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Emerald Harmony Review

4.0 / 5.0
13 reviews
See all photos
Editor Rating
Very Good
Ashley Kosciolek

Built expressly to sail into the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, Emerald Harmony is Emerald Waterways' first ship built exclusively for the Mekong River. It's a unique feature, as most other river cruise ships plying the Mekong are forced to dock in a large industrial port outside of the city and bus passengers in.

Functionality aside, the ship also feels homey, like a comfortable boutique hotel where, at the end of each day, passengers can seek respite from some of the less comfortable aspects -- lack of clean drinking water, extreme heat and humidity, and overt poverty -- of a trip to Southeast Asia.

Since debuting in Europe in 2014, Emerald Waterways is perhaps best known for its fleet of contemporary "Star Ships," which combine affordability (they are a fraction of the cost of their most upscale brethren, Scenic) with contemporary design and inclusive features.

Emerald Waterways has brought the same elegant but understated style to Emerald Harmony, which outwardly looks more like a yacht than a traditional river ship. Capable of carrying just 84 passengers, it offers a nearly 2-to-1 crew ratio and a wide variety of accommodations, from value-added cabins to suites that span 450 square feet and include wraparound balconies and private hot tubs.

From the neutral palette in the spacious cabins to the cozy layout of the plush furniture in the ship's main lounge, the calming onboard atmosphere truly does make the ship feel like home.

The vessel also includes some unexpected touches like a soaring atrium, a swimming pool with a retractable sun shade, an onboard hair stylist and even self-service laundry facilities (a rarity on river cruise ships and one which we found exceedingly helpful, as the climate necessitated at least two wardrobe changes a day).

Overall, we found the ship to be exceptional. What it lacks in entertainment options and cabins with traditional balconies, it more than makes up for with its stellar shore excursions and large picture windows. The cruise director and crew go out of their way to make sure passengers are comfortable, and dining options are considerably varied for a ship of Emerald Harmony's size. It's a great way for Southeast Asia first-timers to experience the region in style.


Sleek, elegant river ship with rare amenities like a laundry room and rear-facing pool


Onboard air-conditioning has trouble keeping up with the hot, humid climate of Southeast Asia

Bottom Line

Tailored to the Mekong, the ship offers thoughtful touches and tours that highlight what makes the region special


Passengers: 84
Crew: 40
Passenger to Crew: 2.1:1
Launched: 2019
Shore Excursions: 13

Sails To


Included with your cruise fare:

  • Accommodations

  • Most shore excursions

  • All meals

  • Soda, select spirits, beer and select wines with lunch and dinner

  • Shipwide Wi-Fi

  • Fitness center access

  • Laundry facilities

  • Gratuities for crew, tour guides and drivers, and luggage porters

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • Discover More excursions

  • Spa treatments

  • Salon services

Fellow Passengers

Passengers on Emerald Harmony include a mix of people from the U.S., Canada and the UK, as well as Australia, due to the country's relative proximity to Asia. (The line does business in Australia as Evergreen.) On our sailing, passengers ranged in age from early 30s to late 80s with an average age in the late 60s.

Emerald Harmony Dress Code

Daytime: Emerald's dress code is relaxed and informal, but that's especially true on Emerald Harmony, where the weather is hot and humid all year. Passengers will be most comfortable in long, loose clothing that will protect them from sun and mosquitoes while meeting modesty requirements for the many temples they'll visit. Sturdy shoes are a must.

Evening: Casual attire is fine for dinner, but some cruisers choose to wear collared shirts or informal dresses. Shorts and flip-flops are not allowed in the restaurant during dinner.

Not permitted: Bathing suits are not permitted in the restaurant, and shoulders and knees must be covered to enter temples ashore.

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More about Emerald Harmony

Where does Emerald Harmony sail from?

Emerald Harmony departs from Ho Chi Minh City

Where does Emerald Harmony sail to?

Emerald Harmony cruises to Tan Chau, Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Siem Reap, and Cai Be

How much does it cost to go on Emerald Harmony?

Cruises on Emerald Harmony start from $3,295 per person.
Emerald Harmony Cruiser Reviews

Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City via The Mekong River

The Emerald Harmony ship was very spacious, not ornate like like ships on which we had sailed. The staff were attentive and very friendly.Read More

10+ Cruises

Age 70s

Beautiful ship, outstanding crew, stellar itinerary

The staff on board the Harmony were incredibly friendly and professional.Read More
Precious Rooney

2-5 Cruises

Age 50s

Amazing Experience

We have cruised with quite a few River and Ocean cruise companies and I can honestly say Emerald has been our best experience to date - we would not hesitate to recommend Emerald and we can't wait untilRead More

10+ Cruises

Age 50s

Emerald River Cruises Fleet
Emerald Star
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