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227 Emerald Waterways Budapest Cruise Reviews

Several of our friends had booked the tour and it was an area of the world we would not otherwise see. River cruising appeals to us as there are fewer passengers and you normally arrive in the town - no tendering, etc. wine and ... Read More
Several of our friends had booked the tour and it was an area of the world we would not otherwise see. River cruising appeals to us as there are fewer passengers and you normally arrive in the town - no tendering, etc. wine and beer are included with all meals and the staff was generous with refilling glasses. Meals had a nice variety and I was never disappointed in the quality. Most of our excursion guides were easy to understand and very knowledgeable. As in any cruise some were better than others but I would give them all a good rating. Having bikes on board for use in ports is a bonus for us. It is a relaxing holiday that combines visiting new places, good food and time to sit back while cruising down the river. Good weather on this cruise made it just that much better! Every crew member from the captain and tour director to our cabin steward and waiters were friendly and approachable. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose it because we wanted to see the towns and cities on this particular Danube cruise. We had never done any kind of cruise before, and didn't really know what to expect. We found the cabin comfortable and spacious and the staff ... Read More
We chose it because we wanted to see the towns and cities on this particular Danube cruise. We had never done any kind of cruise before, and didn't really know what to expect. We found the cabin comfortable and spacious and the staff were excellent. The food was much better and more varied than we had imagined it would be, and the choice of wines were very good. The only downside was that the low levels of the Danube meant that halfway through our cruise, we had to pack up and be bussed upstream from the Emerald Sky to the Emerald Dawn, but it was handled with the minimum of fuss and we didn't miss a day's sightseeing. The Dawn was a more recent boat, and the cabins in the Sky not quite so well designed, but at least we were able to continue our cruise by transferring. The highlight of our trip was visiting Vienna and attending a concert there in the evening. The music was wonderful. It lead us to wonder why the same music (Strauss, Mozart etc) was never played on the boat itself while cruising down the Danube! Our only real complaint would be that in the evening, the music was often too modern and too loud and there was nowhere else to go to sit and talk to our friends. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We had a dream of travelling from Budapest to Amsterdam one day. After some research we chose Emerald Waterways, and Emerald Sky as our river ship. I consider myself a seasoned ocean cruiser and was anxious to see what river cruising would ... Read More
We had a dream of travelling from Budapest to Amsterdam one day. After some research we chose Emerald Waterways, and Emerald Sky as our river ship. I consider myself a seasoned ocean cruiser and was anxious to see what river cruising would be like. Well we were not disappointed! In fact it may be harder to pick the larger cruising vessels again! I highly recommend this itinerary, each day was amazing and soon it seemed unimaginable that the next day could be better. We enjoyed Emerald Sky very much. The staff, crew were very friendly and helpful. Our cabin steward was fantastic. The Activity Director was quite the entertainer. We found that the breakfast and lunch meals were very good for the whole trip. The first few evening entrees were not the best but that quickly changed. There were six of us in our group and we all commented how the food just got better and better. We noticed that our ship had very good docking locations in the towns which made touring quite easy and enjoyable. Already looking forward to booking our next river cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This cruise surpassed our expectations. The ship was beautiful. Spacious well equipped cabins, great public spaces and staff who went out of their way to be friendly, efficient and welcoming. The cruise director and entertainment manager ... Read More
This cruise surpassed our expectations. The ship was beautiful. Spacious well equipped cabins, great public spaces and staff who went out of their way to be friendly, efficient and welcoming. The cruise director and entertainment manager in particular did a great job of keeping us informed and organised! The food was plentiful and varied bringing in the traditions of the ports we were visiting. The shore excursions were very well organised and the guides very knowledgeable about their home towns giving us a wide historical overview and plenty of free time to explore independently. They catered well for those who wanted to be more active and also for those with more limited mobility. The evening entertainment varied between quizzes musical entertainment from our very talented entertainment manager and local groups brought in for the evening eg Hungarian folk dancers and an oompah band! Other activities were also available during sailing times. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
An excellent cruise to enjoy. All facilities excellent. Staff excellent . This cruise is seriously tops. The staff were helpful and not over intrusive. It is difficult for staff to provide just the correct amount of ... Read More
An excellent cruise to enjoy. All facilities excellent. Staff excellent . This cruise is seriously tops. The staff were helpful and not over intrusive. It is difficult for staff to provide just the correct amount of friendliness without being invasive. The staff on board Emerald Dawn were excellent. They provided us with a wonderful experience. The organised programme was exciting, and very well planned and we were guided through the most interesting sights of all the cities and villages we were able access. Many of the activities required overseeing at a very high level and the Emerald Dawn staff and guides achieved this level unhesitatingly. The tour guides had extensive knowledge of their area and this was noticed by the passengers. Overall our time onboard the Emerald Dawn was amazing and we would seriously like the staff to be praised for the excellent presentation of the river trip onboard the Emerald Dawn Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This is our third cruise with Emerald. Did same cruise 3 years ago. Beautiful ship. Spacious and spotlessly clean cabins. Excellent service and choice of food and drinks. Very attentive and friendly staff. Interesting shore excursions ... Read More
