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We have been in several ocean cruises, but had heard good reports of river cruising and because we were celebrating special birthdays, thought we would try a cruise down the Rhine. We were met at Zurich Airport and bussed to Basel to board the boat. Both embarkation and disembarkation were very good. Our luggage was taken care of by the crew. Our cabin was on the lower deck, the same as the gym and the crew quarters. It had a high window which enabled you to look out to see where you were, but it was not suitable for watching for long! The bathroom is tiny. Adequate but tiny. The bed is very comfortable and the cabin has everything you could want, from a small fridge, restocked daily with spirits, wine and soft drink. There is adequate storage, good lighting, a wall-mounted tv on which you can access the internet as well as the latest news, movies etc. The bathroom is stocked with lovely toiletries, which will be replenished as required. A bar of soap is not quite so readily available. A butler is allocated to each cabin, but it was some days before we knew who our butler was, and then we didn't know what we could ask for, or indeed how to ask! That was probably our fault as we didn't ask, but we felt information should have been provided. Returning passengers (of whom there appeared to be quite a few) would know what to do. There were a few empty cabins on our deck. The boat was very clean. The decor was modern and quite bland. First impression was that it was quite stark, but later, having to walk through another vessel to go ashore, we realised that our decor was preferable to the chandeliers and faux French furnishings of one of Scenic's rivals! The lounge area was very comfortable, the sundeck was large and well set out. The dining room had a mix of tables from tables for two to larger ones. The staff were really excellent. They came from many countries including Indonesia, Romania and Bosnia. They work extremely hard, are unfailingly helpful and polite. There were a few hiccups, wrong drinks, requests that were never met, water glasses that weren't filled during meal times but I think that could be put down to pressure of work. Scenic promotes its included drinks policy and cruisers certainly seem to take advantage of it. There is a wine list at meal time, but most people take the proffered red or white wine. French champagne is included in the "free" alcohol, and Moet is available every breakfast. Unfortunately, people about to undertake a busy day on shore generally don't want to start the day with a glass of champagne and so the bottles are put away until the following morning. If you want champagne at any other time, you must have the only other one the bar has, and it's pretty horrible. In the lounge area is a snack area where you can have a light lunch or snack. You can order "anything" from the kitchen. We didn't test it, but I wonder if "anything" includes lobster! The food was somewhat disappointing. Whilst a good variety was offered for breakfast, if you wanted poached eggs, pancakes or waffles, an order had to be sent to the kitchen. At lunch, two dishes were obtainable from the kitchen, and the waiter was meant to give you details. This didn't always happen. We were disappointed that more seasonal produce didn't appear - asparagus, strawberries, cherries, all in peak season at the time of our trip. Salads were always the same, lettuce, peppers, wedges of tomato, carrot sticks, radish. We felt there was a limited choice at dinner, but we did enjoy some superb meat dishes. A fruit platter for dessert was astounding in its five small bits of fruit. Two shore excursions had to be chosen before leaving home. The description of the options was minimal and we found the same as the trip started. The audio guides worked very well although some people had units that refused to charge properly, so they had to stick close to the guide. Walking tours sometimes ended with free time. As we had warm to hot weather, it meant the days on shore could be long and tiring. The local guides were generally very good. The real "jewel" in this journey was the staff.

Some Disappointments

Scenic Jewel Cruise Review by MaryFlorence

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We have been in several ocean cruises, but had heard good reports of river cruising and because we were celebrating special birthdays, thought we would try a cruise down the Rhine. We were met at Zurich Airport and bussed to Basel to board the boat. Both embarkation and disembarkation were very good. Our luggage was taken care of by the crew. Our cabin was on the lower deck, the same as the gym and the crew quarters. It had a high window which enabled you to look out to see where you were, but it was not suitable for watching for long! The bathroom is tiny. Adequate but tiny. The bed is very comfortable and the cabin has everything you could want, from a small fridge, restocked daily with spirits, wine and soft drink. There is adequate storage, good lighting, a wall-mounted tv on which you can access the internet as well as the latest news, movies etc. The bathroom is stocked with lovely toiletries, which will be replenished as required. A bar of soap is not quite so readily available. A butler is allocated to each cabin, but it was some days before we knew who our butler was, and then we didn't know what we could ask for, or indeed how to ask! That was probably our fault as we didn't ask, but we felt information should have been provided.

Returning passengers (of whom there appeared to be quite a few) would know what to do. There were a few empty cabins on our deck. The boat was very clean. The decor was modern and quite bland. First impression was that it was quite stark, but later, having to walk through another vessel to go ashore, we realised that our decor was preferable to the chandeliers and faux French furnishings of one of Scenic's rivals! The lounge area was very comfortable, the sundeck was large and well set out. The dining room had a mix of tables from tables for two to larger ones. The staff were really excellent. They came from many countries including Indonesia, Romania and Bosnia. They work extremely hard, are unfailingly helpful and polite. There were a few hiccups, wrong drinks, requests that were never met, water glasses that weren't filled during meal times but I think that could be put down to pressure of work. Scenic promotes its included drinks policy and cruisers certainly seem to take advantage of it. There is a wine list at meal time, but most people take the proffered red or white wine. French champagne is included in the "free" alcohol, and Moet is available every breakfast. Unfortunately, people about to undertake a busy day on shore generally don't want to start the day with a glass of champagne and so the bottles are put away until the following morning. If you want champagne at any other time, you must have the only other one the bar has, and it's pretty horrible. In the lounge area is a snack area where you can have a light lunch or snack. You can order "anything" from the kitchen. We didn't test it, but I wonder if "anything" includes lobster!

The food was somewhat disappointing. Whilst a good variety was offered for breakfast, if you wanted poached eggs, pancakes or waffles, an order had to be sent to the kitchen. At lunch, two dishes were obtainable from the kitchen, and the waiter was meant to give you details. This didn't always happen. We were disappointed that more seasonal produce didn't appear - asparagus, strawberries, cherries, all in peak season at the time of our trip. Salads were always the same, lettuce, peppers, wedges of tomato, carrot sticks, radish. We felt there was a limited choice at dinner, but we did enjoy some superb meat dishes. A fruit platter for dessert was astounding in its five small bits of fruit.

Two shore excursions had to be chosen before leaving home. The description of the options was minimal and we found the same as the trip started. The audio guides worked very well although some people had units that refused to charge properly, so they had to stick close to the guide. Walking tours sometimes ended with free time. As we had warm to hot weather, it meant the days on shore could be long and tiring. The local guides were generally very good. The real "jewel" in this journey was the staff.
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Cabin Review

Cabin
Cabin on the lower deck. Bathroom was tiny but adequate, bed very comfortable. All good.