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Sail Date: August 2019
The scenery everyday is awesome. Going through the locks was very interesting. Butlers and bartenders were friendly knowledgeable and attentive. Food was delicious and varied. I am allergic to shellfish and felt they could have done ... Read More
The scenery everyday is awesome. Going through the locks was very interesting. Butlers and bartenders were friendly knowledgeable and attentive. Food was delicious and varied. I am allergic to shellfish and felt they could have done a better job of ensuring that there was options when shellfish was on the menu. Portobellos the Portuguese restaurant was excellent with magnificent service. The evening Crystal dining room had a varied menu. We found the service very slow on the nights that the speciality service/restaurants were open. Loved the butler service for morning coffee! Relaxed before breakfast and enjoyed the scenery. The Portugese bar b que up on the sun deck was very good. Ribs were amazing! The musician was entertaining and engaged the crowd. One night there was local entertainment which was also very good and engaging! Cabins were efficient but small. Bathrooms were well appointed. The tours were good but some required too long a bus ride. A few were sick and not enough was done to find out why. Probably the heat as it was very hot Throughly enjoyed the trip though. Cruise directors were very knowledgeable. We took the three days in Lisbon prior which very worth the extra days. Porto was beautiful with great tours. Enjoyed the cooking class tour of the galley and being able to interact with the chef Very efficient boarding. A little confusion on the embarking as they moved us to a hotel. The lunch at the hotel was not very good compared to the ship Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Day 1 - Flew by Air Portugal from Toronto to Lisbon then to Porto. TAP did not allow us to change or select seats online, but we were able to do so at airport. Flight to Lisbon was cramped and uncomfortable. Flight to Porto was delayed ... Read More
Day 1 - Flew by Air Portugal from Toronto to Lisbon then to Porto. TAP did not allow us to change or select seats online, but we were able to do so at airport. Flight to Lisbon was cramped and uncomfortable. Flight to Porto was delayed 45 min. This flight had much more legroom. Arrived around 5 pm at the Scenic Azure just as the Port Talk was starting in the lounge. Butler did not take us to our room after and we never met him for entire trip. Our room was on the cheapest floor, room 102. It was spacious and well organized and organized very nicely, with lots of storage and clothes closet space. This contrasted big time with our Scenic Moselle cruise last year on the Scenic Jewel. Day 2 -Porto > Entre-os-Rios. Highlights: Historic Porto. discover the unique historic treasures of Porto, including a visit to Palacio da Bolsa. Then enjoy a relaxing afternoon of cruising as your luxury Scenic Space-Ship meanders its way to Entre-os-Rios. Tour of the Stock Exchange Palace was very interesting. Local guide did not appear to like her job. Later toured the train station to see all the tiles on the walls. Very unique. Guide was from the Scenic Azure and she was good. Day 3 -Entre-os-Rios. Highlights: Quinta Aveleda. This afternoon, enjoy a blissful cruise to Regua where you have the chance to explore the Douro Museum at your leisure. Learn about the culture, history and identity of the people living in this wine growing region of the Douro Valley. Freechoice: Guimarães was the seat of the first King of Portugal and is dominated by the impressive Ducal Palace, which dates back to medieval times. It’s a great tour to kickstart your interest in this fascinating region. Alternatively, you could choose a tasting at the fairytale property of Quinta Aveleda. Located in the famous Vino Verde region and a renowned regional sparkling wine producer, the incredible gardens alone make the excursion worthwhile. We chose the tour of Guimarães. We toured the Ducal Palace and ancient town. Grapes were grown on fence borders. Our guide was the ship’s cruise director Filipe. He was very good and interesting. Later we left the ship again and walked over to the Douro museum and learned the evolution of port wine industry on the Douro. It was very interesting. Local guide was OK. Day 4 -Regua. Highlights: Ucanha and Varosa Valley. his afternoon, you’ll discover the captivating Varosa Valley and visit the charming village of Tarouca where you’ll get to explore the restored Monastery of Saint John of Tarouca. En route walk the fortified bridge of Ucanha, Portugal’s first toll bridge, spanning the crystal clear waters of the Varosa River. Freechoice: Tour the elegant town of Lamego, with its many fine Baroque structures, or enjoy a guided visit of Mateus Palace, the historic icon depicted on the labels of Portugal’s famous Mateus rosé wine. Our tour guide was Miguel from our ship, who was very good. The fortified bridge of Ucanha was very scenic and interesting. The Monastery of Saint John of Tarouca was not interesting to us as all that was there was foundations of buildings. Our Freechoice selection was the town of Lamego with our cruise director Filipe as guide. He was very good. There we toured the Sanctuary dos Nossa Sanhora dos Remedios and 365 steps. This was very scenic and a highlight of our trip. After walking down the 365 scenic steps there was an option of touring the Lamego Museum. This was a waste of time and we exited as soon as we could. Day 5 - Regua > Vega de Terron. Highlights: Cruising Vinhateiro. Today, enjoy a full day cruising the Douro Valley’s Vinhateiro wine growing region. Classified a World Heritage-listed Site, Vinhateiro has a history of wine production that stretches back for 2000 years. We spent most of the day on top of the ship enjoying the spectacular scenery. Our Tailormades explained what we were looking at. Day 6 -Salamanca Spain. Highlights: Spanish dining and Flamenco. Take your time absorbing the sheer architectural splendour of Salamanca, a city as visually striking as it is historically intriguing. Explore the city on a guided tour before some time at leisure followed by a delicious lunch accompanied by an energetic Flamenco dance performance. It was a 2-hour bus ride to Salamanca. Our guide on the bus was our cruise director Filipe who provided commentary for the entire 2 hours. He made the trip very interesting and enjoyable. Countryside was very dry. It was very hilly at the beginning and then much flatter once up on the plateau with crops to view. Had a local guide in Salamanca who was good. Restaurant meal was very good and Flamenco dance was enjoyable. Salamanca was very scenic. Day 7 -Pocinho > Pinhão. Highlights: Côa Valley. Over breakfast, you’ll enjoy a leisurely cruise to nearby Pocinho for our Côa Valley discovery. This afternoon, enjoy your picturesque cruise to Pinhão and tonight be entertained by a traditional Portuguese musical performance on board. Freechoice: Visit the award-winning Côa Valley Museum and enjoy a pre-historic workshop. If you’re more adventurous at heart, take a canoeing excursion on the Sabor River. Alternatively, you could join the ‘Tastes of the Côa Valley’ excursion and visit Casa Painova for a sweet