Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

Scenic cruises review

Last updated:  

All-inclusive small-ship cruising with an industry leader.

When you cruise with Scenic, you don’t have to worry about the details — or bringing along your wallet. Though fare is pricier up front than what you’d pay for a mid-tier cruise, literally everything is covered.

16 ships

Number of ships

Price

No

Price matches

Details

Target demographic Seniors
Number of ships 16 ships
Contact options Phone, Email
Payment options Visa, American Express, Diners
Deposit required Deposit at checkout
Deposit required No price matching
Food Food included
Drink Alcohol included
Room service Room service included

Expert review

Amy Stoltenberg

Review by


Amy Stoltenberg writes about lifestyle and money for Finder, researching the best options for shopping, banking, insurance and authentic travel experiences. After studying writing and fashion at Savannah College of Art and Design, she worked designing apparel at a corporate behemoth before opting for a career with unlimited travel time. When her laptop’s closed, she can be found wandering the streets looking for happy hour and hole-in-the-wall eateries.

Expert review

Scenic offers classic, small-ship luxury cruising — imagine a floating hotel filled mostly with well-traveled retired folks. Your cohorts — predominantly Aussies and Brits, with a few Americans and Canadians — will likely be friendly, active and curious about the destinations you’re traveling to. Still, it’s not over-the-top glamorous. Decor is elegant and tasteful, but these aren’t glitzy, high-maintenance trips.

Scenic’s flexible yet complimentary shore excursions set it apart. At each port, you can choose between its more structured Enrich activities or relaxed Freechoice option.

Freechoice excursions let you explore a city at your own pace by foot or bicycle, while Enrich experiences may include concerts, cooking classes or guided tours. That’s a neat deal, because you don’t have to worry about wasting the all-inclusive value if you prefer to explore more independently.

This cruise line isn’t for people looking for parties or constant entertainment on deck. Since Scenic was originally launched as a land tour company, it focuses on helping you make the most amount of time in each city or town that you visit. So time spent sailing will be a bit quieter.

Choose Scenic if one of its itineraries strikes your fancy and you don’t mind paying more to cover alcoholic drinks and gratuities. Folks who aren’t so big on the booze may want to choose a budget line instead.

Where do Scenic cruises depart from?

Scenic’s cruises depart from all over the world. Here’s where you can begin your voyage:

Amsterdam, Athens, Bordeaux, Boston, Broome, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Cartagena, Copenhagen, Lyon, Nuremberg, Porto, Rio De Janeiro, Rome, San Diego, Valparaiso, Vienna, Yangon

Scenic cruises destinations

Scenic curates unique itineraries near and far. You’ll find routes along America’s east and west coast, as well as river cruises along the Volga River in Russia, the Irawaddy in Myanmar and many more. Here’s a taste of where Scenic sails:

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Baja Mexico, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland and Norway, Italy, Latvia, Mexico, Myanmar, Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, United States, Uruguay, Vietnam

What’s included in my Scenic cruise?

Scenic cruises are truly all-inclusive. Here’s what your fare covers:

  • Shore excursions
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks
  • Alcoholic beverages, soda and specialty coffee and teas
  • Butler service
  • Gratuities for the crew
  • Wi-Fi

In some cases, your fare will cover plane tickets to and from the departure port — but only if included as part of a special offer.

On river cruises, it also provides insurance against unexpected events. “On every Scenic river cruise you’ll be automatically covered once you commence your cruise for any delays or cancellations that occur due to weather, natural disasters, mechanical breakdowns or strikes,” according to its website.

Scenic cruises vs. Viking cruises

Whether you’re considering a river or ocean cruise, Viking is considered to be one of Scenic’s top competitors. Rates tend to be similar, so it’s important to compare what is and isn’t included before taking your pick.

The biggest difference between the two: Scenic includes gratuities and all alcoholic drinks in the fare, and with Viking you’ll pay extra for gratuities — almost $20 per day — and wine and beer are only complimentary at lunch and dinner.

However, Viking’s reputation for gourmet food and its emphasis on sommelier-paired wine is hard to beat. Scenic’s food can be so-so, even if regionally inspired. While Viking devotes significant resources to bringing onboard experts and historians along to help educate passengers, Scenic shines when it comes to enriching land tours through destination ports.

That said, both Scenic and Viking have a reputation for well-curated itineraries and 5-star service. The choice may come down to your desired destinations and how much you plan to enjoy those boozy beverages. We recommend comparing day-to-day itineraries and price to see which suits you most.

Why you should (or shouldn’t) cruise with Scenic

Keep in mind that kids under seven years are not allowed on Scenic river cruises, and it doesn’t recommend bringing kids under 12 — except on Christmas cruises.

Still not sure whether Scenic is right for you? Consider the benefits and drawbacks.

Pros

  • Regionally-inspired food
  • 5-star accommodations
  • Unique itineraries
  • Butler-serviced cabins
  • Most sun decks have pools.
  • Known for excellent shore excursions

Cons

  • Fare is pricier up front — and may not be worth it if you don’t drink alcohol.
  • Fewer onboard entertainment options than larger cruise lines

    Frequently asked questions

    Latest cruise deals

    Avoya Travel Avoya Travel

    Royal Caribbean sale: buy 1 get 1 60% off cruise fares, up to $150 free onboard credit and kids sail free

    T&Cs apply

    Last verified

    Deal ends

    Sandals Resorts Sandals Resorts

    Endless summer sale - book your vacation and take advantage of 1 free night and up to 65% off rack rates

    T&Cs apply

    Last verified

    Deal ends

    Orbitz Orbitz

    Vacation with freedom and flexibility - free cancellation hotels

    T&Cs apply

    Last verified

    Deal ends

    CheapTickets CheapTickets

    Car sale - take up to 20% off when you book with Avis or budget

    T&Cs apply

    Last verified

    Deal ends

    Travelocity Travelocity

    Up to 20% off Avis and budget car sale

    T&Cs apply

    Last verified

    Deal ends

    Orbitz Orbitz

    Up to 20% off your rental car when you book with avis or budget

    T&Cs apply

    Last verified

    Deal ends

    CheapTickets CheapTickets

    Save an extra 16% on select hotels

    T&Cs apply

    Last verified

    Coupon code ends

    Ask an expert

    You are about to post a question on finder.com:

    • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
    • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
    • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
    • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

    Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our finder.com Terms of Use and Privacy and Cookies Policy.
    Go to site