Myself and my husband spent two weeks in Europe incorporating a 7 day
Scenic River Cruise in early June and enjoyed 26 degree days! The whole Home & Afar Travel team were so excited for me- (I was the first of our crew to travel to Europe since the pandemic fiasco)!
We flew with Emirates via Dubai to Munich, Germany. Emirates transit was seamless and so too arriving at Munich airport. There were no extra Covid tests in Munich, only on check in at Sydney.
We were spending the first few days in Munich on our own being tourists! We caught a local taxi to our hotel which cost $50 AUD so in hindsight the pre booked private transfer with Scenic would have been a cheaper and better option. I chose to stay at the Sofitel which is in a central location and right next door to the main train station, so it was easy to use the rail when we needed to get to Nuremberg to join our Scenic Cruise.
We explored Munich by the Hop on Hop off bus and walking. My highlight was the Glockenspiel, which I haven’t seen in 23 years but hasn’t changed (given it dates back to 1908 I’m not surprised it hasn’t changed)! We browsed local markets and sampled the local delicacies including a German schnitzel roll, strudel and enjoyed a few steins of local beer!
Our next day was jam-packed with sightseeing, first the BMW show room, which is next level wow! Then to the BMW museum, which was actually very interesting. Across the highway is the Olympic area, the Olympic tower (the tallest building in Munich has amazing views to the alps!).
The tower is on Olympic Hill which is a manmade hill, built from the ruins and debris from WW2. They have turned Olympic Hill into a very beautiful green space. The building is inside the English Garden, another green space in a beautiful city.
Overall Munich is a great city and was so easy to navigate. It was not too crowded and we were able to walk to many places.
Day three we had prebooked our seats for the super-fast train trip from Munich to Nuremberg.Nuremberg is very beautiful and has a fascinating and tragic history. The walled Nuremberg Old Town was entirely restored to its original state after WWII. There are so many historical buildings. Museums, quaint houses and cobblestoned streets. Lots of wow sights around every corner, and a photographers delight!
We were picked up from our hotel in Nuremburg by Scenic Tours and transferred by private car to our Scenic River Cruise ‘Spaceship’ for our 7-day Gems of the Danube river cruise from Nuremburg to Budapest.
Scenic offer ‘Freedom of Choice’ tour options which are included in your Cruise cost. You select these prior to departing Australia. We chose the Rock Cut Beer Cellars which are underground cellars are carved out of limestone under old town Nuremberg. They date back 800 years during WW2 they were also used as bomb shelters housing 20,000 people. The tour finished in a local brewery where we (of course) sampled the traditional red beer.
Once back on board we began cruising the Danube. A mid-morning in the medieval city of Regensburg allowed us some free time to explore this amazing little city. The bridge dates back 800 year and parts of the “old stone” building/walls date back to Roman times and the year 179ce.
We then boarded the Scenic bus for our Freechoice tour to Kuchlbouer’s “World of Beer” this local brewery was established in 1300 and it the 15th oldest brewery in the world! It’s been run by the same family for 8 generations. The is a very unique tower in the grounds of the brewery designed by a contemporary art loving architect…. We think he had a few beers whilst designing it also! Our highlight was enjoying a beer or two in the beer garden with our local guide.
We started today in Germany, traveling to the Czech Republic and finished in Austria. Europe is crazy like that- 3 countries in one day!!! Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic, is a Medieval city with the 2nd largest palace in Czech, it’s only fractionally smaller than the Palace in Prague. The palace commenced building in approx. 1350. Fantastic opportunity to get a taste of Czech Republic full of political history.
What an amazing day, we woke in the beautiful village of Melk in Austria. The stunning Abbey towers above this beautiful village, the friendly locals are so grateful tourists are returning.
To help counteract the copious amounts of amazing food, beer and strudel carbs we used the complimentary E bikes which are onboard the ship and enjoyed a 35km guided bike tour to the tiny village of Durnstein, located in a region that is a large producer of Riesling. Cycling was a beautiful way to see the countryside and village life.
There was also an ‘enrichment experience’ included in our Scenic cruise, which was Opera in a Castle. This was magical and beautiful experience.
Our Scenic cruise ended in Budapest, a truly majestic city. There is no better way to see the Houses of Parliament than by water. where we spent a couple of extra nights before heading home. The transfer from the river ship was seamless and the view from our Scenic hotel, Marriott Budapest was superb! Budapest is a beautiful city to explore. We caught the Metro (rail) to the Szechenyi Baths, thermal baths of Budapest and enjoyed a beer and relax.
The whole Scenic River Cruise experience was amazing. Everything is so well organised and professional. All the staff onboard go above and beyond to make everyone feel special, and the service is impeccable!
The facilities onboard are fabulous. There is a pool, sun deck, multiple lounge areas both in and outdoors. Plenty of spaces to escape if you would like privacy or cosy lounges if you want some company. There is also a gym and a beautiful Wellness Centre onboard where I enjoyed a relaxation massage.There are a couple of restaurant options onboard and the meals were delicious! The river café (the informal lunch café) becomes “Portobello’s” in the evening, which is invitation only, but everyone gets a chance once on the 7-day cruise. You can order breakfast in your room also if you wish.
Many drinks are complimentary* including regional wines, boutique beers, barista coffee and soft drinks. There is butler service to your suite also, so we enjoyed a pre-dinner drink in our suite many evenings.
We found dinner dress standard similar to what we would wear going out for dinner here- smart casual. For the welcome & farewell dinners a few passengers dressed up a bit more, but it wasn’t expected. The night of the Opera at the castle we were asked to dress more formally, which we knew about before we left home.
We thoroughly enjoyed all our Freedom of choice tours we selected. Whenever there was free time, we chose to do our own exploring to see as much as we could, some chose to relax onboard and wait for the organised tours. You could do whichever you pleased.
I would 100% recommend Scenic Europe River cruise for a wonderful, luxurious, and enriching travel experience.