A European river cruise is a magical way to discover the rivers and canals that link and weave their way through the picturesque continent’s most spectacular locations. Drifting down the serene Danube River on my first river cruise, I quickly understood the lengths to which Scenic goes to ensure each and every customer is looked after.
As we made our way down the river on Scenic Amber, we passed through multiple locks. These engineering marvels seamlessly raised or lowered our ship, allowing us to navigate the Danube regardless of the water level. As we continued on our way, we floated past riverside castles, vineyards, villages and ruins.
Here are 10 things you'll love when sailing with Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours.
When you board your luxury Scenic Space Ship, there is no need to hand over your credit card for incidentals or upgraded shore excursions, as everything onboard is included. That includes meals, beverages, tours; even gratuities. Relax with an evening martini in the piano lounge, sample local produce and wines, explore centuries-old castles and ruins, experience a private concert in a Viennese Palace – all without additional expense.
2. 5-Star Dining
Enjoy sumptuous, three-course dinners each evening. Menus change daily and dishes highlight local produce from the surrounding villages and towns. You will enjoy mouth-watering steaks, fresh lobster tails and seafood, a specialty Italian restaurant and private dining tables; all with the freshest of ingredients. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style, with something for every taste. A la carte options are also available upon request.
3. Tailor-made GPS Devices
Guests will find a personal touring device called a Tailormade in each cabin. This informational device is loaded with points of interest and maps for each destination on the cruise itinerary. It doubles as a tour-guide listening device, and GPS for self-guided tours. Simply ‘tap’ on each designated location, and the Tailormade provides information as you walk by.
4. Free Wi-Fi
Guests can enjoy the free Wi-Fi throughout the ship. Check your emails, post those holiday selfies to Facebook as you make your friends and family jealous. There are Wi-Fi dark spots in various river regions, so check your in-room TV for updates.
Don't let the thought of a 33-kilometre bike ride scare you away from enjoying this delightful riverside excursion. Each Scenic Space Ship comes equipped with electric bicycles with power-assist pedal option. Simply start to pedal and select your speed and you’ll be propelled along with ease, even on steep inclines. Bicycles are available for self-guided tours at every stop, so get out your Scenic Tailormade and explore the European countryside on your own.
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6. Butler Service
Want tea and toast delivered to your room in the morning? Need to do laundry? Your personal International Butler Academy trained butler is at your service, 24/7. Available to all guests in all room categories, your personal butler can organise everything from extra pillows to onshore reservations. They will even draw you a bath and deliver a glass of wine to your room or balcony chair. Available butler services depend on your room category.
7. Daily Mini-Bar
Pour a glass of wine while you relax on your balcony as you watch the world drift by. But don't worry, the mini-bar is replenished daily with soft drinks, wine, bottles of still and sparkling water, spirits and snacks. And as with everything on Scenic, it's all included in your fare.
8. Free Choice Excursions
Forget what you know about cruise tours. With Scenic, your shore excursions are all included. Choose from active, moderate and relaxed options, which range from guided walking tours hosted by locals, to extended bus tours. Explore a nearby medieval village or town, take part in a guided tour, or go on a bike ride through the picturesque European countryside. Each day brings exciting new tour options. The hardest decision you’ll have to make is what to choose.
9. Scenic Enrich
As Scenic likes to say, these are 'money can't buy experiences'. All-inclusive tours include special events designed to highlight the destination. The 'Best of Sound of Music and Salzburg Show' is set in the rolling hills of Salzburg, Austria, and includes an authentic Austrian meal with a big brass band, catchy show tunes and entertainers. Add to this a private concert in Vienna’s opulent Liechtenstein Palace, featuring Austrian classical music and dance.
10. Nth Degree
While I had heard of the Scenic Nth Degree, I never fully appreciated its meaning. That is, until I experienced a Scenic river cruise for myself. Scenic does an excellent job at anticipating the needs of its guests. With meticulous planning, exclusive inclusions and luxury and comfort always front of mind, Scenic lived up to – if not exceeded – its Nth Degree promise. From the wallet-free zone, Tailormade tours, friendly tour guides with local expertise, and luxury coaches and transport, the Scenic Nth Degree must be experienced to be truly appreciated.