ABOARD THE SCENIC OPAL – We are about one third of the way into this two-week river cruise and today will be our first call in Germany.
For the past days we have been traveling around tributaries of the Rhine visiting small towns and cities in the Netherlands – although Chet and I did opt for a day tour to Bruges, Belgium.
In those ports, we were the only river ship there…a welcome change from our previous river cruise experiences on the Danube where there were sometimes over a dozen ships in port. In fact, I have only seen two other river ships on the water, and those from European companies.
So it is very nice to be the only folks in town.
Today we are on the main Rhine river and begin our stops in Germany. However, again we are visiting small towns rather than big cities like Cologne. Today we will tour Duisburg, tomorrow Koblenz and then on Wednesday we will be in Cochem. That day should be special because this new ship is going to be christened that day and we will be able to observe.
A bit more about this ship:
The Scenic Opal is the 12th river ship introduced by Scenic Cruises. She has 85 cabins. Most are standard balcony cabins, which we have, although there are several larger suites and also a few cabins without balconies on the lower level. The cabins are not overly large but they are well-appointed. Although at first it seemed to us that they did not offer enough storage, however, after settling in we discovered there was space left over.
The balcony is narrow, with two chairs and two nesting tables. However, the glass doors fold open and we keep them that way all the time which enlarges the room considerably. The outer wall is all glass also, and the upper half slides down to open the cabin to the outdoors. This is a design feature unique to Scenic. So while it is snug it really does not seem so.
The bathroom offers L’Occutane toiletries, a makeup mirror cleverly tucked into the wall cabinet and a nice-sized multi-head shower. Although this ship does not offer a do-it-yourself laundry it does have a clothesline in the shower for drying small items.
On the wall opposite the bed is a small vanity with multiples shelves and mirrors and a small chair. It is useful for storage and drying hair but not much else. The beds are very comfortable and covered by individual duvets.
Every cabin has butler service. Ours is Zuli and he will deliver ice, shine shoes, bring morning coffee/tea or in-room meals, make dinner reservations and handle any other personal requests. The ship offers 24-hour room service – which is really rare on river ships.
On the wall next to the vanity is a large flat screen which is multipurpose. You can see where we are sailing right now, check the day’s itinerary, access the internet or see what we are having for dinner. It also offers fact sheets about the various ports that can be downloaded to your mobile device via a Q code. These are supplemented by a printed guidebook and a full-color map of our itinerary.
There is little that Scenic does not anticipate. There are walking sticks and an umbrella in every closet and binoculars can be checked out from reception if you did not bring your own.
Scenic bills itself as the best of the best and it pretty much lives up to it. So far the only thing we miss are lectures which would tell us more about this region.
June 15, 2015