19 Emerald Waterways Emerald Dawn River Cruise Reviews

I will begin this by saying, this trip was booked for the sole purpose of visiting the Christmas Markets. My mother had been to Germany several times, and I was anxious to see the wonderful sights she had seen while visiting the Christmas ... Read More
I will begin this by saying, this trip was booked for the sole purpose of visiting the Christmas Markets. My mother had been to Germany several times, and I was anxious to see the wonderful sights she had seen while visiting the Christmas Markets previously. We have traveled on several cruises together through the years, but always pn ocean liners. We researched the trip. We researched the destinations. We definitely did our homework. That being said, I will refer to a particular evening when our Cruise Director was going over the following day's itinerary. I heard a passenger lament that we were going to "Another Christmas Market" with a groan and eyeroll as she said it. I turned to my mother and said, "How could she be upset about that? This was advertised as a Christmas Market Cruise!" I heard many of these rumblings throughout the trip. I was somewhat offended, because I will cherish the trip, the memories and the people we met for the rest of my life. I had an awesome trip, so I found it a little hard to stomach the ones that were saying such rude things. I found the ship and crew warm and welcoming. The staff bent over backward to make us feel at home. Many of the crew members filled multiple roles. They did so with efficiency and kindness. As I said previously, we had been on several cruises. They were ocean cruises. This was the first river cruise I'd been on. I knew that the grandeur of a ocean cruise ship would not be found on a river cruise. I knew there would be no casino, no nightclub, no nightly shows. I knew there would be no midnight buffets with ice sculptures. I don't care about those things. We booked this trip to add to a lifetime of memories that my mom and I have been making together. We were not disappointed. I found the ship to provide for every necessity we had, and provide well. The ship was well kept, it was lovely and when I compared it to other ships we saw cruising the Rhine I was pleasantly pleased that our ship was amongst the nicest. Dining. I heard quite a few people complaining about the fare. I heard some rather needless and unkind things being said. So here is my assessment of the food and dining experience. I found the food to be good, plentiful and very tailored to the passenger pool. If we were to take a walking trip around the meal bar you would find: fresh cheeses, sliced meats, salad options, fruits, bread, desserts, hot and cold cereals, soups, rice, fish, sandwiches, hot veggies, meat choices, usually a pasta choice, omelettes to order at breakfast and the list goes on. If you want a lighter fare you can visit the lounge and enjoy a pancake, french toast, soup, pasta or sandwich at breakfast or lunch. At dinner the menu also plentiful. Typically there were 2 choices of appetizer, a soup, a featured item as main course and a dessert. If you did not care of the featured main course there was a choice of chicken, steak, fish or Ceasar Salad every night, as well. No, you will not find the vast array of food you'd find on an ocean cruise. That being said, if you find fault in the food on this cruise then I would say you should have booked a Cuisine Cruise instead. I found the food to be delicious, and I thought the Chef was wonderful. Entertainment and Activities were not a huge priority to us. We did not book this cruise to be entertained and party. We were on this trip to enjoy time spent with each other and any new friends we would meet, and we did meet some wonderful people. We thoroughly enjoyed the glassblower, the cookie making, the musical entertainment, the movie nights, disco night and trivia. They were wonderfully presented and fun to attend. Service. The ENTIRE staff bent over backwards to help us. If I were going to say anything on the downside, it would be that my mother and I are not alcohol drinkers. I found it a bit difficult at first to get a soft drink. The wait staff have to go to a different location to get a soft drink so it throws off their service rhythm. Which I totally understand. Dining on a smaller scale ship is like a well thought out ballet. Everything has it's place because of limited space. They are super organized and efficient. I felt I was inconveniencing them to ask for a soft drink. They are pronto with the alcohol, but soft drinks not so much. I worked it out by mid cruise, I began ordering my soft drinks two at a time so that I wouldn't have to ask for a refill later in the meal. Ironically, the majority of the ladies we sat with began doing the same so we became known as the soda drinkers. We also made sure to sit in the areas of the dining room that we knew the waiters were a bit more flexible. From the Captain on down to the room stewards, everyone was wonderful. Ports, docking and excursions. Ports were wonderful. Transportation from the ship to our destinations was quick and efficient. I enjoyed the all the places we visited. I absolutely LOVED Rothenberg, which in our package was an excursion. It was my absolute favorite. If we had thought it through more, we would have gotten an earlier flight to Nuremberg and visited the