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Sail Date: August 2019
Wanted to see some of Europe. This was an excellent choice. Value for cost is terrific. We stayed in lower level rooms and they were very comfortable with quite adequate room. I wouldn't bother paying extra to get a small balcony ... Read More
Wanted to see some of Europe. This was an excellent choice. Value for cost is terrific. We stayed in lower level rooms and they were very comfortable with quite adequate room. I wouldn't bother paying extra to get a small balcony (in my opinion). Food is top notch, but we have no food allergies and are meat eaters. But there are vegetarian options if necessary. The staff is very considerate and helpful. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style while dinner is set. There's a choice of 2 appetizers, 2 soups, 3 entrees and 4 desserts. They also have the "Chefs Favourites" listed which is what the Chef recommends of the previously mentioned options. I went with the Chefs Favourites for all dinners and was not disappointed. They tried to pair the wine with area being travelled through, which was quite nice as well. There was an included excursion at each port and 2 where you had an option. On one of these the cost was extra, but we thought it was well worth it. It was the drive to Chochem. We did recommend on our survey of this excursion that we would have liked another 1/2 to hour of free time. Each stop has its unique features. The ship on/off procedure is well organized. All local tour guides were excellent and all spoke very good English as does the ship staff. The room steward did a a great job cleaning our room daily. Sarah, the entertainment director had evening entertainment of some sort planned but it's your choice to partake or not. The drink package selection could have more options but this isn't a big deal for us. As noted above, we had a great time and highly recommend this cruise. We will sail Emerald again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
I was interested in visiting the Rhine. Looked for a company and ship which had more activities whilst sailing. Emerald sun not only had a pool, cinema, gym, massage treatment but had an entertainment manager who organised yoga, pilates, ... Read More
I was interested in visiting the Rhine. Looked for a company and ship which had more activities whilst sailing. Emerald sun not only had a pool, cinema, gym, massage treatment but had an entertainment manager who organised yoga, pilates, zumba and other game shows to include all who wanted to join in. She also sang brilliantly and arranged disco nights. A couple of nights we were entertained by outside performers. A very varied and well organised entertainment plan. The restaurant was well run with very varied menu including all diets. They were very obliging whenever there was any type of foods you couldn't or didn't want to eat. They'd always find an alternative. Very attentive ensuring you always had a drink. Everyone served each course together and no hanging around between courses. Our rooms were very comfortable and clean. A laundry service was available at a reasonable cost. All the staff very friendly and efficient and always ready to make us laugh. I would definitely recommend emerald waterways Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Having done a number of Ocean cruises, we had decided we would like to try a river cruise, and the Danube sounded good. Recommended to Emerald Waterways by our local travel agent. We were delighted with the cruise - Budapest to Nuremberg, ... Read More
Having done a number of Ocean cruises, we had decided we would like to try a river cruise, and the Danube sounded good. Recommended to Emerald Waterways by our local travel agent. We were delighted with the cruise - Budapest to Nuremberg, beautiful and very interesting. We were due to sail on the Emerald Destiny, but due to some problem with that ship we were actually on the Emerald Star. We couldn't fault the orgainsiation, staff, food or accommodation. The staff were very friendly and seemed a happy bunch. The three meals a day (plus snacks which were unexpected!) were varied and of excellent quality. Wines, beers, soft drinks with lunch and dinner were included in the package as were the tea and coffee available 24 hours. The walking tours, also included, every day, were of high quality. Evening entertainment was varied and enjoyable. The other guests were a lovely group - of various nationalities, which made them more interesting! We sat wherever we wished at the meals, which meant that we chatted to a variety of people during the week. Our cabin had everything we needed - comfortable beds, 2 chairs by the window, TV, fridge, good shower room, and plenty of storage space. Very pleased indeed that we chose Emerald Waterways, and hope to travel with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Having looked at reviews and compared prices I selected Emerald Waterways. I had high expectations, but even these were surpassed. The itinerary and options are really good and well-organised and the ship's interior is great. All ... Read More
Having looked at reviews and compared prices I selected Emerald Waterways. I had high expectations, but even these were surpassed. The itinerary and options are really good and well-organised and the ship's interior is great. All staff were superb- they were professional, friendly and did all they could to make the journey unforgettable. The food was fresh and varied. The crew were even willing to make a special request. Communication on board was excellent, with a concise pre-dinner briefing. Evening entertainment was varied and enjoyable. The panoramic cabin was a reasonable size and the bed very comfortable. The shore excursions were great, and all guides were passionate about their city or town. The only improvement I can suggest is the process of informing guests where to embark. A few passengers were disappointed with this aspect, and an email would have made things easier. There was absolutely nothing on board I was disappointed with, and am now planning my next cruise with Emerald. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Itinerary is what interested us with this cruise with Prague, Salzburg, Vienna, and Budapest. Tour guides were great, small groups of twenty or so, all English speaking like us. Staff was super accommodating finding food for our picky ... Read More