almond workshop and a tasting of their almond, olive and fruit products. For our Freechoice we took a Scenic bus to the village of Freixd de Numao to house of Casa Painova with our excellent tour director Filipe. We toured the house and had an almond cooking and tasting demo. Local guide had a booming voice, so we did not need our Tailormades. A very enjoyable, scenic and interesting trip. Day 8 -Pinhão. Highlights: Scenic village experience. Today you’ll visit the remarkable village of Provesende, showcasing the Portugal of yesteryear. Wander the atmospheric streets of this quaint village with the locals as they proudly introduce you to their way of life – including their local bakery. This is a specially choreographed experience only open to Scenic guests. You’ll also visit the church for a special recital, and enjoy wine tasting at the restored manor house of Morgadio da Calçada. What better way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Freechoice: Top off a truly unforgettable day with a visit to the estate of Quinta Roeda for a tasting of their famous export. Or, if you’re feeling energetic, you could choose a walk through the hillside vineyard for a unique tasting among the vines. Our guide was Carla from the ship. She was very good. Tour of the bakery was a waste. We had an interesting tour of a port winery called Morgadio Da Calcada Manor House who served us the best port we had on the entire trip. Our Freechoice was a visit to the estate of Quinta Roeda. We chose a walk through the vineyard. Our local guide was in a hurry to get the tour over with and rushed through the vineyard, so if you stopped to take a picture, you had to run to catch up. It was very interesting and very scenic. Day 9 -Pinhão > Porto. Highlights: Scenic Enrich at São Francisco Church. Having spent the previous eight days discovering the treasures of the Douro, Varosa and Côa Valleys, enjoy an exclusive Douro Valley Wine Review, as well as on board activities, including a cork jewellery workshop. Otherwise, simply enjoy the beauty of the region as you cruise back into Porto. Enrich: The sheer beauty of São Francisco Church is sure to impress. From the outside the facade is a mixture of Gothic and Baroque architecture and inside the interior glows with its intricate wood carvings swathed in gold. Immerse yourself in the heart and soul of Portuguese music as you witness a spectacular private concert in this wondrous surrounding. This was a very enjoyable cruising day seeing the locks and scenery from the opposite direction. The evening Enrich was very enjoyable. Day 10 -Porto. Our Freechoice was a visit to Santa Maria Da Feira Paper Museum. This was a very interesting place. They demonstrated many of the old ways paper was made. Day 11 - Trip home to Toronto. Our flight to Lisbon was not till evening, so Scenic let us stay on the ship for the day then took us to the airport at the appropriate time, You don’t get this perk on ocean cruises as they just take you straight to the airport and leave you there all day. Our friends who travelled with us were told that the flight was oversold and they had no seats for them. Our friends explained that we drove them to the airport in Toronto and if they do not travel with us, they cannot get home. Air Portugal then agreed to let them on and bump someone else. Our flight to Lisbon was on time and on the same comfortable plane we came on. Our flight to Toronto was not on the same uncomfortable plane we came on thank goodness. It was on a new Airbus with lots of legroom and very comfortable and modern entertainment system. The Ship Scenic Azure This was our 4th Scenic cruise. Our first was from Budapest to Amsterdam on the Scenic Saphire. Our 2nd cruise was Vietnam and Cambodia on the Scenic Spirit. Our third was from Amsterdam to Basel on the Scenic Jewel. Everything was top notch on the Saphire and Spirit. Vietnam and Cambodia were full of spectacular things to see compared to what you can see in Europe. The Jewel was a disappointment as far as food and service and the tiny room. This cruise on the Scenic Azure was over the top for food and service. Every meal seemed like it was the best meal we had ever had. The service was exceptional and not only in the restaurant and lounge. The TV in the bedroom was also a computer. Wi-Fi was all through the ship. The Tailormades are so useful for tours and cruising on the river. The new ones do not have the range that the old ones did, so you cannot get far from the guide. The buses had beautiful Scenic murals and had Wi-Fi and were very comfortable. They also had USB charges at your seat for your phones and tablets. All the guides from the ship were very knowledgeable and made tours very interesting and enjoyable. Another feature we liked is you did not hear people hacking and coughing like you do on most ocean cruises. We really liked the choices we had for tours. Other cruise lines don’t seem to have any choice at stops. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We are Scenic tragics, and love the levels of extras that come with the luxuries. Having completed all the French river cruises, it was time to branch out to Portugal. We booked the big cabin down the back, and never regretted it. Flew in ... Read More
We are Scenic tragics, and love the levels of extras that come with the luxuries. Having completed all the French river cruises, it was time to branch out to Portugal. We booked the big cabin down the back, and never regretted it. Flew in via Barcelona, where we stayed a night to recuperate from the 24hrs of flights from Sydney, and then flew direct to Porto and Azure. Embarkation on a rainy day was slightly tricky down a long slippery gangway to the Douro River level, and then back up one deck to get onboard - Scenic might like to review this one. But that was the only difficulty that arose during our 11 days. The cabin is excellent (see separate comments) and comes with a dedicated butler. We used him to replenish the bubbly as often as possible, and to run a small soiree for 8 of us one afternoon - including an impressive range of canapes. Alocohol is provided as part of your package, all the way up to top tier items, and the bartender Therese was outstanding in meeting our requirements. The dining room downstairs is a wonderful place, with excellent views, seating for as many as you want (2,4,6,8+) depending on who you meet, and includes buffet items for breakfast and lunch, as well as a la carte items, and fully a la carte for dinner. Upstairs is the bar, an entertainer, and a quick menu lunch option should you need that. Shore excursions were excellent, tailored for the area the ship was located, and included at least 2 options - there is always a dedicated and luxurious Scenic bus available to transport passengers, so little walking required. The only excusion off river was to Salamanca in Spain. But all excursions were good. We think this is the best of the Scenic river adventures, and we will probably go again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
The day of embarkation on Scenic Azure was welcoming and carried out in a very professional manner. Our cabin had an ensuite, balcony with twin beds, a safe, plenty of storage and twice daily amenities like replacement of fresh towels and ... Read More
