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Scenic Opal review: Spaceships on Earth

Trip Reports

I recently had the opportunity to experience a short river cruise along the Rhine aboard Scenic Opal, one of Scenic's newest spaceships.

Thankfully, there is nothing alien about this vessel! Her modern design consists of black, white and chrome decor, floor-to-ceiling windows which offer panoramic views and let in plenty of natural light throughout the ship, and the use of mirrors to create a very spacious feeling inside the ship.

We stayed in a balcony stateroom with windows that descend at the touch of a button, stopping at waist height, for you to enjoy your indoor balcony outdoors. The bathroom features a wet room shower, complete with multiple shower heads, numerous buttons to adjust the power of the water and various coloured lights - to be honest, the shower is the only part of the ship that seems rather extra-terrestrial!

Scenic River Cruises - Suite

The food was always tasty. My personal favourite was Portobellos, an Italian speciality restaurant offering a 5-course set menu, full of deliciousness, all paired with select wines and finished with your choice of scrumptious sweets from the dessert trolley. Table La Rive is a 7-course degustation menu at a designated table in the Crystal Dining Room, by invitation only, for guests with staterooms and suites on the Diamond Deck.

Cuisine in Portobellos restaurant on Scenic Opal

If fitness is your thing, Scenic Opal features a cleverly designed gym, where each machine appears sunken into the floor, allowing for easy access, or you can soak up the scenery on the Sun Deck whilst listening to the bubbling sounds of the Vitality Pool.

This was the first river cruise ship I've been on with lots of people enjoying themselves in the evenings. The resident musician (who we nicknamed 'Disco Dave') played well known tunes throughout the evening, creating an infectious and enjoyable atmosphere.

Koblenz cable car

We boarded the vessel in the historic city of Koblenz, close to the point where the Rhine meets the Moselle. I took the cable car across the Rhine up to the fort for spectacular views of the connecting rivers and the lush countryside (at €15 it's worth every penny), then meandered through the cobbled streets of this interesting city.

Rhine views from Drachensburg Castle

Our next port of call was the gothic city of Cologne. I opted for a tour of nearby Drachenburg Castle, and what an impressive schloss this is! Built in two years, this private palace sits atop Drachenfels Hill, offering spectacular views high above the Rhine. A VW camper van-style train runs every 30 minutes up and down the hill to a panoramic viewpoint with a quirky cafe.

Countryside around Amsterdam

From Amsterdam I took Scenic's excursion to the picture-postcard village of Edam and the coastal town of Volendam. The drive alone is beautiful, as the verdant countryside is broken up by clear streams, teeming with birdlife, and everyone wanted to be the first to spot a windmill. Our walking tour of Edam took us all around this immaculate village, with its mixture of gabled homes, and then to the Henri Willig cheese factory to sample Gouda and various flavours of farmer's and goat's cheeses - when in Holland!

Cheese in Edam, Netherlands

Back in Amsterdam, what quicker, more relaxing way to end the trip than a scenic boat ride through the canals - and let's face it, it saves you needing eyes in the back of your head for all the cyclists zooming about!

If you're looking for an interesting culinary experience, on a spacious ship as you meander through Europe, then you can't go wrong opting for a river cruise with Scenic.

Meet the author

Hayley is a Cruise Consultant at Mundy Cruising, having worked with the company for 7 years and in travel for over 9 years. Most recently she's cruised on Seabourn and has also sailed with Windstar, Hebridean Island Cruises, Ponant, Royal Caribbean, Silversea, SeaDream, Regent, Uniworld, Scenic, AmaWaterways and Tauck. Her favourite destination is South Africa however she's also enjoyed cruises in the Mediterranean, Norwegian Fjords, Rhine, Main & Moselle, Danube, Southern Africa, North Africa, Indonesia, Australia, Arctic and Svalbard. When she’s not travelling she loves watching football, supporting her favourite team, Newcastle!

More about Hayley

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