Itinerary is what interested us with this cruise with Prague, Salzburg, Vienna, and Budapest. Tour guides were great, small groups of twenty or so, all English speaking like us. Staff was super accommodating finding food for our picky eaters, pulling ice cream flavors out of the freezer for our special request. Rooms were small but well organized. Lots of hangers but not much room for longer items. Safe in room and hair dryer. Bathroom has two medicine cabinets to hide away your stuff. Six large drawers to unpack. We started with three days in Prague. First day an orientation briefing with the wonderful Pavlena who was not only our tour guide, but got our hotel room assignments, suggested restaurants, walking areas, etc. she took us on a short walk the first day just to get us accustomed to our surroundings. The hotel grandium staff was great. We ate across the street for lunch and settled into our rooms in the afternoon. We had a wonderful walking tour the following day where we saw the highlights and pavlena arranged for bus rides back for those wanting less walking.second day we did the optional tasting tour, which was ok. Thanks to pavlena, who walked us to and from the tasting, we saw more sights on the way. Third day was transfer to the ship, four hours with a stop for restroom and sandwiches. Boarded at passau instead of Nuremberg due to low water. Luckily we didn’t miss any tours and were able to continue by ship the entire cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Wanted to cruise the Danube. Unfortunately the water levels were too low and we had to be bussed instead of cruising from Passau. This spoilt the trip as cruising is much more relaxing than coach journeys. The cruise director and ... Read More
Wanted to cruise the Danube. Unfortunately the water levels were too low and we had to be bussed instead of cruising from Passau. This spoilt the trip as cruising is much more relaxing than coach journeys. The cruise director and entertainment manager were very good, but trips out were not booked in advance making disembarkation a bit erratic. The waiter service was superb. Nothing was too much trouble for any of the staff. Each and everyone of the waiting staff were very friendly and committed to giving an excellent service. One bar waitress, Jane , only joined as a new member of staff at Bratislava, but showed such confidence and enthusiasm. We were on the premium drinks package as part of the Black Friday deal, and she bought me a drink up onto the sun deck without me asking! (An orange and Pineapple juice). Only very disappointed with the cabin layout and not being able to cruise past Passau. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Being a Single traveller and never being on a River Cruise I wasn't sure what to expect. Firstly my room was upgraded WoooT! First thing to check out was the beds... super comfy! Then on to check out the pool, the dining and the roof ... Read More
Being a Single traveller and never being on a River Cruise I wasn't sure what to expect. Firstly my room was upgraded WoooT! First thing to check out was the beds... super comfy! Then on to check out the pool, the dining and the roof top. Overall I was impressed with everything, the staff were always asking if everything was okay and if I wanted anything. After setting sail and seeing many other cruise boats, I found this one to be the best. After looking at APT and Scenic cruises I wasn't impressed with their ship layout. particularly at front. Emerald ships decks seem to be higher and it was really nice to sit out on the front deck. There was endless amount of entertainment and shore excursions. The shore excursions were great, they catered for all levels of fitness and it was great to see entertainment director join in on some of the tours. Whilst all the staff were lovely and super awesome, (my extra deserts.. Stefan your the best!) I believe they work way too hard, you would see them first thing in the morning and still be working till the early hours of the next morning (they deserve a pay rise!) All in all I wouldn't do the same cruise again, I would chose a different route but with the same company as I really liked the ship's design. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Everything about our cruise was of the very highest order, from the ship itself to the crew and the food - all absolutely 5 star. Special shout out to cruise director Luis who was, all at the one time, friendly, accessible and thoroughly ... Read More
Everything about our cruise was of the very highest order, from the ship itself to the crew and the food - all absolutely 5 star. Special shout out to cruise director Luis who was, all at the one time, friendly, accessible and thoroughly professional all the while maintaining a great sense of humour. Can’t thank him enough for his efforts on behalf of all passengers aboard this superlative river cruise ship. There was a time during our cruise when the water levels on the Rhine were low and potentially problematic and indeed a number of ships from other lines just gave it up with everyone having to continue by coach. Not our mob though, they kicked off the passengers (for a shore activity we would have been doing anyway), drained the pool and the water tanks thus raising the ships water level and successfully managed to get through. We reembarked a bit further down the river and the cruise continued with barely a blip and. They went the extra mile for us where others others would not and we were so very appreciative. Cannot say enough nice things about Emerald Dawn and her fantastic captain & crew. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We had always wanted to go on a river cruise, It was much better that a cruise on an ocean liner , The cruise director always let us know what was coming up next and that was very helpful , The shore excursions were great and the food was ... Read More
