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Scenic Spirit Review

Find a Scenic Spirit Cruise from £3,695

Scenic Spirit
5.0 / 5.0
72 reviews

Excellent dining, spacious cabins, friendly and attentive service
Butlers are not proactive and do not anticipate your needs
Bottom Line
An elegant, yet utterly comfortable ship sailing a fascinating itinerary




Passenger to Crew


Shore Excursions
Sails To
Scenic Cruise Deals
Dori Saltzman
Cruise Critic Contributor

Scenic Spirit Overview

A cruise on Scenic Spirit gives you so many things in one.

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It's luxurious, with Egyptian cotton sheets, L'Occitane toiletries, gourmet dining, all-inclusive beverages, a pool and spa. It's comfortable, with minimalist designs in neutral colors that are never jarring or pretentious, and a bed you sink into at the end of the day for a great night's sleep. It's friendly, with a mostly Cambodian crew that strive to know your name on day one, smile whenever they see you and jest with you at dinner. It's sociable with cruisers interested in mingling and getting to know each other. And it's caring, with crew and fellow cruisers truly concerned about your welfare. Feeling under the weather or overwhelmed by your excursion to the Killing Fields? You're as likely to be offered medicine or a comforting hand from your fellow passengers as you are from the crew.

Built in Vietnam specifically for Mekong River cruising, Scenic Spirit is everything you'd like a river ship to be, especially when you're exploring developing destinations where travel can be challenging. It's got spacious, larger-than-average cabins you're thrilled to come back to after a hot, dusty morning visiting a Cambodian village. It has a pool (and not just a plunge pool at that!) for cooling off in the hot afternoons and a spa with unbelievably affordable massages for working out the kinks after a rickshaw or ox cart ride.

Even with all that said, highlights have to be the dining and the destination-immersive activities including the shore excursions and onboard enrichment.

Meals, including the buffet lunches, were always excellent. The chef uses as much fresh ingredients as he safely can, with fruit and vegetables sourced at local markets a couple of times a sailing. (Meats have to be imported as sanitation standards in Vietnam and Cambodia are not safe for Western travelers.) Wine is free flowing and while we did hear some veteran Scenic cruisers comment about there being less choice than on the European cruises, no one actually complained about the wine being served.

The destination side of Scenic Spirit's offerings was also top-notch. We were particularly impressed with the breadth of excursions available. Out of the six full days on the ship, four had excursions in both the morning and afternoon. Four days also offered free choice excursions, giving cruisers plenty of opportunities to choose their own experience. The destination immersion didn't stop when they ship was sailing either. For those interested, you could learn more about Cambodia history, take an Asian cooking class or discover just a few of the supposedly 101 ways to use the traditional Cambodian krama scarf.

A word about service on Scenic Spirit. It's nearly perfect, but not quite there yet, particularly with the line's much-touted butlers. As an all-suite ship, all passengers have access to a butler on a sliding scale of services. But we found the line wasn't proactive about letting us know what we were entitled to receive, nor did our butler go out of his way to tell us. For instance, our big, heavy suitcase was placed in our closet and not on the bed, leaving us to lug it from the closet across the room to the bed. And our walking shoes, which were coated in dust after being out in small villages, were simply moved to a corner of the closet each evening but never wiped down (We did eventually request that our butler clean the shoes for us, but only after consulting with other passengers as to whether that was something we could ask for.)

Top Scenic Spirit Itineraries

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Fellow Passengers

The passenger mix on Scenic Spirit is dominated by Australians, but you'll also find a sizable contingent of people from the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. Most are retired, with the average age somewhere in the upper 60s. Everyone is well-traveled, friendly and eager to share stories of past travels.

One thing to note, passengers are not all on the same itinerary, with most on a land/river itinerary of varying lengths; the cruise-only passengers on our sailing numbered less than 20 people. Because the land portion of the trip has typically begun before the cruise, groups have formed by the time the cruise begins, leaving those just on the cruise portion a bit out of the loop. Most people are friendly enough that you'll get to know them during the normal course of the cruise, but table groups might already be in place by the time the cruise begins.

Scenic Spirit Dress Code

There's not much of a dress code on Scenic Spirit but because the five-star Scenic draws a refined crowd, you won't see any ripped jeans or shorts in the dining room. During the day, casual is the name of the game and it's more important to stay cool than to look good. In the evening, most cruisers resort to smart casual with men wearing slacks and collared shirts and women in slacks or skirts and nice blouses or simple dresses. Even on the Gala Night you won't find too many people dressed up. Men can leave their suits and ties at home (although some had a blazer on Gala Night) and women don't really need a cocktail dress.

