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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
This was our second river cruise with scenic and we cannot recommend Scenic enough....from the very start of the process - booking through to arriving home - the whole experience was absolutely fantastic. We sailed from Nuremberg up the ... Read More
This was our second river cruise with scenic and we cannot recommend Scenic enough....from the very start of the process - booking through to arriving home - the whole experience was absolutely fantastic. We sailed from Nuremberg up the river Main and Rhine finishing at Amsterdam. The highlight of the trip was the wonderful journey through the Rhine Gorge with the sun shining sipping a cocktail - just perfect. Another enjoyable time was spent at the Oftoberfest - 3 course lunch and plenty of free beer and wine. Also a great evening was had at Marksburg Castle enjoying a medieval banquet with authentic entertainment. Scenic's organisation was superb - no detail was fight ten. The Scenic Crystal was exceptional, clean and contemporary. It's food was excellent, top notch inclusive drinks included, plus all the magnificent trips and events were included too. Our tip would be to book as early as you can and get the extras that are on offer! What more can I say...recommend 100% Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We had been with Scenic back in 2006 for a Canadian/Alaskan tour. Having been on 3 ocean cruises since, the European River Cruise was such a pleasure. The smaller group of 168 was so much better than the larger ocean cruises and the ... Read More
We had been with Scenic back in 2006 for a Canadian/Alaskan tour. Having been on 3 ocean cruises since, the European River Cruise was such a pleasure. The smaller group of 168 was so much better than the larger ocean cruises and the atmosphere on board was excellent. The food, excursions and other details were so very good and Scenic so well organised, they are to be congratulated. All excursions were included in the initial price, as well as drinks on board and local guides. This makes the trip great value for money. We added an extra 6 days, travelling by coach to Prague and Berlin and this section was also very good. We were accompanied by local guides for this part and they really knew the history of these areas and were excellent with the location walks on arrival. An excellent holiday overall and would recommend this tour with Scenic to anyone wanting to see Europe. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We are retired & have cruised with many lines, many times. The Scenic Experience is complete - air, transfers, alcohol(even in the room refrigerators), gratuities, excursions, whisperers, personalized GPS, & motorized bikes ... Read More
We are retired & have cruised with many lines, many times. The Scenic Experience is complete - air, transfers, alcohol(even in the room refrigerators), gratuities, excursions, whisperers, personalized GPS, & motorized bikes anytime. Nikola, the tour director was fabulous & the staff truly seemed to enjoy not only the passengers but each other & their jobs. This is not to say that it was perfect. Some of the lunch buffet was lukewarm & last year, on the Paris-Nice trip with the same line the trip was well below this level in itinerary, staff & food. We have taken the cruise from Budapest - Amsterdam & now from Amsterdam - Budapest twice with the same company & will do it again in a few years. It was wonderful. Be careful of the date you choose as the Rhine & Danube can flood in the spring & the ship can't get through a lock or under a bridge & the cruise itinerary goes out the window. Caveat - I understand that the refunds for a ruined cruise are under dispute in a class action suit. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
From the moment we were greeted at Amsterdam airport by a Scenic tour director, we knew we had made a great choice. We had done numerous ocean cruises in the past and had decided that a river cruise taking in the Christmas markets was a ... Read More
From the moment we were greeted at Amsterdam airport by a Scenic tour director, we knew we had made a great choice. We had done numerous ocean cruises in the past and had decided that a river cruise taking in the Christmas markets was a great way to see parts on Europe that we had missed on previous adventures. The cabin, while at first looking smaller than expected was a lot larger once he curtains opened up onto our balcony which included a versatile window that could be raised or lowered at the flick of a switch. The ship (Scenic Crystal) was excellent as was the staff throughout with a very special mention to Yvonne out cruise director who was a sensation and loads of fun. The tours to all of the small towns and cities were extremely well run and informative with no problems at all along the way and the scenery as the ship sailed down the Rhine Gorge had to be seen to be believed. Do not worry about getting bored on this cruise as there is no time for bordom! This is a cruise that I would totally recommend and a company that stands by their word. Scenic deliver! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Ship is a 'convention' or banquet hall type of atmosphere, no pictures,no ambience. Plastic flowers on tables & big bouquet of plastic flower in foyer. Staff although professional, it was a 'business' as usual attitude. The 'butler' ... Read More
