This was our 50th Anniversary trip (of a lifetime) and our 2nd Scenic River Cruise.
I was somewhat disappointed with the young lady who greeted us at the airport... no 'welcome to Scenic'.. no conversation on the bus... but found out she worked for the ground operator not Scenic. The 'official welcome' started right away as soon as we departed the bus at the ship. The greeting was so warm and welcoming.... dispelled any misgivings on the bus.
The front desk crew, under the direction of Anna were excellent. Within a day they knew our cabin number and simply handed us the key without asking. Always a welcoming smile and greeting!
I cannot speak high enough about the Cruise Director and staff. Their knowledge, their openness, their story telling ability and their care about quality was outstanding.
The food, produced under a young but very talented Chef was outstanding. We both enjoyed a massage ..and would recommend it as a perfect way to really get into the vacation mode.
The Dining Room staff were amazing. Scenic trained (although not actual Scenic employees) they seemed to love their job. So personal. Greetings with such warm smiles. They bent over backwards to ensure your dining experience was a total pleasure.
Our cabin was excellent. A workspace with ample plugs (bring adaptors) for my computer etc. The bed was too comfortable (didn't want to get up some mornings).... the bathrooms equipped with excellent bath and hand towels, good shampoo and conditioner and a hook for my shaving kit. I should add, a GREAT shower! The blackout curtains were so appreciated, since the sun doesn't really set until about 2am and stays dark for all of 90 minutes.
The beauty of Scenic, there are not really any decisions to make. ALL of the tours are included. All of the tips are included. The wine etc at meals (this is the only difference we experienced from our previous Scenic cruise where the bar seemed to be free 24/7). My personal gripe was that my wife could drink all the wine she wanted at dinner but I had to pay for my non-alcoholic beer). A small gripe but we were warned that th Russia Cruise was a little different from the regular Scenic offerings.
I can't say enough about the included tours.... everything from the Moscow Circus to a private reception with a 4-piece orchestra and amazing Champagne / vodka buffet of canapés and caviar. We adjourned to a theatre that sat our 90 fellow Scenic travellers very comfortably... a FULL orchestra and a 60 minute presentation of various famous ballets. An evening never to be forgotten.
When asked about our impression of Russia... all we can say is how open and honest the people are about the changes that they are experiencing under the Federation. All preconceptions about Russia were dis-spelled.
An awesome trip that I cannot recommend highly enough.