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3 Scenic Opal Cruise Reviews

You can really judge a company by the way they handle a difficult situation. My experience, and others, on this trip was that Scenic handled this absolutely terribly and conducted the tour at the most cheapest cost possible to themselves. ... Read More
You can really judge a company by the way they handle a difficult situation. My experience, and others, on this trip was that Scenic handled this absolutely terribly and conducted the tour at the most cheapest cost possible to themselves. They didn’t deliver a luxury experience, even though they still had the opportunity and facilities to do so, instead they provided terrible service with really cheap food (often buffets) and really cheap wine. I thought after their 16 million dollar class action case they lost last year that they would have improved their service, but they have obviously learnt nothing from past mistakes. We were advised by email on 19th October (5 days before our cruise, and we were already in Europe) that we would have to do land arrangements for four nights before joining the Scenic Jewel (instead of Scenic Opal) in Regensburg on 28th October. We were not advised of an option to cancel the tour. We were then emailed on 22nd October advising which hotels we would be staying at. Still no option to cancel. On the 24th October in Budapest we met our Tour Director, and was given an update on the trip. At that stage we found out that there were 109 people booked for this cruise but only 65 showed up in Budapest and 44 people cancelled and didn’t travel. After speaking with people on the tour we found out that scenic contacted some people before they left Australia and gave them an option to cancel, and didn’t bother to contact other passengers at all (including us, except for an email advising a change to the itinerary, but not advising any option to cancel). We were informed that the river was the lowest in over 100 years by the tour director, so obviously scenic knew well in advance that this trip was going to be affected and yet we were not advised. Looking at reviews of previous scenic passengers that cruised this itinerary this year, there were many disruptions, so scenic should have advised us well before we left Australia and given us an option to cancel like they did for only select passengers. We totally understand that scenic can not help the water levels being so low that they can’t operate the cruise at certain sections of the river, however, they knew the river conditions well in advance of the cruise as they’d had problems all summer. They should have given everyone, not just a select few, the option the cancel before leaving Australia. I wonder if they went ahead with this cruise because they had a travel agent famil group booked on this cruise? I telephoned and emailed Scenic in Australia from Budapest, after our tour briefing, however they were not of any help at all and just gave a generic reply to claim for compensation when we return home. Rather than going into a long letter, I’ve itemised below the terrible experience that we had from Scenic considering that Scenic has advertised this “Luxury River Cruise” as an all inclusive (spirits, wines, soft drinks, tea, coffee and mini bar), with anytime dining. - we were advised in writing by the tour director that we were allowed up to two glasses of wine, beer or soft drink with dinner and one glass with lunch during the first four days of our trip which was conducted by land (hotels and buses) - Even though scenic had the access to provide spirits, wine, coffee, tea, afternoon tea...etc at the hotels we were staying at, scenic would not include this for us and we were told we would have to pay for these ourselves. - The quality of the buffet food and wine we received at the hotels was of a very poor quality. The food was like something you’d get at an RSL club and the wines were really cheap and nasty. We stayed at very nice hotels, but received the cheapest quality of food and wine. - We finally boarded the scenic jewel in Regensburg, on 28th October. - We were onboard the ship for 10 nights. During this time, there was no anytime dining in the crystal dining room (as advertised by scenic) instead we were restricted to sometimes late dining times and the waiters were always in a hurry to get us fed and out of the restaurant. - Portobellos was only open 2 nights out of the 10! Why?? - For 8 out of 10 nights on the cruise there was only one dining option, and that was a fixed time, which is totally opposite to what scenic advertise. - There was absolutely no drinks or food service on the top deck during the entire cruise, which is completely the opposite experience of friends who have done this cruise before. I know there was part of the cruise when the top deck was closed when going under bridges, but we received no service there at all the entire cruise. Even when we docked in Amsterdam, we saw Viking and Avalon ships beside us serving their passengers drinks and food on their top decks.....our ship was completely dead in atmosphere and service. - The food quality on the ship was very “hit and miss”. Sometimes the food was very nice, other days they food was just terrible and quite often cold. - The cakes in the river cafe were a generic shop bought cake that was often stale by being cut and left in the display cabinet. - We were never offered a packed picnic lunch, as advertised by scenic, if we didn’t want to do an organised tour and just do our own sightseeing. - The entertainment onboard the ship was really amateur and something you’d expect on a budget cruise, not a luxury cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Our cruise on Scenic Opal was from Basel to Amsterdam commencing 25 July for one week. We had a balcony cabin 216. Embarkation was poorly managed and for reasons never fully explained the cruise started at Strasbourg, The rep at the ... Read More
