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9 Scenic Azure Senior Cruise Reviews

Day 1 - Flew by Air Portugal from Toronto to Lisbon then to Porto. TAP did not allow us to change or select seats online, but we were able to do so at airport. Flight to Lisbon was cramped and uncomfortable. Flight to Porto was delayed ... Read More
Day 1 - Flew by Air Portugal from Toronto to Lisbon then to Porto. TAP did not allow us to change or select seats online, but we were able to do so at airport. Flight to Lisbon was cramped and uncomfortable. Flight to Porto was delayed 45 min. This flight had much more legroom. Arrived around 5 pm at the Scenic Azure just as the Port Talk was starting in the lounge. Butler did not take us to our room after and we never met him for entire trip. Our room was on the cheapest floor, room 102. It was spacious and well organized and organized very nicely, with lots of storage and clothes closet space. This contrasted big time with our Scenic Moselle cruise last year on the Scenic Jewel. Day 2 -Porto > Entre-os-Rios. Highlights: Historic Porto. discover the unique historic treasures of Porto, including a visit to Palacio da Bolsa. Then enjoy a relaxing afternoon of cruising as your luxury Scenic Space-Ship meanders its way to Entre-os-Rios. Tour of the Stock Exchange Palace was very interesting. Local guide did not appear to like her job. Later toured the train station to see all the tiles on the walls. Very unique. Guide was from the Scenic Azure and she was good. Day 3 -Entre-os-Rios. Highlights: Quinta Aveleda. This afternoon, enjoy a blissful cruise to Regua where you have the chance to explore the Douro Museum at your leisure. Learn about the culture, history and identity of the people living in this wine growing region of the Douro Valley. Freechoice: Guimarães was the seat of the first King of Portugal and is dominated by the impressive Ducal Palace, which dates back to medieval times. It’s a great tour to kickstart your interest in this fascinating region. Alternatively, you could choose a tasting at the fairytale property of Quinta Aveleda. Located in the famous Vino Verde region and a renowned regional sparkling wine producer, the incredible gardens alone make the excursion worthwhile. We chose the tour of Guimarães. We toured the Ducal Palace and ancient town. Grapes were grown on fence borders. Our guide was the ship’s cruise director Filipe. He was very good and interesting. Later we left the ship again and walked over to the Douro museum and learned the evolution of port wine industry on the Douro. It was very interesting. Local guide was OK. Day 4 -Regua. Highlights: Ucanha and Varosa Valley. his afternoon, you’ll discover the captivating Varosa Valley and visit the charming village of Tarouca where you’ll get to explore the restored Monastery of Saint John of Tarouca. En route walk the fortified bridge of Ucanha, Portugal’s first toll bridge, spanning the crystal clear waters of the Varosa River. Freechoice: Tour the elegant town of Lamego, with its many fine Baroque structures, or enjoy a guided visit of Mateus Palace, the historic icon depicted on the labels of Portugal’s famous Mateus rosé wine. Our tour guide was Miguel from our ship, who was very good. The fortified bridge of Ucanha was very scenic and interesting. The Monastery of Saint John of Tarouca was not interesting to us as all that was there was foundations of buildings. Our Freechoice selection was the town of Lamego with our cruise director Filipe as guide. He was very good. There we toured the Sanctuary dos Nossa Sanhora dos Remedios and 365 steps. This was very scenic and a highlight of our trip. After walking down the 365 scenic steps there was an option of touring the Lamego Museum. This was a waste of time and we exited as soon as we could. Day 5 - Regua > Vega de Terron. Highlights: Cruising Vinhateiro. Today, enjoy a full day cruising the Douro Valley’s Vinhateiro wine growing region. Classified a World Heritage-listed Site, Vinhateiro has a history of wine production that stretches back for 2000 years. We spent most of the day on top of the ship enjoying the spectacular scenery. Our Tailormades explained what we were looking at. Day 6 -Salamanca Spain. Highlights: Spanish dining and Flamenco. Take your time absorbing the sheer architectural splendour of Salamanca, a city as visually striking as it is historically intriguing. Explore the city on a guided tour before some time at leisure followed by a delicious lunch accompanied by an energetic Flamenco dance performance. It was a 2-hour bus ride to Salamanca. Our guide on the bus was our cruise director Filipe who provided commentary for the entire 2 hours. He made the trip very interesting and enjoyable. Countryside was very dry. It was very hilly at the beginning and then much flatter once up on the plateau with crops to view. Had a local guide in Salamanca who was good. Restaurant meal was very good and