This is our third cruise with Emerald. Did same cruise 3 years ago. Beautiful ship. Spacious and spotlessly clean cabins. Excellent service and choice of food and drinks. Very attentive and friendly staff. Interesting shore excursions every day. Good entertainment. Absolutely no problems or concerns. Definitely recommend. Daily information sheets and maps of each excursion. Cruise director very knowledgeable about places visited. Guided daily tours very informative regarding town and village histories. Comfortable coaches to same. No problem airport pick up and drop off. Emerald staff at airports to help. Lovely pool on board which converts to cinema during the evening. Free tea and coffee machines 24/7. Free wine beer and soft drinks with meals. Excellent selection of food at breakfast. Buffet or a la carte at lunch. A la carte for dinner with choice regional foods (5 course) or steak, chicken or fish if preferred. All in all an excellent cruise line. Definitely be visiting again. Thank you Emerald for yet again a wonderful 2 weeks. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
After watching the tv show cruising with Jane McDonald, we decided to give it a try, as she had an amazing time. The boat was amazing clean modern well kept, the food was fantastic breakfast, lunch and dinner great choice of food. ... Read More
After watching the tv show cruising with Jane McDonald, we decided to give it a try, as she had an amazing time. The boat was amazing clean modern well kept, the food was fantastic breakfast, lunch and dinner great choice of food. the service was great, polite friendly so well mannered nothing too much trouble very attentive . A lot of the trips where included, the guided tours where very informative, gave in site and place to visit, the guides where all local and very knowledgable. Very relaxing when cruising to out next destination Ideal for complete relaxation on board, we used the pool and sun deck On board services where great something for every one, the high light was being invited on the last night to join the captains table for dinner We defiantly recommend and would use emerald again would look to go on another emerald cruise at a different location Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We wanted to cruise the Danube, and Emerald gave us the best value for money. Being met at the airport was easy, Staff pleasant and helpful. Embarkation was easy too. We were met as soon as we left the coach, our cases taken from us. ... Read More
We wanted to cruise the Danube, and Emerald gave us the best value for money. Being met at the airport was easy, Staff pleasant and helpful. Embarkation was easy too. We were met as soon as we left the coach, our cases taken from us. Check-in was so quick and we were then given a personal explanation of our cruise card and taken to our cabin. Ship well laid out with a sun deck, lounge and a small pool area.Cabin, clean and tidy and not overly large, but sufficient room for the two of us. Complimentary water in the cabin and every time we went on a tour complimentary water was provided. Tea/Coffee/Hot Chocolate was available in the loung e area 24/7, and was good quality. Buffet style breakfast and lunch, with plenty of choice.Continental style breakfast was available, in the lounge, before the main breakfast in the dining room, and aslo after as well, until 10:00 am. A light lunch was also available inthe lounge as well as a full lunch in the dining room. Dinner had a choice at every course, and also had the staple steak, chicken and salmon too. Wine was plentiful at lunch and dinner. Service was excellent through out the ship. All excursions were well organised and had excellent guides and all ports were very interesting. No problems at disembarkation and was very well organised Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Emerald took excellent care of us from embarking to disembarking. We were the first guests to arrive for the new cruise. Though the staff was very busy getting the previous guests off , they were attentive to our needs. Nenad ... Read More
Emerald took excellent care of us from embarking to disembarking. We were the first guests to arrive for the new cruise. Though the staff was very busy getting the previous guests off , they were attentive to our needs. Nenad recognized that the members of our arrival group had traveled from long distances (the USA and Australia) and asked his crew to immediately ready our rooms so that we could refresh ourselves. Each day Darren did an excellent job arranging the excursions and events with every detail taken care of. The servers were always attentive but 2, Draganna and Jane, made an extra effort to remember our preferences and serve us accordingly. The food was always pleasing to the eye and palate and the chef should be applauded. We also are appreciative of the housekeeping staff that provided us with a clean and tidy room and clean linens everywhere. So many people seamlessly and beautifully providing us with a very pleasing experience. Standout events for us we’re the bike ride from Melk to Dürnstein and the Waltz Concert in Vienna. The bike ride gave us the opportunity to savor the scenery and the flavor of the small villages. We wouldn’t have missed it! The talents exhibited by the orchestra that entertained us in Vienna were exceptional! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Maybe we have high expectations? I just don't understand how so many people can say "Fantastic, Wonderful, Amazing" In my experience there is always room to improve. On our cruise we had "lock" problems so were ... Read More