Ship is a 'convention' or banquet hall type of atmosphere, no pictures,no ambience. Plastic flowers on tables & big bouquet of plastic flower in foyer. Staff although professional, it was a 'business' as usual attitude. The 'butler' introduced himself the first & last day, although he did take our laundry bag once - over rated as a marketing tool. Food was ok & the buffet lunches was confusing, no one knew where to jump in around the island. We were stuck with a bunch of austrailians, over 80% of the ship - they lacked manners, loud, noisy,etc. Of course the water level was low & halfway, we had to be coached upstream & transfered to the Scenic Jewel, which in essence was a better ship & the staff was also better to a point. The tours in each port was short and the biggest complaint. My 3rd & 4th river cruise and the the most we spent was very disappointing. They do push the all you can drink, but over priced and who can drink through out the day. The cabin closest door was always stuck and hard to pull shut creating alot of noise & the bathroom shower was a half door, you had to lay down towels all the time. During embarkation we could not board the ship like the other river cruise line but met at their land hotel that the pre-cruisers took and then coached the 300meters over as a group, 'check in' not before 4pm. 2 other lines we took, welcomed you any time & we could even have drinks and something to eat in the lounge. Disembarkation, the tour director spent the night before about an hr. going on how they would like our luggage outside our cabin by 6:45am, & us out by 9am for the next group coming in. We turned on the tv monitor for the daily schedule and they had already changed our names to the guests that will be occupying our cabin. Not a 15day cruise, since we really left early in the am of the 15th. The staff did work hard. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
To begin last year there was a drought on the danube and you could not start where you were suppose to. The cruise never told us until the day it left prague. I wish someone had told me not to go out every day and rush around and stay on ... Read More
To begin last year there was a drought on the danube and you could not start where you were suppose to. The cruise never told us until the day it left prague. I wish someone had told me not to go out every day and rush around and stay on the boat one day and crusie down, or you dont get to see any beautiful countryside cause at nite its dark when the boat was moving. The nites they had special dinners the food was great , the other nites it was good. Lunches looked great but you were off the boat everyday site seeing. I would not pay extra for balcony cause you are at dock level and dont see anything or you go up to the top deck at nite and there is where the view is. Entertainment is fair you are not going on a river cruise for the entertainment. The electric bikes were great but everyone was in a hurry , and they needed to divide the groups up more. Scenic is one of the better ships cause everything is included. It is much different than a big cruise ship. Just remember to relax. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
The most wonderful cruise I have been on. Very attentive staff. A very competent captain. Plenty of interesting things to see and do, great shore excursions, along with some cultural concerts, and ballet performances. Would recommend ... Read More
The most wonderful cruise I have been on. Very attentive staff. A very competent captain. Plenty of interesting things to see and do, great shore excursions, along with some cultural concerts, and ballet performances. Would recommend this type of cruise to any one. The entertainment that was provided onboard that related to the region that we were cruising through, e.g. Hungarian Dancers, German Bar b q at one of the local wineries. The ship was very clean and well presented, very prompt service from the crew nothing was too much trouble. Participated in all the off shore activities, and any entertainment on board. Disembarkation was well organised. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014

