Once again I am rushing around preparing to leave on a cruise. Of course, this is a wonderful reason for rushing, but nonetheless, it makes me kind of crazy.
For example, I have to line up someone to water my vegetable patch in the community garden. And I have to clean out as much of my email as possible. And I have to remember to check in tomorrow afternoon for our Monday flight. I need to change a doctor’s appointment, schedule the window cleaners, find a decent jacket to take along.
And, yes, I do have a written list so I don’t forget anything….
We will be traveling to Nuremberg, Germany, where we will join the second half of a two-week cruise on the Danube from Amsterdam to Budapest on the new Scenic Jade river ship. We wish we could do the entire trip but Scenic Cruises has been so successful in its first season of marketing in the U.S. that there just weren’t enough cabins to accommodate all of the press who wanted to sail and report on the experience. So five writers are on the first week and five on the second.
Scenic Cruises is an exciting entry into the North American river cruising market because it promises to be the most all-inclusive offering of all the ships out there. That means that ALL tours offered are included, that all alcohol, wine and beer is included (except for ultra premium brands), that gratuities are included and that a new system of independent touring is offered via GPS called Scenic Tailormade. We will be finding out if all of this is as special as we expect it to be.
So, of course, I will be writing about the ship and the Scenic Jade experience. But I will also be writing about the ports we will visit on this Jewels of Europe itinerary, which are all new to me except Vienna and Slovakia. Here is a recap:
Today choose from one of the Included SCENIC FREE CHOICE tours: (1) see the infamous WWII sites followed by a visit to the Documentation Centre; or (2) ‘Tastes of Nuremberg’: enjoy a delicious sampling of Nuremberg’s famous bratwurst, beer and gingerbread.
Regensburg is one of Germany’s finest preserved cities. Today you’ll be able to explore this unique town, which is home to the world’s oldest sausage kitchen. Choose from one of the following Included SCENIC FREE CHOICE tours: (1) a guided walking tour including an organ recital; or (2) a guided bicycle tour to the Walhalla Memorial. Alternatively, explore this charming town independently with Scenic Tailormade, with more than 25 points of interest including Thurn and Taxis Palace, the Imperial Hall and Regensburg Cathedral.
Passau – Linz
Welcome to Passau, a beautiful baroque city that lies on the corner between Germany, Austria and Czech Republic. Your Included SCENIC FREE CHOICE tours give you a choice of two countries: (1) visit Salzburg, setting for ‘The Sound of Music’ and birthplace of Mozart; or (2) take an excursion to the medieval Czech town of Cesky Krumlov. Your Scenic Tailormade device is also available and gives you an opportunity to explore Passau at your leisure.
Melk – Dürnstein – Vienna
This morning your ship docks in Melk, famous for its baroque Benedictine monastery. Here you can choose from one the following Included SCENIC FREE CHOICE tours: (1) visit the magnificent Benedictine Abbey; or (2) take a guided bike ride from Melk to Dürnstein.
To get acquainted with this beautiful city, enjoy an Included tour of the famous sights including the Ringstrasse. This afternoon explore Vienna at your own leisure. SCENIC ENRICH: Highlights include a glass of Austrian Sekt at the majestic Palais Liechtenstein followed by an enchanting private Viennese evening concert featuring the music of Strauss and Mozart. The Palais is also known as the Garden Palace and it reveals fascinating insights into 400 years of artistic patronage and is where the Prince of Liechtenstein showcases his privately owned art collection.
Today choose your Included SCENIC FREE CHOICE tour: (1) a guided tour of Schönbrunn Palace; or (2) an excursion to the Slovakian capital of Bratislava; or (3) a visit to the world renowned Spanish Riding School for a guided tour or witness the famous Lipizzaner Stallions perfecting their skills during their morning exercise program (not available for all departure dates).
Choose from one of the following Included SCENIC FREE CHOICE tours: (1) discover the highlights of both Buda and Pest during a guided city tour; or (2) relax in the Thermal Baths and Spa; or (3) explore the labyrinths of Hospital in the Rock – Nuclear Bunker Museum.