We had always wanted to go on a river cruise, It was much better that a cruise on an ocean liner , The cruise director always let us know what was coming up next and that was very helpful , The shore excursions were great and the food was great on the boat. The beer was very good and the wine was excellent. We especially liked meeting local people in Bratislava. The crew was always there for you in case you had any questions I made a video slideshow of just the pictures I took and put it on Youtuber . I made a separate slideshow from my wife's pictures We also me two couples that we dined with almost every night . One couple was from Canada and the other was from the UK. They were delightful people One of the most enjoyable times was when we were cruising in the heart of the wine country and the captain, or tour guide was explaining what we were seeing. The cruise into Budapest during dinner was also very enjoyable, We would definitely do another cruise -Mark Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We booked on short notice. This one was available for the cruise location we were looking for, and had some spots available. First thing we looked for was "tipping included" and pretty much everything else was also included. ... Read More
We booked on short notice. This one was available for the cruise location we were looking for, and had some spots available. First thing we looked for was "tipping included" and pretty much everything else was also included. Due to a lock door incident weeks prior, we were actually on the Emerald Destiny and not the Emerald Star -- a new ship in the fleet -- and it was amazing. Clean, fresh and new. The staff and crew were incredible -- always going above and beyond. Helpful, friendly and always smiling. The excursions were perfect. Just the right number. There was something new to do every day. Food was great. Lots of choice and the farewell dinner was unbelievably awesome. We knew ahead of time that there would be a large American group on board -- their group was SO FRIENDLY and it really added to the cohesiveness of the trip. Thank you, Parrot Heads! I have absolutely no criticisms of this trip or the crew or the touring company. Well done, Emerald. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We where looking for a different idea for our holidays and went to a presentation for Emerald Waterways in Vancouver. We were impressed with the presentation and the all inclusive price no nickel and dimming you at very turn. So we took ... Read More
We where looking for a different idea for our holidays and went to a presentation for Emerald Waterways in Vancouver. We were impressed with the presentation and the all inclusive price no nickel and dimming you at very turn. So we took a brochure and a couple of weeks later booked the 8 day trip down the Rhine. We had an excellent trip, enjoyed all the off boat excursions. They were all very well organized with each days itinerary and map of the excursions. The guides where quiet knowledgeable and with the Quietvox system you could easily follow and hear your guide. Topping it off was the excellent food and service with lots of choices. I really liked the extra touch of the towels sculpture left at the end of the bed with the next day programme. We will be looking forward to another Emerald Waterways trip in 2020, somewhere ??? Had a great holiday and highly recommend Emerald Waterways. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise as it suited us and our friends date wise, number of days wise and places it visited. Having done 3 cruises on large ships (2 in the Caribbean and 1 to the Norway fjords) we were surprised how different it was. It ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it suited us and our friends date wise, number of days wise and places it visited. Having done 3 cruises on large ships (2 in the Caribbean and 1 to the Norway fjords) we were surprised how different it was. It was so relaxing watching the world go slowly by and you could barely notice the movement. Sea sickness doesn't happen on these cruises, yet you still visit other places from the same 'hotel' room. Our only downside was getting up early most days for trips, which started between 0815 and 0915. The cabin was spacious, the food great, the service wonderful and the staff so friendly. We enjoyed the violinist and opera singers - two separate entertainers on different days. The pool was lovely for cooling off in too, though rather small for swimming in. Our drinks package worked well and was far more economical. Being with around 170 passengers, you get to know more people on the cruise and a lot of the staff. We are already planning our next river cruise! Most people on the cruise were 60-75, like us. If you are younger and don't mind being in the minority then that is fine. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Our first European trip was an incredible experience. We fell in love with the culture, the people and, of course, Emerald. We were impressed by the simplicity and warmth of the check in and check out process. The food was delish and ... Read More
