AL­MOST SMOOTH SAIL­ING

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Afloat -

SCENIC Emer­ald is a sleek new ves­sel with mod­ern lines, cool colours (shades of grey bright­ened by vi­o­let) and lux­u­ri­ous de­tails such as ar­range­ments of or­chids. The 169-passenger boat has a wealth of fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing two restau­rants and four decks. There are 85 suites and cabins, most with pri­vate bal­conies.

I amon the maiden voy­age of the Scenic Emer­ald, how­ever, and a new boat is much like a new house: there are bound to be some teething trou­bles. In our case, the grem­lins are un­cer­tain plumb­ing and noisy en­gines, and in­ter­net ac­cess is not al­ways pos­si­ble. I amas­sured, how­ever, th­ese prob­lems have been fixed. On the plus side, the ser­vice is im­pec­ca­ble, the food is de­li­cious and wine flows freely.

Tours are well de­signed and on our cruise ev­ery passenger has their high­light: the cas­tles be­side the Rhine, the chapel where Si­lent­Night was com­posed, that mem­o­rable con­cert in Vi­enna. But mine are of our jour­ney through the vine­yards of the Wachau Val­ley and watch­ing men play chess in the ther­mal wa­ters of my new-found love, Bu­dapest. Eithne Nightin­gale

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