As is typical with river cruises, entertainment onboard is limited, with few "extras" like a theater, casino or art auctions. There's a single musician onboard who sings and plays the keyboard and trumpet before and after dinner. Occasionally local groups are brought on to perform regional music, dances or both, and one evening the crew held a variety show. One afternoon, a professor came onboard for a 40-minute presentation on the European Union, and there was also a towel animal-folding demonstration. Scenic Cruises does offer exclusive entertainment during some of its shore excursions. For example, on the Jewels of the Danube itinerary, passengers were bused from Vienna to the glorious Liechtenstein Garden Palace, where they were treated to an hourlong concert featuring an 11-piece contingent of the Vienna Imperial Orchestra, a soprano and a baritone, and two members of the Vienna Ballet Company.
Scenic Cruises also relies on Tailormade, an innovative GPS-initiated touring device. Smaller than a paperback book and equipped with a nicely padded neckstrap and personal earpiece, the Tailormade serves not only as the receiver for the tour guide's on-the-spot comments during walkabouts, but it can also be used if you choose to walk or bike on your own. Each of the 38 tours in the itinerary's 18 cities has its own map, with sights numbered. A GPS locator within the Tailormade triggers the short and entertaining narratives, which are recited in your earpiece as you follow the themed route. Beyond the Tailormade, Scenic has put together 600 more brief commentaries that are triggered as the vessel cruises its route. These descriptions appear as text on the in-cabin TVs; Scenic expects to also present them as audio by the 2015 season. Local tour guides are all English-speaking, and they easily entertain questions. They're careful to repeat time and location to return to the tour buses.
The Panorama Lounge and Bar is the lone indoor gathering place. Sofas and occasional chairs are arranged in conversation groups, and the room is busiest during the afternoon cocktail hour, after which the cruise director gives a brief presentation on the next day's port and excursion options.
The top deck, or Sun Deck, is open and has plastic carpeting beneath numerous tables and chairs, most of which are covered by canopies or giant patio umbrellas. The carpeting is a rich green, except for the walking track. (Footsteps and furniture movement on the Sun Deck can be heard in the rooms immediately below, so running is discouraged.)
Scenic Jade has no casino, theater or separate library, though there are shelves at the midship entrance to the Panorama Lounge that hold a few dozen regional guidebooks and fictional titles.
There's no self-service laundry. The ship offers fee-based washing and pressing but no dry-cleaning.
The vessel has four exercise machines in one small room with its own flat-screen TV. That's it for onboard fitness. The ship has no swimming pool, basketball, volleyball or deck tennis courts.
Scenic Jade carries 30 electric six-gear bicycles and stores another 20 nonmotorized bikes between the villages of Melk and Durnstein, Austria. Keep in mind that some stamina is required to bike; for one 21-mile ride on our sailing, there was no "sag wagon" to collect those who tired, nor were they able to simply turn around and head back, as the ship had already left that port. There's a masseuse onboard; massages, hairstyling, facials, manicures and pedicures are available, too, for added fees.
Scenic does not market its education-focused itineraries to families with young children, and it does not have children's programs. It sets the minimum age for passengers at 12 years, except for its pre-Christmas sailings.