Maybe we have high expectations? I just don't understand how so many people can say "Fantastic, Wonderful, Amazing" In my experience there is always room to improve. On our cruise we had "lock" problems so were unable to reach our last port of call and were transferred via bus. Made for a very long and uncomfortable day. In general the ports we visited were nice, but I wouldn't be interested in returning for extended stays, other then Budapest and Prague. The food on board was OK, but only 40% of it seemed to change daily, they kept serving the same items over and over again. I was also surprised to find we were forced to join other people at meal time. I understand many people enjoy this, but me and my husband like to enjoy a quite dinner after a long day of touring share our thoughts of the day. The idea of a peaceful relaxing dinner with each other, a glass of wine, is just what we are looking for. However, being pushed into making small talk with strangers each night was not what we were expecting. After all is said and done, we will go on another river boat cruise, but more prepared with the pluses and minus. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We wanted a river cruise for a 70th birthday celebration. Saw this one advertised in daily mail and it covered the area we wanted to cruise to. We started at Budapest and travelled to Bratislava , Durnstein, Melk and Vienna. We were ... Read More
We wanted a river cruise for a 70th birthday celebration. Saw this one advertised in daily mail and it covered the area we wanted to cruise to. We started at Budapest and travelled to Bratislava , Durnstein, Melk and Vienna. We were unable to cruise last day due to river level.. however, the choice was there to travel by coach or stay on ship. Everything was well organised and passengers were kept up to date with any changes. It was a fantastic choice. Everything was run very smoothly from the time we were met at the airport until we ended the cruise. The service in horizon bar and main restaurant was quick friendly and fun when other passengers were celebrating birthdays or anniversaries. Yes From the cruise director, reception staff, waiters etc and cabin attendants , all were friendly helpful and welcoming. The evening entertainment was run by Neil after the evening meal. The juke box jury night was fun and it was great to see the staff join in. From cabin attendant to waiters. Neil also arranged golf tournament and aqua aerobics. The guided tours were very well organised with plenty of knowledgeable guides. You could choose the pace of the walking tours to suit your needs and if you wanted a more strenuous tour this was available.bottled water was available each day to take ashore . On previous ocean cruises this was an extra. Each evening Michael the cruise director detailed the next days events and choices. The choice of meals was wide ranging, very tasty with different options if you did not want local dishes. There was also a large choice for breakfasts. The service was also first.class. We had been on ocean cruises before but this was a special experience. We will definitely choose emerald again Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
As travel agent, we wanted to try out the Emerald service, and we are convinced, that the service is fabulous and excellent. We sailed from Nuremberg to Amsterdam, in July 2019. After arriving from the airport we got on board in minutes. ... Read More
As travel agent, we wanted to try out the Emerald service, and we are convinced, that the service is fabulous and excellent. We sailed from Nuremberg to Amsterdam, in July 2019. After arriving from the airport we got on board in minutes. The staff is extremely polite, and nice at the reception, in the restaurant, in the bar etc.. The pool has a relaxing atmosphere. The city tours have been well organized with professional guides, comfortable couches. We had great opportunity to visit the most important places, monuments, castles and churches. During our free time we have been good advised to explore the cities in an independent way. Every evening we had various entertaining programs with a lot of fun and laughing moments. The whole crew made our trip enjoyable, comfortable and memorable. We enjoyed our breakfast buffet every morning and 4 courses dinner each evening as well as our lunch combining buffet and menu. Additionally we had joyful teatime and late night snack. All food was fresh and well prepared. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We sailed on our first river cruise a few weeks ago. We were scheduled to be on the Emerald Destiny but owing to some port issues, we sailed on the Star instead. I was originally a bit disappointed only because Destiny is a newer vessel. ... Read More
We sailed on our first river cruise a few weeks ago. We were scheduled to be on the Emerald Destiny but owing to some port issues, we sailed on the Star instead. I was originally a bit disappointed only because Destiny is a newer vessel. However, the Star and its crew exceeded all our expectations. There were 7 in our group - celebrating my upcoming birthday - the ages ranged from 27 - 68. And we are a fairly tough bunch to impress - several of us had traveled fairly extensively - but a wonderful time was had by all. Vessel - was sparkling clean, well-maintained and we had no complaints. We were in the lower staterooms which were nicely-sized, well-appointed and had large windows. On several occasions we were beside port walls or other boats and were glad we didn't spend more on balcony rooms. We had plenty of space for our belongings and stowed the suitcases under the bed. Around mid-week, we had some occasional noise from the area below but it was easily blocked if needed overnight, by the provided earplugs. I used these on 2 nights. Others did not use them and had no issues with noise. Room was services twice a day - always clean and tidy. Loved the aesthetic which was modern and on the "glam" side. Lots of chrome and contemporary touches. Tasteful throughout. Lots of space to spread out and not crowded for dining or port talks in the lounge. There is a small gym, small pool, massage room and salon, on board. The top deck is very comfortable for viewing the beautiful scenery while traveling between ports during the day and at night. Staff -- we can't say enough about the stellar staff on this vessel. Everyone was very, very good. These folks know hospitality and take pride in their work. The cruise director, Geanina, was beyond excellent. Calm, cool and professional at all times and handled all issues with care and consideration - making special accommodations for us several times. Communication was thorough and timely throughout the week. Ziggy (overall manager) went above and beyond on several occasions for us and Constantin (dining manager) checked in routinely to make sure everyone was happy. Kris, our main server made the cruise special for all of us. His attention to detail, good humor and commitment to his