34 Budapest to Europe - River Cruise Emerald Waterways Emerald Dawn Cruise Reviews

We were first time cruisers and picked this line based on itinerary, ratings, and prices. It was a Danuberiver cruise in mid to late October (luckily the weather was very warm for that time of the year with almost no rain). We were not ... Read More
We were first time cruisers and picked this line based on itinerary, ratings, and prices. It was a Danuberiver cruise in mid to late October (luckily the weather was very warm for that time of the year with almost no rain). We were not disappointed. The Embarkation process was efficient with hotel manager personally showing us to the room and explaining everything was great. Great selection of foods at all meals with regional themes and wine selection varied everyday with good quality local wines. Waitstaff was very friendly and attentive. Room service was great and the cruise director and activity director were excellent. Pool was perfect and movies were shown at night. Internet access was reasonable and daily information/schedule was very well done. Good itinerary with plenty of time at each stop and tour escorts were good quality. We recommend this cruise line without reservation and will use them our next time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Waited a long time for this cruise, got family and friends to join us and all reported a great cruise. Only one thing is the walking...that is for asthmatic passengers it a little grind. Cruise and ship personnel were the best could not of ... Read More
Waited a long time for this cruise, got family and friends to join us and all reported a great cruise. Only one thing is the walking...that is for asthmatic passengers it a little grind. Cruise and ship personnel were the best could not of been more pleasant to deal with. All that they say is included is and then some more. I would say that this cruise line is as good as if not better that all the rest. The rooms are serviced twice a day. There is plenty of food 3 times a day. More storage than what it looks like, but when you find all the hiding spaces you can but all your clothes and luggage away. The ports are great. But watching this captain but this ship ina lock with only 18 inches to spare...9 on each side. We will travel with Emerald Waterways soon, maybe Amsterdam or another location. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We were on Emerald Star Sept 1-8 2019.The embarkation was a nightmare we sat in airport in Frankfurt from 9:30am to 1:30 pm. Orginately we were suppose to be there at 12:30 pm. But got email to say come for 9:30 am. But bus at 10: only ... Read More
We were on Emerald Star Sept 1-8 2019.The embarkation was a nightmare we sat in airport in Frankfurt from 9:30am to 1:30 pm. Orginately we were suppose to be there at 12:30 pm. But got email to say come for 9:30 am. But bus at 10: only big enough for 10 people and luggage and we were about 35 people. Then 2and 1/2 drive with no bathroom break. Not sure who was a fault but certainty a disconnect. Staff on board were excellent and could not do enough for us. Chef and head Maitre De worked together to develope gluten free diet for my husband. We thought entertainment was only so/so. We did not have oompa band. But social director sang 2 nights one would have been ok. All sightseeing tours were free and were excellent. We enjoyed wine tastings and beer tasting free on tours. We enjoyed sitting up going through locks. The uptop BBQ was great.We would choose Emerald again. Awesome! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We've been on ocean cruises before but this is so much better since you can see the countryside as you're sailing. Budapest was a great starting point, we spent a couple of days ahead and enjoyed it...so different than we ... Read More
We've been on ocean cruises before but this is so much better since you can see the countryside as you're sailing. Budapest was a great starting point, we spent a couple of days ahead and enjoyed it...so different than we expected and the city is certainly the highlight of the Danube. We especially loved the night cruise. The ship is well set up. The room layout efficient and effective. The dining room was great and the food was excellent. It was also great to see local dishes and entertainment on board and the wine!! Service was excellent. It was great to have a pool onboard as well as a theatre. The sun deck was too hot on most days due to the exceptionally warm weather. But the cruise through the Rhine gorge was the best viewed from the sundeck and great that the weather was excellent! Each port was different and the tours were well done... good guides, good sightseeing, the walking was okay and not strenuous. The "quiet-voxes" were excellent on the tours so you could hear the guide. The maps & port/phone# cards were helpful. I was happy to see that the umbrellas and walking poles were provided!!! The check-in/check-out at each port was efficient although they could have the system at each exit/egress to make it easier. The hand sanitizer stands were a great idea and well used. The cruise director, Michael, was excellent and we enjoyed his evening reviews of the upcoming activities. Disembarkation went smoothly and efficiently. There were no children on this cruise.... all adults. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My sister and I decided to go with evergreen (emerald waterways) as it is the cheaper sister company of scenic. Very similar itineraries etc, however at a more affordable price. Our cabin was nothing unusual, only slightly smaller than the ... Read More