Market there before boarding the ship. We enjoyed a diverse choice of stops with the commonality of the Christmas Markets, which we loved. If I was going to find a downside, I would have to say the arrival times to the Market locations. I had anticipated this experience for so long. After researching the destinations and seeing pictures of the marketplaces at each, I had a very clear vision in my head. I was mildly disappointed that the majority of the markets we visited weren't even open when we arrived, because we arrived in the mornings. I was excited to experience the markets in the evening when they were lit up to get the full effect of Christmas time festivities. I was grateful to get to see them, but would have loved to see them all at night. I understand we were at the mercy of our port time and sail schedule, but that would be the only thing I would say was disappointing. Overall, this was the trip of a lifetime and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I would do it again and again, and I would sail with Emerald again to do it. It was a great way to "sample" some locations to possibly revisit so that I can spend more time in the places that truly stood out to me. In an nutshell: I loved the entire trip. What I didn't love was the bashing being done by some of the other passengers. Read Less
Sail Date December 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
Chose this cruise as a safe and interesting way to holiday with my elderly mother in a previously unvisited part of europe. The whole experience was great from beginning to end with very few decisions to be made except what to chose from ... Read More
Chose this cruise as a safe and interesting way to holiday with my elderly mother in a previously unvisited part of europe. The whole experience was great from beginning to end with very few decisions to be made except what to chose from the excellent menu choices in the restaurants or whether to go off indepent of the well guided excursions . All the staff (mostly Romanian and Indonesian) were absolutely charming, friendly and efficient. We particularly salute Ray Bauer, the Director, who was brilliant in every way, charming, informative, so helpful and reassuring especially about the capabilities of my mother. We cannot praise him enough. We met some lovely people from Ireland ,US, Canada and Hong Kong, found the Rhine a fascinating area with all its history and geography. The trip is not recommended for people who are physically disabled as the excursions need you to be able to walk a sufficient distance ( slower groups were however organised). The clever individual audio guides were great as were all our guided on each trip. If you don't like being part of a large group being herded about, it's certainly possible to do your own thing at each port . The addition of good bikes were great as the river has many easy cycle paths. only disappointment was the emptying of the pool half way up river due to worrying river levels and boat clearance. Impressive arrangement at rear of boat which is a very pleasant cinema at night. No tacky. evening entertainment , great piano playing though in bar! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We cruised last year with Emerald on the Danube so decided to try the Rhine. It was first class, food even better than last year. Sam cruise director Ray Bauer who really made the trip fun filled. We made another set of friends as far as ... Read More
We cruised last year with Emerald on the Danube so decided to try the Rhine. It was first class, food even better than last year. Sam cruise director Ray Bauer who really made the trip fun filled. We made another set of friends as far as Melbourne Australia. Trips inc,used make it so easy to budget and it was always interesting to taste wines from all the regions. Best past is little surprises likes the Music museum and the free cable car trip. Well done Emerald very exciting will travel with again. The style of the boat makes it ideal for comfort and ease of getting around. I particularly like the fact that the staff are very helpful in the Resturaunt. We made so many friends that we needed a larger table, it was no problem and done the same day. The food in particular the Chef's recommendations was excellent. Good quality and very well presented. 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
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
You only have once chance to make a good first impression. Many of us had traveled many hours and arrived in Lucerne, tired and a little bit "cranky". We were anxious to get on our coach for the transfer to Basel and Emerald ... Read More
