We were passengers on the Scenic Ruby tour departing Amsterdam on 27th May 2013. Our primary purpose in travelling on the Scenic Ruby was to cruise the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers. Our specific interest was in the Rivers as a transportation system and the scenery along the river. We have a son who lives on the Rhine in Germany and by visiting him on several occasions in the past we had noticed many river ships, and not having previously experienced luxury river cruising, we chose the Jewels of Europe tour we thought it would enable us to explore the river and to experience its much vaunted beauty. Our actual experience was not remotely close to Scenics advertised ultimate luxury river cruising experience.
The rivers were swollen and well up before we started out from Amsterdam. Having worked extensively for many years in flood disaster management and flood recovery on rivers in Australia, I know that the upstream hydrology patterns would have dictated near the start of the voyage that the ship would not be able to undertake the journey on schedule. Yet Scenic failed to inform the passengers about the true extent of the impending disaster until over a week into the "cruise" and then only drip fed us with what information it saw fit for us to know while our ships sat day after day in ugly industrial terminals before Scenic eventually acknowledged that we would not sail again - at all. In fact we cruised for only 2 days of a 15 day tour.
There was nothing relaxing about the cruise. Instead of cruising, we were shunted in buses backwards and forwards along the route, completely missing most of the river scenery. This required very early starts, day after day, instead of waking up fresh and stepping off in new cities. We were accommodated on 3 separate ships along the way, and dined on a 4th lots of packing and unpacking totally at odds with what was advertised. This cruise of a lifetime was completely unspectacular.
While the Cruise Director and ships staff are to be complimented for doing their very best to feed, water, entertain, look after all the passengers, and keep us calm, there was a very strong undercurrent of conversation among the passengers about Scenics failure to properly inform us of the reality of our situation enabling people to make choices about whether to stay or go. If the tour had been cancelled, our travel insurance would have covered us. Since it was not, we had little option but to persevere. Passengers were informed, when the full extent of the flood became apparent, that most of the other affected ship companies cancelled the remainder of their cruises and sent their passengers home to work things out with insurers. We would have preferred to do the same.
We feel we got only about 30-40% of the experience we were offered but Scenic was unwilling to provide equitable compensation offering only $500 as a "gesture of goodwill".
Good introduction to Amsterdam's features
A brief coverage of Cologne city
Not very ornate