8 Emerald Waterways Emerald Sun Luxury Cruise Reviews

We chose Emerald as a result of attending presentations by both Emerald and Scenic (same ownership). They said that Emerald was a step lower than Scenic in terms of luxury, but I would challenge anyone to fault Emerald for its comfort and ... Read More
We chose Emerald as a result of attending presentations by both Emerald and Scenic (same ownership). They said that Emerald was a step lower than Scenic in terms of luxury, but I would challenge anyone to fault Emerald for its comfort and a great cruising experience. Our cabin was large - a smaller one would have sufficed, but the extra room in the Owner's Suite was terrific. The food was excellent. We opted for the light breakfasts and lunches as it's so easy to overeat on a cruise ship. Dinners were fabulous ad while they were four course meals, serving sizes were just right - not too large. The crew were fantastic and provided terrific, very friendly service, led by a great hotel manager and cruise director. Excursions were thoroughly enjoyable and great learning experiences, particularly the visit to the Nazi rally grounds in Nuremberg. Most excursions involved walking tours with audio units so you could still hear the guide even if you wandered off a little. We appreciated the daily exercise. I cannot speak highly enough of the entire experience with Emerald. The only comment I would have is that it would have been nice to have had more time in Budapest. We did a Prague add on with Emerald before boarding in Budapest and we only got one day in this city. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
From start to finish this cruise is excellent. The ship is really impressive with amazing staff. The sihip Emerald Sun was built in 2015 and looks brand new. We had a panorama balcony suite on 2nd floor. These rooms are bigger than other ... Read More
From start to finish this cruise is excellent. The ship is really impressive with amazing staff. The sihip Emerald Sun was built in 2015 and looks brand new. We had a panorama balcony suite on 2nd floor. These rooms are bigger than other rooms we have had on other river cruise ships as the window is from floor to ceiling and can be lowered with touch of a switch. The ship has about 180 people onboard so it is easy to meet new people and make friends as you see them every day. There is a more friendly feel on a river cruise rather than an ocean cruise ship. Each morning we would open the window blind, lower the window and watch the world sail by while lying on the bed...magic. This is better than having a separate balcony area which sounds good but makes your room smaller. The cruise director Ray Bauer is a natural at his job, very knowledgable, friendly, always a joy to meet and talk to. Food was Michelin star quality at every meal. Inclusive with cost of holiday is wine, soft drinks or beer at lunch and dinner and guided walks at every destination. Highlight of the week for us was a private concert by Vienna Imperial orchestra in a beautiful room include tenor and soprano singers. We had to pay for this extra but well worth it. We will definately book again with Emerald Waterways a totally professional organisation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Honestly, we chose this cruise line because it was less expensive than some of the other luxury river cruise lines and because it had very good reviews overall. We were not disappointed all all and are very glad we chose Emerald Cruises ... Read More
Honestly, we chose this cruise line because it was less expensive than some of the other luxury river cruise lines and because it had very good reviews overall. We were not disappointed all all and are very glad we chose Emerald Cruises and the Emerald Sun. The cruise was a great value and we didn't feel like we missed out on anything by paying a lower rate. The facilities and public rooms aboard the Emerald Sun a very nice and have an elegant look and feel. Our cabin was great...no complaints at all. They manage to squeeze a lot of room and amenities into a small space and still give us plenty of storage for our things. We really liked the cabin-wide picture window that lowered half-way down to let the outside in. We didn't miss a balcony at all and think this is a much better way to maximize space. The crew worked very hard to give us a good experience and almost all of them were very friendly. The food was basic, but was well presented. One thing to note...if you're looking for the typical big cruise line food extravaganza with midnight buffets and unlimited food all day, this may not be for you. Food was available only during breakfast, lunch and dinner, which was fine with us, but may not be for everyone. Of course there were bar, coffee, and soft drink services available throughout the day. Ports of call on this cruise were quite lovely. I love the walking tour concept...it's a great way to get a feel for a location. The headsets they have for the walking tours are great also, allowing you to hear the tour guide even if there's a lot of noise in the area. The only stop on our cruise I didn't care for was Bratislava, which feels like a place that wants to be a tourist destination, but doesn't know how to do it yet. I also enjoyed going through the locks, I think there were more than 20 of them on the portion of the Danube we travelled...very interesting thing to experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Wow ! - Having done several ocean cruises including the Panama Canal - this gave us the idea of a river cruise, Bavaria, Austria & Hungary were places on our list to visit, so this cruise ticked all the boxes! The ship is fairly ... Read More