You only have once chance to make a good first impression. Many of us had traveled many hours and arrived in Lucerne, tired and a little bit "cranky". We were anxious to get on our coach for the transfer to Basel and Emerald Dawn. Emerald's representative at the airport, Yvonne, was welcoming and pleasant. Unfortunately she didn't know where our coach was. First it was stuck in traffic (10:00 am Saturday morning?), Then "we aren't certain where it is". Finally it is in the airport and doesn't know where we are. Similar occurrence for guests arriving later. Their delay (over two hours) caused them to miss the light lunch by about twenty minutes and having the beer or wine charged to their room. CD Michael should have taken care of this. That having been said, Emerald Dawn was a great ship with a wonderful crew. Everything was remarkably clean and "fresh" appearing. Room was immaculate , spacious with great balcony and very efficient bath. Breakfast was nicely handled with a large buffet in the main dining room and or a light continental version in the lounge area with access to the open decks. Tours were well organized and had the advantage of starting at "civilized" hours like 9:00 am. Guides were fluent in English, knowledgeable of the local area and offered helpful suggestions for free time exploration. Lunch and dinner were well prepared with many options. Local wines and beers readily available for these meals. The pool and movie area are certainly unique on Emerald and offer a special experience. Thoroughly enjoyed the itinerary and staff of Emerald Dawn. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Emerald waterways is a young company although part of an established company so the boat was pretty well brand new. The lay out and comfort was first class. Our cabin was wonderful a good size and spotless. Loved the electric window ... Read More
Emerald waterways is a young company although part of an established company so the boat was pretty well brand new. The lay out and comfort was first class. Our cabin was wonderful a good size and spotless. Loved the electric window which allowed a great view outside. The food was first class and never repeated at lunch and dinner times. The staff couldn`t be faulted at all ,we were served with a smile from the start of our holiday to the last day. The was plenty of entertainment but the best was the crew who gave us the best show of the holiday. I laughed more that night than a week of television. The ports and excursions were really good but need work on one or two of them. To end I would book with this company again in a heartbeat and I know we will but try a different river. If the rest of the fleet has staff who come close to the ones on Emerald Dawn then i`ll be in for a great time again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We did not want an ocean cruise on a big ship which is why we chose a river cruise Amsterdam to Basel. The ship was only a year old and everything was immaculate and new. The food was plentiful and freshly prepared with a good choice and ... Read More
We did not want an ocean cruise on a big ship which is why we chose a river cruise Amsterdam to Basel. The ship was only a year old and everything was immaculate and new. The food was plentiful and freshly prepared with a good choice and as we had a drinks package cocktails, spirits, beer, wine etc were free all day long. The staff were superb. Service in the restaurant was prompt and efficient and delivered by a friendly, happy and very helpful restaurant crew. . Every member of the crew were approachable, amenable and nothing was too much trouble. The resident pianist was a bubbly enthusiastic chap who kept the party going. The cruise director was knowledgable and we used to look forward to his 'dear ladies and gentlemen' greeting. I cannot speak highly enough of this cruise although some scenery passed was industrial it did not spoil the relaxed feeling and enjoyment of gliding down the River Rhine. The shore excursions were on the whole very good with knowledgable local guides. I would definitely booked with Emerald again the whole experience was wonderful and the crew from the Captain down helped make it. We also met lots of lovely people from Australia, Canada and England even if the weather let us down a bit. The only thing which marred it was the journey home instead of a two hour direct flight to Edinburgh which would have got us home at 12 noon we had a marathon going from Basel to Frankfurt then home to Edinburgh and eventually got home at 5:30 pm. The annoying thing was another couple travelling to Edinburgh were booked on the direct flight. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
It was a new Ship/Boat it had Top Grade Cabins Available "Owners Suites" it offered FREE drinks package as well as all inclusive tipping, it offered complimentary Laundry Service as well as complimentary Drinks in Cabin. The ... Read More
It was a new Ship/Boat it had Top Grade Cabins Available "Owners Suites" it offered FREE drinks package as well as all inclusive tipping, it offered complimentary Laundry Service as well as complimentary Drinks in Cabin. The Staff all gave more that 100% The food was excellent as well as the complimentary Wine (which was all of a excellent standard) the Drinks Package offered a wide range of Brand Drinks. The excursions were well organised. Ever single ember of staff was able to call every passenger by their name by the end of the first week, in some case after the first day (Excellent)! Bar Staff always remembered what you liked to drink and would promptly serve you. The Captain and Sailing Crew were both Professional but Friendly and it was good to be invited to the Captains Table. The Welcome aboard and Leaving Drinks were well planned and enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date August 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
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
I like to just relax on holiday, so for that reason i like cruises. Unpack once, and meals and activities all become someone else's problem. We couldn't handle another open ocean cruise. No matter how big the ship is, there ... Read More
