We heard positive reviews of Scenic, but this cruise was better than expectations. We began with the precruise in Lisbon, where we had a nice review of the city and met a small group from our cruise (@ 20 people). This group consisted of some of the most interesting and fun people we've met, and we became friends quickly.
Once on the ship, not only did we meet more interesting passengers, but the crew was wonderful, warm, friendly, and knowledgeable. It certainly made a difference that all of the crew were Portuguese, so our excursions, talks, and recommendations came from those that both knew and loved their country. I think there was at least one cruise staff who had lived in each city we visited. Special shout-outs to the excursion leaders, who gave life to each trip off the boat. And speaking of excursions, they were high quality with more options (all included) than any other cruise we'd been on. In most places there was either a full day or both a morning and afternoon.
And in between the excursions were the meals. The chef is incredible, with amazingly creative and delicious food. He can adapt to any special dietary restrictions and you won't be disappointed with any meal. He got to know each of us, would share recipes willingly, and obviously loved what he did. His assistants and the servers made each meal more enjoyable with their desire to make sure we were happy and well-satisfied.