138 Basel Luxury Cruise Reviews

Our travel agent recommended this cruise line over others. We had had a wonderful experience with Tauck’s musical cruise on the Danube but she said there’s no comparison in terms of Uniworld being a better experience. My first ... Read More
Our travel agent recommended this cruise line over others. We had had a wonderful experience with Tauck’s musical cruise on the Danube but she said there’s no comparison in terms of Uniworld being a better experience. My first reaction upon entering the boat’s lobby is that it looked cluttered. There is a large blue chandelier that overpowers the small area. Downstairs in the reception area there is a table with blue and white vases and green apples that provided a pleasing vignette. The stairs themselves are rather steep and curved, which to me seemed like a recipe for a fall if not being very careful. About a month prior to departure we were offered an upgrade to a suite, which we were glad we took, since it offered much more space than the French balcony. That classification offers butler service, but we rarely took advantage except for laundry, which always came back later in the day and was beautifully done. The “balcony” is actually an inset into part of the room with two small chairs and a table plus a window that will open half way. It was nicely appointed including a live orchid. There was limited opportunity to use the balcony, as most of the time the boat moved at night and when docked, we were either up against another boat, a concrete wall, or similar uninteresting view. The room decor seemed a bit heavy but the bed was very comfortable and we like the size of the bathroom and the storage under the two sinks, plus towel and floor warmers. The shower often backed up into the main floor area. One major disadvantage to that particular cabin (402) is that it can be noisy with lots of footsteps outside and overhead, evening during the night. It is near the main gathering area, which added to the noise, plus the neighboring room played their TV hanging on the wall adjacent to our bed loudly playing past midnight. I mentioned something to the hotel director, suggesting that our neighbors play the TV by their bed instead. That worked one night only... . One of our major complaints about this ship is that the gathering areas were very noisy...We traveled with another couple and could barely hear each other while dining. Upon request, they reserved a table in the back of the room, which helped. Even with the room partially filled, the sound level was very high and one could clearly hear conversations from two or three tables away. It did seem as if the there was fairly steady drinking among this crowd, which may have added to the decibels. Another serious issue was our experience at dinner. First, the waiters were understaffed, meaning that there was a sense of frantic about them (tho they were very pleasant and tried to be accommodating.) Often they tried to serve us the wrong order and usually it took well over 30’ to have our dinner plates removed. The food itself was sub par. There was only one night that I thought the entree was edible. Every other night I couldn’t eat it. When asked why my plate was full when they removed it, I told them and they responded “I’ll let the chef know”. All four of us on the cruise felt that the quality of food at dinner time tended to be dry as if sitting for too long before being served...and often without much taste. The breakfast was very nice and lunch was okay, tho repetitive. The offered cheeses, many of which were not of high quality...almost stale in some cases..and the fruit was usually unripe. We have been on several tours and sea cruises (Tauck, Lindblad, Crystal, Celebrity) and in all cases their food quality and service were superior to this. The cruise director was upbeat and accommodating. That said, we thought the guided tours were rather bland and generic. We suggested to him it might be nice to include more information about the architecture and art/music in the particular areas and he said this “market” wasn’t interested in this. I want to reiterate that the crew were all very pleasant and worked hard. It seems that perhaps the corporate section of Uniworld needs to consider addressing some of these concerns, as I see that many other reviewers with similar comments. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our first cruise and we were celebrating a special occasion. Everything was great - cabin layout quite adequate with lovely big comfy bed, lovely en suite with great shower, all sparkling clean. Food was fantastic, loads of ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we were celebrating a special occasion. Everything was great - cabin layout quite adequate with lovely big comfy bed, lovely en suite with great shower, all sparkling clean. Food was fantastic, loads of choice for breakfast and lunch, more formal meal in the evening but still with three or four choices on the four course menu. Masses of choice in drinks including malt whiskies, all staff were friendly and professional. Trips varied but generally good and there was usually a choice. So what was the problem?? I have to firstly state that I am a poor sleeper. So, we had paid for a 'deluxe' cabin, which meant we had a good sized, non opening window and were located at the front on the second level. All cabins are the same size and layout, you pay for the window, ours was fine from that point of view. What was definitely not fine was the hellish noise we experienced from the engines at the front, located maybe six feet from our door, which was the second last in the corridor. The last door between us and the engine room was the bottle store. 100+ passengers on an all inclusive cruise get through a lot of bottles so the staff were constantly in and out during the day and in the evening, clattering and clanking as they restocked. But worst by far was the engine noise. Apparently the engines at the front are the ones which deal with sideways positioning and are therefore heavily engaged when passing through locks. There are a great many locks between Basel and Amsterdam, and we sailed through the vast majority of them overnight, mainly on nights 1 & 2. This meant that I barely slept during either of these nights doe to the roaring of the engine. We spoke to passengers who were in the cheaper cabins one level down but who heard nothing. We were very unfortunate in the location of our room. And to add insult to injury a couple of nights later we had dancing in the lounge from 9.30pm. Guess what, the lounge turned out to be directly above our heads. We ended up going ashore and walking along the towpath for an hour or so in the pitch dark, thankfully when we returned after 11.00 the band was finishing. Lots of apologies and a bottle of fizzy wine the next day from the hotel manager on board. So apart from the noise the cruise was 5*. Unfortunately if you can't sleep at night you can't enjoy the days. I have since been in touch with customer services who tell me that noise is not unexpected. Well it was completely unexpected for me and served to seriously detract from our holiday. Should you have a problem I cannot recommend Uniworld customer services. So yes, go on the trip but only if you can be absolutely certain you will not end up in CABIN 202! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was advertised as a luxury, all inclusive cruise. It was a stunning ship. The cabin was a great size with lots of storage areas. Really enjoyed the balcony when there wasn't another ship parked along side of us. This happened a ... Read More