My sister and I decided to go with evergreen (emerald waterways) as it is the cheaper sister company of scenic. Very similar itineraries etc, however at a more affordable price. Our cabin was nothing unusual, only slightly smaller than the more expensive ones. Our window was only small, but we were only in our cabin to sleep n change, so didn't affect us, we could still look out to see what the weather was like! And that is all you really need! The staff were of the highest quality, professional, polite and experienced. The food was great and plenty of it. Each lunch and dinner on board we had a selection of beer and wine, not top notch, but definitely drinkable! We got the wine and beer package @ $EU 9.90 per day, which entitled you to unlimited house wine and beer during the day, which was worth it. We didn't use the full amount every day, but it worked out cheaper than buying the drinks on an ad-hoc Basis. Definitely recommend you have a couple of days pre and post cruise wherever you are, as the cruise only supplies a small tour of these cities. Be prepared for the locks on the Budapest to Amsterdam cruise, around 68 of them. The shore excursions were mostly great, they were included and occurred in all ports, with active, medium and slow walkers catered for. Please be truthful in your estimation of your physical fitness, don't put your hand up for active if you cannot walk at a fast pace and easily go up n down steps. Also be prepared for uneven cobblestones paths, uneven steps etc. the optional excursions were mostly well worth it. Totally recommend this cruise and this boat (I can't call them ships as they are not big enough for that). Well worth it. Do it! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We had never been on any cruise or organised tour group before having always travelled independently, so were initially unsure if this would be right for us. But we loved every minute of every day of this two weeks from Budapest to ... Read More
We had never been on any cruise or organised tour group before having always travelled independently, so were initially unsure if this would be right for us. But we loved every minute of every day of this two weeks from Budapest to Amsterdam. The ship is beautiful, the staff wonderful, the food amazing and the scenery and activities were great. Michael the Cruise Director was terrific and helped make the cruise lots of fun. Igor the hotel manager and all his staff were excellent. Melitza who cleaned our room was so efficient that any time we stepped outside we came back to a clean and tidy room. We enjoyed both time in our cabin watching the scenery float by as well as the public spaces. We met some lovely people and that added to our enjoyment and we will be keeping in touch with quite a few. Chef Kumar and all the wait staff meant that meal times were (far too!!) enjoyable. The food was lovely with many choices and they catered for all tastes and requirements. We enjoyed riding the bikes and going on the hikes as well as some of the additional activities. I can't recommend this highly enough and our next trip will be organised around an Emerald river cruise as well. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was our first river cruise having done 20+ ocean cruises all around the world. We chose Emerald Waterways due to their reputation, and our Travel Agent's advice. This itinerary was one we had wanted to do for a long time, and the ... Read More
This was our first river cruise having done 20+ ocean cruises all around the world. We chose Emerald Waterways due to their reputation, and our Travel Agent's advice. This itinerary was one we had wanted to do for a long time, and the 14 day duration was ideal for us. Every aspect of this cruise exceeded our expectations. Before departure, we received a comprehensive information pack and an Emerald backpack. This created a very positive impression of Emerald's approach to customer engagement and satisfaction, and this impression grew as our cruise progressed. When we boarded we were greeted by the Cruise Director and the Captain, and welcomed. We were shown to our cabin by the person who turned out to be the head housekeeper, who explained the features of the cabin. The cabins are small by ocean cruise ship standards but very cleverly designed. We had all the space and storage we needed. The beds are very very comfortable. Useful robes and very comfy slippers are supplied to every cabin, with free bottled water. Every cabin was supplied with a guide book to the rivers and towns we would be visiting, plus an extremely useful map. Dining on board was a pleasure, and the food was to a very high standard. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style with abundant choices , with lighter, more limited options available in the lounge. Dinner is a la carte, and served by the very hard working waiters. Wines and beers are included for all passengers at lunch and dinner, and there was no shortage of either. There was an excellent resident pianist, and local entertainers were brought on board in several ports. The cruise director engaged with the passengers every evening, holding a briefing for the following day's activities. He was also available for most of the day at his desk. Michael is clearly very skilled in this role, and was much appreciated by all of the passengers. In each port, walking tours of the port or nearby city were included, and all of the local guides used by Emerald were either excellent, or better than that. In several ports there are optional tours, at an extra cost. Free maps are provided at each port, and the ship provides free radio receivers which the tour guides use to give their commentaries, and these work better than most other devices we have ever used. Unlike ocean cruising, there isn't the constant pressure to sell gifts / tours / activities / photography / upscale dining etc etc, and that made for a refreshing change. As a recreational sailor, I was keen to learn about how the ship is navigated, and on two occasions I was invited into the bridge, where the deck officers were only too happy to explain and demonstrate procedures to me. I really valued and appreciated this. Despite being a young company, Emerald Waterways could teach a lot of other prominent cruise lines how to deliver excellent customer service and satisfaction. In summary, we enjoyed this trip immensely. Will we do a river cruise again? We have already booked two more with Emerald. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Arrived in Budapest the day before the cruise so would be fresh for the first day on board. My driver was at the airport on time and transferred me to the Marriott Hotel. Hotel accommodations through Emerald Waterways was excellent. ... Read More
