Scenic Jasper, End Of Cruise, Summing Up

Royal Panorama Suite 337. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle
Royal Panorama Suite 337. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle

I spent six nights on Scenic Jasper, sailing from Budapest to Vienna. Along the way I met the company’s owners, Glen Moroney and his wife Karen; key executives; and a slew of North American travel agents and journalists. The consensus, and I am in agreement, is that Scenic serves up a quality experience at a high level.

The Australia-based company may already represent the most-inclusive river cruise company in the marketplace, though Scenic must contend with the likes of Tauck and Uniworld. In addition to a long list of inclusives, Scenic bundles in all gratuities, even those for guides ashore. Scenic isn’t skimping either. Champagne is poured, not sparkling (except Prosecco in the alternative dining venue, Portobello), top shelf spirits are included, single malts, for example. You can belly up to the bar for a bottled European beer or a draft, at no extra charge. About the only thing you can dig into your wallet for is a massage.

There are five dining venues if you include room service, something rare on river cruisers but offered on Scenic. The company’s FreeChoice program offers guests a wide-range of excursions, all free of charge. And Scenic’s electric-assist bikes are arguably the best in the business.

Yep, we like this company, and we’re looking forward to what is to come. Here’s a look back at my coverage for the week.

Join the Conversation

Deda says:

We just finished a cruise on this same boat, same itinerary, as the first paying passengers on board. It is a nice boat and our suite was huge. We loved the bikes—very high end. We did however encounter a slew of problems—from the engines conking out and having to wait for repair men to arrive, to lack of information on how we could do 2 tours in one day (biking and abbey tour), to getting stuck on buses with drivers who did not speak English and did not know where to take us to get back onboard the ship. The buses would stop at a dock and the drivers would get out and look up and down the river and then get back in the bus and take us to another port. None of us had a clue what was going on. Someone from the the ship should have been with the passengers at all times. Also, be forewarned that if you book the Royal Panorama Suite (most expensive on the ship), you will be right over the engines. The noise and vibration are an issue to contend with. Everything slid off our bedside tables every night.
The safety drill was cursory. No one mentioned what we would do once we got our life jackets on! There are no lifeboats and the current at this time of year is swift in the Danube.
We also would have preferred an open seating time for dinner, say any time between 7 and 8 PM, rather than the regimented time. I was told that if came late, we would have to skip the appetizer. Also, am wondering why they can’t serve breakfast until 10AM for late risers.
The cabin and dining crew was very kind and accommodating as were those at the front desk.
We have been on AMA cruises and found them to be better organized as to the shore excursions, dining hours, etc.
But those electric assist bike on the Scenic “Jasper”? Those can’t be beat!

Ralph Grizzle says:

Thank you very much for commenting with your experience on Scenic Jasper. Interesting about the vibration (and other issues). I was told there was cushioning that mitigated vibration. Apparently not in your case. Feedback like yours is valuable for our readers. Thanks for sharing and feel free to add additional comments that will help others make informed decisions.

Denn says:

Glad to hear about Scenic jasper. I never got a chance to cruise in Jasper, but I would definitely love to. The Budapest to Vienna cruise lines are always exciting and adventurous. My last cruise through Lake Michigan was as exciting as the Vienna cruise that I did last year. Vienna cruise was in large ship, so never really got a chance to get to every ports. So I’m planning to cruise through the Vienna Lines in a small ship next month.

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