Chose Scenic based on online reviews etc. Considered it to be one of the top river cruise companies. We were very disappointed at service levels and food. Breakfast and lunch were major disappointments with minimal options and “cafeteria-feel” in the restaurant area. Our first lunch on the ship offered salads and the only hot food option : “liver balls”! For the money paid to take the trip, definitely disappointing.
The water levels on the Danube were low and so bus travel dominated the first few days of our trip. Overall, Scenic tours include excursions with bus rides that are too long, example : trip to Salzburg. Also quality of docking areas are very poor : ours were generally in industrial areas or areas not near downtown or old core areas of the cities we were visiting.
Tour guides were ok but duration of tours were either too short or too long. We felt that some tours included visiting a few spots that were just tossed in to make up some time. Also, most guides didn’t use their microphones properly so we were unable to hear them very well.
Visit to Budapest was disappointing. Sailed into the city in the morning and really only had an afternoon to visit “Budapest in depth”, as Scenic called it. They brought us to a piano recital (which was good), but upon leaving our bus broke down and we were forced to wait in a hot bus for over 1/2 hour. Needless to say, the remaining tour consisted of a quick visit to one other site and then back to the ship.
Communication among company, employees and customers was very poor. Even though the company knew water levels were low, they provided few details as to how this would impact our trip. They basically only told us that our ship was changing from the Amber to the Pearl (an older ship). This included a room downgrade in our case and it was only when I pointed this out to the tour director did they consider offering some form of compensation.
We didn’t understand why they would set up an early breakfast in one location of the ship, then change it to the formal dining area and then back to the early breakfast location for late risers. Doesn’t make sense and annoys travelers.
Overall, tour was not worth the money and we were totally disappointed with the company, service and tour quality.