Launched in 2008, Scenic Diamond is one of the oldest ships in the Scenic river cruise fleet, but underwent a $10 million renovation in 2013 (along with sisters Sapphire, Emerald, Ruby, and Pearl). Sailing the Rhine, Danube, and Moselle Rivers, Scenic Diamond has some roomy digs on the water — including suites with sunrooms as balconies — and modern amenities such GPS-enabled tour headsets and TVs with Mac Minis, all up to par with Scenic's newer ships.
What We Love
In-Depth Excursions: The guides — all local — know how to cover more than the basics when it comes to a destination, taking tours off the beaten path to show a different side of the city than what's in the guidebooks.
Scenic Sundowners: One of the new experiences on board: the British tradition of toasting to the sunset with drinks served somewhere fabulous overlooking the river, like a castle with sweeping views over the Wachau Valley in Austria.
Best Known For
Laid-Back Decor: You won’t walk into gilded rooms with chandeliers. Instead, you'll find sleek, modern designs — including marble-lined lounges — that focus on bringing the outside scenery in, since that’s really the highlight of these cruises.
Multiple Dining Venues: Scenic Diamond has six dining options, and all are top-notch — that goes for room service, too. Those staying up on the Diamond Deck are also invited to the exclusive chef’s Table La Rive for a gourmet six-course dégustation menu paired with sommelier-selected wines.
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Who It's Best For
Groups: For people who travel together, these cruises are a dream everyone can go at their own pace (the ship has several tour options in each port) and regroup on board over complimentary pre-dinner cocktails up on the Sun Deck.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
You May Be the Only American: The 30-year-old Australian company has gained a loyal following in Oz and is only slowly starting to make a name for itself in the States; it's a great group though, and you'll be surrounded by Aussies who know how to have a good time.
Lane Nieset is a Miami-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for Ocean Drive, Frommer’s, and Paste.