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Cruise Line Review

2017 Brochure

2018 Scenic Eclipse
Preview Brochure

Scenic° is not yet widely known in North America, but we know why they are truly exceptional!
If you’ve ever dreamed of going on a “space-ship,” then a Scenic river cruise vacation will surely excite those hidden passions and much, much more. You can enjoy cruising the Danube, Rhine, Moselle including their most popular cruise, a 14-day Jewels of Europe cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. Scenic also offers the most all-encompassing selection of river cruises through France of any cruise line and that's because Scenic's itineraries in France are usually more than 7 nights, affording you more time to see the region better In 2016, they also added cruises through Bordeaux to their mix of impeccable river cruise vacations. At Premier, we believe Scenic is light years ahead the competition. Why? Because they provide each guest with the most comprehensive destination experience and the most all-inclusive product available from any luxury river cruise line.

Why all-inclusive?
Scenic is an "ALL INCLUSIVE" river cruise line and that's truly important to you. It means that once on board, you'll pay for absolutelly nothing extra on your cruise, not even tips to bus drivers or guides. Things that other cruise lines consider optional, are included in your cruise price. So, when you get home, no surprise credit card bills like you would have received from other cruise lines or on prior ocean cruises. If you've never enjoyed a river cruise, let's shed a bit more light on the nature of all-inclusive. Say you're taking a 14-day river cruise... your basic gratuities to ships staff, cruise director and tour guides/drivers would be about $1400 a couple, but on Scenic that's one of the many things that you don't pay for.

A more "casual" experience.
Casualness is what you'll truly enjoy aboard a Scenic river cruise. We've all spent much of our lives "dressing" for the job or for vacation, but if you're like me, you don't want to "go formal" when you're on vacation. With some luxury river cruise lines, you do tend to dress up just a bit in the evenings and while it's not mandatory, you may feel a bit out of place if you don't. One of the things we love about Scenic is that it is casual, but in all the good ways. This is a luxury line, but the atmosphere on board is casual and relaxed, much as it should be at any fine resort. That does not mean that the service levels are relaxed — they are not — but they are done in a, shall we say, "Australian" way which is warm and friendly but never over bearing.

The most comprehensive shore excursions.
Another aspect of river cruising that also sets Scenic apart from the other lines. All other lines provide you with a shore excursion in every port and a limited selection of extra cost optional tours. Only Scenic provides you with a fine selection of excursions in each port, PLUS more than 100 addtional excursions designed to appeal to your personal interests. They call this remarkable feature, Scenic FreeChoice. Click the button at right to read more...

Exploring on your own —
go right ahead.

One of the highlights of any vacation to Europe is, as my wife calls it "tootling around." On Scenic, they also take this element of your free time touring to the extreme with their exclusive, Scenic Tailormade GPS touring. Tailormade is available on every cruise and for every passenger. It is a really cool iPhone-type device that is similar to what you may have used to explore a museum or other attraction, but much enhanced. The device knows where you are in relation to the ship, has over 115 European attractions and lifestyle interests (art, history, architecture, food, etc.) available for you to use on foot, or as you take a ride on your complimentary Scenic bicycle. Click the button above to read more...

Fine dining with choices!
Aboard any Scenic ship, you'll be able to enjoy up to six varied and unique restaurants with free flowing fine wines, beers, and all spirits (all included in your fare). Being all-inclusive, you'll also enjoy unlimited alcoholic beverages at the bars, on deck and, of course, even in your stateroom as it comes with a completely stocked mini-bar that is replenished each and every day of your cruise.

As we mentioned, dining is a delight on Scenic. We feel one of the more enjoyable dining features aboard Scenic versus most other lines is that they offer guests not one, but multiple, very intimate alternative dining venues on every ship. It's great to feel you're in a super club atmosphere with only 20 or so other lucky guests. Only Scenic provides this opportunity with both the Portobellos Restaurant and Table La Rive which compliment their delightful Crystal Dining room. If you're in the mood for a light meal, you can enjoy the scrumputous food in the River Cafe or on the riverview terrace.

Scenic also assists you in packing less (no other cruise line does this)!
Here's how. They call it Laundry Concierge and it's really great. During your cruise, Scenic will launder one bag of clothing for you, free of charge during your cruise. It's cool, it's free. It means you can pack less.

We've saved the fun news for last.
Scenic includes Butler Service for each and every stateroom. That's right... butler service for you. Your personal butler can arrange anything for you both on the ship and ashore, just ask them. It's like having your own personal "genie in a bottle!" In select suites, you may also enjoy "inroom" dining for the evening meal should you prefer a bit more intimacy. Imagine sleeping in one morning and enjoying the fact that your butler will plan your breakfast, prepare it and then serve it to you on your own private balcony with, let's say a glass or two of Moet & Chandon... as they say, priceless!