This was advertised as a luxury, all inclusive cruise. It was a stunning ship. The cabin was a great size with lots of storage areas. Really enjoyed the balcony when there wasn't another ship parked along side of us. This happened a couple of times and it prevented us from using the balcony because of the lack of privacy. It certainly curtailed your view. The staff worked very hard and treated you royally. The excursions were the highlight of the cruise. We saw so many interesting things at each stop. They were organized well. Kudos to the Cruise Director, Alex. The dinner dining experience was disappointing. We expected more considering it was a luxury cruise and the price we paid. The servers work very hard but they need more of them. As soon as a passenger sits down he/she should be acknowledged and served. Sometimes we had to wait for a while for the server to give us water/menu/wine, etc. We shouldn't have to wait and certainly not ask for anything. The food variety was disappointing for a luxury cruise. The portions were small as well. The server would ask if you wanted bread and you would be given a small piece from a basket. The bread basket should be put on the table when you arrive. This would alleviate some extra work for the server as well. Are they rationing the bread? Lunch and breakfast were generally buffet style with a good variety of food items. There should be more interactive activities in the evening for the passengers who wish to participate. On the second last night of the cruise we had a music trivia game along with a Disco night, all on the same evening. I personally think people were starved from the lack of entertaining activities. River cruising is becoming popular with a variety of age groups. It's not just tor the 50+. Scenic should modify their evening entertainment programs. We will not travel Scenic again. But saying that I did enjoy the trip as it was a different experience for us. However, it didn't meet our expectations. I hope Scenic looks seriously at these reviews because many people are giving the same suggestions for improvement. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We recently cruised on the SCENIC Opal on the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam. This was supposed to be a ‘luxury’ cruise. Last year, we had a fantastic experience cruising the Douro River on their Evergreen ship. We couldn't ... Read More
We recently cruised on the SCENIC Opal on the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam. This was supposed to be a ‘luxury’ cruise. Last year, we had a fantastic experience cruising the Douro River on their Evergreen ship. We couldn't fault anything. All the staff were professional, courteous and friendly. We thought the Scenic Luxury Cruise would be equal or better, but we were wrong. In our opinion, the Evergreen cruise rated 5 star ... the Scenic cruise 4 star. A number of the staff were unprofessional, and were trying too hard to be funny. When I asked if the sandwiches at the bar could be toasted, a straight faced "NO" is not the answer I wanted to hear, followed by "just kidding!" Also, at dinner when I asked if I could have a glass of wine, "No we don't have any" wears thin over time. Staff mucking around with each other in front of customers also wears thin, especially this incident: Female bar worker prodding and annoying a male bar worker who was trying to serve me. Eventually, he got tired of her and said "talk to the hand". She replied with "talk to the finger" (holding up her middle finger!) Not what I expected to see on a so called ‘Luxury Cruise’! Early one morning, I left 4 shirts to be ironed only (no washing). When they hadn't arrived by 6pm I called and they were delivered to my cabin a few minutes later. They must have used a cold iron, because they were still creased! One night, I ran out of orange juice in the bar fridge and asked for more. I was promised a carton instead of a small bottle ... the juice never arrived. One morning I overheard a man asking the tour manager what port we were in. She sarcastically replied "you would have heard that in the Port Talk". He said he wanted a card with the port address because he was going on shore and wanted it in case he couldn't find where we were later that evening ... but she reacted before he finished his question. The barman was adding tap water to tall drinks (Mojitos, Midori Splice etc). When I sent a letter of complaint to SCENIC, I was told they are supposed to top up with sparkling water or lemonade … not tap water. Why aren't the bar staff trained properly? I've said it before, and I'll say it again ... this is supposed to be a luxury cruise! I realise maintenance has to be carried out during a cruise, but first impressions are lasting impressions, so seeing a letter missing from the SCENIC OPAL sign on the side of the ship wasn’t a good look! It was fixed, but a few days later another letter was missing! A number of passengers were rolling their eyes at dinner each night when served half a bread roll. Were we on rations?! Also, the lettuce/tomato/fetta/olives salad served for starters was pitiful and any half decent restaurant or café would be embarrassed to serve it. It doesn't take much effort to come up with a simple, yet tasty salad ... e.g. rocket lettuce/pear/walnuts/pomegranate topped with a sprinkle of shaved parmesan. We paid a lot of money for this cruise, and expected quality ingredients, not limp lettuce. The food in general was good, but the food on the Evergreen Douro cruise was better (and the food on Celebrity ocean cruises is far superior). The cabin was very comfy and roomy, but it would have been nice to find a complimentary toothbrush and toothpaste in the bathroom. When I asked for one, I was told they didn’t have any. To their credit, the bed was fabulous! Also, the shower was great. On the last day, I tried to submit the electronic cruise survey using the screen/keyboard in the cabin, but it wouldn’t allow it. I also tried on my mobile phone, but it quit before I could complete the survey (it closed just after giving comments on Room Service). The same thing happened when I used one of the ship’s iPads (it also closed just after the Room Service question). When I told the woman on the desk, she just shrugged her shoulders … didn’t offer any explanation or solution. Very poor customer service. After speaking to some other people on the cruise, we found we weren’t the only ones with complaints about staff. I am curious to know if anyone else was unable to complete the electronic cruise survey. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. River cruise was on our bucket list. This cruise hit all the ports we wanted plus the pre and post extensions (Lake Como And Amsterdam) added to our trip. Turned out to be so much more than ... Read More
Celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. River cruise was on our bucket list. This cruise hit all the ports we wanted plus the pre and post extensions (Lake Como And Amsterdam) added to our trip. Turned out to be so much more than we expected. The Viking reputation was upheld by the entire crew. From our captain to our Hotel Manager, to our breakfast server. Every person was amazing. They knew our names by day 2! The long ship was spotless. The food was outstanding. Even our nightly entertainment was great for the 30 of us who stayed up past 9:30 pm. We even made life long friends with some our shipmates. Seriously, it was so nice to be on a ship that concentrates on making relationships and truly providing service, rather than just purely entertaining you to make money. The crew of the Loft loves what they do. They have so much pride in taking care of their guests it shows every day. I am in the Hospitality Business, so trust me, I understand how hard it is and how special this group of people are. TAKE THIS CRUISE! That is my recommendation. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise as we only wanted to unpack once. We heard from numerous people that they take care of you & every detail of your trip. We had 181 guests & 41 crew members so we never felt crowded or rushed. There are many ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we only wanted to unpack once. We heard from numerous people that they take care of you & every detail of your trip. We had 181 guests & 41 crew members so we never felt crowded or rushed. There are many options, depending on what you would like to do. Daily included off-shore trips & numerous additional trips each day. Much detail given before each trip so you know where to be extra cautious & what places that you must see. Consideration for your style of touring, leisurely perusing or jam-packed itinerary with small groups, each with it's own tour guide. Not much time for shopping, but this made my husband very happy. On board, there are various cultural activities each day. Plenty of places to sit & enjoy the scenery as you sail. The food is fabulous & so much of it! Consideration given to everyone's special dietary needs. Snacks & beverages available 24/7. We had a veranda room with loads of space to store our belongings. All personnel treated us like family with the utmost consideration & assistance. They want you to be happy & have everything that you need. We were able to take care of the financial parts before we left so we didn't have to use our credit cards in Europe. We look forward to our next trip with Viking! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
we had expected a magical experience after watching Jane MacDonald on this Christmas Markets Cruise last year. The itinerary was wrong as it had listed an Xmas Market every day. They failed to advise us prior to the cruise that the ... Read More
we had expected a magical experience after watching Jane MacDonald on this Christmas Markets Cruise last year. The itinerary was wrong as it had listed an Xmas Market every day. They failed to advise us prior to the cruise that the shops close on Xmas Eve so the last market was on the 23rd. The ship was beautiful but the cruise was dull & boring with no atmosphere. The cabin was lovely, well decorated but did lack a mini bar. Service very good. Every night we were entertained by the same duo apart from an additional singer one night who bombarded us with non stop Xmas songs. As you can imagine, by Xmas eve we were sick of hearing Xmas songs. The food was good but we never saw a menu until we sat down for dinner. One exception was Xmas night when the turkey was awful as it was stuffed with figs! There was no onboard activities, so for those who did not get off the ship or go on an excursion, it was uneventful. For what we paid we could have had 3 months on an ocean cruise. No more river cruises for us, especially with Uniworld! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
My husband and I were passengers on the Basel to Amsterdam "Castles Along the Rhine" October 14-22, 2018 river cruise with Uniworld on board the SS Antoinette. On the second night( the first night of this "7 night ... Read More
My husband and I were passengers on the Basel to Amsterdam "Castles Along the Rhine" October 14-22, 2018 river cruise with Uniworld on board the SS Antoinette. On the second night( the first night of this "7 night voyage" was the overnight cruise to Breisach from Basel), we were informed that there was a possibility that the cruise might be cut short because of low river levels. Sure enough, at the 3rd evening update we were told that we would not be traveling any further on the boat. We were offered a four day, 3 night bus trip from Strasbourg to Amsterdam to complete our cruise. This would involve 3 overnight stops at hotels selected by Uniworld and we would receive vouchers for meals at each of the stops.Uniworld also offered $1000 per person off of a future cruise in 2019. Our group of 6 felt that since we had signed up for a cruise, we did not want to experience the Rhine by bus, nor did we want to pack and unpack our bags each night or have to search out restaurants for dinner at every stop, so we proposed to the cruise director that we would stay on the boat and return to Basel with the passengers that were being transferred from a southbound boat onto the SS Antoinette to complete their cruise. Late in the day on the 4th night we were told that our request had been accepted. This necessitated purchasing airline tickets from Basel to Amsterdam at a cost of $250per person since our return flights to the US were out of Amsterdam. At the 3rd night update, when the cruise cancellation was announced , the captain stated that they had hoped that a weather system moving over the south of France would move further north and provide enough rainfall to fill the river so passage would be possible. The system never moved north. This indicated to us that Uniworld knew in advance of our departure that the river level was too low, since we had already been told within 24 hours of departure that cancellation was a possibility. We felt deceived and taken advantage of. Therefore on our return to the US we requested a full refund of our cruise faire. We were offered 20% refund and a $1000 credit for a cruise in 2019. I have also included pictures of the "upgraded" suite we were offered for the return to Basel. Uniworld promotes their cruises as an upscale, luxury experience. Somehow tattered throw pillows, a worn out lounge chair, stained bedcover and ripped curtain are their idea of luxury. The meals onboard were also a huge disappointment. While the volume of food was more than adequate, the quality and preparation were sorely lacking.( ie.french onion soup consisted of 3 pieces of onion floating in weak beef broth with a cheese crouton on the side. This was served on two nights.) Having only traveled as far as Strasbourg, we did not see any castles. I gave this cruise 2 stars only because the staff was exceptional and the optional cooking class out of Strasbourg was amazing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We booked to leave Basel on 10/15/18 and arrive in Amsterdam on 10/21/18 on Scenic Jewel. The Rhine river had been low since end of June beginning of July according to many locals and crew. This trip was a disaster. We met to board ship in ... Read More
We booked to leave Basel on 10/15/18 and arrive in Amsterdam on 10/21/18 on Scenic Jewel. The Rhine river had been low since end of June beginning of July according to many locals and crew. This trip was a disaster. We met to board ship in Basel ( met at Airport) and were bussed to Worms as river was too low to allow ship to go to Basel. We took a BUS to Worms. We were in Worms two days being bussed to some of itinerary and many changes to itienerary. We asked Cruise director about status of cruise at airport first day—she told us this event happened within last week and accommodations would be made to itinerary. This trip had multiple deviations to schedules and we missed over half of Rhine river. Being bussed was difficult for many. Our cruise -turned into a BRUISE ( Bus/Bruise). We had to be be bussed to Cologne to do a ship swap—had to pack and unpack and get into a new room. This crew was beat up on new chip ( Scenic AMber) and we all sensed their frustration and tension. Many things went wrong with this cruise. We went to Frankfort and docked ( not on itinerary). My wife and I finally couldn’t take the daily mistruths and changes to itinerary and we disembarked in cologne and took train to Amsterdam to salvage a few days of this vacation. I understand the cruise line has no control over river water levels—but they do have control over information and to be deceptive ( and not tell us the truth up front about this cruise changes; nor give us an option to cancel before starting in Basel and potentially taking another trip in future) was wrong. In light of this, we met a new group leaving Amsterdam on this ship to go to Basel—-No information given to them. How information that is bad is handled is just as important as the information. They were terribly deceptive and not forthcoming. Buyer be aware. I will never cruise Scenic again nor recommend them to anyone I know. This is our 3rd river cruise( first on Scenic); One other cruise had a problem ( Viking) and it was handled so well—we went and did another cruise with them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We had planned for our first trip to Europe in almost 30 years and had been sold on the Uniworld Castles on the Rhine river cruise by Uniworld reps. When we arrived in Basel the captain and cruise director allowed all passengers to board. ... Read More