work was obvious. Exceptional focus that made for a truly memorable celebration. Martin was more behind the scenes but did a wonderful job keeping our stateroom in great shape. Food -- We enjoyed the food very much. As others have noted, they are a bit heavy with the salt in the soups on occasion but overall, we thought the choices, preparation and presentation were all very, very good. We also had several folks with food restrictions and they were fantastic making sure everyone's needs were met. We had a few foodies with us and they were impressed with many of the meals. The wines were paired nicely and were of good quality. And they are generous with pours. Snacks and tea in the afternoons and coffee, tea, hot chocolate and cookies available at all times in the lounge. Outings - guides were all very good and met or exceeded expectations at all ports. Outings left on time and returned on time. We added on the concert in Vienna and the Salzburg trip - both were terrific. We had two classically trained musicians (voice and instrumental) with us and I was a bit anxious about the concert - but we were all very, very impressed with the quality of the instruments and voices. Top notch performances in a stunning space with amazing acoustics. A very special private evening in Vienna. Ports - we loved them all (Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Durnstein, Melk, Passau (we opted for Salzburg) and Regensburg. They provided a wonderful variety of sizes, beauty and "vibe." The low water levels in the Danube prevented us from getting to Nuremburg but the captain got us to Regensburg so we would not miss a port and then took us back to Passau for disembarkation. Above and beyond. Specific pluses - we did not have to deal with taking lots of extra cash for gratuities for the various staff and tour guides. EW puts all of the gratuities in the cost of the trip - yay!!! We did provide a little extra to a couple of folks on the ship. We are already planning our next trip - it will be on Emerald Waterways (or Scenic). Negatives - nothing on the cruise. We would prefer a bit more communication in the months leading up to the trip. I never got a deadline for providing all the info for passengers and that was a bit hectic and last minute when I got a call saying I needed to get the info in within a day. But generally, the negatives were minor and our interactions in booking went well. Truly a delightful trip full of lifetime memories for our family - thank you, Emerald Waterways! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise for its itinerary, with some of the ports being new to us. We have travelled on Emerald Waterways several times before, so had a high expectation and our expectations were all met and exceeded by this ship, its crew ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinerary, with some of the ports being new to us. We have travelled on Emerald Waterways several times before, so had a high expectation and our expectations were all met and exceeded by this ship, its crew and the itinerary. Emerald have high standards, and this continues on this ship. The crew are very hard working and friendly, and make every effort to respond to whatever requests passengers make. As with every Emerald ship we have been on, the food is to a very high standard. The crew prepare the dining room perfectly, so that it is almost a shame for the passengers to come in and spoil the beautifully laid tables. Cabins on river ships have to be fairly small, but they are well thought out with adequate storage space, and very good quality amenities. The Quietvox system which is provided free for shore excursions, is really good. Entertainment is always good on these ships, but on this cruise there were two US singer/songwriters plus a large group of their followers, all of whom added to the normal entertainment. The singers gave three concerts during the week, which were fun and enjoyable. There were also local artistes who came on board, and they were also good. If we have one less positive point about Emerald it is that we have done almost all of their itineraries and need them to add more so that we can make more bookings. We love sailing with Emerald. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I was chosen to perform with a friend on board Brent Burns and 88 Parrot Head fans who went with us. My wife and I have done cruises on bigger ships, this was the first time on a river cruise. From the moment we hit the Amsterdam airport ... Read More
I was chosen to perform with a friend on board Brent Burns and 88 Parrot Head fans who went with us. My wife and I have done cruises on bigger ships, this was the first time on a river cruise. From the moment we hit the Amsterdam airport to the time we departed from Zurich we just had a great time. The ship in one I would choose again and again. The staff were helpful, friendly and seem to always have a smile on their faces as if they enjoyed what they did...a rarity. From our director to the young lady who tended to our cabin, to the front desk, the food staff...all were just outstanding. Our onshore tours were well organized and our tour guides were informative and friendly. We truly enjoyed the mix of being able to relax and yet still see a lot all at the same time. And certainly we enjoyed not having to pack and repack numerous times during this week journey. I would recommend this trip and this ship highly to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was our first cruise and we had just begun to explore river cruise options when we learned our friends, who were seasoned travelers, had completed the research and had already booked this cruise. While we had never been on a cruise ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we had just begun to explore river cruise options when we learned our friends, who were seasoned travelers, had completed the research and had already booked this cruise. While we had never been on a cruise so we had nothing direct to compare it to, we have lived in Europe - Germany & Belgium, in the Middle East and we have traveled extensively. Without question, river cruising with Emerald is a uniquely pleasant and enriching experience. However, first, we want to complement the crew. Without exception, we felt every member of the crew treated us likefamily that really cared about our experience. Black (sp) and Harry kept us entertained and well informed. We looked forward to their daily updates and the enriching