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7 Scenic River Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise on recommendations from our travel consultant and friends. We are a retired couple and to us this was a trip of our lifetime. The first week was brilliant, food accommodation, service was just what we had dreamed ... Read More
We chose this cruise on recommendations from our travel consultant and friends. We are a retired couple and to us this was a trip of our lifetime. The first week was brilliant, food accommodation, service was just what we had dreamed of. We had been a bit concerned about the height of the river from reports in Australia but presumed that there were no concerns as the cruise left Amsterdam on time and no mention of potential difficulties. How wrong were we? When we arrived in Regansberg where we were just to have a short stay before moving on over night to Vienna is when we were informed we had to stay overnight as the ship could not get under the next bridge due to high water levels. That one night turned into two and although staff were helpful and our Cruise director organized bus trips to see the places we were missing out on it wasn't until the afternoon of the second day we were informed we would have to leave the ship and be transported by coach to Vienna. This was a bus journey of 5 hours with a stopover for lunch. We were given money to pay for lunch. We were then advised that the concert in Vienna was to be provided free to all. On arrival in Vienna we were taken to a restaurant for a meal, which was awful, then expected to go straight to the concert without the opportunity to shower or change. My husband and I were exhausted so declined the concert in favour of the hotel, very sad as I was looking so forward to this! I have a spinal issue and those hours of sitting had made me very sore. The cruise was now obviously a bus trip! I have emailed and they have given us a $800 credit on another cruise! That's not much good to us. I understand about no control over weather conditions, but surely due to flood conditions in other parts of Europe, there should have been some idea of this happening. We were not given a choice we should have been, the second half of the trip was awful, the only good hotel was one night in the Carlton Ritz in Budapest. All the meals provided were nowhere near the standard on board. I would advise future guests to carefully check weather conditions and Travel Marvel to reconsider future policies. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
In Australia, we were happy to pay the $11,000 per person (excluding airfares) based on the fact that everything you could possibly need or want on tour was included in the tour price - "a five star, once in a lifetime luxurious ... Read More
In Australia, we were happy to pay the $11,000 per person (excluding airfares) based on the fact that everything you could possibly need or want on tour was included in the tour price - "a five star, once in a lifetime luxurious experience!" is what we were sold. This was supported by advertising propaganda provided to our travel agent, inserts in their Scenic Russia brochure and on-line advertising which states "travel without your wallet"! and shows pictures of a butler cleaning shoes, etc. On boarding the ship the story is very different, with passengers being asked to sign paperwork for their "on-board account" as soon as they board the ship. Nothing is at request, with access to food and drink only at meal times unless you pay. The only exception being tea and coffee which can be obtained from a machine at any time. Dispite being asked to provide dietary requirements months in advance, these are only catered for as an after-thought by removing what can't be eaten (no special meals) and if it can't be removed, expect to be offered very little to eat. There is no butler, no assistance for elderly passengers, no laundry, a Dr is on board but all medical services must be paid for. Rooms are modest. The fitness centre is a walking machine and a bike in the upstairs bar. Live entertainment is rare, most evenings this will entail the sad sight of a member of crew DJing. In no way the five star, once in a lifetime luxurious experience it was billed as being. In the very least, knowing the truth would have allowed us to pack and budget differently. But in reality had we known the truth about what was on offer, we would not have taken this tour. To say we are dissappointed is an understatement. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Our first and last river cruise with Scenic. I totally agree with the poor review on this website. Our cruise was supposed to be a gastronomique and wine cruise in France. Well the classical French dishes were nowhere to be seen let alone ... Read More
