Last year we traveled with Scenic on the Gems of the Danube itinerary and were very disappointed. As I wrote a rather critical review of that experience http://click.email.cruisecritic.com?qs=8bec0de70cfedc34d0783c44859edf84aaeaab785ae07d932f616c10a3f01701e526b95ecd7e021448a152adadca3e9a4527d6ca83bc5faf it is only fair that I say how wonderful our experience on the Scenic Gem was. Hard to believe it was the same cruise company!
First, full disclosure, our itinerary was a charter with some significant changes in the shore and on board programs. Having said that, the crew, kitchen staff and ship were, without exception superior to what we experienced on the Danube.
The Scenic Gem is a smaller ship designed to be able to travel from Paris to Honfleur. We understand that she is one of only a few that can include both these ports in the itinerary. The other lines' larger ships are restricted from one or the other (or both) ports as they cannot make the necessary turn around in Paris or enter the restricted harbor in Honfleur. Additionally she has been designed with some features not included on the Pearl. The Cabin (middle, sapphire? deck) was very similar but unlike the Amber, where the "balcony" was segregated from the room by an immovable partition, the Gem partition was capable of being fully opened allowing the balcony to become an integral part of the room. My wife quite liked the disco lights in the shower as well. A whimsical touch!