This was my husband’s first ever river cruise, and we chose Scenic really because of it’s All inclusive nature. Everything was taken care of, from flights and transfers, to excursions and drinks . These Scenic river cruise boats are called “space ships”, and it’s very obvious that they have been designed to offer plenty of public space, with a generous lounge area and a well-equipped and comfortable top deck. Oh, and I forgot to mention that every cabin comes with its very own butler - regardless of category!
We flew to Amsterdam early morning, were picked up by private chauffeur, and taken to Scenic Ruby. As she was sitting there overnight, we just left our bags and walked into Amsterdam to explore until our suite was ready at around 3pm. We were met by our butler, and shown to our suite before being invited to meet our fellow passengers and captain for pre-dinner cocktails. After a beautiful dinner in the Crystal Dining Room, we took our very first escorted excursion into Amsterdam, which was a night-time walking tour of the famous Red Light District, and Amsterdam’s vibrant cafés, restaurants, and bars.
We spent the morning taking a canal tour of Amsterdam, before setting off this afternoon on a leisurely sunny sail to Veere . We negotiated a few locks along the way which was interesting to see in the daylight, and had some fun introducing ourselves to some passengers on an Emerald Waterway ship . You can choose to eat lunch anywhere on the ship, from the Crystal Dining Room to the top deck if you wish - but our favourite was the casual River Café. Here you can have some light lunch and delicious ice-cream treats.
Today we arrived in Antwerp, one of our favourite cities in Europe because of its beautiful cafes, excellent restaurants, and incredible shopping. The main excursion today was a trip to stunning Bruges, a World Heritage listed city with its picturesque canals and cobblestone streets, and not to mention chocolate shops. We have been to Bruges before, so we decided to have a day to ourselves and enjoy Antwerp. The centre was just a 5 minute walk from the ship, so we spent the day exploring, eating, and shopping.
We woke up to the most charming views of Veere . Our choice of excursions today were between visiting the Delta Works, including the famous Storm Surge Barrier, a guided walking tour of beautiful Veere, or, as we did, a cycling tour of Veere and its surrounding countryside. I’m glad we chose the cycling tour, as we were fortunate enough to bump into a Vintage Car Rally on the outskirts of town. Most river operators have bicycles onboard, and as they are all electrically assisted, they are suitable for passengers of all fitness levels.
This morning the ship berthed in Rotterdam. Our choice of excursions today were a guided tour of Rotterdam or a visit to Delft, made famous by its Delft Blue Pottery. This afternoon we stopped in Kinderdijk, and visited some working windmills - what an experience, a definite must do on this itinerary. Everyone onboard gets the opportunity to dine in the Italian themed Portobello’s restaurant at least once during their cruise, and tonight we dined there with our new Canadian friends Christine and Randy, and had a wonderful evening.
Today we arrived in Hoorn, a beautiful town that’s only steps away from where you berth. Again, our choice was to take the bikes out and explore the area. On this cycle ride we found a zoo, a football stadium, and of course some friendly bars to people-watch from. The excursions on offer today were a visit to Volendam & Edam for cheese tasting, before the ship made its way back to Amsterdam. In the evening the crew put on a show for us, which was very funny and had the whole ship involved.
Today, in my opinion, contained the highlight of this whole itinerary - a visit to Keukenhof Gardens. This is the most beautiful spring garden in the world, with over 7 million bulbs in bloom at any one time. I’ve been three times now and would happily go every year - it’s such a wonderful day out, and whatever you do don’t forget your camera . This evening we were invited to a signature dining event ”Table La Rive“, which is reserved for Diamond Deck guests and is a 6-course degustation menu with sommelier paired wines. I have never experienced a meal quite like it, and it is one I certainly won’t forget in a hurry. This was a perfect end to a wonderful cruise that I would recommend to anyone.
For any guests with international flights, a day room is provided in a local hotel so that they are not hanging around the airport all day - very thoughtful. For us, it was a short transfer to Schipol and home to Bonnie Scotland. By 2pm we were reminiscing in our back garden trying to ignore how much the grass had grown.