4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
The River Royale sails the rivers in Bordeaux, France. It is touted as a “culinary” and “wine” experience. We chose this cruise as it s supposed to be upmarket and sophisticated. The focus is on food and wine. Nothing could be ... Read More
The River Royale sails the rivers in Bordeaux, France. It is touted as a “culinary” and “wine” experience. We chose this cruise as it s supposed to be upmarket and sophisticated. The focus is on food and wine. Nothing could be further from the truth. The food was mediocre. If they think the food they serve is a culinary experience, then they have absolutely no idea what they are doing. I get better wine at my local supermarket. Almost everyone I spoke to on the cruise was dissapointed. The service is shocking. They have “self service” coffee stations with the worst coffee in the world. There is no service on the deck, even though Uniworld promise that you can “snap” your fingers and someone will service you. I had to ask for service at the reception more than once. The staff spend more time at the smokers corner, looking at their phones, than servicing guests. On a number of occasions, we would have wine and coffee on the deck and then we would find our empty glasses and coffee cups at the same table the next day. Shocking. The captain saw all of this happen in front of him but not once did he reprimand his staff. Nie day I took all the empty glasses from the table that has been there for a whole day and night, and deposited it on the table where the staff where smoking and chatting and told them that they can take the dishes back considering that we are paying their salaries. They glared at me. Bad management. That s all it is. But it’s also more than that. It’s unethical to sell something and create these expectations and then to fail so miserably. This cruise is mediocre and most certainly not worth the money. And it’s not cheap, by any stretch of the imagination. I told the cruise director that the coffee if really terrible. She said that she thinks the coffee is good. I told her that I am her customer and I know the coffee is bad. Unbelievable. Denial. Incompetence. I know that Bea Tollman would probably have a heart attack if she knew that her legacy is being disrespected like this. This is not the Red Carnation way. I expected so much more. We won’t go on another cruise with Uniworld, even if they gave it away for free. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Wonderful staff, they go over and beyond. Butler Aron was especially great along with the bar staff crew and restaurant staff. Wonderful excursions with great guides. Only thing we could say was the air conditioning in the room wasn’t ... Read More
Wonderful staff, they go over and beyond. Butler Aron was especially great along with the bar staff crew and restaurant staff. Wonderful excursions with great guides. Only thing we could say was the air conditioning in the room wasn’t working well, but in Scenic’s defence there was a record heat wave booing on. Aron went and got us a small fan for our room which made all the difference. Also, my husband has celiacs which comes with a strict gluten free diet. The boat was great with this, gave us the best bread ever. Would like to see a few higher sipping rums on board but they had a great wine selection. Karol and Razan in the restaurant were so much fun, but honestly they were all extremely good. Cristian the bar supervisor was also great. He has awesome staff. Excursions were a ton of fun. Lots to choose from. Would have enjoyed free time in Cognac, but the tour was great. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We were looking forward to a "wine cruise" in the Bordeaux area; Medoc, St Emilion and Sauternes. We expected to visit Chateaux that we otherwise could not, with expert tour guides nd maybe some lectures. We had also hoped ... Read More
We were looking forward to a "wine cruise" in the Bordeaux area; Medoc, St Emilion and Sauternes. We expected to visit Chateaux that we otherwise could not, with expert tour guides nd maybe some lectures. We had also hoped for "Haut Cusines" and luxury experience. Regrettably: • Food provided was very average, nothing special although I daresay it was adequate. • Meal times were restrictive. In particular breakfast started / finished in line with tours. No tea (scones / cakes) was on offer. • Wines were on the cheap end and not representative of fine wines available in the Bordeaux region. We were gratified that we were able to purchase our own wines offshore and drink them over dinner without a corkage charge. • Only 4 of the 6 full days included wine tours, one of which was very poor. No on-board wine lectures were included. Given the nature of the cruise there were not enough wine experiences!!! • Cooking class which cost €119 which was very poor and decidedly not as advertised. A view shared by all 6 participants. On complaining no remedy was offered. • Entertainment offered on board was very limited. Singer was somewhat tedious and no broadcast of the world cup final was available. • Infuriatingly one night (captain’s birthday) there was a party on deck above our cabin with noisy music until 2.00 am. • I got the impression that the boat’s management did not react well to criticism. Specifically when I commented on one of the wine tours and my wife on the cooking class. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Bit confused as to why Scenic ask (and only allow) you to fill out a guest feedback form before the cruise is over, hence this review! Positives; The Staff are very good and strive to provide high levels of service across the board. ... Read More
