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The Iconic Rhone with Scenic River Cruises

The Iconic Rhone with Scenic River Cruises

Having recently returned from my second cruise on the Rhone River I thought I would give you some highlights and let you know how I enjoyed sailing with Scenic River Cruises since this was my first time sailing with them.

My first time with them but my 11th river cruise overall. I have now sailed on Uniworld, AMA Waterways, Avalon Waterways and Scenic. What I put myself through to make sure I am a specialist in the field!

Scenic is an Australian company… starting out with tours and having recently gone into the river cruise industry. Just a few years ago they started marketing to the US and Canada after primarily selling to Australia and the UK. This particular sailing was mostly Brits and Australians with some Canadians and just a handful of Americans.. which I found to be nice. I always enjoying meeting people from different countries and traveling with them.

We sailed on the Scenic Sapphire which was built in 2008 and is going to be refurbished next year. One of Scenic’s big selling points is that it is totally all inclusive and every cabin comes with a Butler.

sapphire

Our ship the Scenic Sapphire in Lyon

I had already done this itinerary (in reverse) back in 2010 with Uniworld so I was expecting to see a lot of familiar ports and places however I was pleasantly surprised that only Lyon and Avignon were doubled and in each of these ports.  I could have done a totally different excursion and saw sites I had never seen before however since I was traveling with my daughter and she had never been to this area before I did double up on what I had done previously; a city tour in Lyon and in Avignon we did Pont du Gard.

So just because you have done a river cruise in the past in a particular area, if you enjoyed it you can take another and see all new sites. In November I will be sailing to Bordeaux, it will be my second time there and my 6th river cruise in France and I can tell you I will be able to see all new sites this next time as well.

pont du gard

The Pont du Gard built over 2,000 years ago by the Romans

Back to Scenic… many of you know I have my very favorite line (Uniworld) so it is difficult to compare each one with them but I did try to be non-biased but if you ask my daughter, it is really hard for me apparently.

I thought that Scenic’s staff was very pleasant and personable, they did not however go out of their way to be helpful unless pressed. Case in point, my daughter and I carried our own luggage on board up two flights of stairs and down one with staff watching but not offering to help. Personally that is one thing that I feel is important… service.

I enjoyed the food on the ship. Their buffet area was very small and didn’t have a lot of choices for breakfast and lunch but what I did eat was tasty. For dinner their choices were plentiful and they had an alternative menu in case you didn’t like what was offered that was larger than any other line I have been on. Also, they have 24 hour room service so my daughter ordered a cheeseburger brought to the cabin quite a few times. There was one wine and food pairing one evening that was only offered to those traveling on Deck 3 (most expensive) that was quite nice… 7 courses.

viviers

Viviers… my second time there but just as quaint as the first

Tours were varied… they always had at least two choices for each port and each one offered a gentle walker’s option as well. They have what they call “Taylor Made” which is a listening device while on a tour but also has the ability to program in private tours that you can do on your own in each destination and biking options that you can program in. On the whole that sounds like a great idea however I found it to be very difficult to understand and I did try a couple of times in various cities we were in to see what they listed to see and it couldn’t give me any information. We mostly used it for the listening device while touring but it was very heavy. The notion was good but it would have taken a 2 hour class for me to be able to figure out how to operate it properly.

vienne

A hike to the top of a hill in Vienne gave us a spectacular view of our ship below

Would I take another Scenic River Cruise? Yes I would, which is not what I always come back from a first time cruise experience saying. I love the fact that everything is included… tours, drinks, tips, WiFi and no optional tours to purchase while there. I would suggest if you take a Scenic river cruise we book your airfare with them. I did not and had to arrange my own transfers to and from the ship… needless to say it was a nightmare of train travel from a fire on the tracks and spending 2 hours in a train with no AC to a drunken multi-lingual homeless man on the train to Marseille. Quite the story there. But my experiences good or bad are always of benefit to you that entrust your travel with me… I would rather the bad happen to me because I am better equipped to then make sure it doesn’t happen on your trip! I can’t guarantee you won’t have a drunken homeless person on your train though… I can only do so much… he was humorous at times though.

selfie vienne

The best part of this trip was being able to experience it with my daughter and maybe one day when she has to pay her own way on a trip she will appreciate me more!

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