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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This was our first river cruise and decided on the 7 night versus the longer one to Amsterdam. We were thoroughly impressed. From the moment we got off our flight till we disembarked Emerald had us covered all the way. The on-board ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and decided on the 7 night versus the longer one to Amsterdam. We were thoroughly impressed. From the moment we got off our flight till we disembarked Emerald had us covered all the way. The on-board experience was further enhanced by the ever-present staff. Dgeordge at the Desk, Dragana in the bar, Lanka in the dining room and Patric the entertainer all performed exceptionally, We also met some very nice people and the smaller more intimate setting and less formality made the experience so much better than larger ocean liner cruises. Port activities were well organized, if you wanted to enjoy the sites and history of those places we stopped off at. Chef kept us wanting for more with the variety of meals offered and served. Wine selection in the bar could have been a bit better as it wasn't the same wine as served at meals. At the end our disembarkation went smoothly and it was nice to see Jana and Robert bid us all farewell. While we can knock this off our bucket list, we won't as we'll be back again for sure. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This was our first cruise, we chose it after seeing a advert and sending for a brochure. We flew to Budapest and were met at the airport and transferred to the ship where we were given a welcome drink and a light lunch was available. Our ... Read More
This was our first cruise, we chose it after seeing a advert and sending for a brochure. We flew to Budapest and were met at the airport and transferred to the ship where we were given a welcome drink and a light lunch was available. Our cabin was really nice and comfortable, very clean. The ship was spotless and everything looked so nice. We met our cruise director Jana who filled us in on activities for the next day. We had time on the first morning to have a tour round Budapest. The food on board was excellent a really lovely selection. The entertainment on board was good, the best evening was the staff show, very entertaining. The service was excellent, nothing too much trouble, such happy and charming staff. The walking tours were really good and the guides very knowledgable and it was nice to have some free time to explore as well. Our highlight was the concert in Vienna, such a lovely setting and talented musicians. Disembarkation went very smoothly so well organised and no trouble.. A very enjoyable trip Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Worth staying in Budapest before sailing as so much to see.Great welcome when we arrived on board and it was good to chat to some of the outgoing passengers. The ship is only a year old, very modern and impressive.The cabins are just as ... Read More
Worth staying in Budapest before sailing as so much to see.Great welcome when we arrived on board and it was good to chat to some of the outgoing passengers. The ship is only a year old, very modern and impressive.The cabins are just as described in the brochure and very well planned. Shower etc worked very well.The window system makes the indoor sitting are double up as a balcony.it was the newness of the ship which was one of the attractions for us. The food was fantastic at every meal, only complaint is that we both put on half a stone! The entertainment was varied and good.The excursions were well organised and used excellent guides.There was also some optional tours with the concert in Vienna being the highlight for us.The service from the crew was excellent .Our Cruise Director was full of enthusiasm and was an excellent communicator.The age ratio of the passengers was at the mature end and it was adults only. A good mix of Brits,Americans, Canadians and Australians. We would go again definitely with Emerald but on a different river such as the Douro in Portugal .It is such a great way of seeing places without the packing and unpacking. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Danube Delight was an excellent river cruise! All the transfers were timely and covered in the cost, and were handled smoothly, expeditiously, and seamlessly. The ship was lovely, new, modern. The staff were very competent, attentive, ... Read More
Danube Delight was an excellent river cruise! All the transfers were timely and covered in the cost, and were handled smoothly, expeditiously, and seamlessly. The ship was lovely, new, modern. The staff were very competent, attentive, pleasant, and efficient. The food was plentiful, generally very well prepared, themed to fit regions of the cruise, and served in a lovely formal dining room. Leisure space in the lounge and on the sun deck was well appointed, spacious, comfortably, and nicely served by accommodating bar staff.The cabins were large enough, well decorated, and regularly, actively cleaned, and the half window/balcony concept is clever and provides quite an enjoyable way to enjoy the river and the ports. Entertainment ranged from fun local musicians (German and Slovakian) to the crew (whose talent was