Wow ! - Having done several ocean cruises including the Panama Canal - this gave us the idea of a river cruise, Bavaria, Austria & Hungary were places on our list to visit, so this cruise ticked all the boxes! The ship is fairly new (2015) and our crew had only been together a few weeks, but Captain Boris, Cruise Director Jana, Hotel Director Robert - and all the crew were exceptional - helpful friendly and efficient- nothing was too much trouble - many thanks to all ! The UK flight and transfer from Munich to the ship was well organised and effortless, like wise the return flight from Budapest to Munich and transfer to UK flight although a very short transfer window went like clockwork - and all luggage arrived back with us in the UK - well done Lufthansa! Note though - only one suitcase per person and must meet Emeralds dimension guidelines (length,width & depth these are added together and must not exceed a set limit) weight 20 kgs - less than the airline 23kg limits - we had to buy new cases as existing ones were too large! Before the Cruise Emerald had sent us a rucksack each as the only allowable hand luggage - worked well and useful for all the day trips. All the stops/ tours were exceptional - Passau, Melk, Linz, Dürnstein Wien & Budapest the organised mixed walking/ coach guided tours were well organised and informative (rechargeable radios with headsets are available in all cabins for these trips) and used local guides with local knowledge and very good English! - also there was always one group available for those who's walking was slower and less challenging. A private evening concert in Vienna was a definite highlight. Captain Boris organised an evening Budapest river Cruise - although a bit chilly was fantastic and we were well fortified by glasses of ''Blue Danube Cocktail'' . Freetime during the organised tours was also available and in the main achieved a good balance Most of the distance cruising was done at night so you awake to a new town or city, though some short & scenic parts of the river (Wachau Valley etc) were by day and included a commentary which was most informative - with some spectacular scenery ! Bicycles were on the ship and available though advanced booking advised. Crew present to make adjustments to suit - cycle tracks along the river were good and flat! Having read horror story's of rivers with no water or floods we chose late April as a reasonable chance of having neither ! - our weather was generally good only one bad day of rain, layers and umbrellas (available on board) recommended though ! Food and Wine (both local where appropriate) were excellent - we did not have a menu that failed to inspire us (there were always other options available - steak, fish etc) and the lunchtime buffet had plenty of variation hot cold etc. Tea and several types off Coffee freely available from a machine in the lounge, mini bar in cabin but we did not need to use it - bottled water still and carbonated in the cabin and replaced as required foc. The included wine was often ''local'' and not to every ones taste (mostly on the swsweet or dry) - on request a different wine was served - no problems ! As far as I could tell the lift only travelled on the internal floors and not up to the sundeck, this could be a problem to any one with challenged mobility ..... but I am sure the crew will have a solution ! Entertainment - do not expect ocean cruise stage type performances, there is neither space or facility's, excellent Pianist in the lounge - small dance floor, an excellent Hungarian country band & dancers one evening in Budapest , port talks most evenings and other general interest talks local at times. Also probably one of the best/ funniest crew shows we have ever seen ! - well done all. The ''infinity'' pool was excellent and became a cinema in the evening with up to date movies or musical shows running in the evening. Highlights :- Swimming in the infinity pool with views of the river whilst cruising, the evening cruise in Budapest, the private concert in Vienna - the staff and attention to detail ! Also I would just add that all the places visited were clean, tidy, things worked, the roads/footpaths were excellent and people friendly (English spoken by most local people) generally plenty of public convenience's - but 50c coin needed. This sort of cruise will not suit anyone who is after '' big ship entertainment and facilities'' but for luxury /cultural travel with 5 star food and accommodation with like minded guests it will take some beating - well done Emerald ! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Just back form a 7 night Danube cruise from Nurenburg to beautiful Budapest on Emerals Sun, what a fantastic week, each and everyone of the crew were brilliant from Georgina our cabin stewardess to Robert our waiter in the dining room and ... Read More
