Waltz on over to the grand palace

"We arrived in Vienna mid-afternoon and had a couple of hours to wander the city before dinner on the ship and a concert at Liechtenstein Palace.

"We got to the palace in time to have a look around the gardens, then enjoyed a concert of classical music, opera and ballet.

"It was a little bit of everything but it really flowed.

"The opera wasn't over the top — everyone enjoyed it — and the ballet was terrific.

"Naturally, they played a lot of Strauss, such as The Blue Danube waltz, and they finished with the Radetzky March as they do for the New Year's Eve concerts that we see on the television.

"We were drinking Viennese wine at the palace and then returned to the ship for a late-night supper and a couple of drinks, so it was a complete night out.

"On our second day in Vienna we were driven around to see all the beautiful old buildings, such as Parliament House, the city's famous palaces, the City Hall and the opera house, which were all very impressive.

"Scenic uses local guides and they are always fantastic.

"They've [the guides] got real personality, they know what they are talking about and they make everything interesting.


"It would have been nice to have had a day to walk around the city as well, but that will have to be another time. I loved all the statues of musicians that they have around the city.

"I also really liked the people of Vienna, who seem to go in beat with The Blue Danube waltz.

"They are so easy and laid-back; very friendly.

"We did a guided tour of Schonbrunn Palace, where the gardens were magnificent and inside there were beautiful frescoes and really ornate gold trimming.

"We had half a day there but you really could spend a lot longer.

"When we go back, and I'm sure we will, we will spend a full day in the palace and a full day in the gardens.

"We also had time to go to the famous Cafe Sacher, which is known for its Sacher torte cake, and the coffee was fantastic.

"I didn't have the torte but next time I go I am going to indulge."

Value for money?

"You don't pay any extra for shore excursions on Scenic and they're all worth doing," Jenene says.

"Obviously you do pay for them upfront, but you don't think about it because you're not putting your hand in your pocket all through your holiday.

"When you do shore excursions on some other cruise lines, they cost a fortune. I think the cruises and excursions on Scenic are top value — you get more than what you pay for."

WHO Jenene Thurecht of Illawong, NSW, on her second cruise.

WHAT A city tour of Vienna and evening concert at Liechtenstein Palace.

WHERE Vienna, Austria.

THE SHIP Jenene cruised with her husband Kevin on Scenic Diamond (scenictours.com.au) for 15 nights, from Budapest to Amsterdam.

As told to Jane E. Fraser

Have you done an interesting shore excursion? Drop us a line at travelshd@fairfaxmedia.com.au.