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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
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
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
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The Azure is the smallest river cruise ship in the scenic fleet. That has its good and bad points.its wonderful to cruise with a small number of people but it does suffer in the main restaurant and bar with lack of space.The staff did ... Read More
The Azure is the smallest river cruise ship in the scenic fleet. That has its good and bad points.its wonderful to cruise with a small number of people but it does suffer in the main restaurant and bar with lack of space.The staff did everything they could but probably the restaurant suffers most from lack of space mainly in the evenings when Portobellos is closed. When open it takes about 25 guests which to an extent releaves the pressure. Does not seem to stop the scrum to get favourite tables which does seem to spoil the atmosphere that Scenic tries to create. Overall the staff were amazing especially Elia the cruise director and her team. Our room was always immaculate cleaned quickly by Suse, our butler Filipe did a great job along with the other two butlers who were always about and so helpful. The bar staff led my Miguel and his team also made sure that our glass was never empty! The only down side was the food , good but seldom excellent and too often cold even from the buffet. Dinner one night though in Portobellos was really excellent. Either than the staff the best part about the cruise was the scenery which is captivating. Trips are OK but even Salamanca left a what if , feeling at the end. A more relaxed visit to the city would have been better and not so much time spent in a banqueting room outside the city where we had a long lunch. I must say the administration of this side by Elia was incredible. Perhaps the best we have ever experienced on the rivers or at sea. This is our second Scenic River Cruise the improvements are quite noticeable especially the little touches the do to make the guests feel special. Would certainly use them again but would need to be careful about the space issues and to a degree research food issues. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
we have done all the Scenic European River Cruises at least twice but never the Douro so we were looking forward to it and are very glad that we did - and we will do it again. The crew was exceptional and nothing was too much. Our ... Read More
we have done all the Scenic European River Cruises at least twice but never the Douro so we were looking forward to it and are very glad that we did - and we will do it again. The crew was exceptional and nothing was too much. Our butler Alexandra was amazing and came up with new ideas to spoil us and make us feel special. Philipe, the cruise director together with Maria, one of the on-ship guides have excellent knowledge about the area and passed it on with great enthusiasm. The ship is the smallest of the Scenic fleet but well appointed, cabin layout makes use of every little space, the balconies provide a lot of privacy and the ship has even got a little pool which was used by a number of people. Local entertainment was well presented and very enjoyable shore excursions were well organised. We had a late departure and the crew made sure, that we were looked after until we left the ship - Thank you all for a wonderful experience! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We really liked the all inclusive nature of Scenic with no further charges once on board apart from spa options. Dining was enjoyably varied and generally very good. The crew were great. Dining staff were attentive and soon got to know our ... Read More
We really liked the all inclusive nature of Scenic with no further charges once on board apart from spa options. Dining was enjoyably varied and generally very good. The crew were great. Dining staff were attentive and soon got to know our preferred drinks, breakfast orders etc. The services of Sonja and Nuno in the bar were wonderful - always ready to serve with a smile. Loved my 'Bandy and Braileys'! The cabin was compact but very well appointed with a lovely sun balcony area. The bathroom was very well equipped too and all was kept very clean by Susana. The river Douro far exceeded our expectations - stunning scenery, quiet and some lovely places to visit. The weather was unseasonably chilly for late April and although we had some very good days, the wind was a challenge on occasions. We did have a problem with our butler as we didn’t meet her for 24 hours and which presented some difficulty trying to operate various things in the cabin- including our shower which we abandoned trying to take on arrival as couldn’t find the on/off lever. The butler finally came to our cabin the following afternoon when 2 men and a child knocked asking to come into the cabin to repair a curtain. My friend, who was alone, became very upset at this unnannounced intrusion as our safe was open as was our luggage as we were reorganising our use of storage etc. She had to do to reception as the phone was not answered to find out if these visitors were genuine. The butler came later and was very supportive to my friend. This seemed to be a safety issue as no one had informed us of this and they could have walked on from shore as we were still in Porto. After this we tried on subsequent days to make contact with the butler for simple requests like a pot of tea but didn’t ever make contact. We gave up trying after a few days.This was disappointing as others spoke very highly of their butler's service and I felt we missed out on a benefit we had paid for but not received. Our butler was very pleasant and friendly when we saw her on the ship, but the service was very poor probably because this was her first sailing. A final issue was the lack of emphasis on using the hand sanitiser at the entrance to the dining room. Many people became ill with a cold during the course of the cruise as my friend did as well as in the days following disembarkation, like myself, and also others we have heard from since. We always made a point of using the spray before dining unlike many others. A reminder by the crew would have helped embed this as common practice. Thank goodness it wasn’t Norovirus. We did enjoy very many aspects of the cruise and hope that these shortfalls can be addressed in the future. We particularly enjoyed the company of the passengers who proved to be very good company and a lot of fun! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We saw this Cruise listed in one of Scenic's brochures and thought this was a little different. It was a unique experience and were fully occupied by our Tour Director Raquel. The villages and port making establishment visits were ... Read More