We had planned for our first trip to Europe in almost 30 years and had been sold on the Uniworld Castles on the Rhine river cruise by Uniworld reps. When we arrived in Basel the captain and cruise director allowed all passengers to board. We were unsuspecting of any issues, but Uniworld KNEW that the Rhine River was IMPASSABLE and they boarded everyone anyway. Then 24 hours after boarding at the first night Captain's dinner we were informed that the river was impassable and our river cruise was OVER. We would reach our first stop, Strasbourg, and that would be it for our boutique, high quality river cruise. Uniworld knew about the river levels BEFORE and still allowed all passengers to board. No amount of rain would have changed the outcome!! Passengers should have been informed before boarding and given an option of a refund. A cancellation would have been a huge disappointment, but fair. Once on board we were basically their CAPTIVES and spent the remaining time crammed into buses for hours, lugged our own bags around from location to location, stopped at gas stations to pee, and were given a meager amount for daily meals. We sat on a speeding bus for our Castles tour seeing more buildings and phone poles than castles. The staff seemed overwhelmed,frus trated, and unable to help. Our days were poorly organized, and attempts to contact Uniworld's customer service went unanswered. Every day, rather than relaxing on the cruise ship, we had to find our own restaurants for meals in unknown destinations with inadquate funds for the exquisite meals we had paid for. We arrived one day early in Amsterdam after hours on the bus and were put up at the AIRPORT hotel with a lovely (sarcasm) view of the control tower. We had planned to stay in Amsterdam for two additional days and had selected our hotel to be near our final destination. We now had to travel from the airport to our hotel on our own, at our expense with no assistance from the staff. A $1,000 per night boutique river cruise it was not!! The entire experience was a fiasco and very poorly handled by Uniworld! We ended our boutique river cruise experience frustrated, exhausted, and stressed. We were offered a $1,000 credit for a future river cruise expiring in 2019. That offer had no value to anyone!! The company intentially boarded passengers so they could make their profit. They put corporate PROFIT over honor and customer service! We are beyond disappointed with our first river cruise and more importantly with how Uniworld handled the difficult situation. I would encourage you NOT to book with Uniworld. Look elsewhere!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
My wife and I are repeat customers on Uniworld River Cruises and were on the ill-fated above eight-day river cruise that in effect lasted 2-3 days. We departed Basel on October 14, 2018. At that time the crew had to know that completion ... Read More
My wife and I are repeat customers on Uniworld River Cruises and were on the ill-fated above eight-day river cruise that in effect lasted 2-3 days. We departed Basel on October 14, 2018. At that time the crew had to know that completion of the scheduled eight-day river cruise was extremely unlikely, given conditions on the Rhine at that time. The Captain later indicated to us that at the time we had left Basel, he was aware of the low levels, but was hoping for an immediate rainstorm to boost the river. Within two days -- when we arrived at our second port of Strasbourg – we were told that because of water levels, the river cruise was essentially over and that the remainder of the cruise would be an impromptu attempt to duplicate what we had paid for. We were never given any choice as to how we wished to proceed at that point. As a result, a day later our crowded bus sped past the fabled Rhine castles in the fading twilight. We never saw the port of Mannheim (Speyer) or Koblenz, despite brochure promises we would dock there. We took long and tedious rides on buses (5 hours in the case of the excursion to Marksburg Castle), instead of the short excursions that had been scheduled. I had signed up for your bicycling excursion, but that was cancelled as well. Instead of our cabin, we were placed in two different hotels. Instead of eight days of fine dining experiences with wine and spirits, we given a token amount of per diem money, to buy food wherever we could find it. I understand that there are weather risks, and that their contract allows them to make accommodations in the event of circumstances such as this. But what I am saying is that their attempt to remedy the situation completely failed to substantially comply with the experiences that they had promised. The company’s offer of $1000 per passenger on a future cruise in 2019 is totally inadequate and of no use to us: our 2019 travel plans were long ago finalized. I will never again risk my money again with Uniworld. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Cruise had a great crew especially the Cruise Director, Richard Grey. Hotels in Prague and Budapest were good and well positioned in their cities. Food and service were good. Our guide in Prague was especially good. The Tailor Made devices ... Read More
Cruise had a great crew especially the Cruise Director, Richard Grey. Hotels in Prague and Budapest were good and well positioned in their cities. Food and service were good. Our guide in Prague was especially good. The Tailor Made devices are a good idea but don't work consistently. Scenic and all other cruise companies were impacted by low water levels on the Danube and although we were assured by customer service prior to our departure that the worst outcome would be a ship swap and that we would not be spending a lot of time on buses, we did in fact spend most of our week on buses. As it turned out, the only times we spent on this river were from Passau to Melk and from Melk to Vienna. We understand this was out of Scenic's control due to water levels. However, we missed our excursion to Nuremberg as we would have been on a bus for 8 hours to get there and back. It was two hours each way to Regensberg and we never did get to cruise the river from Vienna to Budapest and had to be bused there as well. We also missed out on a tour of the village outside Budapest. Again, we understand this was caused by low river water levels. However Scenic's River Cruise Guarantee in the form of compensation was totally inadequate. In the end, we received compensation for less than 10% of the value of our cruise. We paid luxury cruise prices for a river cruise that turned out to be more of a bus tour and we certainly did not receive 90%+ value for money. When i returned from our trip, i contacted customer service to register a complaint and was told that someone would respond that day. No one called. I was told to send an email to their customer service department and got an automated response that they would get back to me in two business days. I had to call them on the 4th day to get some action. In their River Cruise Guarantee, their Terms and Conditions state that they will not pay for claims arising directly or indirectly from: Consequential loss of any kind including loss of enjoyment.Their financial response to our loss of enjoyment is an insult to their customers. Their assumption that there is equivalency between a river cruise and a series of bus trips shows a complete lack of concern for a travelers enjoyment. If you are considering Scenic for your next cruise, be aware that if the trip goes off the rails even if it is not their fault such as river levels, they are not concerned about your loss of enjoyment as evidenced in the compensation that was offered. we have had a good experience with Avalon and we will go back to them on our next cruise. For anyone looking at this review, i would check out Avalon for your river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I believed that we were booking a 5 star cruise, we ended up on the worst experience in25 plus ocean cruises. Communication from Scenic was non existent. The day that we were flying to Budapest I called the Scenic office in Vancouver ... Read More
