Exclusive review of Scenic Jade's inaugural cruise on the River Danube
The Danube is one of Europe's most popular rivers and it's not surprising! With its art, history, scenery and fascinating capital cities, it is a delight to explore. Read Ann's blog about her cruise from Vienna to Budapest on board the brand new Scenic Jade.
Being in Manchester just after 6am on a Sunday morning is not usually something to be excited about unless you are flying to a beautiful location. On this occasion I was going to Vienna to board the Scenic Jade on her inaugural cruise which had left Amsterdam and was finishing in Budapest. I was lucky enough to join her in Vienna for the last few days.
I boarded her along with three other agents in the afternoon and was immediately impressed with her new modern interior and clean lines. The staff greeted us with warm damp towels to freshen up and a lovely champagne cocktail along with cheerful smiling faces! We checked in and were shown straight to our cabins which had a private balcony and drop down window rather than the French balcony style.
The cabins were extremely well equipped with fresh fruit, water, complimentary mini-bar, safe, dressing gowns and free wi-fi. If you hadn't brought your own laptop or ipad there was a keyboard and screen which you could use. The bed and bedding was extremely comfortable which was very welcome after a long journey and also after a busy day of excursions!
The bathroom had a double shower with a power shower and beautiful L'Occitaine toiletries which were refreshed both morning and night. My cabin also had a butler allocated to it and he provided services such as morning tea and coffee, valet service, shoe shine and cocktail service.
The public areas of the ship were light and airy with large windows which allowed you to take in the passing scenery. There was a lift which serviced all but the Sun Deck.
That evening we had an early dinner as we were going to Palais Liechtenstein to hear a private recital of the Vienna Imperial Orchestra and reception. This was a wonderful experience, thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.
It was lovely to get back to the cabin to find the beds turned down and a chocolate on the pillow ' lovely touches.
With Scenic Tours you are able to choose which excursion you would like to do from three of four choices. The following day we were still in Vienna and I chose to visit the Spanish Riding School. This was a fabulous experience and we had a 'behind the scenes' tour to see the horses in their stables. This option is not normally offered to visitors so we felt very special. We then went back to the ship for lunch and had time to go back in to Vienna with our Scenic Tailormade GPS devices which allowed us to look around by ourselves.
The ship sailed towards Budapest, passing beautiful countryside and we also passed through a lock which was very interesting. There is very little noise or movement making these cruises ideal for those who are not able to travel by sea.
The Captain's Farewell Cocktail and Dinner was a slightly more formal affair ' no long dresses or tiaras but everyone put on their dressier clothes and looked lovely. The food was excellent and served with wine which complimented it beautifully.
You could tell the crew and passengers had all got on really well together as this evening the crew put on a show which involved some the passengers! There was also a slideshow of pictures taken by the passengers showing their highlights. There was a wonderful friendly atmosphere on the ship and everyone told us how much they had enjoyed their holiday and would be booking again with Scenic Tours very soon!
This morning I had chosen to visit the Szecheny Baths for my excursion. This was a thermal complex offering spa and wellness treatments in several indoor and outdoor pools, filled with natural thermal water. Prior to this we had a tour of Buda and Pest, showing the main areas of interest. Needless to say that after my visit to the spa I could have gone back to bed for a sleep!
After lunch on the ship and a new lease of life, we then had free time and took our Scenic Tailormade GPS devices in to Budapest.
Dinner for my group was at the Table Rive by special invitation where a gourmet five course dinner with specially selected wine for each course was served - amazing!
That evening the ship moved to a different berth so we had a cruise by night along the beautiful Danube which was quite magical.
After breakfast we were taken to the airport for our flights home. Although I had only spent a short time on the ship I really enjoyed my time on her and the feedback from the other passengers was glowing. They had nothing but praise for the crew and the way the whole cruise had run smoothly, thoroughly enjoying the different excursions and experiences. Once on board I did not spend any money as all drinks and gratuities are included in the cost. All in all an amazing experience!