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Our Scenic 5***** Tsar Cruise in 2017, from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, was so marvelous in every way that it inspired us to take the Scenic Pearl cruise and explore Gems of the Danube with Prague, from Budapest to Prague in 2019. Unfortunately, we are not inspired anymore. We cannot call Gems of Danube a Five Star Cruise and we assigned the Stars as follows: Staff: The only aspect of the Gems of Danube that was 5***** star was the Pearl Cruise Manager and the entire staff. They could not have been better in any respect and with a great sense of humor. Food: Breakfast and Lunch were excellent. However, dinners definitely need a new chef. The one we had would be good for a 2** restaurant. Cabin with balcony: 3 ½ *** Much smaller than on the Russian Tsar. Two people could not pass each other, very small washroom space. Very narrow balcony. If you sat on the chair your back would be against the wall and your knees (if you are 5 to 5’3”) would be pressed against the outside railing. Daily Tours: 2 ½ to 3*** Absolutely no comparison to the Russian Tour in any way . Why? The emphasis of the Gems of the Danube tours is on the “Tailormade City Guide” devices. You are drilled on that every evening instead of having interesting lectures about the country you came to visit as we had on the Tsar. The Tsar Cruise city tours were thoroughly informative, at a leisurely pace and the guides were aware of every guest. The Gem tours were all about 3 ½ hours of marching through the city. The guides, except for the one in Regensburg who obviously cared, marched on explaining the surroundings not looking or caring about their group. If you stopped to take a photo or two, you had to run to catch up. Of course, we had our “tailormade” devices and could hear the guide two blocks away, but you had no idea what she was talking about. Some of the 3 ½ hour tours were spent on the bus and here you could view the “in depth city tour” through the bus window. The tour of the famous Belvedere Museum unfortunately allotted us time to see only Klimt’s paintings. It seems like the 5 *Scenic Tours were looking to economize on the Danube Gems with Prague. Passau and all the afternoons were your own responsibility. There was no Nuremberg. You were told to take the metro, tram, or shuttle and do your own exploring, which never happened in Russia. In Russia there were always guided programs for the afternoons and evening theatres. We thought that paying Scenic Tours Cruise for taking us to explore the Gems of the Danube with Prague would save us the job of planning the entire trip ourselves. Silly us.

Not the "Gem" we hoped

Scenic Pearl Cruise Review by COAP

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2019
  • Destination: Europe
Our Scenic 5***** Tsar Cruise in 2017, from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, was so marvelous in every way that it inspired us to take the Scenic Pearl cruise and explore Gems of the Danube with Prague, from Budapest to Prague in 2019. Unfortunately, we are not inspired anymore.

We cannot call Gems of Danube a Five Star Cruise and we assigned the Stars as follows:

Staff: The only aspect of the Gems of Danube that was 5***** star was the Pearl Cruise Manager and the entire staff. They could not have been better in any respect and with a great sense of humor.

Food: Breakfast and Lunch were excellent. However, dinners definitely need a new chef. The one we had would be good for a 2** restaurant.

Cabin with balcony: 3 ½ *** Much smaller than on the Russian Tsar. Two people could not pass each other, very small washroom space. Very narrow balcony. If you sat on the chair your back would be against the wall and your knees (if you are 5 to 5’3”) would be pressed against the outside railing.

Daily Tours: 2 ½ to 3*** Absolutely no comparison to the Russian Tour in any way .

Why? The emphasis of the Gems of the Danube tours is on the “Tailormade City Guide” devices. You are drilled on that every evening instead of having interesting lectures about the country you came to visit as we had on the Tsar.

The Tsar Cruise city tours were thoroughly informative, at a leisurely pace and the guides were aware of every guest. The Gem tours were all about 3 ½ hours of marching through the city. The guides, except for the one in Regensburg who obviously cared, marched on explaining the surroundings not looking or caring about their group.

If you stopped to take a photo or two, you had to run to catch up. Of course, we had our “tailormade” devices and could hear the guide two blocks away, but you had no idea what she was talking about.

Some of the 3 ½ hour tours were spent on the bus and here you could view the “in depth city tour” through the bus window. The tour of the famous Belvedere Museum unfortunately allotted us time to see only Klimt’s paintings.

It seems like the 5 *Scenic Tours were looking to economize on the Danube Gems with Prague. Passau and all the afternoons were your own responsibility. There was no Nuremberg. You were told to take the metro, tram, or shuttle and do your own exploring, which never happened in Russia. In Russia there were always guided programs for the afternoons and evening theatres.

We thought that paying Scenic Tours Cruise for taking us to explore the Gems of the Danube with Prague would save us the job of planning the entire trip ourselves. Silly us.
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