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85 Scenic Sapphire Cruise Reviews

Having enjoyed a smaller canal cruise in Alsace, we were ready to try a cruise on the Rhone river. Reviews of various river cruise lines consistently pointed to Scenic as a quality choice. Although the Sapphire is not new, we found it to ... Read More
Having enjoyed a smaller canal cruise in Alsace, we were ready to try a cruise on the Rhone river. Reviews of various river cruise lines consistently pointed to Scenic as a quality choice. Although the Sapphire is not new, we found it to be sparkling in both design and maintenance. We were welcomed on board by the captain and his staff and assigned to a lovely balcony cabin, newly serviced and polished. When I found the young women in the hallway who I suspected had cleaned our room, she actually jumped and clapped her hands saying "Oh, that's one of my rooms", when I expressed my appreciation for her work. (That gesture of appreciation on my part was not wasted, since I think I got extra chocolates on turndown every evening.) However we found that degree of pride and ownership expressed uniformly throughout the cruise staff, no matter the occupation. The availability of friendly and accommodating staff and attention to detail was a hallmark of our cruise. The business of serving delicious and varied meals, as well as the chore of getting 130 people to and from land tours on schedule was handled efficiently and pleasantly. Although our final docking was unavailable due to water conditions in the river, that too was handled smoothly and in a friendly manner. From the lovely meals, the wine tasting and cooking demonstration to the afternoon cappuccinos in the lounge and the music and dancing in the evenings, to the time spent on our private balcony listening to music and watching the scenery go by, we considered our Rhone river cruise on the Scenic Sapphire a splendid success. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
No better way to visit the South of France, than in a floating 5 star boutique hotel. Difficult to find fault with any aspect of the cruise. The staff is attentive, enthusiastic and oh so professional. The food is first rate and ... Read More
No better way to visit the South of France, than in a floating 5 star boutique hotel. Difficult to find fault with any aspect of the cruise. The staff is attentive, enthusiastic and oh so professional. The food is first rate and reflects the cuisine of the regions visited. The excursions are plentiful, varied and enriching. Despite a slight complication due to high water levels on the Saône River, the staff managed to ensure we benefited completely and safely from all the events planned. The rain stopped shortly after boarding and the late October weather could not have been better. In most cases the ship docks very close to the towns and villages and it is easy to wander off on your own to see the sights on your free time. This is our second cruise with Scenic and it proved to be as enriching as our first which brought us from Budapest to Amsterdam. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We have visited the South of France with other cruise lines but we had heard that Scenic are the best. This has now been confirmed. We have thoroughly enjoyed all the aspects of this particular cruise. The attention to detail has been ... Read More
We have visited the South of France with other cruise lines but we had heard that Scenic are the best. This has now been confirmed. We have thoroughly enjoyed all the aspects of this particular cruise. The attention to detail has been wonderful. All the staff have been so attentive and everything promised has been expedited. The beds are so comfortable; the cabin is roomy. The food has been exceptionally good and we have enjoyed every meal. We have also enjoyed all the excursions which have included visits to places that had not been included in our previous tours with other companies. All the Tour Guides have been extremely knowledgeable and interesting. The food has been top class and every member of the crew has been so friendly. We have had a wonderful trip and will definitely travel with Scenic again. Already looking forward to booking another trip with Scenic. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Everything is possible on this cruise. The officers and crew on board are very friendly and helpful. The drinks and food are all very good. The outings are thoughtfully planned with consideration of the capabilities of the guests. While ... Read More
Everything is possible on this cruise. The officers and crew on board are very friendly and helpful. The drinks and food are all very good. The outings are thoughtfully planned with consideration of the capabilities of the guests. While most of the guests are retired and generally senior in nature, many are very friendly and became friends towards the end of the trip. The most interesting nature is that this is an all inclusive trip with all drinks included (including premium liquor and wine, all the guests drink responsibly with none over indulge, this shows the quality of the guests this cruise line serves and hopefully strives to serve. We preferred the all inclusive nature of the cruise line, which is priced in local currency depending on the country of the guests (rather than in USD) so that the guests know exactly the cost of the trip. In this way, we pay for the trip with a smile beforehand rather than settling the bill with a frown and anxiety at the end of the trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We have just returned from Scenic Tours’ Spectacular South of France river cruise. This was our fourth river cruise with Scenic and it was every bit as enjoyable as the previous three. The crew on the Scenic Sapphire could not have ... Read More
