This was our first river cruise after numerous ocean cruises. I was very pleased with our choice of itinerary (Rhine Highlights) and with Scenic Cruises. The Opal is a lovely ship, and I would highly recommend it. Our cruise was during a very high (as in flood stage) waters on the Rhine and Scenic emailed us two days before the cruise telling us of a change in embarkation port and the various options available for a complimentary transfer. It was a long day but we arrived at the ship just fine. River cruises have their own set of challenges with water levels that ocean cruises do not. You have to be flexible and "go with the flow" and hope your line reacts favorably, which the Scenic captain did!
We enjoyed the ship very much, the public areas are very well designed and very functional. The upstairs outside deck was lovely but other than the walking area and the lovely large hot tub it could not be used all that much due to less than desirable weather. Our cabin was a standard cabin with a window, we decided not to spend the extra $$ on a balcony and had no second thoughts. The room was small, but adequate storage, a wonderfully comfortable bed, nice bathroom and great interactive TV.
The staff on the ship all were exceptional and very helpful. Food is subjective, we absolutely loved the breakfast and lunch buffets. A great variety of foods, nicely presented and very tasty. You can also order off a menu, which we did not do as the items on the buffet were so good. Dinner features several choices of daily features plus an "always available" selection of entrees and salads. Some of the daily items were unusual but most were quite good. All alcoholic beverages are included at Scenic, and we enjoyed some great drinks during the day and with meals!
We also loved the tours. The variety was good, the tour guides were excellent and they used very comfortable motorcoaches. The two special evening events, one a private opera concert at a castle and another atop a mountain overlooking Koblenz with a German band, beer and pretzels were very memorable events. Transfers provided by Scenic were also handled flawlessly. Evening entertainment featured some local performers and one night was a fun disco night with the crew and captain. We also very much enjoyed interacting with the other guests who were from a variety of countries in the world, all of whom seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as we did.
In summary, I would not hesitate to book another river cruise and would definitely use Scenic again!
Very small but well designed and plenty of storage. Very quiet.