Scenic Cruises Coronavirus update
Scenic Group (shipowner) is the parent company of three travel brands - Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Evergreen Cruises & Tours, Emerald Cruises (Emerald Waterways, Emerald Yacht Cruises). All Scenic Group travel entities have suspended passenger operations (land tours, river cruises and ocean cruise shipping) by cancelling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures in the period March 14 through and including December 31, 2020 (initially through April 30, June 30, August 31 and September 30). Scenic Group's fleetwide travel operations are planned to resume on January 1, 2021. Scenic Yacht Cruises (ship Scenic Eclipse) were suspended through March 2021. Scenic River Cruises in Asia (ships Aura and Spirit) were suspended through January 2021. Scenic River Cruises in Europe were suspended through April 2021.
With rebooking, Scenic Group provides an FTC (Future Travel Credit) for all cancelled departures. To each of the cancelled cruise bookings (river or ocean itineraries) is provided 110% FTC (for the booking's full value), to rebook and travel by December 31, 2022. To all booked land tours (including Egypt cruisetours) during the suspension period is provided 100% FTC (for the booking's full value), to rebook and travel by December 31, 2022.
Scenic's FTC is valid for travel departures through to December 31, 2022. The FTC can be applied to any existing booking within the Scenic Group travel companies (Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Evergreen Cruises & Tours, Emerald Cruises/Emerald Waterways) and also when rebooking future travel. The FTC is fully transferrable to another customer.
Upon the expiry of the Scenic FTC voucher (on December 31, 2022), unable to travel customers may request a cash refund equal to the amount paid. All customers with a booking that departs from July 1, 2020, and customers considering a booking after July 1st, have the option to transfer their booking (up to 30 days prior departure) to an alternate date without a fee. Scenic will waive all cancellation fees with the booking value applied as an FTC and we will review the timing for the full payment when rebooking. Please note, if you choose to cancel there may be third party fees applicable, which will be at the customer's own expense. This policy applies to all Scenic Group's travel brands.
Scenic Cruises fleet
Review of Scenic Cruises
IMPORTANT: Scenic Group (shipowner) is the parent company of three travel brands - Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Evergreen Cruises & Tours, Emerald Cruises (Emerald Waterways, Emerald Yacht Cruises). Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, all Scenic Group travel entities have suspended passenger operations (land tours, river cruises and ocean cruise shipping) by cancelling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures in the period March 14 through and including December 31, 2020 (initially through April 30, June 30, August 31 and September 30). Scenic Group's fleetwide travel operations are planned to resume on January 1, 2021. Scenic Yacht Cruises (ship Scenic Eclipse) were suspended through March 2021. Scenic River Cruises in Asia (ships Aura and Spirit) were suspended through January 2021. Scenic River Cruises in Europe were suspended through April 2021.
- With rebooking, Scenic Group provides an FTC (Future Travel Credit) for all cancelled departures. To each of the cancelled cruise bookings (river or ocean itineraries) is provided 110% FTC (for the booking's full value), to rebook and travel by December 31, 2022. To all booked land tours (including Egypt cruisetours) during the suspension period is provided 100% FTC (for the booking's full value), to rebook and travel by December 31, 2022.
- Scenic's FTC is valid for travel departures through to December 31, 2022. The FTC can be applied to any existing booking within the Scenic Group travel companies (Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Evergreen Cruises & Tours, Emerald Cruises/Emerald Waterways) and also when rebooking future travel. The FTC is fully transferrable to another customer.
- Upon the expiry of the Scenic FTC voucher (on December 31, 2022), unable to travel customers may request a cash refund equal to the amount paid. All customers with a booking that departs from July 1, 2020, and customers considering a booking after July 1st, have the option to transfer their booking (up to 30 days prior departure) to an alternate date without a fee. Scenic will waive all cancellation fees with the booking value applied as an FTC and we will review the timing for the full payment when rebooking. Please note, if you choose to cancel there may be third party fees applicable, which will be at the customer's own expense. This policy applies to all Scenic Group's travel brands.
Scenic Group's subsidiary company "Scenic Cruises" (officially "Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours", website) is a brand that operates mainly riverboats on all biggest European rivers - Danube, Rhine, Main, Moselle, including in France (on Saone, Rhone, Seine), Russia (Volga), Portugal (Douro), and Southeast Asia (with regularly-scheduled itineraries on the rivers Irrawaddy and Mekong).
