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64 Emerald Waterways Basel Cruise Reviews

This was our second river cruise with Emerald Waterways (we had previously been with them on the Danube) and we had another really good and refreshing holiday. The administrative arrangements were all v.g though one minor thing that could ... Read More
This was our second river cruise with Emerald Waterways (we had previously been with them on the Danube) and we had another really good and refreshing holiday. The administrative arrangements were all v.g though one minor thing that could have been improved was our meeting up with other passengers and the minibus for transport from Basel Airport to the ship. There was some uncertainty about this at the time. But once on Emerald Dawn all went without a hitch. We were on the lowest deck but we thankful we were not paying significantly more to be on a higher one and especially as all the food, facilities and shore excursions were the same for all passengers. The whole crew was outstanding in its high level of service, helpfulness, cheerfulness etc. Once again the food was quite excellent and we were glad to have the opportunity to visit the kitchen/galley where a small team produced great meals again and again with numerous choices available. There was also also free wine and other drinks at lunch and dinner. We enjoyed all the varied shore excursions and we also took advantage of opportunities to go off and "do our own thing" Onboard we swam almost every day in the well heated, though necessarily fairly small pool. One thing that Emerald could not arrange was the lovely summer weather which made a big contribution to the holiday and which enabled us to sit in warm sunshine on the deck as we sailed through the lovely Rhine Gorge. It has all encouraged us to book with Emerald again, Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We booked with Emerald mainly to compare with Viking .Favourable points for Emerald are 1. Bigger and better equipped cabins ,lots of storage space with deep drawers .Bathroom also had hidden storage spaces ,a deep drawer and shelves ... Read More
We booked with Emerald mainly to compare with Viking .Favourable points for Emerald are 1. Bigger and better equipped cabins ,lots of storage space with deep drawers .Bathroom also had hidden storage spaces ,a deep drawer and shelves .Very good hand rain shower and even a pull out washing line .The electric balcony window is superb and the blackout and insect blinds are also well designed .The 6ft bed is extremely comfortable with two duvets which is a nice touch . No hanging labels outside the door to Not Disturb just flick a switch inside the cabin to activate a light outside . 2. Food is better than Viking .The breakfast buffet is vast with the usual egg station for poached,fried or omelettes to order .Lovely crispy bacon,hash browns ,sausages ,beans and tomatoes .The fruit selection is very good ,with prunes,apricots ,pears,and fresh fruit salad ,a good cereal selection,cold meats,cheese , yogurts fresh rolls,pastries and breads Lunch is also varied with cold meats,salad,a pasta dish ,a fish and a meat dish with a variety of fresh veg,rice,potatoes etc .There is always a soup with fresh breads and a variety of desserts ,ice cream ,cheeses and fresh fruits Dinner is a four course delight. On two nights in seven it becomes a six course gala dinner. The food is of a very high standard with a good choice of meat ,fish or veggy option At lunch and dinner the wine flows with abundance with good quality wines There is always afternoon tea with delicious sandwiches and cakes and a late evening snack . 3. Excursions .These are varied ,interesting and not too exhausting . 4. The cruise director Simona was an absolute gem .She was a workaholic and very funny .Now I come to the downside .Due to the number of passengers 180 compared to Viking approx 128 , the restaurant gets very noisy in the evenings .This was particularly distressing to me ,as I suffer from tinnitus so I had to wear ear plugs so couldn't hear what people were saying around me . THIS SHIP IS DEFINITELY NOT FOR YOU IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE TO NOISE I do not like the inclusive drinks package idea as this encourages people to drink too much and this adds to the noise If you have travelled on the Viking long ships you will immediately notice that the lounge furnishings do not exude quality ,but saying that ,it is comfortable. The small pool is also a plus on Emerald . Ignoring the noise aspect ,the overall experience is excellent .and the staff are very friendly and efficient . Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
My husband and I, plus two friends, chose Emerald Waterways to celebrate our 70th birthdays this year - Rhine Cruise. I did all the research, booking, etc, for our little group and the reasons I chose Emerald are as follows: - ... Read More
