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107 Scenic Pearl Cruise Reviews

This was a gift for 20th service at my work! The different excursions were fantastic and well organized. The bike ride was magic and with the electric assistance, it was a great discovery. The cabin is really nice and gives a ... Read More
This was a gift for 20th service at my work! The different excursions were fantastic and well organized. The bike ride was magic and with the electric assistance, it was a great discovery. The cabin is really nice and gives a beautiful view we could enjoy with an opening window on the Danube! The cabin is always clean because of the efficency of the cleaning staff. The Chef is incredibly good, always surprising us with different tastes and presentations. The cruise was from Budapest to Nuremberg but because of the low water level, we were not able to go till Nuremberg with the ship. The weather is something we cannot control but we were lucky enough to have the sailing almost till the end. The only thing I would do a remark on is the time between some excursions is tight with the next one. Not much time to exercice and I was sad because no pool on the ship. But for me, it was an incredible experience and I would definitively say, Go for it!! Thanks to all the Fantastic Crew :) Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Chose Scenic based on online reviews etc. Considered it to be one of the top river cruise companies. We were very disappointed at service levels and food. Breakfast and lunch were major disappointments with minimal options and ... Read More
Chose Scenic based on online reviews etc. Considered it to be one of the top river cruise companies. We were very disappointed at service levels and food. Breakfast and lunch were major disappointments with minimal options and “cafeteria-feel” in the restaurant area. Our first lunch on the ship offered salads and the only hot food option : “liver balls”! For the money paid to take the trip, definitely disappointing. The water levels on the Danube were low and so bus travel dominated the first few days of our trip. Overall, Scenic tours include excursions with bus rides that are too long, example : trip to Salzburg. Also quality of docking areas are very poor : ours were generally in industrial areas or areas not near downtown or old core areas of the cities we were visiting. Tour guides were ok but duration of tours were either too short or too long. We felt that some tours included visiting a few spots that were just tossed in to make up some time. Also, most guides didn’t use their microphones properly so we were unable to hear them very well. Visit to Budapest was disappointing. Sailed into the city in the morning and really only had an afternoon to visit “Budapest in depth”, as Scenic called it. They brought us to a piano recital (which was good), but upon leaving our bus broke down and we were forced to wait in a hot bus for over 1/2 hour. Needless to say, the remaining tour consisted of a quick visit to one other site and then back to the ship. Communication among company, employees and customers was very poor. Even though the company knew water levels were low, they provided few details as to how this would impact our trip. They basically only told us that our ship was changing from the Amber to the Pearl (an older ship). This included a room downgrade in our case and it was only when I pointed this out to the tour director did they consider offering some form of compensation. We didn’t understand why they would set up an early breakfast in one location of the ship, then change it to the formal dining area and then back to the early breakfast location for late risers. Doesn’t make sense and annoys travelers. Overall, tour was not worth the money and we were totally disappointed with the company, service and tour quality. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We are reasonably experienced cruisers (Silversea, Regent, Oceania, Princess) but this was our first river cruise. We chose Scenic based on their all inclusive 5 star claim and the advice of friends who had sailed with Scenic before. The ... Read More
We are reasonably experienced cruisers (Silversea, Regent, Oceania, Princess) but this was our first river cruise. We chose Scenic based on their all inclusive 5 star claim and the advice of friends who had sailed with Scenic before. The Danube itinerary suited our interest in visiting both Budapest and Prague and the Scenic Amber was reported to have the kind of amenities we were looking for. We were quite looking forward to this cruise but unfortunately Scenic seemed intent on failing to meet even the most basic expectations. First the Ship. Sadly we never got to experience the Amber. A couple of days before our departure for Budapest we were advised by Scenic that we would be traveling on the Pearl not the Amber. No explanation or apology offered. Had the Pearl been the same class of ship as the Amber it would have been a non issue but as the Pearl does not have a pool, which my wife was looking forward to using for daily exercise it was a major disappointment. We understand the vagaries of river travel but this switch did not seem to be justified other than as a scheduling error by Scenic as the Amber was in the same stretch of the Danube as we were and indeed we actually met her heading for Budapest on our way to Vienna. As we had no prior experience with Scenic or river cruises we were not aware of some of the other amenity losses; including no separate dining room for the Table Rive and (hearsay) some people were very upset that the class of cabin they had booked on the Amber was not available on the Pearl. The lack of prior notification of the change did not leave them an opportunity to change plans. Cabin: We were booked on the Diamond deck with butler service and while small the room was more or less as expected. The Pearl is designed with a "separate" balcony area with a window that can be lowered if you wish the outdoor experience or raised in inclement weather. It provided me with an opportunity to get out of my wife's way but being separated from the rest of the cabin reduced the flexibility that the additional space could have afforded. We noticed that some of the other lines incorporated the balcony area into the cabin proper allowing some space for sitting. Service; We cannot fault the staff aboard. Hotel staff worked their butts off trying to keep up but the Pearl is so grossly understaffed (Pax/crew ratio 3.3) that is impossible for the staff to meet the advertised 5 star standard. Our butler was doing double duty as a dining room waiter (on call it would seem). It may seem like a small thing to some but the bean counters at Scenic seem to require the servers to limit a pour of wine to no more than 3 ounces (champagne 1 oz). This would be ok if you could find a waiter to top up your glass but they were usually too busy. At a table of four where we were all drinking the same wine they refused to leave the bottle implying this was against policy. Food: It is hard to find words. First impressions are important and for our first dinner I ordered the Sea Bass. When it arrived, it looked like a sardine on the plate. I have never seen such a small portion. I'm not a big eater and don't tell me I could have ordered more, I know! But as this is a five star ship I shouldn’t have to order two meals to get one! The quality of food was poor to average. Anyone who wishes a balanced meal is out of luck. I ordered extra vegetables every meal. My specific request resulted in a second broccoli floret being added to my dinner. Given the huge amount of wonderful vegetables available in the local markets the lack of vegetables was very disappointing. My wife has an allergy to asparagus and this was made known to the manager. In one instance she wished to order a wrap and asked if there was any asparagus in it. The waiter acknowledged the request but brought the wrap anyway without comment. a close call! Interestingly the quality of the food improved a bit a few days into the cruise after a re-provisioning. Makes one wonder why they didn't start that way. Again, the staffing issue was a problem. Dinners were rushed events, more typical of chain restaurants than a five star dining experience. Due to river level issues were not able to sail to Nuremberg as planned but had to turn around at Regensburg and return to Passau. The extension visit to Prague was a highlight. Great hotel, tour director that was the best ever. All in all we were quite disappointed both with Scenic, the Pearl and river cruising in general. River cruising has too many uncertainties if our experience is typical. I've seen it written that river cruising is like a package bus tour without the unpacking. this is certainly true so if that style of travel is not your preference stay away. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose Scenic because of it’s good reviews and that it was all inclusive. Communication from ScenicUSA left much to be desired. We cruised with mostly Canadians and Brits. They were all offered an extension in Prague after ... Read More
