My wife and I have had many cruises over the years, but never a river cruise. We have used a number of cruise lines, but the last 3 cruises have been with Oceania, which we dearly love and we have another booked for the 4th June this year ... Read More
My wife and I have had many cruises over the years, but never a river cruise. We have used a number of cruise lines, but the last 3 cruises have been with Oceania, which we dearly love and we have another booked for the 4th June this year in our favourite suite.
Having extensivly covered the Med, we thought that a river cruise may give us another wide variety of places to see, but in a slightly lazier way along the banks of the rivers of Europe and perhaps further afield and as we are i our 75th year, we do like variety.
At the Birmingham NEC Cruise show in 2016, we booked the cruise with Oceania, but then saw the stand of Scenic River Cruises. We had been told that they were one of the best, so we went along and chatted with Stacey Owen, who was very helpful and having explained that we had never had a river cruise before we explained that wanted spacious accomodation, as we usually have a suite aboard Oceania, so we elected to have the Royal Panorama Suite (337) which gave us that space.
Flying from London Heathrow to Marselles was ok, but had a long wait on the coach when we arrived, as some passengers were on the next flight, so a 2 hour + wait on the coach was not really appreciated and there were several complaints made by others.
Once aboard the ship, all looked good. Our suite was at the rear of the boat with a panoramic window and very comfortable. Food aboard was good, although if you happened to be at the back of the line, some dishes had gone, which seemed poor for the standards expected. However, we soon learned how to be thare early.
Our greatest dissapointment was something totally unexpected and never explained to us when booking. We had hoped to be on deck as we sailed along the rivers, as shown in all the videos and in the printed brochures. Nice deck space with deck chairs etc to pass a relaxing few hours between stop-off points along the way and catch up on some sunshine. NO SUCH LUCK. Apparently, the top deck of the ship, where the sunchairs on the mock grass, is closed off during sailing times as the bridges are low.
Now how silly is that. Sailing the rivers and not being able to use the top deck as you sail along because the bridges would be endangering passengers. One slightly lower deck did have some chairs and tables, but soon got filled up and no sunchairs for anyone. The top deck is only available when anchored at destinations, when for most of that time passengers were sight seeing and not on board.
For a 7 night trip on a river cruise at £4,440 per person with no sunbathing facilities and no pool has put us off considering any future river cruises. A great pity that we will not see another side of cruising, but there are limits and these were not met by Scenic.
We did not make any complaint, other than to let our travel agents that river cruises are not for us because of the facilities, as we felt it was our choice and perhaps our levels of expectation at those prices are higher than others.
It may be worth others checking if the sunbathing and other facilities are fully available during the cruise, or closed down because of the low bridges. It should have been mentioed as a false impression is certainly given in video's and brochures that all facilities shown are available.
Not for us, so be careful.
Malcolm & Helen Read Less