Arrived in Budapest the day before the cruise so would be fresh for the first day on board. My driver was at the airport on time and transferred me to the Marriott Hotel. Hotel accommodations through Emerald Waterways was excellent. Both embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Wonderful welcome when first coming on board! Thoroughly enjoyed the dining on board, food from the regions we were in.. Food was great and lots of it. Their wine selections for lunch and dinner were very good, all from the regions we were in .The service was absolutely wonderful. Great crew on board! All the ports and shore excursions were great. You had a decent tour of the city you were in and then you had some free time to explore or go shopping on your own. I would definitely sail with Emerald Waterways again. Am looking at the Bucharest to Budapest cruise for my next one. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Danube Delights-Budapest to Nurnburg: (not a Christmas Market sailing but site won't let me edit that) Travelling with my sister (2 females in our 50's) Age range was one couple in their 30's to age 90! Mostly couples ... Read More
Danube Delights-Budapest to Nurnburg: (not a Christmas Market sailing but site won't let me edit that) Travelling with my sister (2 females in our 50's) Age range was one couple in their 30's to age 90! Mostly couples but we never felt out of place. We chose to eat dinner with someone different every night. Met people from Australia, Scotland, New Zealand, Thailand, Spain, Canada and a few of us from the U.S. The ship is beautiful. Understated elegance. Simple design, contemporary. The cabins have plenty of storage space although we did not notice the deep drawer beneath the sink until our second day. All the drawers are "quiet close" so no slamming drawers from your neighbors. A mini fridge, safe and a long shelf above the TV. The inside balcony was ideal as it gives you extra interior space as opposed to an outside balcony space that would be unusable in bad weather. We enjoyed the open window balcony concept and used it quite often. The dining experience was fabulous. Excellent variety in the buffets as well as the sit down dinner. Lamb/Duck/Wild Boar/ Veal as well as plenty of fish and vegetarian choices. For the less adventurous eater, beef and chicken choices. Plenty of salads and soups and tasty appetizers at dinner. Best part DESERTS, and at lunch 2 flavors of homemade ice cream. We traveled from Budapest to Nuremburg. The wines included , one red choice & one white, would change daily based on the region we were in or food we were having. During lunch and dinner they kept the wine flowing liberally. The included beer was only one choice, Bitburger, which was fine. Others were available in a package deal or by the bottle. Our cruise director Nina von Loon was young, energetic & extremely informative & helpful. The most action we saw on board was "Disco night" There were also 2 trivia nights and one night with a movie out in the pool/cinema area. Amal played nightly in the lounge and was very good. The included tours were good. I enjoyed having the Quiet Vox system with a wireless receiver you wear around you neck and an earpiece so you can hear the guides easily. When you consider that your river cruise, your transfers to & from the airport (if you choose to use them), all the port charges, taxes, GRATUITIES for the crew members and tour guides, your delicious food and entertainment and an included daily tour is included in the base price makes this an excellent value. There are additional tours for an additional charge available. We did the Schonbrunn Palace tour in Vienna for 50 Euro each. Would I do it again? In a heart beat ! Even though my legs are tired from all the walking, it was amazing to see so many gems including Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna etc. As stated in their contract, you should be in reasonably good health to do this because there are cobblestones, stairs and walking involved. I have a "bad" leg and carry too much weight and I did better then I expected I would do. But don't be surprised if you have to walk 10 mins to get to the town. I did have a massage and was quiet pleased that she used a lot of pressure as I requested. There is a small fitness room but I did not use it as I considered all the stairs and walking exercise enough for me! We did use the pool several times and enjoyed looking off the infinity edge at the aft of the ship. Coffee machine & cookies, bottled water (warm) as well as bar service available in pool area and a shower and toilet. Popcorn on movie nights when that area becomes a cinema. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We choose this cruise if order to visit the Danube. Probably 7 or 9 days should be enough and the last part of the trip is not great enough as the 1st part. The german part is nice but some days you have not enough time to really look ... Read More
We choose this cruise if order to visit the Danube. Probably 7 or 9 days should be enough and the last part of the trip is not great enough as the 1st part. The german part is nice but some days you have not enough time to really look the towns and the onboard afternoon you have little to nothing to do. The top of the ship was banned to go during lot of days in the ⅓ of the trip and that is not good. The smoking area wasn't correctly placed and that should be better arranged respetos other but also the smokers. Food was good however eventually taste all the same and probably for the older people that was healthy but for the rest is tasteless. Breakfast can be better on the quality of food, like salmon or fruits... Also not always the wine was great, some days some Italians red that are not good enough to be onboard. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We started with a 3 day Prague Extension. That really allowed us to explore Prague, by ourselves and with our knowledgeable Guide Thomas. The accommodation in Prague was lovely and allowed us to walk and enjoy the city and the River areas ... Read More
We started with a 3 day Prague Extension. That really allowed us to explore Prague, by ourselves and with our knowledgeable Guide Thomas. The accommodation in Prague was lovely and allowed us to walk and enjoy the city and the River areas of this gorgeous city. Second day started with the coach dropping us at Prague Castle, we enjoyed a morning exploring the Castle areas. Morning tea at the Lobkowicz Palace over looking the city below us. As we enjoyed our coffee and Cake. An outstanding meal at Prague Castle in the Salm Palace on our second night was delightful. The musicians were a joy. and the night view of Prague was stunning as the full moon rose above the city. The Emerald Dawn was beautiful look at, and once on board we could not fault anything. Our cabin on the higher deck was comfortable, spacious, and lots of hanging and drawer space for our clothes. Dining was a constant surprise of beautiful meals. Buffet breakfasts and lunches. Sit down formal dinners of four courses, plenty of wine and excellent service by the waiters at every meal. Activities and entertainment each night were always great fun. The pool area at the back of the ship was superb, especially if the day had been hot, a great way to cool off. All ports and excursions were thoroughly enjoyed. We could do this trip again. Anytime Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