Okay, back to what sets Scenic apart from most other river cruise lines, as if all of the above is not enough. The first thing we should point out is that Scenic Cruises is a privately-owned Australian company. Scenic's owner is very hands-on and the product reflects the caring atmosphere that only can be achieved by a privately owned company.

The onboard product has a very nice blend of Australian and European influences and you'll almost always find a number of Americans, Canadians and Brits on board. This "neat" blend of passengers creates a unique onboard atmosphere that's a bit less structured and a bit more casual and lively than most other river cruise lines. Read what one of our recent, returning guests had to say about their 14-night cruise (June 2014).

"Our cabin was, truly, over the moon. My goodness, it was beautifully and smartly designed and oh, so large. The staff were perfectly delightful. In my review (to the cruise line) I said that their staff is their treasure. The food was wonderful and not too much — buffets for breakfast and lunch and terrific sit-down dinners in the evening. We had room service in our cabin once or twice and it was grand. And, the Aussies... what can one say? They were delighful and fun. We thought that this was a more casual cruise than our prior cruise on Tauck and that was a nice addition."

Premier is the Scenic river cruise experts.
Our staff knows the management of Scenic, have sailed on their ships, and truly understand how to differentiate the Scenic Cruise experience from all other brands. You can trust us to make sure this is the right product for you, and help you select the perfect cabin location for your cruise.

Beyond the passenger make-up, the quality of a ship is really important in your overall enjoyment of a river cruise vacation, but with a Scenic river cruise we know that it only begins with the ship. A Scenic river cruise is so much more than just the ship: your vacation is dramatically enhanced with what we believe is the most rewarding and immersive destinational experience offered by any river cruise line. We're confident that this incredible blending of hardware and software makes a Scenic Cruises' river cruise the perfect choice for anyone planning a trip to Europe, and Russia. In 2016, Scenic introduced cruising on Mekong River through Vietnam and Cambodia on their beautiful new ship the Scenic Spirit. Take a look at the Mekong River preview brochure (PDF) at right.

By the way, you may think their name Scenic is a bit weird for a river cruise company, but as you'll soon see, that’s the only element of this incredible Australian-based company that is not just flat out perfect! The name Scenic was chosen because they started out and continue to be one of the largest tour operators in the world (ScenicTours), much like the way most other river cruise lines got their start. After reading this review, why not take a few minutes to enjoy Scenic Cruises' videos? Just click the "Videos" button above to begin.

Most of us really know that “size does count” and can make any experience more or less enjoyable. It’s this extra size on all Scenic ships that enable them to have larger staterooms, suites, and “real” balconies — not French balconies as do other river cruise ships. The impact on you will be immense as your senses fully awaken as you relax on the balcony sipping freshly brewed teas and coffees or a glass of fine local wine in the open air — and not behind a window. Enjoy the blissful sounds of flowing water, the singing birds, the passing ships or even the city sounds and lights. If you’re like me, the ability to turn off the air conditioning at night and enjoy the clean, fresh air is wonderful.

The “Space-Ships” are designed so that you get the most enjoyment of both your time ashore and on board the vessel. All, that’s right, all public areas feature spectacular river and shoreside views through panoramic floor to ceiling windows. This is particularily important for early spring and late fall cruises where the weather might not be perfect. And did we say that most cabins have a private balcony where you can actually sit and enjoy breakfast or lunch should you choose to do so?

More space, superb dining, uncompromising service and unforgettable memories await you aboard one of their dramatic riverboats. Because the Scenic ships are so much longer than traditional river cruise ships the main dining room is large enough to actually accommodate everyone at one time. That said, a crowded dining room would not be fun for anyone. Thus, the breathtaking ships actually feature three distinctively designed dining venues, each more eye pleasing than the other, and all with floor to ceiling windows which ensure you never miss anything. Our personal passion for fine Italian cuisine reached new heights in Portobello, Scenic’s incredibly intimate (seats just 30) specialty restaurant. Nightly, one can savor a five-course menu of fresh pasta, risotto that’s actually made to order, extraordinary chops or perfectly prepared fresh fish dishes. Portobello is strategically placed at the front of the ship to take full advantage of the spectacular views. With all these features, how many ways can you spell ‘winner?’

The cuisine on board is simply spectacular!
Imagine awakening each day to a freshly brewed, hot and tasty cappuccino or cup of tea in bed or on your own private balcony. All you want, at any time, and all included in your price.

Daily breakfast selections include custom-made omelets, freshly baked pastries (each ship has its own pastry chef), pancakes, waffles and a gourmet selection of fresh fruits, meats and cheeses — you just won’t believe it. If you choose to return to the ship for lunch, you’re again in for a treat. The buffet generally offers a wide array of salads (build your own), fresh baked breads and rolls, homemade soups, fresh pastas, meats or a wide selection of entree items prepared to order from the galley. Weather permitting and depending on the itinerary, Scenic offers fun, exciting on-deck BBQ lunches featuring just about anything you can conjure up, including fresh lobster — yes, lobster!