The day of embarkation on Scenic Azure was welcoming and carried out in a very professional manner. Our cabin had an ensuite, balcony with twin beds, a safe, plenty of storage and twice daily amenities like replacement of fresh towels and bottles of water. No matter if it was the captain, chefs, tour guides, butlers, wait staff, administration and housekeeping staff - every single person was friendly, willing to offer choices for our every need and attend to all our requests promptly. The menus provided world class quality in choices of fresh and tasty dishes. I had advised them prior to the date of sailing of my individual dietary needs so I was very happy with the attention to detail in that regard. The tour staff for each excursion offered a great amount of knowledge and detail regarding the culture and history of Portugal with brilliant insights into the lives of their fellow countrymen and women. The drivers of the tour buses handled the vehicles with care for our comfort at all times and were very safety conscious of the passengers wellbeing. We will remember our experiences with Scenic Azure forever and are very happy to have not only made acquaintance with many Australian passengers and others from all over the world but meeting the employees of this fantastic company. Everything was run in a ship-shape fashion and with their friendly and fun attitude, there was the chance to get to know what makes the company Scenic tick. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
My mother wanted to do another river cruise (our first was the Rhone in France) and I selected the Douro based on my friends' many visits to Portugal. It was lovely. Although my mother has limited mobility, the staff went out of their ... Read More
My mother wanted to do another river cruise (our first was the Rhone in France) and I selected the Douro based on my friends' many visits to Portugal. It was lovely. Although my mother has limited mobility, the staff went out of their way to make sure my mother and I really enjoyed the trip. The entertainment and activities were great, the cabin was a generous size, especially the balcony. We enjoyed the deck, we met some lovely people, tasted some great food. My mother is already wondering if we will do another river cruise. To top it off, I had a medical emergency on the last day - the staff looked after everything, including contacting my travel agent and my family member, and keeping an eye on my mother. When I was back on ship, our butler pretty much packed everything for us and the staff made sure we caught our flight the next day. That went far beyond my expectations. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose Scenic based on a couple of things. First, we had cruised with them before and thought they were great. Second, it is truly and all inclusive cruise, no extras other than laundry. Great food, top shelf liquor and all excursions. ... Read More
We chose Scenic based on a couple of things. First, we had cruised with them before and thought they were great. Second, it is truly and all inclusive cruise, no extras other than laundry. Great food, top shelf liquor and all excursions. Finally, the 11 nights appealed to us as we did 2 days just cruising and relaxing, a vacation from vacation! The food was outstanding and so were the wines served with lunch and dinner. Breakfast was a buffet with something for everyone including a few menus items. Lunch was also a buffet. Dinner was sit down with table service. There are 2 specialty restaurants onboard and we ate at both and were impressed with the food and wine pairings. The first and last nights the boat was out hotel in Porto. So we were able to see some of the city. The level of service is outstanding. 8 of us had a wonderful time! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
This trip has been a trip of a lifetime and a huge credit to Scenic for being responsible for a wonderful cruise. We have been indulged with amazing food and wine. Have met lovely people. But the true credit goes to the all Portuguese crew ... Read More
This trip has been a trip of a lifetime and a huge credit to Scenic for being responsible for a wonderful cruise. We have been indulged with amazing food and wine. Have met lovely people. But the true credit goes to the all Portuguese crew which have cartered to our every need with a smile on their faces. The cabin is spacious with a big wardrobe. The dining experience for every meal has been 5 star with a huge selection and also chartering well to dietary requirements. Entertainment and activities been fun. The service is impeccable with butlers and all the crew covering every request. Port and shore excursions have been very interesting and informative. Looking forward to doing another river cruise in the near future. One of the big positives was that it was all inclusive. The crew are. Rey professional and polite at all times. The ever changing scenery of the Douro River has been an absolute joy to see. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We love the mediterainan coast, Portugal to Salamanca Spain fabulous , The Portuguese staff highly trained lovely calm people, all down to the Hotel Manager Joao Paula Oliveira. we felt comfortable from getting on and getting off at the ... Read More
We love the mediterainan coast, Portugal to Salamanca Spain fabulous , The Portuguese staff highly trained lovely calm people, all down to the Hotel Manager Joao Paula Oliveira. we felt comfortable from getting on and getting off at the end of the tour, the cruise down the river Duro was green and calming with houses dotted amongst the hills , you could do as much or as little as you wished at each place they anchored. The director Of touring staff Carla you felt you had know for years, and anyone of the staff who took you on tours was knowledgeable and looked after each person and answered all questions. We have learned more about Portugal and there history than I ever could imagine. and I am so grateful for that . Not forgetting all the other staff who are there to make your cruise a happy relaxing time, Butlers, Bar staff, Cabin attendants , Managers of dinning rooms, Chefs, Waiters, cleaners. plus all above and below deck, most important of course the Captain , not forgetting the evening entertainment . None of our 1st. Time experience would have been so good but for all those people pulling together. All we did was enjoy each and every moment of it and let them guide us to what we could achieve to make this our cruise. not knowing how hard they must have worked together to make such a lovely cruise. Thank you scenic Azure.x Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My husband and I took the advice of our Travel Agent when booking a birthday and retirement celebration cruise for my 70-year-old Mom. Our Agent assured us Scenic was a "luxury cruise line," up to our standards. However, our ... Read More
