Scenic Opal Review

Not Really a Christmas Market Cruise, despite how it is sold.

Review for Europe River Cruise on Scenic Opal
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2-5 Cruises • Age 60s

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Sail Date: Dec 2019

For the most part, I have good words and praise for the actual cruise ship staff. They could not fix or be held accountable for things beyond their control, chiefly the marketing of what this cruise was supposed to deliver.

The cruise is billed as a Christmas market tour. But let’s put this promise to test. Day 2 involved a departure from AMS at 13.00, so what do you really see of Amsterdam Christmas markets? Essentially nothing. The main Christmas market does not yet open until mid December, plus the ship leaves mid day so you barely have time to either do the bus ride, spend maybe an hour and half “discovering” Volendam/ Edam, or take a one hour canal ride so you can be back on the ship in time for departure.

Day 3. We didn’t arrive to Cologne until 13.00 but can’t disembark until well after 15.00. We are a good distance, at least 45 min walk, to the first Christmas markets by the cathedral. And these markets are not nearly the better ones truly worth seeing. The time is limited because of the need to get back on before 22.00 departure, but I will be generous and say that this opportunity represents the only decent opportunity to see a Christmas market without needing to strap on skates.

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