In February 2018, Scenic Group announced the purchase on the company brand Mayflower Tours. The company was renamed to "Mayflower Cruises and Tours" and continued to operate as a separate entity. Mayflower is based in Downers Grove (Chicago Illinois USA).
Scenic Tours also owns the river cruisetour brand Emerald Waterways (established in 2013), which officially started operations in 2014. In July 2020, Scenic Group became a member of IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators).
Scenic River Cruises
Scenic Tours is between the most inclusive river cruise lines in operation today, operating two trademarked brands - "Emerald Waterways" (globally) and "Evergreen Cruises and Tours" (Australia only). Since July 2020, Scenic Group is marketing its river cruise shipping operations with the Emerald Waterways brand only.
Scenic's river cruising deals offer almost all-inclusive fares covering meals and drinks, excursions, gratuities, select excursions. The company's deals feature price-included unlimited drinks - from the in-cabin beverages (staterooms' minibars) to the alcohol drinks consumed at all dining and lounge venues onboard. Butler service for passengers in Europe is also price-included.
The parent company "Scenic" (until 2015 known as "Scenic Tours") was established in 1987 in Australia by the entrepreneur Glen Moroney (Chairman, CEO and Founder). Its business started with coach trips along the coast of Australia. Later, the company included themed-event tours and expanded its operations to New Zealand, Norfolk Island, the USA and Canada, even to South America, Asia (including China) and South Africa.
In 2007, Scenic Tours opened its offices in Canada and the UK, eventually coming to the United States. The inaugural season of the new Scenic river cruise line followed in 2008 with the launch of the Sapphire boat - the fleet's first. Thus was established the subsidiary brand "Scenic Cruises", with operations exclusively in Europe. Enjoying a rapid growth, the Scenic Tours' river cruise division today operates new, purpose-built and almost identical as design luxury river ships.
In April 2015, the Scenic Tours company was rebranded as simply "Scenic". The company’s product has earned accolades worldwide for its quality, onboard and ashore services, and also for the huge diversity of land and cruise tour packages available for booking.
- All Scenic boats are called "space ships" to emphasize on their higher than usual space ratio. The line offers upscale river cruising vacations in contemporary surroundings. However, in terms of dining, land tours and excursions and entertainment, Scenic cruises are quite traditional.
- Meals are served in two dining venues: the dining room restaurant (named Crystal Dining) and Portobello's (smaller Italian alternative restaurant). Both are open-seating. Occasionally, a picnic-fare lunch or barbecue is served on the sun deck. Table La Rive is the line's newest dining option with a 6-course tasting menu served with tempting wine pairing. The seating takes place in a curtained-off section of the dining room. All the gourmet selections include regional cuisine specialties. Some lunches and dinners are themed to the visited country along the cruise itinerary.
- Each of the Scenic ships has two lounges. Panorama Lounge & Bar pampers with after-dinner entertainment (cocktails, music, and dancing). It's also the venue for daily port talk, local performers showcasing their culture in the evenings, classical music recitals. Traditional performances by groups of Bavarian dancers or gypsy troupes are also presented here. The other lounge area for drinks and light snacks is the Riverview Terrace (at the boat's bow). This lounge is covered, with an open-air teak deck, seats about 20 guests and is only a deck below the Sun Deck.
- About 84% of all Scenic river cruise ship cabins are with balconies. All the ships (excepting the chartered in Russia Scenic Tsar) have the signature "Sun Lounge" verandas. All passenger accommodations also feature flat-screen TVs and 5-star hotel luxury amenities. Bathrooms are also larger than average, with fun lighting. Guests can decide a changing spectrum of colored lights while taking a shower.
- English-speaking local guides lead all Scenic cruise tours and excursions ashore. Innovative headsets (called "Scenic Tailormade", GPS devices) allow guests to hear the guide's commentaries or to choose between the organized tours as they cycle or walk through the places they visit. These devices also have a screen showing both photos of specific sights and a map of the scheduled cruise itinerary route.
Scenic river cruise tour cancellation policy
Starting 2017, Scenic Cruises offer a river cruise travel guarantee with refunds for voyage cancellations and delays due to weather, high/low water levels, natural disasters, labor strikes, mechanical breakdowns.