Scenic Spirit Inclusions

There's very little that is not included in your fare when you sail on Scenic Spirit. All shore excursions, nonalcoholic drinks, Wi-Fi and gratuities (both for onboard crew and land-based guides) are included. All alcoholic drinks are complimentary as well, except for five top shelf liquor labels. A DIY laundry room is provided free of charge, along with needed detergent. You'll even receive a free gift during your time in Cambodia -- a lovely scarf called a krama, all of which have been hand woven by a local NGO that provides training for village women from Siem Reap in traditional Cambodian arts and crafts. Just about the only thing you might have on your bill at the end is a spa treatment.

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Scenic Spirit Ratings

Public Rooms5.04.8
Fitness Recreation4.54.4
Value For Money5.04.7

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More about Scenic Spirit

Where does Scenic Spirit sail from?

Scenic Spirit departs from Ho Chi Minh City

Where does Scenic Spirit sail to?

How much does it cost to go on Scenic Spirit?

Cruises on Scenic Spirit start from £3,695 per person.

Awards and Recognition

Scenic Spirit Member Reviews

Scenic Spirit
Sail Date: Feb 2020
We would highly recommend the Scenic Spirit to everyone. Should be a bucket list item when paired with Angkor Wat!... Read More
Scenic Spirit
Sail Date: Oct 2019
The Scenic Spirit is such a beautiful boat. The design is spectacular. Local artists’ work adorns the walls.... Read More
Scenic Spirit
Sail Date: Nov 2019
The Scenic Spirit is smart and very clean. Hygiene standards are very high.... Read More
Scenic Spirit
Sail Date: Mar 2019
Scenic really knows how to do things right. The next morning, we boarded buses for an all-day ride to the Scenic Spirit. About 4 in the afternoon we were welcomed aboard the Spirit.... Read More

Scenic Fleet

Scenic Ruby
5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

98 reviews

Scenic Ruby, launched in 2009, is one of Scenic's popular "space ships," designed to offers plentiful public and cabin space – among the highest passenger space ratio in the industry.

Scenic Ruby Cruises to Europe View All Scenic Ruby Cruises
Scenic Diamond
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Scenic Diamond, launched in 2008, is one of Scenic's popular "space ships." The cabins and ship are beautifully appointed, crew is excellently trained and dining is exceptional.

Scenic Crystal
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Scenic Crystal, launched in 2012, is one of Scenic's popular "space ships." It's a luxury river ship that offers excellent service, great food and comfortable spaces.

Scenic Tsar

The 112-passenger Scenic Tsar was relaunched in 2012. It's not a new riverboat, but the refurbishment was so extensive, that it's registered as a new vessel.

Scenic Sapphire
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Scenic Sapphire, launched in 2008, is one of Scenic's popular "space ships." This class nods to a design that offers plentiful public and cabin space – among the highest passenger space ratio in the industry.

Scenic Pearl

One of Scenic's "space ships" offering "Sun Lounge" balconies in all rooms, which simultaneously make cabins feel airy while also making the space usable in all weather.

Scenic Jewel

Highlights include "Sun Lounge" balconies, which give cabins an airy feel and make balcony space usable in fair and inclement weather, and multiple dining options.

Scenic Jade

Scenic Jade offers the intellectually curious passenger a fine sampler of excursions along more than 700 miles of waterways, from Amsterdam to Budapest.

Scenic Gem
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The 128-passenger Scenic Gem was custom-built to sail on France's Seine River and features a unique design and cutting-edge technology.

Scenic Opal

The 169-passenger Scenic Opal boasts spacious cabins and public areas, as well as a splash pool and resistence swimming pool. Fares include all excursions, drinks and gratuities.

Scenic Jasper

Scenic Jasper is Scenic's 11th "Space Ship" -- so called because of the higher-than-average amount of space dedicated to public areas. Fares include all excursions, drinks and gratuities.

Scenic Eclipse

Featuring the sleek profile of a luxury super yacht, the all-suite, 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse will be the first ocean cruise ship from Australian line Scenic.

Scenic Spirit
5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Scenic Spirit’s all-inclusive cruises come with complimentary beverages, a pool and spa, gourmet dining, luxurious bedding and L'Occitane toiletries.

Scenic Aura
5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The 22-suite Scenic Aura, launched in 2016, sails the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar between Mandalay and Pyay with an almost 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio.

Scenic Amber

Launched in 2016, Scenic Amber has capacity for 169 passengers and 51 crew, this all-suite river ship offers a contemporary cruising experience.

Scenic Azure
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

In 2016 Scenic became the first non-Portuguese company to operate on the Douro River, which means the luxury Australian line can uphold its high standards.

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