My husband and I took the advice of our Travel Agent when booking a birthday and retirement celebration cruise for my 70-year-old Mom. Our Agent assured us Scenic was a "luxury cruise line," up to our standards. However, our time on board had disappointing service challenges, even bewildering at times. I wanted to take this opportunity to share our experiences aboard the Scenic Azure during the Delightful Douro Sailing. We have cruised extensively, including multiple sailings with Aqua Expedition River Cruises, Regent, and Crystal Cruises. When we booked "Scenic Luxury Cruises," we were expecting a similar service experience to the brands mentioned above. We had two cabins on this cruise, one for my Mom and the other cabin for my husband and me. Disappointments & Challenges: The Crew, especially the Cruise Director, Butlers, and the Ship's Manager were not particularly friendly or service oriented in our opinion, and this created multiple service failures that were not anywhere near to a luxury line. We learned early into the sailing that this was the entire Crew's last sailing. The boat was going into dry dock for the winter, and we were the last group they had to endure. The Crew was burnt out, provisions were sparse, and food was absolutely awful during our cruise, prompting us to take Uber's at every Port with a street into town and eat ANYWHERE else but in the Scenic dining room. It was raining in Porto; we had a Scenic outdoor walking tour booked with 45 minutes in the rain. I asked our Butler for an extra umbrella. Navigating the slippery, uneven cobblestones is severe enough, trying to share an umbrella while doing so - impossible! Also, this excursion specified a high difficulty because we needed to go down a considerable number of stairs or hills. Butler's answer to my umbrella request, "No, only one umbrella per suite, sorry, that's just the way it is." We bought an extra umbrella in town, but I got soaked first. What kind of company denies their guests an umbrella on an outdoor tour day when the forecast is rain? Unbelievable, but in alignment with our other experiences onboard. Crew: We found the Cruise Director, to be aloof, and not particularly keen with assisting in our minor requests. For example, on our first day, Mom asked for a piece of cake that was on display in the River Cafe. She remarked that they had been put away for the evening and she could not, under any circumstances, enjoy that cake (not even through room service) until the next day at 4 pm when they would be on display again. It was almost as if she delighted in telling us "NO." How difficult could it be to get my sweet old Mom a piece of cake? After all, this cruise was her birthday gift. Perhaps a, "My pleasure, please have a seat while we get you one" would have been more in line with what we were expecting from a company with the word "Luxury" attached to their name. Front desk young man was very unhelpful. He failed to deliver messages to our Butler on multiple occasions and sometimes didn't answer the phone at all. Also, he provided no help whatsoever when we tried to figure out how my Mom could have breakfast at 6 am before her 7 am morning walk with the Wellness coach in Port. He condescendingly said breakfast information was in our rooms, including the breakfast card for the door. None of this was previously pointed out to us by the way. The young man begrudgingly handed us another breakfast order form for the door... when I looked at it, I pointed out to Jose that it didn't start service until 7 am. He said, "Well, I guess you'll have to wait until after your walk." Once again, just perplexing guest relations. Excursions: Excursion planning was unnecessarily involved in our opinions. Instead of being able to choose all tours pre-trip we had to wait for a talk about the port excursions while on the cruise. None of the pertinent details for the port excursions were printed out ANYWHERE- they were only briefly discussed during the port talk slide show. We checked off the boxes of the tours we were interested in for the upcoming week, and we turned in the sheet to the cruise director. It occurred to us we had nothing at all to refer to for future reference, and nothing was provided. We NEEDED to know: 1. Start times and duration of each tour we booked for the week ahead. 2. Level of difficulty of each excursion we chose (need to prepare my Mom) 3. Please provide footwear suggestions (athletic shoes for hills, or casual) 4. Please give the duration times of transportation in the motor coach to each destination. This reasonable request for information necessary for our adequate planning and comfort of my 70-year-old Mom who has weak knees, a weak bladder, and hip spurs. I didn't think it was an unreasonable request. This information is also STANDARD on every other cruise we have ever taken and provided pre-cruise. However, the Butler informed us that the Ship Manager denied this information to us stating," You must attend all Port talks each evening (even though we were tied up) or make an appointment during our cruise vacation to meet with the ship manager privately so that he could discuss how Scenic corporate does things." REALLY? I was dumbfounded. I asked the Butler, "So he refuses to provide this information? This simple information, am I understanding you correctly? I have to take time out of my vacation to make an appointment to see him so he can explain why he will not supply this information?" The Butler said, "Yes, that is correct." I was so infuriated by this I hardly slept the entire night. I couldn't even begin to comprehend what kind of manager or company withholds the most basic of information from its guests. Outrageous. Information You Can Use: The Taylor Made audio devices in our cabins were a nice touch for Port tours. However, no one mentioned they could also be used during the cruise (back on board) to learn about the areas we were cruising through. We were up on deck every single day of the cruise - for hours, we would have LOVED to know that feature was accessible. We only learned about it because we saw another passenger on the last day of sailing listening to hers on deck. We asked her, "What on earth are you listening to? Taylor Mades are for the Port tours." She explained that she had been to a Scenic presentation (she was a travel agent), and had learned about them from the marketing video. Wow! Why on earth wouldn't Scenic mention this to guests? Why not have a sign or note of some kind in the rooms letting guests know? Why didn't the staff or Butlers mention this? What a disappointment, we would have loved this, especially my Mom. We asked several other guests if they knew about this great use of the Taylor Mades while cruising, and not a single one knew about it - they too were disappointed. We missed out on what could have been a memorable highlight to our sailing. Other frustrations that didn't line up with our expectations: - Bottom shelf Alcohol. A luxury cruise with only Jose Cuervo? We would have gladly paid more to have some top-shelf brands on board. My husband ordered Jose Cuervo Silver as the only tequila choice on board, and they were out until the 2nd or 3rd day of the cruise. They were also out of Pringle's, Bellini ingredients and other items we were told they needed to restock at Port on day 2 or 3. - Dining room service for lunch was slow. Fountain Sodas were flat and if you were drinking anything other than wine you had to wait a while for the only waitress to go downstairs and get your beverage order. - We waited through our entire lunch only to get flat Coke Zero. When I told Food Bev Mgr, the Coke was flat, he argued that I am just not used to Coke Zero in this country, "It's different