I believed that we were booking a 5 star cruise, we ended up on the worst experience in25 plus ocean cruises. Communication from Scenic was non existent. The day that we were flying to Budapest I called the Scenic office in Vancouver and the rep. Promised to call me when he got into the office. Well, he never called me, but I did receive a call from Nat. Geo. Who told me that we would be transferred from the airport in Budapest to a meeting room at the Marriott hotel where we would await others before we would be bussed to Vienna, a three hour bus ride after an overnight flight from North America. He told me that we would be on the Scenic Amber, which I knew was impossible as she was in Amsterdam, not Budapest. After that the cruise was downhill all the way. No daylight in the stateroom as we were moored to other ships in Vienna. The food was the worst I have experienced, poor choices, very poor quality. The farewell dinner was spaghetti with tomato sauce. I couldn’t believe it! We experienced only 3 hours of daylight sailing. The excursions were not what we were advised when we booked. The Butler was a joke as he was a butler/ waiter/ sailor. The Captain never showed for the Captains welcome cocktail party or the Captains farewell party, yet we did get to see him very often outside the wheelhouse on the sun deck having a smoke. This felt like a Mickey Mouse outfit, my apologies to the mouse, but it felt like we were sailing with a company that was in financial trouble. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
An acquaintance recommended Scenic to me. We chose the Danube cruise with the Prague extension. Our first problem was arriving at Frankfurt airport: there was a holiday in Germany and as a result three long delays to get to our gate, so we ... Read More
An acquaintance recommended Scenic to me. We chose the Danube cruise with the Prague extension. Our first problem was arriving at Frankfurt airport: there was a holiday in Germany and as a result three long delays to get to our gate, so we missed our flight. Then Prague was unseasonably cold and many of us were not dressed for it. We had many upsides in Prague. The breakfast buffet was really excellent at the Marriot and the tour guide gave us insight into Czech culture given the Hapsburgs, Hitler, and Soviet invasion and domination. Due to low water levels, we were bussed from Prague to Passau, rather than to Regensburg and at the end of the cruise, we had to be bussed to Budapest, instead of cruising. We covered less than 30% of the river than planned! Scenic are compensating many of the passengers with a small refund. The itinerary changed very little from the plan: we had less time in Budapest, a stunning city, and we had the added option of exploring Passau, a very beautiful town. Regensburg was also very interesting. I was disappointed by the tours of Melk Abbey, Saltzburg and Vienna. The concert at Vienna was excellent. Mostly we cruised during the night but we did see the Wachau Valley which is truly beautiful. The breakfast and lunch buffets were excellent, while a la carte dinners were a bit mixed. When we eat at other locations it was also mixed. On the whole, I think Scenic staff did the best they could to entertain us and provide a 5 star experience. The meals on the boat and otherwise need some tweaking, and they now seem to be warning customers about low water levels in advance. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
My wife and I booked an 11-day Scenic Gems of the Danube cruise as a 20th anniversary present to ourselves. It was recommended by my travel agent. This was also a trip that was on our bucket list. Just a few days before leaving for our ... Read More
My wife and I booked an 11-day Scenic Gems of the Danube cruise as a 20th anniversary present to ourselves. It was recommended by my travel agent. This was also a trip that was on our bucket list. Just a few days before leaving for our trip, I was advised by my travel agent that the rivers in Europe were experiencing low water levels due to the hot, dry summer. We were scheduled to be on the Scenic Amber; however, we were told we would likely have to "swap" ships. After arriving in Prague, we were told that we would be on the Scenic Jasper as the Amber was stuck down river due to the low water levels. The ship was to travel down the Danube and stop along the way at cities such as Regensburg, Passau, Melk, Vienna and Budapest. Unfortunately, the low water levels prevented the ship from progressing past Regensburg. None of the river tour companies can control Mother Nature, but how they respond is key. There should have been a contingency plan to swap ships as standard operating procedure, and this did not happen. As a result of the ship remaining in Regensburg, the stops in Passau (including Salzburg), Melk, and Vienna were cancelled and even after the water level rose again, the ship only arrived in Budapest on the very last day when all passengers had to disembark. The company did offer coach rides to Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov. Since we originally had planned to visit Salzburg, we chose the coach ride there, which took hours to get to. As a result, the tour was rushed as we had to be back on the coach for the ride back. The coach rides to Vienna and Budapest were also very long and resulted in tours in which we felt very rushed. We were not able to visit Schonbrunn Palace as we had planned, and the tour guide in Budapest remarked that our tour was the fastest she had ever given. Some passengers were so disappointed at not having had a river cruise that they left the ship early and went home. We decided to stay on the ship and visit as many cities as possible, but it still wasn't the cruise we had hoped for. Each day, the cruise director called us into the lounge to announce the latest decision on what they would offer. This constant state of not knowing added to the stress of our vacation. As the cruise director stated, it was no longer a cruise, but an adventure. The ship itself was fine, although I don't think calling their ships "Spaceships" is justified as our cabin was much smaller than expected, based on the company's description. The service on the ship was fine, although one drink server was very unfriendly from the first day. The food was good, although the breakfast buffet didn't change. All beverages were included, which is nice as this is not the case on most ocean cruises. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Debussy staff and ship were more than expected. We were in the “low water” season and initially were worried about the lack of information shared with us on what changes would be made to the itinerary. As we sailed we realized that ... Read More
