by Liz Fleming

Scenic SceneryCourtesy of Scenic Luxury Cruises & tours

Europe’s rivers are awash with sleek river cruise ships vying for our vacationing attention. Offering the advantage of gliding along fascinating shorelines, navigating lock systems, and visiting ports no ocean-going vessel can, river cruising is one of the biggest waves in the sophisticated travel world - and surfing this crest of enthusiasm is Scenic Cruises.

The big boom in river cruising has seen three Scenic Space Ships join their European fleet in 2015-16 – the Amber, Opal and Jasper who, along with their many sister ships, feature some of the most spacious staterooms on the rivers, as well as vitality pools, sunning areas, a variety of dining venues and relaxation and wellness areas that include massage rooms, fitness centres and beauty salons.

Scenic Royal SuiteCourtesy of Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours

All About The View

River cruise enthusiasts expect spacious staterooms with expansive views and Scenic doesn’t disappoint. There’s no better place to watch the morning arrive than from the luxurious comfort of stateroom sun loungers, positioned just so. For guests wanting even more generously proportioned retreats, Scenic’s Diamond deck Royal Balcony and Royal Suites deliver the most space of any river cruise line suite. Junior Suites at the front of the ship and the Balcony Suites on both the Sapphire and Diamond decks all feature full-length balconies while Standard Suites offer large picture windows.  All suites and staterooms have well-appointed bathrooms, ample storage space and 32-inch high-definition televisions.

By far the most wonderful element of your client’s chosen stateroom will be a charming butler – my personal dream come true - a man who’ll pick up after me!  He’ll manage all the details of their holiday – from booking excursions and specialty dinner reservations to replenishing the minibar. They will never feel more pampered.

Scenic ButlerCourtesy of Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours

Note: One common, less-than-fab river cruise ship feature is spotty Wi-Fi reception, but Scenic’s Space Ships do offer good on-board reception, which is relatively fast, and dependable, making it easy to stay in touch.  Best of all, that good quality Wi-Fi is part of the Scenic inclusive package, which covers daily shore excursions and all but the most premium liquors. Guests can sip happily while updating that Facebook page with photos from shore.

Scenic_FoodCourtesy of Scenic Luxury Cruises & tours

Food is Foremost

No one ever went on a luxury river cruise to lose weight so you may come home a little heavier but definitely happier, filled with gloat-worthy culinary memories . 

Scenic_Sundeck diningCourtesy of Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours

With lavish breakfast and lunch buffets and elegant waited service in the Crystal dining room at dinner, you’ll enjoy regional specialties and local market produce. In the early morning and throughout the day, the River Café will have lighter choices while the small specialty restaurants at the front of the ship - L’Amour on France River Cruises and Portobellos fine Italian on other routes – are a great five-course  treat one night for each guest.  If you’re one of the ten lucky guests from the Diamond or Sapphire suites, you’ll experience an exclusive Table La Rive six-course degustation menu complete with sommelier paired wines – truly an evening to remember.

All Ashore

The  most memorable elements of any cruise are the adventures ashore and Europe’s rich history, culture, cuisine, languages, architecture and people offer endless opportunities for discovery. Every river is different – and wonderful. Itineraries on the Seine include precious time to wander the streets of Paris, to visit the Louvre, or the Eiffel Tower or simply to stroll along the Champs-Élysées with a pain au chocolate in hand. If the sun is shining, you might find a spot under the wildly improbable imported palms of the sandy beaches called Paris Plages that now grace the banks of the Seine. Paris in a bikini - who knew?

Scenic_Shore ExCourtesy of Scenic Cruises & Luxury Tours

From the wineries of Bordeaux  to the purple blanket of Provence’s lavender fields, the châteaux of the Loire, Avignon’s gothic Palais-des-Papes and the ultra-glam white sands of the French Riviera, itineraries on the Seine and Rhône rivers touch every highpoint, but that’s just the beginning. Fascinating cruises are also available on the Danube, the Duoro, the Rhine and Mosele, the Seine, the Rhone, in the Bordeaux Region, the Volga, the Mekong and the Irrawaddy.

All-About-You Adventures

Love wandering on your own? Enjoy having a well-informed guide to point out the must-sees along the way? Eager for exercise? There’s a shore excursion for you.

Scenic_BikesCourtesy of Scenic luxury Cruises & Tours

Active travellers will love the stable of well-maintained e-bikes for cycling by the Danube, through the UNESCO World Heritage Wachau Valley, along scenic roadways in Bordeaux, past Europe’s longest coastal beach, Arcachon Bay and beyond.  Passionate explorers will choose the Scenic Enrich experiences to enjoy private access to stunning castle and chateaux rooms, and exclusive dining  – brag-worthy experiences to drive your friends crazy with envy. 

Regardless of how you explore, you’ll have expert guidance – live or recorded. No crackling headsets that fade to nothing if you stray more than a few steps from your group, GPS-guided Tailormade equipment is comfortable and consistently clear. Amplify what’s being said on a guided tour or head off on your own, using a recorded tour. You can even use your Tailormade headset in your room or on deck, while you’re sailing. 

Back on board, the exploration, learning and fun will continue with cooking classes, guest lecturers, entertainers in the lounge and more.

Rivers Ahead

Scenic is known for its repeat guests – hundreds each year. In fact, the only good thing about the end of a really great river cruise is knowing that many more rivers lie ahead and you’re just one booking away from setting sail again, on an entirely new voyage.

 

 

 

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