here" he firmly exclaimed. It was uncomfortable. Why is the Scenic staff so combative? Later they fixed the issue with serving cans of Coke Zero that had adequate carbonation. - Food choices at all meals were minimal and not very good. Though the head Chef, was a lovely man, and passionate about his job, the food was far from great, and some dishes were inedible (pretty much all of the seafood). On our last night, we had rotten avocado tempura. We left the ship and ate in Port every chance we got, even paying an Uber $60 each way just to get into town. The port excursions could have been better managed. Would have loved more time in Salamanca, especially after the two-hour coach ride in. The lunch at the Hacienda Zorita was hardly edible, except for the dessert. Would have preferred an option to stay in the town of Salamanca and had an authentic Spanish lunch instead of the funky, undercooked salmon and campy tourist dance show at Hacienda Zorita. What we LOVED: -Our cabin steward. Our cabin was flawlessly clean each and every day. She's the only crew member we tipped. She deserved it. -Our tour guide in Salamanca -The Fado concert in Porto - The Captain was absolutely amazing. Incredibly genuine and friendly, we really enjoyed time chatting with him. - The adjustable beds were fantastic, my Mom purchased one back home she loved it so much. - Showers were incredibly spacious for a ship. - The open-air balconies were spectacular. - The coach drivers on the tours were great, felt safe. - All three of us loved the onboard tile painting class - our tiles came out great. My Mom was thrilled with her keepsake. All in all, I could not feel comfortable recommending Scenic to my friends and colleagues at this time, considering the service challenges that experienced. I did hear from Scenic's Senior Director after a letter I emailed about our consistent service challenges. He didn't have much to say, he said he would follow up with me on these issues and never did (it's now been 7 months). I was eager to learn if this is simply Scenic's standard level of service or if our disappointments were merely a result of a tired crew ready to be done for the season. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We did a 3 day pre cruise in Lisbon, the transfer from the airport to the Sheraton, well we waited over an hour for the rude gentleman, and we were not the only ones who had issues, Scenic you have to do better. The stay here was very ... Read More
We did a 3 day pre cruise in Lisbon, the transfer from the airport to the Sheraton, well we waited over an hour for the rude gentleman, and we were not the only ones who had issues, Scenic you have to do better. The stay here was very good, our Scenic Rep Pedro was excellent, a good orientation that evening, followed by a delicious meal at the Sheraton where we met fellow guests and our table of six, gave way to new friends for our cruise. The room was well appointed,buffet breakfast each morning was delicious, staff pleasant and attentive in dining room. Reception staff was also pleasant and informative, no issues checking in or out. Porters were also pleasant. Lunch and dinner were on your own, except for Sunday evening which was arranged in Lisbon, by coach, with a wine pairing, we had cod, duck was also on the menu, delicious. Saturday, was a morning Lisbon tour by coach followed by a visit to Sintra Palace, beautiful but had a lot of stairs. We stopped at a cafe for a delicious desert and coffee , and time for shopping. Back in Lisbon we went to dinner across from the Sheraton, an Italian restaurant with delicious food. Sunday was a free day, Pedro had arranged a walking tour to a beautiful botanical garden, and a museum tour if you wanted. Our transfer to Porto with stop at Coimbra was very good, some touring of the university and lunch on our own, with time for shopping Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We did hear a lot of positive comments about the Douro River Cruise and having done all the other European Rivers twice (except Russia), we gave it a go! We did hear a lot of positive comments about the Douro River Cruise and having ... Read More
We did hear a lot of positive comments about the Douro River Cruise and having done all the other European Rivers twice (except Russia), we gave it a go! We did hear a lot of positive comments about the Douro River Cruise and having done all the other European Rivers twice (except Russia), we gave it a go! The Scenic Azure is the smallest in the Scenic fleet, but perfect for this river needing only 2 meters of water and at times the river can be low. We started in Lisbon with 4 days on our own followed by 3 days with Scenic as part of the overall booking. The Sheraton Lisboa whilst a good hotel is a bid too far from the 'old town' and the places to see. However, we got our self a 72 hours '4-in-one' ticket which included the must do 'hop-on-hop-off' bus, 2 old trams - red and green (stay away from Tram 28 - too crowded and pick-pockets), a river sightseeing boat and all public transport busses. It turned out to be the right choice to get around. Sintra was a waste of time at this time of the year with crowds queuing for hours in mid 30 degrees heat. Belem and Cascais are definitely worth a visit at any time of the year. The Douro river and its valley exceeded all our expectations! Until now the 'South of France' River Cruise from Chalon-sur-Saone to Tarascon with a Nice extension was our favorite one, but the Douro River comes very close. The ever changing scenery is just stunning and the excursion to Salamanca in Spain was another highlight. The entire crew from the captain to the cleaner, from the chefs to the waiting staff is to be commended for their outstanding professional and always friendly service they provided to their guests! Using their own on board guides rather than externals was another great benefit. We’ll do this cruise a second time as well in a couple of years time. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This was our third Scenic river cruise. All have been great but this one was the best. Great boat, friendly crew, fantastic food and excellent day tours. Portuguese food and wine is superb, and the cruise focus on local dishes, ... Read More
This was our third Scenic river cruise. All have been great but this one was the best. Great boat, friendly crew, fantastic food and excellent day tours. Portuguese food and wine is superb, and the cruise focus on local dishes, ingredients and wines was well placed. At each daily brief the chef and tour director highlighted that night’s recommended local dish and wines. As always with Scenic there was lots of choice on the menu, but the local dishes were our favourites. We had a little trouble with high water given the heavy rains before we arrived and were required by the Portuguese authorities to dock at unplanned locations. But Scenic did a great job of keeping us informed, arranging for day trips when we were docked unexpectedly, and making sure everyone got to the airport to get on to their next destination. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone who likes history, food and wine. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Friends had good experiences with Portugal and we wanted to try another cruise with Scenic, so this cruise was a great fit. Overall, it was a fantastic experience and we felt it was well worth it. We took the 3 day extension in Lisbon ... Read More