Our first European trip was an incredible experience. We fell in love with the culture, the people and, of course, Emerald. We were impressed by the simplicity and warmth of the check in and check out process. The food was delish and more always available if needed....perfect for a 15yr old son. The service was excellent without being stuffy. They knew us by name the moment we stepped on!! The ports and tours were a perfect blend of activities that made us feel much more involved in the true culture of the towns. The age group on board was much older than us and quiet but our family enjoyed meeting and learning from others. However, more younger people on board would have been nice for our family especially in the evenings. We also would have loved more flexibility with meals particularly dinner. Maybe a serving time within a 90 min time frame would have allowed us some variability. Overall, Emerald exceeded our expectations and solidified our love for Emerald, river cruises and Europe. We can't wait to sail with Emerald again!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We had often thought about cruising from Amsterdam to Budapest. Friends said it really didnt matter much which line you used, they all go to the same places, and when you walk through other ships at ports they are all very similar. So when ... Read More
We had often thought about cruising from Amsterdam to Budapest. Friends said it really didnt matter much which line you used, they all go to the same places, and when you walk through other ships at ports they are all very similar. So when Emerald launched into the NZ market with sharp entry prices we picked on price. Always warry about "you get what you pay for" our first impressions at the quality of the bags put us into a positive frame of mind, shallow as that may seem. On 27 May we embarked on the Emerald Star in Amsterdam for a cruise to Budapest. The plus The ship is nice and modern. Really comfy cabins. Clean. Well designed. Quite often your ship is tied up to other lines, you pass through and get a bit of a look. I think Emerald are as good as any and better than a few. We are picky. We found the service and staff wonderful. Right from when they spotted us getting out of the taxi on the wharf. No OTT "I want to be your best friend" just courteous and efficient service. There is one sitting for meals. At a table for 6, all the meals arrived hot at the same time. Nothing was a problem. No pestering to buy drinks, but if you wanted one it a steward was there. Must be esp! At lunch and dinner wine and beer is included, your glass never emptied. You needed to watch and say no if you didn't want topped up. Entertainment Emerald now have an entertainment mgr. New this season. Ours, Bret, was brilliant and he had the place humming every night. Other lines don't do this. They also bought on musicians from time to time. It was great. They make a fuss about birthdays and anniversaries. (They must get birthdays from your passport) The heated pool.is wonderful. Its quite surreal swimming in an infinity pool when its raining outside (its got a glass roof) They are quite obsessive at making sure those with allergies are catered for. Once again nothing is too much trouble. The Dining manager, Constantine could not have been more helpful. Generally the food is great. They need some desert recipes. They are average for snacks. The Cons Too much time is spent motoring up the River. For almost 1/2 the trip the handrails were down on the top deck as bridges were low and you cant use the top deck. Stops in some towns far too short. The noise!!!! you can not hear anyone in the corridor or speaking next door but the noise from locks and toilets is incredible. More detail in cabin review. The bikes! The provide bikes were about as basic as you can get. In the ports you can see that other lines have proper bikes. Most have a few E Bikes. Emeralds bike are a joke, only thing missing is the trainer wheels. To be fair they do discourage you from using them. I doubt we would ever go on another River Cruise, ocean cruising is better value for $. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We had an amazing time on this cruise. Everything thing runs like clockwork. We were picked up from the airport and then from that minute onwards everything was taken care of, from embarkation to disembarkation. We had to think of nothing. ... Read More
We had an amazing time on this cruise. Everything thing runs like clockwork. We were picked up from the airport and then from that minute onwards everything was taken care of, from embarkation to disembarkation. We had to think of nothing. Which is exactly what I wanted. We were in a Balcony Suite which was was just lovely, we could lower our window down to half way and just sit and enjoy the view. The staff were friendly and helpful nothing was too much trouble. Even when there was an emergency they were willing to send emails for passengers to loved ones who had no way of contacting them. Louis the Cruise Director was so helpful and friendly. The towns that we stopped at were so beautiful. The food was great and we got to try a lot of the local foods. We also went to a Concert in Vienna which was fantastic. Thanks for the memories Emerald Waterways. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We were picked up at 2:00 and transferred to the Emerald Sun where a member of the cruise staff showed us to our room. Our room was great, crisp white lines, mirrors and a floor to ceiling window. After unpacking we explored the ship. We ... Read More
