Today, I am in Budapest to board the new Scenic Jasper. Our cruise takes us to Vienna, by way of Linz, Durnstein and Melk, for christening events on April 21.
What can I expect while on board? Well, Scenic is hanging its hat on a couple of key differentiators:
• to be the most all-inclusive of all river cruise companies (even prepaid gratuities are included on ship and ashore); and
• its innovative space ships.
Scenic also seeks to differentiate itself through a few onboard programs, including:
• Scenic Enrich. Comprised of experiences that are exclusive and special once-in-a-lifetime events, Scenic says.
• Scenic FreeChoice. New Scenic FreeChoice inclusions in key destinations on every cruise at no extra cost. I'll discover what those are and report here.
• Scenic Tailormade. Scenic's new and independent free choice tour is enhanced by GPS-activated directions and commentary. A Scenic Tailormade app can be downloaded on board for free to an apple iPhone or iPad, or you can take one of Scenic's pre-loaded devices.
• Scenic Cycling. Complimentary electrical-assisted bicycles are available that include special mounts to hold the Scenic Tailormade GPS-guided tour system device.
Scenic Jasper is the third generation Scenic “Space-Ship.” It differs from the rest of Scenic's river ships in Europe by featuring a slew of new amenities and stateroom configurations.
• Largest suites on Europe’s rivers
• Vitality pool – plunge pool and one side, jet pool on the other
• Front panoramic deck can be enclosed into all-weather glass lounge
• Royal Panorama Suites are 474-square-feet of luxury with separate bedroom, living room and bathroom with tub and walk-in shower
• Expanded Portobello fine dining restaurant at the bow of the ship
• Upgraded fitness center and massage/hairdresser salon
• Scenic Sundowners immerses guests into the cultural traditions of Europe
These features are in addition to the already Scenic-only characteristics:
• The Scenic ‘Sun Lounge,’ is an outdoor balcony that converts into an all-weather room with the push of a button
• Six dining options including Table La Rive – a 10-seat, six-course chef’s table
• Butler service for every cabin
• Truly all-inclusive – from airport transfers to all excursions and events to all beverages including premium wines and spirits 24/7, to all gratuities – everything except a massage or haircut
• Complimentary in-suite minibar - replenished daily
• Scenic Tailormade handheld GPS guided tour system provided to every guest
• Scenic Enrich is a program of exclusive excursions and exceptional activities ranging from private Viennese concerts at Palais Lichtenstein to immersion in the daily lives of European villagers
• Electric-assist bicycles
• And more…
I'll be on board to assess the features that Joe Maloney talked about in our audio podcast last month: Scenic Cruises, The Most Inclusive River Cruise Company? An Interview With Joe Maloney. Maloney is Scenic's vice president of sales and marketing for the U.S. (Scenic is an Australian company).
I'm boarding today at around 5 p.m. Budapest time. Look for my daily reports on River Cruise Advisor.