Friends had good experiences with Portugal and we wanted to try another cruise with Scenic, so this cruise was a great fit. Overall, it was a fantastic experience and we felt it was well worth it. We took the 3 day extension in Lisbon ahead of the cruise and are glad we had a chance to visit there. The one day tour organized by Scenic gave a good overview so we could go back and revisit some of the sights on our free day. Great city to visit. The Scenic Azure is a great ship.The crew was great. All very friendly and attentive to our every wish. All crew members were Portuguese and very friendly, so gave us another source of information about the area and the food. One of the advantages of the small ship experience. It will be hard to adjust to normal life after being spoiled like that. The dining was excellent, with lots of tasty choices at every meal and always some local dishes, so we could experience the area were passing through. My wife's gluten free diet was never a problem as the chef adjusted dishes for her, or offered tasty alternatives. The visits along the Duoro were well planned, well executed and interesting. Many days, there were multiple choices, so you didn't have to suffer from "ABC". One example was a canoeing experience that I enjoyed (although it was a kayak, not a canoe!), while my wife went on a visit to a local farm where she learned how they lived, had a tour of the home and sampled preparation of coated almonds. The guests on this particular cruise were mostly Australian, lots of Canadians and a few Brits to make up the roster. That is a great mix and made it that much more fun. Most of the group was seniors and no children were aboard. Note that the ship departs from its own Quay in the city of Porto, not from the cruise ship port of Leixoes, but the menu above doesn't give that choice. On the down side - internet connectivity was shaky a few times, but the wifi was free and good most of the time. One of the moorings we had to use due to river water level issues was not great since there was nowhere to walk and no wifi, but the rest were excellent. I would definitely recommend this cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We were in Lisbon three days before we boarded the ship. Lisbon is a beautiful city with great buildings to look at. We had great tours from Scenic to many areas of Lisbon plus went to the ocean to see the beaches. Great accommodations in ... Read More
We were in Lisbon three days before we boarded the ship. Lisbon is a beautiful city with great buildings to look at. We had great tours from Scenic to many areas of Lisbon plus went to the ocean to see the beaches. Great accommodations in Lisbon at the Sheraton, within walking distance of lovely old areas. Getting on and off the ship was very easy and orderly, a young crew but were fantastic. So accommodating and really enjoyed there job. The dining was wonderful for breakfast, lunch, and dinner always a special treat awaiting us. The wine was excellent as it was from the local areas we were in. We had a wonderful piano player who looked like Richard Gere with a wonderful voice. There were always games to partake in at night or just enjoy a night cap with the other guests. The shore excursions were top of the line just as you would expect from Scenic and its crew. A cocktail event at the Douro Museum with Port Tonic. Or touring the town of Lamego to see Portugal's first toll bridge. The city of Salamanca that is a world heritage site along with the history of wine production. The small village of Provesende where we were brought into a bakery to see how they still use the old ovens to bake the bread. WE also enjoyed port in a restored manor house. The owner actually took us around his estate. We went to a dinner like none other at Taylors Cellars that included traditional Fado music and wonderful views of the Douro River. All in all the cruise was excellent and Portugal is a wonderful place to visit. This should be your next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We have been on 3 previous Scenic River Cruises which we enjoyed but this was the best yet. Arrangements were good, the crew were excellent and the weather was great. Using a crew who were all Portugese proved to be an inspired ... Read More
We have been on 3 previous Scenic River Cruises which we enjoyed but this was the best yet. Arrangements were good, the crew were excellent and the weather was great. Using a crew who were all Portugese proved to be an inspired decision.They were all most polite and extremely helpful, nothing was too much trouble for them. The Azure sensibly had a smoking area at the rear of the sun deck, unlike the other boats we have sailed on, Our cabin was spotless and well maintained during the voyage. Food was varied and good quality. Unfortunately, being elderly, we could not tackle all the shore trips but enjoyed the ones that we could manage. The on-board musician was talented and the activities were interesting though, being elderly, we couldn't manage all. Our tour manager was very knowledgeable but inexperienced and wasted too much time giving unnecessary detail at great length. Overall not quite 5-star but 4 1/2 say! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
On board dining excellent although "The Portbello Experience" was sadly lacking. Not helped by the cruise director walking around the area giving the very lengthy port briefing. No greeting or farewell by the butlers at this ... Read More
On board dining excellent although "The Portbello Experience" was sadly lacking. Not helped by the cruise director walking around the area giving the very lengthy port briefing. No greeting or farewell by the butlers at this event. General dining could not be faulted especially Tiago our waiter who was excellent. Evening drinks served by Sofia and her assistant was excellent again. Thank you Sofia and assistant. Excursions when accompanied by Maria Helena were excellent and she could not be praised enough for her humour and also extensive knowledge. The last full day was a rush as we wanted to go on both the morning and the afternoon tours, which we did. Unfortunately this left us only 40 minutes on return to shower and change for the Taylors meal which has been put back from the previous day. A tiring day not helped by the fact the meal was terrible. There were no choices of menu, the soup was lukewarm in a cold dish, the meat, again on a cold plate and lukewarm was far too rare for us, my wife's meat was raw in the middle and she did not eat it. This was mentioned casually to the cruise director who told my wife to see the maître de. Half of the people on our table did not eat their meat for the same reason. The few vegetables on the plates were also haphazard, different portion size. Finally I would have expected more than a small glass of port when you visited such an establishment although there was ample wine. We were unable to do the online survey as we had no time, receiving late the evening before and having such a busy final day. The transport to and from the airport was excellent. Not the best way to finish what is a luxury holiday and leaves me undecided if I would use Scenic again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was a lovely cruise on a smallish classy boat, with a hugely attentive and friendly local crew, Food and cabin were good, but most important of all the ambiance and feeling on the trip was wonderful with the Douro being a truly ... Read More