sometimes rather thin). Shore time offered just enough guided direction and information with free time for independent exploring or hiking or biking with available bicycles). One always wants more time in Regensburg, Vienna, and Budapest, but the cruise effectively balanced shore time and schedule and information. Local guides were all very knowledgeable and articulate. Extra cost excursions were tempting and diverse. The cruise director was an excellent part of the experience; she was knowledgeable, articulate, fun, engaging, and informative, and totally organized. The fact that all transfers from arrival to departure and all tips were included meant that we could truly sit back and let the cruise happen to us--even though plenty of planned activities gave us great opportunities to burn calories from all the fine food. Frankly we loved just about everything on the cruise and were ready to go again at its end! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our first river cruise and the standard of accommodation, food and service on the Emerald Star was hard to fault. The staff made everything - even passing through the deepest lock on our journey - a cause for celebration and a ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and the standard of accommodation, food and service on the Emerald Star was hard to fault. The staff made everything - even passing through the deepest lock on our journey - a cause for celebration and a glass of bubbly. They were constantly friendly, cheerful and hardworking. We were a little younger than most passengers who were 60+ and that meant we found some of the trips a bit slow but you could always leave the organised tour and explore on your own. The vast majority of the other guests were Australian which made for a great atmosphere with loads of people who were ready to chat and a lot of fun. We loved the clever design of the boat and were amazed at the amount of space and storage in our cabin. The pool is tiny but was underused so it was possible to get a proper swim, albeit with a lot of turns! Would also say that I can be seasick on a 20 minute ferry crossing but the boat was so stable I was absolutely fine. We travelled from Budapest to Amsterdam and found the stops in Bavaria especially beautiful - for a shorter cruise we'd say do the Danube and Main rather than the Rhine, but that was just our taste. We'll definitely be cruising with Emerald again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We chose this cruise as a 70th birthday celebration for me. It is very hard to find fault with anything for the week we were on board. The cabin wasn't huge but perfectly adequate and spotlessly clean with hidden storage spaces for ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a 70th birthday celebration for me. It is very hard to find fault with anything for the week we were on board. The cabin wasn't huge but perfectly adequate and spotlessly clean with hidden storage spaces for the cases and toiletries. The food would be hard to dislike as there was plenty of choice. Shore excursions were included and very well organised . The service was attentive and staff always helpful. The entertainment took in local dancers and singers; on other evenings there were quizzes and the staff put on a show. There was a choice for breakfast and lunch of two different areas; the bar area for lighter breakfast and lunches as well as the main restaurant which carried the larger selection of dishes. The ship itself was spotlessly clean. When we arrived at the different ports the coaches for the excursions were always there waiting for us. There was a small swimming pool at the back of the ship and a very limited Fitness room, but at least it was there for anyone that wanted to use it. We would certainly travel with Emerald Waterways again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
A friend suggested the cruise as a reunion for our professional group. We had a wonderful time together on a new, modern, efficient ship. Emerald accommodated our large group. The international staff were exceptional; professional, ... Read More
A friend suggested the cruise as a reunion for our professional group. We had a wonderful time together on a new, modern, efficient ship. Emerald accommodated our large group. The international staff were exceptional; professional, polished, expert, entertaining, caring, and very personable. The staff got to know our names and we got to know theirs; very comforting and friendly. The staff even gave us a talent show one night; they never stopped working for us. The educational, recreational, and social events were surprisingly good (I'm new to scheduled group activities) and relaxing. It was fun to travel through locks, nature, small towns, large cities, and vineyards. Emerald worked with expert tour guides, bus drivers, bike guides, canal companies, and auxiliary tour options. The captain of the Emerald Dawn was a veteran of the European rivers and was respected by others. Emerald thought of everything-very classy. I highly recommend this cruise line. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This was our first cruise and it was wonderful. Emerald took care of transport from the airport to our hotel then picked us up the next day for transfer to the ship. Once on board everything was perfect. Our cabin was modern, clean and ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it was wonderful. Emerald took care of transport from the airport to our hotel then picked us up the next day for transfer to the ship. Once on board everything was perfect. Our cabin was modern, clean and had everything we needed. The staff was polite and respectful. They saw to our every need. The food on the ship was extraordinary and quite plentiful. All tours were great and the guides were very informative. Unfortunately, because the water levels were low in the Danube, we had to switch ships. The staff made the transition as painless as possible and we were on our way. We would definitely go on another Emerald Cruise in the future. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This was our first time on a river cruise. We were with a group of 14. We really didn't know what to expect. I can honestly say we were not disappointed. The ship (Emerald Dawn) was brand new. Only on its 5th voyage. We really ... Read More
This was our first time on a river cruise. We were with a group of 14. We really didn't know what to expect. I can honestly say we were not disappointed. The ship (Emerald Dawn) was brand new. Only on its 5th voyage. We really liked the intimate setting. About 120 passengers were on this cruise. We got to know just about everybody. The ship is small. Only three levels and about 440 feet long. The dining room, lounge and pubic areas are in the front (bow) of the ship. Pool and exercise area in the back (stern). Yes, there are only three public bathrooms (as mentioned by a previous poster), but they are right next to the dining room and lounge. You might have to walk back to your room, but I've had to walk further to go to the bathroom at a baseball stadium. Come on, it's only a couple hundred feet in one direction or another. ;) Breakfast and lunch was served buffet style and seating was open. We (and most others) still ended up seated with the same group at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dinner was served at 7:00 pm and served by the waiters. There was no "open seating" (A complaint made by a previous poster. Come on, really. There are only 120 - 160 people on the entire ship. It's not like you have 2000 people to feed.) The food was fresh and very good. At each port, fresh food, produce and beverages were brought on board. Watching them load the ship was interesting. They formed a "bucket brigade" and passed all the boxes down the gang plank. The garbage was taken off the ship using the same method, as was the luggage on and off the ship. The trips and tours were optional but included. Some were half a day, some a full day inclusive of lunch and one was the opportunity to be entertained by a local talent. The gym was very small. Two stationary bikes and one rowing machine. There is jogging track on the top level and plenty of deck chairs (no need to save one with a towel). Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
None of my party has ever been on a cruise before and didn't know what to expect. We loved it! It was a perfect vacation for my mom as her ability to walk long distances or on hard terrain is limited. My sister and I enjoyed it just ... Read More
None of my party has ever been on a cruise before and didn't know what to expect. We loved it! It was a perfect vacation for my mom as her ability to walk long distances or on hard terrain is limited. My sister and I enjoyed it just as much as she did although we did take the opportunity to take longer and faster walks when we could. The ship is new, having been brought on-line just this year. The amenities were all very nice although the pool was a little smaller than I expected. However, they do have an "endless pool-type" feature that creates a current if you want to swim. The weather when we sailed was cool and rainy for most of the days so I don't know if the retractable roof was opened much during the cruise. The lounge area is nice and has a lot of seating although if all cabins had been filled I think it might have been a little more crowded than I wold have liked. We found the cabins to be more spacious than we expected, and very comfortable. The ability to open the window as we sailed helped with the temperature control and brought in fresh air. We had full size floor to ceiling windows with two chairs we could use to watch as we sailed.The window was very large allowing us to stick our heads out to look around if we wished. We were on the middle floor which was perfect. We heard from others that it was noisier on the top floor but we heard very little noise in our cabins. We returned from dinner each night to find chocolate on our pillows and the schedule for the next day. (One day we forgot to turn off our do no disturb light so when they came in to put the chocolates on the beds they cleaned our cabin which we really appreciated but didn't expect.) The length of the walking tours were just right and we were allowed free time in just about every city we stopped in. For passengers who needed more time or fewer obstacles, there was always a "gentle walkers group which was perfect for our mom. For the most part the tour guides were very personable and knowledgeable about the area being toured. The guides were local at each