We have just returned from Scenic Tours’ Spectacular South of France river cruise. This was our fourth river cruise with Scenic and it was every bit as enjoyable as the previous three. The crew on the Scenic Sapphire could not have been more accommodating and helpful. Our room was cleaned perfectly every morning and every evening by our wonderful room maid, Gabi. The waiters in the lounge and restaurant provided us with fast, efficient and friendly service. We were very well-served by them during our voyage by the waiters (I hope the spellings are correct) Bogdan, Mihal, Valentin (thanks for the extra butter!) and Radzan. Istfan, the executive chef, is a creative wonder. His meals were always delicious and very nicely flavoured. Each morning, we started the day with a fresh, tasty omelette prepared expertly by chef Gabriel. As well, other crew members whose names, regrettably, we have missed or forgotten, were always polite and eager to please. All of the Scenic Free Choice excursions (included in the price of the trip) were wonderful. Local guides gave us lots of information on the many great sites and medieval villages that we saw. The two excursions not to be missed were the Abby at Cluny and the Pope’s palace in Avignon. The whole trip was very enjoyable for us. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Travel agent recommended. Everything was wonderful. We enjoyed the room very much except for the septic odour that was prevalent on a number of occasions and the lighting, which was not very good, especially for the application of ... Read More
Travel agent recommended. Everything was wonderful. We enjoyed the room very much except for the septic odour that was prevalent on a number of occasions and the lighting, which was not very good, especially for the application of make-up. The cleaning staff did an excellent job of taking care of any requests we had and tried on a number of occasions to get rid of the door, with some success but it did not last long. The odour did make it difficult to sit on the balcony for any length of time. The staff was absolutely wonderful, extremely helpful and very personable. They made the trip as wonderful as it was. I would recommend Scenic to my friends based on the excellent service the staff provided. The food was excellent and the selection of shore excursions gave everyone an opportunity to see many various parts of the country. Great job again by the crew. 6 stars out of 5********. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I had done the Rhine River Cruise before and thoroughly enjoyed it. This one was equally as brilliant but maybe a little less “hectic”. A joy from beginning to end. The staff were so friendly, welcoming and professional. The food ... Read More
I had done the Rhine River Cruise before and thoroughly enjoyed it. This one was equally as brilliant but maybe a little less “hectic”. A joy from beginning to end. The staff were so friendly, welcoming and professional. The food was exceptional. The scenery and tours were all first class, five star all the way! Everything was so well organised that you knew every day exactly what time to expect everything to happen. The executive chef, captain, crew, manager, cruise director bar attendants, restaurant, waiters and waitresses were all very professional and friendly. Every excursion we went on was extremely interesting and the guides were very interesting and friendly. I would not hesitate in recommending this cruise to anyone. The only thing I would advise is to make sure you are reasonably fit because even the tours said to be easy walking etc could be very tiring. Do it now! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Our third time with Scenic Tours, one land tour and two river cruises. They have always been very well organised and the Rhone river cruise was no exception, with cheerful and highly professional staff, beginning with a warm welcome on ... Read More
Our third time with Scenic Tours, one land tour and two river cruises. They have always been very well organised and the Rhone river cruise was no exception, with cheerful and highly professional staff, beginning with a warm welcome on board. The Free Choice excursions were well chosen with a good selection and everyone got their first choice. All were accompanied by authorised Tour and City guides who were both knowledgeable and entertaining. The food was of an exceptionally high standard with a large range to choose from for every meal, with snacks and drinks (alcohol, soft drinks, tea and coffee) available throughout the day. The staff were always available and nothing seemed too much trouble.The daily Port Talks by the Tour Director were informative and detailed; information on walking distances and number of stairs was especially helpful. Everywhere was kept spotlessly clean and the cabins were serviced twice a day by the friendly stewards. The very complicated disembarkation went like clockwork. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This review is mainly about river boat cabins, and how size is far from everything. That will be in the cabin review section below. In short, the bulk of cabins on the Scenic Sapphire, and most if not all Scenic river boats, are ... Read More
This review is mainly about river boat cabins, and how size is far from everything. That will be in the cabin review section below. In short, the bulk of cabins on the Scenic Sapphire, and most if not all Scenic river boats, are classified as Balcony Suites. They are cramped and not very well-designed. Most other things about the cruise were very good. In particular the shore excursions provided an excellent choice and the guides were good. (Not so the earpieces, which often caused problems, with a couple of guides abandoning them altogether.) Departures on shore excursions were not well-organised. The cruise director, who was very good, was generally ashore getting buses and guides organised. There were no staff with sufficient authority to herd the cats on board, with the result that passengers milled about pointlessly in the foyer. This led to pathetic cries from staff: "The captain will kill me." With the odd exception, food was very good. Service in the dining room was good, with waiters trained in a fixed routine, at least for dinner. Service in the lounge was haphazard at best. Staff seemed poorly trained. They wandered around not making eye contact. It was quite possible to sit for 20 minutes without being offered a drink. Waiters would come nearby and waft past. They had to be called. Although all drinks including champagne were supposed to be included, if you asked for champagne, you got non-champagne sparkling wine. It was almost comical the way the barman hid the bottle. The boat was very shipshape and did not look at all tired. The gym was almost useless. There were free weights but no bench! Probably can't expect more on a river boat. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