My husband and I just returned from one of our favorite holidays! We have been on several ocean cruises, which has become our favorite way to see the world. Unpack once; see multiple locations. However, this was our first experience ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from one of our favorite holidays! We have been on several ocean cruises, which has become our favorite way to see the world. Unpack once; see multiple locations. However, this was our first experience on a river cruise and I'm sure it won't be our last. The Emerald Dawn cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam was amazing. All the staff on board were friendly and helpful, some going that extra mile that made the trip even more memorable. Patricia, the Cruise Director, was fantastic! (In a perfect world I would want her on every cruise we take from here on.) The information package that arrived a couple of weeks prior to our trip was informative and complete with luggage tags, details about our airport transfer (s), embarkation process and itinerary. The two backpacks included in the package were a BONUS and perfect for our carry-on items and daily excursions. We thought the food selection was very good! It was always tasty, interesting (especially the dishes featuring local culinary treats) and the presentation was appealing... yes, I took and posted pictures for all my friends back home. ;-) Thank you Emerald Dawn crew and staff for a vacation we will never forget. Hope to see you all again one day. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
A number of our friends have done this cruise and rated it very highly. It rose to the top of our bucket list and our travel agent offered us several choices. We chose Evergreen/Emerald because of the price, activities included, a new ... Read More
A number of our friends have done this cruise and rated it very highly. It rose to the top of our bucket list and our travel agent offered us several choices. We chose Evergreen/Emerald because of the price, activities included, a new ship with a swimming pool and the choice to pay for extra excursions rather than them being included. Catering was outstanding. Tour guides were exceptional all with good English. Waiters were most professional and entertaining. The ports of call were very well chosen, and there was always free time after the guided walk/tour. Tour Director Patricia was absolutely outstanding, she must have worked 30 hours a day. Wine and beers were sourced from the area we were travelling through and were freely supplied during the meals. We were welcomed back on board with cold drinks after a hot walk ashore. We will certainly recommend Emerald at every opportunity. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This itinerary was at the top of my Bucket List. I looked as several different lines and was impressed at the cost savings with Emerald. We chose to spend two nights in Budapest before boarding the boat. This gave us time to recover ... Read More
This itinerary was at the top of my Bucket List. I looked as several different lines and was impressed at the cost savings with Emerald. We chose to spend two nights in Budapest before boarding the boat. This gave us time to recover from the overnight flight and to explore the Jewish Quarter on foot which was not part of Emerald's tour of the city. Never having traveled to Europe before, I was surprised how easy it was to explore without knowing the language. Emerald includes transfers from the airport to ship and ship to airport. Since we chose to stay at their preferred hotel in Budapest, we were told that we would have free transfer from the airport on our arrival date. There was no one there to pick us up. We were told later that the person was somewhere else waiting for us even though we followed the instructions we were given as to where we were to meet out driver. The line did reimburse our taxi fare once we supplied a receipt. On embarkation day, we followed the Emerald representative from the hotel to the bus and embarked on our journey. Once we handed our luggage over to the bus driver, we did not see it again until we were able to access our cabin where is it was waiting for us. When we arrived at the boat, we were directed to the Lounge because the cabins were not ready. A light lunch was served there and cabins were available at about 13:30. If you are unfamiliar with the 24 hour clock and you plan to use this line, you best learn. All times were given in this manner. The boat is true to the pictures I have seen on the Emerald website. There is lots of chrome and very little color. It works because of all the windows. Bright colors would detract from the view. Every thing was clean and sparkling and stayed that way for the entire cruise. The public areas were comfortable and provided ample opportunities to meet and talk with your fellow passengers. The cabin (CAT C 234) was adequate size and exactly as pictured in their brochure. The indoor balcony is comfortable if the air conditioning is not on. If it is, the chair closer to the vent is in an uncomfortable draft. It was too warm to turn off the air. What you do not see in the brochure picture is that there is very little room between the bed and the wall where the entrance to the bathroom is located. The bathroom door slides and the opening is at the head of the bed which means the door must be closed at bedtime or the night light in the bathroom bothers the person sleeping in that bed. This narrow passage also makes it difficult at times when two people are trying to get dressed and need to get in and out of the bathroom. One good feature of the bathroom is the storage. There are shelves next to the sink and a cabinet behind the mirror over the toilet. In addition, there is a deep drawer