Scenic Tours has launched its 144-page 2015 brochure detailing all of its all-inclusive offerings — including new France itineraries and accompanying excursions such as a private soiree in a majestic Médoc Château.
Two new ships – Scenic Opal and Scenic Jasper – will usher in the next generation of “Space-Ships” when they join Scenic’s fleet next year. These third-generation ships will carry on Scenic’s tradition of ship amenities, as well as a new split pool concept on the sun deck — a vitality pool for those wishing a relaxing spell in warm water, plus one equipped with a water stream so it is easy to swim laps while staying in place.
Other new features include a redesign of the Panoramic Lounge and extension of the deluxe Portobello Restaurant – providing the ability to enclose the area during inclement weather by use of a special moving glass wall of windows, which also allows for the expansion of the restaurant.
Eighty-five per cent of cabins and suites boast the Scenic “Sun Lounges,” large private walk-out balconies that convert into all-weather lounges with the push of a button. Cabin amenities include large walk-in showers, Egyptian linens, and a 32-inch Samsung HD TV linked to a Mac mini-computer with complimentary Internet access.
Scenic Tours has responded to the rapid growth in French river cruising with this year’s launch of the Seine-dedicated ship, Scenic Gem. In 2015, Scenic will be the only river cruise line to sail the four major waterways of France, with four new French itineraries.
The 12-day Bordeaux River Cruise takes in the region’s rich culture – its 18th-century merchant mansions, Gothic churches, historic Quarter Saint-Pierre and, of course, France’s largest controlled wine region with its Médoc, Saint-Ėmilion and Graves varieties. The cruise is preceded by a night in Paris. A 17-day version adds two more nights in Paris and three nights in the Basque coastal resort town of San Sebastion. A 21-day version combines 2014’s new Seine itinerary with the Bordeaux sailing, while the 26-day Iconic Southern France itinerary traverses from Paris to Bordeaux and Carcassonne and a wide range of highlights in between.
Other new sailings include a 16-day Vienna to the Danube Delta itinerary that traverses six countries. Ports include Vienna, Bucharest, Budapest, Belgrade, Tulcea, the spectacular narrow gorge known as the Iron Gate, and the Danube Delta (home to more than 300 species of birds and a World Heritage site). A new 21-day Jewels of Europe adventure adds three nights in both Prague and Berlin to a 15-day Amsterdam-to-Budapest river cruise.
Scenic Tours also makes great use of the continent’s majestic rail journeys, offering them as inclusions on specific river itineraries: the Black Forest Steam Train takes guests on a 40-minute journey of yesteryear from Kandern to Haltigen through the scenic Kander Valley; the Great Continental Train takes in the gorgeous countryside vistas between Vienna and Bratislava; and on several of the French sailings, the use of the country’s TGV means high-speed, first-class connections between Paris and Amsterdam, Bordeaux or Dijon.
Scenic Enrich is the company’s exclusive-excursion program, allowing guests to take home memories that include such trips as a private Viennese concert in Palais Lichtenstein, the home of the Princely Family, rulers of the principality of Liechtenstein; a day-in-the-life-experience in a German or Swiss village, in which guests interact with locals and participate in their daily life; a Chopin piano concert in Warsaw’s Manor House; a home-hosted lunch as a guest in a Vukovar family home to experience everyday life in Croatia; and the chance to step back in time on a private tour and Medieval banquet dinner at Marksburg Castle, a 12th-century hilltop castle overlooking the Rhine.