been on prior scenic cruises twice before..though they could never exceed previous levels but they did..ship completely updated with hot tub, gym, masseuse, hairdresser, manicurist...staff attentive to all our quirky requests and ... Read More
been on prior scenic cruises twice before..though they could never exceed previous levels but they did..ship completely updated with hot tub, gym, masseuse, hairdresser, manicurist...staff attentive to all our quirky requests and needs..doing our laundry was huge. food is gourmet and plentiful. always have special needs food for vegetarians, gluten free diets..staff actually learns your names and constantly asks if there is anything they can do for you..bar variety is extensive with top shelf liquors and amazingly interesting cocktails beyond the usual..side trips and all transportation so well planned that it is effortless to travel with scenic..would have like the gift shop to be a little more extensive as the cruise line extends a 100 euro credit per person..no better place to spend it than on presents for the grandchildren but selection not extensive..needless to say we are looking forward to a fourth cruise with scenic as the exceeded all our expectations Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
A Rhone cruise seemed the best way to explore this area of France. Scenic are not cheap but are all inclusive so there's no need to spend any money if you don't want to. Scenic set high standards - equivalent to a five star ... Read More
A Rhone cruise seemed the best way to explore this area of France. Scenic are not cheap but are all inclusive so there's no need to spend any money if you don't want to. Scenic set high standards - equivalent to a five star hotel but informal - smart casual is as good as it gets for evening dining. This cruise delivered what it said it would. The captain was excellent - visible and approachable at all times. The staff were attentive and helpful, (one even lent me her personal iPhone charger when our luggage was delayed at Paris CDG.). The only thing which prevented a five star rating was our Cruise Director,who the reception staff called grumpy grandpa. He was efficient but tired. Dining was first class with plenty of choice and regional dishes available with wines to match. Cabin was fine with good air con, clean towels and face flannels replaced daily and a free minibar topped up at the same frequency. Nice little touches from our steward made us feel welcome (see photo).Balcony had an electric full width window, which when closed shut out all external noise. There was a good choice of inclusive daily shore excursions and some very good guides. (If you visit Avignon or Arles and can go with Emmanuel, do so. He is entertaining, informative and has an amazing singing voice). Chalon-sur Saone, the northern terminus of the cruise was a pleasant little town, but it might have been more interesting if we could have cruised further south than Tarascon on the Rhone instead. All transport functioned according to plan - other than our hold luggage which failed to make the Paris CDG transfer in time. It was however efficiently dealt with, and was delivered to the ship 24hours later. Scenic have a good system of check in and out, with named ID badges and bar codes - but a lanyard would be preferable to the clips which are not easy to attach to all clothing and have to be removed every time you leave the ship. Would we travel Scenic again. Most definitely. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This is our second time with Scenic, the first being 14 nights from Amsterdam to Budapest. The Scribe in Paris was our pre cruise hotel and it was wonderful. The room was very comfortable and the staff very friendly. Scenic was able to ... Read More
This is our second time with Scenic, the first being 14 nights from Amsterdam to Budapest. The Scribe in Paris was our pre cruise hotel and it was wonderful. The room was very comfortable and the staff very friendly. Scenic was able to extend our stay with their rates for 6 nights which helped for a smooth transition. We bussed from Paris to Chalon Sur Seone where we embarked. Bus ride was about 5 hours excluding a stop for lunch along the way. Embarkation was easy! We stayed in a Royal Balcony Suite which was great. The extra space was well worth the extra cost and our butler and cabin attendant were terrific. Maybe it's because we were in France but the food and wines were outstanding. The entertainer was very versatile and good. Ports were fine although we wondered why we stopped at Vienne, but my guess is because of spacing and availability for the boats along the river. There was not much to see and we were only there for a few hours. The "special experiences" offered by Scenic were also great...Scenic enrich, sundowner cocktails, and the two specialty dinners. The best part of everything is included. It's always nice to leave with no need to pay for anything else. Granted you pay it in the fare but it's still nice not to get charged for "extras" like so many other cruise lines do. I would travel with them again and highly recommend. They are two for two with us! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This is our fifth cruise with Scenic and it has been impossible to find fault with any of them. We have found on this cruise, as with the other cruises, that all of the staff go “the extra mile” to ensure that you have an enjoyable ... Read More
This is our fifth cruise with Scenic and it has been impossible to find fault with any of them. We have found on this cruise, as with the other cruises, that all of the staff go “the extra mile” to ensure that you have an enjoyable voyage. There is a variable and high standard of cuisine with quality wines and a large variety of alcoholic beverages. There is also a 24/7 self service machine for coffee and other hot drinks. Transfers at both the start and end of the voyage are arranged and carried out efficiently with the occasional chauffeured pick up and return to home on some voyages. The guides on the various inclusive tours are also friendly, knowledgable and fully fluent in English as well as other languages. We believe that Scenic “all inclusive “ prices give the best value for money. We chose this cruise because it was in a part of France that we had not visited before. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our second river cruise. The first cruise was with UniWorld and he had a great experience, this time around we chose Scenic as their luxury brand was something that we couldn't ignore. We certainly made the right choice. The ... Read More
