I chose Scenic for our Rhine River Cruise based on web research (including this site) and other independent sites. Obviously Scenic is not as well known in the U.S. due to their lack of advertising. Every time we would mention that we were going on a River cruise folks would say, "On Viking?" Ah, the power of PBS advertising!
I knew that with water levels low in Europe this summer the potential for an interrupted journey on the Rhine was a possibility--and, yes, that's exactly what happened. However. I give Scenic high marks for handling this in stride and my remembrances of this cruise will be about the wonderful experience, service and excursions rather than the slight trip disruption. Having never taken another river cruise I don't have a basis for comparison but I doubt that any other company could pull this off any better than Scenic.
We disembarked Amsterdam on the Scenic Ruby (instead of the Jasper as advertised) and Scenic was very open that up river problems caused them to switch boats. No problem, the Ruby was an excellent vessel that was refurbished not too long ago. Great crew (excellent butlers), great food and entertainment and top notch cruise director. Shortly before we reached Koblenz we were informed that the trip would be interrupted so we had to repack. After our morning excursion to Cochem (outstanding) and lunch (o the Ruby) Scenic put us on a commercial sightseeing boat to go through the Rhine Gorge for three hours (i.e., not bussed but still cruising) and then coaches for the last 40-50 km meeting our new ship (Crystal) at Rudesheim. When we arrived in our new cabin all our luggage (including carry ons) was waiting. The cruise continued as normal, albeit with a different ship which was virtually the same as the Ruby although the Crystal was several years newer. Never crew but same great service, food and entertainment and our Cruise Director (Kathy) stayed with us which really helped the continuity of the cruise.
I would recommend Scenic and take the exact same cruise EVEN IF I knew there was going to be a water level disruption. The Scenic people are pros and this was a first class cruise. Scenic made a big deal about how we continued cruising despite the interruption whereas other cruises required passengers to finish much of the tour by coaches. I don't know how true that is, but I will remember this wonderful cruise experience, not the slight trip interruption. Kudos to Scenic.
Both ships' cabins were well appointed. Interesting to compare the improvements in the later Crystal version. Not sure all were improvements over the Ruby series (closet doors that slid instead of opened), but overall very well thought out.
Volendam was OK --pretty commercial.
Actually the walking tour through Edam was a real highlight with excellent cheese tasting outside this beautiful, quaint village. Excellent guide.
Cochem was lovely and Rechsburg Castle was excellent. Trip was a little rushed.
Seasonal events going on in Cathedral (Magi pilgrimage) but still a magnificent sight to behold.View All 184 Cologne Cathedral Reviews
Interesting, great tour guide but fairly short.View All 52 Cologne Old Town Reviews
Nice walking tour with a great guide who was very knowledgeable.View All 96 Notre Dame Cathedral Reviews
tour included 4 different tastings which were excellent.View All undefined undefined Reviews