We saw this Cruise listed in one of Scenic's brochures and thought this was a little different. It was a unique experience and were fully occupied by our Tour Director Raquel. The villages and port making establishment visits were well balanced as was the whole trip. Having cruised the Danube and Russia on Scenic's boats as well as the Inside passage, this cruise was very contrasting both in the scenic sense but culturally. The were able to interact more closely with the locals than ever before. Although the growing of grapes and the making o port was much of the focus of this cruise, and there was certainly no shortage of beautiful ports, the beauty of the countryside was stunning. So too was the attention paid to detail on the Scenic Azure that was equal to previous Scenic River Cruising boats. We concluded our tour by saying "we could easily live here". Our River Cruise was preceded by a 3 night extension in Lisbon that is really worthwhile with plenty of time to "do your own thing". Don't wait, just do it! 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
This is our sixth river cruise, and our third one with Scenic. While we have had very good experiences with AMA and Uniworld, we just loved the all-inclusive Scenic experience, with interesting excursions and great fellow travellers - the ... Read More
This is our sixth river cruise, and our third one with Scenic. While we have had very good experiences with AMA and Uniworld, we just loved the all-inclusive Scenic experience, with interesting excursions and great fellow travellers - the Australians! On this cruise, there were plenty of Canadians, Kiwis and Brits with the Aussies, and we all enjoyed our Commonwealth experience:) The Scenic Azure is a new ship, and the crew are all Portuguese. They were wonderful! All passengers remarked repeatedly on the professional and personable service we all received. The ship is very modern and built specifically for the Douro locks, so rooms and public areas are less spacious, but then there are only 96 passengers on board. Our room had an enclosed balcony, and an extremely comfortable bed with settings so you can sit up in bed. This was our first time to Portugal, and in comparison to other European rivers, this is much more quiet, with very small ports. This allowed for lots of great sailing time with drinks on the top deck enjoying the gorgeous scenery and tranquility. There were lovely excursions to Mateus, to beautiful gardens, the Coa Museum, and, of course, port houses and tastings. Breakfast was a delicious hot and cold buffet, and you can order hot items as well. Lunch could be a buffet in the dining room with different specials, or a lighter lunch in the lounge. Desserts and snacks were always available in the lounge. Dinner was a sit down affair, and you could reserve a space at the specialty restaurant Portobello, or a special set menu with Table d'hôte. After dinner, we would head for the lounge to either play trivia games or sing and dance with the musician. I learned some Aussie dances (Nutbush?!) and we all had a very good time. Excursions are included, alcohol is included, tips are included - you don't need to open your wallet. Scenic makes sure to pick you up from the airport, take you to all the excursions, and bring you to the airport (we were the only ones leaving Madrid at 6 am, but there was a beautiful Mercedes coach to take us to the airport, included) Some passengers came one day late due to airline issues, and the Scenic butlers came out to help them to the ship, and made them a special lunch as the rest of the group were out on excursions. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our first River cruise. We were interested to see how Scenic compared to Seabourn as we have been on 2 of their cruises & were delighted with every aspect. Gladly, Scenic exceeded our expectations & was on a par with ... Read More
This was our first River cruise. We were interested to see how Scenic compared to Seabourn as we have been on 2 of their cruises & were delighted with every aspect. Gladly, Scenic exceeded our expectations & was on a par with Seabourn. From the food, service, staff, comfort, attention to detail & enjoyment. We were happy that all drinks & alcohol were included as this didn't seem very clear on the paperwork. We like that the tips & food are included also, so that we didn't have to worry about money. We enjoyed staying 2 nights in Poto Sheraton pre cruise. We would like to make a special mention to Maria Helena, Tiago, Sophia, Miguel, Jose, Rodrigues,Fillipe & our Brazilian room assistant. I would only request that there was a fitness class i.e yoga later in the day about 5pm. We enjoyed the excursions but having a toilet on the coaches would be helpful, as the queues in restaurants for the ladies loo were ridiculous. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We previously had a great experience with Scenic when we went to New Zealand 18 months ago. Our expectations of this river cruise were met and exceeded. The ship's specifications and comfort level were very good indeed. The ... Read More