This was our second river cruise. The first cruise was with UniWorld and he had a great experience, this time around we chose Scenic as their luxury brand was something that we couldn't ignore. We certainly made the right choice. The rooms were larger (we had suites on both cruises) on Scenic, the food was quite good for the most part (some hit and miss but found that on our other cruise as well), but what really stood out to us was the staff. The staff on the Scenic Sapphire were nothing short of amazing. From top to bottom we felt welcome, valued and always taken care of. In fact when the cruise was over and we were staying in Nice for an extra day, we ended up calling the ship to get/verify information about airport shuttles and they immediately took our call and helped us. They didn't just dump us off and forgot about us, they took the time to help us when we asked. From the cleaning staff to the restaurant staff, to the crew members who would ask me if I needed anything when they didn't have to, to the front desk staff and the captain, everyone was extremely nice, friendly and they made our experience the best it could possibly be. For this reason alone I will continue to use Scenic on future cruises. Take a bow, staff of the Scenic Sapphire, you truly made our trip an experience to remember. Thank you! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise because of our previous experience with the luxury of Scenic cruises and because it fit very well the busy schedules of six adults. We could not have been more pleased with our cruise. The ship and the cruise exceeded ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of our previous experience with the luxury of Scenic cruises and because it fit very well the busy schedules of six adults. We could not have been more pleased with our cruise. The ship and the cruise exceeded our expectations in every respect from the quality of the ship to the service, dining, and activities. The service could not have been better, as good as our last cruise with Scenic two years ago, and better than any other we have experienced on 6 cruises to date. Our adult children (51 and 49) and their spouses experienced their first cruise and were completely in awe of the experience. There was a wide variety of activities and entertainment. The availability of the e-bikes was a special treat of which we all took advantage. The ports along the Saone and Rhone Rivers offer much to see and experience. We felt that we got the luxury promised and outstanding value for the money expended. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Value for money and the all-inclusive nature of the cruise. Meals, extra food, drinks, local tours and most 'before and after arrangements'; all the things taken care of so that we could concentrate on total enjoyment of our time ... Read More
Value for money and the all-inclusive nature of the cruise. Meals, extra food, drinks, local tours and most 'before and after arrangements'; all the things taken care of so that we could concentrate on total enjoyment of our time on board and on land. Ship was an impressive sight and was maintained spotlessly throughout the cruise. Staff were excellent in every way; attentive, caring, generous with their time, smart, alert, knowledgeable, receptive and totally pleasant. Excursions were well-planned, well-organised, comfortable and well-timed. They maximised opportunities available in all docking places. Local entertainment was varied and interesting. The resident musician was a little limited in style but did provide an adequate 'back-ground' ambience during the evenings. Dining was unquestionably excellent in quality, variety, preparation, presentation; the use of regional specialities and simple produce, including wines, was a high-point in itself. The meeting and collection at Lyon Airport was marred by a degree of panic on our behalf, as the actual meeting point description proved to be confusing and we feared that we had missed our transfer. I had to contact the Scenic emergency number at a time when I really needed to relax after flying in from Perth, West Australia. Yes! We certainly would cruise with Scenic again and will recommend it personally. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This river cruise was completely spoilt by choice of cabin. Whilst service, food and excursions all matched expectations, our very expensive cabin was dreadful. Royal Panoramic Suites are the second most expensive on the ship and Suite ... Read More
This river cruise was completely spoilt by choice of cabin. Whilst service, food and excursions all matched expectations, our very expensive cabin was dreadful. Royal Panoramic Suites are the second most expensive on the ship and Suite 334 has several issues. (See below under Cabin Review). We are not inexperienced travellers and had expected some engine noise at the back of the ship but we also expected to get a standard of comfort that we had paid for, which we did not get. Because of faulty/poor air conditioning and other issues we were unable to use our expensive suite and slept every night in a tiny cabin two doors down. We could have saved a fortune! On return we wrote to the UK Managing Director of Scenic but to add to our initial dissatisfaction, we have not even had the courtesy of a reply some three weeks later. Our holiday did not start well as the transfer from our hotel in Lyon to the boat was terrible. Too many people (8) were crammed into one minivan because the driver turned up 35 mins late and did not organise the passengers correctly. He then drove well above the speed limit on the motorway to make up time. A very unpleasant experience. On the plus side, the staff/crew on board ship all work tremendously hard and offer excellent service. The food on board is of a high standard. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
From the moment you board, everything is provided - Service ( the crew are first class ) - Dining - ( the food is excellent ) entertainment ( very good ) Excursions and guides ( all well organised and very interesting ) the ship/cabins ... Read More