Our first and last river cruise with Scenic. I totally agree with the poor review on this website. Our cruise was supposed to be a gastronomique and wine cruise in France. Well the classical French dishes were nowhere to be seen let alone resemble classical French dishes. Bouillibaise, French Onion soup, mussels, crepes suzettes, coq au vin etc where did they get the recipes from? The cabin was small in comparison with cruise ships. The waiters understood little English. One night we asked to see the Maitre D and got a pot of tea. We complained to the hotel manager about the food and was told that we cater mainly for Australians. Is that an insult to Australians or is it an insult to Brits, Canadians and Americans who were on the ship. As like the poor review we paid in excess on £11000 for what is classed as a luxury cruise and by far this is the worst cruise we have been on. This was our 15 cruise but our first river cruise. The company advertisers itself as top market. I would have thought that being if France the food would be as advertised in brochure, no where near. The chefs hands are tied by a moron in head office. The housekeeping and reception were excellent along with literally one or two waiters/butlers. Would I recommend Scenic, never in a month of Sundays Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Being ardent Silversea and Seabourn cruisers we booked with Scenic because they appeared to be the nearest equivalent when it came to river cruising... wrong! Scenic are an old coach tour company (sorry coach holiday fans) with aspirations ... Read More
Being ardent Silversea and Seabourn cruisers we booked with Scenic because they appeared to be the nearest equivalent when it came to river cruising... wrong! Scenic are an old coach tour company (sorry coach holiday fans) with aspirations to be something they don't have the company mentality to be... a class act. We booked quickly when told their latest offer was due to expire that day, only to have an email sent a day or two later that extended their offer for another month... an offer which is still going on in some form or another. Having booked through a travel agent, who were ABTA members imagine my surprise when I discovered after booking that Scenic are not ABTA members... in fact of the top ten river cruise companies they are the only one that I can find who isn't a member. Not mega important you may think but should something go wrong (as in our case) at least with ABTA there is some code of conduct, which all their members must follow. So what went wrong? Well the cruise was the ship's inaugural cruise and so came with all the associated problems that you might expect... the real problem was Scenic didn't tell anyone beforehand that they were on a maiden voyage. So we paid just short of £12,000 to be guinea pigs and fault finders, of which there were many in our Royal Suite. 1. Constant smells from the toilet (ten days to fix) 2. No TV/entertainment/WiFi until we reached Vienna 3. Pictures which fell off the wall and struck my wife as she relaxed on the sofa( it was fastened to the wall with sticky tape!) 4.Noise and heavy vibrations through the night. 5. Shower not working correctly. But the best... sorry worst... was Scenic promise of an experience not to be missed... new for 2015 was their Scenic Sundowner where we were promised ( read the brochure its brilliant) we could watch the sun go down over the Danube whilst sipping cocktails and champagne and listening to the music of the masters... wonderful. WRONG again what we had was a windowless cellar, sat at a picnic table, with a bottle of white wine from a beer bottle listening to some octogenarian play the accordion whilst his equally aged wife sang such classics as 'Roll out the barrel' and 'Its a long way to Tipperary' ! And what was Scenic's response to all this. Well whilst on board they provided us with a plug-in air freshner and a bottle of champagne by way of an apology (yes that's what we thought as well... champagne was already free on board! Post cruise... well and this is something to remember for the future after my first letter of complaint I was called by their Customer Delivery Manager (great title by the way) who told me she would reply to my letter within 3 weeks. Well I did receive a short curt reply but not from her (I guess she was too busy delivering customers that day). When I phoned to speak with her and discuss the reply apart from ignoring my first three calls, eventually she sent a message to the person I was speaking to to say she wouldn't speak to me and if I had a reply to put it in writing. But the worst part of all was the fact that they appear to think that most of what happened ... well it never happened because the cruise director on board didn't put it in her log. This in spite of the fact that the ship's engineer was in our suite almost every day and stopped me in the corridor to tell me he'd be in the cabin and ripped out the toilet whilst we were out for the day and repaired the faulty pipes... but I must have imagined that because Scenic reckoned it never happened! Perhaps I had too