Scenic guests travelling from Britain have a free choice or air travel, or first-class rail. As I had never been through the Channel Tunnel before, or used Eurostar or TGV, I chose the rail option. SCENIC REALLY MUST PROVIDE BETTER ... Read More
Scenic guests travelling from Britain have a free choice or air travel, or first-class rail. As I had never been through the Channel Tunnel before, or used Eurostar or TGV, I chose the rail option. SCENIC REALLY MUST PROVIDE BETTER GUIDANCE TO GETTING ACROSS PARIS! If you've transferred between Paris stations before, you shouldn't have any problems, but if you've not done it before, expect a nightmare! Eurostar terminates at Gare du Nord and TGV leaves from Gare du Lyon. You can either transfer between stations via taxi, or the Paris Metro (=Underground). Signage on Paris Metro and Gare du Lyon is very poor: I tried to get to the right platform on the Metro, but struggled to find the right lift (I had a suitcase) and ended up on the wrong platforms a couple of times. ...On the Underground in London, they don't allow suitcases on escalators and you must use lifts, I assumed Paris was the same, but it appears it wasn't, so I gave up on the lifts and used escalators! ...All this confusion made me miss the 10:15 train to Basel! The woman in the ticket office made me pay full price (189 Euros) for a new ticket on the 12:15 train. Even then, it was difficult to find the platforms (on a higher level than the ticket office) and I only just made the 12:15. Also, rail & Metro staff in Paris are far less helpful than London's rail and tube staff. ...Fortunately I was still well in time for the ship, as it didn't depart Basel until 23:45 and the free taxi transfer arrived promptly.
Breakfast was excellent on Scenic Jade, everything you could possibly need: Full English, Continental, fruit, yoghurt, fish, fruit juice, etc.. HOWEVER, dinner was as bad as breakfast was good. I was a solo traveller, this is my first river cruise, but I've done sixteen seacruises. On seacruises single travellers are offered the option of going on a large table with other singles AND everyone has a reserved place at dinner: NOT SO ON SCENIC! ...Sit where you want and if you're single, either eat on your own, get room service, or take the plunge and risk a "They're reserved for our friends" reply, or a "What's he doing here?" look. It would be so much easier if they reserved seats and had a big table option for singles! Early on in the cruise, dinner service was slow and confused, but they seemed to improve on week two.
A big drawback with a lot of seacruises is the airconditioning is always on, even when it's only about 12C/54F outside, so everywhere's freezing cold. Not so on Scenic Jade:YOU CAN TURN THE A/C OFF, YESSSS!!! ...I had a Balcony Suite (237, starboard aft). It's not a fully open balcony. It has a large electric sash window on the outside, which has a noisy motor and can be a bit difficult to close: so it's best to leave the balcony window slightly open at night, to avoid disturbing your neighbours, if you get upin the night to photograph or film where you're going through. The balcony has inner doors, so the cabin doesn't get cold, even in Europe in October.
Most of the passengers were Australian (I guess about 80%), Canadians made up about 14% and Americans about 5%. I believe I was the only British person.
River cruising is a lot more free and easy than sea cruises: you can freely wander on and off ship, without having to constantly show your pass, or yield to bag searches. Also, there are quite a lot of overnight moorings, so you could stay out all night, or visit people in the areas the ship moors in.
There was entertainment on Scenic Jade in the evenings, but I didn't go to any, as there's plenty to do anyway: the ship is often moored in the evenings and there are also inclusive off-ship dining experiences in some places the ship moors at. I did go to the crew show, but this was not as good as the general standard on seacruises: most acts were just larking about, with a couple of exceptions.
Germany was a real eye-opener, it's always been a place to drive through in the late evening or night, to & from Switzerland or Italy, but the Moselle River is as impressively scenic as much of Switzerland (I know, I've been to CH five times). The Netherlands was very enjoyable too: helped by unbroken sun on the days we were in Veere (a quaint New England-like village), Antwerp (Belgium) and Amsterdam. Read Less