We were picked up at 2:00 and transferred to the Emerald Sun where a member of the cruise staff showed us to our room. Our room was great, crisp white lines, mirrors and a floor to ceiling window. After unpacking we explored the ship. We could have gone ashore, but had spent 2 and a half days in Amsterdam so stayed on board. All meals were included and were excellent. I like having a buffet for breakfast and lunch. At lunch you did have the option to order from the menu as well. Dinner was served, 3 choices, meat, fish and vegetarian as well as steak, salmon and chicken daily. Each dinner included a choice of two appetizers, soup, and 4 desserts. The cheese on ship was amazing! The chef did a great job! The included tours were excellent. Extremely knowledgeable guides who spoke amazing English. The only negative was our docking. We did not have the best docking sites. But Emerald had busses that took us into town if necessary. We purchased four extra tours. The Dragonburg Castle was ok, there was filming that day which made part of the gardens out of bounds. The WW II tour was very interesting and explained how Hitler was able to rise to power. The Vienna concert was a highlight of the tour. The members of the Symphony Orchestra played Vienna classics and the soloists were good. The Jewish Quarter tour in Budapest was heart breaking. The Nazis' massacre of the Jews unbelievable. Our tour guide was new to Emerald and took us all over Budapest, showing us hidden food trucks, synagogues, and rebuilt areas. The on board entertainment, glass blower, zither player, violinist, Ompa Band and Hungarian dancers, were all of good quality. I found the zither player especially interesting as I knew very little about how it is played. Very difficult! Louis, from Portugal, is a very organized cruise director. His dry sense of humour was very appreciated and he made our cruise memorable. He was patient with all the questions and always seemed to have time for each guest. Ben, the activities director, was new to this job and tried to provide lots of different activities from yoga, to trivia, to bike tours, as well as cabarets and karoke. Well done, Ben All in all a memorable river cruise and would definitely cruise with Emerald again! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We went on a seminar by Emerald and they offered a lot of incentives so we decided to give it a try. It was our first River Cruise so we didn't know what to expect and it was overall a great experience. The staff were very ... Read More
We went on a seminar by Emerald and they offered a lot of incentives so we decided to give it a try. It was our first River Cruise so we didn't know what to expect and it was overall a great experience. The staff were very pleasant and helpful and the ship itself was very comfortable and well maintained. The only drawbacks that we found is the entertainment in the evening was not to our liking, a lot of games such as trivia and karaoke where we would have preferred more relaxing music after dinner. The activity director was good at trying to accommodate everyone but what he was asked to offer was not for everyone. On the couple of nights that he entertained it was great, he had an amazing voice and you could tell everyone enjoyed it as that was the only time the lounge was full after dinner. The breakfast and lunch buffets were great but dinner most nights were boring as in the selection was not what we expected, a lot of stew like meals and little variety. A couple of nights the dinner meals were really good such as the night they had duck and another night was a Chateaubriand. We were expecting possibly shrimp or scallops to be on the menu. The shore excursions were really good, the guides were well informed and their communication skills were excellent. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first river cruise after many ocean cruises. We travelled with 2 friends who have only cruises one before. We we very impressed by the design and quality of finishes on the ship - much better than expected and frankly better ... Read More
This was our first river cruise after many ocean cruises. We travelled with 2 friends who have only cruises one before. We we very impressed by the design and quality of finishes on the ship - much better than expected and frankly better than we have seen on many luxury brand ocean cruises - very slick and contemporary. The food was excellent - not high end , but very well presented and very delicious- the chef did wonderful things with simple ingredients and we did no feel that we were overdosed on rich foods. All of the staff was great - the cruise director, Luis, was fantastic. Entertainment was low key and fun. Excursions were excellent. Typical of river cruising, we often had to board or disembark by walking through other ships - we have to say that we much preferred the look of ours! Will definitely travel with Emerald again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
My wife and I chose this particular cruise because of the Keukenhof Garden tour. We joined the ship seamlessly from Schipol Airport, our transfer was waiting for us, very little waiting at all as everyone was together, from the ... Read More
My wife and I chose this particular cruise because of the Keukenhof Garden tour. We joined the ship seamlessly from Schipol Airport, our transfer was waiting for us, very little waiting at all as everyone was together, from the Manchester flight. We were greeted on board by Robert the Hotel manager aboard "Emerald Sky" (who remembered us from the Danube Cruise we did 2 years ago aboard "Emerald Sun") and Nina the cruise director. Check-in was quick and easy, and we settled quickly into our very well appointed cabin aboard "Emerald Sky" closely followed by our bags ready to unpack. The Balcony cabins are well appointed with a good amount of storage. the shower room is perfectly set out with storage for toiletries behind the mirrors. A very comfortable bed, with storage for empty luggage underneath. Ample sockets for charging 2 European sockets and a UK one (we carry extra adaptors for these for charging phones etc) It was our 4th time travelling with Emerald and the lounge well appointed and very attentive staff. The restaurant was well set out as we remembered from last year aboard the "Sky" and the food excellent as usual. The entertainment was varied with music trivia quizzes ( great fun as we won 2 of them and also shared a prize with a couple who beat us in a tie break, who shared the small bottle of Port with us) we had a bit of live enetertainment as Julia the enetertainment manager also regaled us with a few songs one