Bit confused as to why Scenic ask (and only allow) you to fill out a guest feedback form before the cruise is over, hence this review! Positives; The Staff are very good and strive to provide high levels of service across the board. There is a lack of constant background music and endless PA announcements which we found refreshing given the constant noise other cruise lines see fit to subject you to. When Scenic say all inclusive that's what you get, no covert "up selling" good quality drinks package and tours. Could do better, The organisation of travel pre and post tour doesn't take account of customers needs as well as it could, poor connection times, arbitrary flight choices were frequently mentioned by other guests as well as being the case for us. The food was variable in its quality- some was very good, some not so good. Be aware the cabins are small. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
the Bordeaux area is wonderful to cruise and tour. Scenic did a great job of arranging tours through the area both by bus, bicycle and walking. The food and wine that was served on the ship was excellent. The Captain and the entire ... Read More
the Bordeaux area is wonderful to cruise and tour. Scenic did a great job of arranging tours through the area both by bus, bicycle and walking. The food and wine that was served on the ship was excellent. The Captain and the entire crew were very pleasant and the Cruise Director Mandy did an excellent job of organizing everyone's day and did a recap for us at the end of the day. The entertainment on board was good. A great way to relax after dinner if you are not out for a walk in port. This is our second Scenic River cruise. Last year we were on the Rhine, which was also great. It was much different n that we sailed almost every night and woke up in a different port everyday. All of the arrival and departure details were handled by Scenic and went like clockwork. Taxi buses were on time and we got to the Airport with time to spare. Overall it was a great cruise and we will definitely do another one. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Fabulous cruise with delicious local fresh food and very well presented. Plenty of variation to choose from each day. The red and white French wines were great however when we asked for French Champagne on arrival we were only offered ... Read More
Fabulous cruise with delicious local fresh food and very well presented. Plenty of variation to choose from each day. The red and white French wines were great however when we asked for French Champagne on arrival we were only offered sparkling wine. It wasn't until we enquired further that the sommelier then offered us French Jacquart Champagne. I would have expected French champagne to be offered as a staple when travelling in France on a 4/5 star all inclusive luxury cruise. The entertainment was very disappointing. The singer who sat at the piano singing voiceovers and occasionally playing a couple of notes would finish well before patrons had left the bar/lounge area each evening. We had expected lively entertainment that encouraged people to get up on the dancefloor and dance. The speaker sound system in the lounge/bar didn't work properly as we had to resort to playing music from our iphones once the entertainment had left for the night. Overall the staff were very friendly and helpful on board, particularly our sommelier and dining room manager, Plaman who arranged a special evening for us on the top deck with our selection of vintage French Champagne and canapes. Our tour manager, Adrian (AJ) was outstanding. We thoroughly enjoyed all of the tours. The Chateaux owners were very passionate about their wine making and incredibly generous with sharing their knowledge with us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
Scenic and Bordeaux appealed to us for its luxury, interesting itinerary, wine tours and all-inclusive approach to travel. They delivered on all levels. Our stateroom (Junior Suite) was compact - as you would expect on a river cruise - but ... Read More
Scenic and Bordeaux appealed to us for its luxury, interesting itinerary, wine tours and all-inclusive approach to travel. They delivered on all levels. Our stateroom (Junior Suite) was compact - as you would expect on a river cruise - but really well designed so there was plenty of room in wardrobes and bathrooms and the bed was huge and really comfortable. This theme continued throughout the ship. The common areas were excellent and the staff were consistently superb - friendly, attentive, helpful and all with a good sense of humour. Trips ashore provided excellent variety and range of choice and all the vineyard visits were excellent. A major highlight was the quality of the food and wine for every meal. Plenty of choice and a great size allowing you to easily taste four or five courses without feeling stuffed. Entertainment onboard was fun and engaging. Best of all was not ever worrying about how big the onboard account was growing - everything was included. Wow!! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was my first river cruise, though I've spent plenty of nights on ocean cruises. Thus, there may be items I raise here that are simply typical of river cruises, and I just don't know that yet. There was much to like on ... Read More