We chose Scenic because of it’s good reviews and that it was all inclusive. Communication from ScenicUSA left much to be desired. We cruised with mostly Canadians and Brits. They were all offered an extension in Prague after disembarking the ship. We were never offered this option. Thus, we had arranged 3 days in Munich on our own at the end of the cruise. In the end, this was fine as we loved Minuch. The Danube was at at all time low and our original boat, the Amber, never made it to Budapest. The Pearl was fine and the staff did an awesome job of dealing with low water levels and making the best of plans that had to change. We didn’t get to spend any downtime in Reggensburg and never made it to Nuremburg. Breakfast and lunch was boring and not that good. One guy making omlettes for 160 passengers just doesn’t cut it. Dinner was mediocre and a couple of times my entrees were not good. Dining is definitely the weak link on the Pearl. All-in-all, we had a great time and met some super people. The reviews that say you don’t need to dress for dinner are wrong. Women should bring 1 dress, some dressy shoes, gitzy jewelry, etc. I was always under-dressed. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Cruise director and crew did everything they could to make our trip enjoyable. Disappointed that we were not able to sail on the more expensive and newer Jade do to problems with low water levels in the Danube. Sailed on an older boat the ... Read More
Cruise director and crew did everything they could to make our trip enjoyable. Disappointed that we were not able to sail on the more expensive and newer Jade do to problems with low water levels in the Danube. Sailed on an older boat the Pearl and halfway through the trip bused to a second vessel further up river. Not a big issue as this was the day we were already taking a day-long trip to Salzberg. Just meant we had to pack and unpack again, missed a section of the river and the bus trip was a bit longer. I heard that others on other cruises at this time were cancelled or people ended up busing instead, so I counted ourselves lucky. The cabins were small but comfortable. Enjoyed the local folk entertainment on board. There was a reasonable variety for dinner although the breakfast and lunch offerings somewhat repetitive. The shore excursions were included and typically a couple of different options. All the guides were extremely knowledgeable Loved the using their e-bikes and our stops at smaller communities along the way. Would have been nice to have yoga or other onboard fitness activities. Added on a pre-cruise stay in Prague and post-cruise stay in Budapest. The accommodations and guided walk organized by Scenic were great. Would recommend having this full experience. So yes there were very big problems due to water levels in the river but I believe Scenic worked hard to make to work. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
5 STAR ASPIRATIONS - 3 STAR DELIVERY!! As a preamble I should say we are comparing the Scenic offer with Seabourn which is a true 5 Star product. This was our first river cruise and I appreciate that many of the downsides identified are ... Read More
5 STAR ASPIRATIONS - 3 STAR DELIVERY!! As a preamble I should say we are comparing the Scenic offer with Seabourn which is a true 5 Star product. This was our first river cruise and I appreciate that many of the downsides identified are typical of the river cruise experience and not unique to Scenic. First the good points 1 The staff were excellent and tried very hard. However due to the multi tasking required several promised facilities did not live up to the promise. How can your ‘butler’ be in attendance when she is waiting on tables. If the service cannot be efficiently delivered why offer? 2. The boat was very clean and tidy all the time 3. Our suite was fabulous. However looking in others they seemed small. I appreciate that small cabins are typical of most river cruise boats, not exclusive to Scenic 4. The excursions were very well organised. However on some occasions, such as in Vienna they started at 8.00am when they could very easily have started 1.00-1.50 hours later as we were in port to late evening. Consequently breakfast was served 6.30-8.00 which was not necessarily desired by those guests not participating in the tours. 5. The free laundry service is very useful 6. The unlimited drinks at any time is a generous facility and the quality of wine,spirits and champagne offered was good. 7. Good modern easily useable technology in the cabin and ample power points 8. Relaxed dress code. 9. Due to difficulties with low water levels making parts of the Danube unnavigable the cruise schedule had to be amended on several occasions. This was seamlessly managed by Scenic Downsides 1. Some aspects of the service did not live up to promises. For example whilst the mini bar was refreshed daily occasions the replacement champagne was left on the table not placed in the fridge. Dirty glasses were left on the desk for several days and half finished bottles of water were not refreshed. Three empty ice buckets accumulated on the small coffee table before being removed. In view of the excellent and hard working staff is this perhaps a reflection of poor management or being over worked? 2. Due to the size of the public areas at full occupancy they were not capable of accommodating all the passengers 3. The dinner is at a fixed time of 7.00 pm, which personally is to early for us on vacation. Whilst ‘open seating’ is advertised there are very limited tables for two. Whilst we are happy to dine with others we feel this should be at our discretion, not forced upon due to lack of alternative seating 4. Our particular boat (Scenic Pearl) could perhaps benefit from some additional bed chairs and deckchairs on deck. Observing other Scenic boats they appear to have more which are needed during sunny days. 5. Whilst understanding the need to dock boats side by side this is one feature in particular which will deter us from returning to river boats. If your boat is in the middle or your side abuts another boat it makes the cabin and common areas very dark as blinds and curtains are drawn for privacy. Not sure if multiple docking is essential or an economic benefit as I noted that in several locations boats were not multiply docked. 6. Being something of a foodie the food was perhaps the biggest disappointment. The buffet selections at breakfast and lunch were limited and fell well below 5 star standards. In the heart of the summer we would at least expect strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc. The menu selection for dinner was also limited and only of average standard. Recognising the 5 star boast if a limited selection is offered it has to be of excellent quality which unfortunately it was not. At ‘Late Breakfast’ in Portobello one morning I was served my fruit and yogurt after cold poached eggs. Not acceptable. 7. The restaurant times seemed to be arranged at the convenience of the staff not the guests. In addition if a sitting ended at say 9.00am the food was cleared away by 9.05. Not very client friendly or conducive to guests who arrive at 8.55 Due to the downsides identified above we have concluded that river cruises are not for us. Potentially Scenic has a great product which on our cruise was let down by attention to detail and generally disappointing food. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was our first ever river cruise even though we have travelled a lot. Scenic were recommended to us by friends who had sailed with them last year and also our travel agent spoke well of them. We travelled from Amsterdam to Budapest ... Read More