We previously had a great experience with Scenic when we went to New Zealand 18 months ago. Our expectations of this river cruise were met and exceeded. The ship's specifications and comfort level were very good indeed. The customer service was excellent with a can-do attitude, very friendly and professional standards. The food was lovely. All the crew were very friendly and made you think you were their only customers and not that they were repeating this time and again. There was a small problem with the room which was repaired thoroughly and very quickly with no inconvenience to us at all. The meeting and greeting each time we left and boarded the ship was very welcoming and also very reassuring that security was taken responsibly. The pianist played almost continuously and really came into his own during the top deck barbecue one lunch time. This was glorious. Great food, atmosphere, music and sunshine!! Food and drink were lovely at all times - just go on a diet before you start your holiday. We were not left wanting at any time. I found the holiday thoroughly relaxing in every way. I would recommend it 100%. More coaches were provided for our excursions than actually needed to give us more space, rather than filling each seat. The excursions were varied, good choices offered and very well conducted. When an excursion was led by a local guide, the tour staff based on our ship came along too to ensure smooth running. They were the "tail-end Charlies" to ensure no one was left behind but they were discreet in doing this. The only criticism we all had was the poor meal provided by the restaurant in Salamanca, the trip there itself, though, was lovely. Regarding the ship, Wifi is very intermittent but there is a warning about this in the information provided before the trip. The public rooms could also be chilly at times so a jacket / wrap would be useful. We did ask for the temperature to be increased but this wasn't always effective. Regarding Scenic, I would like to suggest that they don't colour code the name badges with the silver, gold and platinum customer status. Sometimes it can lead to a type of attitude amongst some client which we noticed on our New Zealand tour - but not so much on the river cruise. I suggest there is a points system to reward regular clients which doesn't then need to be publicised. I would definitely go again. It was one of my best holidays. 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
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
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: August 2017
It was a great way to see some of Portugal that on your own you wouldn't see. Local guides were great, however the timing for the excursion in Salamanca was wrong and by the time the tour was finished and free time started the bulk of ... Read More
It was a great way to see some of Portugal that on your own you wouldn't see. Local guides were great, however the timing for the excursion in Salamanca was wrong and by the time the tour was finished and free time started the bulk of the shops had closed hence only some souvenir shops were still open (Scenic need to rethink Salamanca). The river scenery was pretty impressive and lots of little villages where we had experiences and interactions with the locals included. Butler service and no additional charge for food or any drinks certainly made us feel like we were in the lap of luxury. A couple of occasions where they brought local entertainers on board but mostly the resident pianist/vocalist. He adapted very well to tastes of voyagers, who were predominantly Australians but including Scotts, Irish and Canadians. Communication really easy as all staff had great English language skills. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
We explored Lisbon before we embarked our ship in Porto. I found Porto difficult to walk around with lots of potholes in the sidewalks and lots of empty buildings. In the future, I would skip Lisbon and head into Porto a little earlier. ... Read More
We explored Lisbon before we embarked our ship in Porto. I found Porto difficult to walk around with lots of potholes in the sidewalks and lots of empty buildings. In the future, I would skip Lisbon and head into Porto a little earlier. That being said, the hotel was lovely and our waitress in the hotel lobby knew her wines, and was generous in her information about Portuguese wines. Embarkation went smoothly. Our cabin was on Sapphire deck and was quite comfortable to our needs. Very comfortable bed. Housekeeping always kept the room immaculate and refreshed our little bar daily and gave us extra water. Loved the balcony which I could open and close at leisure. We ate mostly in the Crystal dining room, but often ate a lighter lunch in the sun lounge. We ate once in the Portobellos, the specialty restaurant. Food was delicious on all counts. Our entertainment and activities were light but highly interesting. Tours also were interesting, and there were always washrooms available. I am going to try to make the candied almonds that one person demonstrated on one tour. We especially liked the Fado music both on and off board, the cork demonstration, shopping with Chef and his demonstration, and tours to the wineries and villages. Service was always with a smile and we loved the staff, their hard work and humor. After disembarking at Porto, we flew on to Madrid. The only negative thing I have to say is about Portuguese airlines. Small and not on time. We loved Madrid. Our tour guide was knowledgable, warm and welcoming. She was always more than available and helpful. The streets are pedestrian friendly. We would definitely go there again. And our city tour guide who was also our guide at the Prado Art Gallery was exceptionally knowledgable. In conclusion, we loved Scenic. I love the all inclusive, I loved the wonderful variety of shipmates. I loved that the ship was Portuguese built, and the crew was Portuguese. But never fear - their English is impeccable. We would travel with Scenic again. 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We'd been on a previous Scenic river cruise and enjoyed it very much. This was our first cruise in Portugal and it was very enjoyable - food 9 our of 10, service 10 out of 10, cabin (junior suite) a bit short of space but this was to ... Read More
