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Scenic Cruises newest “Space Ship”

The newest river ship of Scenic Cruises, the 165-passenger Scenic Crystal, will debut
in Europe next April with a new feature: balconies that become enclosed with the
push of a button.

Eighty-five percent of the staterooms and suites on the 135-meter ship will
have “Sun Lounge” balconies that guests can convert from an outdoor sunning area
to a fully-enclosed, all-weather room extension – the way it works is you push a
button and a hidden panel of glass rises up.

If that sounds like something out of The Jetsons, keep in mind river
cruising is a rapidly expanding and increasingly competitive industry, with more
than a dozen new ships
debuting next year.

“We asked our ship designers to wow us and they did more than that with the
Crystal as it goes beyond any other river cruise ship in comfort and
technology,” said Scenic Cruises founder Glen Moroney.

Scenic Crystal is the sixth ship introduced in four years by the company,
which is a division of Australia’s Scenic Tours and operates ships on rivers in
Europe, Russia and Egypt. The line calls its river vessels “Space-Ships.”

Officials are boasting the new ship will also have “larger” staterooms and
suites, ranging from 164 to 315 square feet, and including a new category for
the line, Deluxe Balcony Suites, with 225 square feet of space.

There will be butler service throughout, and all staterooms and suites will
also come with hotel-like amenities including flatscreen TVs, wireless Internet,
large walk-in showers, Egyptian linens and glass-front minibars.

The ship’s dining choices will include a fine dining venue with a windowed
“Show Grill,” a main restaurant featuring a private Chef’s Table, and a River
Café serving casual breakfast and lunch. The ships will also have a 24-hour
fitness center, expansive lounge and three outdoor viewing areas.

Scenic Crystal will sail on the Danube and other rivers on eight- to 15-day
itineraries. Fares include excursions, wine and beer at lunch and dinner,
gratuities and transfers.

This item was written by Fran Golden: USA TODAY