Scenic Crystal Ship Review

August 2023: Rhine Highlights Itinerary

I was struck by the elegant design of this beautiful ship, as soon as I stepped through the automatic doors. Scenic Crystal, Jade & Jewel are known as Space-Ships, and it is easy to see why. The ship is flooded with natural light at every turn.

Scenic Crystal is a luxury river cruise ship that sails on the Rhine. She takes a maximum of 163 guests in 82 suites and has approximately 56 staff giving a generous 1:3 ratio. Scenic Crystal and sister ships, Scenic Jade and Scenic Jewel were the sixth, seventh and eighth luxury Space-Ships to join the fleet.

Diamond Deck (top)

Staff at Reception offer a warm welcome and are on hand to answer questions and help our 24 hours a day. There is also a small but tempting gift shop where I purchased a pretty bracelet with my onboard credit.

The comfortable Scenic Crystal Lounge is furnished in a modern, sophisticated style.  Experienced and friendly bar staff are always ready to serve from the well-stocked bar. They get to know guests’ preferences and often have your favourite drink waiting by the time you approach the bar. Surrounded with natural light, the lounge has panoramic views of the surrounding scenery from large picture windows. The colours are of a neutral pallet, tasteful and calming.

I made good use of the convenient 24-hour coffee station at the entrance to the lounge. There is an option to select decaffeinated coffee which is often not available and was much appreciated.


Portobellos is a cozy speciality restaurant serving a scrumptious Italian feast. All guests receive an invite during the week, and we had a fantastic five course meal here. Some Italian styling and bespoke menus would be an excellent addition.

Portobellos is also open for lunch and serves the à la carte menu from the Crystal dining room. We loved our quite lunches here away from the busier lunch buffet.

River Café was established after a guest suggested that snacks could be made available for guests throughout the day. You’ll find a selection of inviting savoury and sweet treats as well as fresh, homemade ice cream, sweets, and chocolates. We found that we didn’t need to eat between meals but did enjoy some savoury items as an appetiser before lunch in Portobellos.

The inviting Panorama Deck, just outside Portobellos at the front of the ship, is a perfectly designed area to enjoy a drink or snack. It is protected from the breeze by screens but offers a fantastic view as well as some welcome shade on sunnier days.

A lift operates between Diamond and Saphire decks.

Sapphire Deck (middle)

The atmospheric Crystal Dining with huge windows and tables of various sizes is the perfect location for gourmet meals onboard. In the centre, there is a well-designed buffet station displaying a delicious selection of food for breakfast and lunch. In the evening, an à la carte meal is served to guests at their tables. A choice of à la carte options are also available during breakfast and lunchtime. Dietary requirements are catered for too.

Elegant, speciality, Table La Rive is situated at the back of the dining room, near to the Galley. Invited suite guests will enjoy a lavish feast prepared specially by the chef.

Jewel Deck (lower)

The lower deck is home to classic rooms with a fixed window rather than a balcony. Some guests decide that this cost-effective option suits them as they’ll spend most of their time in other areas of the ship or on excursions.

A Wellness Area is also located here with a range of treatments on offer from hot stone massage to revitalising facials. Our host was on hand to offer relaxing back massages on the day we arrived.

The Fitness Centre houses a small but well-equipped gym. I don’t usually find time to use this facility but it’s great to know the option is there.

In the inviting Salt Therapy Lounge, the atmosphere contains tiny salt particles said to aid breathing. It’s certainly a relaxing experience and enjoyed by several of our fellow guests.

Sun Deck

A fantastic, well-furnished place to relax and watch the world go by. You’ll find lots of chairs, tables, deckchairs and loungers available. Enjoy the panoramic views with a drink and watch the world go by.

The sun deck is also a good place to get in some extra steps and has a marked walking track too. There is a giant draughts set too but the white Queen was missing when we were onboard.

We especially loved the comfortable chairs with foot stools at the front of the ship and improvised with our cabin umbrellas when the sun was out.


The dining experience on board Scenic Crystal is exceptional. The food is delicious, with a focus on local ingredients and regional specialties. There is also a wide selection of wines and spirits available to complement meals. Wine pairings for each meal were introduced at the cruise director’s evening talk.


Our luxurious room was the Balcony Suite category located on the Saphire deck and I can highly recommend it. Small details make a big difference and I have listed 22 at the end of this blog.

The contemporary room feels spacious and inviting, with a flat-screen TV, and an all-weather balcony system. The beds are incredibly comfortable with sumptuous linen.

There is a large wardrobe with plenty of hangers. A bedside table with extra drawers provides additional storage. A well-stocked mini bar is included and can be customised by speaking to reception. Guests can put valuables in a small safe and set their own combination.

A highlight for me was the shower with colour changing LEDs a very relaxing experience.

Room service is available – find the room service menu on the TV.

Truly all-inclusive promise

I love the fact that everything is included throughout the day from excursions to meals and drinks. Gratuities are also included. Each suite gets the opportunity to have a bag of laundry washed and pressed too.

The Scenic Tailormade App

Downloadable to your phone, the App is a very useful companion to your river cruise. It’s used during tours for the guide to speak to guests, so bring an earpiece. There are several useful features including: voice guide, city guide, river view maps, and a ‘my cruise’ section with details of the daily program and the excursions.

The Scenic Crystal staff…

The service on board the Scenic Crystal is exceptional. The staff are welcoming, helpful, and always willing to go above and beyond to make sure that guests have a fantastic holiday. From the housekeeping staff to the captain, everyone on board provides outstanding service.

Cruising along the Rhine River on Scenic Crystal takes you through the Rhine Gorge, famous for its legendary landscapes. You will pass medieval castles, beautiful villages, and vineyard-covered hills. See more in my blog – Rhine River Cruise Highlights.

I highly recommend Scenic as a luxury, all-inclusive river cruise option. If you would like to find out more, complete the form below…

In the words of my client:

“We had a fabulous time with Scenic on the beautiful ship Scenic Amber. Nothing was too much trouble for the wonderful staff and the food was exceptional. We enjoyed the high quality of the excursions with local guides and the local entertainment. Thanks so much Jenny for making the booking experience so smooth and easy, it was good to have your inside knowledge and guidance in what turned out to be a fabulous holiday.” (SM June 2023)

22 small things that make a big difference:

  1. Individual reading lights
  2. A great makeup mirror
  3. LED lights in the shower
  4. Great storage
  5. A gorgeous dressing gown
  6. Electric balcony window controls
  7. Air conditioning options
  8. An easy way to ask not to be disturbed or to have your room made up
  9. Suitcase storage under the bed
  10. A phone to call reception or room-service
  11. Fresh water replaced twice a day
  12. Chocolates left on the pillow
  13. A mini bar restocked every day
  14. Shaver sockets
  15. Shower caps and nail files
  16. ESPA toiletries
  17. Slippers
  18. Coat hooks behind the door
  19. A gorgeous balcony
  20. Safe
  21. Wine and glasses
  22. Ice bucket