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27 Budapest to Europe - River Cruise Scenic Crystal Cruise Reviews

My wife and I booked this trip almost one year in advance. We wanted to celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary in a different way. We travelled alone. We arrived in Budapest 2 days prior the cruise departure so we could tour the city ... Read More
My wife and I booked this trip almost one year in advance. We wanted to celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary in a different way. We travelled alone. We arrived in Budapest 2 days prior the cruise departure so we could tour the city on our own. We had no problem with the embarkation although we found out the day before departure that we were on a different ship. At first we were to be on the Crystal. This was changed to the Jasper before leaving Canada and we found out that we would sail on the Jade the day before leaving. This was our first cruise ever. We chose to go with Scenic because of the ratings we saw (5 star experience) and the comments received from friends and relatives who had travelled with them in the past. Our experience turned out to be our worst vacation ever. Mostly due to the noise level (not the vibration) in the cabin, our cabin being close to the engines - it was the last cabin on the second deck. The information concerning this is under ''Cabin review''. Note that our neighbours in room 237 were switched rooms at Nurenberg as one room became free. They had complained before us to the cruise director so they got the room. We also found out that some passengers who had booked almost 3 months after us got a better room, at a better rate, when Scenic did a sale through Travelzoo. This got us even more upset. Service and food on board were very good. As were the Entertainment we attended either on board or during outings, with the highlight being the concert at the Lichtenstein palace in Vienna. On the negative side, during the visits, the devices provided to listen to the guides did not work very well. We were regularly disconnected and when it worked we had background noise that made hearing the comments difficult. Some of the guides told us that the system needed to be changed. Even the cruise director made the same comment. The Average rating for Shore excursions is tied to the devices provided. For the last 3 days of the cruise, the men's washroom near the lounge and dining room were out of order so I had to go back to my room every time I needed to use the washroom. The Jade is a newer vessel and is much cleaner than the Crystall. Also, the internet connection on the Crystall was at best shady compared to the Jade. We could not connect from our room and connection from the hall was not very fast. The furniture and carpet in the lounge of the Crystall need to be refreshed. We will not travel with Scenic again because this was our worst vacation ever and after complaining and explaining the situation when we returned home, we do not feel we were properly compensated. We verbally advised them we would not cruise again with them and at first, they offered us a rebate for our next cruise, knowing full well our position concerning a next cruise. We did eventually get a financial compensation but not to what we consider was an acceptable level. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Scenic provided an all in one totally all inclusive cruise with a terrific itinerary and solid caring support throughout the entire experience. Scenic delivered on all of the advertised features and programs and they were very co operative ... Read More
Scenic provided an all in one totally all inclusive cruise with a terrific itinerary and solid caring support throughout the entire experience. Scenic delivered on all of the advertised features and programs and they were very co operative with our request for an early flight overseas before our scheduled departure as our flights to and from were both part of our package. We also chose the Prague extension at the end of the river cruise and we were certainly not disappointed as both the quality and value of this option was once again incredible. We also had a fantastic Scenic tour guide with us throughout the entire experience in Prague. We would certainly recommend and wouldn’t hesitate ourselves to once again travel with Scenic. It was an awesome experience that we will never forget. All of the extras with the Scenic enrich program were also incredible and thoroughly enjoyable and they were all exclusive for just our Scenic group. We have never received this kind of treatment and attention before on any of our previous vacation experiences. Thank you to Scenic and all of their staff for really delivery something very special. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Dates fitted - I wanted to do a river cruise in Europe- friends had a conference in Vienna so it seemed like a good idea to combine work and pleasure. I had completed a Nile river cruise in egypt and loved it so thought a chance to see ... Read More
Dates fitted - I wanted to do a river cruise in Europe- friends had a conference in Vienna so it seemed like a good idea to combine work and pleasure. I had completed a Nile river cruise in egypt and loved it so thought a chance to see some of the areas in Europe that I hadn’t visited would be good. The staff and crew have been excellent- especially the captain and butlers. Cabins are good except that the very small shower is difficult for taller people. Entertainment was exceptional - all activity alternatives were great - I enjoyed all of the ones I chose - particularly enjoyed the bike rides - especially the ride through Vienna. Musical entertainment was outstanding - loved string quartet, palais Lichtenstein, piano recital etc. also liked being able to walk each morning on the upper deck track. I found the gym fairly limiting as it was too small and very airless. A defibrillator should be mandatory and a trained medical staff member present. Overall I loved my cruise and would consider joining another scenic cruise. The most impressive thing is that you are exceedingly well looked after and that you don’t pay for anything once you are on board. Food is amazing and all food and beverages are provided with great generosity. Thank you Team Scenic. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose the Scenic line for the features of the ship and for the all inclusive vacation they offered. The "leave your wallet at home" line resonated as did the itinerary. We were not disappointed. The ship and the service was ... Read More