My husband and I, plus two friends, chose Emerald Waterways to celebrate our 70th birthdays this year - Rhine Cruise. I did all the research, booking, etc, for our little group and the reasons I chose Emerald are as follows: - virtually brand new boat with some innovative features, i.e. swimming pool which doubles up as a cinema in the evening (that was really fun.) - Free drinks with lunch and dinner (alcohol and non-alcohol). ( At times we had to stop the waiters constantly filling our glasses!) - All shore excursions included in cost - All tips included in cost (although we still discreetly tipped our 'favourite' waiters) - 100 Euros per person to spend on board (it proved difficult to spend it when everything was included!) We have cruised before but this one surpassed all expectation. Embarkation and disembarkation were organised like a military maneouvre - excellent! The staff were, without exception, EXCELLENT: 47 of them of whom 43 were Romanian, 1 German, 1 Hungarian and 1 Bulgarian (we think!). The Captain, the Hotel Manager and the Cruise Director were just wonderful! The restaurant and bar staff were efficient & quick but still took the time to be friendly and pass a few words of greeting. Everyone made us feel welcome. They cared! The cabins we had were the least expensive, on the bottom deck, but were utterly fabulous. We chose to have these cabins as they did not have full windows and, having found big windows a bit of a problem before (i.e. when other boats are stacked up against you, or when you want to pop into the cabin to change), we felt it not worthwhile to pay extra for a 'superior cabin. The only thing missing in there which we would have liked was a tea/coffee making facility - although free tea/coffee + biscuits were available all day and evening in the lounge. Even so, it's not quite the same as having it in the cabin for those early morning and late night cuppas! The food was excellent too - even "a la carte", although understandably limited to 2/3 choices per course. On previous river cruises, there were set meals and set tables. The latter is something we would have liked on Emerald Dawn whereas it was free seating; this leads to everyone trying to get there first, plus you don't get to know your own waiter as well as you would if you had the same one all week. The excursions were quite good and the local guides excellent. We would have preferred that the last day was not spent in Amsterdam, however. It would have been preferable to have another stop off in Germany and just departed the cruise in Amsterdam. It seemed like a complete waste of a day. TO SUMMARISE: we would go with Emerald again without a second thought! We are just sorry that they don't do the next itinerary we wish to do: St Petersburg to Moscow. We live in hope that, with two new ships coming on line soon, this route will be introduced by Emerald Waterways in the not-too-distant future. We shall be having our 50th Wedding Anniversary in 2018 and that is when we will be looking for this Russian cruise - so, come on Emerald, get this new itinerary sorted out by then!! :) :) Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was our third cruise with Emerald, & we just new it would suite our personal needs just perfectly. Having had a Christmas New Year cruise with Avalon we wanted to return to a cruise line that makes us feel so very comfortable ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Emerald, & we just new it would suite our personal needs just perfectly. Having had a Christmas New Year cruise with Avalon we wanted to return to a cruise line that makes us feel so very comfortable & welcome. With such a high crew/passenger ratio it enables this particular Line to foster a very friendly, almost family atmosphere. To witness the breakdown of the typical 'British Reserve' within a day or so, tells its own story! The tours, food, service & entertainment were exemplary. My only suggestion would be that as passengers arrive at the respective airport at diverse times, & the couriers can not necessarily meet every person as they arrive from customs. It would help if a notice was prominently left at the Info Desk with ETA of the courier. Having travelled with Emerald before the absence of a courier did not phase me. However, other passengers were somewhat worried. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I was reluctant to try a river cruise but my wife persuaded me to put aside my perceptions and give it a try. I am converted! The Emerald Star is a relatively new ship (2014) and is well appointed. The cabins are as large as one can ... Read More