This was my first river cruise, though I've spent plenty of nights on ocean cruises. Thus, there may be items I raise here that are simply typical of river cruises, and I just don't know that yet. There was much to like on this one-week Bordeaux cruise on the Scenic Diamond. The atmosphere is laid-back, and the passengers a nice mix of (primarily English-speaking) nationalities. Apparently, this was the first time that the majority of passengers were from the U.S. Usually it is majority Australian, with a good number of Canadians and Brits thrown in. There was a large pre-formed group on our cruise from the U.S., so that may account for that peculiar demographic. Fortunately, they were not insular, so we did not have the issues that often come from a charter group being aboard. EXCURSIONS Scenic is a largely all-inclusive line, so one never had to worry about chits for drinks or excursions. This is consistent with its positioning of itself to the luxury market. Where it is several notches above the luxury ocean cruise lines is that it has truly taken ownership of its excursions. It is clear that they have selected, and know, the guides, and can help direct you to the one that will most meet your wishes for the particular experience. There is none of the sense of indifference that comes with contracting with ground tour companies--Scenic knows its guides and its guides know (and meet) Scenic's expectations. The downside on the excursions is that there is so little choice. In many ports, the only choices were whether to go to the designated destination by coach or by bicycle. While they arranged the tours so that not all the coaches and bikes arrived at the same place at the same time, the wine tours/tastings and town tours tended to be rather overcrowded for the spaces involved (38 seemed the standard number per coach, and 25 per guided bike tour). But the contents of the tours were outstanding, with personable and informative guides and interesting destinations. BTW, Scenic's bikes are e-bikes, which means they offered a battery assist. When in a group, one could not set the pace too high, but many found the assist helpful and the bikes easy to handle. Instead of doing an excursion, one could always go off on one's own. And this is another plus on Scenic. It offers a "tailor-made" product--a GPS system that offers commentary and directions for setting out on your own. They also are used by the guides to narrate the tours, so that you didn't have to stand around in a tight pack to hear your guide. But it was great for exploring the city of Bordeaux, where the thought of another coach tour was just too much, and where bicycling did not seem the best idea. I was not feeling well that day, so did not explore as much as I'd have liked, but I did find the assist from the tailor-made system to be terrific. It also provided excellent narrative along the rivers. PUBLIC SPACES Brochures and ships' diagrams notwithstanding, there really are only three spaces for meeting, mingling, partying and dining. One is the Crystal Dining Room on the lower deck. This really is the only dedicated dining space. It generally is open for 90 minutes for breakfast, 90 minutes for lunch, and 2 hours for dinner. Second is the Lounge on the second deck, just past the reception desk. Just inside the entrance are self-service coffee and tea stations, and then an expanse of sofas and chairs. The room has a dance floor, and then the bar, with tables and chairs to the side. I believe that this area is what is referred to as River Cafe, but it is not really differentiated from the rest of the lounge. There is a partially partitioned area in the back, which doubles as the alternative restaurant L'Amour on some evenings. During the day, a few food items are put out here for an hour after breakfast and again an hour after lunch for those who missed the main meal in the dining room. The third space is the Sun Deck, a long expanse of seating on the top deck where one can enjoy good weather and watch the towns and chateau go by. The bikes are tied up here, and a hot tub also can be found here. There is no bar up here, so (with the exception of a couple of specific events, discussed below), if you want a beverage or a snack, you must head down to the lounge to get it. FOOD Breakfast is a buffet, with a reasonable array of largely well-prepared choices, and including an omelet station. There is a menu from which other fare can be ordered, but you have to know about it and specifically request it--it won't be offered. For another hour after the regular breakfast, a smaller selection of fare can be had in the back of the lounge upstairs. Lunch also is a buffet. Fare here is hit-or-miss, and unfortunately too often a miss. There are salad fixings, but they are interspersed here and there along the rectangular service area, at which there often are crowds, making the assembly of a lunch salad something of an ordeal. Some hot dishes are offered, including at least one pasta, but these were usually re-renderings of some previous night's dinner and ranged from mediocre to inedible. One or two soups also would be on offer. These were either excellent or indifferent. There were rumors that menu service was available up in the River Cafe portion of the lounge, but I never personally witnessed