Just back form a 7 night Danube cruise from Nurenburg to beautiful Budapest on Emerals Sun, what a fantastic week, each and everyone of the crew were brilliant from Georgina our cabin stewardess to Robert our waiter in the dining room and Olga in the lounge bar though every crew member made sure we wanted for nothing. Simona the Cruise Director made sure that all the excursions ran smoothly and pick ups and drop offs were exactly as planned, a hard job logistically. What a beautiful ship with fantastic food. The excursions were great with very frinedly, knowledgeable tour guides, especially Eva who was our guide for the Slazburg tour, she had us all singing the songs from Sound of Music, not everyones cup of tea but it just seemed appropriate when we were in he locations were it was filmed. I will definately be back on an Emerald river cruise and would highly recommend them to all my family and friends, if you haven't tried it then I would say you are missing out on a wonderful cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
If you have any hesitations about booking this new cruise line...don't have them! This was such a fantastic experience in every way. This was only our 2nd river cruise (we did an Oberoi Nile tour a few years ago) but we have done ... Read More
If you have any hesitations about booking this new cruise line...don't have them! This was such a fantastic experience in every way. This was only our 2nd river cruise (we did an Oberoi Nile tour a few years ago) but we have done many luxury ocean cruises. Wow, after this, we may not go back to ocean-liners. First, this ship is brand new. Everything was sleek, clean and perfect....and I am picky. We had an "Owner's Suite," and initially I was worried about how small it was. But honestly, we got used to it. And now after the 14 days, I see why the rooms and so forth need to be small. These ships efficiently use every bit of space, because the boats cannot be any bigger, or they will not fit into the locks. We were very lucky to have good weather. We had no problems at all. The ship does an amazing job of coordinating activities and providing plenty to do. There are a variety of extra activities you can sign up for. One that I did was a 30k bike ride in Austria. OMG this goes down as one of the TOP five things I have ever done! The whole experience was very educational. They gave us a guidebook and river map at the start, and our amazing, terrific, outstanding cruise director--Simona--gave us daily reviews of what we saw and what was coming up. They did a perfect job of giving us a sampling of regional foods, regional entertainment, great tours, option for smaller tours, help with any request, and just simply more than enough to keep busy, yet relaxed. I am a very light sleeper. I rarely heard or felt anything at night while the boat was moving. I would open my patio everyday to hear and smell the black forest's nature, see the swans and ducks, and was in amazement with what could be seen off the Rhine and Danube Rivers. Castles, medieval villages, beautiful landscapes and great historical sites. While off the boat, throughout Germany, the people could not have been better. We had no negative experiences. We were in a different port everyday. In terms of the ship: plenty of charging stations in the room (priority for us!), decent free wifi, coffee maker, frig stocked with goodies at no charge, super clean, tiny exercise room (you won't have much time for that though), GREAT pool area that transforms into an evening cinema and free beach cruiser bikes to use everyday while in port. LOVED the swim in place device in the pool. Liked the laundry service. Notice that depends on your room-level, but at one point they offered to clean a bag of clothes I think for about 25 Euros. There is no real dress code for the dining room, so simple clothes are all you need. Now, this is not a big cruise ship, but that to me is what made this nice. The simplicity was great. None of our group of four gained weight, because there was a lot of activity and walking (they also provided "easy" walking groups for people who could not walk as well) and portion sizes were not huge. Meals were elegant and everything I ate was good. I particularly liked the light meals served in the lounge everyday for breakfast and lunch. Loved the local wines at each meal. In terms of service: our room hostess, Tiromira was AMAZING and so friendly but not obtrusive. The food and service were excellent. Nothing negative to say here. At the end of the cruise I felt like I was leaving my new family. All the wait staff became our friends and they tried so hard to meet everybody's needs. We will book another without hesitation. The only thing is, I don't think they could top this one! The other thing I have come to realize is the ship has no control over weather, river water levels and other factors that could delay, postpone or cancel a tour. I am not sure what they would do, but it would be good to find that out in advance. Not sure if there is insurance that would cover this, and then you could just go somewhere else in Europe yourself? But, we had NO problems at all. Sunny and warm everyday and going through the 64 locks was very educational. Austria and Bavaria were unbelievable. We did not think we would like Germany, but were we ever surprised! We plan to return to Vienna (loved the private concert in the castle that we attended). Felt that stop needed 3+ days to see it all. We spent five days in Budapest, which is about right to see the highlights. And again, I am a picky, savvy traveler, having been on many, many luxury-type tours. I do not see how you can say anything bad about this line...at least on the tour we did. Just loved every minute of it in every way. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I must point out that we are not reviewing this trip as experienced conventional cruise travellers. A conventional sea cruise on a large ship with "entertainment", long periods at sea, crowds etc is the nearest thing to hell on ... Read More