We chose the Scenic line for the features of the ship and for the all inclusive vacation they offered. The "leave your wallet at home" line resonated as did the itinerary. We were not disappointed. The ship and the service was absolutely five-star and the on shore excursions were well planned and interesting, and many times very educational. The idea of a private concert by wonderful ensemble in an amazing venue was unbelievable. And then, because dinner was a little earlier that evening, that they then gave us another light meal when we got back was pure pampering! It seemed that we had gourmet dining three meals a day, every day. And when, after only a few days, the chief butler asked me by name what he could do for me, blew me away! The personal attention of the Cruise Director was above and beyond. At disembarkation he offered to arrange a taxi to the apartment we had rented for a further five days, and after establishing a time, he said, "Just go and relax in the lounge. I'll come find you when your ride arrives." If this is typical Scenic cruising, why would I choose anything else? Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Our ship was changed from the Jasper to the Crystal a few days before we departed. Slight disappointment. They allowed us to board at 12:00 instead of 3pm as we had to be out of the hotel room by 11:00am. We enjoyed drinks and met other ... Read More
Our ship was changed from the Jasper to the Crystal a few days before we departed. Slight disappointment. They allowed us to board at 12:00 instead of 3pm as we had to be out of the hotel room by 11:00am. We enjoyed drinks and met other guests in the lounge and the room was ready by 1pm. The ship was excellent though. Very clean and comfortable. It had been updated. The state room was perfect for our needs. Plenty of storage room. The balcony with the ability to close the full glass sliding doors and able to close the power glass window on the railing, was wonderful. We were on the second floor and it was certainly not second class. In fact it was the best location for closeness to the main activities on the ship. I.e. Dining room, guest lounge. Staff was excellent, very friendly. Couldn’t do enough for you. The butler came to our room shortly after we got settled in and explained his services. He was there for our every need gave us his direct number to call anytime. Made us feel very comfortable. The food and drinks were beyond excellent. Very professionally prepared and presented. Great variety of food with multiple choices. Smaller potions and that was nice, but you could ask for seconds on anything. There was always smaller print on the bottom of the menu that gave you the option for the simpler basic items. Burgers, meat and potatoes, etc.. The drinks, well anything you wanted. Just ask. Local beers were always available. Fancy cocktails made to order it you preferred. They had no set closing time. After the nightly entertainment we would sit around and socialize maybe too late some nights. We were never asked to leave but felt was likely last call after lifting out feet for the vacuum to go by. Late night, 11 to 12:30 am, visiting with the staff was most enjoyable. Learning about their way of life working on a cruise ship and family. The on board nightly entertainment was very good. Nice variety through the 2 weeks. Something for everyone. Many opportunities for socializing and dancing. It was your option to partake, but get there early as the seating always ran out. The choice of excursions was excellent. From guided to self-guided tours. Local tour guides were good. E-bike tours were great, Sign up early. Only 40 E-bikes on board. The info explaining each tour before you signed up was good. Explained all aspects. What you would see and do and how much walking was involved. They always had a gently walking group. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise to get a good overview of the countries along the upper Danube. We arrived in Budapest a day prior to embarkation, in order to have more time to explore the city. We stayed at the Marriott, which is the preferred ... Read More
We chose this cruise to get a good overview of the countries along the upper Danube. We arrived in Budapest a day prior to embarkation, in order to have more time to explore the city. We stayed at the Marriott, which is the preferred hotel for Scenic. We were picked up at the airport and transferred to the hotel, and then picked up at the hotel and driven to the Crystal. Everything went so smoothly, once we arrived, we were invited to enjoy a drink in the lounge and get our room cards when ready. This was a great way to avoid a lineup of everyone in the lobby. The food and service on the ship was excellent (although my mom, with whom I was travelling, felt that the food she had on a Caribbean cruise with Celebrity was just a touch better). The choices for excursions were plentiful and varied, although I found that with a few of them, there was either not enough free time, or too much free time, depending on how large the area was to explore. In Vienna, we ended up taking the hop on, hop off bus tour in order to see more of the city, as we had free time, and one of the stops was right in front of our ship at the pier. Our cabin (110) was fine for sleeping, although the shower was far too small. I can't imagine how a larger person could even move! The bed was comfortable and the cabin crew came in twice a day, once in the morning to clean and then again to turn down and leave the next day's schedule. Disembarkation was also quite smooth, and they even provided a tour of Nuremberg which was not listed as part of the trip. The also dropped us at our privately arranged hotel at the end of the tour, which was great, as we had expected we would have to arrange our own transport from the ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise based on the marketing done by scenic and had expectations of a five star luxury cruise. This was not the case, the air conditioning on the ship was inconsistent in the lounge and the bar service was slow with ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on the marketing done by scenic and had expectations of a five star luxury cruise. This was not the case, the air conditioning on the ship was inconsistent in the lounge and the bar service was slow with inattentive servers. The first time we called our “butler”, there was no answer. Apparently, they are also waiters and thus not always readily available. The housekeeping section was excellent with the cabin clean and well stocked. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, and entertainment focused on local culture themes. The guides on the port excursions were excellent and the food was good. The special concert was a memorable moment and thoroughly enjoyed. We had an issue on an excursion in Vienna. As per the daily itinerary we received, we boarded bus number 4 for 9 am. Apparently, the cruise director had changed the bus destinations and made an announcement in the lounge at 845. We were unaware that we should meet in the lounge, as this was not on our itinerary. Normally we would have been understanding with this miscommunication, except that there had been plenty of opportunities for the cruise director to ensure all guests were informed. There was no sign on the bus identifying the destination; no lists or number of passengers were provided to the guides to ensure all passengers were on board the appropriate bus. Ironically, we had actually passed by the cruise director when exiting the ship. When the guide contacted the cruise director to explain the issue, his response was to tell us to take a cab and bring him receipts. Personally, I expected better support from scenic. Upon our return to the ship the cruise director asked if we had receipts and eventually apologized. The issue was not the cost of the cab and entrance fee it was about being in a foreign country with no cellphone and having to solve this issue with absolutely no assistance from scenic. We did eventually find the correct excursion however scenic had not even contacted the guide to be on the lookout for us. The purpose of booking the scenic cruise was to avoid having to travel on our own and enjoy a stress free holiday with included excursions and no worries. This was definitely not the case. Two days later we did receive a written apology from the cruise director and an on-board credit. We enjoyed the cruise on the Danube, however we will not be recommending scenic to our friends based on the poor customer service by the cruise director. The onus was put on the passenger to inquire about last minute itinerary changes and very little communication/info was provided in advance. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Cruise was supposed to be a river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam, however, low water levels resulted in being bussed 800 km of the 1400 km trip. Scenic was not, of course, responsible for the low water, however, they almost certainly ... Read More
Cruise was supposed to be a river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam, however, low water levels resulted in being bussed 800 km of the 1400 km trip. Scenic was not, of course, responsible for the low water, however, they almost certainly knew well before the Oct. 16/18 start date that they would likely have to bus passengers for more than 1/2 of the trip. They therefore should have cancelled the trip as they knew they would be unable to provide the product promised, or even a reasonable facsimile of it. This was a very expensive bus tour. We were put up at a hotel in Budapest for 2 days before being bussed over 300 km to board our ship. We were scheduled to be on the Crystal but instead boarded the Pearl (sister ship) but for only 2 days then bussed over 300 +km to board the Opal which we were on for 6 (or maybe 7) days then bussed for about 200 km to board the Amber which we were on for 3 days. Breakfast & lunch were, of course, buffet and were good. Dinners were, however, inconsistent. Beef not cooked correctly, entrees not hot. Service was good ie. prompt. Not the over the top friendly we're used to on ocean cruises. Could be because the crew was eastern European & it's not their culture. Very little on board entertainment but none really expected. Nice comfortable lounge. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We did a European river boat cruise with Scenic. With river cruises you need to be aware that if river levels are either to high or to low your cruise may become a bus tour. We were very fortunate that we were able to go all the way from ... Read More
We did a European river boat cruise with Scenic. With river cruises you need to be aware that if river levels are either to high or to low your cruise may become a bus tour. We were very fortunate that we were able to go all the way from Budapest to Amsterdam. The ports we came to were all beautiful and full of history. Our ships cruise director did a wonderful job. Scenic gears there excursions to an older age group 60-75ish. What we were really disappointed in was the service and food. The morning meals when order from kitchen often took a long time and came out cold. The same happened at lunch. The buffet if you came later was often cold as well. At dinner time the meat was often very dry and limited menu to order from. Even though we struggled with the food we did have some excellent service from Antonio and Royanto. We did use room service 4 times. Twice we got what we wanted once the order was wrong and once it never showed up. We were disappointed with the cabin Stewart. She never gave us clean towels or glasses unless we asked for them This should of been done daily. Our bar fridge was not filled up daily as it should of been. We had to complain to front desk a few times in order to get things done properly. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Friends past experience had me yearning to sail on Scenic having already done one riverboat cruise on Avalon As expected Scenic provided a five star experience. Nothing was too much trouble and everything ran like clockwork. The ... Read More
Friends past experience had me yearning to sail on Scenic having already done one riverboat cruise on Avalon As expected Scenic provided a five star experience. Nothing was too much trouble and everything ran like clockwork. The dining and bar staff were exceptional as was the young lady who cleaned our room We sailed from Budapest to Amsterdam for 15 days. My only complaint and this is a huge one was about the location of our stateroom. Never ever take the last suite on the middle deck. My husband called it the cell from hell. And we became very sleep deprived due to the boat engine being right next to our verandah We did complain however the boat was full so no change of cabin was available Excursion and entertainment was super. The food was tasty and the wine ran freely My husband loved being able to check a bike out and ride when he wanted to. A lovely trip minus the cabin Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
On advise from our travel agent and excellent reviews we decided to travel through Europe on a river purpose built vessel and experience this fantastic trip ourselves , booked a year in advance to secure a cabin on deck 3 ,before the ... Read More