events they had planned. Every member of the crew seemed to sincerely want to ensure all of our needs were met with enthusiasm. From Edi, who cleaned up our room and managed our laundry, to the servers - I wish I could remember all of their names, but Dragana, Alan, several others were standouts, serving us with pleasure. The lady at the front desk answered our questions with a smile and provided helpful suggestions. The food was outstanding! My complements to the chef - Alexander I believe, and his entire staff. We were never hungry, always had outstanding options and the food was so good, it was difficult to follow my quantity plan of only eating part of everything. Our room surprised me at how large it was and how much space was provided. We were on the 3rd floor and had a balcony. The only disappointment was when another ship would berth next to us. Nothing like waking up to find the entire dining room of another ship next to you. Several of the excursions gave us an unique look into the lives of other cultures, which we really enjoyed. Thank you Emerald Waterways. Next time we want to take a cruise, you will be our first choice. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My sister and I travel each year and decided to do our first river cruise. We always do research before deciding. Emerald was the best value for the money and good reviews. We chose the 8 day Danube Delights with extended 3 days in ... Read More
My sister and I travel each year and decided to do our first river cruise. We always do research before deciding. Emerald was the best value for the money and good reviews. We chose the 8 day Danube Delights with extended 3 days in Prague. Booking was a breeze (a year in advance) and as we had questions during the year they were answered promptly. We made our own travel arrangements, but the transfer from the airport to the ship was made by Emerald and went smoothly. We do wish we had arrived a day or two early to have had more time in Budapest. The ship is very modern and kept clean and sparkling (lots of mirrors). The staff were extremely helpful and always greated you with a smile. Our cabin was great (not that we stayed in it other than to sleep) and kept clean and organized by our stewart. I was suprised how quite it was in the cabin. Jamie was the cruise entertainment director and did a great job with a variety of events for all ages and interests. With great weather, we did enjoy the sun deck daily. Emerald has open seating for meals and it gave us an opportunity to eat and converse with many of the other cruisers. We thoroughly enjoyed learing from the veteran river cruisers. Some had been on 8 river cruises in several continents. The food was plentiful and if you didn't like your first choice they would bring you another. Beer and wine are included for lunch and dinner and our glasses were never empty. There were beverages packages as a option or just pay by the drink at the bar (prices were below most bars in the states) if you wanted a before or after dinner drink. Darren, our tour director, did a great job in keeping us up-to-date on weather conditions for each day and the local customs for the next port. He would teach us the local language for greetings and other words that would be helpful, although most everyone spoke english very well. At each port there was a tour included in the cost of the cruise and were done very well by local guides. Due to departure times, we did not have a lot of time to explore (shop) on our own, so we skipped a few of the included tours and explored (shopped) on our own. We have discussed going back to the region and traveling on our own or maybe a bus tour to see more of the area. Overall, the trip and experiences were great. The ships crew, fellow travelers from all over the world and local guides provided us with wonderful memories. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We had been wanting to try a riverboat cruise for awhile now. It just so happened that an Irish musician by the name of Seamus Kennedy, whom we enjoyed seeing at many an Irish Pub in the DC area during the 1980's was, along with his ... Read More
We had been wanting to try a riverboat cruise for awhile now. It just so happened that an Irish musician by the name of Seamus Kennedy, whom we enjoyed seeing at many an Irish Pub in the DC area during the 1980's was, along with his wife, the host of this cruise. We had not seen him perform live in 35 years and he was still amazing! The company sponsoring the cruise was Mayflower Tours and they did an excellent job. We received all our boarding documents before leaving home, including a nice backpack for the excursions. We received free airfare from Montana to Prague and then Budapest back to Montana. We upgraded our seats to Comfort Plus (about one thousand dollars each and worth every penny), just behind the first class section of the aircraft. We also added three days extra in Prague and Budapest to check out the cities on our own. We stayed at the Hotel Grandium in Prague, about a block from Wenceslas Square and within walking distance of almost everything. Outstanding hotel, with a breakfast to die for! In Budapest, we stayed at the InterContinental, right on the river by the Chain Bridge. I had stayed there 40 years ago, still a beautiful hotel. Our room was on the ninth floor, facing the river and the views were amazing, especially at night. Now to the ship. The Emerald Sun was beautifully maintained, spotless everywhere you went. The entire crew was exceptional and made you feel right at home. Initially, we booked a room on deck 1 (room 117) just below waterline and were more than happy with it. Just for the heck of it my wife inquired about an upgrade to deck 2 or 3 and for an extra $400.00 we moved up to deck 2 (room 214). The room was excellent. We loved having the window that lowered electrically half way open, turning the room into a big balcony. The bed was comfy, plenty of room for all our stuff and the bathroom plenty big enough. Our cabin attendant kept the room spotless. I can't say enough about the quality of the dining. Up to this point, nobody could compare to Celebrity, but these guys could and DID! All the meals were spectacular, we hated to get of that ship. The entertainment was beyond wonderful. To start with there were about 17 of us that signed up just because of Seamus Kennedy. He held trivial pursuit nights in the lounge and spur of the moment 1 or 2 hour mini-concerts at the pool for us. Not mention sing-a-longs during our bus rides. An absolute joy to travel with. The ship had various entertainers come aboard depending on what city we docked at, not to mention an amazing on-board piano player in the lounge almost every night. At every city we had ship sponsored walking tours with guides, very well organized. Also, there were many special excursions folks signed up for at an additional cost. We had lived just south of Munich for three years in the late 80's, so we skipped the extra excursions to Salzburg and Vienna. We absolutely loved Prague and Budapest and would recommend those two cities for a visit. Of note, we did most of our Danube River cruising at night while we slept. I do remember going thru many, many locks and that was interesting. We would definitely do a river cruise again. Oh BTW, we loved the Infinity Pool and used it almost daily, usually all to ourselves! My wife loved the exercise room and I loved watching her use it! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We did the Splendours of Europe cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. Originally to be on Emerald Sky but changed to Emerald Dawn due to the lock issue near Nuremburg. The arrival on the ship was seamless and all the staff were so gracious ... Read More
We did the Splendours of Europe cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. Originally to be on Emerald Sky but changed to Emerald Dawn due to the lock issue near Nuremburg. The arrival on the ship was seamless and all the staff were so gracious and helpful. Cruise Director Nina was excellent. she was on top of everything, informative and kept us up to date on excursions, etc. Our cabin was perfect for the two of us and out cabin assistant Dysas was friendly, happy and so efficient. This was our first river cruise or any cruise and we could not have picked a better route, or company to do this with. We did numerous excursions, including two 30+ km bike tours. the guides provided by Emerald were very knowledgeable and had a great sense of humour making the tours very entertaining and informative. The dining on board for all meals was exceptional. We had the menu for the next day, the evening before and service was very quick and the the staff were so attentive. Never a wine glass or beer glass was empty for long. There was also entertainment during the evening. We had a violinist, oom pah pah band, trivia nights, etc. If you were not entertained, that was your problem. The tours included a visit to a family on one stop and that was so different and so delightful to viist with locals. Cannot say enough good things about Emerald Waterways, their crew and the way we were treated. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Review Are you under 70? Do you like an active lifestyle? Do you enjoy great food and wine? Do you like to socialize with well educated and cultured travelers? If so, DO NOT CRUISE WITH EMERALD WATERWAYS. We did the Danube River from ... Read More
Review Are you under 70? Do you like an active lifestyle? Do you enjoy great food and wine? Do you like to socialize with well educated and cultured travelers? If so, DO NOT CRUISE WITH EMERALD WATERWAYS. We did the Danube River from Budapest to Bucharest. The average passenger was British, 75 years old, had difficulty walking, and complained about everything. I was prevented from taking a morning walk on the sun deck walking track because my footsteps (at 3.6 mph) disturbed someone on the deck below. I would have been happy to use a treadmill, but alas, the “gym” didn’t have one, just three never-used recumbent bicycles. We could never get the in-cabin movies to work until the final day of the cruise, despite being in an owner’s suite. We barely saw our butler (a glorified cabin maid), and although we purchased the inclusive alcohol package, it apparently did not include premium wine. The offerings were horrible local wines. Food choices were limited. Beef was usually tough and overcooked, the chicken was dry, and desserts were uninspiring. It is really too bad that the ship, which is quite beautiful, is staffed by a crew that still needs to learn a lot about service and accommodation. Maybe they should rename it Emerald Walker-ways. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose Emerald from a friend's recommendation and were not disappointed. We made our own flight arrangements and flew into Budapest 3 days prior to our departure to meet up with our friends and explore the city. What a ... Read More
We chose Emerald from a friend's recommendation and were not disappointed. We made our own flight arrangements and flew into Budapest 3 days prior to our departure to meet up with our friends and explore the city. What a fabulous destination; steeped in history with fantastic shopping and food. We checked into Emerald on departure day and were warmly greeted. All our luggage showed up in our spacious room and cocktails were served. Awesome start. The food was fresh, innovative, hearty and always personalized with amazing service from every single staff member....without exception The Emerald team made EVERYONE feel they were the most important customer. Take advantage of every excursion and active adventure that Emerald offers. Great tour guides (fluent English), incredible history, scenery and sights in all ports of call. The Emerald Active selections were a lot of fun and helped keep some of the inevitable weight gain at bay. We highly recommend Emerald and the Danube Delights agenda...we would do it all over again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Recommended by travel Agent. Excellent crew, service, rooms and schedule. Food was exceptional special to visit with Robert at the captain’s dinner. The Hungarian and Bavarian entertainment was wonderful and so much fun. Loved the ... Read More
Recommended by travel Agent. Excellent crew, service, rooms and schedule. Food was exceptional special to visit with Robert at the captain’s dinner. The Hungarian and Bavarian entertainment was wonderful and so much fun. Loved the personal greetings on and off the boat. Nina was everywhere__ always present and available to us. Nice all paid before we began cruise. The walking tours and coaches very nice. I will recommend to my friends. Thanks so much. Svetlana very sweet to us. It is great to have beverages provided at all meals. The coffee machines are so nice to have access to__i am now spoiled. The weather was rainy, but didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. I wish I had seen jewelry earlier. Disappointed I didn’t buy. Impressive that the staff are appreciated and treated well, that is important to me. Robert introduced all staff by name—great work,,Keep up this good reputation of service to all. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I can certainly agree with some of the previous reviews of this ship and this particular itinerary. We arrived on our own by train from Vienna. The instructions we received said we could not embark before 3 pm. We took a chance and ... Read More