I was reluctant to try a river cruise but my wife persuaded me to put aside my perceptions and give it a try. I am converted! The Emerald Star is a relatively new ship (2014) and is well appointed. The cabins are as large as one can expect given the limitations of the boat's width. I particularly like the balcony being behind the window so that you can sit there and enjoy the views even in inclement weather and simply lower the window when the sun is shining and you want some fresh air. The dining experience was superb and certainly up to the high standards of an ocean cruise line. The one confusion we experienced related to the premium beverage package we had bought and prepaid. It did not appear to offer any choice of wines at mealtimes over and above the free drinks given to all. The shore excursions are included in the price and ensured that we got off the boat every day around 9 am and discovered many towns and cities we would have visited otherwise. The three we enjoyed most were Rudesheim, Koblenz and Cologne. If you are lucky enough to visit Cologne Cathedral during a solemn high Mass then you enjoy a free concert by the Cathedral choir who sing sublimely. The local guides are high quality specialists that add to the enjoyment of the experience. My wife and I are reasonably fit and enjoyed the walking but some may find the exertion a little too much. At each stop the cruise provides a slow walking group for those less mobile but I would not recommend such cruises for anyone needing a wheelchair. Finally, a word about the crew. They are an efficient and friendly bunch, mostly from Eastern Europe, who work extremely hard to provide a good experience for guests. All in all, a great cruise and one I am looking forward to repeating. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This cruise was chosen for itinerary and time of year. The price was excellent and we received 5 star service. The food was excellent and the rooms were very comfortable. Each day we had a walking tour to the old town area of our port ... Read More
This cruise was chosen for itinerary and time of year. The price was excellent and we received 5 star service. The food was excellent and the rooms were very comfortable. Each day we had a walking tour to the old town area of our port cities and if the ship was not sailing right away, we were able to do our own exploring. The tours were included in the cost of the cruise as were all tips. The entertainment was low key.and we especially enjoyed Trivia night and the crew show. By the way the crew was excellent and since there are less than two hundred passengers, you get to know them well. The cruise director briefed us on each port so we knew what to see when we arrived. Embarkation was very smooth. We were welcomed by our friendly tour director and given a casual buffet lunch. Our luggage was delivered to our room so nothing to do there. We did our own tour of Basel, Switzerland and then prepared for our cruise. We added an extra day before and after the cruise. The hotels were excellent and included a breakfast buffet and transportation to and from the airport by the Emerald Waterways. I would definitely cruise with this company again and in fact hope to do that with our new friends from Canada. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Embarked on this ship at 12.10, but not able to get in cabins until 15.00, despite others getting to their cabins immediately on boarding, and the rooms were all ready to go, but stopped by the officious jobs worth, so called Hotel ... Read More
Embarked on this ship at 12.10, but not able to get in cabins until 15.00, despite others getting to their cabins immediately on boarding, and the rooms were all ready to go, but stopped by the officious jobs worth, so called Hotel manageress. Food was 3* not 5* the crew were all eastern European and I doubt if any of them had had a 5* meal in their lives. Lunch was queing in a line around an oblong service bar and you went around until whatever you fancied, you passed by. There were no set areas for soup mains deserts etc. Dinner was a 2-3 hour sit down, have these people have never heard of 'Open Dining'? Typically one meal, I ordered at 18.45 the starter came a 19.20,soup 19.50, main course 20.20, desert 20.50. The dining chairs are hard very uncomfortable. Tours started at 08.00 or 09.00 and ended about 2 hours later, as most of the passengers were over 70 why not start tours later? Consequently us and other passengers never got onto a tour. In Cologne there was a 20 minute walk into town, no shuttle buses laid on at any stop, for this I paid £6,000 for two. What a rip off. There are only 3 toilets on board for 164 passengers, 1 male, 1 female and 1 unisex, so usually if you need the loo it is a treck back to the cabin, down, or up the one flight of stairs, which being made of a 'glass like' substance were dangerous, we saw a passenger fall down. You get a survey form at the end of the cruise which asks what is the best aspect of your holiday.. Getting Off was my highlight. Give this Cruise line a big miss and go on a proper sea cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Flew to Basel to join the Emerald Dawn. A wait of over an hour at the airport before the coach left. Arrived at the boat, efficiently shown to our cabin. In the literature in the cabin I noticed the times you could get lunch in the lounge. ... Read More
