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5 Emerald Waterways Basel Cruise Reviews

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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