On advise from our travel agent and excellent reviews we decided to travel through Europe on a river purpose built vessel and experience this fantastic trip ourselves , booked a year in advance to secure a cabin on deck 3 ,before the actual cruise we booked through Scenic into the Marriott ( outstanding hotel) and the view on the Danube river to give us enough time to explore the city for a couple of days The day of embarkation , smooth and hassle free, disembarkation in Amsterdam likewise with transfers well organised by our outstanding cruise director Patrik . The Ship is what it is , modern and clean with excellent and very professional and friendly staff who do their best to make this a great experience. We didn't use the room service as we preferred to use the dining facilities in the main mess room, that was our choice , my guess is the cabin (333) is fairly compact but well appointed but not great for in cabin dining :-) The set up of these ships , only one dining room to accomodate all passengers for meals and if the bell rings for ' Chow time' people seem to rush down to secure their seats and if you decide to enter a bit later you feel sort of stranded , Scenic try to sort this out by using their Porto Bello area in the main lounge as well , this helps to a certain extend and this should be done every time , and am sure the hotel staff is aware of this . Dining is okay , I am not a complainer by all means, on a scale of 1-10, cannot give it more than 7.5- 8 , their is choice however , but would love the dining degustation experience that was offered to us at the ' Captains Table ' on every occasion and for all guests, as is the Porto Bello fine dining experience . Entertainment , love our pianist Marco Di Napoli Shore activities , out of this world ! Well organised , loved it 100 % Do I want to make another cruise with Scenic ? Probably as a foody and wine lover perhaps France , make no mistake the German and Austrian wines are excellent too. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was the biggest trip my husband and I have ever done, both in cost and time. It was worth every penny and seemed at once timeless and over too soon. The scope of experiences, the beauty for all of our senses, the quality of ... Read More
This was the biggest trip my husband and I have ever done, both in cost and time. It was worth every penny and seemed at once timeless and over too soon. The scope of experiences, the beauty for all of our senses, the quality of service... everything was so wonderful that I ran out of superlatives. :) Every port held new experiences. We visited sea level up until the mountains. We heard classical and folk music, tasted local foods, wines, cheeses and other delights. We feasted in an ancient castle. We rode bikes in Vienna, and walked about 7 km a day when we chose to. The cabin was well tended as were our every need. The restaurant service was impeccable though the food was sometimes just average there was lots of variety. The Portobello experience was delicious. Overall We had more food, drinks and treats than were good for us I'm sure. I'd travel with SCENIC again in a heartbeat. And I was especially impressed with our Cruise Director Szilvia's efficiency and kindness. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Having never considered a River Cruise, we attended an information number night. After learning about Scenic, we spoke with friends who had taken this excursion previously. They all highly recommended that we go. From pick up at the ... Read More
Having never considered a River Cruise, we attended an information number night. After learning about Scenic, we spoke with friends who had taken this excursion previously. They all highly recommended that we go. From pick up at the airport to debarkation, everything was first class. The service, dining and excursions went above and beyond anything we imagined. The staff were very friendly and attentive ensuring all of our needs were met (sometimes without even asking). The Cruise Director was very well organized and ensured that everyone was aware of all activities, timelines for returning to the ship and worked tirelessly to accommodate the need of passengers. The group of passengers on board were all adults and everybody went out of their way to get to know each other and enjoy each other’s company. We had a balcony suite which met our needs nicely. We now understand the excitement from our friends when we told the that we were going on this trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
An excellent cruise experience made even better by Adrian, our cruise director. Food was exceptional with chef Nendi personally presenting that evening's special at the pre-dinner port talk. Ended up choosing it almost every night ... Read More
An excellent cruise experience made even better by Adrian, our cruise director. Food was exceptional with chef Nendi personally presenting that evening's special at the pre-dinner port talk. Ended up choosing it almost every night as did most other passengers. Wonderful! Ports and shore excursions were great with some exceptional local guides. Even the worst one a 'very good'. Great variety of stops. Excursion to Bratislava highly recommended. Most items there far cheaper than in Hungary and the other countries visited. Flew in to Budapest a few days early and took in the Hospital in the Rock on our own knowing we had already chosen the Budapest city tour with Scenic. The hospital is a must see! The ship and cabin were excellent. Scenic's horizontal balcony window is ideal. At some ports, docking to another ship is common where one has to pass through a competitor's ship to reach shore. What an eye-opener! Viking, AMA, Avalon, Tauck, etc., none could compare. Perhaps premium priced but everything was included. Would choose Scenic again without hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
A Scenic representative met us at the airport and led us to the van which then transported us from the airport to the ship. Upon arrival at the Scenic Crystal we were given a warm greeting from the crew. Check-in was very quick and simple. ... Read More
A Scenic representative met us at the airport and led us to the van which then transported us from the airport to the ship. Upon arrival at the Scenic Crystal we were given a warm greeting from the crew. Check-in was very quick and simple. We were led to our room and shown how everything worked. Our luggage was delivered to our room very promptly. We attended a mandatory "Ship & Safety Briefing" before dinner the first evening. At the briefing we met the ships Captain - Plamen, the Hotel Manager - Ivan and the Cruise Director - Szilvia. These three individuals are extremely competent and professional. Szilvia gave a briefing every day, before dinner, called "Port Talk". These briefings updated the passengers on the next days activities and logistics. I will say that all 50 crew members on our ship were excellent. They went out of their way to make sure that all your needs were met. Butler - Each room has a Butler. The Butler is there to provide service to you. Depending on your room level, they will perform tasks such as coffee and tea service and breakfast service in your room. Ironing two items of clothing/person/day. These Butlers have many other jobs to perform and aren't at your beck and call. If you need something they provide you with their telephone number, so give them a call and they will do their best to accommodate your request. Breakfast - Early Bird Breakfast was served in from 6:30 to 7:30am in the River Café. Late Riser Breakfast was from 9 to 10 am in the River Café. The main breakfast was served from 7:30 to 9am in the Crystal Dining Room. Breakfast was served buffet style with a large selection of various meats, eggs (including made to order omelets), potatoes, fruits, various