I cannot fault the service and presentation of Scenic Crystal. The staff were excellent and our tour director Szilvia was outstanding. Everything was 5 star except the food. Most vegetables were frozen or commercially prepared and I ... Read More

I cannot fault the service and presentation of Scenic Crystal. The staff were excellent and our tour director Szilvia was outstanding. Everything was 5 star except the food. Most vegetables were frozen or commercially prepared and I found all the European fish awful, and they managed to overcook it. They did a seafood night and it was a joke. Imagine trying to give Aussies seafood when it is not sourced locally and is mostly frozen. Breakfast was the best meal of the day.

The cabins and public areas were always clean and well maintained. Staff very obliging. Unfortunately there was an issue with a broken lock near Budapest so on day 12 we had to pack and transfer to another boat......the Sapphire. This was not only very inconvenient and disruptive but the rooms/bathrooms were smaller and the best staff had obviously been allocated to the Crystal. I understand this was out of Scenic,s control however river cruising always has the risk of high water (which stops all cruising) or lock issues.

All the excursions were well managed however the trip to Bratislava was a total waste of time. After a 3 hour round bus trip the town offered nothing but cracked and crumbling buildings, weeds growing in the tram lines and cobblestones falling apart. If you took all the available tours I found it very tiring and quite a few passengers elected to stay on board. Personal choice but you are paying for this as ypou are for the drinks (which I do not). All I all, a great company who delivers everything they promise.

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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2013

I had researched long and hard for a couple of years, since our last ocean cruise in 2008 (Cherry Blossom Cruise) about European river cruises. Considering lines, ships, itineraries, inclusions and extensions that we wanted to make. ... Read More

I had researched long and hard for a couple of years, since our last ocean cruise in 2008 (Cherry Blossom Cruise) about European river cruises. Considering lines, ships, itineraries, inclusions and extensions that we wanted to make. Taking into account all of the above decided on booking Scenic Tours Amsterdam to Bucharest, Black Sea and Turkey. 38 days in total, 21 days on board the Scenic Crystal. We booked through my travel agent and then Scenic tours, both our airline tickets with Singapore Airlines ( entitled to only pay taxes with early bird offer and free stop over in Singapore on our return) and our accommodation at Amsterdam at the Doubletree.

My husband and I are in our late 40's, and traveled with my parents (mid 70's). We booked the Royal Panoramic Suite on the Danube deck (had paid a $500 fee to be informed when bookings opened to secure this cabin as there are only 2 of them, 20 months in advance of cruise date). Because this was our first time in Europe, I was happy to have transfers, etc all taken care of by Scenic. We arrived 7.20am on Saturday and had a private car meet us and transfer us to the Doubletree with a little orientation tour on the way into town from the airport. Arrived at Doubletree and we were able to check into our room before 8am, at no extra charge (we did not book it for the night before, as is sometimes suggested), so was very happy with the efficient check in service and the staff were all very courteous during our stay. We had upgraded at the Doubletree, to a King City suite, so had a room on the highest floor looking out over the city and Centraal station. The room was very clean, plenty of room and stocked with plenty of towels and toiletries. The hotel is ideally suited to exploring the city as all the trams run from Centraal Station, and the canal bus has a stop at the station, although it is only a 5-10 minute walk to Dam Square on the flat. The hotel also has bike available for hire (16 euros daily). Would stay here again.

On the day of checkout from the hotel, Scenic had an information desk, luggage store and refreshments available on the first floor of the hotel. The Scenic Crystal docked the day before and there were passengers arriving from the ship waiting for transfers to airport etc, as they finished their cruises, so it was all happening. My husband and I had more exploring of Amsterdam planned, so left our luggage here to be transferred to the ship. We could have been back at 3pm for a bus transfer to the Crystal, or make our own way to the ship. After a full day in Amsterdam we arrived at the ship at about 6.30pm. We were welcomed on board by staff, checked in with our passports and given a welcome rose and escorted to our cabin. As the evening meal was being served in the restaurant, we dumped our coats & shopping and headed to the dining room and met up with our other family members.

All the ship's staff was very welcoming and friendly, and there was lots of chatter amongst the passengers of where we had been, where we come from, etc. The ship was clean, with plenty of room for everyone and lots of areas for people to gather in small groups. The staff were helpful in guiding us with directions, until we all got familiar with the ship and routines.

All the staff wore their name tags with their nationality, and there were a lot of introductions all round. Nothing was too much trouble, and it wasn't long before staff were anticipating what you wanted. There is always someone at the reception desk 24 hours (except when doing security rounds overnight for about 10 minutes at a time).

Our cabin was at the rear of the ship, the panoramic suite, and we had no problems with noise, vibrations and/or fumes. In fact on some occasions we were docked when we went to sleep and woke to find that we were either in a different port or underway, and we hadn't heard a thing. The toiletries were fine and plentiful, as was the supply of towels and the linen changes. The linen and towels were of high quality and very luxurious.

The panoramic lounge has many different seats available from couches to lounge chairs, bar stools & seats at tables. There is a library at the rear of the lounge that has many books about ports of call, it also has the coffee& tea making facilities. We always picked up a pot of tea or a hot chocolate here to take to our cabin when going to bed. The bar is toward the front of the lounge and there is a piano, where Josef our musician played during our cruise. THe river cafe is in the lounge and provided early risers breakfast, and light snacks/treats options during the day. Portabellos is an intimate Italian dining experience that is to the fore of the bar area on this level, and it a very pleasant dining experience.