under the sink. For clothes, there are two fairly long and deep drawers and a narrow closet with many hangers. Also there are two shallow shelves below the safe. There is a shelf above the television which we found was a good place for hats and purses. Suitcases fit comfortably under the bed. We could not find enough superlatives to describe the staff. The only exception was Mathew, the Cruise Director. Our Cabin Steward was a delight. He always had a smile and a cheery Hello. We accidentally turned on the Do Not Disturb light and kept it on through the first evening and the next morning. He came looking for us to make sure we did not want the room made up rather than just letting it go. I was very grateful because the Do Not Disturb is a light that is easily turned on and not noticed rather than a card you hang on the knob. The restaurant staff works so hard. The kitchen is on the first level, restaurant on the second, and bar on the third. They have to carry the food up from the kitchen and the dirty dishes down to the dishwashers. If you order a beer or soda, they have to go up to get it. All of the wait staff was pleasant and more than willing to joke with the passengers. Going to meals was something you looked forward to because of the interaction with the staff. It certainly wasn't the food. We had the opportunity to tour the galley which was quite small when you realize how many meals are prepared in a given day for the 138 passengers on board. There was a light breakfast and light lunch served in the Lounge in addition to the fuller menu in the restaurant. These meals were buffets. Dinner was plated and a limited menu was provided. There were two choices for appetizers, one soup, three entrees ( a meat, a fish and a vegetarian choice) and three desserts. In addition, there was Chicken soup, Caesar Salad.Grilled Chicken, Rump Steak, Poached Salmon, and Fresh Fruit on every menu. We were not happy with the food as were several other passengers we spoke with. One even called it "inedible". Breakfast was OK. The choices are fairly standard but the yogurt was so watery that you were better off using a glass rather than a bowl. Lunch buffet included prepared salads and lettuce, tomato, cucumber, toppings and dressing to make a salad. The dressings the first few days were as thin as water and as tasty. Later some were a bit thicker and slightly more noticeable on your lettuce. There were always two soups, vegetable broth and a cream soup. The carrot and the beet soup tasted as expected. The remaining soups all tasted the same as did the dinner soups. Pork was served far too often for our taste since we do not eat it. There is a different featured hot item on the lunch menu. One day it was chicken, That night the meat entree was also chicken, Who creates the menu? The lunch desserts included fresh fruit, a cake, a custard or whip, and two flavors of ice cream, vanilla and a different flavor each day. The ice cream was wonderful but the cakes were dry and tasteless. Entertainment on a river cruise will never rival that on an ocean cruise. Most evenings there was the resident piano player who was very good. In Budapest, they brought on a string quartet and four folk dancers who were all exceptional. The crew provided the entertainment one evening and we all laughed until it hurt. The last entertainer played the zither. He showed us how it is played which might explain why there are so few professional zither players in the world. He played a composition of his own titled the Ambulance Polka written when he lived next to a hospital. You could definitely hear the ambulance siren in this piece. There was a walking tour in all but one stop. Our guides were knowledgeable and pleasant people, many of them graduate students. The weather was unseasonably warm which made the tours more difficult than they would have been if the weather was not so hot. In some ports there was too much free time and in others there was not enough, but that is a very personal issue. Walking was not as difficult as I had expected because although we were often on cobblestones, they were worn and not as hard to walk on. The line offered several tours for an additional cost, most were about 70 Euros. One was a private concert in Vienna which was enjoyed by all who attended. We did not choose to take any of these. Would I do this again? No, I would not take this itinerary again and no, I do not think I would take this line again. The main reason is that my husband was so dissatisfied with the food that he actually lost weight. He lived on ice cream and soda. As I said to one of my table mates at dinner, this is a Budget line compared to the rest. You get what you pay for. If I do a river cruise in some other part of Europe, I will spend a bit more and travel with a different line. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Special for our 45th anniversary. Top notch accommodations and service Embarkation and,disembarkation was well arranged Staff service was second to none. Cabins very nice and spacious. Food and service was great. Shore excursions and ... Read More
Special for our 45th anniversary. Top notch accommodations and service Embarkation and,disembarkation was well arranged Staff service was second to none. Cabins very nice and spacious. Food and service was great. Shore excursions and guides were great with one exception. Emerald treatment was superb. We had way too much food. Excellent buffet for breakfast and lunch Great supper with choices, The waiters and wine concierge were super. Our cruise director and staff were great. Our cruise director was exceptionally talented A BBQ was offered on the top deck and was superb. I did the bike tour from Durnstein.to Melch and it was very beautiful (probably rated to difficult as were some of the tour hikes, One highlight was the home visit to a family in Bratislava. it was a very warm and enjoyable visit .We were allowed to bring family on the ship in Amsterdam to visit and see the ship, They too were impressed with the hospitality. We would do it again in a heart beat!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We hoped to learn about an area of which we knew little, and to see unusual wildlife - especially birds - in the Danube. We particularly hoped that there would be an optional excursion to the Delta nature reserve. There was neither. ... Read More