I like to just relax on holiday, so for that reason i like cruises. Unpack once, and meals and activities all become someone else's problem. We couldn't handle another open ocean cruise. No matter how big the ship is, there seems to always be a rolling motion. I don't normally get seasick, but when the person your are with does, it becomes contagious. So this time it was a river cruise. From start to finish, I have never traveled so smoothly. We chose the Paris before add on,and the Prague after. Honestly, book this independently. It was not worth the money Evergreen charged. I booked all my own tours in Paris over the internet and I was very happy with them. ( 2h segway tour of Versailles gardens, 3h segway tour through the center of Paris, 2h group of 6 with own guide through The Louvre) Evergreen chose to cancel the pre-booked Versailles Palace tour the day before it was due to happen. Due to the late notice, my options were reduced to walking up to the entrance through the queue and walking through the palace with a headset. Had I been given a reasonable notice, I could have had the opportunity to organise a private tour. Very unimpressed. Be aware that Evergreen reserves the right to cancel anything, anytime, and does so often. The good, Except by looking out the window, you don't even know if you are moving. Rooms were small but otherwise excellent. Bathrooms were a marvel of space conservation. Public areas were more than adequate. The bad, -The chairs in the cabin are too low. I am 6 foot, and when sitting in the chair at the railing, it is right in the middle of my view. I always found myself sitting high in the chair, or sitting on a pillow. If the chairs were 200mm higher, it would be a vastly improved experience. -The food was adequate but never rose above that. Think RSL fare. Do not expect to be wowed by the offerings. As I said, adequate. -Coffee..........what can I say. The machines were good. The beans were good, But what idiot thought UHT milk was suitable for a boat load of coffee drinking Australians. When the crew were questioned on this ludicrous preposition, I was told twice, that there was no room for the cows on board. Condescending. The boat stopped at a town every day. How hard is it to load fresh milk for coffee? -Tours..........every day we stopped in a quaint old town center. The tours marched off to show us exactly the same things day after day. Why not organise the tour guides to give slightly different talks, which the guests can then choose from? History, architecture. food, scenery, customs, gardens. One example, every day we passes countless vineyards, never a winery tour. - I am 49, I was the youngest guest on board. The average age is about 65 - 70. Expect canes, walkers, wheelchairs. The fastest pace the trip ever achieves is a slow walk. Think about organising your own side tours. The ugly - no ugly, just a bit average, which could be improved quite easily Would I do it again. Yes, but with the experience I have gained, very differently. Much more of my own itinerary. I would smuggle some fresh milk on board. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We've been on river cruises with a different but well known company previously and were planning to book with them again. However, luckily for us we were tempted to try "the new kid on the block" Emerald Waterways when we ... Read More
We've been on river cruises with a different but well known company previously and were planning to book with them again. However, luckily for us we were tempted to try "the new kid on the block" Emerald Waterways when we realised that we could cruise 15 days for the price of 7 or 8 on the other line. We were so happy with this decision as the cruise was absolutely first class with the second part along the Danube, which we had not previously considered, being our favourite portion of the trip. More importantly high rainfall and consequently high water levels meant that only the very modern and well designed Emerald ships could cope with river conditions. We called our captain "the Master of Limbo". With it's clever, state of the art design features, "The Emerald Dawn" was able to fully retract it's superstructures flush with the sun deck. In addition the crew could take water on-board as ballast enabling Emerald Dawn to lower itself in the river, so that we could shimmy under low bridges with just millimetres to spare even in flood conditions. Other River Cruisers were stuck, and in both directions up and down stream, their passengers either had to transfer/swap ships or were kept moored up and bussed to their various port destinations by coach. Everyone on board the "Emerald Dawn" (bit of a mouthful -who names these ships????) was fantastic. The "no tipping" (or tipping included in the price) protocol means that all crew really work as a team. There are no rivalries or jealousies and it makes for a lovely atmosphere on board. Our tour director Karla was absolutely amazing and everything ran like clockwork. Her advice and judgement to be totally trusted if you are lucky enough to have her on your trip. She knows this itinerary inside out. Her port talks were excellent and if you get the chance to hear her personal experience of growing up and living in the Flanders battlefields