The Crystal dining room is a level down and has plenty of tables of all varying configurations, although pretty close together. Some meals here are table service meals and others are a buffet. There is always some meals you can order from your waiter and they are very happy to accommodate all requests. Drinks are served freely in the dining room and always plenty of cold water available. The food was exceptional, although if you like your meat well done, make sure you tell your waiter this, as they tend to serve their meat on the rarer side of the ledger. The food was always hot and if you want more bread rolls, again just ask.

We dined at the La Rive table and this was a fun night of food and wine, the waiters, Adam & Stan, were so knowledgeable about the wines and the chef came out at the end of the meal as well.

Because we were in a royal suite we dined on the Captain's table on the farewell night. The Captain was a very funny guy from Bulgaria and was more than happy to talk anywhere, anytime. When you are up on deck, you are always welcomed to go into the wheelhouse and ask questions, and even steer the ship. I had a small turn going through the Iron Gates, but got so nervous I was going to stuff up, handed the controls back.

The gym was limited, with a treadmill, bike, cross trainer, and is used mostly by the Captain!! There are towels, water and apples in the gym. The electric bikes are available for use whenever in port and they are great. So easy to use, just make sure you turn the assist off when negotiating tight corners!!

The wellness centre has and area for hair dressing and then an inner room for beauty and massage. Both the stylist and therapist here were excellent. I recommend a massage, and their rates are very reasonable compared to some ships. The platinum facial was pure heaven and included everything except a back massage!

There was a shop on board that had branded clothing of Scenic, and some jewelry & watches for purchase.

Room service was available in our suite and we had breakfast in the room a few times when we had to be up to buses early. The food was hot and huge serves, and always at the time requested. You could also order and early morning tea/coffee and this too was a little indulgent.

Service was always with a smile and a little chat, with small touches like having bottled water at reception as you leave for excursions and having warm face washers and refreshing drinks to welcome you back on board. After one very wet excursion we were met with umbrellas to protect us up the gangway and warm face washers & towels after a very wet bike ride.

The port excursions were well organised and there was a talk the day previous to explain everyone's options, and lay out the schedules for buses etc. Our cruise director, Marin, was always available and easy going, and made every attempt to meet your requests.

Along the cruise there were entertainers that came on board, usually traditional dancers & musicians of the relevant country. Otherwise the ship's musician, Josef, provided the musical entertainment.

On the day of disembarkation, we were given tags for our luggage and had to have them out the front of our cabins by 8am. It is all hands on deck, as everyone assists with the unloading of luggage.

Some of the excursions we went on:

Zaanse Schans

It was wet, so a little restricted, but thoroughly enjoyed the windmills and the reserve in general. Tip: stop at the shops along the way, have much more variety than those at the main entrance. Photo revenue goes to continue the preservation of the buildings in the reserve.

Cologne

Guide was very poor. We ended up leaving him and joining another of our groups once we found out where to board our boat. Went back to the cathedral in our free time and climbed the 509 stairs to the top, the only ones on board to do so. Such a lovely city. Walked along the Hohenzollernbrucke rail bridge that is covered in masses of padlocks of couples declaring their love for each other and then casting the keys to their locks into the river Rhine. Loved it.

Passau

We headed from Passau to Cesky Krumlov for the day. Others went to Salzburg, and some others went to the salt mines. My mother stayed in Passau and went on a walking tour of the city (it was flooded 4 days later). Cesky Krumlov took about 1 1/2 hours via bus, travelling through Czech countryside, to a very impressive town with a very impressive castle. We spent the day exploring and had lunch, returning via bus to Linz, where we re-boarded the Crystal. Had tea and then some exploring of the city centre of Linz before setting off at about 11.30pm.

Budapest

What a thoroughly delightful city. We arrived on the Scenic Crystal at about 10.30pm and cruised up and down the river so we could all take photos of all these incredible sights lit up at night. It really was very magical. We docked opposite parliament house. This city has many places to visit. We went on a city tour with the Cave Hospital, that was very interesting, and saw many beautiful buildings and had more opportunities outside as it wasn't raining!! We could see the water levels rising whilst docked here. This was where all but 30 of us left the cruise and headed off in many directions, and a bunch of newbies arrived for the next 7 days into Eastern Europe.