Flamenco dance was enjoyable. Salamanca was very scenic. Day 7 -Pocinho > Pinhão. Highlights: Côa Valley. Over breakfast, you’ll enjoy a leisurely cruise to nearby Pocinho for our Côa Valley discovery. This afternoon, enjoy your picturesque cruise to Pinhão and tonight be entertained by a traditional Portuguese musical performance on board. Freechoice: Visit the award-winning Côa Valley Museum and enjoy a pre-historic workshop. If you’re more adventurous at heart, take a canoeing excursion on the Sabor River. Alternatively, you could join the ‘Tastes of the Côa Valley’ excursion and visit Casa Painova for a sweet almond workshop and a tasting of their almond, olive and fruit products. For our Freechoice we took a Scenic bus to the village of Freixd de Numao to house of Casa Painova with our excellent tour director Filipe. We toured the house and had an almond cooking and tasting demo. Local guide had a booming voice, so we did not need our Tailormades. A very enjoyable, scenic and interesting trip. Day 8 -Pinhão. Highlights: Scenic village experience. Today you’ll visit the remarkable village of Provesende, showcasing the Portugal of yesteryear. Wander the atmospheric streets of this quaint village with the locals as they proudly introduce you to their way of life – including their local bakery. This is a specially choreographed experience only open to Scenic guests. You’ll also visit the church for a special recital, and enjoy wine tasting at the restored manor house of Morgadio da Calçada. What better way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Freechoice: Top off a truly unforgettable day with a visit to the estate of Quinta Roeda for a tasting of their famous export. Or, if you’re feeling energetic, you could choose a walk through the hillside vineyard for a unique tasting among the vines. Our guide was Carla from the ship. She was very good. Tour of the bakery was a waste. We had an interesting tour of a port winery called Morgadio Da Calcada Manor House who served us the best port we had on the entire trip. Our Freechoice was a visit to the estate of Quinta Roeda. We chose a walk through the vineyard. Our local guide was in a hurry to get the tour over with and rushed through the vineyard, so if you stopped to take a picture, you had to run to catch up. It was very interesting and very scenic. Day 9 -Pinhão > Porto. Highlights: Scenic Enrich at São Francisco Church. Having spent the previous eight days discovering the treasures of the Douro, Varosa and Côa Valleys, enjoy an exclusive Douro Valley Wine Review, as well as on board activities, including a cork jewellery workshop. Otherwise, simply enjoy the beauty of the region as you cruise back into Porto. Enrich: The sheer beauty of São Francisco Church is sure to impress. From the outside the facade is a mixture of Gothic and Baroque architecture and inside the interior glows with its intricate wood carvings swathed in gold. Immerse yourself in the heart and soul of Portuguese music as you witness a spectacular private concert in this wondrous surrounding. This was a very enjoyable cruising day seeing the locks and scenery from the opposite direction. The evening Enrich was very enjoyable. Day 10 -Porto. Our Freechoice was a visit to Santa Maria Da Feira Paper Museum. This was a very interesting place. They demonstrated many of the old ways paper was made. Day 11 - Trip home to Toronto. Our flight to Lisbon was not till evening, so Scenic let us stay on the ship for the day then took us to the airport at the appropriate time, You don’t get this perk on ocean cruises as they just take you straight to the airport and leave you there all day. Our friends who travelled with us were told that the flight was oversold and they had no seats for them. Our friends explained that we drove them to the airport in Toronto and if they do not travel with us, they cannot get home. Air Portugal then agreed to let them on and bump someone else. Our flight to Lisbon was on time and on the same comfortable plane we came on. Our flight to Toronto was not on the same uncomfortable plane we came on thank goodness. It was on a new Airbus with lots of legroom and very comfortable and modern entertainment system. The Ship Scenic Azure This was our 4th Scenic cruise. Our first was from Budapest to Amsterdam on the Scenic Saphire. Our 2nd cruise was Vietnam and Cambodia on the Scenic Spirit. Our third was from Amsterdam to Basel on the Scenic Jewel. Everything was top notch on the Saphire and Spirit. Vietnam and Cambodia were full of spectacular things to see compared to what you can see in Europe. The Jewel was a disappointment as far as food and service and the tiny room. This cruise on the Scenic Azure was over the top for food and service. Every meal seemed like it was the best meal we had ever had. The service was exceptional and not only in the restaurant and lounge. The TV in the bedroom was also a computer. Wi-Fi was all through the ship. The Tailormades are so useful for tours and cruising on the river. The new ones do not have the range that the old ones did, so you cannot get far from the guide. The buses had beautiful Scenic murals and had Wi-Fi and were very comfortable. They also had USB charges at your seat for your phones and tablets. All the guides from the ship were very knowledgeable and made tours very interesting and enjoyable. Another feature we liked is you did not hear people hacking and coughing like you do on most ocean cruises. We really liked the choices we had for tours. Other cruise lines don’t seem to have any choice at stops. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We love the mediterainan coast, Portugal to Salamanca Spain fabulous , The Portuguese staff highly trained lovely calm people, all down to the Hotel Manager Joao Paula Oliveira. we felt comfortable from getting on and getting off at the ... Read More
We love the mediterainan coast, Portugal to Salamanca Spain fabulous , The Portuguese staff highly trained lovely calm people, all down to the Hotel Manager Joao Paula Oliveira. we felt comfortable from getting on and getting off at the end of the tour, the cruise down the river Duro was green and calming with houses dotted amongst the hills , you could do as much or as little as you wished at each place they anchored. The director Of touring staff Carla you felt you had know for years, and anyone of the staff who took you on tours was knowledgeable and looked after each person and answered all questions. We have learned more about Portugal and there history than I ever could imagine. and I am so grateful for that . Not forgetting all the other staff who are there to make your cruise a happy relaxing time, Butlers, Bar staff, Cabin attendants , Managers of dinning rooms, Chefs, Waiters, cleaners. plus all above and below deck, most important of course the Captain , not forgetting the evening entertainment . None of our 1st. Time experience would have been so good but for all those people pulling together. All we did was enjoy each and every moment of it and let them guide us to what we could achieve to make this our cruise. not knowing how hard they must have worked together to make such a lovely cruise. Thank you scenic Azure.x Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We have cruised with Scenic Tours before and they have always paid a lot of attention to detail. Each shore excursion is planned out to the infinite detail, but if you want to do your own thing then that is fine as well. All the cabins ... Read More
We have cruised with Scenic Tours before and they have always paid a lot of attention to detail. Each shore excursion is planned out to the infinite detail, but if you want to do your own thing then that is fine as well. All the cabins are well appointed with the majority having their own balcony. The beds are like sleeping on a cloud. The room service is of a very high standard. Every member of the crew greet you and make you feel as if you were royalty. If something is not right it is fixed immediately. The meals are abundant leaving you with the need to expand your belt. Everyone is able to dine in the specialty restaurant on the cruise. The wines match the meal being served. But if you do not want wine there is the option of having another type of drink. This is not a cruise for children as there are no activities for children. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We really liked the all inclusive nature of Scenic with no further charges once on board apart from spa options. Dining was enjoyably varied and generally very good. The crew were great. Dining staff were attentive and soon got to know our ... Read More
We really liked the all inclusive nature of Scenic with no further charges once on board apart from spa options. Dining was enjoyably varied and generally very good. The crew were great. Dining staff were attentive and soon got to know our preferred drinks, breakfast orders etc. The services of Sonja and Nuno in the bar were wonderful - always ready to serve with a smile. Loved my 'Bandy and Braileys'! The cabin was compact but very well appointed with a lovely sun balcony area. The bathroom was very well equipped too and all was kept very clean by Susana. The river Douro far exceeded our expectations - stunning scenery, quiet and some lovely places to visit. The weather was unseasonably chilly for late April and although we had some very good days, the wind was a challenge on occasions. We did have a problem with our butler as we didn’t meet her for 24 hours and which presented some difficulty trying to operate various things in the cabin- including our shower which we abandoned trying to take on arrival as couldn’t find the on/off lever. The butler finally came to our cabin the following afternoon when 2 men and a child knocked asking to come into the cabin to repair a curtain. My friend, who was