I must point out that we are not reviewing this trip as experienced conventional cruise travellers. A conventional sea cruise on a large ship with "entertainment", long periods at sea, crowds etc is the nearest thing to hell on holiday that we could imagine. We booked this first cruise because we wanted to spend sample time at the advertised destinations, and with that objective in mind Emerald came out a clear winner on price and facilities, in particular the contemporary design of the ships which we saw as a refreshing alternative to the very conventional and crusty looking competition. We hoped that the service offered matched the design i.e. was highly competent, stylish and customer oriented, without being fawning. Our holiday tastes are luxury without pretension, with first rate service and good value. Our cruise was the Amsterdam to Budapest "Splendours of Europe" cruise over 15 nights. I won't cover the itinerary - it is on the Emerald web site in full detail. Suffice to say there were interesting off-ship opportunities every day, sometimes several, all included in the price. On some days there were additional longer trips for an extra charge. We took several of these, and they were excellent and good value for money. The accommodation was, to a confirmed 4/5 star hotel traveller (accommodation/service based, not pretention/frilly curtains based), quite simply excellent. Contemporary, stylish, very comfortable, very well designed, and in perfect condition. We were lucky enough to be able to afford one of the 4 top-level suites, but all that gave us was extra space and some extra inclusive services - the facilities were the same in every room that we saw. Our ship was the Emerald Sun, on its second cruise (new carpet smell!), but all four ships appear to be the same. I won't list the excellent facilities - again they are on the Emerald web site. Maintenance was excellent - we could observe constant maintenance, and contrasted the results several times with the competitors' ships which we saw, some at very close quarters. But the highest point was the staff. Quite simply exceptionally good. Highly professional, excellently trained, cheerful and friendly at all times, always there to help but never intrusive, and efficient to a high degree. You can see from my other reviews that I am critical of anything less that the highest service levels (again, based on service and not pretention), but this group were a cut above the best I have seen anywhere - congratulations to the Emerald trainers and managers. River cruising seems to be expensive compared to sea cruising, due mainly I guess to scale. Looking after 160 customers with just under 50 staff is not cheap, and use of the Rhine and Danube facilities cannot be cheap either. But if you want a truly memorable blow-out holiday in Europe, Emerald seems to us to be the way to go. We are hoping to do another Emerald cruise soon. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
A lovely new ship with great cabins and super staff, however one quickly discovered what was less good. The lobby has white plastic stairs which are frankly, dangerous, and the naff chandelier is, well, naff. Want to know about the ... Read More
A lovely new ship with great cabins and super staff, however one quickly discovered what was less good. The lobby has white plastic stairs which are frankly, dangerous, and the naff chandelier is, well, naff. Want to know about the advertised library and shop? Don't bother, they don't exist! The gym has only one working machine "the rest have never worked". We have done several river trips with 3 other cruise companies and thoroughly enjoyed them, awarding 8 to 10 out of 10. Emerald offers no talks on local history etc and their evening entertainment is truly awful. Three quiz nights, for example. Why not be done with it and have three bingo nights as well! The side trips were not that enjoyable, but perhaps this reflects the dearth of suitable venues. The supposed highlight of the cruise, the gorge, was mostly done in the dark for some reason. The Bucharest hotel was no more than 2 star and reminiscent of the communist era. An experience not to be repeated; surprisingly parent company is Scenic Tours. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Emerald Sun Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.7
Dining 4.0 4.2
Entertainment 4.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.5 4.7
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family N/A 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 4.0 4.3
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 4.5 4.3

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