Scenic River Cruises - The Scenic Jewel
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You've tried the rest, now try the best!Glynis Sullivan and her husband Trevor write about a very special river cruising experience for Silver Travel Advisor.
Scenic Cruise ships are advertised as 'Space Ships' well, the five star river cruise ships will take you to another dimension in time! The Scenic Jewel is the one of the newer 'Jewels' in the Crown of the Scenic Cruise Companies Fleet, and what a jewel, five stars all the way. From getting on board with a champagne welcome, you can unwind and enjoy the luxury of having your every wish taken care of by your own butler!!
The ship is state of the art, executive and exclusive. The design of the cabins is simple and functional and they are very well furnished with your own balcony, wonderful comfortable beds, even the mini bar is in the all-inclusive package. The showers are well designed and some rooms have a bath, but all have excellent bathroom accessories that are also of a high quality from L'Occitane. There was even a complimentary pressing service in our cabin of two pieces of clothing per day.
The cabins are situated on three levels, we had the upper level for better views of the river. The cabins vary in size from the Balcony Suite to the Royal Suite, which has a seated area at the side of the balcony giving you extra space, which is a plus when on a longer journey, the lowest deck does not have a balcony only a window. There is also a single cabin, which is smaller, but very popular with single travellers, the ship does have a single supplement charges for a larger room, and all of them are furnished to the highest standard.
The sun deck has many sun beds and chairs as well as a shaded area if the weather gets too hot! But it is the place to be whilst seeing the panorama unfold. There is the gym, small but it does have very good equipment to help you fight the flab or just stay fit, whilst on board.
The food menu is extensive and delicious, meals are taken in the Crystal Dining Room, from a full buffet in the morning, including champagne if you wish, to an excellent luncheon in the restaurant or in the River Cafe and Gelati Bar which is open between breakfast and dinner with delicious snacks available throughout the day.
Then on to the evening meals, the Crystal Dining Room is the main restaurant and there are two alternative restaurants, guests will be invited to the excellent Portobello restaurant, which is screened from the main Panorama Lounge. The menu is mainly Italian food but is excellently served and prepared by the chefs, to the creme de la creme of a culinary evening at the Table la Rive, which is in the Crystal Dining Room restaurant but is a table set aside for 10 invited guests to share the delights cooked by the chefs of the highest quality with complementary wine from the area you are sailing through. This is a treat to behold!
An example of the menu is at the La Rive Restaurant is: Lemongrass creme brulee; Salmon carpaccio with marinated radicchio with olive oil and warm pine nuts; Marinated gampas with mango and chilli on ruccola lettuce; Porcini capuccino with blue potato chips; Fillet beef ala 'Scenic' with foie grass, diamond vegetables, potato gratin and truffle jus; Chocolate cake with liquid centre, balsamico cherries and bourbon-vanilla ice cream, all with complimenting wine! Wonderful, and if you can move after all that superb food the evening continues in the Crystal Lounge with live music and dancing.
The Scenic Space ships are all being upgraded by the Australian owners Glen and Karen Moroney, to the highest quality of furnishings and fitments. They are all fully inclusive, which means all the food; wine of the highest quality ( including excellent champagne); the gratuities; all the on shore trips, including tips for the guide. This doesn't come inexpensive and the initial cost of a Scenic Cruise is a little higher than its competitors, but with the Scenic Cruises everything is included. Unlike other cruise lines which charge you the initial fee then add on the gratuities, all inclusive shore trips, guide tips etc. With Scenic Cruises what you pay is final other than anything you wish to buy yourself on the shore.
As you step on shore if you have booked on a tour the coaches are waiting with the guides, the coaches follow the ships ready to take people on the tours. If you don't want to do the tour you can go it alone with your own Scenic Tailormade audio device, which is amazing. Just walk and the GPS signal will pick up where you are in the town or village and relay interesting details about the area or buildings you are passing. Or take a cycle ride through the town with a tour guide or on your own, you don't even have to move out of your cabin to pick up the GPS signal, it will give you information as you lay back and enjoy the view from your cabin.
The cycles are all power assisted and in good condition, so if you want a spin on a bike or just want to burn off some of the calories, you can ride around the lovely towns on the Rhine at your own speed and enjoy the sights. Oh, and the bike hire and the tailor made systems are also all inclusive in the price of the cruise.
The cruise ships are disabled friendly, with a lift to all the decks (except for the Moselle and Sun Deck), but please be aware if you have any walking difficulties, this may not be the cruise for you. The access in the ship is good but getting on and off the boat could be tricky. The walking tours could be too long for you, please check. As with all cruise lines safety is paramount a safety drill is organised on the first day and passengers and crew are then aware of the safety procedures. There is an adapted disabled cabin, but the other cabins could, I feel be rather small in the shower room area. The fleet is being constantly upgraded and all the cruise ships are being sound proofed, if you have been on other ships, then you will have noticed the engine noise etc. but the Jewel is very quiet for a river ship, yes of course some noise will be heard at the back of the ship and the lower cabins will hear it more but Scenic are making a real effort to make your cruise as quiet and comfortable as possible.
The 'Space Ship' fleet now totals twelve ships which sail Europe's waterways. In addition, the Scenic Tsar is the first 'small ship' in the Scenic fleet and with just over 100 passengers, creates an intimate atmosphere in which to explore the rivers of Russia. The company is a Cruise and Touring Company, so if the waterways of the world don't tempt you then the all-inclusive tours are for you. The tours and cruises operate in Australia, New Zealand, UsA, Canada, Alaska, South America and other destinations are being explored by this amazing company. The up to date brochure and DVD will provide you with all the information, visit www.scenictours.co.uk or email [email protected] and get ready for a truly unique adventure.
Read Glynis’s review of her river cruise
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Scenic Tours
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