alone, became very upset at this unnannounced intrusion as our safe was open as was our luggage as we were reorganising our use of storage etc. She had to do to reception as the phone was not answered to find out if these visitors were genuine. The butler came later and was very supportive to my friend. This seemed to be a safety issue as no one had informed us of this and they could have walked on from shore as we were still in Porto. After this we tried on subsequent days to make contact with the butler for simple requests like a pot of tea but didn’t ever make contact. We gave up trying after a few days.This was disappointing as others spoke very highly of their butler's service and I felt we missed out on a benefit we had paid for but not received. Our butler was very pleasant and friendly when we saw her on the ship, but the service was very poor probably because this was her first sailing. A final issue was the lack of emphasis on using the hand sanitiser at the entrance to the dining room. Many people became ill with a cold during the course of the cruise as my friend did as well as in the days following disembarkation, like myself, and also others we have heard from since. We always made a point of using the spray before dining unlike many others. A reminder by the crew would have helped embed this as common practice. Thank goodness it wasn’t Norovirus. We did enjoy very many aspects of the cruise and hope that these shortfalls can be addressed in the future. We particularly enjoyed the company of the passengers who proved to be very good company and a lot of fun! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
It was a great way to see some of Portugal that on your own you wouldn't see. Local guides were great, however the timing for the excursion in Salamanca was wrong and by the time the tour was finished and free time started the bulk of ... Read More
It was a great way to see some of Portugal that on your own you wouldn't see. Local guides were great, however the timing for the excursion in Salamanca was wrong and by the time the tour was finished and free time started the bulk of the shops had closed hence only some souvenir shops were still open (Scenic need to rethink Salamanca). The river scenery was pretty impressive and lots of little villages where we had experiences and interactions with the locals included. Butler service and no additional charge for food or any drinks certainly made us feel like we were in the lap of luxury. A couple of occasions where they brought local entertainers on board but mostly the resident pianist/vocalist. He adapted very well to tastes of voyagers, who were predominantly Australians but including Scotts, Irish and Canadians. Communication really easy as all staff had great English language skills. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Why Portugal? Because my husband wanted to experience Portugal Was an interesting cruise but very short on cruising. The River Douro is very short, hence we stayed several nights at the same spot. I enjoyed the Scenic Azure but the ... Read More
Why Portugal? Because my husband wanted to experience Portugal Was an interesting cruise but very short on cruising. The River Douro is very short, hence we stayed several nights at the same spot. I enjoyed the Scenic Azure but the Junior Suites were very short on space - I chose a Junior Suite as the Budapest cruise suites were very spacious. Glad of the extra space per favour of the closed in balcony. We choose to sail because of the scenery - not the wines as the crews seem to think. No way would we attend a 'Captain'/ Dinner'! A Scenic bar which, I believe is Australian, cannot make a lemon, lime & bitters - an Australian favourite. Internet was great. No break in service. Ship staff were very obliging and dealt admirably with my husband's requirements for daily injections that had to be kept between 5 & 8C. Australian staff had no idea of assistance with being able to take the needles overseas! Caused many grey hairs which was totally unnecessary! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We like Scenic. Having done all the Scenic river tours in France, we wanted to visit Europe again and the country in which two famous seafarers were born - Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan. This is the first year this cruise was ... Read More
