This is our sixth river cruise, and our third one with Scenic. While we have had very good experiences with AMA and Uniworld, we just loved the all-inclusive Scenic experience, with interesting excursions and great fellow travellers - the ... Read More
This is our sixth river cruise, and our third one with Scenic. While we have had very good experiences with AMA and Uniworld, we just loved the all-inclusive Scenic experience, with interesting excursions and great fellow travellers - the Australians! On this cruise, there were plenty of Canadians, Kiwis and Brits with the Aussies, and we all enjoyed our Commonwealth experience:) The Scenic Azure is a new ship, and the crew are all Portuguese. They were wonderful! All passengers remarked repeatedly on the professional and personable service we all received. The ship is very modern and built specifically for the Douro locks, so rooms and public areas are less spacious, but then there are only 96 passengers on board. Our room had an enclosed balcony, and an extremely comfortable bed with settings so you can sit up in bed.
This was our first time to Portugal, and in comparison to other European rivers, this is much more quiet, with very small ports. This allowed for lots of great sailing time with drinks on the top deck enjoying the gorgeous scenery and tranquility. There were lovely excursions to Mateus, to beautiful gardens, the Coa Museum, and, of course, port houses and tastings.
Breakfast was a delicious hot and cold buffet, and you can order hot items as well. Lunch could be a buffet in the dining room with different specials, or a lighter lunch in the lounge. Desserts and snacks were always available in the lounge. Dinner was a sit down affair, and you could reserve a space at the specialty restaurant Portobello, or a special set menu with Table d'hôte. After dinner, we would head for the lounge to either play trivia games or sing and dance with the musician. I learned some Aussie dances (Nutbush?!) and we all had a very good time.
Excursions are included, alcohol is included, tips are included - you don't need to open your wallet. Scenic makes sure to pick you up from the airport, take you to all the excursions, and bring you to the airport (we were the only ones leaving Madrid at 6 am, but there was a beautiful Mercedes coach to take us to the airport, included) Some passengers came one day late due to airline issues, and the Scenic butlers came out to help them to the ship, and made them a special lunch as the rest of the group were out on excursions. Read Less