We'd been on a previous Scenic river cruise and enjoyed it very much. This was our first cruise in Portugal and it was very enjoyable - food 9 our of 10, service 10 out of 10, cabin (junior suite) a bit short of space but this was to be expected, butler service was impeccable The crew were all very helpful and we enjoyed the first night's dinner (Welcome Party) at the Captain's table. It was October and weather was dry but cool so we didn't see much of the Sun Deck. Excursions were well organised and very interesting. Embarkation and disembarkation were trouble-free. Bar service in the lounge in the evening was under-staffed but the bar tender and the two waiters did their very best. The scenery was fantastic. We missed most of the enrichment activities and port information talks as they coincided with our siesta time. We'd certainly use Scenic again. 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We had enjoyed a Scenic cruise before, Amsterdam to Budapest and found it to be excellent in every way. The feature of extending the room by having the balcony window go up and down is a great extension of the room and helps enhance the ... Read More
We had enjoyed a Scenic cruise before, Amsterdam to Budapest and found it to be excellent in every way. The feature of extending the room by having the balcony window go up and down is a great extension of the room and helps enhance the enjoyment of any passing scenery. The food and service are always extraordinary in every possible imaginable way! They do try to think of and anticipate every possible need and usually do. In the unlikely event they do not they are anxious to try to ensure it happens! The ship is exceptionally clean and it is evident it is important to them in so many ways. The waiters get to know you by name and are happy to engage in conversation, likewise if you are having a private conversation they are helpful and not interrupting. The bartender was very helpful and thoughtful and had a great sense of humour we enjoyed as well. They seemed to be constantly thinking up ways to improve on things for example the upper deck barbecue with sangria and authentic Portugese food with sufficient variety to please every palate. The tour guides were very helpful and happy and friendly, in fact all the staff were friendly. The hotel manager clearly is a happy and kind person and it reflects in the attitude of the staff throughout the cruise and at all levels. It would be very difficult to fault any aspect of the Scenic cruise experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2016
Why Portugal? Because my husband wanted to experience Portugal Was an interesting cruise but very short on cruising. The River Douro is very short, hence we stayed several nights at the same spot. I enjoyed the Scenic Azure but the ... Read More
Why Portugal? Because my husband wanted to experience Portugal Was an interesting cruise but very short on cruising. The River Douro is very short, hence we stayed several nights at the same spot. I enjoyed the Scenic Azure but the Junior Suites were very short on space - I chose a Junior Suite as the Budapest cruise suites were very spacious. Glad of the extra space per favour of the closed in balcony. We choose to sail because of the scenery - not the wines as the crews seem to think. No way would we attend a 'Captain'/ Dinner'! A Scenic bar which, I believe is Australian, cannot make a lemon, lime & bitters - an Australian favourite. Internet was great. No break in service. Ship staff were very obliging and dealt admirably with my husband's requirements for daily injections that had to be kept between 5 & 8C. Australian staff had no idea of assistance with being able to take the needles overseas! Caused many grey hairs which was totally unnecessary! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We have done other river cruises with Scenic and when the Douro River cruise was introduced we could not wait to experience this and we were not disappointed. The Azure was newly commissioned and very comfortable. We were particularly ... Read More
We have done other river cruises with Scenic and when the Douro River cruise was introduced we could not wait to experience this and we were not disappointed. The Azure was newly commissioned and very comfortable. We were particularly pleased with our balcony cabin from which we could view the scenery going by in complete comfort. The food, drinks and service could not be faulted with friendly staff ready to meet our every needs. One issue was that the lounge area was somewhat small for the number of passengers and during the port talks things got a little cramped. Overall the tours were delightful and very informative, with the exception of the Salamanca Lunch. The food left a lot to be desired, although this was off-set by the Spanish Dancers who were very professional and a joy to watch. The BBQ on the upper deck was a great idea, with excellent food and drinks. The pianist provided superb entertainment playing music that catered for the ages of the majority of the passengers. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We thoroughly enjoyed our recent cruise with Scenic down the Douro Valley in Portugal. The entire crew were fabulous and went out of their way to ensure every passenger had their needs and wants met. The interaction of the crew was ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our recent cruise with Scenic down the Douro Valley in Portugal. The entire crew were fabulous and went out of their way to ensure every passenger had their needs and wants met. The interaction of the crew was appreciated by all guests and added to our experience of the people and culture of Portugal. The food and service were world class with something to suit every taste. Activities on and of the shop were well organised and carried out. Cabins were very well thought out and set, with everything we needed. They really had thought of everything. We were also impressed by the service provided by Scenic -a Scenic rep meet us at the airport in Sydney and then at the other end in Porto. We were after from start to, making it a enjoyable experience. It really was a fantastic trip. We will definitely be doing another cruise with Scenic. 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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