This was a lovely cruise on a smallish classy boat, with a hugely attentive and friendly local crew, Food and cabin were good, but most important of all the ambiance and feeling on the trip was wonderful with the Douro being a truly unspoilt and magnificent destination. The excursions were well organised with entertaining and knowledgeable guides. It of course helped that the weather (October) was neither too hot nor too cold. In summary we would highly recommend - it wasn't cheap but the inclusive nature, alcohol and tours, made it better value for money than it seemed on the ticket price. The flights were via Portuguese airlines, which were both surprisingly pleasant and punctual. The transfers were fine, albeit the traffic from Porto airport to the ship was awful. Overall highly recommended on this our second scenic tour - they have developed a way of employing good staff who seem genuinely to enjoy helping all their passengers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
It is not common these days for an actual experience to live up to its billing.However,this tripdid and more!In 11 days, we were immersed into the wonderful country of Portugal and itspeople.Portugal and its people are to be be admired.The ... Read More
It is not common these days for an actual experience to live up to its billing.However,this tripdid and more!In 11 days, we were immersed into the wonderful country of Portugal and itspeople.Portugal and its people are to be be admired.The landscape is beautiful and the people are hard-working and friendly. The Scenic Azure is a modern, state of the art, cruiseship.The staff (all Portuguese) are efficient and customer-focused.Our butler was incredible. The cruise director was impressive.The excursions were interesting & relevant.The Sceniccoaches were comfortable and the drivers were amazing.The food & Portuguese wines were first class.The ship captain & crew were highly skilled.The airport transfers & hotelaccommodations were first class.The trip was over too soon! Lastly,we met some wonderful people from Canada,the USA,Australia & elsewhere. The people that you meet working on the ship and the other passengers create lasting memories which cannot be replicated. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
Scenic used to be a very good River Boat Liner. The reason I always choose Scenic is they are taking good care of their customers, good restaurant service and cabin is always clean. Plus, all excursion & tips are included. Apparently, ... Read More
Scenic used to be a very good River Boat Liner. The reason I always choose Scenic is they are taking good care of their customers, good restaurant service and cabin is always clean. Plus, all excursion & tips are included. Apparently, I am kind of disappointed with Scenic Azure compare with Scenic Diamond & Scenic Sapphire, I have to admit Scenic Azure has to do lots before it can compare with the other two cruise ships The following are my complaints with Scenic Azure: - Restaurants: Drastic cutting cost on foods & waiters. Only 4 waiters serving over 90 customers in the Crystal dining room. Usually there are always waiters or bus boys around us, we never have to wait for our refill of wine, tea or coffee, but not on the Scenic Azure we always have to wait for quite sometime before we have our refill on wine. - Quality of foods on all meals have been drastic cutting costs. All seafood are not fresh and terribly cooked, desserts are terrible as well. Only good thing is steaks are always cooked well. - Cruise Director , Rachell , lack of experience and unknowledgable. I always enjoyed with the tour directors on Scenic, they are all very friendly and well experienced. They always brought good atmosphere on the daily Port talk, but on Azure, every Port talk seems like teacher giving lecture to all kids. Rachell, treated us like kindergarden kids and have no respect. She cancelled all my Excursion Tours, cos she said the way I marked the circle are all wrong. Being as a Canadian, we usually put a check mark or a stroke on the circle, but according to Rachell, these indicate that they are cancelled, we [=have to circle them, perhaps this is the Portugal way of doing multiple choices.She made a big mess on all our excursion tours. making us all frustrated. - railings on Scenic Cruise Lines are always sparkling clean and shiny but not on Azure. All fingerprints can be seen easily on all railings, even spider webs are around on some of the railings too. -Hotel Manager , we can hardly see him around. Only thing I have to give credit on this boat is.....cabin is a bit spacious compare with the other boats and is always clean. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise, after going to Scenic information nights. And had not been to Portugal before. Arriving in Lisbon was not smooth transfer. Had to wait to get into our room, after a very long flight from Canada. Sheraton in ... Read More
We chose this cruise, after going to Scenic information nights. And had not been to Portugal before. Arriving in Lisbon was not smooth transfer. Had to wait to get into our room, after a very long flight from Canada. Sheraton in Lisbon not up to Scenic standards. Leaving Lisbon fine. Transfer to Madrid not good, out of cabin at 9 am, waiting in lounge until 1 pm. Could have taken a bus trip instead? Steps between floors, are not wide enough, and dangerous. Surveys should be given out early in trip, either on line or paper, so we can accurately fill in what we liked or didn't. Trip to Salamanca good, but needed more time in city. Need to be able to add buses and trips, when the first is full. Taste of Coa valley, should have had another bus trip, as it filled up early. The Coa museum, was not good, too detailed and boring, would only rate it 4/10. Raquel Miranda cruise director very knowledgeable, however very young, and needs to loosen up, connect to passengers better. Felt she treated us like young children. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Excellent cabin, ship's amenities, staff and cuisine. The all Portuguese crew were friendly and proud of their country and were always ready to go the extra mile to make everyone on board as comfortable as possible. Scenic Cruises ... Read More
Excellent cabin, ship's amenities, staff and cuisine. The all Portuguese crew were friendly and proud of their country and were always ready to go the extra mile to make everyone on board as comfortable as possible. Scenic Cruises calls their vessels "Space Ships" and the novel design of their "convertible" veranda lives up to the hype. We have always viewed cabins with a veranda as a minimum requirement for any cruise that we have taken as we liked to be able to step out and feel the weather before going ashore. As good as that has always been for us, the Scenic "Space Ship" gave us the option of making that Veranda area part of our interior cabin space (which was wonderful) OR to use it as a traditional outdoor veranda space. Having that choice has spoiled us! The all inclusive nature of a Scenic cruise is wonderful. No nickel or dime additions EVER. In fact they do not even ask to see your credit card when you check into the vessel. A wonderful experience that we will treasure! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Had not been to Portugal before and really enjoyed 1st Secenic trip Amsterdam to Budapest. Cruise director very well organised and supportive. Tour guides, Raquel, Sergio and Maria Helene were very knowledgeable, entertaining and ... Read More
