The Scenic Jewel is a 169-passenger river ship that sails the great rivers of Europe for Scenic Tours, an Australian company that markets its cruises in North America under the Scenic Cruises name. I sailed the Rhine River from Mainz to Amsterdam on the Scenic Jewel and loved this addition to the European river cruising experience.
Like the other Scenic ships, the Scenic Jewel stands out because its voyages are all-inclusive. Guests can pay for their entire cruise before they leave home. Transfers, tips, tours, drinks, dining venues, Internet access, and the use of the electric-assisted bicycles are all part of the basic price. Even the minibar items are complimentary, and it is re-stocked each day.
Most of the Scenic cabins and suites also include a sun lounge, which is like an enclosed balcony whose large window can be opened with the flip of a switch, transforming the enclosed sun lounge into an open-air balcony.
Let's take a tour of the Scenic Jewel. Be sure to click on the links to get more detailed information and don't forget to check out this photo gallery of the ship.
Scenic Jewel River Cruise Experience
Launched in 2013, the Scenic Jewel is Scenic Tours/Scenic Cruises eighth ship. All of the ships except the River Tsar in Russia and the Scenic Emerald in the South of France are identical, and that's a good thing for river cruise lovers. Even though all river ships look similar from the outside, the Scenic ships (called "space-ships" by the company) have some distinctive features.
First, as noted above, Scenic Cruises' all-inclusive river voyages make the experience even more enjoyable.
Next, the company includes at least one "Scenic Enrich" shore experience on each cruise, such as dinner and an evening concert at Rastatt Palace, an evening classical concert in Vienna, or a late afternoon tour and medieval dinner at Marksburg Castle. These special events would incur an extra fee if offered on other river cruise lines. Third, over 80 percent of the cabins have a full-size balcony, much like you see on other ships; however, these balconies transform into a sun lounge with the push of a button.
Finally, guests sailing the Scenic Jewel and the other ships sailing on the Danube, Main, Rhine, and Moselle Rivers have the use of "Scenic Tailormade", an exclusive handheld GPS guided tour system with full commentary of many ports of call, allowing guests to choose from independent walks or cycling tours exploring interest areas like food and wine or history. This same device can be used as guests are relaxing on board. As the ship passes landmarks, the GPS locks in, and passengers can listen on the handheld unit or press a button to get full information about what they're seeing.
The Scenic Jewel cabins and suites are comfortable and spacious. All of the accommodations (except the 13 cabins on the lowest deck) have the sun lounges discussed previously. For more detailed information on the cabins and suites, click on the links below.
Scenic Jewel Dining and Cuisine
Like most river ships, the Scenic Jewel has one main dining room where guests take all meals. This room, the Crystal Dining Room, has wonderful river views and a good variety of delicious food. In addition, since many of the cruises on the Scenic Jewel are longer than a week, the ship has other dining venues to tantalize the palate. Click on each link below to read more about the various dining venues and to see some sample menu items.
Scenic Jewel Common Areas
The interiors of the Scenic Jewel are contemporary, comfortable, and colorful. The Panorama Lounge has a new upgraded bar done with "Port Laurent" marble, and self-serve gourmet tea and a 24-hour coffee machine. The reception area is bright and welcoming, making a good first impression for boarding guests. The ship also has a small fitness center with modern equipment like a treadmill, elliptical, rowing machine, and stationary bicycle.
The Scenic Jewel sun deck was not yet completed on our shake-down cruise for media and travel agents, but it will be a popular place for guests in the months and years ahead.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary cruise accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.