Flew to Basel to join the Emerald Dawn. A wait of over an hour at the airport before the coach left. Arrived at the boat, efficiently shown to our cabin. In the literature in the cabin I noticed the times you could get lunch in the lounge. We immediately went to the dinning lounge, 2 minutes after the scheduled end to find the food being removed and the attedant informing us we were too late. We were not amused! The boat was docked in an industrial area, miles from the city. There was no transport to Basel and no taxis available. Who would arrange a cruise starting in Basel without the opportunity to visit the city? Emeral Dawn is a new, well fitted boat with comfortable cabins and public areas. Perhaps as a new company the allocation of berths were usually the most distant from the cities being visited. Emerald state the allocation of berths is the responsibility of the port/river authorities. It appears that more established firms get better allocations. I have mentioned Basel. In Cologne we were a 15 minute brisk walk from the city. The quality of the tours were also not up to the expected standard. In Cologne we had an included walking tour. Cologne is famous for its cathedral. Our guide spoke about the cathedral from outside, but would not take us into the Cathedral. We visited the Cathedral after the guide left us (there is no admission charge , donations are welcome. The Cathedral lived up to expectation but our visit would have been enhanced by a guided tour. Many aspects were good but too many disappointments. Our documents arrived less than a week before departure, rather tardy! Enclosed was an itinery which stated on day 3 a walking tour in Manheim. Apparently this was the 2014 itinery. Perhaps a "bridge too far" The food was not up to the standard we have had on other cruises. Obviously this is a matter of taste and perhaps frozen carrots are now acceptable cuisine! The crew and staff are generally very pleasant. There were no guest speakers on board. All the talks were given by the cruise director. The talks were ok but lacked the depth of knowledge and information that we would have had if we travelled with Noble Caledonian. I am afraid this cruise company appear to be rather complacent and take their clients for granted Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Our first river cruise. More relaxing than large ship cruising. We did fine without the casino, large entertainement shows, shopping mall and sport activities. Food was excellent. One seating for lunch and supper but you can choose your ... Read More
Our first river cruise. More relaxing than large ship cruising. We did fine without the casino, large entertainement shows, shopping mall and sport activities. Food was excellent. One seating for lunch and supper but you can choose your own table. We used the lounge and top outside deck often. Loved being able to walk out and be very close to sights when docked. Did not use the bicycles available but others did. Many cruisers where older than we were (50s) but a energetic crowd. As the ship was new, cabin amenities were excellent. Had a french balcony (wall to wall window, top half slides down) but no outside deck. Works well as you loose less room space but maintain excellent views. Service was attentive and well orchestrated. We participated in most shore excursions. Well organized. So mcuh easier with a smaller group! Would definitely river cruise again - actually doing anyone this year. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
The ship was excellent. The staff were excellent. The food was excellent. HOWEVER there was no cruise. We arrived at Basel airport and were taken on a coach to a muddy field where the ship was moored, not Basel. Due to flooding on ... Read More
The ship was excellent. The staff were excellent. The food was excellent. HOWEVER there was no cruise. We arrived at Basel airport and were taken on a coach to a muddy field where the ship was moored, not Basel. Due to flooding on the Rhine all locks were closed and we spent three days moored at the first lock, with no expectation of moving on. We were moored on the Alsace canal. On the 4th evening everyone was told that they would be leaving the ship the following morning and would not be returning. The rest of the week would be spent in hotels. There had been a warning the previous evening the locks may not reopen soon and that cargo vessels took preference when they did. It was suggested that arrangements could be made for anyone who wished to fly home. We chose this option. TODAY we received a cursory compensation offer in the form of vouchers for a future cruise! After talking to various people on our return it seems that weather problems on the Rhine, Rhone and Danube are not uncommon. In the light of this we are hardly likely to want to use the vouchers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We love the River Rhine and looked forward to seeing it glide by our cabin window on our first cruise. We were to board in Basel so spent two days there in the excellent Hotel Victoria enjoying the trams and the pouring rain. There ... Read More
