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We did a Danube cruise on the Scenic Pearl from Nuremberg to Budapest from 20th to 27th June 16. We were in a Junior Suite. The cost including Business Class fares was £7500 for the two of us. High water levels on the Danube. We were notified before we left that the boat could not make it to Nuremberg because of the high water levels. We were told that we would be bussed to near Passau - about 2.5hrs. As we had gone out early for a weekend in Nuremberg this was no real issue. But for the others on the trip it was as they this meant they either had to miss Nuremberg or face a c 6hr/there and back bus trip. But the more serious issue was whether we would be stuck in Passau for the whole week. A Viking boat had tried to 'escape' only to hit the bridge and had to 'Abandon Ship'. Clearly not advisable! Eventually, they were able to make the ship as low as possible by removing sun shades all the furniture and railings on the sundeck and we made it under the bridge with inches to spare. I can't really criticise Scenic for any of this. But, as ever, communications were in short supply. They did keep us safe. Note this an not uncommon issue with river cruising that must be taken into account. Suite We had a Junior suite. But it was still quite 'compact'. About what you would expect from a 'Regular' suite on a sea cruise. I don't think we would have wanted anything smaller. Beds comfortable. Clean. Well equipped. Just as an aside, a number of cabins two floors below us flooded when a valve blew. They had 3 inches of water in their cabins and, as the boat was full, they were rather stuck. I think it would have ruined our holiday if it had happened to us. I understand the cabins had not dried out as the cruise ended and new occupants arrived. Food The food was a great disappointment. Breakfasts were fine. Buffet lunches missed all the stuff we had been expecting like a 'carving joint of the day', prawns, crab claws etc. Dinners were even more disappointing. We had no 'WOW' meals. Fish was universally overcooked as were the veg. If you want fine dining, Scenic is not for you. Food much better on UniWorld and it bears no comparison to what you would get on Regent or Silver Seas. The Crystal Dining room is more like a canteen. The tables are very close together with inches between the tables for four. The noise level is high and on hot days the air con couldn't cope. Service Generally Eastern European crew. We had 'issues' with our butler who had a real 'attitude' problem. But the rest were great - friendly and efficient. They probably need more staff as drinks service was slow and limited outside the main lounge. There is only one bar which was closed during an exhibition of local dancing. Excursions Generally very good. The perennial problems of guides wanting to fill every moment of a 90min coach trip with talk,talk,talk. But this is not exclusive to Scenic. Best trip was to Melk Abbey. The evening concert at the Palais Liechtenstein in Vienna was top notch in every way. The tour of the Hospital in the Rock in Budapest was fascinating. On the last night we were sailed along the Danube as the buildings were lit up. This was magical.

Disappointed with Danube River cruise on Scenic Pearl

Scenic Pearl Cruise Review by Holway

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Trip Details
We did a Danube cruise on the Scenic Pearl from Nuremberg to Budapest from 20th to 27th June 16. We were in a Junior Suite. The cost including Business Class fares was £7500 for the two of us.

High water levels on the Danube.

We were notified before we left that the boat could not make it to Nuremberg because of the high water levels. We were told that we would be bussed to near Passau - about 2.5hrs. As we had gone out early for a weekend in Nuremberg this was no real issue. But for the others on the trip it was as they this meant they either had to miss Nuremberg or face a c 6hr/there and back bus trip. But the more serious issue was whether we would be stuck in Passau for the whole week.

A Viking boat had tried to 'escape' only to hit the bridge and had to 'Abandon Ship'. Clearly not advisable!

Eventually, they were able to make the ship as low as possible by removing sun shades all the furniture and railings on the sundeck and we made it under the bridge with inches to spare.

I can't really criticise Scenic for any of this. But, as ever, communications were in short supply. They did keep us safe.

Note this an not uncommon issue with river cruising that must be taken into account.

Suite

We had a Junior suite. But it was still quite 'compact'. About what you would expect from a 'Regular' suite on a sea cruise. I don't think we would have wanted anything smaller. Beds comfortable. Clean. Well equipped.

Just as an aside, a number of cabins two floors below us flooded when a valve blew. They had 3 inches of water in their cabins and, as the boat was full, they were rather stuck. I think it would have ruined our holiday if it had happened to us. I understand the cabins had not dried out as the cruise ended and new occupants arrived.

Food

The food was a great disappointment. Breakfasts were fine. Buffet lunches missed all the stuff we had been expecting like a 'carving joint of the day', prawns, crab claws etc.

Dinners were even more disappointing. We had no 'WOW' meals. Fish was universally overcooked as were the veg. If you want fine dining, Scenic is not for you. Food much better on UniWorld and it bears no comparison to what you would get on Regent or Silver Seas.

The Crystal Dining room is more like a canteen. The tables are very close together with inches between the tables for four. The noise level is high and on hot days the air con couldn't cope.

Service

Generally Eastern European crew. We had 'issues' with our butler who had a real 'attitude' problem. But the rest were great - friendly and efficient. They probably need more staff as drinks service was slow and limited outside the main lounge. There is only one bar which was closed during an exhibition of local dancing.

Excursions

Generally very good. The perennial problems of guides wanting to fill every moment of a 90min coach trip with talk,talk,talk. But this is not exclusive to Scenic.

Best trip was to Melk Abbey. The evening concert at the Palais Liechtenstein in Vienna was top notch in every way. The tour of the Hospital in the Rock in Budapest was fascinating. On the last night we were sailed along the Danube as the buildings were lit up. This was magical.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 304
We had a Junior suite. But it was still quite 'compact'. About what you would expect from a 'Regular' suite on a sea cruise. Eg Couldn't walk around bed with Wardrobe doors open! I don't think we would have wanted anything smaller. Beds comfortable. Clean. Well equipped.