Debussy staff and ship were more than expected. We were in the “low water” season and initially were worried about the lack of information shared with us on what changes would be made to the itinerary. As we sailed we realized that Crystal’s objective was to keep us onboard, and stay true to the itinerary no matter what...The captain was brilliant and did just that with creative maneuvering. Embarkation and disembarkation was highly personalized with a crew member sitting with us explaining all aspects of the cruise and confirming the requests that were made in advance. When our room was ready we were escorted to the cabin and introduced to the staff that would be caring for us during the sailing. Our departure was also cared for on a one to one ratio. Staff knew our names by the time we set sail! The ship is elegant with personal service that made us feel that we were their favourite guest. Enjoyed that we were able to dine when it suited our schedule and that we had the option to dine alone or with others. The food was incredible and again the service outstanding, with staff remembering our likes and dislikes very quickly. We never felt rushed to leave meal service at anytime which was refreshing. Entertainment varied, with a talented couple leading musically and enthusiastically with trivia and other activities. We had guest speakers with varied topics, a gifted violinist, so truly something for everyone! Shore excursions were a delight, lead with well educated, informative guides and small groups which allowed for an excellent experience. The Crystal busses and drivers were also exemplary. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We are first time vacationers with Scenic and we wouldn’t hesitate to book with them again. Since riverboat cruising is new to us, we relied entirely on Scenic to book our flights, provide airport transfers and tours. They did not ... Read More
We are first time vacationers with Scenic and we wouldn’t hesitate to book with them again. Since riverboat cruising is new to us, we relied entirely on Scenic to book our flights, provide airport transfers and tours. They did not disappoint. We did the Rhine Highlights 8 day Cruise from Basel to Amsterdam on the Opal, their newest riverboat built in 2015. Of note, the hull of this ship is designed to travel in both low and high water levels when other boats would not be able. Deluxe Cabin #208 is well appointed with all the comforts of home, only scaled down because after all, this is a boat! We had no problems sleeping comfortably. We were very impressed with the shower pressure and the various spray selections provided. The boat/ship is contemporary in design and decor with space for everyone. Besides the view on the top deck, covered areas with loungers, chairs and tables, a running/walking track and small pool, this space is a great gathering place to meet new people while taking in the sights. Dining buffet or a la cart, the menu choices will not disappoint. Everything including the recommended wine/food pairings is thought of for your dining experience. You will not be able to escape adding on some weight. The arranged tours are well thought out and planned. You only need to ask questions, make a choice, show up and leave the rest to them. Last but not least, the staff. Everyone on the ship is there to make your time with them THE BEST!!! I cannot single out any of them as they were all very attentive, friendly and a good reason to cruise with them. We plan on booking with Scenic again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Heard good reviews plus family/friends already booked. The staff was terrific. From Beate-cruise organizer to wait staff of GEORGE, JANKO, BRANISLOV and MARISIO. To Maria room attendee. They were all courteous, friendly, attentive and ... Read More
Heard good reviews plus family/friends already booked. The staff was terrific. From Beate-cruise organizer to wait staff of GEORGE, JANKO, BRANISLOV and MARISIO. To Maria room attendee. They were all courteous, friendly, attentive and just plain NICE people. Always served us with patience and a smile. They were the best part of our trip. The crew was also terrific in the smoothness of our journey. I would suggest snacks for the tables in the bar area as I went and bought my own chips and peanuts. Needless to say 2 days later snacks were served with our beverages. Pringles just didn't do it for us. MISS VICKIS CHIPS would be a great idea. Most of the tours were informative. The least favorite was Cologne. The tour guide spoke to long and really nothing to see except the church. Food was delicious. The cooks etc work very hard. The back drop of what the whole ship does is incredible. From Captain and crew to sous chef is amazing. GTEAT JOB Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Positives and negatives. First the good news. All shipboard personnel were terrific...helpful,friendly, eager to please and competent. Great attitudes in spite of grueling work schedules. The cabin, on the diamond deck, was ... Read More
Positives and negatives. First the good news. All shipboard personnel were terrific...helpful,friendly, eager to please and competent. Great attitudes in spite of grueling work schedules. The cabin, on the diamond deck, was super.....spacious enough, quiet, and kept spotless by our room attendant. Both arrival and departure from the ship were extremely well organized. Daily briefings by the cruise director were clear and informative. Multiple onshore activities from which to choose.....all included in the "all inclusive" price of the cruise. No surprises there. Now the not so great news. First, I should note that this was our first river cruise, so some of these obversations may be applicable to all such trips and not specifically applicable to this one alone. The overall impression is that the business model here involves cramming the maximum number of paying customers onboard while providing the minimum number of staff possible to attend to their needs. The "personal butlers", for instance, were more often serving as waitstaff in the dining room than as butlers. Ours was more than willing to deal with our (infrequent) requests, but was clearly relieved whenever I handled whatever task was at hand rather than intruding on his other duties. Again....this MY impression, and not a reflection on his thoroughly professional demeanor. The brochure gave the inaccurate impression that there are there are three separate "restaurants" on board. NOT true. In reality, there is ONE. The "river cafe" is in fact a small salad and dessert station and two chafing pans setup in a corner of the bar. Tiny selection of pre-cooked and often mediocre fare. The "portobello" venue is actually a few tables set up to the front of the bar and used as seating for the aforementioned "River cafe" during the daytime. In the evening those same tables host a small number of invited guests for a dining event which is indeed superior to the otherwise unremarkable fare served in the ship's only real dining room, the "Crystal". Though there is open seating, meals are actually served at a single seating time, with little leeway given. Indeed, when we entered the dining room 30 minutes into the 90 minute "window" listed as the dinner period we were informed that we must be seated at once, or miss dinner, as the "first course had already been served.". The real problem is that all of the passengers, wherever seated, are eating food prepared in a kitchen woefully too small and understaffed for the job. Having owned several restaurants, my wife and I identified the problem immediately. All staff were doing their level best to deal with unrealistic workloads. With the exception of a few "alternative choices" available at dinner, virtually nothing is cooked to order on the ship. Breakfast and lunch are served as buffets with nearly identical setups daily. Dinner offers a choice of three main courses. In general, this feels like an assembly line operation. Overall, the food on board was uneven in quality and a real disappointment given the cost of the trip. Adding to the feeling of "mass production" is the fact that the dining room is over-crowded with tables sitting much too near each other. The scenery ashore was a major disappointment for much of the trip. Other than a few hours one day in the Rhine Gorge (where all of the brochure pics must come from) we might as well been anywhere in the midwest U.S. The shore excursions often involved coach rides of varying lengths with guides of varying quality. Strasbourg and Heidelberg were lovely. Some of the others not so much. Anyway, Good luck! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The cruise deconstructed....Our cabin (Deluxe Balcony Suite) was great. The bedding excellent, the space roomy, plenty of closet storage, comfortable balcony chairs (we loved that the large window rolled down to open), and the roomy ... Read More
