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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Smooth pick-up at Munich airport and transfer to hotel in Nuremburg as we couldn't board until around 5pm. We received a warm welcome and we were delighted with our cabin - Panoramic Balcony Suite - comfortable, plenty of storage ... Read More
Smooth pick-up at Munich airport and transfer to hotel in Nuremburg as we couldn't board until around 5pm. We received a warm welcome and we were delighted with our cabin - Panoramic Balcony Suite - comfortable, plenty of storage spaces - compact but up to the standard of a 4 star hotel The food was excellent - from the great range of breakfast choices through to the 4 course dinner menus. Always plenty of choices and found the "Chef's Favourites" for dinner was usually a good choice. Whether you wanted a continental style breakfast, or hot breakfast, there was a great deal of choice and self-service was easy. Lunch had a variety of choices which changed every day, usually including speciality dishes from the region. Best to do a complete circuit of the lunch table first to see all the offerings, before deciding what to choose. The four course dinners always had plenty of choices and the seating of 2, 4 or 6 meant that you could choose how many to sit with and offered a great opportunity to meet other people and strike up new friendships. The shore excursions were always well organised and the local guides and the "Quiet Voice" units meant that you could really see and understand all the interesting parts of the tours. Also a good balance between guided tours and free-time meant that you can also explore on your own. The service was excellent, everybody, including the Cruise Director (Wes), Head Chef, waiters, bar staff, cabin stewards were polite, helpful and professional. I liked the well-organised aspect of the cruise - at all times, we could relax and enjoy the cruise as all the staff worked hard to keep everything running smoothly and ensuring that you had an enjoyable time. This was our first river cruise and we will definitely be booking again with Emerald Waterways (just can't decide where to go next!) Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I will begin this by saying, this trip was booked for the sole purpose of visiting the Christmas Markets. My mother had been to Germany several times, and I was anxious to see the wonderful sights she had seen while visiting the Christmas ... Read More
I will begin this by saying, this trip was booked for the sole purpose of visiting the Christmas Markets. My mother had been to Germany several times, and I was anxious to see the wonderful sights she had seen while visiting the Christmas Markets previously. We have traveled on several cruises together through the years, but always pn ocean liners. We researched the trip. We researched the destinations. We definitely did our homework. That being said, I will refer to a particular evening when our Cruise Director was going over the following day's itinerary. I heard a passenger lament that we were going to "Another Christmas Market" with a groan and eyeroll as she said it. I turned to my mother and said, "How could she be upset about that? This was advertised as a Christmas Market Cruise!" I heard many of these rumblings throughout the trip. I was somewhat offended, because I will cherish the trip, the memories and the people we met for the rest of my life. I had an awesome trip, so I found it a little hard to stomach the ones that were saying such rude things. I found the ship and crew warm and welcoming. The staff bent over backward to make us feel at home. Many of the crew members filled multiple roles. They did so with efficiency and kindness. As I said previously, we had been on several cruises. They were ocean cruises. This was the first river cruise I'd been on. I knew that the grandeur of a ocean cruise ship would not be found on a river cruise. I knew there would be no casino, no nightclub, no nightly shows. I knew there would be no midnight buffets with ice sculptures. I don't care about those things. We booked this trip to add to a lifetime of memories that my mom and I have been making together. We were not disappointed. I found the ship to provide for every necessity we had, and provide well. The ship was well kept, it was lovely and when I compared it to other ships we saw cruising the Rhine I was pleasantly pleased that our ship was amongst the nicest. Dining. I heard quite a few people complaining about the fare. I heard some rather needless and unkind things being said. So here is my assessment of the food and dining experience. I found the food to be good, plentiful and very tailored to the passenger pool. If we were to take a walking trip around the meal bar you would find: fresh cheeses, sliced meats, salad options, fruits, bread, desserts, hot and cold cereals, soups, rice, fish, sandwiches, hot veggies, meat choices, usually a pasta choice, omelettes to order at breakfast and the list goes on. If you want a lighter fare you can visit the lounge and enjoy a pancake, french toast, soup, pasta or sandwich at breakfast or lunch. At dinner the menu also plentiful. Typically there were 2 choices of appetizer, a soup, a featured item as main course and a dessert. If you did not care of the featured main course there was a choice of chicken, steak, fish or Ceasar Salad every night, as well. No, you will not find the vast array of food you'd find on an ocean cruise. That being said, if you find fault in the food on this cruise then I would say you should have booked a Cuisine Cruise instead. I found the food to be delicious, and I thought the Chef was wonderful. Entertainment and Activities were not a huge priority to us. We did not book this cruise to be entertained and party. We were on this trip to enjoy time spent with each other and any new friends we would meet, and we did meet some wonderful people. We thoroughly enjoyed the glassblower, the cookie making, the musical entertainment, the movie nights, disco night and trivia. They were wonderfully presented and fun to attend. Service. The ENTIRE staff bent over backwards to help us. If I were going to say anything on the downside, it would be that my mother and I are not alcohol drinkers. I found it a bit