fruit juices and breads. Lunch - Light Lunch was served from 1 to 2 pm in Portobellos. The menu varied a little from day to day but generally there was a salad bar, sandwiches, pasta and potatoes. You could order a hamburger & fries if you wished. The main lunch was generally served from 1 to 2:30pm in the Crystal Dining Room. Times varied based on the activity schedule for the day. It was buffet style with a large selection to choose from. Dinner - Served in the Crystal Dining and was ala- carte. There was meat, fish and vegetarian choices every night. You also had a limited number of other special order choices you could place with your server. Portobellos - Each passenger is given the opportunity to dine at Portobellos once during while on board. It is a more intimate setting (Seats 30) with a special menu. Reservations are made with the reception Desk. Table La Rive - Passengers staying on the Diamond Deck and in other "Premium" rooms are invited to dine at Table La Rive once while on board. Table La Rive is located in the Crystal Dining Room. Guests are served a special menu with several courses of food and wine. All the food was very good. Presentation was excellent. Service was excellent. Unlike other reviews that I read, our food was hot when it was supposed to be and cold when it was supposed to be. There were enough choices to please (almost) anyone. The wine, liquor, and beer was all top shelf. Top Deck of Ship - This area runs almost the full length of the ship. There are various places to sit and view the sights unobstructed. There is a walking/jogging track and a giant chess board. Sanitation - The ship was kept spotlessly clean. The floors, windows and railings were cleaned constantly. Our room was cleaned and re-stocked two to three times per day. Entertainment - The on-board entertainment was good, not great. There were some very good performers brought on board in the various ports. The on ship entertainer was mediocre but provided some value. Fitness & Recreation - The ship has a small gym. Emphasis on small. It has a treadmill, elliptical cross trainer, stationary bicycle and a rowing machine. No weights. Ship has electric assist bicycles available to ride in port cities. Scenic did organize a bike ride once during our trip. We rode from the city of Durnstein to the city of Melk,about 22 miles. It was a beautiful and enjoyable ride. Shore Excursions - Excellent shore excursions with a wide variety of choices. Well planned and interesting. The Cruise Director explains each excursion so that you can make an educated decision one which option to chose. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose this cruise because Scenic had reputation for being very high end and truly all inclusive. It lived up to the all inclusive. The trip actually sailed on July 17, 2017. We were supposed to sail on the Jade but due to low water ... Read More
We chose this cruise because Scenic had reputation for being very high end and truly all inclusive. It lived up to the all inclusive. The trip actually sailed on July 17, 2017. We were supposed to sail on the Jade but due to low water levels this ship was substituted. The ship was tired looking and needed a refresh. The carpet in our cabin was frayed and coming up. The gourmet food was anything but. It was spotty. The ladies public restroom was out of commission for 4 Days. This caused cruisers to go back to their cabin or a cabin on the Diamond deck. During the cruise more then half the ship came down with a respiratory ailment. Nothing was done to attempt to contain it. No one encouraged the use of hand sanitisers before entering dining room. Nor did they encourage the staff to handle the buffet in a manner to prevent those who were ill from touching silverware at the buffet. The itinerary was good and truly all inclusive. The tour director was fabulous. Thank staff worked very hard but it appeared there were not enough staff. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
My three sisters and I had a ball on this trip, Budapest to Amsterdam. The lochs fascinated me, some nearly 25m high/ deep. All the staff were amazingly attentive and friendly from captain to cruise director to bar staff, butlers, ... Read More
My three sisters and I had a ball on this trip, Budapest to Amsterdam. The lochs fascinated me, some nearly 25m high/ deep. All the staff were amazingly attentive and friendly from captain to cruise director to bar staff, butlers, chefs, cabin boys and even the deck hands There were many shore excursions (and choices) but we never felt "herded", everything was co-ordinated so smoothly. Durnstein, Rudesheim, Edam and Rothenburg were all extremely quaint. However, the Freudenberg Oktoberfest I could do without, it felt very contrived (you could work on that). Returning to the "ship" (as they prefer to call it) many of the staff formed a welcoming committee asking about the excursion and handing out hot towels and drinks. We even had the same 4 Scenic buses dedicated to follow the ship for the fiirst week, the second week we had different buses at each port of call. The guides for the land excursions were delightful too, giving us all a laugh here and there. Adrian, our tour director, did an almighty job keeping us all informed of next day's events by "port talks" and by a daily sheet arriving in your cabin during dinner, which had the next day's menu on the back as well. Disembarkation was made very easy with his colour coding. Joe was our permanent entertainer, he would play anything we wanted on his piano, but nearly every night there were very interesting guest performers before dinner inc a zither player, a shadow sand artist, Hungarian dancers, a hysterical crew performance and the most enchanting violinist I have ever heard. I do have to admit the shower in our cabin was cramped, you didn't want to drop the soap, though we had the lowest, cheapest one, maybe others were larger. On the other hand we had a great position close to the gym, lounge, and dining room. However, the shower was our only negative. I do want to repeat how good the staff were. We were guests on their ship for a mere two weeks yet they knew us by name, drink order, which wine we preferred and omelette type as well as idiosyncrasies and special needs. Then overnight they have another 100 or so people to get to know. The tour was certainly ALL inclusive, no hidden meal or tipping or excursion costs and the bar was free 24/7 if you wanted it. Thank you Scenic. It was a trip I will never forget. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Cruise chosen to see towns which would not otherwise be visited. The day tours were not run for the benefit of cruisers. They were often too short, almost as if Scenic really didn't want to run and pay for them. They often left ... Read More