port. The absolutely BEST part of the cruise was the staff. As "the Texan" says in a previous review, the staff on the Emerald Sun made us feel welcome the minute we set stepped out of our cab and grabbed our suitcases. We were on the same cruise as the Texan and agree with everything he said. The cruise director (Ray) worked very hard to provide all of the passengers with a good experience. He took our mother under his wing and called her "mum" which she really enjoyed. When she wasn't feeling well he knew (don't ask me how) and asked after her. He checked in with her when she would move around the ship which we really appreciated. I can't imagine a better cruise director. The wait staff, chefs, front desk staff, and housekeeping staff (and all of the other staff we met on board) were also wonderful. Their humor and their ability to remember our personal preferences was amazing. From the first day, they knew our likes and dislikes. My mom couldn't decide between desserts one evening so they brought her both. (She has never eaten so much and so well in her life....) The staff were always smiling, always polite, and always made sure we were having the best time possible. Some people felt the food became somewhat monotonous but we enjoyed it. The only thing I would have liked to see is fewer 5-course dinners as I am typically a more casual diner. The breakfast and lunch buffets were always good. the dinner were also good but lengthy. Possibly more spicy foods on occasion would be nice. I would love to cruise with this staff again at some time and would not hesitate to recommend the cruise line, the ship, and the staff to anyone. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
This is the first time I have been on a river cruise and I can only say that I was not disappointed at all. From arriving in Budapest in sweltering heat and walking down the gangplank to the day we left the ship, it was absolutely ... Read More
This is the first time I have been on a river cruise and I can only say that I was not disappointed at all. From arriving in Budapest in sweltering heat and walking down the gangplank to the day we left the ship, it was absolutely fantastic. The amenities, service and staff were first class and I can only say that it was a superb, relaxing, fun holiday. We met and have made friends with some really lovely people. Our cabin was one of the cheaper options, a stateroom, and although we did not have the picture window, the facilities were exactly the same as the more expensive rooms. The food was plentiful, fresh and very very good. An amazing choice - not all to my personal taste but then there was plenty to choose from. The format was a buffet style breakfast and lunch and waiter service for dinner in the Restaurant with a lighter version of breakfast and lunch being available from the lounge area. If you did not wish to sample some of the cuisine from the countries you were visiting or cruising through, then there were staple dishes you could select - steak; poached salmon etc. It was difficult to believe that you were on board a ship and not in a high quality restaurant and that space below deck, in the galley, was very restricted. It was also a bonus that all wine, beer and soft drinks consumed during meals were included and incorporated into the price of the trip. Should you wish to drink more during the day, there were two upgrade options available. Again, excellent value. Tea and coffee were available 24 hours a day. The décor for the whole ship was clean, bright and modern. This was to be expected as the ship was only a couple of months old - and I did hear one or two comments from older guests that it was a little 'too modern' for their liking with a little too many mirrors and too much chrome! It was exceptionally clean, hygienic and stylish. The staff on board were superb - quite a few from Eastern Europe themselves so able to give that personal touch to the holiday. All the staff, without exception, went out of their way to be polite and helpful and genuinely wanted you, the guest, to enjoy yourself to the full. The additional leisure facilities on board were unbelievable. A small gym, massage parlour, walking track, O's and X's, small pitch and putt and of course, the pool which converted into a cinema in the evening. During the day, the roof to the pool was open and then in the evening the floor of the pool rose and made the whole area into a cinema, with fresh popcorn being offered! Absolutely wonderful. The trips and tours were optional but included. Some were half a day, some a full day inclusive of lunch and one was the opportunity to be entertained by a local family. Most entertaining and enjoyable. There is nothing I could say that I disliked. I did make one or two suggestions on the feed back form at the end of the holiday but these were only minor things. Thank you to all the current staff on Emerald Dawn for giving my husband and I a fantastic, first time river cruise experience. We shall certainly be back! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Absolutely Awsome river cruise on the Rhine River at the end of June. We've travelled the world on many ocean cruises and decided to try a river cruise. Choice of companies was many but we are absolutely delighted to have discovered ... Read More
