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Our cruise on Scenic Opal was from Basel to Amsterdam commencing 25 July for one week. We had a balcony cabin 216. Embarkation was poorly managed and for reasons never fully explained the cruise started at Strasbourg, The rep at the airport did not mention the change and many of us endured fully loaded bladders during the 1hr 45 min trip. We subsequently found that a small group new of this arrangement well in advance. The ship is clean and tidy with smooth and comfortable progress. The cabins are small but clean. The so called inside/outside balcony area takes up a significant amount of living space and is behind the cabin curtains. Hence when these are drawn the cabin feels smaller than it should. This appears to be a design flaw. When docked the curtains needed closing for the majority of the time because we were either up against a dock wall or another boat. Scenic has a policy of sharing berths with other boats of the Scenic group (Emerald etc). This means that even if there are many spare berths (and there usually are) you become locked in, which makes the cabin atmosphere unpleasant. A money saving procedure despite the high cost of the cruise. Breakfast and lunch are buffet and the food is adequate. Service can be chaotic with a limited number of waiters trying to cope and naturally becoming stressed. Different excursions often start and return together which overwhelms the staff and creates a frazzled atmosphere. Dinner was awful. The quality of the ingredients was poor and the chefs were not capable of making anything of them. As an example, there was a special gala night dinner where the soup was inedible, the mashed potato the consistency of custard, the lobster a soft tasteless mess in its shell and steak so tough it was barely edible. Service was variable but the staff tried hard to manage difficult situations imposed on them. If Scenic reads this then our waiters George and Alexander were excellent and need a bonus. Our cruise director was incapable of relaying information with any clarity. She talked endlessly in an inappropriate life and soul of the party manner, which became extremely waring. Daily briefs on ports to be visited became so long and facile that we escaped elsewhere. I understand that the cruise director has the impossible job of being all things to all men/women. Some do it well but ours certainly did not. Ports and excursions were excellent but could not make up for the poor food, variable service and cabin shut in atmosphere. The cruise became a bit Butlinesque, although with a very high price tag. Never again

Scenic Opal. Poor management, food and service

Scenic Opal Cruise Review by Alexis123

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Our cruise on Scenic Opal was from Basel to Amsterdam commencing 25 July for one week. We had a balcony cabin 216.

Embarkation was poorly managed and for reasons never fully explained the cruise started at Strasbourg, The rep at the airport did not mention the change and many of us endured fully loaded bladders during the 1hr 45 min trip. We subsequently found that a small group new of this arrangement well in advance.

The ship is clean and tidy with smooth and comfortable progress.

The cabins are small but clean. The so called inside/outside balcony area takes up a significant amount of living space and is behind the cabin curtains. Hence when these are drawn the cabin feels smaller than it should. This appears to be a design flaw.

When docked the curtains needed closing for the majority of the time because we were either up against a dock wall or another boat. Scenic has a policy of sharing berths with other boats of the Scenic group (Emerald etc). This means that even if there are many spare berths (and there usually are) you become locked in, which makes the cabin atmosphere unpleasant. A money saving procedure despite the high cost of the cruise.

Breakfast and lunch are buffet and the food is adequate. Service can be chaotic with a limited number of waiters trying to cope and naturally becoming stressed. Different excursions often start and return together which overwhelms the staff and creates a frazzled atmosphere. Dinner was awful. The quality of the ingredients was poor and the chefs were not capable of making anything of them. As an example, there was a special gala night dinner where the soup was inedible, the mashed potato the consistency of custard, the lobster a soft tasteless mess in its shell and steak so tough it was barely edible.

Service was variable but the staff tried hard to manage difficult situations imposed on them.

If Scenic reads this then our waiters George and Alexander were excellent and need a bonus.

Our cruise director was incapable of relaying information with any clarity. She talked endlessly in an inappropriate life and soul of the party manner, which became extremely waring. Daily briefs on ports to be visited became so long and facile that we escaped elsewhere. I understand that the cruise director has the impossible job of being all things to all men/women. Some do it well but ours certainly did not.

Ports and excursions were excellent but could not make up for the poor food, variable service and cabin shut in atmosphere. The cruise became a bit Butlinesque, although with a very high price tag.

Never again
, The Scenic Team has responded
Dear Alexis123, Thank you for your review and we are disappointed to hear that your recent cruise on board Scenic Opal was not the 5-star level you were expecting. The poor quality of food and service you describe does not sounds like our usual high standards and I have passed this onto our team to review and improve. We are pleased to hear though that our waiters George and Alexander were excellent and you found the ports and excursions excellent too. Best regards, The Scenic Team
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of The Independent Traveler, Inc.
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