From the moment you board, everything is provided - Service ( the crew are first class ) - Dining - ( the food is excellent ) entertainment ( very good ) Excursions and guides ( all well organised and very interesting ) the ship/cabins were spotless, The whole cruise ran like clockwork . No complaints whatsoever. From start to finish we did not really need to open our wallets. Our Cruise Director organised all the excursions personally . All the ports of call were extremely interesting and very enjoyable. Whilst the River Rhone is not the most beautiful of rivers, we all enjoyed the variety of towns visited. Lyon, Avignon, Tarriscon, just to mention three. The evening in Avignon was spent in the Popes Palace where we attended a concert given by a classical music trio ( harpist, flautist celloist ) this was absolutely brilliant, We are now considering where to go on our next Scenic cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We had been to many of the cities along the European river cruises and we wanted to go somewhere different. Our cruise experience met our expectations especially with the daily fine dining. All of the ship crew were extremely helpful and ... Read More
We had been to many of the cities along the European river cruises and we wanted to go somewhere different. Our cruise experience met our expectations especially with the daily fine dining. All of the ship crew were extremely helpful and at all times displayed a very professional application to their individual roles. The Cruise Director, Eric, was very personable and very organised throughout the cruise. The variety of off ship excursions allowed individual choices to be made. All of the tour guides were well educated about the area that we were visiting and it made the excursions very enjoyable. One of the highlights for us was the gala dinner and classical concert in one of the grandiose rooms of the Pope's Palace in Avignon. Our cabin was very comfortable and the balcony with its motorised window allowed us to enjoy the passing French country side when sailing. One negative regarding disembarkation was that we were transferred to the Marseille Airport but we were not leaving France at that time which meant we then had to take a taxi to our hotel in the centre of Marseille which is some distance from the airport. There were a number of guests in this situation and it would have been better for us to be transferred into Marseille itself. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My husband retired in June and we decided to celebrate by going on this cruise. We had contemplated planning and organizing an itinerary on our own (which is what we do most of the time) but decided to leave it to Scenic! We had made ... Read More
My husband retired in June and we decided to celebrate by going on this cruise. We had contemplated planning and organizing an itinerary on our own (which is what we do most of the time) but decided to leave it to Scenic! We had made our own arrangements, arriving several days earlier to enjoy Paris. We checked into the hotel provided with our cruise, Le Scribe (Sofitel) which is always good. Others went to the Westin and I understand that it was equally very good. Thereafter we took a TGV to Chalon sure Soane where we boarded our Ship. Embarkation was a breeze and our luggage was already in the room. In the past, when we traveled with my in-laws, all the women received a rose but no longer- a minute change which I did not miss but noted! The Sapphire ship is the oldest of the Scenic fleet but it had been refurbished so it appeared to the the same as two others we had been on. Our cabin (junior suite) was comfortable and had a shower tub combo. Our butlers, Vlad and Dominik were solicitous, discrete, efficient and went out of their way to ensure we were well taken care of, which we were. The lady that cleaned our room was equally efficient, warm and caring. The fitness area had three modern machines (Elliptical, treadmill and bicycle and hand weights/balls and the like) which I did use three times. The first time the room was very warm but this was quickly remedied after I reported it to the cruise director . "Dragun", the fitness expert had daily morning exercise/stretching classes which were excellent. The entertainment was good and varied (as per my husband as I did not attend most of them because port excursions were early morning) . If port excursions had had started one hour later as I would have been able to attend the evening entertainment, as in the past, I always did attend them but then we cruised at night (which we did not on this cruise). Unlike most people on board, I am not retired and had to go back to work upon our return so I wanted to be rested! If there is something Scenic could change, is perhaps doing a bit more travel in the evening (and even at night?) so that excursions could start later.... Dining /meals were very good to excellent- However we were disappointed at the meal served at "L'Amour" (a plate of charcuterie as part of appetizer?) as we were with dinner served at the Pope's palace in Avignon-such a beautiful venue with a live ensemble but food (except for dessert) was not good at all. Additionally, we had two bottle of wines for a table of 8 and when someone asked for another bottle we were told "there is no more wine"- Perhaps having a cocktail reception (with Chateauneuf du Pape wines)with an ensemble and include the daily port talk by the cruise director as an alternative? Our cruise director, Eric was outstanding- self -assured, with excellent public speaking skills, knowledgeable, solicitous, warm & with attention to details, he ensured that we (and the staff which appeared to get along well with one another, and be cohesive ) had a good time, while at the same time managing the unexpected. For example, we were to disembark in Tarascon but because of water issues the cruise did not end there- he reviewed with us our alternatives and efficiently arranged transportation to Nice. As cruise director, Eric should probably mentor those wishing to follow in his steps! Of all our cruises, I remember only another cruise director,and not for the same reasons! Our captain was visible, accessible, and friendly. The sommelier "Agostino" (equally approachable and knowledgeable) presented daily offerings, and explained well why they were chosen. The chef prepared regional dishes which were well executed. Buffet breakfast and lunch were varied ,very good, and provided a certain amount of time efficiency. Of note is that we observed one of the chef going out on bicycle to buy gluten free bread for a passenger! Port excursions were varied, with options for the "gentle walkers " to more active ones (cycling, hiking) which we enjoyed, even hiking the vineyards of Chateauneuf du Pape! Overall, this was a memorable cruise. I was very sad when the vacation came to an end. Beautiful destination with outstanding service. I would recommend it to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We have sailed with Scenic once before and our experience was extremely positive, so we decided to take the plunge and do another one. We were not disappointed on any level. We did the Spectacular South of France cruise because this one ... Read More