Absolutely Awsome river cruise on the Rhine River at the end of June. We've travelled the world on many ocean cruises and decided to try a river cruise. Choice of companies was many but we are absolutely delighted to have discovered Emerald Waterways. What a great company, shiny new ships, outstanding staff and very interesting tours and experiences. Clearly the new kid on the block and they are trying very hard to impress and that they did. From the captain to the cruise director to the servers and housekeeping staff, all were very professional and brought a can do attitude to their job and the passengers comforts. Our Chef was excellent, with very creative meal selections served in a leisurely fashion allowing for wonderful interaction with with new found friends from across the globe. If we had to point to only one staff member that best represented the crew it would be "Alexandra", a young hostess/server who greeted everyone with an infectious smile and a level of service that belies her young age. A medical emergency with one of our passengers in mid cruise was handled expeditiously, professionally and in a very timely manner by the crew and land based emergency services which gave us an even greater sense of comfort in the emphasis that Emerald Waterways places on its passanger's safety and security. All in all, we would say without hesitation that Emerald Waterways is well on the way to becoming the Gold Standard by which all other River cruise companies will be judged. Beverly/Jerry Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
This was only the third time out for the lovely new Emerald Dawn and maybe this means that the staff were trying harder than normal, or maybe this is the norm? Anyway they were truly excellent. From the cases being delivered to our suite, ... Read More
This was only the third time out for the lovely new Emerald Dawn and maybe this means that the staff were trying harder than normal, or maybe this is the norm? Anyway they were truly excellent. From the cases being delivered to our suite, to a fabulous chambermaid, Dana, to polite, professional front of house staff to well trained and thoughtful waiters, this felt like we were in a moving 5 star hotel. OK we had opted to stay in the more expensive Owners Suite but the overall quality of the boat was simply excellent. Breakfast and lunches were buffets with a wide range of choice and the evening meals, again wide choice, were superb. We really liked the size of the river cruise boats and certainly would not consider one of the big Ocean going cruises. It was lovely to moor right in the middle of town, in Cologne we were 5 minutes from the beautiful Catherdral. Late one night I wandered down to the pool to catch the last half hour of the film Some like it hot, I settled into one of the comfy chairs and within minutes a member of staff brought me a tub of freshly popped popcorn. That's the kind of service I like. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
I must point out that we are not reviewing this trip as experienced conventional cruise travellers. A conventional sea cruise on a large ship with "entertainment", long periods at sea, crowds etc is the nearest thing to hell on ... Read More
I must point out that we are not reviewing this trip as experienced conventional cruise travellers. A conventional sea cruise on a large ship with "entertainment", long periods at sea, crowds etc is the nearest thing to hell on holiday that we could imagine. We booked this first cruise because we wanted to spend sample time at the advertised destinations, and with that objective in mind Emerald came out a clear winner on price and facilities, in particular the contemporary design of the ships which we saw as a refreshing alternative to the very conventional and crusty looking competition. We hoped that the service offered matched the design i.e. was highly competent, stylish and customer oriented, without being fawning. Our holiday tastes are luxury without pretension, with first rate service and good value. Our cruise was the Amsterdam to Budapest "Splendours of Europe" cruise over 15 nights. I won't cover the itinerary - it is on the Emerald web site in full detail. Suffice to say there were interesting off-ship opportunities every day, sometimes several, all included in the price. On some days there were additional longer trips for an extra charge. We took several of these, and they were excellent and good value for money. The accommodation was, to a confirmed 4/5 star hotel traveller (accommodation/service based, not pretention/frilly curtains based), quite simply excellent. Contemporary, stylish, very comfortable, very well designed, and in perfect condition. We were lucky enough to be able to afford one of the 4 top-level suites, but all that gave us was extra space and some extra inclusive services - the facilities were the same in every room that we saw. Our ship was the Emerald Sun, on its second cruise (new carpet smell!), but all four ships appear to be the same. I won't list the excellent facilities - again they are on the Emerald web site. Maintenance was excellent - we could observe constant maintenance, and contrasted the results several times with the competitors' ships which we saw, some at very close quarters. But the highest point was the staff. Quite