Scenic Cruises

Scenic Cruises is an Australian company that operate luxury river cruise ships in Europe, Russia, and Egypt. They cater to English speaking guests and have just began to market more heavily in the US in the last 3 years. They have seven ships of their own and lease space on two ships in Egypt.

Scenic Cruises commitment to luxury includes 80 percent of their cabins have actual balconies that you can step out on (not the more common French balconies), included premium shore excursions (of the quality that others ask extra for), included drinks (any beverage except top shelf liquor), and included gratuities.

Cabins are comfortable but similar in size to the others. The commitment to having a balcony prevents them from really increasing the cabin size. Remember, ship size is restricted by lock size so you can't just tack balconies on to an expanded cabin.

Prices - are pretty consistent across ships and itineraries. They vary from about $530 to $570 per person per day. There are promotions from time to time that will reduce these fares. There are also bargains on air when booked with a cruise.

Evaluation - the companies luxury orientation is well founded but each cruise must be evaluated to determine value (as perceived by the guest). The per day per person upcharge for balconies and included shore excursions, drinks and gratuities is about $150 per day more than lines like AMA and Avalon. As for balconies, would you rather have 40 additional sq ft in your room with a French balcony or be able to step out of the room to a 4 by 10 ft space? Certainly the upgraded free excursions are a value but just how much would you spend (of the $!50 per day) if you paid for them on another ship? Finally, it is great to have drinks and gratuities included but it is cost effective?

As with most luxury ships it is always worth it to explore pricing for the particular itinerary and time that you want to go. It is not uncommon to find that available specials can make the cost differential much more attractive.

Sample Itineraries - the following are some samples taken from the Scenic brochure which give good descriptions of their itineraries.