Launched in 2009, Scenic Ruby is one of the original Space-Ships in the luxury, all-inclusive Scenic fleet of river cruisers owned by Australian travel specialists Scenic. Although this ship and her identical sisters Pearl, Diamond and Sapphire are the oldest in the fleet, a recent multi-million pound refurbishment means that they are showing no signs of ageing, with the same state of the art design and luxury interiors as the younger ships. This innovative attention to detail includes Scenic’s signature Sun Lounge balconies, where fresh air can be let in or kept out at the touch of a button.
Ruby attracts a mature, discerning clientele who are keen to explore the culture and history of the ship’s Danube and Rhine itineraries. Because she is Australian-owned, many of Ruby’s passengers come from Australia and New Zealand, but she is increasingly popular with British and North American people looking for a five-star experience on their river cruise that includes the services of a butler.
Ruby’s refurbishment included the addition of two exciting new dining venues. Table la Rive on the Sapphire Deck is an exclusive restaurant where just 10 Diamond Deck passengers a night are invited by the Executive Chef to watch a six-course degustation menu with accompanying fine wines being prepared for them as stunning views slip by. River Café on the Diamond Deck is a far more casual venue where passengers can enjoy gelato, teas and coffees and a fine array of snacks and treats from the buffet from early in the morning until late afternoon, making it a great place to socialise and relax during the day.
The elegant Crystal Dining Restaurant on the Sapphire Deck is where most onboard meals are taken. Full buffets with the added option to order a la carte are served at breakfast and lunch, and dinner is a nightly four-course event. Menus are prepared with seasonal influences of the itinerary in mind, so on Ruby passengers can expect to enjoy cuisine with Flemish, Dutch and German influences. Although the restaurant retains its casual open-seating policy at tables seating between two and eight at dinner, the dress code is smart casual.
Portobello’s on the Diamond Deck is an Italian fine-dining restaurant, where a five-course menu is served alongside the stunning views and equally admirable Tuscan wines.
Other onboard dining options include the late night menu and afternoon tea on the terrace. Passengers can also dine in their cabin when they feel like a night in or order a picnic hamper to take on offshore excursions.
Ruby’s all-inclusive ethos means that all drinks, including fine wines and other alcohol are always available onboard, including from the mini bar in passengers’ cabins.
Onboard opportunities for enjoyment are based around the ship’s many options for dining in style. These are further enriched by special events like Seafood Gala Evenings in Crystal Dining Restaurant and Teppenyaki BBQs on the Sun Deck. The Scenic Enrich programme provides opportunities to experience unforgettable evenings off the ship such as an impressive feast at Cologne’s medieval Marksburg Castle, where passengers are entertained by minstrels and jesters.
When it comes to a pre or post-dinner drink, the Sun Deck and Panorama Lounge Bar are both prefect places to unwind and enjoy the view and a cocktail.
The Sun Deck has a walking track for passengers to stretch their legs as they enjoy the views. Ruby also has a gift shop and free Wi-Fi for staying in touch with home. On some itineraries passengers are invited to take part in itinerary-enhancing events such as Dutch clog-painting.
Bicycles are available for certain offshore excursions and the ship’s Scenic Tailormade system, where each passenger is given a personal GPS system where they can hear commentary onboard and personalise independent sightseeing off the ship, means that freedom to explore comes with a safety net.
Scenic Freechoice is designed to offer sightseeing experiences to cater for all paces. These include exploring cities like Bruges, Antwerp or Cologne, or visiting the Delta Works in Veere, with its incredible Storm Surge Barrier.
All offshore excursions are led by experienced, English-speaking guides, and all costs associated with sightseeing trips have already been taken care of.
Ruby’s Sapphire and Diamond Decks are all-suite decks ranging from Balcony Suites to the opulent 325 sq. ft. Royal Panorama Suites. All suites on these decks have one of Scenic’s signature Sun Lounge Balconies, where the window to the private seating area can be opened or closed at the touch of a button. The Jewel Deck houses Ruby’s 160 sq. ft. Standard Staterooms where the views can be enjoyed from fixed windows.
All Ruby’s cabins are treated to a five-star service that includes butler, 24/7 room service, free mini bar and shoeshine service. Night time comfort is enhanced with nightly turndown, deluxe bedding, towelling robes and upmarket L’Occitane bath products. Practical necessities like climate control, safe and phone come as standard too, and the complimentary Wi-Fi can be accessed through the Mini Mac computer connected to the 32” Samsung HDTV.
The ship has a Fitness Centre for those who want to work out, while a hairdressing salon and massage salon cater for spa needs. Ruby’s elevator aids movement between decks.
Ruby and her closest sister Pearl sail two northern European eight day itineraries. The Treasures of the Rhine cruise sails from Amsterdam to Nuremberg through the fairytale castle landscape of the Rhine Gorge. Highlights include the chance to explore Amsterdam, a visit to the windmills at Zaanse Schans and the chance to experience Scenic’s own Oktoberfest in Freudenberg with beer and oom-pah-pah music a-plenty. The Dutch Sights & Belgian Delights itinerary is a round trip from Amsterdam that is a city break-lover’s dream as it includes chances to visit diamond-capital Antwerp, picturesque Bruges and buzzing Rotterdam, as well as cosmopolitan Amsterdam. Rural relaxation is found in the Dutch fishing village of Volendam, cheese paradise Edam and pretty Kinderdijk.