simply exceptionally good. Highly professional, excellently trained, cheerful and friendly at all times, always there to help but never intrusive, and efficient to a high degree. You can see from my other reviews that I am critical of anything less that the highest service levels (again, based on service and not pretention), but this group were a cut above the best I have seen anywhere - congratulations to the Emerald trainers and managers. River cruising seems to be expensive compared to sea cruising, due mainly I guess to scale. Looking after 160 customers with just under 50 staff is not cheap, and use of the Rhine and Danube facilities cannot be cheap either. But if you want a truly memorable blow-out holiday in Europe, Emerald seems to us to be the way to go. We are hoping to do another Emerald cruise soon. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We love the River Rhine and looked forward to seeing it glide by our cabin window on our first cruise. We were to board in Basel so spent two days there in the excellent Hotel Victoria enjoying the trams and the pouring rain. There ... Read More
We love the River Rhine and looked forward to seeing it glide by our cabin window on our first cruise. We were to board in Basel so spent two days there in the excellent Hotel Victoria enjoying the trams and the pouring rain. There was some alarm when we phoned the boat for confirmation of joining instructions. We were told that because of the rain the Rhine was very high and the boat could not get to Basel so was at Kembs. We should take a bus out to the airport and try to find a rep with transport. A bus took us to a field with a path to the boat. We were not advised to cancel the cruise at that time. The Reception was welcoming and our cases were taken to an excellent cabin that we thought suited us fine. We wandered round the boat and thought that it all looked good, especially the lounge and dining room. The sun deck furniture was all knocked flat for passing under bridges. As it happened, we never passed under a bridge and the furniture was never re-erected. So there were no activities up there. There was an evening briefing when we met Karla the Cruise Director. They had postponed the Welcome Reception until the next day because of the stresses folk had had on the way to the boat. The dining room seemed splendid on entry and promised some good food. However the roof was low and all sound seemed amplified. The service was fairly slow and it was acoustically painful to sit there waiting while everybody else was shouting to make themselves heard. We never managed to finish a meal. No evening entertainment was arranged while we were on the boat apart from an old film each evening in the small swimming pool/cinema area. The boat moved a few kilometres to the Breisach end of the canal but was trapped there by the high water in the canal so daily excursions were at first reorganised. Boats that had been left in the River Rhine got away. Some of the day trips were strenuous for the less fit. On the Tuesday night we were told that we would all have to leave the boat the next day. The main party must leave by 7.am for a gruelling coach tour to Amsterdam. For the rest, arrangements would be made by offices in their own countries for passengers to be flown home. There is a good video under the heading ‘Emerald Sky Jewels of the Rhine’ on Youtube that shows the problems. We flew home exhausted, with very swollen ankles and needing a holiday. A look at the weather records showed that the boat should not have been brought in to the Alsace Canal and been trapped. Having done so though, the ‘cruise’ should never have been attempted. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We were on Emerald Sky early May from Basel to Amsterdam. It was docked in Kembs in France on the canal d'Alsace. As we were already in Basel we had to go to the airport to be bussed to the ship. Due to inclement weather, the ship ... Read More
We were on Emerald Sky early May from Basel to Amsterdam. It was docked in Kembs in France on the canal d'Alsace. As we were already in Basel we had to go to the airport to be bussed to the ship. Due to inclement weather, the ship cruised 45 km to the lock at Breisach. It spent the next 5 days stuck in the lock there with Emerald bussing passengers to the Black Forest (included attraction), then to Colmar on France and finally a whole day tour to Heidelburg (5 hours on a bus) - very strenuous. The last evening the Tour guided announced that everybody must leave the ship by 7am the next day with no return to the ship and be bussed to Amsterdam missing out some of the included sights and staying in hotels on the way. The alternative was to fly home which is what we chose. While we waited for our tickets all the cabins were stripped of bed linen and made ready for the next lot. So we cruised 45 km in 5 days. It was the most expensive bus tour we have ever had. Later Emerald sent a derisory amount of vouchers for money off another booking with them. The day after we returned home I tracked the Emerald Sky with FleetMonitor racing back to Amsterdam to pick up the next set of passengers. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
