Tour Code: NBU280916.2
We thought that this was going to be a luxury yet all inclusive experience. We have travelled extensively (India, Vietnam, Morocco, Italian Riviera, Italy, Sicily, Greece,Turkey etc.) in small groups of 12 to 25 ... Read More
Tour Code: NBU280916.2
We thought that this was going to be a luxury yet all inclusive experience. We have travelled extensively (India, Vietnam, Morocco, Italian Riviera, Italy, Sicily, Greece,Turkey etc.) in small groups of 12 to 25 or on our own with friends. We have also been on ships from 300 to 900.
The physical accommodations of this trip were better or equal to what we are used to but the experience itself did not live up to the hype.
All group experiences were crowded. It was often hard to find a seat in the lounge and people were often standing at the back of the room during group briefings. Ditto with the dining room. As well, there was not enough staff for the tasks they were assigned. They worked tirelessly but there was no way they could keep up. I did not expect to be faced with having to sit down at uncleared settings, standing in long line ups for food or the high level of noise in public areas that we experienced on this cruise. Little details i.e. the option for lattes at breakfast were not offered unless you ordered room service. A big deal was made over the fact that the coffee machine was there for people to use. I expect to be served on a luxury cruise.
We were invited to this on our last night, the night of the special food in the main dining room. People who had been with Scenic before told us to not bother going but we decided we wanted to try all the experiences offered. What a disappointment. At least ten of the invited guest did not show up so we were faced with this empty table beside us yet crowded because we moved to fit in the three people who did turn up for that table - who wants to sit at a basically empty and huge table staring at the unused settings. It was lovely being at the front of the boat and the view was appreciated. However the menu was disappointing when compared to the one downstairs. We asked to have a selection from that menu and were refused by the chef. The last night is also a time to spend with people you have met on the journey. We felt totally cut off and very disappointed with the meal.
I have to emphasize that the staff was excellent and worked extremely hard. They are not a part of the complaint.
Organization was a strange mix of excellent and poor. I feel that the poor was due to cost cutting practices. Tours from the boat were huge! The busses were filled to top capacity (even the five suicide seats at the back were generally filled) and there would only be one guide for 60-70ish people. Would I feel cheated if I was in one of those seats? Yes. Other trips we have been on provide a large bus for much smaller numbers - on purpose, so there is room to be comfortable. Tours were not fully explained i.e. We went to the Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna. Our tour was over at 9:25 and the bus did not pick us up for 2 1/2 hours after that. We had been told there would be time to see the gardens but 2 1/2 hours vs 45 minutes for the tour? In such a case, on previous trips with other companies, there would have been a shuttle bus every half hour for those who wished it.
In our stop in Vienna we were lumped together with another Scenic ship for our concert, got there after them and were faced with empty glasses everywhere for the greeting cocktail - like getting to a party after it is over. We were then rushed and forced to sit way in the back. It was impossible to see more than the heads of the dancers. So much for the intimate experience the brochure implied.
On the extension in Prague the group (a full bus from the boat) was divided into two for our walking tour. This size was just so much better than the tours from the boat.
I had been looking forward to using the e bikes. I have had three different models over the years so I do know the product. Our bikes were the old Scenic model. Since the bikes provided did not have adjustable handlebars they were not usable by someone short who wanted to be safe. With the seat in the lowest position the tip of the seat pointed up, a very uncomfortable position and the handle bars were more than awkwardly high, perhaps even unsafe. They also wobbled because of the fold connection. (In Vienna I also noticed just how much better the newer models on our sister ship were, BUT they did still have the same handle bar problem). It would have been nice if you had provided even a few models that were more adjustable. E bikes were one of the reasons we picked Scenic and for safety reasons, in a foreign country, I chose to put safety over pleasure.
As to the excellent organization, the system for disembarkation was one of the best I have seen.
We did not have a horrible time on this trip. We enjoyed much of it and were grateful for the one time laundry service, the helpful cabin and restaurant workers and our gorgeous views from our cabin balcony. The sites we visited were wonderful and the history we learned from the guides interesting. It is just that there were many things that disappointed us. Read Less