We walked to the Fisherman's Bastion, parliament, Shoes by the Danube, St Stephan's Bascilica, the Hungarian markets, the Gellert Baths, the Church in the Cave, and many other places along the river. The lighting engineer of Budapest has the most important job, as this city is so wonderfully lit at night. Need more time here.

Bucharest

Bucharest was the beginning of our land component of our Black Sea - Turkey extension. It was a relative unknown city, compared to the other cities we had visited. Communist architecture evident everywhere, but many gems to be found. The people's parliament is almost hideous in it's over sized grandeur, very similar to the Nazi architectural style of intimidation by size. There is some humour in Bucharest. A base of an old monument to Lenin (knocked down during the overthrow of the communist government) now has students place another monument there from time to time. It was a worm whilst we were there. We stayed at the JW Marriott, that was very nice and comfortable, although a little way out of town (a good 20-30 minute walk). Here is where the service industry is trying hard, but tourists, especially Western tourists are all very new to them. Not many smiles, no eye contact, although not that they weren't doing their job, it's just that they were often having loud discussions/disagreements with other staff in front of guests, and that sort of thing. I'm sure after a few more years they will have it all down pat.

I recommend that you research what you want to see before you get here, as there is so much to see. We took an excursion to see the Snagov Lake and Monastery, which is about 90 minutes from Bucharest. It was lovely and similar to the Bulgarian style of church, with al frescoes painted all over the interior. There is only one toilet on the monastery island. It was a lovely preserved part of Romanian life.

The shopping in Bucharest is good, with prices being the cheapest in Europe I had seen so far, with the quality not being compromised. I did enjoy our visit.

Istanbul

The Dolmabahce palace was beautiful, although Scenic used their own guides for the tour it was difficult to hear what they were saying with a larger group of 63 people. (the headsets are only used whilst on the spaceships). You are not allowed to take photos, the architecture inside is very impressive and beautiful. The site is perfect right beside the Bosphorous, and the gardens are equally magnificent.

The mosque, underground cistern, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi palace were all very impressive. The Bosphorous cruise was a standout, as Scenic book the whole ship out so there is plenty of room to roam around and see everything in the 1 and a half hours spent on the water.

The guides did a great job as we were there at the same time that Taksim Square was the centre of some riots, and they managed to show us everything around these disputes, and keep us out of harm's way.

Underground Cistern

Such an incredible feat of engineering from so long ago. Fascinating.

Blue Mosque

Enjoyed the knowledge of the guides and the beauty and scale of the mosque.

Grand Bazaar

This was a little dull, found the sales people a little rude, for the first time on my trip. Not many people around, maybe due to the Taksim Square riots.

Hagia Sofia

So much history. Love Ataturks' vision in making this a museum. Again knowledgeable guides.

Bosphorous Cruise

The Bosphorous cruise was a standout, as Scenic booked the whole ship out so there is plenty of room to roam around and see everything in the 1 and a half hours spent on the water, with all areas of interest pointed out to you by the guides.

Topkapi

Needed a little more time here, but that was not to be helped as our hotel was within the area locked down at 4pm around Taksim Square so we had to be back within a time frame that was not the usual.

Spice Market

Loved the presentation and the smells, although they sell a bit more than spices here.

In conclusion, we had a great trip, in some difficult circumstances, although the staff never let on to the guests the extra work this caused them all. The ship was perfect, such a lovely indulgence. I did enjoy the direction we went (Amsterdam to Bucharest) but would have loved to have had the land content first and then lived it up in the boat not needing to go back to living out of a suitcase. But this is nit picking. The staff are the Crystal's best asset, and I felt privileged to have been part of their family for 21 days.

Would recommend Scenic Tours to everyone, they were very helpful and all went very smoothly, and would definitely tour with them again.

