The Scenic Diamond was one of the original Space-Ships in the luxury, all-inclusive Australian-owned Scenic fleet of river cruisers. However, a recent upgrade, which included brand new carpets, furnishings, artwork and even a bar made from exquisite Port Laurent marble, has ensured that this ship is just as pristine and modern as her newer sisters. Most of her cabins feature Scenic’s innovative Sun Lounge Balconies that are usable come rain or shine.
Diamond’s antipodean roots mean that the majority of her passengers come from Australia. However she is increasingly popular with a discerning, mature clientele from the UK, New Zealand, the USA, Canada and Germany. With a maximum capacity of 167 passengers, and 53 crew standing by to serve them, service is second to none. All passengers even enjoy the attentions of a butler assigned to their cabin.
Diamond’s refurbishment included the addition of two fabulous new restaurants, River Café and Table la Rive, to bring her in line with the fleet’s newest ships. River Café, located next to the Lounge & Bar on the Diamond Deck, is a great place to grab a snack, coffee or light meal from early in the morning until late afternoon, from the buffet or gelato bar. Table la Rive on the Sapphire Deck offers a sumptuous six-course degustation menu paired with wines for just 10 Diamond Deck passengers a night.
Portobello’s on the Diamond Deck is another wonderful culinary option and serves fine-dining Italian food and specialises in fine wines from Tuscany.
The Crystal Dining Restaurant is the ship’s main dining room, situated on the Sapphire Deck. This sophisticated, spacious restaurant has an upmarket feel and a smart casual dress code. However, the open-seating dining policy, where diners can sit where they like at tables for two to eight, gives a relaxed feel. Varied buffets and a la carte dishes are served here at breakfast and lunch, while dinner is a four-course event. Crystal Dining also plays host to the ship’s gala dinners including the Seafood Gala evening.
All menus are designed with seasonal ingredients from the itinerary in mind. On a Diamond cruise, this means plenty of influences from culinary giant France.
High tea is served daily on the terrace, and there is a late night menu available too. Passengers can also have their meal served to them in their cabin from room service, which is available 24 hours a day. Guests can also request a picnic hamper to take with them on offshore excursions.
Soft drinks, coffees, teas and premium alcoholic beverages, including Moet & Chandon champagne at breakfast, are always available, and each cabin’s mini bar is restocked daily at no extra charge.
The ship’s social life is rooted in its sparkling schedule of fine dining, with every cruise starting with a welcome reception where guests dress up to meet and mingle. As well as the Seafood Gala Evening, the ship regularly holds a Teppenyaki BBQ on the Sun Deck.
The Sun Deck and Main Lounge & Bar are both great places to admire the views with an expertly-mixed cocktail in hand. Diamond also boasts a programme of live evening entertainment designed to bring the culture of the itinerary alive. On some cruises this involves the chance to enjoy live jazz and hear the Veneurs d’Epernon (the Pipers of Aquitaine) perform live onboard.
The Sun Deck, with its walking track and Riverview Terrace which can be lowered to pass under low bridges, is the perfect place to take a bit of exercise, before settling down to relax. There’s also a gift shop to browse and free Wi-Fi for staying in touch with home.
Off the ship, Scenic’s ‘nth degree’ service is as impeccable as it is onboard. The Freechoice programme, with its Active, Moderate and Relaxed options, ensures that all tastes and paces are catered for. On French itineraries, Freechoice includes the chance to go ingredient shopping with the chef.
There is also a programme of optional Scenic Enrich activities such as the chance to enjoy a delicious four-course dinner with live classical music at the sumptuous Chateau Giscours in the Medoc area. Sundowners events include experiences like enjoying a glass of Grand Cru vintage at the exclusive Chateau Soutard.
Finally, with their personal Scenic Tailormade GPS device, passengers can customise their sightseeing experience both on and off the ship at the touch of a button. Passengers are free to explore independently or in a group, on foot or on one of the ship’s bicycles.
Diamond’s spacious cabins resemble deluxe hotel rooms with not just practical facilities like safe, air conditioning, phone and Wi-Fi coming as standard; nightly turndown, 24-hour room service, complimentary shoe shine, butler service and daily replenishment of the mini bar come as standard too. HDTV linked to Mini Mac computer, luxury bedding, fleecy bathrobes and premium L’Occitane bath products add to the luxury feel. Most staterooms also feature Scenic’s trademark Sun Lounge balcony. Muted colours and modern furnishings give rooms a smart hotel look.
Both the Diamond and Sapphire decks are all-suite decks with a range of suite options, including the 315 sq. ft. Royal Balcony Suites and the 325 sq. ft. Royal Panorama Suites.
The lower Jewel Deck houses the ship’s fourteen 160 sq. ft. Standard Staterooms with fixed windows.
Diamond has a Fitness Centre and hairdressing and massage facilities. There is also an elevator to aid movement between the decks.
Diamond and her sisters Sapphire and Emerald sail the rivers of France’s wine-growing heart. The eight day Idyllic Rhone itinerary navigates the iconic wine-growing areas of Burgundy and Beaujolais. Highlights include the chance to explore gastronomic mecca Lyon and visit the historic towns of Viviers and Avignon in France’s sunny south. For a longer holiday there is the 11 day Beautiful Bordeaux cruise where passengers get the chance to cycle through the vineyards of Sauternes and explore the town of Saint-Emilion with its beautiful buildings and mysterious catacombs. The 13 day South of France itinerary sails from Lyon to Nice, taking in wine-lovers paradise, Chateauneuf-du-Pape and the landscape that inspired iconic artists Van Gogh and Gaugin.