The new guarantee comes at no charge to booked customers and goes into effect with the ship's departure. Under the new cancellation policy, Scenic Tours cruise passengers receive direct cash refunds (up to USD 750 pp per day, max 7 days) or USD 5,250 pp (as opposed to industry's standard of refunding in future cruise credits). Refunds are offered in the following cases:
- A complete cruise tour itinerary halt - the riverboat is unable to move and Scenic can't deliver the scheduled tours/excursions ashore (except by way of bus travel over 3 hours each way).
- Scenic has the option to accommodate all passengers on another Scenic Space-Ship, but the cruise tour itinerary is delayed for over 24 hours.
- A mechanical breakdown on the ship resulting in cruise cancellation, and there are no alternative Scenic ships available.
- Industrial action (strikes, riots, river/canal lock damage (closure) Scenic can't pass through a river lock.
The list of unfortunate events and situations that won't be covered by the new policy includes:
- embarkation/disembarkation less than 100 km (60 ml) from the scheduled port
- ship swaps that don't incur a delay over 24 hours
- replacement of scheduled cruise tour itinerary activities with alternates of similar quality
- short-term delays in the cruise tour itinerary due to high/low water level.
The new insurance also doesn't cover personal/medical travel issues, so purchasing cruise travel insurance is recommended.
(NEW) Scenic-National Geographic River Cruises
In November 2017, National Geographic Cruises (via a partnership with Lindblad Expeditions) and Scenic Cruises teamed up and launched "National Geographic River Cruises". The new offerings combine Scenic riverboats' all-inclusive luxury experience with NatGeo's science and exploration.
Each voyage is accompanied by a NatGeo expert who leads the ship's onboard enrichment program (educational presentations, itinerary-based lectures, informal discussions). All Scenic European river cruises also have a NatGeo photographer on the boat to lead the photography-themed activities and workshops. These voyages also offer themed excursions ranging from hiking and biking to nature, culture, and history.
The new Scenic-NatGeo partnership offers itineraries mainly in Europe - on the rivers Moselle, Rhine, Danube, Main, also on Holland and Belgium waterways, in France (Bordeaux wine region) and in Portugal (on Douro River). The new NatGeo experience is also available on select Asian cruises on Irrawaddy River (in Burma). National Geographic River Cruises program starts in Spring 2018.
For Xmas season 2019, Scenic Cruises partnered with National Geographic-Lindblad Expeditions for 3 new river travel packages. The themed voyages visit Christmas markets along Danube River, gardens in Holland and Belgium, as well as Douro River Valley ports in Portugal.
Scenic Yacht Cruises
As the fleet size, vessel capacity and onboard amenities, the company is in direct competition with the top-luxury brands Ponant, RSSC-Regent, Norwegian Yacht Voyages and Ritz-Carlton (main competitors), SeaDream, Windstar. About 5% of the cruise industry's multi-billion dollar business belongs to luxury brands.
As of 2018, the company has under construction 2 mega-yachts - Scenic Eclipse (2019-built) and Scenic Eclipse II (2022). For both ships construction was contracted the company Uljanik Shipyard JSC (Pula Croatia), The following YouTube video is a timelapse of the Scenic yachts construction process.
With Eclipse 2, Scenic Group established "MKM Yachts" (fully-owned subsidiary company) to manage newbuilds' construction. In late-April 2020, Scenic Group also announced plans to build (at Maj 3 Shipyard in Rijeka Croatia) a total of 5x superyachts in the next 6 years (2021-2027). For these shipbuilding projects was dedicated a separate section at Rijeka's Maj 3 Shipyard. In early-July 2020, MKM Yachts was granted a sub-concession at Rijeka's shipyard. This way, the company became the prime contractor for all Scenic Group’s newbuilds.
Scenic Group's superyachts
These vessels are advertised as the "world's first discovery yachts". The hull has the highest passenger ship ice-class (1A Super) allowing polar cruise operations (Arctic and Antarctica itineraries) for 3 months a year. Each ship's passenger capacity is reduced from 228 to 200 on polar expeditions allowing several landing tours per day.