had a blow on the head from another picture falling off the wall. So in summary: -Beware of what Scenic promise because in my experience it's all gloss and no substance. --Record everything because they will deny most claims and ALL liability. -They told me that it was MY responsibility to ask questions BEFORE I booked... questions like 'Is this a maiden voyage?' -Don't believe anything you read in the brochure. -Don't believe any of their 'offers must end by' -Don't book the 15 day Jewels of Europe cruise. On the Danube the scenery's better and you can stand/sit outside on the sundeck. - But most of all don't book with Scenic... if something goes wrong they are not ABTA members, they have no published complaints procedure and their customer service is appalling. Final point to be aware of is that Scenic and Emerald Waterways are one and the same company... oh they say they're different but the addresses of the two companies are the same and there one and only customer service person...Darren... works for both companies (he told me so himself when I phoned the Scenic number and he answered the call as Darren from Emerald Waterways! That's despite the same person telling me before we travelled that the two companies were wholly independent.) Mind you, at least it answered my queries... why there is such a long wait for anyone to answer the telephones? and why did Scenic's answering service tell me to visit the Emerald Web site if I needed more help!!! Don't be put off river cruising... it's just that I wouldn't ever book with Scenic again, you're not valued customers just profit. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Hello. My husband and I were not “guests” but a paying customers on the Scenic Ruby (8/9/14 - 15/9/14). I was to complete the survey provided and return however putting a cross in a box could not express in detail all that should be ... Read More
Hello. My husband and I were not “guests” but a paying customers on the Scenic Ruby (8/9/14 - 15/9/14). I was to complete the survey provided and return however putting a cross in a box could not express in detail all that should be said. We were on tour Romantic Rhine and Moselle River cruise (code AMBA080914-2) that we booked. After a 8hr flight to Zurich we were transferred to Hotel Movenpick and left for 7 hrs in a room with chairs fit for a classroom with coffee facilitys. Once on the ship, both the room keys issued to us malfunctioned 4 times each. We were accused of keeping them next to a phone - NOT TRUE. Of the passengers that boarded 2 where visibly terribley sick with the flu. There was no attempt by the cruise director to address the prospect of infecting others. Others ships do so and retain those for a period to monitor in an infirmary. We were told after 2 days they were removed to hospital to intensive care and only returned on the last day of the cruise to fly home. It took a few days for 98% of those on board to get extremely ill (us included). When I tried to contact our private butler after being bed ridden for a day/night and explaining we had not eaten in this time, I was told that he was too busy as he was working in the dining room. The entertainment was an organ player suitable for a retirement village. The rooms appeared tidy and the bed comfortable. However the piece of blue material covering the bed foot was stained with what I could only call bodily fluid stains! The room staff where pleasant however some dining staff frowned when a request was made. You just about lost your voice trying to talk over the noise in the dining room. Food not 5 star - the same plain gravy with 3 totally different meats over 3 nights and 1 toaster for one hundred and so passengers. All passengers are invited to dine for an Italian meal at a dining area called Portabellos. I've had better Continental Cup minestrone soup, with more veg in it. The bus trip to Kaju Restaurant where we had a Swiss Cheese Fondue lunch consisted of 2 squares of bread to dip in the fondue and I had to get up to get my own drink of juice as the staff could not cope! - Not hard people. No one saw the 3 guys playing the Alp Horns on arrival as 3 bus loads of people with busting bladders tried to fit in 3 Female/ 3 Male toilets. Our guided tour of Strasburg had actually left 2 of the group there! Of the electric bicycles many did not work, neither did the GPS. We went out then without the GPS and took a map from the boat but the maps did not mark the locations of the sites - as you need the GPS to find them! The tour guides contracted to conduct the tours where blazay a least. The bike tour guides did not wait for the slow AND with no tool kits, they actually stopped at a residents house to ask for a spanner so as to adjust a seat for a rider! We were in Outside Stateroom: Cabin E110. Every time the Ruby entered a lock, it would fill with diesel fumes. An obvious lack of ventilation. Travelling time on board too long. We actually realised that we had turned and back tracked on the river. The last 2 days on board, the entire lower section reeked of raw sewerage (leaking sewerage container?) At this time staff where preparing for the next passengers. Our room was no longer serviced or stocked with toiletries (including toilet paper). Our bath robes were confiscated for cleaning for the next passengers and our tv/internet turned off. This tour is designed for those who wish to sink copious amounts of alcohol, spending time on a boat with 60% of industrial river views. PS take the earplugs if you don't wish to hear any rowdy neighbours. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We were promised exceptional service and food, but believe me, what we got was not even average! The menu was never explained, so many people never knew you could order special items for breakfast. Food was cold, and looked pre-cooked. ... Read More
We were promised exceptional service and food, but believe me, what we got was not even average! The menu was never explained, so many people never knew you could order special items for breakfast. Food was cold, and looked pre-cooked. There was not enough help, so we had to get our own pre-paid for drinks, and we were told to get our own ice water at dinner! One night they never served an entrée, and I ended up eating dinner from my mini bar. The crew had a party, below our room, until 1 am and we could not sleep. We have traveled on Grand Circle, Vantage and Uniworld, for much less money and had way better food and service. The crew on Scenic were from former Soviet Union countries, and that is exactly what the service was like....HORRIBLE. Many of our fellow passengers have traveled with Scenic before and they could not believe how bad this trip was. A travel agent who booked 12 rooms was outraged at the poor service. I complained to the head office and they blew me off, after we spent $20,000 on this trip. DO NOT go on Scenic. Nest year we will do Tauck.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
As a preface, we are a couple of active, still working adults somewhat on the low end of the age range of typical river cruisers. I cancelled a back to back Celebrity cruise touring Iceland and the Baltic after reading about river ... Read More
As a preface, we are a couple of active, still working adults somewhat on the low end of the age range of typical river cruisers. I cancelled a back to back Celebrity cruise touring Iceland and the Baltic after reading about river cruising. Our experience has been mostly with the Royal Caribbean/Celebrity product. I considered Tauck, Uniworld and a few other lines when booking this trip last October. I chose Scenic based on the inclusions(tips, alcohol, all excursions, butler, internet), greater population of Australians, and appeared to have more "active" inclusions such as a gym and use of bicycles as well as "tailor made" self touring. As many of CC members, I researched and read reviews and had a good idea of what river cruising was about -- or so I thought. We booked the Jewel - the newest ship of the Scenic fleet-- based upon itinerary, and the fact that it included a gym (we love to eat). We arranged our own air/hotel stays which included 10 days in Europe prior to our July 1st Scenic cruise. Budapest is just as wonderful as all of the reviews. We stayed in a lovely B&B (Kapital Inn) for 3 nights. Our first disappointment came 2 days prior to the cruise in a forwarded email from our TA. We would not be cruising on the Jewel in Budapest, but instead would be on the Diamond for 3 nights, then we would be bussed to the Jewel which was upriver and unable to make it to Budapest due to a lock being closed up the Danube. We took a taxi to the Marriott to drop our luggage and take transportation to the ship. Quite a few people had not received word that we would not be on the Jewel. Most of us had been aware of the flooding, and although there was a little grumbling about not being told in advance, it wasn't a huge problem. Our cruise director Marin was the only staff that stayed with our group during our very challenging cruise. He did an amazing job considering the problems he faced. I'd like to mention the other ships we stayed on, as we found huge differences that impacted our trip. We ended up having to change ships again due to lock strikes in Germany after being docked in a commercial area in Bamburg for 3 nights and long bus trips for excursions. We started on the Diamond, moved to the Jewel and ended up on the Pearl. Our vision of unpacking once and enjoying the river from our balcony ended up being not so ideal. We spent much more time being on big bus tours than we thought. Did the interruptions impact our cruise enjoyment? Probably. We never did experience the "afternoons enjoying the villages on our own" The only village we stayed at required a 10 Euro one way taxi ride. I thought there would be smaller than the 40-50 groups were regularly on and the long bus rides