Karyn

 

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2012
My wife and I had the pleasure of cruising for 15 days (10-24 Sep 2012), on the relatively new (at the time), MPS "Scenic Crystal" (owned/operated by Scenic Tours), from Budapest in Hungary, to Amsterdam in Holland. Since disembarking, I ... Read More
My wife and I had the pleasure of cruising for 15 days (10-24 Sep 2012), on the relatively new (at the time), MPS "Scenic Crystal" (owned/operated by Scenic Tours), from Budapest in Hungary, to Amsterdam in Holland. Since disembarking, I have been very keen to write a review on this magnificent vessel (to share some of our excitement with you); but before I could do so, we had another cruise on a completely different new ship, the Celebrity Reflection. It is very hard to compare "apples with oranges" on ships that are like "cheese and chalk", but I will try my best to do so. There's probably little point in preaching to the converted (those who love river cruising), so I shall write this article primarily for ocean cruisers who might be thinking about river cruising, and in doing so, I will compare each ship against the other. At sea, when the weather turns bad and the seas get rougher, you leave your balcony and go into your cabin and close the balcony door, and possibly even the curtains. On the Crystal, where the river never gets rough, if the weather turns bad, you just press a button and close the outer glass window (which lifts up to the roof) while you can remain on your balcony. If you want fresh air, the outer window can be opened or adjusted to any height. As far as I know, this is an Australian innovation which has never been implemented on any other ship, anywhere (as yet anyway). On Celebrity's Reflection, the "fun police" (as some CCers call them) x-ray your bags and carry-ons, and can even open your toothpaste, in a determined effort to prove that you are indeed a dangerous criminal trying to smuggle alcohol on board. On Scenic Crystal, you are most welcome to bring on your own drinks and store them in your own fridge. There is no x-ray machine, sniffer dog or armed guard and there is certainly no "naughty room" for you or your confiscated alcohol. Such is the mentality of the Australian cruise line, Scenic Tours, and the reason behind this is that alcohol is FREE on board (it's included in your cruise fare), so if you drink your own alcohol, then you are in fact doing them a service! This also makes for much happier passengers, as I heard so many complaints on Reflection about this. With only 171 passengers, the Crystal's crew gets to know everyone's name by Day 2, and the service is much more personal; while on cruise liners with approximately 3,000 passengers, you seldom see a crew member more than twice (except for your cabin attendant), let alone expect them to remember your name. The same applies to passengers. The down side to that, is that if you have a really annoying passenger on a river ship (which we did), it can be quite difficult to avoid them! On Celebrity Reflection, on Day 2 of our cruise, we waited in a line/queue for two (2) hours to embark at Venice, while at other ports, the wait was at least 15 minutes (to get on, be x-rayed & frisked, etc.); however on Scenic Crystal, it never took more than 2 minutes to get back on board (with no frisking or body searches) and another 2 minutes to get back into my cabin. Getting off at ports was also a very quick process, unlike on Reflection, where we had to wait in the Reflection Theatre for up to 1 hour to go ashore for tours. Regarding ports and shore excursions, both ships provided excellent shore excursions and we were very happy with them all. Scenic provides their own buses which actually follow the ship, so you get used to seeing the same drivers, although you have different local guides at each port. We were very happy with all of our tours, except two (one tour on each of the two ships, at Nuremberg and Dubrovnik) when we were left with no time to shop for souvenirs. Shore excursions from Crystal were "free" (well, actually included in your cruise fare - and with no tipping), while some of the Reflection's excellent shore excursions seemed a bit expensive to me. Both ships visited amazing ports; however, only Crystal provided free e-bikes to use ashore, and VOX headsets to allow you to conduct your own self-guided tours. Scenic Tours also provided terrific backpacks to all passengers (prior to boarding), along with a large travel wallet, both proving to be perfect and which we used on Reflection, in the absence of anything at all - not even a travel wallet - being provided by Celebrity Cruises. By pure coincidence, our cabin (BA223, a Balcony cabin) on Scenic Crystal was exactly the same one that was reviewed by Noreen (Love2Travelalso), whom we've never met (be sure to read her excellent review too). The cabin is approximately mid ship, on the starboard side, of the middle (Rhine) deck - there are 3 decks - and it was extremely well appointed, with everything that we had on the ocean cruise line, plus quite a bit more. Something that I really enjoyed (maybe because I'm a male, or maybe because I'm young at heart) was the disco shower. As we showered, we could have a spectacular light show which changed colours and patterns, as we wished. Apart from the lights, this shower was much better than the one on