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MS Swallow Review

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Aaron Saunders
Senior Editor, News and Features

Along with sister ship MS Lastavica (debuting in 2020), MS Swallow brings Emerald Waterways' trademark river cruise ambiance to the Dalmatian Coast.

Fitted with a water sports platform and unexpected creature comforts like complimentary Wi-Fi internet access (rare among ships of this size), MS Swallow is small enough to go where the bigger ships sailing the coast of Croatia can't. And while MS Swallow isn't a company-owned vessel -- the ship is chartered -- it still offers all the charm that Emerald Waterways passengers have come to expect.

Cuisine onboard is, unsurprisingly, heavy on Mediterranean cuisine. Expect to find authentic dishes culled from a variety of regional cultures, crafted using local ingredients. Some North American favorites are also present, but sampling regionally inspired food is part of the enjoyment of a cruise aboard MS Swallow.

All meals are served in the restaurant in an open-seating environment that allows passengers to sit wherever they'd like and with whomever they choose. The restaurant also offers a small outdoor seating section for those who prefer to take their meals on deck. Breakfasts are served buffet-style, whereas lunch and dinner are waiter-served and ordered from a menu.

For those who have sailed with Emerald Waterways in the past, there are a few differences here. Passengers won't find the same sort of free-flowing wine at lunch and dinner aboard MS Swallow; instead, two complimentary drinks (beer, wine or soft drinks) are offered with each lunch and dinner.

There are three basic types of accommodation on MS Swallow:

Category B Cabins are entry-level rooms. Ranging in size from 129 to 150 square feet, these cabins each feature porthole windows, a small seating area and a bathroom. Though not overly spacious, they mimic accommodations that might be found aboard a luxurious catamaran or private yacht.

Category A staterooms increase in size from 124 to 198 square feet and offer similar amenities and features to the Category B cabins. The biggest difference with these rooms is that they come with a large picture window in place of the porthole window offered in Category B.

The Category A+ Cabins are a nice compromise at 145 square feet. Filled with nautical features, including an oversized porthole window, their location near the bow is perfect for those who want to feel the motion of the ocean. Conversely, they're not the greatest choice for those prone to motion sickness.

Most cabins are accessed through an internal corridor. However, cabins 9, 10, 11 and 12 in Categories A and B are only accessible from the ship's outdoor promenade deck.

On the top deck, passengers will find a hot tub and plenty of shaded and open-air seating. The ship's wheelhouse is also located there.

Like most small ships, entertainment aboard MS Swallow tends to be of the do-it-yourself variety. Passengers will likely socialize over sundowners or post-dinner cocktails after a long day ashore.

MS Swallow offers several itineraries for Emerald Waterways, all of which explore Croatia's Dalmatian Coast. The eight-night Islands of Dalmatia voyage travels from Split to Dubrovnik, while the 11-day Zagreb and the Islands of Dalmatia sailing includes an overland journey to Croatia's capital of Zagreb. A handful of itineraries can also be paired with one of Emerald Waterways' river cruises in Europe.

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