Before we move to dinner, we think it's important to point out that Scenic Cruises is the ONLY river cruise line that provides complimentary wines, beer and soft drinks at both lunch and dinner, all others only include dinner.

Now... dinner. The venue in the main Crystal dining room will also be beyond your wildest expectations, no matter what your preferences are. The menu changes daily and on any given evening you could enjoy a scrumptious, perfectly cooked-to-order rib-eye steak with sauce Béarnaise, poached filet of fresh trout or salmon with all the trimmings, grilled garlic prawns or a savory bouillabaisse. There are also wonderful regional specialties prepared fresh each evening which reflect the itinerary. Also at diinner, there is an unlimited supply of complimentary regional wines paired perfectly by your sommelier to bring out the best in your appetizer and entrée selections. Scenic chefs also know everyone’s taste are different, so each and every night there are vegetarian selections, a fresh homemade pasta and a simply prepared grilled chicken and/or fish entrée.

From my personal perspective (I'm a sweet junkie) I've still not mentioned the best part of the meal: the dessert course. Earlier, I mentioned that each "Space-Ship" has its own European pastry chef, and boy they are worth their weight in gold if you're a dessert lover like I am. My mouth has begun to water as I remember the variety and quality of the dessert selections including delectable hot soufflés with sauce Anglaise, incredibly light homemade gelatos, fresh succulent fruit pastries and cakes, and the best bread puddings you have ever eaten — you just won’t believe the desserts — it was the first thing my wife and I looked for on the menu each day. Don’t worry, you probably won’t gain an ounce because you’ll be so active while on board and ashore… blah… blah… blah... oh, who cares! You’re on vacation, right?

Another nice feature of a Scenic river cruise and one that truly sets it apart from the competition is the level of service one receives while on board a "Space-Ship." One recent guest described it perfectly when they said: “Whatever you want, whenever you want it.” The level of service offered to each guest on every ship in the fleet is as good as it gets — as good as any five star hotel. Their delightful all-English-speaking European crews are just sensational; they know you name by the second day and your personal preferences by day three. The service is not pretentious in any way. In fact, it is genuine as it is offered up by a very warm, personable staff. Best of all, and the true test of the level of service, is that on Scenic ships your price includes ALL gratuities — few other river cruise line do this.

We’ve already spoken about ship size. That size is also reflected in some of the largest cabins, junior and full suites of any river cruise ship. Whatever level you choose, you’ll enjoy unmatched comfort and stylish appointments and excellent amenities. All staterooms and suites include a flat screen TV and infotainment system plus wireless internet access. In the luxurious ensuite bathroom you’ll find a selection of exquisite L’Occitane products, plus bathrobes and, of course, a powerful hairdryer. The "Space-Ships" also feature “Scenic Slumber Beds” with crisp Egyptian linens which are a dream and individual cabin climate controls provide you with absolute comfort. There’s also a mini-bar, personal safe and nightly turndown service for a perfect end to another perfect Scenic day.

If you’re seeking a bit more pampering, why not sail in one of the many private balcony suites on the Danube Deck and enjoy Scenic’s exclusive private butler service. This serviice is just like having your own private concierge, and will take your cruise experience over the top by bringing you that extra-special, freshly brewed espresso or tea in the early morning, arrange a private guided tour, or even a romantic candlelit dinner for two on your private balcony — nothing is too much trouble for your Scenic butler.

Our last comments on why Scenic’s destination experience is so different.
First, how about their exclusive ‘Scenic ENRICH’ program which, in concert with their normal sightseeing tours, allows you to add destinational activities to enhance your visit. These ‘Enrich’ experiences enable you to immerse yourself in local culture and become a part of the European lifestyle, not just be an onlooker. The ‘Enrich’ program varies on each itinerary but, for example, in the town of Braubach a prime sight is the 12th-century Marksburg Castle. Unlike others who do a “drive-up and jump-out tour,” Scenic has a private tour with local historian and afterwards (when others have left) you’re treated to a private medieval-style dinner with knights, entertainers and music! Life is good, life is grand on Scenic! In Vienna, you’ll enjoy a private Chopin concert in the famous Lazienki Palace before dinner at a local restaurant or an exclusive organ recital in Melk Abbey. This is only a sample of the many special ‘Enrich’ highlights available on their cruises.

Okay, that’s about where most river cruise lines end, but with Scenic it’s only the beginning. They also offer each guest the luxury of choosing what to do in each port from a selection of wonderful tour options. Take as many or as few as you want each day, all included in your affordable cruise price. And, don’t think these ‘free’ options are the typical “point, shoot and drive by” type tours, they are not. These are all very extensive tours with local guides and, where appropriate, include meals ashore.

If you’re lucky enough to enjoy one of the very casual Scenic river cruise vacations we know you’ll come home with far more than your new found “Aussie” accent. You’ll return home with a far better understanding of your travels, new found friends and memories of the destination that will last a lifetime.
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