We love the River Rhine and looked forward to seeing it glide by our cabin window on our first cruise. We were to board in Basel so spent two days there in the excellent Hotel Victoria enjoying the trams and the pouring rain. There was some alarm when we phoned the boat for confirmation of joining instructions. We were told that because of the rain the Rhine was very high and the boat could not get to Basel so was at Kembs. We should take a bus out to the airport and try to find a rep with transport. A bus took us to a field with a path to the boat. We were not advised to cancel the cruise at that time. The Reception was welcoming and our cases were taken to an excellent cabin that we thought suited us fine. We wandered round the boat and thought that it all looked good, especially the lounge and dining room. The sun deck furniture was all knocked flat for passing under bridges. As it happened, we never passed under a bridge and the furniture was never re-erected. So there were no activities up there. There was an evening briefing when we met Karla the Cruise Director. They had postponed the Welcome Reception until the next day because of the stresses folk had had on the way to the boat. The dining room seemed splendid on entry and promised some good food. However the roof was low and all sound seemed amplified. The service was fairly slow and it was acoustically painful to sit there waiting while everybody else was shouting to make themselves heard. We never managed to finish a meal. No evening entertainment was arranged while we were on the boat apart from an old film each evening in the small swimming pool/cinema area. The boat moved a few kilometres to the Breisach end of the canal but was trapped there by the high water in the canal so daily excursions were at first reorganised. Boats that had been left in the River Rhine got away. Some of the day trips were strenuous for the less fit. On the Tuesday night we were told that we would all have to leave the boat the next day. The main party must leave by 7.am for a gruelling coach tour to Amsterdam. For the rest, arrangements would be made by offices in their own countries for passengers to be flown home. There is a good video under the heading ‘Emerald Sky Jewels of the Rhine’ on Youtube that shows the problems. We flew home exhausted, with very swollen ankles and needing a holiday. A look at the weather records showed that the boat should not have been brought in to the Alsace Canal and been trapped. Having done so though, the ‘cruise’ should never have been attempted. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We were on Emerald Sky early May from Basel to Amsterdam. It was docked in Kembs in France on the canal d'Alsace. As we were already in Basel we had to go to the airport to be bussed to the ship. Due to inclement weather, the ship ... Read More
We were on Emerald Sky early May from Basel to Amsterdam. It was docked in Kembs in France on the canal d'Alsace. As we were already in Basel we had to go to the airport to be bussed to the ship. Due to inclement weather, the ship cruised 45 km to the lock at Breisach. It spent the next 5 days stuck in the lock there with Emerald bussing passengers to the Black Forest (included attraction), then to Colmar on France and finally a whole day tour to Heidelburg (5 hours on a bus) - very strenuous. The last evening the Tour guided announced that everybody must leave the ship by 7am the next day with no return to the ship and be bussed to Amsterdam missing out some of the included sights and staying in hotels on the way. The alternative was to fly home which is what we chose. While we waited for our tickets all the cabins were stripped of bed linen and made ready for the next lot. So we cruised 45 km in 5 days. It was the most expensive bus tour we have ever had. Later Emerald sent a derisory amount of vouchers for money off another booking with them. The day after we returned home I tracked the Emerald Sky with FleetMonitor racing back to Amsterdam to pick up the next set of passengers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
While some passengers do get a cruise, others do not. Because of the weather, the cruise should have been cancelled before they embarked us and we would have had our money back. Now, over a month later, the 180 passengers have been ... Read More
While some passengers do get a cruise, others do not. Because of the weather, the cruise should have been cancelled before they embarked us and we would have had our money back. Now, over a month later, the 180 passengers have been offered only a 25% refund in return for having no holiday cruise whatsoever. Beware. Emerald are not ABTA bonded.! The cabin was good but the view was the same for the four days that the boat did not move. The top deck amenities were never available. The restaurant has a low ceiling and noise gets louder and louder as folk try to shout above each other . Waiting for the food to come is painful on the ears. There was no evening entertainment while we were there. The trips arranged each day got more and more gruelling. Eventually everyone had to get off the boat and either fly home or take the four coaches that saw little of the Rhine on the way to Amsterdam. The less-fit folk had a very hard time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