We hoped to learn about an area of which we knew little, and to see unusual wildlife - especially birds - in the Danube. We particularly hoped that there would be an optional excursion to the Delta nature reserve. There was neither. However, Emerald's general organisation was outstanding from start to finish. The ship was flawless except for the noisy dining saloon, very comfortable, and the staff were unfailingly friendly and efficient. All the excursions were interesting, with excellent, informative guides. Our only disappointment was that - although breakfasts were very good, the lunches and dinners were not of the standard one might expect. The Sheraton Hotel in Bucharest was well-positioned, with a superb lift system. The room was pleasant, with a well-fitted bathroom. Unfortunately, there were irritating details. For example, two of the three electrical sockets were unusable for the room's hair-drier (including the one in the bathroom). There was nowhere near enough usable drawer space. Also, the cooked food was very disappointing, especially the Final Dinner, which featured dried-up chicken and a flavourless sweet that were next to inedible, as evidenced by the quantity left on most plates. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was our 16th cruise and our 1st river cruise. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We are so impressed with Emerald! Embarkation and disembarkation were flawless. We selected a category E stateroom which is one of the least ... Read More
This was our 16th cruise and our 1st river cruise. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We are so impressed with Emerald! Embarkation and disembarkation were flawless. We selected a category E stateroom which is one of the least expensive rooms. We were concerned about it because in pictures the windows look very small. The room was comfortable, the window larger than expected and we had plenty of room to move around. The staff and guides on the excursions were all top notch. The cruise director, Balasc, is a ROCK STAR! He didn't miss one detail even providing us with a "to go" box for breakfast the day of our very early flight home. The on-board entertainment was exceptional. Service in the dining room was outstanding and the wine flowed freely. And the wines were generally very good. The food was good, not great, but we certainly didn't go hungry. We've sailed with Windstar twice and they still hold first place for the most incredible food on-board so that is always our barometer. If there was one recommendation it would be to lower the temperature/dim the lights in the dining room. It got very warm in there in the evening. Overall, an exceptional cruise! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I chose this cruise and ship because I was impressed by the indoor pool / cinema feature and I liked the itinerary which took me to 5 countries I might not have otherwise visited....Hungary, Croatia, Serbia , Bulgaria and Romania. It was ... Read More
I chose this cruise and ship because I was impressed by the indoor pool / cinema feature and I liked the itinerary which took me to 5 countries I might not have otherwise visited....Hungary, Croatia, Serbia , Bulgaria and Romania. It was very informative and the ship, staff, food and facilities onboard were excellent. The gym and pool I used a lot and the talk/ slide show by the cruise director was very good. All local guides were very well informed and I enjoyed all the meals onboard. Having bikes available to use was a bonus. We had lovely weather which helped. A GPS tracking system showing where the ship was at any tome would be a very good addition, however we were given complimentary guide books and river maps which was a nice touch. I would definitely recommend this cruise to friends who wanted to visit eastern Europe on a travelling hotel! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this for its destinations, as it was along the lower reaches of the Danube, which we didn't know. Embarkation was very smooth, though it was a pity there wasn't more time in Budapest. The cruise was full of interesting ... Read More
We chose this for its destinations, as it was along the lower reaches of the Danube, which we didn't know. Embarkation was very smooth, though it was a pity there wasn't more time in Budapest. The cruise was full of interesting trips, including visits to a school in Bulgaria, and a lunch with a local family in Croatia. All of the local guides were experienced, very knowledgeable, and spoke good English. The Cruise Director also gave us interesting daily talks on the countries we were visiting. On two evenings we had excellent local dancers/singers on board. Everybody I spoke to enjoyed the cruise very much; the ship is lovely, with good size cabins and lounge, and the food reflected the countries we were visiting. The service was excellent, and the staff (mainly East European) friendly, relaxed and efficient. There is an attractive indoor swimming pool, and a minute fitness room. WE did feel that during the one day with no port stop there could have been more activities arranged, especially as it rained solidly all day.We finished with 3 nights in the Sheraton in Bucharest, which is a stunning city. We mainly found our own meals in Bucharest, but we did feel that more could have been made of the final night's dinner, which was uninspiring and a big contrast to the excellent on-board meals. We certainly plan to travel again with this company, and would recommend this particular cruise as something a bit different. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We have been on two sea cruises and decided that if we took another we would try a river one. We wanted a two week cruise and of the ones that were available we liked the look of Emerald the most. Not having to constantly tip and casual ... Read More
