Preparing to sail aboard the new Scenic Opal

2015 Scenic cruise routeOnce again the suitcases are on the extra bed in my office and I am carefully packing, trying not to forget some essential item and throwing in a few silly things (like a selfie-stick).

However, I have so many travel-writer friends who brag about traveling 2-3 weeks in Europe with a single carry-on that I really am trying to cut down on what I bring.

We leave Monday for Amsterdam, where on Wednesday we board the brand new Scenic Opal for a two-week river cruise  on the Rhine and Moselle rivers (think castles and vineyards). This is our third river cruise and our second with Scenic, the top-of-the-line company where everything really is included in the price.

Our previous river cruises have been on different portions of the Danube River so we thought it time to branch out. I sailed a portion of the Rhine eons ago during my very first trip to Europe when I was the new travel editor of the Detroit News. It was part of a “If it’s Tuesday it must be Belgium” bus tour run by Cosmos. But I still remember those fantastic castles and a visit to Heidelberg at sunset and I wanted Chet to share that experience.

So off we go with hopes that all the spring flooding is over and we won’t be diverted to a bus somewhere along the way. We are really interested in visiting all the little towns we will encounter on this trip.

I have been studying the Berlitz guide, River Cruising in Europe, published last year. It is informative, of course, as preeminent cruise expert Douglas Ward is the author, but already it is out of date. River cruise lines are introducing ships at such a fast rate that hardly any guide but one that is online can keep up.

Scenic introduced two new ships last year and this spring introduced the Scenic Jasper and the Scenic Opal so we will be sailing on one of the newest – can’t wait!

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