difficult at first to get a soft drink. The wait staff have to go to a different location to get a soft drink so it throws off their service rhythm. Which I totally understand. Dining on a smaller scale ship is like a well thought out ballet. Everything has it's place because of limited space. They are super organized and efficient. I felt I was inconveniencing them to ask for a soft drink. They are pronto with the alcohol, but soft drinks not so much. I worked it out by mid cruise, I began ordering my soft drinks two at a time so that I wouldn't have to ask for a refill later in the meal. Ironically, the majority of the ladies we sat with began doing the same so we became known as the soda drinkers. We also made sure to sit in the areas of the dining room that we knew the waiters were a bit more flexible. From the Captain on down to the room stewards, everyone was wonderful. Ports, docking and excursions. Ports were wonderful. Transportation from the ship to our destinations was quick and efficient. I enjoyed the all the places we visited. I absolutely LOVED Rothenberg, which in our package was an excursion. It was my absolute favorite. If we had thought it through more, we would have gotten an earlier flight to Nuremberg and visited the Market there before boarding the ship. We enjoyed a diverse choice of stops with the commonality of the Christmas Markets, which we loved. If I was going to find a downside, I would have to say the arrival times to the Market locations. I had anticipated this experience for so long. After researching the destinations and seeing pictures of the marketplaces at each, I had a very clear vision in my head. I was mildly disappointed that the majority of the markets we visited weren't even open when we arrived, because we arrived in the mornings. I was excited to experience the markets in the evening when they were lit up to get the full effect of Christmas time festivities. I was grateful to get to see them, but would have loved to see them all at night. I understand we were at the mercy of our port time and sail schedule, but that would be the only thing I would say was disappointing. Overall, this was the trip of a lifetime and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I would do it again and again, and I would sail with Emerald again to do it. It was a great way to "sample" some locations to possibly revisit so that I can spend more time in the places that truly stood out to me. In an nutshell: I loved the entire trip. What I didn't love was the bashing being done by some of the other passengers. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose Emerald because of recommendations on line. They were offering good on board credit and other discounts. The Radiance is a beautiful ship and the staterooms are stunning. The lounge is good but the bar is too big leaving only room ... Read More
We chose Emerald because of recommendations on line. They were offering good on board credit and other discounts. The Radiance is a beautiful ship and the staterooms are stunning. The lounge is good but the bar is too big leaving only room for sitting. There was no space if anyone wanted to dance. The bar is the wrong place. The Entertainment could have been better . There was the resident pianist and one evening a local group played. Having travelled with other river cruise companies this was poor compared with them. The crew however were amazing and made the trip very enjoyable. It is a full on trip with a very busy programme during the day. The weather was amazing which greatly enhanced our enjoyment. The food was very good but it is necessary to enjoy meat. Servings of meat were huge although vegetables were in short supply at the evening dinner. Fish was available as an alternative. We purchased a drinks package which meant drinks were available all day. Other than this we spent very little, which meant while the trip might have appeared expensive everything was included for us. We spent 3 extra days in Lisbon which was great and wished we had stayed longer in Porto as it is quite beautiful. Transfers between Cities, hotels and the ship went very smoothly. I would recommend the Douro as the countryside was some of the most stunning we had seen. Not too many locks and all praise for the Captain as the river in some areas was very narrow and navigation must have been difficult. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We picked this cruise from three other possibilities as we liked the itinerary and the option to have free time to do our own thing. The passengers were mainly 60 plus and my husband and I are 51 and 48. The passengers were a pleasant ... Read More
We picked this cruise from three other possibilities as we liked the itinerary and the option to have free time to do our own thing. The passengers were mainly 60 plus and my husband and I are 51 and 48. The passengers were a pleasant mix of mainly American, Canadian and Australian. From my observation everyone was very friendly and mingled well. Everything went very smoothly from airport pickup to airport departure. We had one minor hiccup with our baggage being misplaced at the end of our tour at the hotel and this was sorted quickly with very minimal fuss. Our cruise director Patricia was excellent. Nothing was ever too much trouble and made sure everything ran smoothly. The dining was spot on. Buffet breakfasts and lunch and five course sit down dinners with endless wine. Special thanks to Eldar (Eddie) and his offsider (I'm so sorry can't remember your name) they were always very attentive, polite and great fun. Our cabin was always very well maintained by Aulia who was friendly and always greeted us by name with a smile. The ports and shore excursions were well thought out. A map with clearly marked points of interest were always handed out with a complimentary bottle of water. We did an optional tour to Rothenburg and special thanks to Renee (Renate) as she organised a tasting tour as we walked through the main street. This was for me a real highlight to try foods from the local businesses. A great touch. All in all we had a great cruising experience. We have cruised before on the ocean but this was our first river cruise experience and would absolutely do another. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot more ... Read More
