainly late 50s upwards; there were a few people with walking difficulties, but somehow they managed to get on and off the boat, which was tricky on the couple of occasions that we had to go through another boat and there were a lot of levels to negotiate. they tended to spend more time in their cabins.

We enjoyed the scenery and the excursions. Best was Heidelberg- very pleasant to walk around, not too touristy. Rudesheim's mechanical museum was well-worth visiting, but the town itself was very crowded with tour groups and it was good to escape via the cable car to see the view from the Niederwald Monument (very "Prussian" and intimidating to those with an interest in subsequent history!)

Koblenz was also interesting to walk around and find pleasant corners and I enjoyed exploring the castle and its varied exhibitions, accessed by cable car a short walk from the boat.My husband found it all too hot walking through the stone fortifications in temperature of top 20s C and the heat bouncing off the walls, so I was left to wander and use my imagination. There was an interesting collections of bicycles and a number of people were able to try out some old-fashioned ones and weird ones eg penny-farthing, various historical displays and an atmospheric son & lumiere in the castle basement explaining how people used it to hide from wartime bombing.

We were glad to start in Basel as the 1st stretch was the least interesting and it's worth noting that the 1st 2 locations are industrial areas and not scenic. Best to think of it as an opportunity to relax, watch the lock process and get to know the boat. Really the Rhine gorge/castles bit is just a half day and I was underwhelmed by the Lorelei! Didn't spot any sirens of the maiden variety!!. We did the Alsace wine trip, which was excellent (the owner was a star performer!), but missed Strasbourg which was the other option, (in my innocence I thought we would cruise past Strasbourg and perhaps be able to pop in on our own, but we weren't that near or on that bit of the river so couldn't). The best mooring locations were at Koblenz, Cologne and Amsterdam as it was very easy to stroll back to the boat after the organised trip. It seemed to take longer to get us all in the coaches to get to the sightseeing point than to walk back afterwards, but I suppose it was easier to get us altogether at the start. I was impressed by the walking/cycling routes, cafes and parks alongside the river for much of its length.

The quality of the concert at the Mannheim palace, both the palace and the 3 artistes (soprano, baritone & pianist) was excellent - the repertoire was well-chosen to appeal to people, whether they were familiar with opera or not, and the performers were lively and engaging.

Finally, an interesting orientation tour of Amsterdam, inc. a canal trip. Was able to see the old and the impressive new Amsterdam, finishing in a cheese shop- recommend the old matured cheese from cow, sheep or goat milk. I would have liked to explore more, but unfortunately we had both came down with really nasty colds, and felt quite ill and the weather was suddenly unseasonably hot, even on the canals. A sad end to an enjoyable trip, but shouldn't put others off.

One final observation, I found the information device really hard to use as I have small ears and the earpiece would not stay on (I obviously need to get my own earpiece)- but it was a mine of info and did mean you could hear the guide whilst still looking around some distance away.

Would I go again? Possibly, on another river. It was a good compromise between my husband's and my tastes in holidays and we both enjoyed it.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 317
I chose the cabin with the help of the booking staff and the recommendation was spot on. We always had a view and weren't on the side where the view was blocked when mooring alongside another boat. The bedroom, sitting areas and bathroom were spacious enough,with adequate hanging and storage space and we soon worked out how to manage access to the wardrobe. The bed was very comfortable. If anything, the "balcony" chairs could have been more comfortable, but we mainly sat around in the various public areas both inside and out, where you could always find a quiet corner and be offered a drink.