this. They certainly weren't visible on the tables. Most days, there were a few dishes from downstairs available up in this area in the hour after regular lunch service ended. Dinner was generally decent to good, with an occasional excellent. Four courses were offered--you didn't have to take them all--and portions were reasonable. For heartier appetites, people could order extra. There was a very good set list of wines available with dinner--really, the best included wines I've seen on any type of cruise. One would hope for good wines in the Bordeaux region, and ones hopes would be fulfilled here. One night per cruise, you could sign up for a dinner at L'Amour, that little area in the back of the lounge. This is where Scenic dining was at its best. Each course was superb, and service was impeccable. It was truly special. Also, one evening dinner was off-ship, at a Chateau that was about a 30-minute coach ride away. On an evening of perfect weather, we arrived at a lovely garden of a chateau that is no longer lived-in, and were able to stroll around the house and grounds while sipping a pleasant wine. We were then called to dinner in the "farmhouse," an event space on the chateau grounds. Faced with the challenges of feeding 140 people, the dinner was surprisingly good, though hardly Michelin material. It was nevertheless a special evening, and one to enjoy. Those in the more expensive cabins also were invited to a special degustation dinner at a long table at the back of the dining room. I was not among this group, so cannot speak to it, but heard it was quite good. ENTERTAINMENT AND EVENTS Daytime was either sailing, or port-focused, so no other entertainment ensued. The one exception was offered by nature: the mascaret, or tidal bore. Required by law not to be tied up when the tidal bore came, the ship maneuvered out to the middle of the river at its expected time. And, sure enough, as you looked up the river, here came a wave much like an ocean wave making its way down the river. And, sure enough, there were people surfing this wave. It was quite the entertainment. The first time it happened, most of us gathered up top to watch and take pictures. And this was one of only two times that bar staff was serving up top, so it was quite the party. This natural phenomenon happened twice more during the cruise, but most of us were off on excursions at those times. One thing to know: this ship never sails at night, only at day. And only a couple of hours at a time. Really, when you get right down to it, it barely went anywhere. I think I should have figured this out from the maps, but I had not. I have to say that this was a bit of a disappointment but now I know to look for it. Most evenings, the entertainment was provided by a talented young woman, Margaret, who used recorded music to back up her singing and guitar or clarinet playing. Or sometimes she'd just play recorded music and help gin up the dancing, of which there was a good bit. Other evenings, guest performers would play. Most were quite good, and played a set or two before departing and leaving the stage back to Margaret, who would play until the wee hours if people wanted. The evening of our first full day was off-ship, with sundowners at a local chateau. We tasted, and some might say over-tasted, some nice wines in a beautiful setting. A truly lovely evening. SERVICE This was the last cruise of the season, and I think we saw some fraying around the edges because of this. Much of the staff seemed tired and overworked. I had the sense that the ship was perhaps understaffed. The room attendant for my area was stellar, and could not do enough for you. Unfortunately, the butler performs multiple functions--he could be seen serving drinks in the evening, setting up the meals in the River Cafe, and doing odd jobs around the ship. He tended to be testy and forgetful, snapping at passengers on more than one occasion. At least one other butler also seemed to be pretty disengaged when performing her alternative duties. They just seemed to be overextended. The dining and bar wait staffs were great to outstanding, always warm, welcoming, and attentive. And always ready to have a bit of fun themselves, which helped to make a happy atmosphere. A note about the "free" load of laundry: don't rely on this for your clothing soiled during a pre-cruise stay. Only one bag is included, and that bag is comically tiny. When I first saw it, I thought it was the shoe shine bag. To the butler's credit, he did give me pointers on how to jam it full by rolling your clothes up into tight balls, so I managed to get 4 socks, 3 tops and a pair of slacks into that little bag. CABIN I was in the one single cabin on the ship. I am doing a separate review on that. I will just say here one word on it: don't. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We had a family event in Europe and I wanted to add a river cruise to our trip. We booked just three months before departure, and my only regret is that I am still not on the ship ! I was very attracted to Uniworld's small size ... Read More