of WW1 don't miss it. Also not to be missed if you are fit enough, the hill walks, Nurenberg's Documentation Centre, the 32km bike ride through the Wachau Valley (get fit in advance if need be) and the trip to Cesky Krumlov. Oh and we adored the tea with a Slovakian family. Our hosts had a Scottish son-in-law and were so delighted to invite us into their home and tell us all about their lives - including their time under Communist rule. It was a really charming and informative insight into their world. We added four days in Budapest but it really wasn't long enough, so more trips to Czech, Slovakia and Hungary are planned. The boat itself. Best bits. Beautiful calm colour scheme throughout, lots of mirrors and reflective surfaces all immaculately clean. Suit even anyone with OCD. The pool with it's terrific swimming current and the lovely glass walled pool lounge area? The excellent Food All Allergies are catered for really well. A menu is provided (even for self service buffet) and any foods that you can't have are highlighted with grey so that you can focus instead on what you can have - which I found was easy and very positive. Chef will always cater to special requests too - there are always lots of alternatives. Some "local" recipes/cheeses/foods/drinks on the menu representative of each region traversed. On trips we really appreciated the individual radio receivers/earphones that picked up the guide who used a radio transmitter. It means that you can hear really well even if you wander off a bit, and really improves the feel of a guided tour because the guide talks in a normal speaking voice.oh and the Emerald umbrellas. They seemed to work as insurance because whenever we took them they weren't needed. There are alternatives on the tours to, to cater for different levels of fitness. There were "highlight moments" both on the tours and on board that Karla, the Captain and the crew really know how to make memorable for their guests, and we appreciated the care and commitment to the best possible guest experience that they all strived to ensure. Ten out of ten for the fantastic onboard Barbecue too. The crew are mostly from Eastern Europe and mostly young. All are extremely hardworking , conscientious, friendly and polite. Other passengers were mostly Aussies, there were some Canadians, a couple of US citizens, one person from Ireland and a few couples from UK. all great and all English speaking. Really our only complaint is with the amount of marketing. We booked through River Voyages.com and now receive brochures from them, the cruise line we previously booked with and Emerald, and between the three we can be sure of getting something in the mail virtually every working day! Sadly we are not that rich or we'd have booke Emerald the next day. So please guys no more now until 2017 Thanks x Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
After many years of ocean cruising, this was our first River cruise and we chose the longest (Amsterdam to Budapest). We were aware that not many Americans chose Emerald cruise lines and even had our travel agent try to talk us into a ... Read More
After many years of ocean cruising, this was our first River cruise and we chose the longest (Amsterdam to Budapest). We were aware that not many Americans chose Emerald cruise lines and even had our travel agent try to talk us into a different river cruise line. (Note, most of the passengers were from Australia and the remaining from Great Britain and Canada... only a handful of us were from the USA). Prior to booking, I did extensive research on comparing ship's ages (ours celebrated its first year anniversary while we ere aboard), cabin size (again the balcony cabins were significantly larger than Vikings for same category) and ratings (rated by Cruise Critic to be #1 new river cruise line) -- and Emerald "on paper" looked to be the best overall for a lot less than other cruise lines of "comparable" quality. We are glad we chose Emerald. We were very impressed from the initial pick up service, to excellent service on board, to attention to details on the small things. The "included" excursions were excellent and we loved that they had special group tours for "gentle walkers" (i.e. slow moving elderly people). As a small criticism I am sort of a foodie, so I thought the food was beautifully presented and tasting (and selection-- they did present "local" cuisine as we went from country to country) was "good" but not outstanding (in comparison to dining quality on 5 star ocean cruises)-- but we were always satisfied, and most of our fellow passengers felt the food was excellent. As many have commented on other reviews, the common spaces (lounge and dining room) could get quite loud when full and conversations at time were difficult, but I don't see how that could be corrected. Also as in comparison to ocean cruises, the entertainment on board for most nights was only a lounge piano player. They did bring on local talent and "folk" shows a few times and the crew put on a great night of skits and entertainment, but most nights we were satisfied to relax after the large dinners (and bottomless glasses of "included" wine) in our cabins watching movies (recent releases) on our flat screen. The highlight of our trip though was the wonderful scenery flowing by as we sat in our balcony chairs (inside!-- out of the cold and sometimes wet spring weather) looking out at beautiful villages, endless green countryside, castles on hills, etc. If/when we book another river cruise, we will put Emerald Waterways at the top of our list, and without hesitation will recommend to our friends. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our first experience of river cruising after numerous sea cruises and we were not disappointed. The Emerald Dawn was a new ship having been lanched in April 2016. Arrangements for the pick up in Budapest were a little hectic but I ... Read More