We have sailed with Scenic once before and our experience was extremely positive, so we decided to take the plunge and do another one. We were not disappointed on any level. We did the Spectacular South of France cruise because this one involved no nighttime cruising, and was a little slower paced in the afternoons for the most part, which appealed to us NEGATIVES: The things that could have been better are few and far between, but there's always room for better. Scenic did our flight arrangements, and we found out a month or two before leaving (after setting it up well in advance), that our flight out of Nice was too early and could not get to the airport in time. To their credit, they did fix it, but it was a little disconcerting to be up in the air (so to speak) for a while. We arrived in Paris, and the next morning took a bus to the train station, and then the high speed train to the Sapphire. It's a little nicer on other cruises to arrive in the embarkation city and be on the ship right away. Can't be helped in this case since there's no large airport in Chalon-sur-Saone where it starts. A couple of the excursions had tour guides who were very slow at finding the English word for explanations, which was a slight hassle. The ship has been redecorated well, but the toilet roll holders are attached with one screw and are all coming loose or tearing from the wall. (Nit picky, I know.) Beer selection is fair, although I kind of fell in love with a french beer, so it really didn't matter. Be prepared to moor with other ships and people walking through your lobby. To be honest, this was minimal, and I could have cared less; just that a lot of people mention that. They all do it. POSITIVES: So the rest of the cruise is great. I'll try to give a feel for what my wife and I experienced. In Paris Scenic put us up at the very posh Westin, in a perfect location. Loved it. The welcoming person was so very nice, and did a very nice informational meeting. The ship is beautiful. All very sleek greys, black, white and silver, with small splashes of color. Sort of an urban chic. Always spotless. Staff members are constantly cleaning and polishing. Sanitizer dispensers are strategically placed, and they asked that everyone use them when entering and leaving the main areas - we like that. There are germs from all over the world on any ship, and that helps a lot. We had one of the "royal" suites, which involves a few extra perks, although any level has perks. No tipping, which is wonderful. You absolutely feel no pressure to tip - wow! Every excursion you choose is included, no extra fees ever. Beer, wine and alcohol are all day and night at no charge. You can relax in the afternoon with a glass of wine without waiting for dinner. We both thought the meals were wonderful. I know some people get huffy over the fact that lunch is a buffet. With only 153 passengers, I don't find that a big deal at all, and there are still menu items at both breakfast and lunch if you don't wish to stand in line for 30 seconds. My wife has some dietary restrictions, and once they caught on, it was wonderful how they catered to her. No gluten or dairy - and the chef even made her three separate desserts for her birthday following those restrictions. That was above and beyond to us. If you don't care for the menu options, at all the meals you could simply order a chicken breast, salmon, rib eye, and a couple others. I had the rib eye one night and my wife had the chicken breast - both were delicious. Service was timely, the wine flowed freely, and the dining room was lovely. The host discussed the wines for the night each evening, so you could choose knowing what you were getting. They weren't the very expensive wines, but excellent medium range wines. If you don't like one, tell the waiter and try another. Can't ask for more than that. Breakfasts were great too, large buffet, and a omelet station. I had the eggs benedict 5 or 6 times it was so good. Fresh fruit always. And the desserts were works of art. Kudos to the staff and chef for the service and quality. Special dinners each night were explained at length by the chef himself, which is a nice touch. I'd like to mention the staff. The butler, Edita, who showed us our suite was so welcoming and efficient. I can't say enough about her service throughout the cruise. Also, our two male butlers than helped us, Dominik and Vladi were practically begging us to give them tasks. And we did, from laundry to ironing to breakfast in the room, etc. All done quickly and so nicely. I had two massages from a young man named Dragan, who also led exercise programs each morning (which we didn't do). He was professional and also fascinating to talk to. Such a nice human being we had great discussions while he worked his wonders on my muscles. Best massage ever, really. The Eastern European people are so genuine, hard working, smart, and family oriented. A breath of fresh air. A young lade, named Sevit, at the front desk went out of her way to help, and give recommendations for visits to towns and shopping. She is also to be congratulated for her wonderful demeanor and knowledge. The cruise director, Eric, was everywhere, putting out fires, making sure things went well on the excursions, etc. Well done. I guess to summarize the staff, superb. I'm running out of superlatives here! Loved the bar staff, and the bartender was great. We did tip some of these staff, although there's no need, but how could we not? The daily life and excursions and entertainment were memorable, filled with culture and history. I'll mention some of the ones we did just to impart a flavor of what they're about: All afternoon and evening the lounge has a very competent piano player named Paolo, which adds a nice touch to the feel. He could play most anything. We went to the town of Beaune and Hospice Hotel Dieu, which