The Sound of Music may seem an odd choice as a weapon to woo Australians to Europe’s rivers.
But Scenic owner Glen Moroney and his team are gambling that the songs from the smash-hit movie will be among the burgeoning cruise market’s “favourite things”.
They have “climbed every mountain” for this “exclusive experience” – it took a year of negotiation with the musical’s trustees – involving a children’s choir singing on the movie set in Salzburg, Austria.
The move underscores Scenic’s promise to bring the “wonder” back to holidays.
The news was announced at another Scenic “exclusive” – a special classical concert held at the fabulous Garden Palace Liechtenstein, one of Vienna’s most beautiful buildings.
Inside, Scenic was entertaining its first guests to sample the Scenic Jasper – third generation Space Ship, with bigger cabins and even more luxurious food and fun.
Cruise Passenger was there.
The trouble with European river cruisers is the numerous locks mean every vessel is the same 135 metres in length – making real interior differences difficult.
Uniworld marks itself out with over-the-top flamboyance. Scenic uses understated contemporary elegance. Both offer “exclusive experiences” to provide unique memories for passengers.
There is nothing understated about the art collection of the Prince von Under Zu Liechtenstein, housed in the Palais Liechtenstein – much of it on the ceilings of the enormous public rooms where he stores such treasures as a gold-painted royal carriage.
The Scenic Jasper’s guests, ferried to the palace for an exclusive drinks reception, are there to find out why Vienna is know as the home of music – the city where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven and Johan Strauss all lived and performed.
The Vienna Imperial Orchestra, among the city’s finest, performed for more than an hour just for Scenic’s guests.
There was opera, ballet and even a bit of slap-stick comedy.
Then a short coach ride back to the Jasper for a Hungarian Goulash party.
The whole experience cannot be repeated by other cruise lines – and that’s the point.
Ships may come and go – but memories are made of experiences like this, whether you are sixteen, going on seventeen – or seventy.