This was our first ever river cruise even though we have travelled a lot. Scenic were recommended to us by friends who had sailed with them last year and also our travel agent spoke well of them. We travelled from Amsterdam to Budapest commencing late June 2018. We are fussy travellers and happy to pay good money to get the best that is available when we travel. I must say we were less than excited before our departure from NZ, probably because we really didn't know what to expect from a cruise. All I can say is that this was the most exceptional experience from the moment we arrived at the ship. We were in cabin 309 on the Diamond deck. We chose this cabin as it was well forward and were told there was less engine noise up front. Although The Pearl is one of the older ships, it had clearly been either totally refurbished or maintained to an exceptional standard. The cabins are not large on any of these river ships when you view the dimensions in the brochure and we were expecting to feel really cramped. This was far from the case. The design of these cabins is so good. The bed extremely comfortable and large, the bathroom very well appointed with a very acceptable shower space, loads of storage in cupboards, wardrobes and drawers and plenty of room for even four large cases under the bed. The deck arrangement with sliding power window works well. Three power points for charging whatever and a TV screen which tells you where you are, what's on and also offers TV, but I cant see why you would need the latter apart from BBC new perhaps. Wi-Fi was good just about all the way through the trip. The service was exceptional at any time of the day or night. The food was way beyond what we expected even given the great reports we had from our friends. The bar and liquor service well beyond generous with top end spirits, an excellent selection of beers and a good choice of local and regional wines....All totally complimentary. Pay your money up front for this cruise and then leave your wallet in the safe. I cannot recommend Scenic highly enough even though we had some issues with water level from Regensburg to Passau and spent 2 nights in a hotel in Vienna until the ship was able to catch up. The alternative arrangements were handled superbly and we were all housed together in Le Meridien which was an excellent central city hotel. No side trips were missed with the alternative arrangements. Just a little bit more time on the bus due to the schedule changes for those who did not wish to miss anything. Would I recommend this cruise. ABSOLUTELY. Even though Scenic are at the top of the river cruise price range, they still offer great value for money when you consider how inclusive they are. I would recommend top deck as forward as you can get. There was absolutely no noticeable engine noise and if you need to get back to your cabin from the lounge / dining it is a short walk. There is only one guest toilet at the front of the boat, so it is very convenient to be able to pop back to your own cabin if this is in use and its quite a long walk to the back of the boat. The crew all had wonderful senses of humour and worked so hard. Andrea the cruise director worked tirelessly and never seemed to be off duty. The chef and his team created exceptional meals with wonderful presentation and never repeated the same dish twice in 14 days. And what a treat...everything wasn't served with buckets of fries!! Well done Scenic. We will be back. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
ship very modern well designed . cabin very adequate dining very good great not to have to handle money for drinks etc .on board entertainment scenic does it well good artists and varied performances to give a spectrum of the cultures in ... Read More
ship very modern well designed . cabin very adequate dining very good great not to have to handle money for drinks etc .on board entertainment scenic does it well good artists and varied performances to give a spectrum of the cultures in those countries visited .ports and excursions liked the special concerts for scenic passengers only .service brilliant the staff have a sense of humor . did not travel with children would i go again ..yes but different trip. onboard entertainment i think the pianist was very talented but played too loudly it discouraged me from sitting in the lounge when he was playing as it was hard to hear others talk. he could cut the volume by half and still the guests would appreciate his music . i found the top deck a good place to just walk and get exercise . the electric bikes were a highlight for me to get off the ship and really explore the local towns . the ship doesnt seem to be able to service the bikes much if they have minor faults they only get serviced in amsterdam .it was the first time i really ahd a chance to test out el;ectric bikes . Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We figured we were old enough now to do one of these river cruises - being in our early 60's. We splurged & chose one of the Royal Suites. Best decision ever! The cabins are relatively compact on these river cruises, so the added ... Read More
We figured we were old enough now to do one of these river cruises - being in our early 60's. We splurged & chose one of the Royal Suites. Best decision ever! The cabins are relatively compact on these river cruises, so the added bonus of a little sitting room & a bathroom with a bath was very much appreciated. Not that you spend a huge amount of time in your cabin but when we did we really enjoyed the space. Included in this level of cabin is free laundry which was great. (one downside was that a couple of pieces of clothing shrunk (maybe very hot water).....and no it wasn't the copius food & alcohol consumed :-) the pants I put in actually shrunk in the leg length by about 4-5 cms unfortunately. And they had a smoky smell when returned - which I worked out was probably the chemicals used in the wash??). Also included was $200 on board credit which no one reminded me about until we were 1/2 way into the cruise. I ended up having 3 massages - if I had been paying directly out of my pocket it would have stopped at one. The room was really stark & she played this god awful music that was not in the least bit restful (at one stage it went into rap!) And she was a personality free zone. I put it down to language difficulties, but not so sure tbh. She came across as very stern. Like all cabins we had butler service & I have to say our butler - Chris went above & beyond the whole time, as did our room attendant but his name escapes me. Both were from Indonesia. They were absolutely delightful & made the cruise that much more enjoyable. Could not fault any of the staff who were assigned to look after us. Exemplary! There was only one female butler who could be a bit grumpy but by the end we even managed to get a smile from her. The bar staff were so much fun, the executives who oversaw the running of the ship were professional & courteous & it was really obvious they wanted everyone to have the best time. We had dinner with the captain on the 2nd night of the cruise, which we really enjoyed. He was a lovely fellow & very interesting. We had 167 passengers on board & for the most part they were friendly & wanted to chat. We met up & became fast friends with a bunch of Canadians. Had such a good time with them. There were a few we steered clear of, but all in all it was great. The staff work every hour god made & yet they stayed cheerful & were always willing to engage. I would do another Scenic cruise in a heartbeat as I think they do 5 star really well.