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot more info on what to expect and someone to answer questions, like your cabin steward whom we didn’t see until the second day. This doesn’t improve, if you miss a port talk you are completely in the dark. The owners suite is small compared to other cruise/River ships. No tv in bedroom so bring binoculars to see it in the sitting room. Expect to hear your neighbors as the rooms have very thin walls. No ice offered unless you get a glass of ice at the bar. If you want a drink you must go to the bar and it’s like asking for a favor. With the premium package you get whatever bottle they have open, and if it’s a good wine, expect it to runout quickly! The cabin steward left our used towels because we didn’t throw them on the floor. Who knew? as this was never communicated. Emerald assured us we wouldn’t hear joggers above our suite but you definitely do, at 6am. They told us we had to put up with it for four days. The crew told us this was the last cruise and they didn’t know if the ship was returning or they had jobs. How sad for them and to bad for us. We sat at the Captains table which was very nice. The food should of been exceptional which I can’t say was the case. I’m really trying to be positive but so far the experience hasn’t lived up to our expectations. The included guided tours have been managed well and you see a lot of the cities you visit. The food is probably the biggest disappointment. No variety and mainly the same theme throughout the whole cruise. The buffet menu was offered only on a couple days, but don’t expect the classics these are only offered when it is a dinner menu night. The soups are either consommé or bouillon and nothing special. When a buffet is offered expect complete chaos. No formal direction just one big free for all. I went on the bike trip from Durnstein to Melk. They did try to talk us out of it but the reviews were to good for me to skip it. The guide was young and worked with her farther who brought up the rear. We did the 20 miles in 3 hours with a half hour lunch break and 5 photo opts. The pace was way to fast and that was because the guide did double duty and needed to get back for the Abby tour. Two folks had to get a cab (52 euro) to get back to the ship. Active is one description but this is Tourist de France. Nothing offered after dinner. OK, my wife and I can’t complain anymore. So much is wrong about this experience we just decided to give in and let it happen. They will not change so we go with the flow but will never ever make the same mistake. Emerald is at best a 2 Star and needs improving. Anyone who travels knows what expectations should be provided and they have a long way to go. Hope this review enlightens your decision. So choose well and happy travels. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We were attracted to the design of the ship, especially the drop down balcony area. On receiving the brochure it was difficult to choose a trip because they all looked so good. The Rhone/ Soane are was chosen for the scenery, the history ... Read More
We were attracted to the design of the ship, especially the drop down balcony area. On receiving the brochure it was difficult to choose a trip because they all looked so good. The Rhone/ Soane are was chosen for the scenery, the history and the culture of the area. Wine growing was an advantage. Each day the morning walking trip with expert guides was included in the cost and well worth doing. Group 1 was always available for a slower paced walk. Walking poles and umbrellas are provided in cabins but we did not need them. After lunch on board, excellent with all dietary needs catered for, there was always an optional extra trip you could pay for. We took part in 3 and felt they were worth it but one other trip friends took part in was felt to be less interesting than the description given implied. As part of Emerald Active there were bikes on board to borrow at each stop and the tow paths were very well maintained. Regular cyclists were able to do 15-30k rides with a guide meeting the boat at the next port on the afternoon we cruised. Entertainment was limited but enjoyable with a pianist during meals, We were lucky in having Darren as our cruise director. He was very efficient with all the arrangements and was great entertainment being a natural comic. We also had a French singer one night and music to listen or dance to in late evening though the dance area was very small. The swimming pool was small but for exercise at the flick of a switch you could swim as long as you wished without moving forward. This are became a cinema after 9pm most nights and had it's own bar and tea station. We didn't use the gym but a massage went down well after all the walking. there was a hairdresser and beautician also. With a small library and table games as well as the putting green and walking track on deck there really was not enough time to try every thing available. Our cabin was compact as the bed was huge and we had 2 chairs and a table in the balcony area plenty of cupboard and drawer space and the best shower I've seen even in a hotel. There was a safe and TV but no kettle but tea etc was always available with good choice. It was plenty big enough as your balcony are is inside the electric drop down windows. This was an advantage over conventional doors as no chance of things rolling or blowing into the river. Our cabin attendant was very good. All the staff were friendly, efficient and professional often multi tasking. We enjoyed the informality of talking to the Captain and other staff. Catering was excellent with plenty of choice and drinks included with meals. Don't worry if you have food intolerance as they mark up a menu for you so you can make informed choices. Overall the trip was great and the ship brand newbut we did find Emerald inflexible to deal with prior to the trip and as we booked 18 months ahead some details had changed but we were not informed.We will book again though. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on ... Read More