I can certainly agree with some of the previous reviews of this ship and this particular itinerary. We arrived on our own by train from Vienna. The instructions we received said we could not embark before 3 pm. We took a chance and went directly to the ship at around 1 PM thinking we could at least check our bags until the room was ready and do some walking on our own. When we got to the ship we were pleasantly surprised to find that lunch was being served until 3 pm. There was also an escorted walk by the Activities Director after lunch. This was appreciated but it would have been nice to have been told this in advance of our arrival. We were also not aware in advance that we were going to receive a tour of Bucharest on our departure day. They kept us busy until 3 pm when the hotel rooms were available. Again we were not informed of this until the day before and fortunately we had not arranged any tours for that day on our own. Yes the room is noisy. We had a room on the lowest deck without a “balcony”. You know there is a noise issue when you find they have provided ear plugs. The flushing of toilets does sound like a bowling ball. Hopefully your neighbors do not flush often in the middle of the night! On the other side of the room, you can hear the scrapping of chairs above you whenever the furniture is rearranged. The problem is that the balcony portion of the room has a wood floor so anytime a chair is moved, you can hear it. Too bad they didn’t extend the carpeting over the whole room or put some tennis balls on the bottom of the chairs to prevent this. If your neighbors watch TV or talk you can also hear them. My personal solution to the noise problem is to play a white noise app on my iPhone and/or iPad. It masked out some of the noise but its hard to avoid the loud toilets. The room came with a large umbrella and some good quality walking sticks. Storage is tight in the room but we made do with the various shelves (two in the bathroom next to the sink were kind of hidden). It would have been nice to have a place next to the door to store your room keys to avoid leaving without them. There was no instructions for the thermostat so I had to ask at reception as I wasn’t sure what all the buttons and colors meant. There was a strange large black tumbler in the bathroom. It did not look clean. I had to ask and was told it was for toothbrushes which seemed strange. I stored it out of sight. Emerald advertises that you will receive a backpack and wallet. We did not receive ours before departure but did get a notice that they were delayed from the supplier. It is now two weeks after our cruise and we still have not received them. We were glad to not have spent the extra money for a balcony as on this cruise it would have been almost useless. Most of the daytime cruising is not particularly scenic and can be viewed just as well from the lounge areas. When in port you are probably going to be next to the dock or another ship so there is not anything to see. However, one morning I opened the curtain and got a view of a naked lady on the ship next to us, not more than 10 feet away. She was my age, so it was not a pleasant site. If you do get a balcony, most of the time we were docked port side to the piers so the starboard side seemed to be preferable, at least for this cruise. The port talks were not broadcast in our room. I asked the cruise director and she told me that the audio was broken and therefore they could not do it. This was an incontinence as the lounge does get fairly crowded with some people standing. Meal service at dinner varied depending on where you sat. Some evenings it was efficient but on others it was extremely slow and drawn out. Guests at other tables were having dessert while we were still waiting for our entrees. We were almost never asked if we wanted coffee at the end of the meal. We did learn the best areas to sit if we wanted better service. The soups were salty and thin, mostly broths. The food was never hot and perhaps this is because they do not cover the plates. I did enjoy the appetizers, entrees and desserts for the most part and appreciated the smaller sizes. I had steak one night (which is available every night) and it was excellent. Lunch in the dining room was disappointing. If you arrived at the middle of the lunch period it was difficult to find a clean, set table. If you asked a server to reset a table, it was a major undertaking that took a long time. It was also difficult to find a server to take your drink order if you did not arrive at the start of the meal time. The buffet itself was not replenished or even minimally maintained during the meal period. One day we saw nearly empty trays that were left untouched for 45 minutes. I took a picture of this and sent it to Emerald but did not get a reply. The picture is attached to this review. I mentioned this to a server and he only shrugged his shoulders. When they reset the tables, they did not replace or clean the table mats in any way. They looked dirty and unsanitary. The tables for two were convenient but the curtains could not be easily pulled back and sometimes blocked the view. An easy fix would be to install some curtain ties. Another easy fix would be for the ID scanner that you need to use when departing and returning to the ship. The ID’s our worn on a neck lanyard but the scanner is on a pedestal that is about 4 ft tall. This means everyone has to lean over at an uncomfortable angle to scan their ID. The pedestal needs to be raised a few feet, perhaps placed on a base so that it would be easier to do the scan. We chose Emerald particularly because of the advertised on board bikes. The Cruise Director announced that of the 20 bikes on board, 5 were broken. When we tried to sign up for the guided bike tour of Belgrade (the only one offered during the week long cruise) we could only be waitlisted as 15 passengers had already