Scenic Jasper is the latest addition to the Scenic Tours fleet of 12 ‘Space-Ships’, and has only just come into service, and I was offered the opportunity to spend 4 nights onboard, at the end of March 2015. You can watch my video, have a look through my photos on Facebook, and then read about my experience. Further down the page there is some more general information about Scenic Jasper, and also about the rest of the Scenic Tours fleet. Then to get more information, or to book your cruise, call GoCruise with Ian on 01455 821770 or 0800 29 22 820.
I flew from Birmingham to Amsterdam, and was met at the airport and transferred to the ship in the port of Amsterdam. As the port is becoming much busier, with more river cruise ships based here, we were at a berth out of the main town. Please note that on a normal cruise departure you would be taken from the airport to a hotel in central Amsterdam. There would be a room where you can leave your luggage and explore, before all being transferred to the ship later in the afternoon when all the cabins were ready.
After a welcome drink I was shown to my deluxe balcony suite by the steward, and then the butler came and introduced himself to me. I was really impressed with the cabin, which had a great balcony with electrically operated glass screen. The shower has glass doors, without a curtain in sight, with a really good shower with loads of water jets, and pulsating colours.
It was quiet on the ship, as people were arriving on different flights throughout the day, so I went around the ship taking photos and video of all the different suite and cabin grades. I also took some in some of the public rooms, and then relaxed with a drink. A continuous light buffet was being served in the lounge as people arrived. Early evening we had talks from the Scenic Tours team, the cruise director and Captain, before an enjoyable buffet dinner in the main restaurant. After a couple of drinks I had an early night at 10pm.
Breakfast was really good, with an excellent omelette, which I always try on ships. At 9.00am we set off on our chosen excursions, and I went to a cheese farm in Gouda, and then to a working museum of windmills and also saw a clog making demonstration. We were back to the ship soon after 1pm, and went straight into the restaurant for an enjoyable lunch. We then set sail for Antwerp, and mid-afternoon attended the safety briefing. As it was raining this took place in the lounge. I then went to my cabin to do some work, but there was a problem with the internet, so connection was intermittent and very slow.
It was Captain’s Cocktails this evening before dinner, and I was very fortunate to be invited to dine at the speciality restaurant, Table La Rive. We had a six course taster menu, with each course paired with a specific wine. The quality of food and wine was excellent.
This morning we were berthed in Antwerp, and with Scenic FreeChoice the excursions were a walking tour of Antwerp, or a drive to Bruges with some free time there to look around. I opted for the walking tour of Antwerp, which lasted just under a couple of hours, and we learned a bit about the history of the city. I was then back onboard for a relaxing lunch, before working on my review and answering a few emails.
In the afternoon we had a tour of the galley, which was really interesting. It is amazing how the team of chefs can prepare such a lot of great food from such a small space. We then went around the various suite and cabin grades.
Tonight I had an enjoyable dinner with colleagues in the Crystal Restaurant, before having a couple of drinks in the Panorama Lounge, and then had a relatively early night.
We relaxed as we were cruising for the morning, although there was one presentation we had to attend. This was for us to find out more about Scenic Tours, and her sister company Emerald Waterways, and was conducted by William Young, who is Scenic Tours’ answer to Billy Connolly.
We were due to get to Hoorn mid-afternoon, but we were advised late morning that one of the lock gates had broken the previous night, therefore we returned to our berth in Amsterdam. Luckily Kurt, the cruise director, was able to make a few phone calls, and everything went ahead as planned, but by coach. Due to the slower pace of travel on the canals, the distance by road wasn’t great, and it was only a 45 minute drive.
One benefit of berthing back in Amsterdam was that we were next to Emerald Sky, which is one of the Emerald Waterways fleet, which is a sister-company to Scenic Tours. I managed to take a look around and take photos and video, which you can see if you click on my photos of Emerald Sky or on my video of Emerald Sky.
The choice of tour today was a cycling tour of Hoorn, a walking tour of Hoorn, or clog painting. Unfortunately, the cycling tour couldn’t take place, but the walking tour was really interesting. Then in the evening we all went out for a meal in Hoorn, as part of the Scenic Enrich programme. Dinner was a typical meal from the area, of vegetable soup, a beef stew with mashed potato and carrots, followed by semolina. While not Cordon Bleu it was very enjoyable, but the main point of the evening was to meet the locals. The event was held in the Oosterkerk or East Church, and everything was set up and served by volunteers. There was also at least one local on each table, and the deputy Mayor was on my table. It was actually a really interesting event, and I can imagine many people would enjoy either this event, or similar events in other destinations.
Everything was well organised, and we had breakfast, then checked our case was by the coach, and then took the transfer to the airport for the flight home. After a normal cruise you would be transferred to a hotel again, and then taken to the airport at the right time for your flight.
At 135 feet long, and 2,721 gross tons, she carries 169 passengers in 85 cabins, with a crew of 53.
There are 16 grades of cabins and suites, with 84 doubles and 1 single, ranging in size from 160 sq ft (15 sq m) up to 360 sq ft (33 sq m), including Royal Panorama Suites, Royal Suites, Junior Suites, Deluxe Balcony Suites and Staterooms.
All grades include the following as a minimum – L’Occitane toiletries, hair dryer, bathrobes, slippers, complimentary mini-bar (re-stocked daily), complimentary Wi-Fi, Scenic ‘Slumber Bed’ with Egyptian cotton linen and pillow menu, telephone, safe, individual climate control, Samsung HDTV linked to Mac mini system, and butler service. There are also umbrellas and walking sticks in the cabins for your use while on holiday.
All of the suites have an outside sit-on balcony, so you can relax and watch the world go by.
The level of service provided by your butler varies depending on the level of accommodation you have booked, which is shown by the deck you book on.
Unlike many river cruise ships, you have a choice of dining venues with Scenic Tours.
While you are onboard the ship, all your drinks are complimentary, not just at the bar or in the restaurant, but also in your cabin, where a minibar is replenished daily. So whether it is a glass of champagne with breakfast, wine with lunch and dinner, a beer on deck, a cocktail before dinner, or a nightcap, there is no charge. The only exception to this is for a very small number of rare, fine and vintage wines, champagnes and spirits.
With Scenic Tours you get several options to choose between for your shore excursions, and they are all included in the price of your holiday.
There are 12 ‘Space-Ships’ in the fleet, which are listed below: –
New for 2016
The following list shows the different itineraries offered for 2015
New for 2016
Please note: –
Scenic Tours has a sister company called Emerald Waterways, which also operates a fleet of modern cruise ships on the waterways of Europe.
If you would like any further information on any Scenic Tours or Emerald Waterways river cruises, call GoCruise with Ian on 01455 821770 or 0800 29 22 850