evening and there were a couple of classical musicians and a guitarist on other evenings. we tried our hand at clog painting one afternoon (a different experience for a very un-artistic person such as I hahaha) they will brighten up our greenhouse now we are back home. The included tours were well organised and went perfectly. The trip to Zanse Schans Windmill park was good fun. Must admit we particularly enjoyed the trip to the Delta Works at Veere (Flood Defences) which were very interesting. A good day had in Delft (this was an extra tour we paid for from our cabin spending allowance) Antwerp was interesting as the "Marathon" was taking part, and our guide took us through the red light district (an eye opener in a lot of the senses of the word). Arnhem and the museum of the "Operation Market Garden" battle towards the end of WW2 was very moving. But the definite highlight was our last day at the Keukenhof Gardens. We were very pleased to find out that one of the 4 coaches was staying on for an extra 2 hours so we could extend our time looking around. Nina the Cruise director had arranged to do this after the 1st cruise as one or two had said a little longer would have been better.... We actually found we still had about 30 euros left on our cabin spend allowance when we went to check out so my Wife was given a rather nice "Swarovski Pen" by the reception manager (a nice touch to end our week aboard the "Sky" Yes we have had yet another great trip with Emerald met some very friendly folk from Canada, The USA, back home (and even a couple from Hong Kong....) Special mentions for Nina (Cruise Director) Julia (Entertainments Director) Robert (the Hotel Manager) Marko (The Head Chef) and Restaurant and Bar staff.and all the cabin staff (especially Ile, who was our cabin steward who looked after us perfectly) Thank-you Emerald Waterways once again for a fantastic trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise primarily for the visit to the tulip gardens. The vessel itself was good as were the trips and the crew. The guides and the equipment to hear the guides were good. We particularly liked the lady guide when we went to ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for the visit to the tulip gardens. The vessel itself was good as were the trips and the crew. The guides and the equipment to hear the guides were good. We particularly liked the lady guide when we went to Delft, and the gentleman when we went to Arnhem (he was 8yrs old during the battle for Arnhem and was able to relate to it and the Dutch views about it). The on board entertainment was poor. The musician/pianist employed on board has gone and been replaced by an entertainments/activities officer. The evening entertainment was poor and it drove most of the passengers out of the lounge in the evening. There are only so many quizzes anyone can tolerate ! Notably on the last night a duo played on board, admittedly only for 35 minutes, but the lounge was full for this. Surely Emerald would benefit from having better entertainment for which they may have to pay, but it would be more than recompensed in bar sales. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have just returned from a week long cruise on the Emerald Dawn from Amsterdam to Basel. We were very impressed by the level of service and the facilities. All members of staff from cruise director Michael, the hotel manager Albert, ... Read More
We have just returned from a week long cruise on the Emerald Dawn from Amsterdam to Basel. We were very impressed by the level of service and the facilities. All members of staff from cruise director Michael, the hotel manager Albert, entertainment manager Callum to Bali who cleaned our room were friendly, helpful and worked hard to make the cruise special. The ship The ship was clean, light and spacious with a lounge area which was great for meeting with other guests and for entertainment. There was also tea and coffee available at all times. We didn't use the pool but it did look very inviting and often this was a quieter area on the ship. The sun deck was a favourite place and we luckily had the weather to enjoy it. Our cabin We had a panorama balcony cabin on the upper deck which was kept spotless by the housekeeping staff. The bed was very comfortable and the bathroom, although compact as one would expect on a river cruise boat, was more than adequate. Blinds on the window allowed complete privacy - important if you are moored next to another boat which happened on a couple of occasions. We were surprised by how quiet it was at night, even when cruising, and this was maybe the advantage of an upper deck room. There was a good entertainment system with films available. Dining Breakfast was great with a good selection and there was a choice of a light lunch in the lounge or a more comprehensive meal in the Reflections restaurant. In addition there was afternoon tea. Dinner was a busy affair with all guests seated at the same time to make service easier. However service was very good and wine with the meal was plentiful. I have read some reviews about portion sizes but considering all the other meals available we felt they were more than adequate. The quality of food was on the whole good. We received a drinks package as we had booked early and did enjoy being able to have additional drinks with no extra cost. Excursions We particularly enjoyed our tours of Amsterdam, Koblenz and Strasbourg though Cologne was not such an attractive place. Most of the guides were very knowledgeable and entertaining and the pace of walking was comfortable. There was usually a special group for those that wanted a slower walk. The hike in the Black Forest was a lovely way to complete the cruise and we wished it could have been a bit longer. The beauty of this was that if you wanted a quiet day on the ship you could forego the trips. Overview One of the things that made me choose Emerald was that all tips