The 2008-launched Scenic Emerald was the second of the upscale, all-inclusive Australian-owned Scenic’s fleet of Space-Ships. Although she is one of the oldest in the fleet, she’s every bit as modern and glamorous as her newest sisters as she recently underwent an extensive refurbishment which has made her even better than new with updated carpets, furnishings, artwork and even a marble bar. Like her Space-Ship sisters, most of her cabins feature Scenic’s signature all-weather Sun Lounge balconies.
Emerald attracts a mature, well-heeled clientele who are keen to immerse themselves in the culture, history and gastronomy of France. Due to her Australian owners, Emerald is very popular with antipodean passengers. However she is increasingly attracting a like-minded clientele from the UK, America, Canada and Germany, thanks to her impeccable standards of service which include a crew to passenger ratio of almost one to three and a butler assigned to every cabin.
Emerald’s 2013 refurbishment included the addition of two fantastic new dining venues that have proved popular on the newer Space-Ships. River Café on the Diamond Deck is open from early in the morning until late afternoon and serves a fantastic selection of buffet-style food ranging from healthy snacks to treats in a stylish, casual setting. Located on the Sapphire Deck, Table la Rive offers a special culinary experience for just ten Diamond Deck guests per evening, who are treated to a six-course degustation menu paired with fine wines.
The Sapphire Deck is also home to Emerald’s main restaurant, Crystal Dining, where sumptuous buffet-style breakfasts and lunches, with the added option to order a la carte, are served every day. The ship’s nightly four-course dinner and special gala events are also hosted here. Diners can choose to sit where they like at tables for between two and eight, but the luxury surroundings and smart casual dress code mean that, while the atmosphere is relaxed, it remains upmarket. All menus are prepared with seasonal influences of France’s mouthwatering cuisine in mind.
The 32-seater Portobello’s on the Diamond Deck, with floor-to-ceiling views and showcase cooking, is another onboard fine-dining option - this time with a five-course Italian menu paired with delicious Tuscan wines.
On Emerald, you can enjoy fine food whenever you want with afternoon tea being served daily on the terrace and a late night menu available too. You can even have your butler serve dinner to you in your cabin or request a picnic hamper to take on an offshore excursion.
The all-inclusive price includes hot, cold and alcoholic drinks whenever you like, including from your personal mini bar or a glass of champagne at breakfast.
Socialising on the Emerald revolves around the wonderful opportunities to enjoy fine food and wine. These are enhanced on every itinerary by events like the Captain’s welcome reception and dinner, a seafood gala evening and a Teppenyaki BBQ on the Sun Deck. These special events tend to be dressier than other evenings.
The Panorama Lounge Bar, with its stunning marble bar, is the perfect place to relax with a drink - or alternatively the Sun Deck is great spot to kick back in the evening. On some itineraries, local performers are invited onboard. For example, on some itineraries a gypsy band from Camargue entertains guests.
There’s free Wi-Fi for staying in touch with home, and when it comes to connecting with the cruise, passengers are given a Scenic Tailormade GPS device that provides commentary onboard or personalises sightseeing tours at the touch of a button.
The attention to detail off the ship is just as impressive as onboard, with Scenic’s Freechoice programme offering Relaxed, Moderate and Active options. These include everything from going birdwatching in La Camargue National Park to canoeing through a canyon.
The optional Scenic Enrich activities include unforgettable experiences such as enjoying a gala dinner and concert in the iconic Pope’s Palace of Avignon when the doors are closed to the public. There are also Sundowner events such as cocktails to the sound of local musicians on the terrace of Tournon Castle on the Rhone.
Passengers also have the option of exploring on one of the ship’s electrical bicycles.
Back onboard, there is a walking track on the Sun Deck and a gift shop.
All cabins except those on the lower Jewel Deck have Scenic’s signature Sun Lounge balconies, where passengers can let fresh air in or keep cold and rain out, at the touch of a button. As well as the butler service, all cabins are treated to a nightly turndown service, daily replenishment of the mini bar, 24/7 room service and a shoe shine service. The feeling of luxury is enhanced with upmarket L’Occitane toiletries, deluxe bedding and robes coming as standard. And not only do all cabins have a safe, air conditioning and phone, the free Wi-Fi is accessed by a Mini Mac computer that can be easily connected to the 32” Samsung TV.
The Diamond and Sapphire Decks are completely devoted to Suites, the largest of which are the 315 sq. ft. Royal Balcony Suites and the 325 sq. ft. Royal Panorama Suites, The lower Jewel Deck is home to the ship’s 160 sq. ft. Standard Staterooms that have fixed windows.
A hairdressing and massage salon takes care of pampering needs on the Emerald, and passengers can work out in the Fitness Centre. The ship also has an elevator to help guests travel between decks.
Emerald shares her French adventures with her closest sisters, the Diamond and Sapphire. The eight day Idyllic Rhone cruise sails from Lyon to Nice and immerses passengers in the wine-growing areas of Beaujolais and Burgundy. Highlights include a visit to the ancient town of Cluny, built round its Benedictine Abbey, and the chance to explore foodie favourite Lyon either on foot or by bicycle. Wine and scenery aficionados will also appreciate the 11 day Beautiful Bordeaux itinerary, a round trip that passes through the calm, green scenery of the Poitou Charentes region and visits brandy capital Cognac. The 13 day South of France itinerary also sails from Lyon to Nice and includes the chance to explore Lyon in the evening when the ship is docked overnight.