This was our first experience of river cruising after numerous sea cruises and we were not disappointed. The Emerald Dawn was a new ship having been lanched in April 2016. Arrangements for the pick up in Budapest were a little hectic but I think this was mainly the fault of the airport organisation rather than the Emerald staff. Our cabin was 329 and although smaller than those we were used to on sea cruises it was very acceptable and the bed very comfortable. The facility of the large window lowering to create a balcony effect was not used since the weathre was very hot and the air conditioning stopped if the window was opened. My wife used the pool and found it pleasant and it seemed to be a popular facility. The excursons were well organised and interesting. We opted for three of the optional excursions and felt they were good value for money. The restaurant offered a good selection and menus were varied and enjoyable. Complimentary beer, wine, and soft drinks were available at lunch and dinner and the quality was excellent. Provide we can find the right cruise at the right time we will certainly repeat the experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We have just returned from Emerald Dawn's maiden voyage from Amsterdam to Budapest. My wife considers the trip to have been our best holiday in 30 years of which 20 have been cruising. It was definitely in the top three.We have ... Read More
We have just returned from Emerald Dawn's maiden voyage from Amsterdam to Budapest. My wife considers the trip to have been our best holiday in 30 years of which 20 have been cruising. It was definitely in the top three.We have cruised the Rhine on a couple of Christmas markets but nothing like this. It was fantastic. The cabin was great, not that you spent much time in the cabin as every day with had a guided shore excursion, usually starting with a coach ride, then a local guide took us around the town centre using a radio device that meant we could all her them. Then an hour or so of free time before being escorted back to the coach for the return trip to the boat. It should not be possible to select one member of crew for a special mention. From the Captain down to the seamen, including bar staff, waiters and our cabin steward, they were all brilliant. Not one English person among them but they all spoke bitter English than we did. I suppose one person should get a special mention. The Cruise director, Simona, was brilliant. Young and so efficient. When the queues at some lots held up her carefully prepared program and meant a mornings delay, she rearrange the whole shore excursion, coaches, guides, entrances etc on her mobile phone without any panic. Like a swan, her legs were probably paddling like mad, but on the surface she was so calm and collected. Evening entertainment was a little sparse but that which was arranged was excellent. A little more please. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Absolutely Awsome river cruise on the Rhine River at the end of June. We've travelled the world on many ocean cruises and decided to try a river cruise. Choice of companies was many but we are absolutely delighted to have discovered ... Read More
Absolutely Awsome river cruise on the Rhine River at the end of June. We've travelled the world on many ocean cruises and decided to try a river cruise. Choice of companies was many but we are absolutely delighted to have discovered Emerald Waterways. What a great company, shiny new ships, outstanding staff and very interesting tours and experiences. Clearly the new kid on the block and they are trying very hard to impress and that they did. From the captain to the cruise director to the servers and housekeeping staff, all were very professional and brought a can do attitude to their job and the passengers comforts. Our Chef was excellent, with very creative meal selections served in a leisurely fashion allowing for wonderful interaction with with new found friends from across the globe. If we had to point to only one staff member that best represented the crew it would be "Alexandra", a young hostess/server who greeted everyone with an infectious smile and a level of service that belies her young age. A medical emergency with one of our passengers in mid cruise was handled expeditiously, professionally and in a very timely manner by the crew and land based emergency services which gave us an even greater sense of comfort in the emphasis that Emerald Waterways places on its passanger's safety and security. All in all, we would say without hesitation that Emerald Waterways is well on the way to becoming the Gold Standard by which all other River cruise companies will be judged. Beverly/Jerry 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
Emerald Dawn Ratings
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