including those for guides, were included in the price which made the trip stress free. Information about each day was presented in a programme delivered to our room the night before. Embarkation, disembarkation, trips, and events were all well organised and ran smoothly - no mean feat when dealing with nearly 180 passengers. We had a wonderful time and will certainly be considering Emerald for our next cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. The cruise exceeded our expectations. There was some concern that due to low water level in the rivers we may have to change ships or go by bus for part of the trip but we did ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. The cruise exceeded our expectations. There was some concern that due to low water level in the rivers we may have to change ships or go by bus for part of the trip but we did go the full trip on the Emerald Dawn. The crew were fantastic, they were so attentive and friendly while being very efficient. The shore excursions all went well with very experienced guides. We did have snow which just made the trip for us. The cabin we had was comfortable enough. The cabin was very clean and well presented. The food for breakfast, lunch and dinner was of a high standard. Our cruise director was seemed to work 20 hours a day as he always seemed to be working away at his desk! Our embarkation went very smoothly. We arranged our own travel after the cruise and our cruise director organised a suitable transport for 5 people for us to the train station. Everything just ran like clockwork. We would definately cruise with Evergreen/Emerald Waterways again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We have just completed the Amsterdam to Budapest Christmas Markets river cruise. It was very good trip and I would highly recommend it to anyone. We were somewhat worried about the river levels as Europe had a terrible summer and many ... Read More
We have just completed the Amsterdam to Budapest Christmas Markets river cruise. It was very good trip and I would highly recommend it to anyone. We were somewhat worried about the river levels as Europe had a terrible summer and many cruises were impacted with people having to change boats or take long legs on coaches. Thankfully this never happened to us. Whilst, Evergreen have their river guarantee we didn't need to rely on it. About a week before the cruise we were called by Evergreen to tell us the situation and give us a couple of options. We decided to proceed as planned. The ship was excellent and we were in a grand balcony suite, it provided a a little extra room and a few extra comforts. Now for some specifics: Food: The food was a generally pretty good - in terms of quality and quantity it couldn't be faulted. Where there is room for improvement is variety. As someone who doesn't eat fish/seafood I was often left with one choice. They have a couple of standing choices in terms of steaks and chicken but these were not well prepared in my opinion. Alcohol - they offer free beer and wine with meals. If you want anything else outside of meal times you will need to pay for it or arrange for a drinks package. This is what we did. Laundry - depending on your canine choice you may get some pieces of laundry included - a couple of pieces a day. Regardless its not enough and the laundry charges are stupendously high. Tours - You basically stop in a town each day. Usually in the morning, you have breakfast and at about 9am you muster to go exploring. There are local guides and audio devices for each person so you can listen to the guides explanation. This was very good and all of the guides we experienced were professional and most often had a great sense of humour. They are usually residents in the towns you visit. You then get a couple of hours of free time to go shopping or exploring in your own time. Discover More Tours - These tours are offered as additional extras. They go to slightly out of the way places - usually by coach. You pay more for these and they happen while the rest of the passengers are doing the standard tour. We did a couple - to the Dracenfels castle and to Saltzburg. Each of these was about $120 per person. The Salzburg tour was excellent (think town from Sound of Music) the Dracenfels castles was a complete waste of time and money. This was one of the first tours and as such it didn't help us get off to the best start. The castle is basically a large house that has been designed to look like a castle. It was opened up especially for our tour - but that said there were covers over stall/shops that had been set up inside to keep them out the snow. The guide tried hard but could do too much. There were a number of onboard entertainment events - including local performers from Austria and Hungary - excellent events. There were a couple of other entertainment activities such as trivia and dance nights. The cruise director we had on board - Darren, was excellent. He worked tirelessly to make everything happen. A great personality and helped make the trip fun. Cannot recommend him highly enough. I've seen a few other comments about the age of the passengers. My wife and I are both 46 and while we amongst the youngest on the ship (there were a few in there 20s) we didn't feel out of place. There were plenty of fit and able people and most groups walked a good pace. There was typically one group for 'slow' walkers. As I indicated earlier we really enjoyed the trip. We paid for the upgrades to business class flights and the upgraded cabin. The business class flights were a good option when coming from Australia especially if you are over 6ft tall. We arrived a little early - 3 days in Amsterdam and stayed a little later in Budapest (another 3 days). If I had my time again I would reduce the post cruise Budapest stay to an extra day. We will probably take another cruise like this in a couple of years to go and we happily choose Evergreen again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We booked an elegant river cruise and got a mediocre bus tour. My wife and I boarded the Emerald Sky in Amsterdam on September 29 on a scheduled 15 Day “Splendours of Europe” river cruise. This ship was a replacement for the Emerald ... Read More