We have been on two sea cruises and decided that if we took another we would try a river one. We wanted a two week cruise and of the ones that were available we liked the look of Emerald the most. Not having to constantly tip and casual dress were great attractions. The holiday lived up to all expectations and we didn't begrudge a single penny spent on it. The ship looked very up-to-date with lots of glass, turquoise and chrome. (Tip to the designers - don't have handrails in chrome. The cleaner will never be able to keep up with the fingermarks) Nowhere felt crowded. Even at dinner when all passengers were present the restaurant was comfortable. I opted for a galley tour and was pleased to see that it was all stainless steel and spotlessly clean. I would liked to have been a fly on the wall to see the galley in action. I'm sure I couldn't prepare meals to such a high standard in that space, The Dawn was a Tardis. We were on the sundeck sheltering from the wind behind the wheelhouse when it descended into the deck leaving only a couple of feet showing. We still can't work out the part of the ship it descended into! The cabin had storage everywhere. Our luggage weighed 36kg and we could have stored much more. The cases went into the cavern under the queen-sized bed. We thoroughly enjoyed all the excursions and the crew show which we thought would perhaps not be worth watching was hilarious. The holiday will be a very hard act to follow as others will have to offer the same facilities and deal as Emerald. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our first River Cruise and we loved it. Emerald Waterways did a wonderful job in all areas of the 7 day cruise and also with our 3 day post-cruise stay in Prague. The food on board was always fresh and nicely prepared and well ... Read More
This was our first River Cruise and we loved it. Emerald Waterways did a wonderful job in all areas of the 7 day cruise and also with our 3 day post-cruise stay in Prague. The food on board was always fresh and nicely prepared and well presented whether buffet style or severed by the wonderful staff. Our cabin was cat R, back of ship, near the pool, completely satisfactory. Lots of storage, room and bath had plenty ample space. Loved the indoor balcony with window that was able to open half way to really let in the wonderful views while cruising the Danube. Shore excursions were always well done by a local guide. All were very knowledgeable and did fine jobs in their respective cities. There was lots of walking, which was fine for us but might be a problem for some folks. Our guide in Prague was a fellow named Martin and he was just wonderful. He met us at the ship in Nuremberg and came along on the bus to Prague with us, was also with us for the next two days there to show us around the beautiful city of Prague and help us on how to spend free time there. Hotel in Prague was very nice and location was convenient. We certainly would recommend a Danube River Cruise to anyone and would highly recommend Emerald Waterways. We hope to one-day go on another River Cruise and would certainly go again on Emerald. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We just returned from a week+ cruising the Danube on the Emerald Dawn from Budapest to Nuremburg, with a 3 day extension in Prague. Overall, it was FABULOUS!! Emerald did a fantastic job in every aspect of the cruise. Check-in was the ... Read More
We just returned from a week+ cruising the Danube on the Emerald Dawn from Budapest to Nuremburg, with a 3 day extension in Prague. Overall, it was FABULOUS!! Emerald did a fantastic job in every aspect of the cruise. Check-in was the easiest, fastest check-in that I can remember. About 3 minutes (or less) from arriving curbside at the ship until we were in our cabin. Our luggage was delivered only a few minutes later. Fortunately, our cabin was on the "right" side of the ship (actually the left or port side) in Budapest. So the view we had from our cabin was, of course, the unbelievable Parliament building lit up in all its glory. Just magnificent. That evening, the ship took a brief cruise on the Danube in Budapest to see all of the buildings and bridges lit up. It was positively breath-taking. Absolutely spectacular. All of the meals on-board were excellent, as was the dining room service, with one exception. One morning at breakfast, it was very difficult to get a waiter's attention to get a cup of coffee. The service at all other meals was fine. I have to add that our service at dinner was truly OUTSTANDING. We were a group of 7 and there were only a few tables in the dining room that could accommodate 7 people. So we made sure to be first in line in order to get the same table for our group every night. The head waiter for our table all week was truly SUPERB. One of the best I have ever had at any dining experience. Totally professional, impeccable service and very personable. Our cabin was more spacious than I expected - very nice. We enjoyed opening the window when we were in the cabin. Our cabin service was also excellent, although we rarely saw the woman who took care of it. The ports of call were all interesting, although we all felt Vienna was too crowded and a little too big to absorb in one day. Somewhat overwhelming. We especially enjoyed Bratislava, Durnstein and Cesky Krumlov. The tour guides ranged from good to excellent. We made our our arrangements to spend 3 days in Budapest before the cruise. It was very worthwhile. Very interesting city. We stayed at the Gerloczy Hotel, which is small but exuded local character. The rooms were large and comfortable, and the food in the cafe was very good. The cafe service was a little spotty at times. We had hired a local tour guide (Orsolya from Travel Guide Hungary) who was excellent. Overall, we are very glad we did it. The 3 day extension in Prague was also excellent. The guide, Martin, was fantastic. His knowledge and passion for Prague came through loud and clear in his presentations. He offered a list of restaurants in the area - two of which we tried and were very happy with. He also coordinated transportation to the Castle are one evening and our transfer to the airport. We had considered making our own arrangements for Prague also, but I am so glad we decided to let Emerald handle the logistics of that end of the trip. Due to some delays getting through the locks on the river, we never made it to Nuremburg! We got off the ship at some cobble-stone plant 2 hours short of Nuremburg. So the cruise director, Michael, was scrambling around Sat AM making all sorts of alternate transportation arrangements for all of the passengers. What a nightmare for him! It was easy on us though. I would suggest that you keep this in mind if you are thinking about making your own arrangements at the end of the cruise! All-in-all, my wife and I would rate Emerald a solid 10 out of 10. My biggest criticism was the hotel in Prague - the K+K Fenix. The hotel itself was OK- clean, comfortable, but bland rooms, great service and a large selection at breakfast. My criticism is on the location of the hotel - at the far end of Wenceslas Square (a good 20 minute walk to Old Town Square) and right in the red light district!! What were they thinking? Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Previous experience with river cruising was in Russia last year where, although we enjoyed the experience, the accommodation and food were rather spartan, so we were not quite sure what to expect with Emerald; what a surprise, a beautiful ... Read More