Had not been to Portugal before and really enjoyed 1st Secenic trip Amsterdam to Budapest. Cruise director very well organised and supportive. Tour guides, Raquel, Sergio and Maria Helene were very knowledgeable, entertaining and supportive. All the excursions were fun and informative and gave a great overview of Portugal. However, the day to Salamanca could be reviewed. I loved Salamanca and would have liked free time but was not prepared to be ready at 6.30am. An option for free time would be not to partake in lunch at hacienda with dancers, but to stay in Salamanca and organise own lunch in a cafe or bar and then get picked up about same time as lunch experience had finished. Food excellent - enjoyed all meals. The galley tour was extremely interesting as was the cooking demonstration so thanks to our executive chef, Rodrigues. Met lovely people on cruise and enjoyed getting to know them and hear their stories. Will definitely do another Scenic cruise as the service, food, facilities and everything prepaid all terrific and suits us to do it this way. Travelled with friends from Perth, Western Australia but everyone so friendly on board and socialised with many different couples. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This cruise was outstanding and one of the main reasons was the staff. This was a cruise of Portugal and every staff member was from Portugal and I think it added that extra something that you can't get by just having a large mix of ... Read More
This cruise was outstanding and one of the main reasons was the staff. This was a cruise of Portugal and every staff member was from Portugal and I think it added that extra something that you can't get by just having a large mix of nationalities. The service was outstanding and you could tell they loved to talk about their own country and loved their country you don't get that on every cruise. The rooms were great very comfortable and the bed was to die for. Lots of room for all your luggage and the food was top notch. The shore excursions were varied and except for the weather which is not up to the company very interesting and covered different types of excursions. For example I did the canoeing which was real fun and a change from churches, museums etc. The everything is included was a real bonus. I don't drink alcohol but my husband enjoyed a great range of different drinks that was excellent. The ship was a good size and not too big. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise because the timing suited us, but in future we would always choose to cruise with Scenic, whenever possible. They are a classy, ultra professional outfit. The boat (Scenic Azure) is kept spotlessly clean, the cabins ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the timing suited us, but in future we would always choose to cruise with Scenic, whenever possible. They are a classy, ultra professional outfit. The boat (Scenic Azure) is kept spotlessly clean, the cabins are comfortable and well-appointed, the beds are to dream of (and in!), the food is fantastic and the drinks just keep coming. The service is amazing. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. What we liked particularly about this all-inclusive cruise on the Duoro River in Portugal was that the crew were mainly Portuguese; two (I think) were Brazilian. They were just so friendly and helpful without being obsequious. They are very proud of their country and eager to tell you about its history, produce, scenery. From lowest to highest ranks, they always seemed to have time for a chat, to give advice,or to ask after ones welfare. They spoke very good English, too. Each meal had Portuguese specialities, and Portuguese wines were served with every lunch and dinner, as well as between meals. (Wines from elsewhere were also available.) The quality of the Portuguese wines came as a surprise; we were not aware that Portugal produced so many wines of such high quality. They also served excellent port. The excursions were fun and informative with plenty of free time as well. The tour guides travelled with the ship, so we got to know them quite well. We also had the same three bus drivers throughout the cruise and quickly learned that they could be trusted to drive carefully on the hilly, windy roads. The vineyards lining the hills and dales, interspersed with olive and almond trees, make for spectacular scenery. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Ww had not previously been on a river cruise. Scenic offered the possibility of top quality service and a chance to totally relax, and we chose the Douro cruise because there were only 90 passengers and around forty crew. We chose well. We ... Read More
Ww had not previously been on a river cruise. Scenic offered the possibility of top quality service and a chance to totally relax, and we chose the Douro cruise because there were only 90 passengers and around forty crew. We chose well. We were collected from home by limo which took us to Heathrow. After flights to Lisbon and then Porto we were on board for a late lunch. All the crew were Portuguese and very friendly and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble. Being an all inclusive cruise of food, drink and tips it was all paid for before leaving home. The food and drink were first class with excellent choice at every meal. Our cabin had a built in balcony with a sliding window so we could enjoy the weather when suitable and a butler service if needed. A most comfortable bed and plenty of cupboard space. We left from Porto and travelled in daylight hours only. The river banks are covered in vineyards and famous name Quintas (Taylors, Sandeman, Warres etc) along the way.Lovely scenery which varies as you travel along. One thing to say about a river cruise - it's so smooth you don't know you are moving till you look outside! We had various trips out each day, including to Mateus Palace (famous to all of us of a certain age for its Rose wine) and Salamanca in Spain, as well as a coach trip in Porto on the last day. We were always accompanied by very experienced friendly guides, who were crew members we got to know very well. Our cruise was the last of season for Scenic, and as it was their inaugural season we were given a lovely goodbye on the last night. It was also Scenic's 30th Anniversary of the start of the company in Australia. A very happy ending to a great cruising experience. One piece of advice? Just do it! Read Less
Scenic Azure Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.8
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.9
Family 1.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.3
Enrichment 3.0 4.2
Service 5.0 4.6
Value For Money 5.0 4.3

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