(except for the pathetic fitness centre) Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Embarkation and disembarkation were fast and easy. The ship was pristine clean, easy to walk around. The suite cabin was compact with lots of storage place, the balcony is an oasis of retreat Dining is first class. The waiters, ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation were fast and easy. The ship was pristine clean, easy to walk around. The suite cabin was compact with lots of storage place, the balcony is an oasis of retreat Dining is first class. The waiters, chef and buss people are first class (courteous, efficient and always happy to serve you). Entertainment and activities are chosen with great detail. You can do as much or less as you want. Our cruise director went above and beyond her duties. Service was a 10 + The e-bikes are a bonus. Easy to use and they you the opportunity to go as near of as far from the ship that you watt. Ports and shore excursions are chosen with great detail. Easy and tailored to everybody's needs. We are absolutely going back on Scenic, a real all inclusive trip. We did a 15 day cruise which was enough to see and appreciate that part of the Danube, Maine and Rhine. Congratulations Scenic. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We were disappointed in this cruise line. We did a river cruise in Europe with Scenic almost a year ago. We were in a 200 cabin (205, 207, 209?). The balcony was pretty useless; would have made more sense if they took out the doors and ... Read More
We were disappointed in this cruise line. We did a river cruise in Europe with Scenic almost a year ago. We were in a 200 cabin (205, 207, 209?). The balcony was pretty useless; would have made more sense if they took out the doors and made it part of the room. If you happen to be on the balcony you could hear conversations from several rooms away. The excursions were mostly great. Their headsets were horrible and desperately needed to be upgraded. The worst part was the food. Trying to serve an entire, albeit small, ship at the same time in the evening is a bad idea. We sometimes had to wait 45 minutes to order, so we were served late. And the food portions were, as some of the Canadians said, quarter sized. No seconds, except dessert. We expected local food, but only got German sausage once. The staff was friendly and some overly so. I expect that was to receive extra tips (included in cruise price). They did work extremely hard. I heard some say the work they were doing was not what they signed up for; bait and switch? Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Let me just say that the service on our ship was outstanding. Most everything else wasn't. We could have missed our transport to the ship had we not brought our luggage down early where we were told a different time for transport ... Read More
Let me just say that the service on our ship was outstanding. Most everything else wasn't. We could have missed our transport to the ship had we not brought our luggage down early where we were told a different time for transport than previously. There was not great coordination between excursion debarkation time and food service. For instance coffee service did not begin until 6:30 am with an 8 am tour. For the women on our tour we found this was not adequate time to get showered and dressed, eat breakfast and be ready to leave. And some excursions returned at midnight with breakfast closing at 9:30 am. Water was only served by the glass, except for excursions. There was no water that could be carried around easily onboard. And the bar personnel was stingy with ice unless you specifically asked for a lot. Ship balconies are not private; there are only partitions between cabins. So you could hear your neighbor's conversations if you had your balcony door open. The tailormade devices, for which they are so proud, are antiques. Other tour companies had lighter, smaller, and more effecient devices. Their self-tour gps didn't locate you and give you information. You had to choose a location from a list. The food was quite sad. The protein portions were virtually non-existent, and as some Canadians remarked the vegetables were quarter size. There was barely any regional food. And the food was bland. There was nothing salty onboard - except for a can of pringles in your cabin - no peanuts, chips, etc. There was supposed to be gelatto onboard, but instead there was only ice cream. Some excursions were better than others. I expected more than here's the cathedral, the beer pub, and the shopping is down that street. We were lucky enough to have Charles as a tour guide, who had lived in Medieval Rothenburg and knew everyone. At Marksburg Castle I was afraid some of the older traveling companions would fall on the treacherous steps. Another marvelous tour guide we had was Eva in Strasbourg. I would have liked to have seen the daily menu posted somewhere. The most enjoyable meals we had were hamburgers and fries in our cabin. But you had to go to the dining room first to find out what they were serving! So much better than enduring a 2 hour dinner with only one seating! The tour director was quite knowledgeable on the history of the cities we visited. However, unlike other cruises I have on, he had no knowledge about the local shopping! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The disembarkation port of Budapest had no transport to our hotel included. We booked our own accommodation which was near to the Scenic choice of hotel Marriott. This was discriminatory. The ship was good, it was clean, and fully ... Read More
The disembarkation port of Budapest had no transport to our hotel included. We booked our own accommodation which was near to the Scenic choice of hotel Marriott. This was discriminatory. The ship was good, it was clean, and fully ready by the time guests arrived. The cabins were as advertised and cleaned daily to a high standard. The dining part of the experience was definitely below 5 star. Breakfasts and lunch were good but the dinner meal was well below standard. At times the meals were under cooked, cold eg, caesar salad was a cos lettuce cut in half with two strips of bacon, two anchovies and dressing, all on a plate. As for lobster tails, not cooked and when making a complaint, the dining room manager refused to accept that the lobster was not cooked even with the evidence clearly visible. Entertainment, was adequate. Service by all staff was very good. Ports and Shore excursions. Guests need to be advised that when making a choice prior to the cruise that the information supplied by Scenic, on the free choices, fully includes the time spent on buses to get to these destinations. Additionally, Scenic ships should always dock inside the limits of each town being visited along the river rather than docking miles away and then busing into those towns. Local information should be given to guests so as to extend their ability to decide on where they will go on each shore excursion, this includes areas of each town not previously advertised. Tour guides spent too much time giving history lessons rather than showing guests around. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
After hearing many positive comments about Scenic and attending a presentation we signed up fort he 15 day Jewels of Europe Cruise. Everything we had heard was absolutely true and the experience exceeded our expectations. Our travel ... Read More
