Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Scenic Tours has unique take on river cruises

  • Print

When I was in Europe some weeks ago, temperatures were hovering around 3C and snow was falling in many areas, including Venice.

Changes have come quickly -- the temps are now a balmy 16C, and Europeans are finally feeling winter's wrath is done.

That welcoming warmth came just in time for Scenic Tours' maiden voyage of its latest river cruiser, the Scenic Jewel, a seven-day trip on the Rhine from Mainz to Amsterdam.

Scenic Tours is an Australian company and after commissioning the Jewel will turn its attention to a smaller ship in 2014, the Gem. As river cruise lines go, this one is unique, the first in Europe with separate balconies that, in the case of the Jewel, have evolved to include a folding glass door, providing more interior sitting space while opening to the outside with a press of a button.

Also new is a GPS audio system that allows you to sit on the Jewel's top deck and hear all about the area as you pass through. It also points out street highlights of towns and cities along Europe's major rivers. And finally, no more door-handle cards, just two small switches in your room for "Do Not Disturb" or "Housekeeping."

The Jewel is 138 metres long, about the maximum length for sailing through locks on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers, and carries 169 passengers compared to -- for example -- Viking ships that carry 190 in the same space. So there's more public space and lots of room for more creature comforts including a small gym, hairdressing and salon areas and electrically assisted bikes, for use on either an escorted bike tour or on your own.

The staterooms are spacious and most have balconies.

The Jewel's main dining room can handle everyone at once but there is a separate restaurant called Portobello, seating 24. The river caf© is open most of the day for desserts, sandwiches and other light fare.

The most important change Scenic Tours made in 2013 was to go all-inclusive, a decision made by Australian owner and founder Glen Moroney. Now transfers, gratuities, all beverages and dry cleaning are part of the all-inclusive package. The only items you have to pay for are high-end wines and liquors. All tours are included, including a special one featured on every cruise. On this inaugural, it was an evening-long visit to Marksburg Castle, complete with dinner and entertainment.

This is Scenic's eighth ship. Number nine, the Gem, will carry 128 passengers and is designed to sail the rivers of France. The rebuilt Scenic Tsar fits on the rivers of Russia.

And more ships are coming.

Evergreen Tours (part of Scenic) has been marketing the rivers of Europe from Australia and is about to expand. Two new ships are being built in Holland and will be ready for 2014. While it's all hush-hush, look for a new name and the North American market to be included in upcoming sales initiatives.

And one final note this week: Kate Middleton, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and one of the most popular Royals, will be christening Princess Cruises' Royal Princess in Southampton in June. I assume she will bring Prince William, the other half of the dynamic royal duo to this fitting ceremony -- it was his mother, Princess Diana, who christened the original Royal Princess in 1984.

-- Postmedia News

Visit for daily updates on the latest cruise news, best deals and behind-the-scenes stories from the industry. You can also sign up for an email newsletter on the site for even more cruise information.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 11, 2013 D4

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Key of Bart - Four Little Games

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose flies towards the sun near the Perimeter Highway North and Main St Monday afternoon – See Day 10 for Bryksa’s 30 goose project - May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A Canada goose makes takes flight on Wilkes Ave Friday afternoon- See Bryksa’s 30 Day goose a day challenge- Day 09- May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


What do you think of the government's announcement that there will be no balanced provincial budget until 2018?

View Results

Ads by Google