Cruise chosen to see towns which would not otherwise be visited. The day tours were not run for the benefit of cruisers. They were often too short, almost as if Scenic really didn't want to run and pay for them. They often left people for long hours waiting for transport, or having to walk long distances to get back to a transport point. A longer tour would have given the cruisers a much better picture of the stops visited. Onboard management weren't interested in responding to any comments. they said we should make the comments in the feedback forms, knowing that such forms are rarely acted on. The dining room and kitchen staff were always attentive, and service was good. The butler service is a bit of a gimmick and marketing spin, as the cabin attendant can do anything that is needed. Entertainment was a bit ordinary, except for the resident pianist. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
1st river cruise, absolutely wonderful! Chose deluxe balcony suite, lovely, good size with ample storage space. Great comfortable beds. Sun lounge a great bonus to sit & have a drink watching the scenery as you sail. Mini bar ... Read More
1st river cruise, absolutely wonderful! Chose deluxe balcony suite, lovely, good size with ample storage space. Great comfortable beds. Sun lounge a great bonus to sit & have a drink watching the scenery as you sail. Mini bar refilled daily of as needed. TV, climate control. Butler if needed. Food is excellent with ample choices as well as buffet for breakfast & lunch. Everyone gets s turn at Portobello's, the Italian restaurant. There is a dress code, but nothing to worry about, guys, put in a sports jacket, ladies, a dress or pants with a nice top, bling it up for evening! Tables are set beautifully, open seating. Good selection of wines, beer, spirits. Great service. Ship, staff, food, drinks, service, all top notch. Nothing was too much trouble. Good tours. Great cruise director. Do as much or as little as you want. You pay more with Scenic, but worth it, all very inclusive, all drinks included, compared to some cruise lines. Whole cruise streamlined & professional. Met great people. Highly recommend & will definitely book Scenic again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
At our departure airport in Sydney, my wife and I were approached by a Scenic representative to ensure that everything was OK as we boarded our Scenic-arranged flight. We flew from Sydney to Singapore, then to Frankfurt and finally ... Read More
At our departure airport in Sydney, my wife and I were approached by a Scenic representative to ensure that everything was OK as we boarded our Scenic-arranged flight. We flew from Sydney to Singapore, then to Frankfurt and finally arrived at Budapest 29 hours after leaving Sydney. Due to my wife’s walking difficulties, we had prearranged “meet & assist” and this certainly helped in the larger airports to get from arrival to departure points. Both at the start and end of the cruise there were exclusive Scenic Passenger rooms at the designated hotels with tea, coffee, pastries and other delights for guests while waiting for the next stage of their experience.This inspired idea allowed passengers to mix with their fellow guests as well as those who had just completed a cruise and who could provide most welcome advice. On embarkation onto the Scenic Crystal in Budapest, my wife was handed a white rose - a lovely gesture. The 168 passengers comprised 110 Aussies, and then Kiwis, Canadians, Brits, Americans and a couple and family from Chile. The status of passengers was evident by the colour of name tags: white for first timers, then gold up to emerald. The ship was always spotlessly clean and its international staff were faultless and very friendly. The front desk staff were exceptional. The captain was the friendliest captain of any ship we have sailed on. Cathy the Cruise Director was bubbly, competent and very approachable – a real delight. Drinks on the ship were good quality and freely available, with cocktails arguably more potent than usual. In our experience, nothing was ever refused. There was never any pressure to tip staff, not even at the end of the cruise. Entertainment on board was top quality. We didn’t hear any noise from the engines, with the only disturbance being the very occasional “clunk” as we went through one of the 68 river locks. Those with difficulty walking on stairs should note that the elevator does not go down to the lowest deck. The first dinner on board was a buffet – very good but unfortunately not a sign of things to come. The next best meal on the ship was the BBQ lunch out of Rudesheim, and then the final Captain’s Gala Dinner. It would have been good if this standard had been maintained for the whole cruise, but we found on average that the meals were not as good as those we have experienced on ocean cruises which have more passengers and more variety in their menus. This, of course, could have been due to the size of the kitchen, but the important message is not to expect too much. Breakfast and lunch, while the selections were plentiful, quickly became monotonous. We frequented the River Café in the bar area for most breakfast and lunches instead of the main restaurant. Moet was available for breakfast each day. For dinner, portions were measured and small, and I doubt if anyone would put on weight on this cruise unless they were ordering double portions (which was never refused) or overindulging in alcohol. We even ordered meat from the selections on one side of the menu and vegetables from the other, which although obviously a challenge was quickly provided. The jokes of the cruise were the appetisers of “Grilled Prawns”, which turned out to be one grilled prawn, and “Breaded Mushrooms” which was a large white plate with one breaded button mushroom in the centre of it. There was not much choice for vegetarians, basically limited to one of the three main course choices for dinner each day. There must have been the exact number of seats in the dining room as the tables were not cleared and reset once guests departed, and quite often choices were not available for passengers who arrived towards the end of the set dining time. Guests had the opportunity to dine one night at the Italian-themed Portobellos (which was not open every night) but it was nothing memorable. High level guests were also given the opportunity to dine at a special long table in the main dining room for a French-style dégustation, with each course preceded by a loud “ding” on a wine bottle (at least, until the Aussies at adjacent tables dinged their wine glasses each time in reply). In summary the cruise was a satisfying "bucket list" event and we are glad that we went with Scenic. I have attached some Port Reviews but, in addition to these, the following information provides advice on five other ports of call: Bamberg We went by bus into Bamberg at 9 am. Again, there was a ‘careful walkers’ tour that did not climb the 48 steps to the Domplatz, and other tours that did. The tour guides were all uni students. All tours ended at 10.30am at the Altes