After hearing many positive comments about Scenic and attending a presentation we signed up fort he 15 day Jewels of Europe Cruise. Everything we had heard was absolutely true and the experience exceeded our expectations. Our travel agent was superb and assisted in many ways. We boarded Scenic Pearl in Amsterdam after spending a couple of days on our own.Scenic looked after everything for us. Flights, hotel, transfers from airport to hotel and to ship where we were made to feel most welcome by all the staff. Our balcony room was perfect and we really enjoyed the large balcony with large window which we could lower and raise as required. Chef Budi fed us wonderful meals and the on-board entertainment was wonderful. The Cruise Director was well organised, had a great sense of humour and very helpful. The shore excursions were well organised and featured a good variety of things to do and see. The Enrich experiences were exactly that. They enriched our experience in so many ways. Leaving the ship was a bit of a let down in terms of service. In order to catch a 6:30 a.m.flt out of Budapest we had to have our luggage out for pick up at 3:00 a.m. and were told that there would be a continental breakfast provided. Only 1 staff person was apparently on duty-the night clerk who gathered up ourluggage for transfer to the airport. While there was the cofffe machine available, and 1 jug of orange juice on the bar along with some swet buns/rolls, there were no glasses for juice nor plates for food so we just looked after ourselves. The transfer was on time and uneventful. The only negative aspect of the experience was the Tailormade device.Scenic has to get rid of these and move into more modern technology. They are heavy awkward and unreliable as to power. We had to exchange ours at least 3X because of failure to charge, and even the replacements failed while on guided tour. The tour guides we talked to were also frustrated with them in that individual units would fail in mid presentation much to the dismay of their guests. Other than that we will certainly recommend Scenic to our friends and will consider another Scenic River Cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We researched many river cruise companies on line before deciding upon an itinerary and tour operator. Even though our travel agent was unfamiliar with Scenic, we chose this company based on their reputation as a quality Australian ... Read More
We researched many river cruise companies on line before deciding upon an itinerary and tour operator. Even though our travel agent was unfamiliar with Scenic, we chose this company based on their reputation as a quality Australian company. The tour we chose was an all-inclusive luxury 15 day tour from Amsterdam to Budapest. They met or exceeded our expectations at every level. Every detail was organized from flight arrangements, airport shuttles, hotel accommodation, hotel to boat transfers. Once on board everything is arranged and included, there were no charges for anything apart from extra laundry. The shuttles from airport, and hotel to the ship were also included. A truly all-inclusive tour! The staff and crew on the MS Scenic Pearl were pleasant, professional and truly tried to meet the highest standards. The crew all spoke English and came from numerous different countries. The Tour director and Hotel Manager were top notch and attentive to all the varied passenger needs. The mix of nationalities on this tour were approximately 80% Australian, 10% Canadian, 5% American and a few other nationalities. The food and beverage service were excellent with first class meals and ample food service outside of meal hours. It was very difficult not to over indulge in the food, beverages, wine, beer, and cocktails which were available morning to night. We chose a lower level cabin without the large cabin window. We spent very little time in our cabin given that we spent most of our time on excursions, in the Pearl lounge socializing or on the sun deck. It is a very beautiful ship with a restaurant, a lounge, and a sun deck/walking track that is available when not restricted due to low overhead bridge clearance. There was also a small exercise room with bikes and a small relax spa. The rooms were comfortable, functional and very clean with a TV / Apple computer. There is adequate closet storage for clothing. Extra clothing can be left in suit cases stored under the bed. Rooms and bathrooms are cleaned daily with beds turned down in the evening. There is a mini fridge with snacks and drinks (no charge). There is one small bag of complimentary laundry service. Additional laundry service is available but rather expensive. There was a selection of excursions away from the ship every day to appeal to different tastes. All excursions were led by knowledgeable guides. Lunch and/or dinner were also provided during land excursions. Many of the excursions also included local entertainment. One minor negative, Scenic has what they call their "Tailormade Device" for audio during excursions unfortunately these devices are bulky, and unreliable. They often do not charge properly. In addition to the regular onboard music entertainer there were a number of entertainers brought onboard at different stops to provide insight into local music and dancing. These events were excellent. We had a trip of a life time! An excellent tour with an excellent company and staff. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The first cruise on Scenic was Basal to Amsterdam. We throughly enjoyed the whole trip. This time we chose to start in Amsterdam for a few days and then cruise down the Rhine and Danube ending in Budapest. Enjoyed time in Budapest post ... Read More
The first cruise on Scenic was Basal to Amsterdam. We throughly enjoyed the whole trip. This time we chose to start in Amsterdam for a few days and then cruise down the Rhine and Danube ending in Budapest. Enjoyed time in Budapest post cruise. It was the same ship and some of the same crew/staff were aboard. As usual, a fabulous trip from accommodations, food, drinks, excursions and other wonderful passengers. We will be sailing with Scenic next April as well. Starting in Porto and sailing round trip down/up the Douro. We discovered Scenic through our travel agent. It is not as well know in the US and the passengers were mostly Australian, Canadian, New Zealanders. That made for a wonderful mix of people with plenty to chat about beside the day's events. We loved that there was a choice of different excursions everyday. As well as excursions for gentle walkers, average walkers and bicycle riders. We also loved that the cruise is all inclusive. One price included everything. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was our first river cruise and cruise with Scenic Tours. We chose Scenic because of its inclusive pricing. It was as advertised. They didn’t even take a credit card and my final invoice was so miniscule that I could use of some ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and cruise with Scenic Tours. We chose Scenic because of its inclusive pricing. It was as advertised. They didn’t even take a credit card and my final invoice was so miniscule that I could use of some of my extra Euro change. From the very beginning this cruise line was a class act. They greeted us at the airport and transferred us to our hotel in Amsterdam like VIP’s. Our stay at the hotel was excellent and our transfer to the ship was handled professionally. We waited only a short time for our cabin to be ready. While we were just starting to unpack our butler, Antonio, visited us and explained the cabin and the services he would/could provide during our cruise. I mentioned that the minibar included only one bottle of the liquor we drink and would it possible to make it two. He made it four and every night that we used the minibar it was replenished throughout the trip. One evening I went to the bar to get some ice and was reminded by the front