Previous experience with river cruising was in Russia last year where, although we enjoyed the experience, the accommodation and food were rather spartan, so we were not quite sure what to expect with Emerald; what a surprise, a beautiful almost new ship where the food and service were outstanding! We had only booked a few weeks beforehand and as a result had got the last cabin available, which was on the lower deck with a 'picture' window - wasn't too sure about that but when we saw the actual cabin the uncertainty vanished; true, when you look out of the window you were only about a foot above the river level and as a result the window was rather splash marked but that certainly didn't detract from the experience. Tours had been arranged for each of the stops we made and we took advantage of these. Clearly some thought and been put into each of these and the proved interesting and informative. We didn't take advantage of the extended range of tours, but it was good to know the these were on offer. As might have been hoped for, staff were very helpful and friendly and the tour director, Simone went our of there way to make sure that everyone was informed and involved. Dining room director, Ross, really made sure that service was tip-top. I would certainly be happy to book with Emerald again Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our second cruise with Emerald Waterways and by chance we found we were on the same ship as last year. We made our own arrangements for travel and accommodation before and after the cruise, travelling to Budapest by train via ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Emerald Waterways and by chance we found we were on the same ship as last year. We made our own arrangements for travel and accommodation before and after the cruise, travelling to Budapest by train via Leipzig, Dresden and Prague and staying an additional 2 nights in Amsterdam. There was a small reduction for making our own arrangements, but almost certainly less than the cost of the flights we would have otherwise taken. Last year's cruise from Budapest to Bucharest was one of the most amazing and relaxing experiences of my life. This year, by comparison felt somewhat different and much less relaxing. Although the daily schedule was much the same, it felt more crowded - my memory of last year was being able to get breakfast until 9.30, but this year the cut off on most days was 9am - fine if going on the excursion, but a bit early otherwise, even if the light breakfast on the Terrace was available until 10. Most days we chose to eat the light lunch in order to avoid the noise, bustle and sharp elbows of the dining room. The evening meal was served promptly at 7pm in the dining room - no flexibility, so impossible to avoid the noise. In general food was of a good quality. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style; evening was 4 or 5 course table service, with some standard alternatives if the menu did not suit. Free wine, beer and soft drinks were served with lunch and dinner - and some waiters were very generous with the wine! Last year our cabin was on the middle deck and this year on the top. The cabins were to all extents and purposes identical, well appointed and with good storage facilities. Another change from last year - and from our perspective undesirable - was the evening entertainment. Last year, there was either some kind of culturally relevant entertainment provided by local people from the countries we were passing through, or gentle piano playing. This year, there were two occasions when groups visited the ship to entertain us, but on other evenings all too often the piano player was replaced by some form of games evening - mainly noisy and very reminiscent of the holiday camps of my youth. Although there is an alternative lounge area in the swimming pool - it is not as comfortable as the lounge, so no real alternative. Perhaps because they were inclusive, there was an assumption everybody would go on excursions. In general, we chose not to, but took the opportunity to explore several of our stopping places ourselves. From comments from fellow travellers, this was often a wise choice. Service was exemplary throughout, especially that unseen work done by the cabin stewards! Would we go again - probably not with Emerald because of the change in style from last year - we would prefer a quieter and more informative experience. But as a concept, river cruising is great! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This cruise not only met our expectations but exceeded them. The ship was A1, cabin excellent, the dining was delicious all you could want and more. The activities were fantastic. The service was first class, excursions were great, ... Read More
This cruise not only met our expectations but exceeded them. The ship was A1, cabin excellent, the dining was delicious all you could want and more. The activities were fantastic. The service was first class, excursions were great, informative and enjoyable. We have been on other cruises but this one was excellent in every way, could not fault anything. Ten out of Ten. The staff were very friendly and efficient. The meals were fantastic, more than enough. We enjoyed ourselves, there is nothing on this cruise that you would not find. Emerald Waters are fantastic and we would have no hesitation in cruising with them again. Everything was done to perfection. From embarkation to disembarkation was well organised and run very professional. The staff are all very knowledgeable and helpful, it is them that make the cruise such a wonderful experience, from beginning to end. Commendations to all at Emerald Waters!!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Emerald Dawn Ratings
Category Editor Member

Find an Emerald Dawn Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click