The cruise deconstructed....Our cabin (Deluxe Balcony Suite) was great. The bedding excellent, the space roomy, plenty of closet storage, comfortable balcony chairs (we loved that the large window rolled down to open), and the roomy shower made the bathroom feel larger. The public space lounge area was also nice with large viewing windows and lots of comfortable chairs and couches. The staff was incredibly hard working and cheerful. I don't know when any of them get time off as they all seemed to double up (our butler was also a dinner waitperson, ditto for the lounge cocktail waitress, etc.). Our cabin person cleaned our room in the morning (it was always done when we returned from breakfast - better service than many high-end hotels offer) and refreshed it in the afternoon. The cruise director was totally on top of all aspects of the cruise and excursions. Plus the arrival and departure from the ship was impressively organized. So, why only three stars? Two reasons. When you look at the description and photos describing the trip, you might reasonably think that the scenery will be beautiful and idyllic all the way. Uh, uh, not even close - in fact, talking with other passengers, this was the biggest disappointment of the cruise. We had one day of traveling through the Rhine Gorge that was beautiful and truly reflected the cruise description. Aside from that, the rest of the cruise was primarily trees, a few towns, and some almost industrial areas. If this is an aspect of the trip that is important to you, you will be disappointed. Second reason - the food. As one table mate said, the best meal he had was at a restaurant in one of the towns we stopped at. Another table mate (our fabulous new friends M and T) said during one good dinner, "this meal let's you know they can make a good meal". The meals were hugely inconsistent. Our first night dinner at the invitation only Portobellos was very good and we had another couple of dinners that were good also. But, the breakfast and lunch buffets and other dinners were very disappointing. Having spent many years in the restaurant business and being slightly foodie snobby, we felt that there were really two problems. First, too many of the ingredients were not quality. Secondly, they are trying to do way too much in too little space. The food just doesn't reflect what is supposed to be a high-quality experience. That is partially what we paid for, yes? So, the week was relaxing, the other passengers friendly, and we loved spending time with our new friends, but I wouldn't plunk down the money for another river cruise anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My friend suggested this cruise and it sounded wonderful. Overall it was! The dining staff really made the cruise worthwhile. They were friendly, extremely professional and hardworking. They really took the time to make sure you felt ... Read More
My friend suggested this cruise and it sounded wonderful. Overall it was! The dining staff really made the cruise worthwhile. They were friendly, extremely professional and hardworking. They really took the time to make sure you felt looked after. The Chef was excellent and important because I have a food allergy. The food was plentiful and there was a great variety. I felt the off ship tours were interesting but sometimes the bus trips to and from the ship seemed long. Our cruise Director was enthusiastic and informative but the many introductions of staff and crew went on too long. One introduction on the first day would have been enough. My favourite part was being on the ship and cruising on the river. It wasn’t always picturesque, especially through the industrial areas, but I still enjoyed the breeze and the sunshine on the top deck. On the second day, I put two blouses out for ironing only. Apparently, for the first time ever, laundry went missing. I had to ask several times, but I do believe they were doing their best to locate my tops. They were finally returned to me late on day 7 of an 8 day cruise. Laundry service was included but obviously we were hesitant to try it again. The much anticipated in room mini bar was a disappointment because it offered mostly alcohol. Very limited snack selection. Pringles and biscuits, and not every day. At this point, I’m not sure that I would travel with Scenic again, but I would definitely enjoy another river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Avalon was more upscale than the last river cruise we went on 10 yrs ago. Our cruise director Andre was incredible! His evening briefings for the next day were very informative. We really enjoyed our extension in Lucerne. The staff was ... Read More
Avalon was more upscale than the last river cruise we went on 10 yrs ago. Our cruise director Andre was incredible! His evening briefings for the next day were very informative. We really enjoyed our extension in Lucerne. The staff was very accommodating! We would definitely choose Avalon again & would recommend it to others. We were hoping for a little bit more scenery along the Rhine. Several days were industrialized & not as scenic as the Rhône. It was quite windy when we tried viewing from the rooftop. The dining experience was very enjoyable. The trio that performed one evening was very entertaining. We would have maybe preferred dinner to be a tad bit earlier - maybe 6:30 rather than 7:00. It was nice to not have to bring any real dressy clothes for a formal night. Loved having only 120 passengers aboard! All in all it was a very pleasant experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We were supposed to board at Basel but due to a lock problem we started at what was the second port Breisach not a problem. We had been with Scenic before so knew what to expect and it was all as we thought it would be. Due to any early ... Read More
We were supposed to board at Basel but due to a lock problem we started at what was the second port Breisach not a problem. We had been with Scenic before so knew what to expect and it was all as we thought it would be. Due to any early flight we arrived about 1pm and were told to wait in the lounge as boarding was officially 3pm. After a quick drink we were asked by Marketa the hotel manager so register at reception and we could go straight to our cabin registration took about 30 seconds! Excellent cabin plenty of storage space and the balcony system gives you a nice open atmosphere. Later had the orientation by Richard the cruise director and realized we had met him before on his previous sea cruise director roles. He was excellent throughout the journey very knowledgeable very helpful and very funny (even if we had heard some of his stories on one of the sea cruises!) Dining was what we expected and gave the opportunity to sit with different people each night we met lots of interesting folk from all parts of the world. Excursions were varied and enjoyable with very knowledgeable guides The staff helped to make the trip even better with their friendly and helpful attitudes too many to mention individually but special thanks to our butler Marius who couldn't do more for us (even bringing a cognac nightcap to the cabin Thanks) Would we go again with Scenic Definitely!! Thank you to every one who made it such a great cruise p.s. The glorious weather as promised by Richard helped Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We had an incredibly marvelous time on this 8 day river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. It was magical. The food was delicious and plentiful as was the wine and spirits. The daily excursions were extremely well planned and very ... Read More