While some passengers do get a cruise, others do not. Because of the weather, the cruise should have been cancelled before they embarked us and we would have had our money back. Now, over a month later, the 180 passengers have been ... Read More
While some passengers do get a cruise, others do not. Because of the weather, the cruise should have been cancelled before they embarked us and we would have had our money back. Now, over a month later, the 180 passengers have been offered only a 25% refund in return for having no holiday cruise whatsoever. Beware. Emerald are not ABTA bonded.! The cabin was good but the view was the same for the four days that the boat did not move. The top deck amenities were never available. The restaurant has a low ceiling and noise gets louder and louder as folk try to shout above each other . Waiting for the food to come is painful on the ears. There was no evening entertainment while we were there. The trips arranged each day got more and more gruelling. Eventually everyone had to get off the boat and either fly home or take the four coaches that saw little of the Rhine on the way to Amsterdam. The less-fit folk had a very hard time. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
I am not really one to write reviews but after my experience on the Emerald Star I felt compelled to share what I can only describe as "the trip of a lifetime!". I have avoided ocean cruising as my husband gets seasick but after ... Read More
I am not really one to write reviews but after my experience on the Emerald Star I felt compelled to share what I can only describe as "the trip of a lifetime!". I have avoided ocean cruising as my husband gets seasick but after speaking to some friends who had been river cruising, we decided to book with Emerald Waterways. We flew into Munich from Manchester and were met by the Emerald Rep at the airport and transferred to the ship. I'm not quite sure what I expected but I was blown away by how clean, luxurious, light and airy the ship was! We were shown to our cabin after a light lunch and it was bigger than I expected with full length windows that slide down at the press of a button. I could get used to this! The staff on board were fantastic, always cleaning and looking after you. Our cabin cleaner always had a smile at the ready and seemed genuinley interested in how our day was and where we had been out to experience without being too informal. In fact, all of the staff seemed to know who they could have a joke with and who preferred a more serious approach whilst they were proffessional to a T! The food was some of the best food I have tasted. I was impressed by the buffet on the first night but when the gala dinners and the al a carte service started on the second night, our evening meals became an event to look forward to! There was always 2 options of starters and soups plus 3 choices for main meals. If you didnt like those choices, you could choose from Salmon, steak and chicken every night as well and the steak was cooked to perfection! The deserts were delightful although I would have liked to have know which cheeses were on the cheese board as I don't like all cheeses. The excursions we went on were well organised and although they were tiring, we learnt so much about the local areas and history. Our guides had these "whisper boxes" and we carried a box around our necks with headphones so even if I held back to take a picture, I could still hear the guide talking. I won't bore you with all the destinations but my 2 favourites were Cesky Krumlov which was an extra excursion with Emerald but well worth it. It is a stunning little town really quirky but so picturesque. The other was Budapest, the history, the buildings and the tour was so enjoyable and informative. We read before we went that gratuities were included with Emerald Waterways but we were surprised to find that even the bus drivers and guides don't ask for tips. In fact, one guide refused on the first trip when my husband offered her some money saying she had been paid. We did leave some for the cleaning staff as they were so exceptional and it felt wrong to us not to leave something. So, good and bad points: Good; the staff are the best I have ever come across. The food, the excursions, the pool was lovely although we only went in once, the cabin was immaculate and the bed was so comfy! Bad; Some of the excursions were a little tiring as my husband isn't good on his feet, although there was a slower group which helped and Karla our Cruise Director told us before hand what was entailed. Munich airport was huge and we werent prepared for how far we had to walk to the meeting point. I can't actually think of anything else bad. The Emerald Star was a beautiful ship, light airy and contemporary in design. The staff were attentive and proffessional and couldn't have done more to make our trip special. The excursions were brilliantly executed, informative and educational with excellent clearly spoken guides. Karla our cruise director was fantastic and her port talks were informative, light and entertaining. Compared to the other ships we saw on the river, the Emerald Star was the Queen of the Danube and I wouldnt hesitate to recommend to other people, I already have to friends and family since we got home! Well done Emerald, I will be booking again soon! Read Less
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