My husband & I are avid cruises, and have been on many cruises prior to the Scenic Rhine & Rhone river cruise, and we believe that if you are told to expect 5 Star and pay a lot of money for 5 Star that is what you should receive. We have never once had a complaint with a cruise liner before, but we are so disappointed with this last cruise that we felt that others should be aware of our experience with Scenic cruises.
My husband and I have just returned from a Scenic 14 day Rhine and Rhone river cruise with 3 days in Paris beforehand on the Scenic Spaceships Sapphire and Emerald. If you have ever picked up a Scenic brochure or indeed seen one of their ads on TV, you will hear and see that these trips are supposed to be 5 Star all the way.
This was to be the trip of a lifetime 3 days in Paris followed by 14 days cruising the rivers in 5 Star luxury. At least that was what we were led to believe. Balcony rooms, unlimited alcohol, 5 Star dining all for the price of $22,500.
Unfortunately the reality was between 3 and 4 star at a maximum. Our supposed spectacular dinner at the Eiffel Tower was more like a 3 star, get what you are given dinner on the first level. No spectacular view at all and a very definite time limit on how long you could sit and enjoy the "scenery". Very big disappointment, especially as there is a much better restaurant, Jules Verne one floor up, but of course more expensive. My husband and I had much nicer meals just in local cafes than this 5 Star Scenic experience.
We began our 14 day, 2 river cruise on the Scenic Sapphire. We were very happy with the look and feel of this ship, and the staff were in fact exceptional, especially Miguel and Kurt. The food was mostly 4 Star, however the evening entertainment certainly left a lot to be desired. They seem to get one piano player on the ship for a whole week and that is all the entertainment provided. If you don't want to listen to the same music night after night the only choice is to spend the evening in your cabin as there is nowhere else to go on-board. If you like buffets you will enjoy the food on these 5 Star spaceships if not, you need to be prepared to be very disappointed. I expected table service for every meal; however the only meal that received this was at dinner. It was very unfortunate that so many people ended up with dreadful colds which of course spread like a wild fire through both ships when buffets are the only source of food and people who are sick are handling all the serving utensils.
The 2nd week we moved over to the Scenic Emerald. This spaceship is definitely a lot older than the Sapphire and it showed. Our cabin was so disappointing not only was the TV falling off the wall but it didn't work for 4.5 days out of the 7 we were on board. The quilts on the bed had no stuffing left in them, in fact if you picked them up towards the light they were totally see-through. The food on this ship was inedible a lot of the time. If my husband and I were off the ship we in fact preferred to eat at the local restaurants than go back to the ship to eat. We had raw rabbit the first night on board the Emerald and the second night was no better with veal that could not be cut up it was so tough. I won't even begin to describe the dessert of Crepe Suzette that consisted of a piece of crepe roughly the size of my little finger that was an absolute disgrace and that everyone just looked at with absolute bewilderment.
Half way through our 2nd leg of the River Cruise I did in fact email Scenic Cruises directly and let them know of our disappointment in regards to the food, entertainment and the quality of the ship. I received a reply from the Customer Liaison Manager, which was appreciated. She informed me that she was disappointed in our feedback and apologised that the meals were not to our tastes and that all of the things I mentioned in my email would be bought to the attention of the new Cruise Operations Manager. She also advised me that she had passed our comments onto the Cruise Director on board the Emerald. The Cruise Director did in fact come to talk to my husband and I later on the same afternoon. She listened to what we had to say, apologised profusely, but of course there was not a lot she could do. She did in fact agree that what we were receiving was not 5 Star and that it should not be advertised as such.
If I was advised that Scenic offered 4 Star food and accommodation and we actually paid for 4 Star service, then I would have been happy with what we received. But we were promised 5 Star and certainly did not receive it. I have informed by travel agent of the problems we had and she of course was very upset as she recommended this trip in the first place. We are very frequent travelers, but will never be using 3 Star Scenic ever again.