We had an incredibly marvelous time on this 8 day river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. It was magical. The food was delicious and plentiful as was the wine and spirits. The daily excursions were extremely well planned and very interesting. We did not take any excursions that cost extra money and were very satisfied with all of them. One of the best aspects of Crystal river cruises is that everything is included in your price unless you choose extra money excursions or extra money wine and spirits. In addition we got about $500 of credits from American Express, whom we had booked through. This paid for laundry and gratuities to the charming staff. The entertainment was excellent for making social friends. Martin Kaye did a great job of getting to know most of the travelers and meeting their entertainment requirements. The other travelers were charming and very friendly. We made good relationships with several couples. The demographics was about 70% American, 20% Asian and 10% European. The ages were generally 60-80 with a few younger couples. By the way, there were no single travelers on this cruise. There were 2 couples of women travelling together. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise for a number of reasons: great reviews, great incentives for booking early (price, $500 flights from Canada (we went with the recommended KLM), two complimentary $100 Euro pre-paid Mastercard cash cards, lots of ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a number of reasons: great reviews, great incentives for booking early (price, $500 flights from Canada (we went with the recommended KLM), two complimentary $100 Euro pre-paid Mastercard cash cards, lots of cabins to choose from when we booked, exciting itinerary, truly all-inclusive (did not pay extra for any excursion or drinks and food on the boat, and Scenic has a no tipping policy), 7-nights option (ocean cruised, but never riverboat sailed before and wanted to try it out for a shorter amount of time), and able to book a night in Zurich and a night in Amsterdam with Scenic hotel partners which included all transfers needed (airport to hotel, hotel to boat, boat to hotel, hotel to airport). The booking incentives were great. But we will definitely consider booking another vacation with Scenic because of the actual vacation experience. What did we love about Scenic? Everything. Excursions are outstanding! Scenic does not scrimp on these, and we were very happy with everything we experienced. From a choice of at least two excursions, we selected ahead of time one excursion for each day. We went mostly with the more active and fuller days options. Bus transfers were on time, and the coaches were very comfortable. It is hard to pick a highlight because everything was so amazing. Scenic uses Taylor Made units to allow excursion guides to speak to the group through connected ear pieces and to provide pre-recorded descriptions of city sections you may explore on your own and details about what you see along the banks of the river. The Scenic Crystal riverboat is modern, beautiful and immaculate. We enjoyed spending time in the lounge, in the dining room and on the deck. We booked a Balcony Suite on the second level. The room is well laid out. We had lots of closet and drawer space. There is a mini bar and snack shelf. The bed was comfortable, and we got good sleeps. We thought the bathroom is great (for a boat) – shower with more room than we expected and spray and lighting options was a pleasant surprise. We spent less time on our balcony than we thought we would, but it was lovely to have the light from the larger windows. There is a pianist in the lounge for later in the day listening. A variety of entertainment offerings are scheduled for later in the evening, but we were typically so exhausted from our day that we were in bed by 9:00. We did go out to Schwetzingen Palace by bus after supper when we were docked at Mannheim for a concert by two traditionally trained vocalists and a pianist (gone from about 8:00 – 10:30). It was so worth going … and definitely a bonus excursion from Scenic! The lounge is large and comfortable, and there is a great selection of alcoholic and non-alchoholic drinks. You can also relax up on the upper deck on lounges or at tables (covered and open) and enjoy refreshments. If you want a snack, there is a nice selection of prepared foods displayed at the side of the lounge bar. One of the big factors for us for a great vacation is the quality of the food and wine. Scenic measured up! The food was excellent. I have a food allergy and received a menu earlier in the day highlighting dishes I should avoid. Scenic tries hard to work with dietary issues. Along with a breakfast buffet that has a wide selection of items, there is a hot breakfast menu. Our favourite was the eggs benedict, with my husband usually getting French toast as well. Buffet lunches have some common items offered each day, but there are new dishes prepared as well. One day the staff did a BBQ meal up on the sun deck. It was great – a variety of interesting meats and every bit as interesting as the buffet. And it was lovely to enjoy this lunch in the sunshine. New evening á la carte menus are offered daily. Like lunches, the evening meals frequently feature locally produced meats, produce and wines. Presentation, quality and taste give suppers a gourmet dining flare. Portions are generally smaller; but there are several courses and we always went away feeling satisfied. There is never a limit though to what you can order, and the staff is happy to bring extra. Decent wines are nicely paired with the food. Each guest is offered one pre-scheduled dining experience in the Portobello dining area. We enjoyed this meal very much. All of it was delicious, but we thought the tiered appetizer fare, the tiramisu and the wine were standout components. Some guests were also seated at “The Captain’s Table” within the dining room and had an alternate “upscale” meal. We did not book a suite that qualified us for this one-time event, but it appeared to be enjoyed by those who took part. A huge part of our fabulous vacation was due to Scenic Crystal’s wonderful staff. Everyone was so friendly, accommodating to questions and requests, and wanting to make our experience special. Staff work very hard on an ongoing basis. Thank you to everyone! We know that there are so many people working together and some behind the scenes we never met personally whose contributions gave us an incredible week on the Rhine. Special greetings and thanks though to Aleksandar, Antonio, Zulkipli and Carmen who we always looked forward to seeing at meals – such delightful, unique personalities. We also want to mention our gratitude to: Ivan, our cabin steward, who maintained our suite beautifully; Nikola, the cruise director, whose humour, booming voice, and great organizational skills flavoured the trip in a positive, memorable way; Ivan, the hotel manager, whose friendliness, competence and concern about each guest’s satisfaction made an impression; Captain Plamen, who got us safely along our river route and had a great sense of humour. Tips: A) Bring Euro coins for public bathrooms on excursions (or pick up some early on). Most specific excursion locations (e.g. castle that Scenic paid admission for) had washrooms you could use at no cost, but 50 cents was common when you were exploring a city more independently. B) We were surprised by the number of small shops that did not accept our Mastercard cash card or a credit card (e.g. bakery, coffee shops, small retailers). Consider bringing a few extra Euros in cash, or be prepared to find an ATM. C) Bring a European power converter with you. The boat has a few but not enough for everyone. If you are extending your stay, hotels may or may provide one. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018

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