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on many evenings at dinner ,when you needed another glass of wine the staff didn't seem to notice . But, other than that ,, it was lovely. The ports of call were great and loved the day we went to have tea with a local family. Would loved to have tried the pool but wasn't brave enough . Due to the weather. Nina our tour guide was always there to answer any questions. Had a massage and it was just " wonderful. Please enjoy your cruise and have fun. Would go with Emerald again . So go go go go go ,fun fun fun . Xx Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
The Emerald Sun is still a new ship with new shiny surfaces and pleasant decor that is attractive and comfortable. The staff are all welcoming and willing to do whatever is requested to make their contribution to the guest's journey ... Read More
The Emerald Sun is still a new ship with new shiny surfaces and pleasant decor that is attractive and comfortable. The staff are all welcoming and willing to do whatever is requested to make their contribution to the guest's journey being positive and memorable. The Tour Director Jana was exceptional in her local knowledge and advice and charming and engaging in talking to the full complement of guests. The waiting staff in the restaurant were all happy, friendly and willing to help in any way requested. The quality of the food was always outstanding with variety and flavours that were equal to any high quality restaurant. Wines served were excellent and one reisling was the best I had ever tasted anywhere! Our cabin on the lowest deck was still roomy, comfortable and had more than enough hanging and storage space. The room was always well prepared each day. The cruise line makes its ambition to ensure all travellers are fully satisfied, even to the point of providing exceptional alternatives when our boat was unable to sail for 2 days due to flooding in the Danube. The compensation was more than one would expect and contributed to a sense that this line is remarkable in placing passengers before profit. An outstanding effort. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I was not sure what to expect from this cruise as I had never been on a river cruise before but having said that it was not that good! First im going to say the good things. The boat was first class The crew were first class ... Read More
I was not sure what to expect from this cruise as I had never been on a river cruise before but having said that it was not that good! First im going to say the good things. The boat was first class The crew were first class The food and entertainment was first class. Most of the tours were first class. Now the not so good! Hardly any daytime cruising! While docked for some reason they decided to pump out the sewage that left a disgusting stink in our cabin made both of us a little nauseous! When we left Prague we were told we would not be going to Nuremberg but to Ragensburg and no attempt was made to take us by bus to Nuremberg for the day and no compensation given for something we paid for, and Nuremberg was a place I was looking forward to seeing! One of our Discover more trips to Blatna was cancelled without compensation this also was something we wanted to do! The beds in the cabin need to have some way to stop them from separating (Velcro) So would I recommend this cruise? Probably but make sure everything is looked into thoroughly before you pay. We did have fun and met new friends so it was not a total washout the countries we visited were fabulous and with a rich history Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We sailed on 13th sept 2017 We chose this cruise from Bucharest to Budapest because of the itinerary and we were not disappointed. The various trips out and the insight into the history was excellent. We were supposed to be on Sky ... Read More
We sailed on 13th sept 2017 We chose this cruise from Bucharest to Budapest because of the itinerary and we were not disappointed. The various trips out and the insight into the history was excellent. We were supposed to be on Sky but it was changed to Sun, which was no problem as the ships are identical. The ship itself was spotless, every one of the crew was helpful and polite. The shiny surfaces, glass and mirrored surfaces did take a bit of getting used to, and could be a bit of a problem especially the stairs where we saw a few near accidents. The balcony suite was fine, always kept immaculately clean by Darko. Plenty of hanging storage as the safe has now been moved. The dining experience however was nothing like as advertised. The dining room itself is extremely noisy, and the only way to converse with fellow passengers is to shout, making it an uncomfortable experience. The food was to say the least disappointing and not at all as represented in the brochure. I have to say however, a fellow traveller who had recently been on Sky said the meals on there were excellent. Portions were extremely small, bland and unappetising. Several guests felt they had to order double to be satisfied. A starter of meatballs should not only consist of one meatball, neither should the cheese board consist of three tiny cubes of cheese with a similar thumbnail size of chutney and no crackers. We flew KLM Manchester via Schiphol threw Emerald. When we arrived in Bucharest our luggage along with quite a few other couples failed to arrive. We duly filled in the claim form, went out into arrivals to find all the transport had gone. Ourselves with one other couple after landing at 1.20pm had to wait until 5.20pm for transport, despite the Emerald rep telling us first of all it would only be 10mins. She then asked us to wait for the London flight promising us to be first on the transport. We were then totally ignored when the transport arrived but managed to tag on at the end. When we got to the hotel our cruise director Yana took details of our lost luggage, but after that showed no interest in it unless we asked her. We were not informed the night after when it arrived and the following morning it had disappeared again, thankfully found on another floor!! As a result of this we went from Wednesday morning till Saturday afternoon in the clothes we stood up in. Yana did say on the Friday, again after asking what we should do, that we had €100 each for necessities. This experience soured what should have been a very enjoyable holiday. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Just home from a River cruise on the River Rhone in Southern France. Flew to Marseiille and then coach to Arle flying home from Lyon. Beautiful ship with excellent staff. Nothing too much trouble , all speaking perfect English, apart ... Read More