The ship's own helicopters (each with capacity 7 passengers) can be booked for private tours (hired at extra charge). Helicopter tours allow passengers to get closer to the wildlife in comparison to the Zodiac landings. Also at additional charge can be booked the shipboard submarine.
The vessel has an almost 1:1 passenger-to-crew ratio and each stateroom are served by a dedicated butler. Other features and all-inclusive amenities (per yacht) include:
- 9 restaurants (including Asian, steakhouse, seafood, French, Italian, poolside grill, 24/7 room service)
- 4 bars and lounges
- 240-seat Theater Lounge
- 2 (indoor and outdoor) swimming pools, a heated indoor pool (with retractable glass roof)
- 5900 ft2 (550 m2) wellness complex with heated indoor pool, outdoor Jacuzzis, swimming pools, Hair Salon, Spa treatment/massage rooms
- gym (with separate Aerobics Studio for classes)
- Staterooms as sizes range between 345 ft2 / 32 m2 (Veranda Suite) to 2660 ft2 / 247 m2 (2-Bedroom Penthouse Suite). The Owners Penthouse Suite is sized 2507 ft2 (235 m2).
- Each of the ship's 114 cabins has a private balcony and separate lounge area.
Scenic yacht cruise deals
Scenic Cruises yacht deals are inclusive of:
- balcony stateroom with 24-7 room service
- butler service (regardless cabin category)
- all tips/gratuities
- Discovery leaders (professional tour guides on all cruise itineraries)
- shore excursions (all landings, shore tours and organized events at ports of call and beaches along the itinerary route) - expert-led Scenic Free choice activities, discovery excursions by Zodiacs (large-capacity inflatable boats)
- onboard dining (all dining venues are complimentary / fee-free)
- onboard entertainment
- e-biking, water sports (sea kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving).
Itinerary of Scenic Cruises
The list of owned by Scenic Tours ships includes:
- Scenic Aura (Irrawaddy River, Myanmar) Asia
- Scenic Amber (Rhine-Main-Danube) Europe
- Scenic Azure (Douro River, Portugal) Europe
- Scenic Crystal (Rhine-Main-Danube) Europe
- Scenic Diamond (Garonne River from Bordeaux, France)
- Scenic Emerald (Rhine-Main-Danube) Europe
- Scenic Gem (Seine River from Paris, France)
- Scenic Jade (Rhine-Main-Danube) Europe
- Scenic Jasper (Rhine-Main-Danube) Europe
- Scenic Jewel (Rhine-Main-Danube) Europe
- Scenic Opal (Rhine-Main-Danube) Europe
- Scenic Pearl (Rhine-Main-Danube) Europe
- Scenic Ruby (Rhine-Main-Danube) Europe
- Scenic Sapphire (Saone-Rhone rivers from Chalon and Tarascon, France)
- Scenic Spirit (Mekong River, Vietnam, and Cambodia) Asia
- Scenic Tsar (Volga River, Russia) chartered, original vessel's name is MS Alexander Grin.
- Scenic Eclipse (2018, superyacht) operates on polar expedition cruises to Antarctica and also in Europe (Mediterranean Sea)
- Scenic Eclipse II (2022, superyacht) seasonal polar expedition cruises, possibly combined with Europe and/or the Caribbean (TBA)
Scenic's ocean cruise itineraries 2021-2022
Scenic added new itineraries for the company's 2020 cruise season. Highlights included a 13-day "Russia’s White Sea", 21-day "Northwest Passage"; and 2 itineraries with ports along North America’s east coast, including NCY New York and Halifax NS. Departing August 15, 2020, the "Across the Northwest Passage" itinerary on Scenic Eclipse starts from Copenhagen Denmark, continues with Greenland's coast and through the Canadian Arctic Islands before reaching Nome Alaska. The White Sea *on Russia's northwest coast) is surrounded on 3 sides and is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea. Departing from Tromso Norway, the itinerary visits North Cape and Murmansk Russia prior to the Russian Arctic territories Arkhangelsk and Solovetsky Islands.
For US passengers, Scenic scheduled 10- and 20-day voyages along East Coast North America. The 10-day itinerary departs from NYC and visits Baltimore, Norfolk, Wilmington NC and Charleston prior to ending in the Bahamas. Departure Sept 20 (from Halifax) adds 5 Canadian ports, such as Prince Edward Island and Lunenburg, Martha’s Vineyard.