We booked an elegant river cruise and got a mediocre bus tour. My wife and I boarded the Emerald Sky in Amsterdam on September 29 on a scheduled 15 Day “Splendours of Europe” river cruise. This ship was a replacement for the Emerald Sun that was unable to complete it’s previous cruise due to low water levels on the Danube. We were most disappointed with the latter portion of our “cruise”. We had anticipated that we might need to be bussed from one ship to another past a shallow part of the river. We did not suspect that the last 5 days of the trip would be done by coach. This resulted in: • Missing some of the main attractions and events that we were looking forward to. • Mediocre mass meals, rushed and served in overwhelmed restaurants • Long bus rides • The use of highway rest stops with long lines for toilet facilities • Lengthy walks a brisk pace to get to hotels and restaurants • Guided walks where we were unable to hear the guides due to the absence of the personal sound systems that had been left on the ship • Considerable time spent in lines or waiting for something to happen • Much jostling with other passengers at venues • On the plus side, we were put up in 3 lovely Hotels Apparently we are to be offered some financial compensation as part of a “cruise guarantee”. Both my wife and I feel that it will not make up for our disappointment at the way the cruise ended. In my opinion, the fact that the organization and execution of these last 5 days was placed on the shoulders of the ship’s cruise director, resulted in a less than satisfactory experience. Although she was excellent whilst on the ship, running a coach tour, especially one for 138 passengers, requires a different set of skills and specific expertise. I do not fault her, as she worked her heart out and was obviously stressed. I put the blame on the company that placed her in that position. Again, in my opinion, Emerald should have anticipated that the ship would not be able to navigate the whole river and deployed replacement vessels as needed. If they could not provide the cruise as advertised, they should have cancelled it and offered us other options. Low water on the rivers had been an issue all summer. I feel that decisions about this cruise were not made with customer service as a priority. As a result, we were left with a very poor opinion of Emerald/Scenic. We enjoyed the first few days on the Sky. We had several excursions where the leaders were exceptional and injected their talks on history and architecture with humour and personal antidotes. Other guides seemed to be intent on providing the group with as much information that they could fit into an hour- long march through the centre of town. I really enjoyed my bicycle excursion through the Dutch countryside on the first day of the cruse and was looking forward to several more as the trip progressed. Dining Meals are provided in the aptly named “Reflections Restaurant”. A light breakfast and lunch is available in the upper floor lounge. Dinner is table service while breakfast and lunch are buffet style. We found that the service staff were attentive and friendly. The food was well prepared and there were a variety of menu choices, Wine and beer were served at lunch and dinner in unlimited quantities. Some of us found that the wines offered were only of average quality. We found one major fault with the dining room. It was incredibly noisy. We found our selves almost shouting to be heard by our dinner companions – it was apparent that others were in the same situation, which added to the din. The previously mentioned hard glossy surfaces that adorned the room seemed to reflect every sound. Tables were set up so that conversations and laughter carried the length of the room. The bright, high key lighting did nothing to mute the voices of those who tended to be loud. The atmosphere was more akin to a dining hall than “fine dining” The “Reflections” dining room needs some serious work on acoustics the next time this ship is in refit.  Other The other public areas were well laid out and there was a nice outdoor area at the front of the ship. The pool area at the stern was a nice quiet spot to read. I enjoyed the beverage machines that were available all day with a variety of coffees and teas. Having bicycles available for shore excursions was a nice touch. The captain was very personable and was seen interacting with passengers on many occasions. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise as a new experience for us..we had done Alaskan and Caribbean cruises previously. Also several of our friends were coming on the same cruise! We had only travelled before on large ships and I have to say that I iiked ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a new experience for us..we had done Alaskan and Caribbean cruises previously. Also several of our friends were coming on the same cruise! We had only travelled before on large ships and I have to say that I iiked this ship so much more! The size meant ease of getting around and the smaller number of passengers meant much more concentrated attention to us passengers! We got to know the staff. They were all pleasant and very friendly. Meals were delightful, well served and delicious, We enjoyed trivia night, the violin player and also the music by the three classical performers was excellent! We also enjoyed the piano player! We enjoyed the tours and appreciated the fact that they were all well run with good guides and buses that were always punctual. I never worried that I would be lost!! Thank you for an outstanding trip!! Read Less
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