desk person that I could call the butler to have the ice delivered. The food was very good. Each day we had a choice of a light breakfast and lunch served in the River Lounge. A fuller breakfast and lunch were served, as well, in the main dining room. We preferred the lighter option and each day it was a little different. I complement the chef on his soups. They were some of the best soups either of us has eaten – and they were served hot which sometimes does not happen. Each evening dinner in the Crystal Dining Room included several selections of the day as well as a list of entrees that one could select from if the evening’s selections were not to one’s liking. The only criticism I have of the food is the desserts were more often than not dry or lacked good execution. They said they were made fresh onboard but it didn’t seem that way to us. Wine service at lunch and dinner were generous. However, there was one selection – red or white chosen each evening to represent the location of our ship that day. But if you like the wine from the day before it was impossible to order a bottle for the table. The bar staff were friendly and warmed up to us right away. Two or three nights into our cruise they knew our drink preferences and in some cases had the drinks underway before we sat down. In particular, Sandy did a wonderful job and made our time enjoyable. Coffee, water, beer, wine, alcohol, soft drinks etc. were easily available at any time of the day. It was nice to have a cocktail before dinner without wondering how much it cost and how many you might drink over the course of 15 nights. The cruise director, Hunor did a masterful job of keeping the evening’s fun and the daytime excursions right on time. The only delay in an excursion was the last day in Budapest due to the Budapest Marathon – and that was no fault of Scenic. Even after getting started on the excursion more than an hour late none of us felt like they cut corners on their promised itinerary. Every thing ran like clock work. As far as the excursions, we felt they were excellent. There were some better than others but only because of our personal taste. Scenic offers “enrich” experiences and these experiences were wonderful. Our day trip to Salzburg ended with lunch and a “Sound of Music” performance that were no less than perfect. Our evening at the Palais Lichtenstein in Vienna was a beautiful evening with a very professional concert of music, dance and voice. We could not have been happier with our choices. For the most part the local guides were informative and helpful and our transportation was first class. One of the great surprises to us was at the end of the cruise. We had made our own arrangements for a post cruise trip to Prague. I fully expected that Scenic would say good-bye to us at the door of the ship and we’d be on our own. But this was not the case. Hunor arranged a taxi for us, Scenic picked up our luggage and delivered it to the car and Hunor accompanied us to the taxi so that he knew we were settled and had an agreed upon cost for the trip to the train station. It was first class service. I cannot say enough about Scenic Cruise lines. We would use them again without reservation. They deliver on their luxury cruise advertisements and their promise to be all-inclusive. Having said all of this, we did feel that the cruise survey process could be improved. The Scenic Cruise survey was only available while on the ship the last day – not a bad idea to be sure people actually fill out the survey. However, the Wi-Fi that day in Budapest was spotty at best and trying to get online was nearly impossible and if you did score a connection the survey took forever to load. We gave up and we weren’t the only ones. If you are considering a European River Cruise I would recommend you strongly consider Scenic Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This has been the most disappointing holiday that we have participated in. This was our first river cruise where we travelled from Amsterdam to Budapest. We wanted to try something different. Despite that we got to briefly visit some ... Read More
This has been the most disappointing holiday that we have participated in. This was our first river cruise where we travelled from Amsterdam to Budapest. We wanted to try something different. Despite that we got to briefly visit some incredible places however the longer the cruise went on the more disappointed we became with the overall process. I guess most of the disappointment results from the perception created by marketing versus the reality that is delivered. River cruising is as close as you get to a coach tour through Europe. To that end have chosen to write a list of what they don’t tell you in the brochure/online’: 1. The cruise company claims to offer a ‘choice of airlines’. Our experience was that our first leg of our trip was on the airline of our choice and then the second and third on Swiss Airlines. The explanation was that Scenic has a relationship with Swiss Air. Swiss Air are not as bad as American Airlines but they are not to the standard that we enjoy in our part of the world. While our trip up was fine, our trip home was nothing short of traumatising on Swiss Air instead of our chosen airline (see below) 2. The entire travel experience is a cookie cutter, pressure cooker, production line trip which means if you move outside the programme the production line stops working. We opted to spend two extra nights up front in Amsterdam and two after in Budapest. Because of this, Scenic were not interested in airport transfers or transfers to/from the boat despite using their recommended hotels and despite what they say in their advertising. 3. Our welcome aboard was easy, fast and professional. All the staff onboard are exceptional, second to none and the service is a lot more personal than on large ships. Marina, our butler was awesome. 4. First impressions are the ship is smart, clean and slick and as the trip progressed and as we passed a huge number of other riverboats, I felt we were on one of the best ones on the river. Our cabin was everything we expected and more with both a balcony and slide down window in the lounge part. It became a haven to escape to away from the one public lounge/bar onboard. Probably the only slightly weak point on our ship when compared to others passing was that the top deck is a bit spartan however it could not be used a large part of the trip as it was closed and folded down so we could fit under low bridges. 5. The cross section of people in marketing photos does not really reflect the people who actually river cruise. The process is more geared to older travellers, inexperienced travellers and people who seem obsessed with meeting new friends. Everything onboard has been designed exclusively for these groups. There were a few couples onboard, including ourselves who were obviously uncomfortable or disappointed with this Hi de Hi, over familiar ‘get to know you’ type vibe. 6. There are sing-a-longs to old songs I did not know the words to. 7. It is not possible to get to breakfast without at least 30 fellow passengers and staff saying Good Morning along with more at the breakfast buffet. The surrounding chatter at breakfast consists of, have you cruised before, how did you sleep, health issues and on two mornings, an in-depth discussion about bowel movements. 8. There is a ‘Port Talk’ every night in the main lounge 15 minutes before dinner which outlines the upcoming day. They cover docking times, what excursions take which bus at what times, an overview of each excursion happening the next day, how many steps are involved in an excursion or if there is an elevator alternative, if there is any uneven surfaces or inclines involved, how far you will be from a souvenir shop, times between food. They finish with waiters bringing mock-ups of the main courses through the room so that there are no surprises with what their dinner option is going to look like that they order 30 minutes later in the main dining room. During dinner a brief summary of Port Talk is left in your room. 9. Disappointingly there are some excursions where photography is not allowed. You are not told until you disembark the bus to begin you excursion where you will be offered an apology and thanked for your understanding. In my world that does not cut it. It is not like anything there was up to Versailles or The Louvre standard where you are allowed to take photographs. 