There are people who live for cruising. People who love mega ships with thousands of passengers, massive casinos and enough space to ensure you never see the same people twice. Globetrotting Traveling Grandmom, however, is not one of them. It’s not that she has an issue with cruising. She just prefers a more refined, intimate experience. That’s why she fell in love with river cruising after traveling with Scenic along the Rhine River in Germany. Seriously, in love. And these are 5 reasons you should experience a Scenic River Cruise.
If you haven’t been a huge fan of cruising, a river cruise is likely to change your mind. Smaller ships make for a more intimate experience and superb customer service. And if ocean waves turn you green, you’ll appreciate the calm waters of the river. There’s no shortage of river cruise companies to choose from and Scenic USA is one of the best. Here are five reasons you should experience a Scenic river cruise.
Stress-Free Travel and Your Own Personal Butler, Seriously
Trying to manage a number of countries with varying road rules and dealing with cultural preferences of whether or not to tip can make international travel stressful. Then there’s the constant packing and unpacking at each destination. On a Scenic river cruise, all of that disappears and you can focus on the journey—or nothing at all, you choose.
Before my cruise along the Rhine River with Scenic, I had never experienced the services of a butler. Now I’m spoiled. I woke each morning and dialed the direct number to my butler, Mari. The conversation was always the same, “Good Morning, Ms. Marshall, would you like me to bring your tea this morning?” In the afternoon, my cabin attendant, Therry, made sure my all-inclusive mini bar was stocked with white wine—apparently someone kept drinking mine.
You Get to Cruise on a Spaceship
With Scenic, you’ll be cruising on a spaceship. These sleek luxurious vessels feature panoramic views of the river with floor to ceiling windows throughout. The artwork is well chosen and touches of luxury are everywhere.
Suites and staterooms include retractable windows that allow the conversion of the private balcony into an all-weather sun lounge with the touch of a button. Typically, I’m not one that spends a lot of time in my room when I travel. But I could have spent hours just hanging out in my suite aboard the Scenic Opal.
At the heart of the ship is the Panorama Lounge and Bar—a place to relax, meet up with old and new friends and the location of the ship’s evening entertainment. When the sun is shining, catch a few rays on the Sun Deck or relax in the Jacuzzi. There’s also a Fitness and Wellness Center for workouts or a massage.
You Will Eat Well, VERY Well
With a varied selection of dining options, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to eating. Crystal is the main dining room for the ship and serves buffets for breakfast and lunch with a la carte selections also available. Dinners are full service with a varied and delicious array of menu choices. Can’t decide between the fish or the beef entrée? Order both.
For more casual bites, River Café serves a range of light meals, snacks, and beverages daily including personal pizzas and addictive desserts.
Guests of the Diamond Deck and Junior Balcony Suites on the Sapphire Deck have the option of dining at Table La Rive, the Executive Chef’s table. This elegant experience features a six-course menu with sommelier paired wine.
For exclusive and intimate dining, make a reservation at Portobellos for fine Italian dining, or L’Amour where fine French cuisine is the star.
At least once on each cruise, an old-fashioned barbeque is served on the Sun Deck – weather permitting. And although it was raining on barbeque day for my cruise, the barbeque theme was brought inside to the Crystal dining room. The rain didn’t bother us as we feasted on German sausages and a decadent Strawberry Buffet.
Excursions Your Way
There are times when I’m happy to join a group tour, but at other times I prefer to explore on my own. With Scenic, the choice is yours. Choose from a vast array of Freechoice excursions based on your interests: history, culture, food or nature. And you can always explore at your own pace with Freechoice excursions categorized as Active, Moderate and Relaxed.
In Koblenz, I chose to explore on one of the ship’s e-bikes. These motored bicycles pedal like a regular bike, but give you a boost to take you further faster. I took advantage of the ship’s GPS based Scenic Tailormade tour: a personal hand-held device that guided me to points of interest.
Scenic also arranges for private Sundowner events along the way. For example, in Manheim, a private tour of a Baroque-period Palace was followed with an outstanding classical concert. In Koblenz, we traversed the Rhine River to the impressive Ehrenbreitstein Fortress where we were treated to traditional German entertainment complete with beer and sausages.
Choose Your River and Leave Your Wallet At Home
Our cruise followed the Rhine River from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam. Along the way, we glided past UNESCO World Heritage sites, fairytale castles, picturesque villages and historic cathedrals. Scenic also offers itineraries along the Main, Danube, Seine, Rhone, Volga, Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers.
And you can leave your wallet at home because a Scenic cruise is a 5-star all-inclusive experience. That includes in-suite mini bar, meals and snacks, complimentary drinks (including alcohol), gratuity for the staff and tour guides, free e-bikes and all transfers to and from the ship.
This isn’t the type of trip I would take my young grandkids on because it is more grown-up focused. But, I would highly recommend this for couples, groups of friends or as a multi-generational trip for older teens, adult children, parents, and grandparents. It’s an unforgettable journey.