Just home from a River cruise on the River Rhone in Southern France. Flew to Marseiille and then coach to Arle flying home from Lyon. Beautiful ship with excellent staff. Nothing too much trouble , all speaking perfect English, apart from the Captain who only spoke French.Complementary walking and coach tours available everyday with extra payable ones mainly after lunch. Lovely cabins with spacious showers and toiletries provided. Food wonderful , breakfast and lunch self service and dinner waiter served. Wine and beer included with meals , several drink packages available .We chose the premium package at €19.90 per day, this entitled us to drinks from 11.00am including cocktails. We certainly got our monies worth. Speciality coffee also available on this package. Tea and coffee available from self service machines all day. Beautiful swimming pool, bigger than usual pools on cruise ships. Didn't use the gym or the hairdresser or beautician. My only criticism would be the fight to get a table at 7.00pm when the gong for dinner is rung. Would certainly recommend and would go on a river cruise again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Recommended by travel agent it was our first cruise and we were not disappointed! The embarkation was smooth, but we had the opportunity to observe the whole embarkation process which was extremely professional with the whole of the crew ... Read More
Recommended by travel agent it was our first cruise and we were not disappointed! The embarkation was smooth, but we had the opportunity to observe the whole embarkation process which was extremely professional with the whole of the crew engaged in the operation. The ship was all we could have wished for and the cabin suited our needs perfectly. The dining experience was 1st class, good food and wine served promptly, efficiently, and cheerfully by a very professional team of waiters. The entertainment was good with the staff show on Thursday night being the highlight. The service throughout was of the highest order from what was clearly, from the captain down a professional and highly motivated team. The shore excursions are not really our "thing" as we prefer a more informal approach. Our only disappointment was the very limited daylight sailing which prevented us enjoying the French countryside. In conclusion we had a throughly enjoyable and relaxing holiday. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose this cruise because we liked the route and loved the price. The Emerald Sun is a visually stunning ship. Our cabin was well positioned and the panoramic windows were a great asset to have. The dining room and lounge were well laid ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we liked the route and loved the price. The Emerald Sun is a visually stunning ship. Our cabin was well positioned and the panoramic windows were a great asset to have. The dining room and lounge were well laid out spaces and designed to encourage interaction between guests. The space at the front of the ship was an awesome place to watch the world go by. Our Cruise Director, Jana, was cheerful, personable and extremely professional. She is the best Cruise Director we have ever seen. Activities were well planned and the tour guides used by Emerald were well-trained and very knowledgeable. The only thing that could be improved was some small details in both the lounge and the dining room. The bar staff were at times slow to notice that guests need a drink. The piano player in the lounge at times played too loud for comfortable conversation to happen. The dining room staff occasionally reached across another person to set a plate down, even if there was room to go behind and serve the plate properly. These are small complaints and could be easily corrected with better training. The trip interruption due to high water levels was handled with awesome efficiency and attention to detail. We stayed two nights in Vienna at the 5-star Bristol Hotel, located in the center of Vienna. We were within walking distance of so many historic sites we couldn't believe our good luck. None of our originally planned activities were compromised by this unexpected change in our itinerary. Our trip couldn't have gone better. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I had been recommended the Moselle and having already sailed the Rhine this combination seemed a good mix, however was not at all impressed when we could not use the top deck for half the holiday (while we were on the River Main). This ... Read More
I had been recommended the Moselle and having already sailed the Rhine this combination seemed a good mix, however was not at all impressed when we could not use the top deck for half the holiday (while we were on the River Main). This should have been mentioned in your description of the holiday. When you have approx 160 people on board and the only outside seating is for approx 40 on the front terrace this is not a good situation, especially when the temperatures are high. The two top deck cabins at least have windows but your visual experience is very limited to just one side of the river. However the staff on the boat were great - having to deal with the frustration of passengers, especially those booked in on the lower deck, was very good, especially as this was not their fault . It really spoilt the holiday for many many passengers. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I enjoyed the three rivers and cross country journey looking at more historic parts of Germany. Everything about the trip was excellent with perhaps the exception o the dining experience. The food was excellent but there developed a bit ... Read More