signed up. It was unclear when the list was made available and we tried to sign up just after the excursion talk finished. We talked to the Cruise Director and to her credit she was able to arrange for more bikes so that we were able to go on the excursion which was enjoyable. However, this should not have been an issue as the bike tour is heavily promoted by Emerald and I could not find any mention in the fine print that it was subject to availability. It would also be helpful if information could have been provided about bike paths/lanes that could be used on our own in the various ports. It was difficult to research this info on our own as we were not sure where we would be docked ahead of time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My husband and I booked ‘The Enchantment of Eastern Europe’ cruise for May 2019. This was our first river cruise in Europe. The whole holiday package was booked with Emerald and we certainly could not fault the organisation from ... Read More
My husband and I booked ‘The Enchantment of Eastern Europe’ cruise for May 2019. This was our first river cruise in Europe. The whole holiday package was booked with Emerald and we certainly could not fault the organisation from arriving in Budapest to being dropped back off at the airport on Bucharest and all the hotels/transfers/excursions in between. First impressions of the ship was great. Very sleek with modern, comfortable furnishings. If you are used to ocean cruising though the rooms are very small. We had a balcony room which turned out to be useless. We were frequently docked beside other boats rendering the balcony unusable. When you did open the window you ended up with mosquitos and bugs flying into the room. The only problem in the room was the noise from flushing toilets – it was so loud. I have never experienced this level of noise from the toilets on a ship before. If you were standing near the door the noise made you jump it was so loud. On the first evening we had an evening cruise along the Danube and this was a highlight. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. For the first 3 days the scenery was boring and monotonous – speaking to other cruisers they recommended sailing up The Danube as it is much more interesting and picturesque. The cruise director was excellent. She briefed us each night before dinner with details of the following day and its activities. She was extremely knowledgeable and approachable. The food was a disappointment. It was very salty, (especially the soup) lots of garlic and mustard. On one evening both appetisers contained feta cheese. Food was never served hot it was always lukewarm. I expected wine to be served from the countries we were travelling through but it was mostly German and Austrian. The service in the restaurant seemed to vary depending on where you were sitting. There is only one restaurant and dinner was served every night at 7pm. We like to eat alone and the layout of the restaurant accommodated this. In fact most of the tables for 2 were beside the window. You had to be there when the restaurant opened to guarantee getting the table size you wanted. We tended to skip breakfast and have the lighter lunch in the lounge. This suited us as it was too busy in the dining room. There was a coffee machine in the lounge which had a good choice of different coffees and even hot chocolate. The drinks were always warm - never hot We didn’t do all the trips on offer preferring sometimes to do our own thing. The excursions we did go on were well-planned and the guides knowledgeable. The excursions tagged as ‘Emerald Active’ were anything but. The one we went on to the rock church was more of a stroll. All the trips were at a very slow pace which I found frustrating. The evening entertainment was virtually non-existent but this didn’t really matter to us. Emerald now have an activity manager on the ship who did a few pieces of entertainment in the evening after dinner e.g. Name that Tune, Neil Diamond songs, The Rat Pack. It was all very boring. We always tend to book through a travel agent and on this occasion we were pleased we did as on the return journey we had to fly from Bucharest to Frankfurt then on to Manchester. The flight to Manchester was cancelled (along with many other flights due to thunderstorms). I managed to contact our agent and he rebooked us on a flight early the following morning. We had to stand in a queue in Frankfurt airport for 3.5 hours to be allocated accommodation for the evening. All in all I found the European river cruising experience sedate and boring. Even though we paid a similar price to what we would pay for an ocean cruise of the same length this experience was far inferior. If I were to try it again in the future I would choose a different river and probably a different cruise company. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Our very first river cruise, and it's hard to believe we'll ever have a more enjoyable, rewarding cruise experience. My wife and I usually go on more adventurous, independent holidays, and were nervous that we might feel a ... Read More
Our very first river cruise, and it's hard to believe we'll ever have a more enjoyable, rewarding cruise experience. My wife and I usually go on more adventurous, independent holidays, and were nervous that we might feel a little claustrophobic and restricted. How wrong we were.... From the moment we climbed on board to be checked in to the final sumptuous breakfast before disembarking, everything was perfect. On board the Emerald Destiny, our cabin was outstanding, the food was high quality and with sensible proportions, the entertainment was spot on and the entire staff and crew professional and friendly. We enjoyed the flexibility of meals, in the lounge or in the dining room, and loved the opportunity to meet interesting new people at each meal taken in the dining room, rather than being allocated the same table with the same people every day. Phew. Away from the ship, the shore excursions were interesting and led by expert local guides who really helped to give us a deep insight into Balkan history, culture, food and wine. The undoubted highlight for me was a trip to a local Elementary school in Osijek, Croatia, followed by a lovely authentic lunch hosted by a Croatian lady in her humble home. Our first river cruise, but hopefully not our last.... Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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