Scenic Jewel Cruise Review by MaryFlorence
- Sail Date: May 2017
- Destination: Europe River
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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