I enjoyed the three rivers and cross country journey looking at more historic parts of Germany. Everything about the trip was excellent with perhaps the exception o the dining experience. The food was excellent but there developed a bit of a scrum going in for dinner. We were travelling as a group of six and it was not possible to book a table in the restaurant for dinner. Consequently one of our party had to miss the evening briefing to ensure that we were able to sit together for dinner each evening. Apart from this small objection the rest of the experience proved to be excellent, especially the shore excursions. The guides were knowledgeable and responded well to questions. The length of excursions (about 90 mins) proved just right, particularly in the very warm weather we experienced during the journey. Special mention must go the the crew, all of whom were extremely friendly and helpful, Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly indeed with crew on hand to explain and help. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Though we are seasoned ocean cruisers, this was our first river cruise. We'll start with the documentation pack, which arrived in the post a few weeks before the cruise. We were most impressed with the elegant presentation, and ... Read More
Though we are seasoned ocean cruisers, this was our first river cruise. We'll start with the documentation pack, which arrived in the post a few weeks before the cruise. We were most impressed with the elegant presentation, and with the very comprehensive and well-organised information supplied. We were delighted by the river map, and later, on the ship, by the Douro guidebook, which was specifically tuned to all the places we visited. We were warmly and efficiently met at the airport by the cruise director, and transferred to the ship, where the captain greeted us at the gangplank. This was such a nice touch, and indeed Captain Afonso -- a most pleasant gentleman -- was often to be seen around the ship, doing everything from mingling with the passengers to helping with the mooring ropes, quite apart from his superb skills at the wheel. On the first night we had a short cruise under the Porto bridges as the sun went down. Emerald didn't have to give us that outing, but it was a lovely surprise. Our stateroom was not large, but the width and height restrictions needed to get the ship through the five locks make this understandable. It was nicely finished, and contained everything we could possibly need. There was a problem with intrusive mechanical noise on the first night, but Hotel Director Bruno resolved the situation promptly and very graciously. In fact, all of the crew were wonderfully warm and friendly; nothing was too much trouble for them. We won't list all the names, but nobody put a foot wrong. The one person we must mention is Executive Chef Nuno, who produced three wonderful meals every day: great variety, great flavour, great personality. He was often to be seen in the Reflections Restaurant, explaining the various dishes he had created, and frequently manning the egg station at breakfast. All the wines were Portuguese; every lunch and dinner featured at least one Portuguese speciality. We did only some of the included outings, on account of the very tiring heat, but we enjoyed those that we did. We avoided the evening trip in Folgosa, not only because of the heat, but also because of our dislike of mass catering. At the end of the holiday, our flight home wasn't until 6pm. We really appreciated being able to stay in the Horizons Lounge, and eat one more delicious lunch there, before our airport transfer at 2pm. After all that glowing praise, there were just a few minor things we weren't so happy about; we've written separately to Emerald about them. But the overall experience was excellent, and we're looking forward to our next Emerald cruise in 2018. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We were invited by dear friends and had never been on a river cruise before and really had no expectations. Without reservation the experience for both my husband and I was wonderful - The adventures from Budapest through Prague were ... Read More
We were invited by dear friends and had never been on a river cruise before and really had no expectations. Without reservation the experience for both my husband and I was wonderful - The adventures from Budapest through Prague were incredible not only from a historic perspective but from a cultural one also. The cruise was most appropriate for us in that it balanced relaxation with historic touring ( we can still picture both of us sitting on the top deck and viewing the magnificent bridges and churches in Budapest and viewing the vastness and beauty as we traveled along the Danube) . We took advantage of the walking tours offered by Emerald Star which were lead by the most informative tour guides and extended our experience by attending an optional tour to the Opera House where we attended a Viennese concert with music from Mozart and Strauss - an awesome night!! Wish we had an extra day in Vienna - loved the enchanting village of Durnstein - my handmade Christmas ornament will be front and center on the tree this year. The accommodations and service on the Emerald Star were outstanding - While we weren't big fans of the two buffets they had the meals were excellent with attention to details. Amazed at how efficient the staff was - kudos to the chef - Cannot say enough about the staff - professional and courteous - attentive but not overbearing - looked forward to seeing them each day ( especially Sasha) - the crew presented a "show" one night which we are still talking about - I recorded the "happy birthday" song they sang to celebrate someone's birthday at dinner - will play it now that we are home as it brings a smile to our faces. Accommodations were perfect for us - room well appointed - very clean - beds and pillows very comfortable. Glad we had the "balcony" which gave us more space and viewing opportunities. Arrival and Departures very organized and orchestrated. It was obvious that we were in good hands with Bolash. Great Experience - Thank you dear friends for the invitation and thank you Emerald Star!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We were on a large group (wine club) cruise from California. The lack of quality excursions was disappointing. The cruise takes place in the heart of the French wine region yet there were little to no wine related excursions offered. ... Read More