Reflection, as it had 3 separate shower heads: lower, middle (on a cable), and high; as well as being much more variable in pressure, water direction, etc. (My wife was happy with the magnification mirror that was provided in the bathroom. To be honest, I couldn't tolerate the smell of the L'Occitane toiletries (I won't say here what it smells like to me), but the products did work very well, especially the conditioner and the body lotion. I know that they are well-known products, however the Hydro-Minerale bathroom products supplied on Reflection also worked very well, but they smelt much nicer (to me anyway)! On board Reflection, we paid a lot of money to dine in the specialty restaurants; while on Crystal, the one specialty restaurant (it is a much smaller ship) was included in the fare - albeit on a rotational basis. However the service was exemplary and the standard of food was extremely high, as was the ambience of that smaller dining space. On the subject of decor, Scenic doesn't go "over the top" with fancy decorations and expensive artwork/sculptures. The ship looks very smart, clean and fancy enough; while on Reflection, no expense was spared. There is no comparison in this matter. However we did walk through several other river ships, many of which were very ornate, and in my opinion, "over the top" to the point of being ridiculous. Being slightly critical, I could say that Scenic Crystal appeared to have mismatched furniture, from a colour/color perspective, but it was certainly very comfortable to sit in. The food on Scenic Crystal was superb, with plenty of variety and options/alternatives, and several courses. Our wine or beer glasses were never empty. In addition to the MDR (main dining room) there was also the River Cafe, which served delicious ice creams, cakes, sandwiches & snacks - all at no additional cost. Similar cafes on the Reflection (except for the Ocean View Cafe) charged extra for their snacks, coffees & ice creams. I found the wait staff in the MDR on Crystal to be friendlier and more caring than those in the MDR on Reflection (not that there was anything wrong with Reflection's wait staff; this is more to do with ship size). Of the two ships, on board WiFi was much cheaper (50 Euros for 14 days' access) and it was much more frequently available on Scenic Crystal than on Celebrity Reflection (USD 400 for only 27 hours' access; however it took 40 minutes to send one (1) email!). Mind you at home in Australia I get one month's unlimited, broadband access for AUD 50. Someone is making some money here, don't you think? In my opinion, Reflection isn't really a child-friendly ship, but (sadly) there were some kids on board; while Scenic has a no-children policy. This was a welcome relief to us, as our adult children have long since left the nest & we now much prefer a peaceful, relaxing holiday (without any kids). The Crystal has no pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room or relaxation beds (like the Reflection), but she does have a small, but quite well-equipped gym and beauty treatments/ massage/ hairdresser. I could continue with many more comparisons, but I won't at the risk of boring you. I must say that my wife and I really enjoy both types of cruising and despite some of the above comments, we really enjoyed being on both ships. Hopefully, you'll now see that river cruising is equal to, and perhaps even slightly better than, ocean cruising. It could be that we had the right ship, with the right crew, at the right time, and that others might not be so lucky; but we really loved the Scenic Crystal and would highly recommend the ship to anyone. Although more expensive upfront, the two cruises worked out to be about the same cost in the end (after all the add-ons that we incurred on Reflection, like drinks, spa, excursions, haircut, specialty dining, tips, etc.). Sadly, we were not happy with our (incompetent) local travel agent (for several reasons) and we'd prefer to be able to book this ship/cruise via the Internet, which is currently not an option, as far as I know. You might want to check this for yourself. I hope I've covered all the required points, but to summarise, Scenic Crystal is a beautiful, modern river ship and we loved everything about her. The entire crew was really terrific, the ports and shore excursions were exceptional, the food was delicious and varied, our cabin was fantastic (especially the shower!), and the on-board activities were more than adequate for our needs, noting that the size of the ship prohibits any large, Broadway or West End productions. Embarkation and disembarkation was quick, easy and painless. Finally (to reiterate), my wife and I would gladly recommend this ship and the cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam; and would remind you that although quite a bit more expensive up-front, almost EVERYTHING is included in that price, which results in terrific value for money. Cheers & Bon Voyage, Chris (GreyFunnel) Read Less
Scenic Crystal Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 4.5
Entertainment 2.0 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.7
Fitness Recreation 3.0 4.0
Family 1.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.6
Enrichment 2.0 4.8
Service 4.0 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 4.4
Rates 5.0 5.0

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