Scenic Jewel Cruise Review by Nemo56
- Sail Date: July 2017
- Destination: Europe River
Arriving at the airport in Amsterdam was a dream. Scenic provided a driver who took us to the hotel, and a shuttle to take us to the boat on the cruise starting date. On the boat, the cabin was wonderful (we were mid-ship and mid-deck – Diamond Level). The food was excellent. Breakfast and lunch was normally buffet style. The exception was the first day, when they provided a served lunch. Dinner was always a served meal. On land, the food never really compared in quality to what we got on the boad.
I had told them in advance that I was vegetarian. On the boat, the restaurant manager made a point of finding me to let me know there would be no problem with my request. Every day I received a lunch/dinner menu in the morning, letting me know the choices available for lunch and dinner, and there was always at least one vegetarian choice for each course. (Dinner was always a 4-course meal.)
Every day, there was a choice of off-shore excursions, all included in the cost of the cruise. The cruise director (Alex) was very diligent in making all transportation arrangements and getting tickets for performances at the various venues. Sometimes the passengers made it difficult. For example, if 10 people say they want tickets to attend a certain show, but then 20 people turn up, that can be challenging to handle. But Alex always managed. And he was a joy to have on board with us. Funny, entertaining, really all you can ask for in a cruise director.
In addition to the entertainment that Alex provlded, there was a variety of professional entertainment (musicians, dancers) that came on board. There was also a resident entertainer who provided piano music in the afternoon, then came back in the evening to play AND sing. One day, the ship’s chef taught us how to make German mustard soup.
Those off-shore excursions included guided tours, abbeys, museums, castles, performances. In Vienna, we went to the Spanish Riding School. The stallions were on holiday, which disappointed some people. I didn't really care. We watched the mares and their foals perform instead. In Hungary we had a performance by an award winning musician (sorry, I don't recall his name). Many of these performances were arranged just for the Scenic guests (such as Octoberfest, in August). In some cases, where there were simultaneous excursions planned, decisions needed to be made in advance. Alex made sure to provide information about 3 days prior to the trips so that each of us could decide which trips we wanted. This allowed him to organize buses and tickets where needed.
The cabin was always spotlessly clean. Housekeeping service was flawless. Butler service was available to us though we didn't really need it. WiFi, and an entertainment console was also available at no additional cost in the cabins. I think WiFi was available anywhere on the boat though we didn't use it because we don't carry phones. (We must be the only people in Canada who do not carry cell phones).
Did anything go wrong? In Hungary, one of the bus drivers didn’t seem to understand the concept of a designated pickup/dropoff point for passengers. This didn’t cause us a big problem, though it could have if the boat had been preparing to leave. The handheld travel guide devices were wonderful, when they worked. There were usually extra devices available, but so many of us were having problems getting them to work that I think Scenic needs to be more diligent in replacing the batteries. Everything went wrong on the flight home, but we certainly can’t blame Scenic for problems with Air France.
Overall, it was a wonderful trip. As my first cruise, and my first trip to Europe, I was really, really pleased, and I’d have no hesitation in travelling with Scenic again.
250,000+ people have entered their email