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Scenic

Scenic Review

Scenic Review

This Australian luxury cruise and tour operator was launched 30 years ago and has expanded to become one of the leading river cruise lines in Europe — and it's now also creeping across Asia's waters, with cruises in the Mekong and Myanmar on new purpose-built ships designed to fit right into the setting. All of Scenic's ships, in fact, are company-owned and constantly renovated so they maintain a modern look that's luxurious and elegant, without being too over-the-top. 

In addition, Scenic is also scheduled to launch their first ocean and expedition ship, the 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse, in August 2018. Designed with two helicopters, a seven-seat submarine, five restaurants, a movie theater, a deck-top teppanyaki grill, and a 5,000-square-foot spa, the ship will sail to the polar regions of Antarctica and the Arctic as well as Europe and the Americas.

What We Love

All-Inclusive Really Means All-Inclusive: Once you arrive, everything is taken care of for you, starting with your airport transfer. This means all meals, butler service, open bar with top-shelf liquor, in-room minibars, entertainment, excursions, and even gratuities are included in the fare.

Butler Service for All: Each floor has its own dedicated butler ready to help with any request, from restocking your minibar with soft drinks and chips, to packing your bags before you disembark, bringing you pillows from the pillow menu, shining your shoes for you before dinner, and delivering 24-hour room service to your cabin.

Gorgeous Spas: These ships include steam rooms and saunas, but most passengers spend so much of the day sightseeing on land that you may never see another person there if you take advantage of these features. (The pool and laundry room are more popular amenities.)

Best Known For

Five-Star Luxury: The river vessels — which Scenic calls "Space-Ships" — are like high-end floating hotels, with amenities that include pillow menus, 24/7 room service, and a chef's table with a six-course tasting menu.

Top-Notch Excursions: Scenic began as a tour operator, so it's no surprise the tours aren't your typical shore excursions. All of the coaches and guides are part of the company, and you can choose from a selection of free daily excursions that range from active to slower-paced to suit all types of travelers. In addition to cultural tours and museum visits, look for cooking classes and even trips to temples to receive blessings from monks.

Who It's Best For

Energetic, Well-Traveled Retirees: While the ships skew slightly on the younger side of the typical river cruise demographic, the average age still hovers around 65 — but don't let that fool you. These baby boomers have traveled the globe a few times over and lead the pack on the more active excursions.

English Speaking Travelers: While you may find more of your fellow cruisers are Australian or British, everyone onboard is likely to speak English on your sailing.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

These Cruises Are Expensive: That said, you do get what you pay for. Once on board, you don't have to worry about whipping out your wallet for anything — from wine to WiFi and laundry detergent — unless you book a spa treatment.

Lane Nieset

Lane Nieset is a Miami-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for Ocean Drive, Frommer’s, and Paste.

Sherri Eisenberg

Sherri Eisenberg is the New York City-based editorial director of ShermansCruise.com.

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