10. Unlike musical entertainment in the Crystal Lounge, Port Talk in the same Lounge is not broadcast on the television in your cabin to ensure that if you want any information about the following day you are forced to sit and mix with fellow passengers. 11. Dinner takes two hours every night regardless of how fast you eat or if you are first or last into the dining room. There are four tables for two people that are close to the next table to ensure you cannot be left alone if you chose a table for two. 12. There are a lot of busses involved. The format of the fortnight makes it feel like bus touring without the need to unpack and pack everyday as your floating hotel room moves with you however like a bus tour you need to be up early each morning for breakfast (with the exception of two) and then ready to set off on a bus for your chosen excursion. 13. The excursion guides are very knowledgeable and excellent without exception. 14. The first thing after arriving at any excursion is a protracted group toilet break. At times the excursions move at snail’s pace, particularly around shops and souvenir shops, stopping every 40 or fifty steps for a story while people catch their breath while at some attractions, neck snapping speed with barely enough time to take photographs where allowed, ensuring little time for any free time in any of the towns. Free-choice are marketing buzzwords as the excursions are anything but. They are hightly structured with little or no opportunity to explore by yourself. 15. Everybody on the boat gossips. Something said at dinner is back to you at breakfast from a complete stranger. Twice. 16. There are a lot of Australians onboard who are not backward in coming forward on their feelings about gay people. This is not really a holiday or environment that works well for gay couples. 17. Despite the perception created prior to the trip, there is no local cuisine. The food onboard is stunning but mainstream and non-offensive. 18. I had imagined from reading the marketing collateral that when the boat docked you could simply disembark and stroll a short distance into town. River cruising has become so crowded that in most cases the boat docks along with a multitudes of others in custom built docks which are a bus ride from town. The crew became quite ‘excited’ when we docked 2 hours early and we suggested we would walk the 3.5 kms into town. 19. There is little or no time to wander off. The ship docks, everyone piles onto their buses for their excursion and upon their return the boat sails again. There is little time for your own exploring. 20. Very few onboard care about maximising their time in each port and are happy to achieve one attraction per stop or alternatively settle for a drive around the town that takes in most highlights as viewed through a tour bus window before returning to the ship. We quickly learned to avoid these rest-home styled outings. 21. There is WIFI onboard which works some of the time but slowly. Any travel sites that would be helpful to plan your own excursion the following day when the schedule is suddenly changed are blocked. 22. By and large the excursions and port stops are in heavily touristed towns and villages full of other tour groups, tourists, souvenir shops and tourist traps. 23. Marketing warns you that from time to time you will be docked alongside another boat which you will walk over or through to get to the dock. I didn’t stop to think that this would also mean we could not use our balcony and had to close our curtains for long periods of time as our room looked directly into another a metre away on the next boat and theirs into ours. 24. The limited numbers, behind the scenes excursion to The Vienna Riding School turned out to be a tour bus full of fellow travellers who were given the same tour that the public could buy. We were the first to register our interest in tickets to a performance at the school and purchased the premium tickets that resulted in probably the worst seats in the theatre where you could not see much of the show. Given this was the main reason for choosing this itinerary and company, I was gutted. 25. You are on your own. Heading home, our evening flight to Zurich was cancelled three hours after we were due to depart. Scenic advised us to deal directly with Swiss Air who gave us a bottle of water and a bed directly on the marble floor of the Budapest Airport departure hall where there are no shops or vending machines to buy food and drinks In summary, the boat is better than most we saw on the river and there are masses of them. The staff are fabulous, fun, and professional. However, river cruising in Europe has become crowded and become a formula type holiday, one step up from a bus tour. It certainly delivered a different reality that the perception created by marketing. I don’t think I am old enough to appreciate the style of travel that European River cruising offers and need a lot more from my vacations and I certainly do not expect to be sleeping on old marble airport floors. Won’t be trying river cruising again anytime soon. Hugely disappointing with a traumatising finale. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This cruise was recommended by a friend and it was top notch. The cabin (double) was comfortable with a small balcony with seating for two. Not only the cabin, but the entire ship was well maintained by staff. The meals very ... Read More
This cruise was recommended by a friend and it was top notch. The cabin (double) was comfortable with a small balcony with seating for two. Not only the cabin, but the entire ship was well maintained by staff. The meals very good with lots of variety and choices. The entertainment was very good from current popular music to classical music and some comedy. The ports of call and shore excursions were very well organized, always timed well and all interesting. The staff, without exception, were pleasant, responsive and knowledgeable. The cruise director deserves special mention. She oversaw most everything, gave clear and precise daily briefings, displayed a lovely sense of humour and could answer virtually any question posed to her. The only thing I would have wished for, was a slightly bigger and better equipped fitness room. Fortunately the weather was exceptionally good and exercising by walking regularly on the deck was the primary outlet for fitness. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the duration of the trip. We chose Scenic after considerable research, because of the quality of the ship, the relaxed opportunities for meals, the services provided and of course the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the duration of the trip. We chose Scenic after considerable research, because of the quality of the ship, the relaxed opportunities for meals, the services provided and of course the experiences shared by other cruisers with Scenic. Our biggest concern was whether or not there would be fellow travellers on the cruise with us around our age. I would have to say that we weren't in the majority however at least 40 percent of the cruisers were around our age (60). The staff do a great job accommodating all age groups. The quality of the food service onboard was excellent! The local guides used for the excursions were very knowledgeable and most were entertaining, not just blurting out dates and history lessons. There was a great deal of flexibility in the excursions offered in port and on the ship. I would not hesitate booking another cruise with Scenic in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was our second river cruise and chose Scenic because of all the FreeChoice options for excursions. The ship was incredibly clean and the entire staff was fabulous. It was an extremely well organized trip in large part due to the tour ... Read More