Rathaus in the middle of the river, but amazingly (inexplicibly) did not include the other end of the building (Bamberg’s most famous photo location) - you had to ask the guide to find out how to get to it. Then there was one and a half hours of free time. Directions back to the bus (20 minutes away) were fine for those with a map and a sense of direction but not for those without. Back on the bus at 12.45 pm for a 2.15 pm departure from the wharf. Freudenberg ('Oktoberfest') We arrived at the little village of Freudenberg early at 10.30 am. It is a very small town but the Scenic-exclusive Oktoberfest celebration is very boisterous, with good food, plentiful wine and beer, games and dancing. Don’t forget your money to buy the souvenirs. A highlight of the cruise. Marksberg Castle The bus left at 5.45 pm for a walking tour of the magnificent Castle and a mediaeval feast. This tour is absolutely fantastic and not to be missed – plenty of wonderful entertainment, food and drink. Cologne We were already docked by 6 am close to the centre of Cologne. The one and a half hour walking tour of Cologne was very good, and ended at the cathedral. There was then plenty of free time to explore before the ship left for Amsterdam at 1.45 pm. Amsterdam We docked in the main river, near the railway station, at about 4.30 am. We decided upon the 9 am to 1.20 pm tour of the Dutch countryside, which included a UNESCO heritage region, a visit to a tourist village comprising windmills and a clog factory (quite interesting) and then a visit to the town of Edam. The tour was spoiled by the tour guide purposefully and deliberately steering the Edam walking tour away from the centre of the town, with its multiple shops and cheese outlets, to a single cheese shop which I can only assume was his commission shop. The bus and the tour commentary was not as good as previous buses, especially for those sitting towards the back. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This is our second cruise with Scenic. Our first trip was on the Scenic Pearl from Basel to Amsterdam. We went with another couple this time. I found that the cruise age was probably in late 60's to 70's. We are in our ... Read More
This is our second cruise with Scenic. Our first trip was on the Scenic Pearl from Basel to Amsterdam. We went with another couple this time. I found that the cruise age was probably in late 60's to 70's. We are in our early 50's. I didn't find this an issue - everyone has a story to tell. The entertainment every night was great - the excursions really interesting and the food was probably a bit better this time. The captain was great as we were trying to beat rising water on the Danube. He would drop us off for the excursion then continue on and we would rejoin the ship further downstream. Their effort to be able to keep us on board was really appreciated. The staff were friendly and the wines were fabulous. We stayed on the bottom deck this time. As we were hardly ever in the room it wasn't an issue not having an open out window. I actually felt the room was better set out than when we stay on the 2nd level. It is just that the shower is extremely small and it leaks. If you were large this would definitely be a problem. Very snug. Breakfast and lunch are buffet. I found lunch to be a little repetitive. There use to be some type of meat on offer but now it is pasta. That was a little disappointing. You can order off the menu so there are always options. You will put on weight - you will be spoiled. We really did enjoy our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was our second river cruise and our second one with Scenic. Our other cruise experience consists of 65 ocean cruises. We chose this trip because the itinerary consisted of a number of ports we have never been to. We chose Scenic ... Read More
This was our second river cruise and our second one with Scenic. Our other cruise experience consists of 65 ocean cruises. We chose this trip because the itinerary consisted of a number of ports we have never been to. We chose Scenic because of our favorable experience with them last year on the Seine River from Paris to Normandy. We enjoyed the environment where the majority passengers were Australians, followed by the UK and Canada. Of 160 passengers, there were about 20 Americans. This enhanced our travel experience. We had to respond to a number of questions about our election process. As part of their promotion, Scenic provided our air flights. They provided the flights we requested, including a pre-cruise stopover in Prague ( at a small additional cost). We were pre cruise in Prague for 4 days and then flew to Budapest for 2 pre-cruise days. We took a taxi to the ship in Prague. Embarkation was almost seamless except for the fact that there was no one waiting dockside to assist with our luggage. I had to go onboard to seek assistance., The embarkation was friendly and efficient. A cocktail was offered, our luggage was immediately brought to our cabin, and check in was efficient. Our first impression of the ship was that it was clean and well maintained, and this proved right. My only criticism of the ship was that the main lounge could not accommodate 160 passengers when we had group meetings or entertainment. We had a middle floor balcony cabin, right in the middle of the ship. It was of good size, with plenty of space for storage. It included a mini bar stocked with water, juice, beer, wine, and snacks. All replaced as consumed and all included in our basic price. The cabin staff throughout our journey was attentive and looked after our special requests, Our butler Erwin provided morning room service. As far as the public areas and the dining room, they were attractive however this was the one area that I could not give Scenic a 10. The staff at times were overwhelmed and did not always provide the attentive service that one would expect from a luxury river cruise. Scenic is completely all inclusive so the lounge may get more activity than on a pay as you go river cruise. It also appeared that the staff was not trained to seek when a guest required attention. Dining- All food was well prepared and for dinner there were always 3 entrees selections to choose from plus alternatives of a filet steak, salmon, chicken, etc. Breakfast was a buffet with an egg station. The selection was comprehensive. One could also special order pancakes, lamb chops, eggs benedict, etc. but that took a lot of time. My objection with breakfast once again goes back to the service issue. The dining room was open to 9am. If one comes in at 8:40 they should be able to find a clean place setting. Dirty dishes were not removed promptly and the staff did not offer a clean place setting where one may have desired to sit. At 8:45 the staff started to remove unused place settings. Lunch- This was mostly a buffet with one or two regional specialties. There was an a la carte menu which provided well prepared food if one was