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Scenic Crystal Review

Scenic Crystal
Scenic Crystal - River Cafe Scenic Crystal - Deluxe Balcony Suite Scenic Crystal - Butler Service Scenic Crystal - L'Occitaine Toiletries
91% of cruisers loved it
11 reviews | Write a Review
  • Scenic is one of river cruising's most inclusive lines
  • Many cabins have innovative sunrooms that convert to balconies
  • All-day dining and in-cabin service unusual in river cruising

Scenic Crystal Overview

By Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor, Features; updated by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
Editor Rating
Scenic Crystal, launched in 2012, is one of Scenic's popular “space ships.” If you're an American, you might wonder why you've never heard of this luxury river line. It's because its Australian parent company has not marketed to Americans until recently. European menu (items like fish and muesli at breakfast and a wide selection of cheese offered at every meal, for example).

Now a staple of Scenic's stable, the “space ship” class nods to a design that offers plentiful public and cabin space – among the highest passenger space ratio in the industry. Standout features include the "Sun Lounge" balconies, which simultaneously make cabins feel large and airy and make the balcony space usable in fair and inclement weather; multiple dining options teased out of just two main public areas (the restaurant and the lounge); and a spa and fitness center -- small but certainly not standard on all river ships.

And the luxurious amenities can't be overlooked: Scenic is one of the most all-inclusive river lines. All meals, all drinks (minus the highest-end liquors and French Champagne), excursions, Internet and butler service in all cabins are included in the fare.

No detail is too small to be carefully considered, from a gorgeous selection of loose-leaf teas in the lounge to combination television-Mac computers with Internet in every cabin. The glassed-in showers might be the largest we've ever had in a standard balcony cabin, and you can lather up in L'Occitane shampoos and lotions before drying off in fluffy bathrobes. Even the included excursions go beyond the river cruise staples with your choice of walking, biking or museum tours in every port. Plus Scenic's exclusive GPS devices allow for independent exploration with a virtual guide and map, as well as narration during scenic cruising portions of the trip.

If there's a lot about Scenic that pleases, one downside on our trip was the quality of service. We were surprised at how many glitches there were. Our butler never introduced herself while the butler for the cabin across the hall was checking in on my neighbor daily. The waitstaff couldn't handle simple requests (no prosciutto on my antipasto or an off-the-menu request for morning oatmeal); The ship's state-of-the-art electrically assisted bicycles kept getting flat tires or running out of battery power; and we never managed to get the TV or Internet working in our cabin.

Because Scenic Crystal is not an American ship; you'll find lengthy itineraries (15-day sailings can be common) catering to Australian travel styles, European and Australian power points, and a more European menu (items like fish and muesli at breakfast and a wide selection of cheese offered at every meal, for example). But if you're looking for an upscale, all-inclusive river experience, Scenic Crystal is definitely worth checking out.

Scenic Crystal Fellow Passengers

Scenic historically has attracted Australians and Brits, but a growing number of Americans, Canadians and Germans are coming aboard. Passengers are typically aged 50 to 80, well traveled and financially comfortable. Passengers also tend to be fairly active; while Scenic Crystal does have an elevator, the focus on walking tours along cobblestoned streets in European towns means the tours aren't so suitable for wheelchair-bound or travelers with significant mobility issues.

Scenic Crystal Dress Code

Dress is casual during the day (bring sturdy, comfortable shoes for all the walking tours) and smart casual at night. Ladies would wear dressy pants outfits, skirts or dresses, while men donned nice slacks and button-down shirts (jackets optional). People dolled up a bit more for the Captain's Welcome and Farewell dinners or for dining at specialty venues Portobellos and Table La Rive.

Scenic Crystal Gratuity

The onboard currency is the euro. Gratuities are included in your fare for onboard staff and tour guides. Additional tipping is not expected.
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Scenic Crystal Member Reviews

I took my first ever overseas trip with Scenic Crystal in October 2015 and I can say it was the best experience I could have ever have hoped for, it was truly a dream come true. From the moment I arrived in Prague and met tour director Grabriella ... Read more
My wife and I travelled with scenic on the Crystal from Budapest to Amsterdam from October 15th 2015. This was our first river cruise with Scenic after recommendations from friends who did same cruise last year.This was also my first time overseas. ... Read more
We just got back from 8 days aboard the Scenic Crystal. We stayed in Budapest at the Marriott for one night which was located on the Danube and a lovely hotel. Our first night on the boat was a cruise on the Danube to see the the beautiful lights ... Read more
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Scenic Crystal Ratings

Editor Rating 4.5 Member Rating
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