I booked the Gems of the Danube cruise eighteen months ago to celebrate our Ruby wedding anniversary. It was more than I would usually pay for a weeks holiday but as it was for a special occasion decided to push the boat out. (Excuse the pun!) I have been so looking forward to it I probably expected too much-it was such a disappointment!
It was tiring, disorganised, stressful and not a bit relaxing!
A lot of it was out of Scenic's control but it all made for a bad experience.
I have sent an even longer report to the company!
Received email day before departure to say 2 boats blocking the river so we had to join ship much further away than planned.
Got to airport and flight cancelled-had to get one to Frankfurt and then another to Munich.
Then had to wait over an hour for rest of party from another flight. Then a very long coach journey to join ship. Arrived exhausted.
Had to be up 6.30 the next morning as trip to Nuremburg left 8AM. As we were moored so far away another 2 and a half coach journey. After long day 2 and a half back which turned into 4 hours as coach got lost taking a detour from the busy autobahn!
Got back half an hour before dinner which was one sitting for everyone at 7pm.
Mad rush to shower and change.
That was the pattern for the rest of the week-early starts, long coach journeys and getting back late.
There should have been more half day trips .
The restaurant food was not 5 star in my opinion, very average.
Also there was no sommelier ,the waiter served the wine too of which there was no choice and no refill unless you asked. And no coffee after!
Very slow service each night.
As for the cabin, I booked a deluxe balcony but wished I had not bothered. It was not as big as I had imagined and the balcony was just an extension of the room by about a foot. Pointless! You could not sit on it when ship was moored anyway as other ships moored alongside and you were just looking into their cabins. It was then so dark we had to have the light on.
After the first night we hardly saw the butler, he was doing other things. Not what is was advertised as.
The excursions were too long and did not allow time to shower and change before dinner. As they were in with the price we felt obliged to go as there was nothing else to do on the ship anyway except a small gym and small pool. There were no toilets of most of the coaches (not luxury) and so they kept stopping at toilets for which you had to scrabble for change. There was a lot of walking each day not entirely suitable for older people. The one day the bus did not come back to get us as the driver had gone home! Shambolic!
Basically there was only one day when nothing went wrong. All we heard were apologies from the guides.
But what upset me the most was my actual Ruby Wedding day. When I booked I had told the agent the date and she said she would make a note so they would treat us specially. We mentioned it to the restaurant manager and a couple of other people because we wanted to eat in Portobello's (the Italian) that evening to make it special. When we arrived they had no idea about it and it was not even acknowledged. The chef had made a cake for the Canadians as it was Canada Day but we had nothing! I was very upset as we were on our own..(There was a card in the cabin on return!)
There were some positives. All the other guests from all countries were lovely and friendly. Yvonne the tour manager was excellent. The other staff were all very nice.
The night trip around Budapest was spectacular and we enjoyed the Sundowner and some of the places we visited.
But all in all it was such a disappointment and not something I would ever repeat.
As one man said" I don't feel I have been on a river cruise, more a coach trip just using the ship to eat and sleep!