Australian Glen Moroney founded the company in 1986 (then called Scenic Tours) by offering coach trips to the Australian coast for senior citizens. Since then, the company expanded their tour operations around the world starting with New Zealand, Norfolk Island, and southern Africa. Scenic’s first river cruise season was in 2008 with the launch of its first riverboat, Scenic Sapphire in Europe. Though the company has opened offices in the US, Canada, and Europe since its launch, it remains a private, Australian-owned operation. And quite luxurious…every cabin has butler service.
How Many Passengers: From 44 to 169 guests.
Personality: The line calls its vessels “space ships” because they maximize space to the fullest extent. Architecture and interiors are contemporary and airy, with light colors and warm wood tones.
Fellow Passengers: Scenic tends to cater more to the Australian market, as voyages are long (often close to two weeks or more). Around 40 percent of their guests are Australian, 20 percent Canadian, and 20 percent from the US. Guests are well-traveled and older; the average age is nearly 70 years old.
Cabins: About 4 out of every 5 cabins have a balcony, and every ship except for Tsar have Sun Balconies, which means they have glass windows that fold out, offering fresh air and making the room feel larger. Cabins are luxurious and designed to reflect a 5-star hotel with Egyptian cotton sheets, HDTVs, complimentary robes, and large bathrooms with color-changing LED shower lights.
Dining Experience: The main dining room serves all three meals a day with an open seating design. Guests can also enjoy lighter fare at the River Cafe throughout the day. There’s also two specialty restaurants onboard – an Italian, French, or Portuguese venue depending on the ship, and Table Le Rive which offers a six course meal. Occasionally, a barbecue will also be available on the sun deck.
Amenities: Scenic ships offer massage services, a fitness center, various musical and dance entertainment, wifi, and a cooking class for French river cruises. There are also experts that will come onboard to give lectures about the regions that the cruise visits. For time ashore, there are also bicycles with electronic assistance to make pedaling easier if guests need it.
Best For: Well-traveled guests, older couples, English-speaking passengers (local guides in port are English-speaking)
Included Alcohol: Unlimited, including stateroom mini bars
Where They Go: Danube, Rhine, Main, Moselle, Seine, Rhône, Bordeaux, Douro, Volga, Mekong, and Irrawaddy Rivers.
Contributor: Sarah Bretz