was a lesson in history along with a perfectly preserved hospital from the 1400's. The architecture was fabulous, with a colored-tiled roof that is simpy not to be missed. E-bikes were available almost every day, on your own or organized rides. We didn't use them, but friends we made did and thought they were very easy to use and fun. One of my favorite excursions was to a truffle farm, where a family farmer and his dog, Chinook, took us into his truffle trees to hunt. He loved telling us all about the truffles, how they are grown, the dog, everything. This is something special, as opposed to just looking at churches and castles (which also is interesting). His wife then took us into their 16th century farm house and served us truffle butter she made, with wine and bread. This was a gem outing......don't miss it. We ate at the special L'Amour Restaurant on night. Really nicely done with impeccable wait staff. Also ate at the Captain's table, and he was personable and interesting. We didn't do the Table La Rive because we were busy, but heard it was also good. Had a band one night, Krystal Live Band, fun music. Al little schmaltzy, but talented. Went to Cluny where the great Abbey once stood. A part is still there, and the museum with models and explanations helps you understand the grandeur and importance of the place: Largest church in the world until St. Peters was built. Another favorite and highly recommended "Scenic Freechoice" was Medieval Perouges. A walled city very intact, and there's not a corner or nook that isn't ripe for an amazing pose or picture. The tour guide was so very good, and some free time and fun shops. That day we had a silkpainting demo on board in the afternoon. Very interesting. One evening went to the Scenic Rouge Circus Performance for a show and dessert. Lots of young talent and acrobatics. Had a French Paradox Talk, which was fun too. In Tournon we had evening aperatifs after dinner on the terrace of a castle with a panoramic view that was killer. Along with some live music, it was relaxed and delicious. Later was a music quiz that was lively and fun. They really try to keep you entertained if you desire. We picked a trip to Tain L'Hermitage and the Valrhona Chocolate factory one day, which was imformative and who doesn't like taste testing chocolate. Spent a little money there I'm afraid. The chocolatier who gave us the talk was a little long-winded, but the museum there taught me a lot. Two dancers one night" Pierre and Faustine" were so good they almost put dancing with the stars to shame. A delight. The Ardeche Park and Lavender museum was very nice - again, we learned about something we knew little of, and also saw some splendid natural beauty. That night we had a fench female singer who did Edith Pilaf among others, and she had a great sound. We Did the Chateauneuf-du-Pape vinyeard/village tour with wine-tasting. The history was superb, I loved this one, and the wine was so good we ordered some to be shipped home. We didn' do a lot of wine-tasting excursions, but this one was a gem. We toured the Pope's palace in Avignon later that same day. Just look at a couple of their pictures and you'll know it's deserving of it's UNESCO world heritage designation. A different favorite of mine was Pont du Gard and Uzes. If you're at all considering this excursion, look at some pictures of the 2,000 year old aqueduct, and you'll be hooked. The museum there was outstanding also, and the tour guide gave us plenty of time there, per the recommendation of Eric, our tour director. A special evening was dinner at the Pope's Palace. The room was so "important", can't think of the right word, because 5 papal enclaves were held right there in the 1300's. So much history. The food was fancy, but not my favorite, except for the really good pear dessert. They had a string quartet that was as good as any I've ever heard....wow. We went to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, with a fascinating church, right on the Mediterranean coast. Lots of interesting little shops. Also went to the bird Park, but it started raining and most elected not to go in (including us). That evening was a gypsy show, and they were so much better than I expected. A real treat. Another excursion I would highly recommend was Les Baux-de-Provence and Olive Oil Farm. Baux was a very cool little walled city, picturesque and fun, with lots of fun shops amidst the cobblestoned streets. And the olive farm, once again, was something I knew little about. It is a family business, and has been for many generations, even with their own 14th century private chapel. The process of making the olive oil was so well done, as was the intriguing tasting we did with one of the owner's daughters. Do it. I will say we loved the Scenic Tailormade devices. On one of ours the battery was bad, and they quickly replaced that. The sound was usually very good, except in a very windy situation. You can also take them out on your own when roaming around, and they have a built in GPS that will give you pertinent info on anything you're near. Also, take them around the ship and set to cruise mode, and they alert you to interesting things you're passing on the shore with a history. Once again, I highly recommend Scenic. It's not at all like a huge cruise ship where there are so many stores, restaurants, venues, pools, etc. But that's the charm of a small boat; almost like a temporary community expertly formed and guided by the staff. We met so many fun people. Don't get me wrong, everyone doesn't become friends, but it was easy to make some, and it made the cruise so much better. I'm 63 and there were some a fair amoung younger and quite a few a little older (retired), and a few elderly. I think all ages can enjoy this type of cruise. Of course, motion sickness is no issue here. I have read negative reviews of Scenic. Everyone isn't pleased with the same things, but I feel like with the amazing service and the multitude of choices in entertainment, food and excursions, I can't imagine not having the best of vacations on the Scenic Sapphire. Thank you Scenic for your concept and execution. You are worth the little extra money that one pays as compared to some other river cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Choose Scenic because everything was included. And it was. As Royal Suite guests all staff went the "extra mile". Yes it was very expensive but it was worth it! The ship is modern and kept very clean. We were surprised at the ... Read More