We like Scenic. Having done all the Scenic river tours in France, we wanted to visit Europe again and the country in which two famous seafarers were born - Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan. This is the first year this cruise was available, and most of it was excellent. However, what was terrible, was truly terrible. POSITIVES: We were fortunate to have included on our tour a visit to the Cathedral containing the tomb of the Vasco Gama, so we achieved that. Our business class flights from Perth via Singapore to Frankfurt on Singapore Airlines were excellent, but .. NEGATIVES: 1. the 2.5 hour flight to Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Lisbon was a nightmare. Definitely choose another airline or route for that leg! The 3 nights in Lisbon were OK at the Sheraton, very nice staff and room, but they had never heard of porridge or Vegemite .. so some education of the chefs to give Australians (38 of us, so worth bothering about) a choice of recognisable food would have improved our stay. 2. An evening dinner at "Tagine" restaurant in Lisbon near water on Saturday 23rd July was terrible. After half an hour on a bus It took an hour for half a cup of lukewarm tomato soup to arrive (by this time I had consumed the 2 small pieces of bread allocated to the four people around me), then there were some reasonable vegetables wrapped up in a piece of fish, then an hour later the dessert (a bright pink concoction which barely covered the base of the same size plate the soup had arrived in, with a strawberry on the top). There was plenty of red and white wine, served copiously. 3. More variety in on-board entertainment essential (not the same guy every night!) FINALLY We liked Portugal, found most of the tours excellent (except the afternoon ones when it was 43 degrees, which we declined) the ship, most Scenic Staff. However third parties (hotels, restaurants) need more careful selection. Onboard the "Scenic Azure" the food and staff was excellent. We needed a rest and once on board were happy to stay put. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We have done other river cruises with Scenic and when the Douro River cruise was introduced we could not wait to experience this and we were not disappointed. The Azure was newly commissioned and very comfortable. We were particularly ... Read More
We have done other river cruises with Scenic and when the Douro River cruise was introduced we could not wait to experience this and we were not disappointed. The Azure was newly commissioned and very comfortable. We were particularly pleased with our balcony cabin from which we could view the scenery going by in complete comfort. The food, drinks and service could not be faulted with friendly staff ready to meet our every needs. One issue was that the lounge area was somewhat small for the number of passengers and during the port talks things got a little cramped. Overall the tours were delightful and very informative, with the exception of the Salamanca Lunch. The food left a lot to be desired, although this was off-set by the Spanish Dancers who were very professional and a joy to watch. The BBQ on the upper deck was a great idea, with excellent food and drinks. The pianist provided superb entertainment playing music that catered for the ages of the majority of the passengers. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Previous experience during a cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam suggested that there was no point in choosing any other river cruise operator than Scenic. Our experience on the Duoro cruise confirmed that conclusion. There were ... Read More
Previous experience during a cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam suggested that there was no point in choosing any other river cruise operator than Scenic. Our experience on the Duoro cruise confirmed that conclusion. There were differences. The often mountainous Duoro landscape has more in common with the fjords of Norway than the pretty 'castles on the Rhine' but that only adds to the interest of the quite different geography, history and culture of the region. Another important difference was that all the crew were Scenic employees who regarded themselves as part of a Scenic 'family', determined to do well for the company and themselves, by looking after us in every way they could. As on the previous cruise, the egalitarian Australian influence permeated the atmosphere, encouraging friendly interaction between people from many countries, social backgrounds and interests. Readers of this review may think that the writer is too generous with the high ratings recorded below for so many aspects of Scenic's performance. I can only insist that I am by nature, profession and long experience a stern analyst and critic.. However there is one aspect not specifically covered by those ratings. It is the profoundly kind and thoughtful way in which, from the beginning of the booking and travel process to the journey home, the Scenic team ashore and afloat helped my wife and I, both nearer ninety than eighty years old, enjoy the cruise to the maximum possible extent! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Scenic Azure Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.8
Dining 5.0 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 3.0 4.0
Family 1.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.3
Enrichment 3.0 4.2
Service 5.0 4.6
Value For Money 5.0 4.3

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