What happens if your cruise never starts due to flooding or low water? Did you read the small print in your contract BEFORE you paid up? Are the crew actually employees of Emerald with decision making powers, or are they contracted ... Read More
What happens if your cruise never starts due to flooding or low water? Did you read the small print in your contract BEFORE you paid up? Are the crew actually employees of Emerald with decision making powers, or are they contracted staff "who need to wait for the office to open." If you are elderly or disabled how will you cope with an 800 km bus trip instead? And No, your travel insurance will NOT cover you if you "fail to sail"! The BBC's World Weather forecast on Thursday 30 April 2015, two days prior to our cruise, warned of further, very heavy rain for Switzerland on that Thursday/Friday night, a slight respite on Saturday followed by another very heavy belt of rain along with rising temperatures causing faster snow melt. They also forecast "a real risk of flooding." In fact roads were closed, some villages isolated and the police were out with loudhailers. Basel docking for cruise boats was underwater. That was before our non cruise started! And the forecasters were right! The water level in Basel rose from 550 cms on Thursday to 830 cms by Monday 4th May. Importantly, our boat had not managed to complete its previous leg and could not even get under the bridge into Basel. The day before our cruise was due to commence the Emerald Sky was moored up - NOT ON THE RHINE - but on the Grand Canal d'Alsace where it remained stuck for 6 days. Unwarned and unprepared for what lay ahead, we arrived in Basel and were bussed to a section of the canal in the middle of nowhere. During the night the Emerald Sky moved a short distance down the Canal to Breisach from where we could see the Viking boats parallel to us but on the Rhine until they managed to sail on! For the next 3 days a bus programme was instigated and a tantalising possibility was held before our noses that the Sky "might sail in which case the bus will take you to the new mooring!" Obviously, this was tosh. The rainwater had to drain somewhere and that 'somewhere' was the Rhine whose force was too great to open the Canal lock gates. Plainly, after going nowhere for 4 days, it would be impossible for the Emerald Sky to catch up on its schedule, let alone reach Amsterdam without going full pelt and non stop. Suddenly, after dinner at 9 pm on Tuesday evening we were told to 1) to pay all our bar bills immediately 2) to pack our suitcases and leave them outside our cabins by 6 am and 3) to vacate the boat by 7 am to begin days of long bus journeys and packing/unpacking each day. Not one person from the Emerald Office in Switzerland, even though one was promised and we were only 30 miles away, came to speak to the passengers or help the poor beleaguered cruise director (on a short term contract) to organise help for people in wheelchairs or flights for those who couldn't face hours of lengthy bus trips etc. So my point is this. If bad weather strikes AFTER the cruise begins, well it's "force majeure" and certainly not the cruise company's fault, although you should expect upfront honesty. However, in this case, the cards were well and truly stacked against the cruise even starting. The demographic of a river cruise will often contain a small number of immobile passengers who want to enjoy the company of their family and friends and are prepared to remain on board and enjoy the views and facilities while the others go on trips. Emerald should have warned us on that first day that they were moored on a canal, might be stuck there for several days (for goodness sake, the Rhine is a major waterway with plenty of technical forecasting) and if unlucky, they may have to turn the cruise into a bus tour. They should have given the passengers options of a refund or another cruise on that first day. In similar circumstances Tauck offer a total refund, Viking on the other hand offered a total refund or a 50% voucher for those who were prepared to take their chances (google lemons into lemonade Viking Rhone.) Emerald offered a measly £500 of vouchers to use on a future cruise with them one month after our return. No thanks. How good will your cruise company be if things go wrong? The ship, the crew, the food, the cabins were all fine. The backroom people let them down. It could have been great. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
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