Choose Scenic because everything was included. And it was. As Royal Suite guests all staff went the "extra mile". Yes it was very expensive but it was worth it! The ship is modern and kept very clean. We were surprised at the lack of security when rejoining the ship each time though!! Also the top sun deck was out of use for long periods due to the low bridges. Our suite was as expected and we had excellent service from butlers Vlad and Edita. Air conditioning was vey efficient throughout the ship. The food overall was consistently good - apart from the "al dente" vegetables which had not seen hot water!! When we wanted a table for 2 in the evenings we always got one. Whilst most people upheld dress standards it was disappointing to see 2 gentlemen in the dining room for evening meal in shorts when the dress code forbid this!!!!!!! Entertainment was low key and we had only one evening of a visiting singer. The places visited were interesting and "scenic". We mainly did our own exploring ashore. What really made this cruise were the staff. Mention must be made of reception staff Sevil and Daisy. Nothing was too much trouble. But special mention must be made for Frank the hotel manager, He made our trip as good as it could be. He even arranged for us to dine with our friends at the captains table on gala night. Thankyou. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We had a wonderful cruise on the Scenic Sapphire on the Rhone River from Chalon-sur-Saone to Tarascon. We first flew to Paris on our own. We took the train to Lyon where we connected to a local train to Chalon-sur-Saone. The ship was great ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise on the Scenic Sapphire on the Rhone River from Chalon-sur-Saone to Tarascon. We first flew to Paris on our own. We took the train to Lyon where we connected to a local train to Chalon-sur-Saone. The ship was great with a sizable fitness center, massages, a beauty salon. Our cabin was on the #2 deck. Most of the cabins have an outside balcony with a window that lowers to waist height. While other cruise lines have the "French balcony" with the window that lowers, Scenic is unique with an outdoor deck with chairs.The food onboard was very good. As opposed to other river cruises where you had to arrive at dinner at 7:00pm, Scenic makes a point of telling you they will serve you anytime between a range of hours. There were cooking classes onboard every day at 4:00pm. There were ample excursions to meet every desire. The service onboard was superb. Everyone was kind, outgoing and helpful. I will take Scenic again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We had and excellent holiday on board and off board. The ship was well maintained, our cabin was perfect. I particularly liked the balcony to sit out on and have a glass of wine. The optional outside glass window (up or down) was a nice ... Read More
We had and excellent holiday on board and off board. The ship was well maintained, our cabin was perfect. I particularly liked the balcony to sit out on and have a glass of wine. The optional outside glass window (up or down) was a nice amenity when the weather was too hot. Service, was the best you can imagine. Our wait staff, bar staff (Rosie) and cabin staff had us wanting for nothing! The food on board was amazing, every morsel was delicious. The choices for dinner were varied and well presented. The choice of ports were great, the tour directors knew their "stuff" and everything went seamlessly. We learned so much about making wine and even olive oil! We always had 3+ different tours to take. Our tour director was incredible, Yvonne always kept us informed about everything that was going on daily. She was very confident and professional, but like to make us laugh as well. The front reception staff were efficient and answered any questions, without hesitation. Scenic is an excellent choice for those that want 5 star service on an all inclusive holiday. You could literally walk on board without a dime and everything is paid for. However, massages and hair salon are extra. They have a great loyalty program, credits toward a next cruise saves you money. The fly free benefit is also a great perk. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
First Impression Upon boarding our riverboat, the 2008 Sapphire was showing its age despite being rebuilt in 2017 with a few added features. Stateroom (see below) Food Overall considered fair compared to our previous ... Read More
First Impression Upon boarding our riverboat, the 2008 Sapphire was showing its age despite being rebuilt in 2017 with a few added features. Stateroom (see below) Food Overall considered fair compared to our previous experiences. The highlight was dinner at the Captain's table, an epicurean delight served in grand style. At the opposite end, was a subpar dinner in the reserved dining area. Excursions Very well organized, interesting and informative with the impression of stepping back in history. With the Tailormade GPS devices you can choose group guided tours or individual ones. These small units equipped with an earphone paired well with an e-bike provided by Scenic. Staff First rate, a special mention to Cruise Director Simona assisted by Nick who were informative and entertaining. The surprise was the omnipresent convivial Captain Frank. He set the bar high for the rest of the crew. By all accounts the majority were up to the task, especially those attending to our staterooms. Entertainment Not too exciting. Extras A small gym and spa were located on the lower deck. All inclusive Contrary to other cruise lines, extras do not pad the bill. No bar tab, a varied wine selection, fun e-bikes and gratuities were all included along with our spa visits. Final Comment The absence of blaring early morning daily activity announcements over the speakers was appreciated. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Scenic Sapphire Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 5.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.5
Entertainment 2.0 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness & Recreation 3.0 N/A
Family 1.0 3.8
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 2.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.6
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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