We had a family event in Europe and I wanted to add a river cruise to our trip. We booked just three months before departure, and my only regret is that I am still not on the ship ! I was very attracted to Uniworld's small size (there were 119 passengers on our cruise) and all inclusive price, and it was wonderful not to have to think about tipping all the service people and guides, paying for shore excursions or paying for a pre-dinner cocktail or my beloved Diet Coke in the salon or on the sundeck. I think this encouraged people to mingle more before, and after dinner. Lovely dining salon and lounge, with a grand piano and comfortable tables and sofas. The ship was immaculately clean. We were blessed with great weather and enjoyed some cruising topside on the sun deck on very comfortable padded lounge chairs. There are also tables available. The waiters were quick to take drink orders and keep them coming if you desired, along with little silver bowls of salty snacks. My husband enjoyed trying a variety of different beers and scotches. There was a small hot tub we never used on this deck. There was also a small work out room with a nice view at the front of the ship, and morning exercise classes were offered. The food was outstanding. I was told they would be featuring 43 different kinds of cheeses during the cruise. I love cheese, and they did not disappoint. Breakfast and lunch buffets with made to order omelettes and other goodies. Dinner was multi course table service with at least three choices for all courses. If you did not care for what was being offered, there were other choices that were always available including steak, salmon and a vegetarian dish as well as different starters and salads. I am allergic to mussels, and they went out of their way to make sure I had a satisfactory substitution when these were offered. The desserts were incredible, and the sweet pastry chef was standing by to describe each one and encourage you to try several. You could also book a dinner in The Blue Fox which was an intimate room for 12 serving the same menu as the regular dining room or a glass enclosed room for about 20 on top of the ship which served the same set menu the whole trip. This was very pleasant on a beautiful fall evening while cruising and watching the beautiful sunset. We did both and enjoyed them. I would recommend signing up for these on the first day, before the general announcement. They fill up quickly. Casual dining was also available on the sun deck with a limited menu of items. We did not try this. The service was top notch in every way. A nice touch was the stewards standing by when you came in from an excursion to hand you a cool cloth with silver tongs to refresh yourself, and another with a tray of fresh squeezed juice or iced tea. Sharon, our cruise director was wonderful, as was the hotel manager Sebastion. The dining room servers and housekeepers could not do enough for you. I think they have been trained to never say no. If you want something, they will make find it, or make it happen. Since this was a Vineyards and Chateaux cruise, there was a lot of focus on wines. We explored several wine making regions. I never knew such different wines were produced so close together. I enjoyed the winemakers lunch we had in a Chateaux where we were greeted by the owner and had a three course lunch with three different wines to complement each course. This was the only the only excursion we all went to together, the others were broken up into smaller groups.The guides were very good. I particularly enjoyed Sarah, an Irish girl married to a French national and raising a family in Bordeaux. The tours never felt crowded and the buses to transport us were very comfortable. There were three different days where there was an option to do a bike tour, which my husband loved. Bikes were available at all ports to explore on your own if you did not wish to do the excursions. He enjoyed the Bordeaux by bike tour, while I went on the walking tour. This is not a tour for children or teens, and there were none on the ship. Ages ranged from mid 30's to upwards of 80, I would have to guess. There were two guests with walkers, there is an elevator on board and they do have "gentle walking" excursions. The guest were primarily Americans, with Canadians, English, Australians, Brazilians and Spanish in the mix. We enjoyed most of the passengers and became friends with a couple who we hope to meet up with again. Would I go again ? IN A HEARTBEAT ! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
This was our first river cruise and we were not disappointed. The ship is lovely, the staff and crew are brilliant, and work so hard to cater for your every need. The Bordeaux region is lovely and you have a selection of quaint towns ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and we were not disappointed. The ship is lovely, the staff and crew are brilliant, and work so hard to cater for your every need. The Bordeaux region is lovely and you have a selection of quaint towns with lots of history, and of course the vineyards. Also the beautiful Bordeaux city to visit, plus a trip to the coast and the Atlantic Ocean. I've seen some reviews complaining about the 'brown' colour of the rivers, but it is explained that as they are tidal, the salt water keeps the sand in suspension, so they just appear to be muddy. The locals call the colour milk chocolate! The food is excellent with so much choice to suit everyone. The tours were well organised and the guides excellent. We made some lovely friends and laughed a lot. Nobody likes the end of their holiday, but the disembarkation is so well organised and with door to door transfers it's so easy. We would definitely book with Scenic again. Read Less

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