We were on a large group (wine club) cruise from California. The lack of quality excursions was disappointing. The cruise takes place in the heart of the French wine region yet there were little to no wine related excursions offered. Since we were in multiple towns, in multiple AVA's, there should have been many half and full day excursions offered. I had to search and plan our own trips myself, including drivers to take us to wineries we were interested in visiting. I believe very little effort would be required by Emerald Waterways in securing such excursions. The dining experience on board the Emerald Liberte was just so-so. Breakfast was the same day after day with the only thing changing was the flavor of the yoghurt and the pastries. Lunch was poor with what seemed to be prepared from canned or frozen foods. Meat and gravy, fish, vegetables that didn't seem fresh, and pasta that was flavorless. There were no lunchmeats or cheeses to make a sandwich with. Dinner had good presentation but everything else was lacking. The meat was a poor cut and was tough. The vegetables were fresh, as the chef was seen shopping in town most days, but they were just steamed with no effort to enhance the flavors. We were in France for God sake, at least have some sort of French cuisine. I can get American food everyday of the year at home. Our only true French cuisine was the night we went into town on our own. The ship was wonderful and the staff was excellent, very helpful with any questions we had and were very personable with everyone. The towns were well chosen with a lot of history represented in each. Would I go again? I would really have to consider that with the food being a large part of any cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We chose Emerald for our first river cruise based on reputation and information available on website. Have previously taken ocean cruises we now felt we wanted to try the intimacy of a smaller ship. The itinerary looked interesting and ... Read More
We chose Emerald for our first river cruise based on reputation and information available on website. Have previously taken ocean cruises we now felt we wanted to try the intimacy of a smaller ship. The itinerary looked interesting and have always wanted to visit Vienna. Embarkation was smooth and were taken to our Panoramic balcony stateroom by a member of staff. The cabin was modern and spotless. Large ceiling to floor window which gave a wonderful view while travelling and this was enhanced when the window was lowered. Our cabin steward was very good and always greeted us by name. He worked very hard and the cabin was spotless throughout the cruise. We enjoyed the planned stops and the quality of guides was very good with interesting content. They were very knowledgeable and spoke good English. The tours were not too long and mostly took part in the mornings so we were back on board for lunch. The self service lunches were a little chaotic. The served dinners were much more civilised and the restaurant staff were all very professional and very attentive. The quality of food overall was good. Highlights were the classical recital in Vienna and the tour of Vienna. Passau was lovely and wish we had more time there. The afternoon tea with a Slovakian family was also enjoyable. Entertainment was low key in the evenings, however the Bararian dancers and the band were good. The small infinity pool at the rear of the ship and its lounge area were ideal if you wanted peace and quiet and it also gave you a lovely view. The organisation by the cruise director Jana was exceptional and she definitely had her finger on the button. Nothing was too much trouble and a couple of times things had to be changed and she did this efficiently. Going through the many locks was an interesting experience and we passed under some very low bridges. Overall this was a lovely experience and a good introduction to river cruising. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We had never been on a river cruise before so maybe our expectations were too high. The really good thing about it was that all the arrangements for getting on and off the boat, excursions etc went like clockwork and the local guides were ... Read More
We had never been on a river cruise before so maybe our expectations were too high. The really good thing about it was that all the arrangements for getting on and off the boat, excursions etc went like clockwork and the local guides were in general excellent. The tours themselves were variable - some rather boring and created just to fill time. The boat was lovely and clean and modern but we found the cabin small considering we had a grand balcony. Because of the minibar and safe in the wardrobe there was little room to hang clothes and to get to the loo you had to turn sideways passed the bed. The bathroom itself was fine and the drawer storage was good. We found the entertainment to be poor. The service was pretty good although dinner took a long time - if you didn't want all the courses you just had to wait as they would only serve one course at a time. We would not go on another such cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Wanted to go down the Danube and visit bits of Eastern Europe to which we had not previously been to see. We visited Budapest, Hungary (night cruise to see the lights was very good), and Kalosca, Hungary for a horse show. Osijek, ... Read More
Wanted to go down the Danube and visit bits of Eastern Europe to which we had not previously been to see. We visited Budapest, Hungary (night cruise to see the lights was very good), and Kalosca, Hungary for a horse show. Osijek, Croatia. Belgrade Serbia (looks more prosperous now) sailed through the Iron Gates Gorge. Arbanasi Silistra and Varna in Bulgaria (the most traditional and probably the poorest country). and Bucharest (much more prosperous and lively than suspected). The visits were mostly part of the cruise price and well organized and the crew dealt with problems well. The dining/bar staff were very good with an occasional grumpy or over officious one. Cabin kept immaculately clean. Drinks on board were at 'cruise prices' with a number of complex packages which could be added to the mealtime free beers and local wine. Beers only lager locally wine ranged from quite good to barely drinkable. Breakfast was buffet food ok layout of the buffet poorly thought out. (A whole circuit was required to get standard bread, butter and jam) but not a major problem. Dinners were good and not overly large (thank goodness). Entertainment pianist (Gianni) exceptional, local entertainment competent but of limited interest. Cruise Director (Polina) very pleasant and competent but tired a bit towards the end of the cruise, should have had a deputy she seemed to be on duty 18 hours a day. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose this cruise line because of the itinerary, but also because everything was included in the price. We departed from Amsterdam and disembarked in Nuremberg. Ship is very modern and clean, sleek. Crew was fantastic and one ... Read More