Our cruise on Scenic Opal was from Basel to Amsterdam commencing 25 July for one week. We had a balcony cabin 216. Embarkation was poorly managed and for reasons never fully explained the cruise started at Strasbourg, The rep at the airport did not mention the change and many of us endured fully loaded bladders during the 1hr 45 min trip. We subsequently found that a small group new of this arrangement well in advance. The ship is clean and tidy with smooth and comfortable progress. The cabins are small but clean. The so called inside/outside balcony area takes up a significant amount of living space and is behind the cabin curtains. Hence when these are drawn the cabin feels smaller than it should. This appears to be a design flaw. When docked the curtains needed closing for the majority of the time because we were either up against a dock wall or another boat. Scenic has a policy of sharing berths with other boats of the Scenic group (Emerald etc). This means that even if there are many spare berths (and there usually are) you become locked in, which makes the cabin atmosphere unpleasant. A money saving procedure despite the high cost of the cruise. Breakfast and lunch are buffet and the food is adequate. Service can be chaotic with a limited number of waiters trying to cope and naturally becoming stressed. Different excursions often start and return together which overwhelms the staff and creates a frazzled atmosphere. Dinner was awful. The quality of the ingredients was poor and the chefs were not capable of making anything of them. As an example, there was a special gala night dinner where the soup was inedible, the mashed potato the consistency of custard, the lobster a soft tasteless mess in its shell and steak so tough it was barely edible. Service was variable but the staff tried hard to manage difficult situations imposed on them. If Scenic reads this then our waiters George and Alexander were excellent and need a bonus. Our cruise director was incapable of relaying information with any clarity. She talked endlessly in an inappropriate life and soul of the party manner, which became extremely waring. Daily briefs on ports to be visited became so long and facile that we escaped elsewhere. I understand that the cruise director has the impossible job of being all things to all men/women. Some do it well but ours certainly did not. Ports and excursions were excellent but could not make up for the poor food, variable service and cabin shut in atmosphere. The cruise became a bit Butlinesque, although with a very high price tag. Never again Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Although this is a beautiful ship with a generally terrific crew, we cannot recommend Scenic. The Rhine/Moselle itinerary is interesting and the excursions offered were adequate although we often chose to tour independently to avoid the ... Read More
Although this is a beautiful ship with a generally terrific crew, we cannot recommend Scenic. The Rhine/Moselle itinerary is interesting and the excursions offered were adequate although we often chose to tour independently to avoid the rather lengthy bus trips. The Cruise Director, Richard Grey, was generally excellent, but he was somewhat handicapped by the continually changing arrival and departure times dictated by lock schedules and river traffic. There were about 144 passengers (not quite full capacity), and the ship's main lounge and dining room often felt very crowded. Cabins are cleverly designed in order to make up for the tight space and were comfortable. We were in Suite 201, a Junior Deluxe Balcony Suite, which is one of the larger suites and still small. Butler service is provided and was well performed by an enthusiastic staff. Everything was kept spotlessly clean. One of our suitcases was misplaced on embarkation due to improper labeling by the crew. We advise putting your own cabin number on your tags. The bar staff is very young, enthusiastic, and totally incapable of mixing standard cocktails. Pre-port lectures by the Cruise Director every evening before dinner were informative, but the overcrowding in the dining room directly afterwards caused the restaurant staff to be severely stressed. Even though there is open seating, tables for four were not always easily located and no Maitre'D was available to help. After dinner entertainment was minimal, but not unexpected for a river cruise. Now for the food, which was largely inedible! Thin, watery soups, insipid salad dressings, awfully prepared meat dishes, baked potatoes that were hard as a rock...I could go on and on. There are buffets for breakfast and lunch, which did not change much from day-to-day. The same stale bagels, watery scrambled eggs etc. kept appearing. Very good made-to-order omelet station is available. Lunch could be scary, with mystery meat and gloppy dishes put out. Dinner was no better. Steak, chicken and salmon was always available as an alternative and was atrocious. Desserts were not much better. Think Army mess hall quality (or lack there of). Bottom line is that this food will not please American tastes. The ship's passenger contingent was largely Australian, with others from the UK, New Zealand and Canada. Some appeared to really enjoy the heavy meat and potato offerings as they were seen going back for more. Curiously, the Table la Rive, Portobello and Captain's Dinner tables did have edible offerings. If they were able to produce those results, why not for the standard meals in the Crystal Dining room? We are disappointed in the value and quality that Scenic offers. If you are looking for luxury and good value, you will not find it here! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Scenic Opal Ratings
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