This was our first river cruise and 6th cruise overall. We were so looking forward to the Holiday Markets trip since our Danube trip was cancelled last year due to water levels.
Unfortunately we were greatly disappointed.
We expected the ship to be 'decorated' for the holidays. There were 2 small Christmas trees and a tiny vase of greens on some of the tables. No lights, no holiday music, nothing. Then we anticipated being in port to see all the lights Scenic advertises with. but never were.
We boarded buses at 9AM and were taken to the nearest village and sometimes had to walk a mile into town. It was 37* and windy one day...this was hard for some folks but fortunately we had prepared for this and layered well with waterproof jackets and boots as it rained several days.
Once in the village, there was a 90 minute or less tour and then the free time was less than 90 minutes as they wanted us back on the boat before lunch hour was finished. Some cities had 5 or more markets which we could never see in that short of time.
We were always cold when returning to the boat hoping to be greeted with hot cider or chocolate, etc...no, we were handed a warm wet towel.
One day we opted for a trip to a castle and the holiday market. It was an hour on a bus. When we got there, nothing was open in the village as it was Sunday. There were just a few market stalls. And the castle had been closed for weeks. Wouldn't you have thought the cruise director would have known this?
In the afternoon there was absolutely nothing to do after lunch. It got dark early and many folks just sat and drank or went to the room to watch movies. No games, no music, no historical or food presentations...nothing. We were originally to be on the Crystal but at the last minute we were on the Opal. Nobody ever said why.
The staff was just not happy...possibly overworked. Dining room always seemed short staffed. Used the butler services once only for laundry.
The food was excellent at times and average at others. They advertise an early riser's breakfast which consisted of croissants next to the coffee machine. Dessert was the same every night...2 ice creams, a votive cup of mousse and a 2" piece of cake. Nothing more. We were shocked with this since this is the time of year that these countries go all out with pastries, chocolates, and cheeses. We had a German meal one night on board.
Entertainment was a piano player who did not interact with the guests at all..he was background music.
Underwhelmed was the word often used by guests we spoke to about this trip and many we met had been on alot of other river cruises. At first we thought perhaps it was just us who was disappointed but definitely not the case.
On a very positive note, all the tours and guides were very good.
I could go on and on, but you get my message. There was so little time given to us in the villages this was more like a boat trip. Needless to say we will not be traveling with Scenic again.
We were on the lower deck. Was adequate with plenty of storage and would stay on this deck again. I believe the upper decks found a holiday gift in their cabins,. We did not. Robes and slipper provided and L'Occitane soaps, etc.