We chose this cruise line because of the itinerary, but also because everything was included in the price. We departed from Amsterdam and disembarked in Nuremberg. Ship is very modern and clean, sleek. Crew was fantastic and one of the highlights of the week! Such fun young people! I felt our room was roomy and loved the drop down picture window! Brought so much fresh air into the room! Food was good (not great). Wine and beer included with lunch & dinner was a very nice touch and wine was delicious! Cruise included tours in each port, normally walking tours. This was nice, but you can only get around as fast as your slowest walker! this we found to be an issue! By end of week they were designating "slower" walking groups, which helped ! I think they should have done that from the start. Group for the older or impaired walkers at every port. Could have used more entertainment in the evenings. The disco night and Name that Tune game was fun...but should have had something every night. Not expecting "shows" like large cruise lines, but a bit of entertainment each night would have been better. Negative: I'm assuming because of high water levels they had to close the upper deck about day 2 for the balance of the cruise. This was very disappointing and I think Emerald ought to warn of this possibility in their write ups a bit more. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We wanted to see this part of France which was new to us. Having to fly from Edinburgh to Amsterdam and then on to Marseille wasn't the best way to start a holiday especially as the 'special assistance' for my wife in ... Read More
We wanted to see this part of France which was new to us. Having to fly from Edinburgh to Amsterdam and then on to Marseille wasn't the best way to start a holiday especially as the 'special assistance' for my wife in Marseille wasn't the best with a miserable girl who would only take us to the door even though the coach was on the far side of the coach park. However, the Emerald rep. was very good and the transfer to Arles was fine. It was very nice to find that we had been upgraded from Panoramic Balcony Cabin to a Grand Balcony Cabin. This was almost perfect apart from the very narrow space between bed and shower room. I've seen less smart shower rooms in some high grade hotels! The rest of the cruise did not disappoint and the crew could not have been nicer, more helpful or friendlier. They said they worked as a family and indeed they seemed to be just that with very little division between crew of different rank. We were lucky to have excellent weather the whole time and would recommend this cruise without reservation. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Every single member of the crew was outstandingly good at their job. You could not find a friendlier, more efficient group of widely international people anywhere, The ship, itself, was well designed in every respect. Given the size ... Read More
Every single member of the crew was outstandingly good at their job. You could not find a friendlier, more efficient group of widely international people anywhere, The ship, itself, was well designed in every respect. Given the size limitations of a Danube river cruise, nothing could have been better. The lounge and restaurant on board were very well run, both in the range of food and the immaculate service of the staff. The whole atmosphere was very amenable at ll times. The off-board excursions were run with great precision, even down to the special guides for the slower, more disabled passengers when walking around in groups. Shuttlebuses in the larger cities were well organised and very useful. Tours around the three big cities were very informative but the outstanding trip of the week was in Slovakia to visit a real family in their home environment and experience their friendly hospitality. Brilliant at his job was Balazs Varga, who was on top of all planning and made everything run smoothly. We cannot praise the whole organisation enough for providing one of the most enjoyable holidays you could possibly have anywhere in the world.. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Choosing the Danube Delights river cruise enable my husband and I to visit several cities in Europe that we hadn't before and how pleased we both were. We had never taken a cruise before and was excited to give it a go. What a ... Read More
Choosing the Danube Delights river cruise enable my husband and I to visit several cities in Europe that we hadn't before and how pleased we both were. We had never taken a cruise before and was excited to give it a go. What a wonderful experience it turned out to be from the moment we embarked in Budapest to the disembarkment in Nuremberg it couldn't have been better. Our ship was beautiful and much more spacious than expected. Our cabin was surprisingly spacious and well equipped for our comfort. Spotlessly clean and well serviced every day. Dining aboard was excellent and the service second to none. The staff or should I say crew aboard could not have been more helpful and attentive. The daily programme or itinerary was comprehensive and well planned. The evening entertainment was just enough after our busy time on our shore excursions which again was very professionally done and interesting. We saw some amazing sights along the way and thoroughly enjoyed our Discover More events. Our only regret was that we only had eight days...had we known how exceptionally fantastic this way of travelling was we wished we had stayed on longer! And yes, we will certainly be travelling again with Emerald Waterways. Read Less
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