Champagne bottles are at the ready to christen the ms Scenic Emerald as it hoists anchor and sets off on Europe’s pristine waterways. The first of Scenic Tours innovative ‘space-ships’ will embark on its inaugural cruise down the Rhine and Danube Rivers on June 2, 2008, between Amsterdam and Budapest on the initial 15-day “Jewels of Europe” cruise. Guests will visit some of the most picturesque and historic cities in the region, including Cologne, Nuremberg and Vienna.

This first of two uniquely designed ships have received a very welcome reception by travelers. Almost completely sold out for the 2008 season, voyagers considering a cruise with Scenic Tours should book now for the remainder of 2008 and to ensure prime weeks in 2009.

Scenic Tours all new ‘space-ships’ provide cruisers with an extraordinary sense of personal space and freedom while onboard. Offering beautifully-designed, spacious staterooms, more than 80 percent of cabins have large private open-air balconies. Guests on the Rhine Deck can relax and enjoy the charming and often dramatic European landscape from the privacy of their spacious balcony, measuring over 25 sq. feet. Individuals on the superior Danube Deck, enjoy not only their own private balcony, but can indulge in the added luxury of a private butler, summoned at the touch of a button.

On a Scenic Tours’ “Jewels of Europe” river cruise, everything is completely taken care of and guests needn’t think about finding meals, tours, transfers or entertainment. The fares are all-inclusive with Scenic FreeChoice’s guided shore tours and sightseeing opportunities, onboard gourmet meals, wine with dinner, airport transfers and all gratuities. Each day of the two-week trip along the Rhine and Danube offers Scenic FreeChoice, which provides various activities allowing travelers to choose what suits them best as they amble through picturesque villages, perhaps visiting some well-known sites or going off the beaten path to discover the region’s hidden gems.

Since launching in 1987, Scenic Tours has become a well-respected leader in the international luxury leisure tour market.  The Australian-based company entered the European river cruising market in 2005 and has invested $100 million to introduce a revolutionary fleet of new ships in 2008 that will provide guests with the highest level of luxury accommodations, dynamic itineraries and unique dining experiences.  The Scenic Sapphire and the Scenic Emerald will sail the Rhine and Danube Rivers offering 20 percent more space than traditional river cruise ships.  Most cabins will have private balconies and all upper-deck accommodations will feature a private butler service. All cabins and suites will include roomy bathrooms, flat-screen televisions, mini-bars and internet accessibility.  Fares will include gourmet meals, guided shore tours and sightseeing opportunities.  For more information, visit