River cruising goes all-inclusive

Posted May 14th, 2012

Scenic Tours has announced the launch of its European river cruises with fares including drinks, Wi-Fi, butler service and other new experiences. The Australian travel company has revealed it will introduce "all-inclusive" cruising in Europe next year, as well as a range of new options for dining and land touring.

When it released its 2013 Europe River Cruising itineraries, the company announced several new onboard inclusions, such as unlimited complimentary drinks (including alcohol), private butler service for every passenger and free Wi-Fi internet access.

Every ship (except for Scenic Emerald) will have a new River Cafe for "all-day grazing" and Table La Rive, offering a degustation dinner. Other new dining experiences will include high tea, served on the terrace, and themed dinners with regional food and live entertainment.

Personalised GPS guided tour system devices have also been created to allow guests to choose between independent walks and cycling tours exploring food, wine, history or other personal interests. On shore, 18 tours have been added to Scenic's selection, including the Hockenheim Formula 1 Track in Heidelberg and a private dinner and concert at Rasatt Palace.

Scenic Tours Managing Director, Glen Moroney, said that these changes would elevate the standard for river cruising in Europe. "We are redefining the term 'all-inclusive luxury' with the addition of unlimited complimentary beverages available at any time throughout the ship," he said. "There is basically nothing more to pay except for personal expenses," he added.

Scenic 'Space-Ships' are also set to receive technical upgrades including a 'silent drive' system, which reduced the noise and vibration, and more sophisticated air-conditioning. Scenic Tours fares will continue to include shore excursions, airport transfers, tipping and gratuities, Moroney said.

The company also announced the launch of a 13-night South of France cruise, starting from Paris before transferring to Chalon-sur-Saone, for a cruise to Arles along the Saone and Rhone rivers on board Scenic Emerald.

A seventh vessel, Scenic Jewel, will join the European fleet in 2013, operating along the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers from Amsterdam to Budapest.

Source: Cruise Weekly, Tuesday 1 May 2012

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