This was our second river cruise and chose Scenic because of all the FreeChoice options for excursions. The ship was incredibly clean and the entire staff was fabulous. It was an extremely well organized trip in large part due to the tour director, Szilvia. She was outstanding. The tours were wonderful, although a bit smaller groups would have been better. All the guides were well informed and most interesting. Possible ideas for additional tours might include a car manufacturing facility or a lock tour. The tours on board (galley & Q&A session with chief engineer) were also very interesting. There was ample food and great variety. There were always choices and we appreciated the availability of fresh fruit every day. Suggestion - staff's name badges could have slightly larger print. They were not always easy to read. A very top notch tour company! We definitely would recommend it to others. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Scenic seems to be the closest to "all inclusive". Everything was included, no tipping, top rated liquor, high end toiletries and linens, excellent food. The trip was amazing. The only thing I would change is have less of ... Read More
Scenic seems to be the closest to "all inclusive". Everything was included, no tipping, top rated liquor, high end toiletries and linens, excellent food. The trip was amazing. The only thing I would change is have less of The Netherlands and more of Belgium. The day trip to Bruges was too short (1.5 hours). I would have like to spend most of the day there. The e-bikes were a great addition. I liked that there were various excursions based on mobility/fitness so that everyone had something to do. There was something to see every day and if you didn't want to join the excursions, the views from the ship were terrific - lots of castles and wineries. The cabin was small but that was expected. The balcony helped make it seem larger. I didn't use the butler service but it was available if needed. I have special food requirements and this was handled so well by the chef that it exceeded my expectations. There was a lot of variety for the breakfast and lunch buffets and the 4 course dinners were outstanding. Regional wines were also served, a different one each night. There were a couple of nights of entertainment that were a lot of fun, but mostly it was just piano music with all hits reduced to the same tempo, so kind of boring. I would suggest adding a trivia night for some fun. The attentive staff was always ready to provide whatever you needed and did so with a smile. The average guest age was a bit higher than ours, so I think the next couple of trips we will plan on our own and give river cruising another try in a few years. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
First time of sailing with Scenic and definitely not the last. From the moment we stepped on board we were welcomed by cheerful m friendly and, as it turned out, very hard working crew. Suites well appointed and maintained although a ... Read More
First time of sailing with Scenic and definitely not the last. From the moment we stepped on board we were welcomed by cheerful m friendly and, as it turned out, very hard working crew. Suites well appointed and maintained although a tad on the small side. This is not a real problem. We were on Diamond Deck. Food and wines were good. The arranged excursions were very well planned and organised with plenty of choices for each excursion. Evening entertainment was varied and local. The provision of electric bikes and the very accessible cycle lanes alongside the rivers made for a very pleasant experience and the opportunity to experience the countryside and local wildlife. Also a wonderful way to exercise and help keep off the weight! We have already booked another cruise. SO much better than a sea cruise with always something to look at as you cruise down the river. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We loved Scenic because their balconies offered an automatic glass window that you could raise to lower to expand the bedroom space and allow us to enjoy the river scenery. They also offered multiple choices of excursions each day and all ... Read More
We loved Scenic because their balconies offered an automatic glass window that you could raise to lower to expand the bedroom space and allow us to enjoy the river scenery. They also offered multiple choices of excursions each day and all were included. The tailor made devices were cumbersome to use on the tours but here helpful to point our sites while on the river. The staff were superb and the food choices were fabulous. The cruise director was exceptional at accommodating any request by guests and ensure we all had a fabulous experience. We loved starting in Budapest and cruising to Amsterdam so the 68 lift locks came first then we had an easier cruise into Holland. We had great weather --22-28 degrees. The water was low but we only were stuck in the mud at one point when we moved to the side of the Rhine to let another river cruise ship go by. There were days when we had to close the sun deck as the the clearance to the bridges was so tight. The concert in Palace Lichenstein in Vienna and the Sounds of Music in Salzberg were highlights as was the Sundown evening in Aggstein Castle. Dining was open and earliest you could have dinner was 7:00pm. But after the excursions and the pre-dinner entetrainment eg. violinist, string quartet etc. made it seem not so late to eat. The gym was small and had only 2 bicycles but we made do. I would love to do another Scenic cruise SOME DAY! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Our travel agent recommended this cruise. Scenic does not promote their cruises well in North America. Most of the passengers were Australians who were very friendly and fun. We had a a junior suite. Nice sized room and very ... Read More
Our travel agent recommended this cruise. Scenic does not promote their cruises well in North America. Most of the passengers were Australians who were very friendly and fun. We had a a junior suite. Nice sized room and very coveniently located to the ships amenities. We are non-smokers and our cabin was located just above the smoking section above the main doors. We could not use our balcony most of the time. They need to relocate the smoking section elsewhere on the ship. The wine offered with meals was either white or red. Wines offered were mediocre however there were some other better choices on the menu. The crew and servers were outstanding. The excursions were well organized and on time time. The excursions were outstanding and fun. First class all the way. The food in the Portabello's restaurant was excellent. The food was typical cruise cuisine. Good variety. We thought that the meat proteins were marginal at the lunch buffet. Our room was clean and very comfortable. One passenger passed the flu bug on to most of the passengers. The cruise industry needs to do a better job quarantining sick passengers. It was a great cruise even though most of the passengers were sick near the end of the cruise. The cruise director was outstanding. This was one of the best cruises ever for us. The Rhine Gorge was spectacular. We would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Scenic Pearl Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 4.3
Entertainment 2.0 4.0
Public Rooms 5.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.3
Family 1.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.4
Enrichment 2.0 4.5
Service 4.0 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates 5.0 N/A

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