Ask the Travel Architect

Ask the Travel Architect


This month we are extremely lucky to have travel expert, Fiona Bibby, give us the inside scoop on what it's really like to be on a Cruise...

I was recently fortunate enough to be invited on the inaugural river cruise on Scenic Jasper from Amsterdam for 4 nights with another 90 UK travel colleagues and journalists. An easy start with an hour flight with KLM from Edinburgh and then a  25 minute transfer to the ship. For me this was my first river cruise experience. Scenic Tours recently rebranded to Scenic with a new identity and started in Australia over 30 years ago and have built up a fantastic reputation for their all inclusive offerings along with their food and service. A lovely welcome greeted me and I went straight to my deluxe balcony suite with it’s L’Occitane toiletries, fluffy bathrobes and slippers after a welcome glass of champagne. A welcome introduction by Peter my butler then followed.

No matter what cabin you stay in, you’ll enjoy the same luxury décor and amenities, like Deluxe Scenic Slumber Beds, HD flat screen smart TV and L’Occitane toiletries. Choose a Balcony Suite and above, and as well as relaxing in your five-star suite, you’ll be able to stroll out onto your own private full-size balcony to take in the iconic views all around!

A really important part of the Scenic experience is the food on board - choose from a range of on-board dining venues, including the beautiful Crystal Restaurant, the delicious Portobellos or La Rive and the casual River Café. If you can’t tear yourself away from the stunning scenery, you can also choose to dine al-fresco on The Riverview Terrace.

All on-board drinks are complimentary, except for a few vintage wines and rare spirits. You’ll also enjoy a complimentary mini-bar in your suite that’s replenished daily. 

Scenic Enrich offers guests once in-a-lifetime experiences that go above and beyond what you might expect from a river cruise. From an evening of classical music and ballet in the stunning Palais Liechtenstein, to an indulgent gala dinner with your new-found friends at Palaisdes-Papes.  

You can tailor your touring and excursions to suit your interests with our flexible and diverse Scenic FreeChoice programme. You also have access to your very own GPS Tailormade device which guides you through some of Europe’s most fabulous sights, or you can take advantage of our electrically assisted bicycles and explore on your own.

Scenic offer you a choice of free excursions called “free choices “ which are included in your holiday cost. Although I love and have visited Amsterdam many times, I went on the glass topped boat trip followed by a short walk to a cheese making shop. Scenic have devices with ear pieces whereby you can listen to your guide as you amble on your way taking photographs. This can also be used when in your suite and sailing on the rivers.

We then sailed overnight to Antwerp in Belgium.

My choice of trip was to visit the medieval town of Bruges, which stands for the original mooring place and was conquered in the 9th century.

Our coach dropped us and our guide off and we spent 90 minutes walking around the town before reaching the main square where we had some free time – a hot chocolate was the order of the day!

Bruges is a beautiful place full of chocolate shops and quirky boutiques along with plenty of bars serving the Belgian beer Leffe! 

Scenic offer Scenic enrich excursions which are a bit different to the norm.

The following day we travelled to the north of Holland and spent some time in Hoorn. In the evening we went to the Oosterkerk which is a working church which is used for dinners, weddings and exhibitions.

A traditional 3 course meal, wine and entertainment was served up by local volunteers and was a fabulous last night. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my 5 days on Scenic Jasper and could thoroughly recommend.

I will be part of a cruise event on Thursday the 7th of May from 6pm - 9pm at the Bothwell Bridge Hotel if you are interested in learning more about river or ocean cruises as there will be 10 different companies represented on the night. Let me know if you require a complimentary ticket.

For further details on Scenic river cruises and the latest special and early booking offers call Fiona at The Travel Architect on 07974 567003 or email

Fiona Bibby

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