Scenic's 2020 Southeast Asia program includes extended itineraries through Cambodia, Vietnam, and Burma on the boats Scenic Aura and Scenic Spirit. The company also offered a free one-way business class flight upgrade. Also new was the environmental initiative giving passengers cruising on the Irrawaddy River (Myanmar) and Mekong River (Vietnam and Cambodia) the opportunity to use reusable water bottles. Suites also include glass refillable water bottles.
The company's enrichment program includes the Angkor Temple Gala Dinner in Siem Reap. Freechoice option provides a range of all-inclusive choices - from hands-on cooking class and visits to Hoi An’s central market (for ingredients) to guided Vintage Vespa food tours in Hanoi. The 15-day "Treasures of the Mekong" itinerary (Saigon to Siem Reap) is priced from GBP 5300 pp.
Scenic's river cruise itineraries
New for Scenic's 2020 "Europe River Cruise Collection" is the "Spectacular South of France" (12-day itinerary) from Paris France. Passengers then travel to Lyon by TGV (high-speed train) and board the ship Scenic Sapphire. Cruising on Saone, travellers stop in Tournus, where they can sample French truffles or visit Chateau de Cormatin. The voyage continues to Beaune and Tournon (to see castles and vineyards) then two days in Avignon before Tarascon and Viviers, plus 3 days in Lyon (debarkation).
The new 11-day "Windmills, Tulips and Belgian Delights" itinerary (from London to Amsterdam) begins with 3 days in London UK, followed by travel to Amsterdam Holland (embarkation). It visits scenic towns like Edam-Volendam as well as metropolises such as Antwerp and Rotterdam.
The new 8-day "Lower Danube Explorer" itinerary visits riverports in Eastern Europe leaving out of Budapest to Belgrade Serbia. Guests can immerse themselves in local traditions, witness a horse show, visit Osijek Croatia.
In October 2020, Scenic River Cruises opened bookings for the company's 2022 European season and also introduced a new itinerary and new "Scenic Freechoice" (shore excursions / land tours) along with special deals and promo offers.
- An early-booking promo features free and reduced-price economy flights (CAD$295 and $495) for many of Scenic's most popular itineraries. The brand is also offering CAD$100 per person gift cards for booking 8- to 14-day voyages or CAD$200 on voyages of 15 days or longer.
- A "Love to Travel" promotion features complimentary private door-to-door chauffeur-driven transfers. All bookings come with the line's Book with Confidence program, providing passengers with additional flexibility via a free Deposit Protection Plan (CAD$125) and deposits reduced 50% to CAD$250 per person.
Scenic River Cruises offers 3 new itineraries for season 2022, including a 5-day trip (between Vienna and Budapest) and 2 culinary-themed itineraries focused on the French cuisine.
- The new 5-day “Tastes of Imperial Europe” itinerary introduces 3 of the most beautiful European river ports and capital cities - Vienna Austria, Bratislava Slovakia, and Budapest Hungary. Moving from introductions to the coffee culture of Vienna and its gilded palaces to learning about life in Bratislava from a local family to in-depth touring of Budapest, guests get a great education in European history.
- The 2 culinary itineraries, “Tastes of Southern France” and “Rhone and the Flavours of Bordeaux” include an onboard dinner specially prepared by Michelin star chef Didier Goiffon as well as a cooking class at 3-star Michelin chef Georges Blanc’s restaurant. Passengers can learn the family secrets of regional recipes with the company’s new ‘Ancestry of the Kitchen’ program which includes a series of authentic cooking classes that are held in the homes of locals including Bulgarian Banitza in Vidin, Dutch Apple Pie baking in Hoorn, and Portuguese bread-making experience.
- The “Gems of the Danube” itinerary takes guests behind-the-scenes of Artstetten Castle, situated close to Austria's Wachau Valley. A newly added tour of the villages of Schermerhorn and Alkmaar showcases some of the finest 16th-century windmills - an iconic part of the Netherlands and of the popular "Jewels of Europe" river voyage.
- On the “Romantic Rhine and Moselle” itinerary, a new Scenic Freechoice highlight is the visit to the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial close to Maastricht. Passengers can learn about the WWII American soldiers who fought here and visit Eben Emael Fortress - built to protect from the German invasion.
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