OnboardThe most innovative bit of design planned for the twin sister ships Emerald Star and Emerald Sky is a dual-purpose area at the aft of the ship that transforms from an indoor, heated pool with retractable roof during the day, to a cinema at night. And although Uniworld's S.S. Antoinette offers separate pool and cinema facilities, the reconfigurable room on Emerald's ships is a new-to-river feature.
The rest of the ships' touted innovations have become standard in the modern, "post-Viking Longship" era of European river cruising. These include: good-sized suites, balconies in a majority of cabins and an open-air alternative dining space.
Meals onboard are served in the main dining room, Reflections Restaurant, and, like Viking River Cruises' Longship class of ships, Emerald ships will offer an alfresco dining area at the bow of the ship as an informal alternative dining option for breakfast and lunch.
As is the case with many river cruise lines, Emerald Waterways will include soft drinks, beer and wine at meals, shore excursions, transfers and tips within the cost to the overall fare. The line arranges flights on a case-by-case basis but those cost extra.
There are a few notable differences between what sister company Scenic Tours offer on their European river cruises and the planned offerings onboard Emerald Waterways' ships. Passengers on Scenic ships enjoy full-time complimentary drinks -- including a mini-bar in each stateroom -- as well more spacious cabins and butler service.
About Emerald WaterwaysEmerald Waterways will debut two new ships in early 2014.
The 182-passenger, 443-foot long sister ships Emerald Star and Emerald Sky will launch in April and June 2014, respectively, and will cruise seven to 14-night itineraries on the Rhine, Main, Danube and Mosel rivers.
With less expensive prices than Scenic Tours, Emerald Waterways is positioning itself as a competitor to four-star brands like Viking and Avalon Waterways while boasting a handful of innovative design touches and nearly all-inclusive pricing. Along with drinks, shore excursions, transfers and tips, and its main marketing push will be within Britain.
Emerald Waterways FleetAs noted, Emerald Waterways will initially consist of twin 182-passenger, 443-foot long ships Emerald Star and Emerald Sky, sailing seven to 14-night itineraries on Europe's Rhine, Main, Danube an Mosel Rivers. The ships were built by De Hoop shipyard in Holland.
Fellow PassengersAlthough the ships have yet to launch, Emerald Waterways will likely serve the typical European river cruise passenger -- generally well-traveled cruise veterans in the 55-plus bracket.
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