Scenic Christmas Markets Cruise: The Bottom Line

The cruise lived up to promise, exceeding it on many levels. Rooms were comfortable and beautifully maintained, the windowed balcony was perfect for chilly season cruising, the staff were exemplary. My only regret was that I could only do one week of a possible two week cruise. When I read about the complete ‘all inclusive’ promise of the Scenic Cruise line, I have to admit that I was skeptical. Yet, at the end of the cruise, I …

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Scenic Cruises Christmas Market Tour: A ship’s farewell and a slow transition to shore life

There’s such a difference between the disembarkation from a cruise ship and the disembarkation from a river cruise boat.  This one was serene and manageable – no getting up at dawn, no suitcases in the hallways at midnight. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, said goodbye to the crew and got into the taxi that Yvonne the tour director had arranged for us. That, for me, is how a cruise should end – I hate rushed endings and …

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A Taste of Dutch Christmas

When I open the cabin drapes this morning, I’m treated to a view of the heart of Amsterdam.  The Central Station is just a walk away! The surprising shape of the EYE Film Museum glows even in the early light, and the Dutch are already zipping by on their bikes.  This is one of my favorite cities in Europe and I’m excited to see it ‘glammed’ up for Christmas. Some passengers will be heading out to the …

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Cologne and Dusseldorf, Decked out for the Holidays

Since we had been to Cologne recently, we decided to tour nearby Dusseldorf as our choice of excursion today. This is a very cool town, with Frank Ghery modernism combined with medieval churches to produce a dynamic atmosphere.  There are several Christmas Markets in the heart of the city, each with a different personality. One is the Angel Market, another is a traditional market, and one is very controversial . The designers attempted to make this market …

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A Memorable Birthday on the River

My husband forgot it was my birthday, but Stewart, the Hotel Manager didn’t!  He whispered a discrete ‘Happy Birthday’ as we went down for breakfast.  As did our Butler Joana, and the cabin attendant, who devised a very creative birthday cake out of towels! A very nice way to begin the day.  My husband remembered somewhere between the eggs benedict and the latte. While it is a bit sad to be away from family when your birthday …

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Wine and Food Pairing at La Rive

This evening we are invited to experience La Rive, a special dining experience where the chef designs a tasting menu which is paired with the perfect wine to match the flavours of each dish. There were six courses, as well as an Amuse Bouche to start -which was served with a prosecco cocktail. The first course was a lemongrass Creme Brulee served with a 2010 Grauburgunder, followed by salmon carpaccio paired with a 2011 William Fevre Chablis. …

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Scenic Tours Christmas Markets Cruise- Cruising with a Local Flavour

Scenic cruises has a new addition to their port tours – the chance to spend time with local residents, with an opportunity to get a personal glimpse into the real life of the area. Today we  separated into small groups to meet the locals.  There was a good list of choices so each passenger could select an experience that would be meaningful – from cookie making, to hiking with a guide , from a bike ride around …

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Scenic Tours, Christmas Markets Cruise-A day in historic Wurzburg

WURZBURG-Today we are docked in historic Wurzburg, a charming old city that straddles the river.  It is infamous for the witch trials that took place here in the early 1600’s.  Much of the city was destroyed in fire bombings at the end of World War 11, but the city has been painstakingly and lovingly restored. The graceful old bridge, the Alte Mainbrucke, is adorned with statues of saints and historic figures and resembles the Charles Bridge in …

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Scenic Christmas Markets cruise

We awoke this morning in Bamberg, to slightly chilly weather and little flakes of snow, quite perfect for a tour of this lovely old town.  We did a walking tour with guide Christian, who told us the history of the town and showed us the cathedral, the royal residences, and the historic buildings, including an ancient brewery, famous for its smokey beer.  We ended at the Main square with its traditional Christmas market and wandered for an …

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The Christmas Markets Cruise: Aboard the MS Scenic Crystal with Scenic Tours Initial Impressions and a Warm Welcome

Within minutes of boarding the ship, we had met many of the crew members, we had been given a quick overview of the boat and our private butler had introduced us to the details of daily life on the Crystal. (Two pieces of ironing can be done gratis each day, the mini bar is restocked daily, there’s a “Do Not disturb” light to engage when you want to be left alone, etc. ) We unpacked – the cupboards …

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