willing to wait. Dinner for the most part was well prepared and well served. There were always interesting selections and standard alternatives. At all meals there was a wine menu that consisted of 6 whites, 6 reds, 1 rose and sparkling wine. Beer was also available., Cruise Director- As stated we have been on 65 ocean cruises and 2 river cruises and Nicola is a lead contender for the BEST. He was extremely knowledgeable about every port, personable and always helpful. The Captain- He was a skilled navigator in getting his ship under the low bridges with our increasing water level and invited us to take a turn navigating the ship while he took photos, HOWEVER he had a major judgment error. Scenic states the it is all inclusive and except for some personal items they are absolutely correct. Tips are included, a choice of tours are all included, all beverages, mini bar, etc., the list goes on so at the farewell meeting when the Captain stated that normally he has a box at the front desk where guests can provide additional gratuities to the staff however some guests met with him earlier about a private cause for a young man and the captain stated that all the proceeds in the box would be diverted from the staff to this private cause he showed poor judgment. We all have our charitable causes including his staff who involuntarily donated to a charity they know nothing about. And how about Scenic who promotes all inclusive., Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
My wife and I travelled with scenic on the Crystal from Budapest to Amsterdam from October 15th 2015. This was our first river cruise with Scenic after recommendations from friends who did same cruise last year.This was also my first time ... Read More
My wife and I travelled with scenic on the Crystal from Budapest to Amsterdam from October 15th 2015. This was our first river cruise with Scenic after recommendations from friends who did same cruise last year.This was also my first time overseas. The service and attention to detail from day one was amazing.Although the weather was unseasonably cold it did not affect the trip in any way. I must admit my wife and I felt very special as did most of the other travellers because of the wonderful service of all the staff, from the cleaners to the skipper.We had a thoroughly amazing trip and I am sorry I left it so long to travel overseas and very glad we chose scenic. Finally I would like to especially thank two staff in particular, the first was Daniella, she was fantastic. Secondly, and most importantly was a beautiful young lady named Erika Bartos who served us most of the time we were in the bar or dining room. I must say I have never felt so comfortable on a holiday as this lady made us feel. She is a credit to Scenic and sets a standard that all can aspire to. Once again thank you to Scenic for a wonderful experience we will never forget and will definitely travel with your company again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We just got back from 8 days aboard the Scenic Crystal. We stayed in Budapest at the Marriott for one night which was located on the Danube and a lovely hotel. Our first night on the boat was a cruise on the Danube to see the the ... Read More
We just got back from 8 days aboard the Scenic Crystal. We stayed in Budapest at the Marriott for one night which was located on the Danube and a lovely hotel. Our first night on the boat was a cruise on the Danube to see the the beautiful lights of Budapest. Our stateroom was roomy and the balcony had an electric window so you could sit out on there in any weather. The dining room was wonderful with no assigned tables. The food was fantastic with many local items and could order room service if needed. The wine was flowing and the service was wonderful. The lounge/bar was spacious and the staff was very attentive. Our shore excursions were fun, unique and easy to navigate. Everyone had their own personal Scenic Tailormade devices that you could listen to the tour guides with ear pieces or listen to history of the river. There was local entertainment as well our nightly musician. This was an all inclusive cruise and it means all inclusive. Great choice of liquor, wine, side trips and most of all tipping was included. No need to constantly get our a few bucks for tipping the staff or bus drivers. We did tip our butler at the end of the trip because we had outstanding service. I would use Scenic again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Ship is a 'convention' or banquet hall type of atmosphere, no pictures,no ambience. Plastic flowers on tables & big bouquet of plastic flower in foyer. Staff although professional, it was a 'business' as usual ... Read More
Ship is a 'convention' or banquet hall type of atmosphere, no pictures,no ambience. Plastic flowers on tables & big bouquet of plastic flower in foyer. Staff although professional, it was a 'business' as usual attitude. The 'butler' introduced himself the first & last day, although he did take our laundry bag once - over rated as a marketing tool. Food was ok & the buffet lunches was confusing, no one knew where to jump in around the island. We were stuck with a bunch of austrailians, over 80% of the ship - they lacked manners, loud, noisy,etc. Of course the water level was low & halfway, we had to be coached upstream & transfered to the Scenic Jewel, which in essence was a better ship & the staff was also better to a point. The tours in each port was short and the biggest complaint. My 3rd & 4th river cruise and the the most we spent was very disappointing. They do push the all you can drink, but over priced and who can drink through out the day. The cabin closest door was always stuck and hard to pull shut creating alot of noise & the bathroom shower was a half door, you had to lay down towels all the time. During embarkation we could not board the ship like the other river cruise line but met at their land hotel that the pre-cruisers took and then coached the 300meters over as a group, 'check in' not before 4pm. 2 other lines we took, welcomed you any time & we could even have drinks and something to eat in the lounge. Disembarkation, the tour director spent the night before about an hr. going on how they would like our luggage outside our cabin by 6:45am, & us out by 9am for the next group coming in. We turned on the tv monitor for the daily schedule and they had already changed our names to the guests that will be occupying our cabin. Not a 15day cruise, since we really left early in the am of the 15th. The staff did work hard. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Scenic Crystal Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 2.0 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.9
Family 1.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 2.0 4.6
Service 4.0 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 4.3
Rates 5.0 5.0

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