Luxury is a subjective word as is the definition 5 stars. Scenic is constantly reviewed as a 5 star product and because of this and the 5 star rating and luxury spruiked by Scenic in its tour advertising and brochures that we selected the Scenic Spirit from Vietnam to Cambodia.
In my opinion some simple truths, grey threadbare towels are not luxury or even 5 star. We needed to asked the room service teams twice to fix the mould in the shower (soap holder cavity and where two walls joined) and exposed electrical wiring around the light in the shower area.
1* removed for mould and old thread bare grey towels, face clothes and hand towels.
1 * removed as the advertised L'Occitane products not available and they now use a local lemon grass product. So you have lemon grass scented, soap, shampoo, conditioner body lotion. I for one don’t particularly like the smell of lemongrass.
Walk in wardrobe door stuck open with the sensor light stuck on for hours and hours – 1/2/ *
So, far we have lost 2.5 stars and we have not left the main room.
To me “world class meals” are something that I can’t cook at home or a far better than anything I can cook. The breakfast and lunch is a buffet where the staff did everything for you it was a great effort – luxury no, world class meals no. Think a very small carving area fit only with chick/duck/beef and the rest was salads and other warming dishes and an egg station during the breakfast.
Scenic advertise world class meals, No meal was a truly world class from start to finish. You often waited with no reason given and just when you thought you should go something would turn up.
Despite the standard of the meals the Cambodian and Vietnam staff were excellent.
So the good bits…
Whilst the food was average the variety was good.
The cabin size, beds and air conditioning were great.
Crew – The Cambodian and Vietnamese staff for the most part were excellent.
The tours etc for the most part were well arranged and managed. In some ways they were a little repetitive.
Scenic have a simple philosophy if you are not at the meeting point on time then you have decided not to do the tour.
On board it is inclusive of everything except the spa and a better wine list.
Not so good…
The daily briefings were more a ramble than a briefing. You will need to get used to the term “Happy House” (bathroom/toilet) which seemed to figure into every tour briefing and off boat visit, boat rides, bus rides, cart rides. The guide often just pointed out Happy Houses when we were walking and emphasised that it wasn’t a Scenic 5 star Happy House. Most times whilst the briefing went into every detail of the next day it did not actually mention times and places to meet. The briefing talks were then repeated during the actual tours.
The embarkation process was poor, we were advised to meet at the Park Hyatt at 08:30 to hand over passports and luggage, then come back at 10:00 then to be told to come back at midday.
You can easily and clearly hear the people in the next cabin, especially in the bathroom.
Food was okay. Nothing special and nothing to rave about.
The guides could do far more to protect its guests from the local street hawkers who follow you and slightly hassle you to buy.
The food was very Western and could use some more Asian influence.
The included wine and drinks list is large but not particularly great, Scenic could do better with a less is more philosophy, with a small list but better wines.
I suppose the question is does Scenic do it better or worse than any other river cruise company on the Mekong. Speaking with many repeat customers of Scenic on this cruise it does sound like it’s a very different experience to Europe and South America.