to our destinations.Diamond: Some wear and tear obvious on the ship. It didn't matter to most of us, as we knew we would be meeting the Jewel in a few days. Some negative comments "we didn't get what we paid for", some people ended up in different cabins due to the ships not being identical. The staff however was lovely. We were greeted with cool towels, glass of champagne and a rose for the ladies. Passengers waited in the lounge. We were escorted to our standard balcony cabin after a very brief and orderly check in process. The room was explained by the very friendly stewardess. The balcony was a great feature, space for two chairs and a small table. It was somewhat annoying that the railing was just at eye level when sitting. The ability to move the window up and down was what i guess is Scenic's "signature" feature. To get the A/C to work, the sliding door to the balcony needed to be closed. Our butler "Zoltan" came to introduce himself. He was a favorite on the ship. Most wished we could take him with us. The bed was two two twins (full size twins) pushed together to make a king. L'Occitane bath products, and shower had a complicated spray system, gave it a somewhat higher end feeling. There was a "meet and greet" before dinner, where officers made some comments and the CD explained the river situation, assuring all that we wouldn't notice the ship change, that all would be seamless. Buffet first dinner, somewhat chaotic. The dining room was noisy, most were tables of 6 with a table for 2 right next to it. We found fun tablemates the first night and ate with them frequently during our trip. The wait staff was friendly and seemed very busy and hardworking. We were treated to a night sailing on the Danube to see the lights of BUdapest. We enjoyed the Diamond. DIdn't enjoy packing up three days into our trip. The plan was to take the scheduled tours with being bussed to the ship which was ahead of us. Jewel: We were to have a BBQ lunch on the top deck. Kinda sounds like fun, but it wasn't. The lines were long around the buffet, there weren't too many near tables. Drink service was odd, with waiters asking what we wanted, then never bringing it. No reception when entering the new ship. Not much in the way of greeting. Given our room keys. We find the new cabin to be much nicer -- a better use of space, no sliding door to the balcony, but a nifty folding door that we just left open. The bathroom had a huge shower!! no more complicated shower system. The public rooms were somewhat the same, it was just obvious that overall the physical layout of the Jewel was much better. You would think that this would make happy campers, right? Well, there was a HUGE difference in staff across the board on the Jewel. The ship captain was a substitute and the hotel director appeared to be on vacation. I wish this was an exaggeration. While we saw the hotel director working alongside his people, and checking on dining room status, the hotel director was never seen. People were scratching their heads, how can waiters and bar staff seem to look so "busy" all the time, but people couldn't get any service. Overall, it impacted our experience. We heard there were many verbal and written complaints. We didn't put ours in writing, because at the time I wasn't sure what was going on. THe wait staff didn't appear to be trained on how to do their job, so rather than say it was the problem with the staff, I place the blame on the uninterested hotel director. I did notice that we seemed to "warm" up the staff, mainly because I think we had a very tolerant, fun loving group of passengers. Pearl: like the DIamond, great, hardworking staff. It's hard to believe the difference. I had low expectations for food quality, and high expectations of service, but the reverse actually happened. For example, there were only two menus placed on each table of 6-8. Never did a waiter point out there were alternate selections each night. We were offered a "red" or "white" wine, and it took a few days to figure out they stock more than one choice. You had to be on guard as the waiters often would just pour what was in hand, not noticing you perhaps were drinking a Chianti that night. There was no coffee served dinner. Dining choices on the menu were limited, the food was well presented. I was pleased with my meals. Dining by buffet is difficult when all passengers eat at the same time. I never stayed in the long line for the carved meat or breakfast selections.Scenic promises much more than they are able to deliver. If you enjoy large organized bus tours, or walking tours where you are herded from one location to another Scenic can give you that experience. Our best days happened to be those which we decided to take a pass on the bus tour, and stayed on the boat while it was moving to the next port. The best experience was meeting new friends. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
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