In 2016, I took my first river cruise holiday. While I had long been sold on the merits of ocean cruising, I wasn’t sure if river cruising was really for me.
Then I boarded Scenic’s brand new ship, Amber, a sleek and stylish 135-metre-long river ship that had the ambiance of a floating boutique hotel. “Oh yes,” I thought to myself, “I could get used to this!”
As you’ll see in the images below, Scenic Amber was modern and elegant, making it a wonderful way to experience Europe along the beautiful Danube River.
And allaying the initial fears I had of missing the great attractions on shore, Scenic thoughtfully incorporated the beautiful cities, towns and attractions in the itinerary, offering well-planned tours and shore excursions in each port. In fact, I saw more than I had ever dreamed to.
Tours included a great mix of the popular tourist sites and must-see attractions, along with unique events specially designed for Scenic guests. From a Mozart concert in a Viennese Palace, to a polka band in a mountain top chalet, the experiences organised by Scenic perfectly represented the local culture and destination. Many of the events even feature the local cuisine.
There was ample free-time to venture out and do your own thing too. Lose yourself in the city streets, or go off-the-beaten-track and discover the beautiful countryside on a self-guided tour.
Strolling castle ruins from the 1100s is rather remarkable. Aggstein Castle, just outside of Melk, Austria is one incredible place and part of Scenic Amber’s river cruise itinerary. Perched high in the mountains over a cliff top with sweeping views up and down the Danube, we enjoyed sundowner cocktails and local entertainment.
At the end of our Scenic Amber trip, I departed with a feeling of gratitude – a feeling that comes with having seen and experienced much. I found that a river cruise is the PERFECT way to experience Europe, and Scenic could not have been a better, or more gracious host and tour guide.
My photo retrospective below, offers just a glimpse of the wonderful things you can expect from a Scenic cruise.
Wherever you decide to go, Well Travelled offers a great range of Scenic river cruises. From the great rivers of Europe and Asia to North or South America, we feature them all.
Luxury on the Danube
From Passau and Melk, to Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest, a trip on the Danube is filled with beauty. I snapped this image of Scenic Amber from the shore.
Scenic provides guests with power-assist bicycles and I opted to ride the winding riverside bike paths, to meet the ship at the next port, in the beautiful city of Melk. I include a photo of the bikes below.
The royal treatment
Our Royal Balcony Suite came with Butler service and every luxury feature, including mini-bar (stocked daily), in-room safe, huge flat screen TV, large bathroom with bathtub and separate shower and L’Occitane bath products.
The lounge room window, as well as the balcony window could be electrically lowered for the full outdoor effect. Guests staying in the Royal Balcony Suites even receive complimentary laundry service.
More than just a tour, Scenic’s shore excursions were brilliantly orchestrated. Whether you like the convenience and predictability of a guided tour, or prefer to get out and explore on your own, Scenic gives you the opportunity to choose – or to do a little of both.
Scenic also treats guests to its own special events, which have some connection to the local culture. Feeling like a once in a lifetime experience, each of these events was spectacular.
To get around, Scenic’s own luxury coaches follow the route of the cruise, so there’s always comfortable transportation waiting at every port. Of course, you can take one of those power-assisted bicycles for a ride around too.
Best of all, the tour guides are locals who (obviously) speak English and are experts in the city or region visited. I found every guide to be exceptional.
If you like to explore on your own, Scenic even provides guests with tailor made devices. You’ll find maps, audio guides, facts and figures and a GPS locator on each.
Everything on Scenic is first-class – and complimentary too. With all-inclusive pricing, guests never have to worry about carrying money, or signing an invoice when ordering food, or a drink. Even the in-cabin mini bar items are complimentary.
The dining experience on board Scenic Amber was wonderful. Open seating allowed us to meet and talk with the other passengers, all of whom were good fun. The food was exceptional, with a wide array of dishes to choose from. The bar was always open, and there was even a tea and coffee bar with biscuits and small cakes available throughout the day.
Highlights of a Scenic river cruise