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Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise because we particularly liked the sound of the itinerary, given that it was listed as a "Connoisseur Collection" cruise. Little did we realise at the time of booking that the majority of the Connoisseur ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we particularly liked the sound of the itinerary, given that it was listed as a "Connoisseur Collection" cruise. Little did we realise at the time of booking that the majority of the Connoisseur Collection tours were not included in the price and were listed as optional extras, often at considerable extra cost. We were also drawn in by the claims in the brochures of "the finest wines and ultra-premium liquors" being part of the all-inclusive deal. They are not. The ship itself is opulent and well appointed, we particularly liked the fact that there is a complimentary guest laundry (handy when you've been on the road for several weeks beforehand), but we found the climate control in the guest lounge and dining room to be woefully inadequate for the conditions. Contrast this to the comments from some of our fellow travellers who had spent the previous week on the sister ship, the S Joie de Vivre during a record heat wave - they said the air conditioning on board that ship was so effective they found themselves having to wear long sleeves to dinner - nothing like what we experienced, which was more akin to a sauna. There was a disappointing lack of entertainment on board, many of the tours (including some that we had to pay extra for) were just standard walking tours with little added value and the service overall was good, but certainly nothing like what we had experienced previously through APT on AMA Waterways. In fact, several of the tours that we had to pay extra for with Uniworld are listed as included standards in the latest APT brochure. All in all, it was an enjoyable trip, a four star service, but certainly not on par with AMA Waterways and definitely NOT the 6-star service we were led to believe. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
First impressions of the boat were excellent and we had no reason to change our minds. Embarkation was smooth and we were shown to our very comfy accommodation. The cabin was quite compact but very well designed so space wasn’t a ... Read More
First impressions of the boat were excellent and we had no reason to change our minds. Embarkation was smooth and we were shown to our very comfy accommodation. The cabin was quite compact but very well designed so space wasn’t a problem. It was kept immaculately by the housekeeping staff throughout our trip. The food was outstanding, covering many of the regional specialties during the course of the week, always plenty of choice and always delicious. The wine was well chosen and flowed freely during lunch and dinner. We cannot praise the staff enough, always friendly and helpful. They made you feel your enjoyment of the holiday was very important to them. The daily excursions were well chosen using knowledgeable and helpful local guides. The evening entertainment on board was enjoyable, especially the quizzes and dancing, we also had great fun taking part in a salsa lesson one afternoon. We were particularly impressed by the officers’ sympathetic, discreet and effective handling of a thankfully minor medical emergency involving my husband, who has diabetes. The discreet subsequent enquires as to his health were greatly appreciated. Thank you to everyone for a fabulous cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Emerald Cruise: Lyon to Arles with Nice extension – June 8-18, 2019 Last year, my wife and I, along with another couple booked the Rhine river cruise with Emerald Cruise Line, adding 3 days in Nice as an extension of the trip. The ... Read More
Emerald Cruise: Lyon to Arles with Nice extension – June 8-18, 2019 Last year, my wife and I, along with another couple booked the Rhine river cruise with Emerald Cruise Line, adding 3 days in Nice as an extension of the trip. The cruise itself was awesome! River cruising allows you to watch the countryside go by at a pleasant and relaxing pace. We never felt the motion of the ship, nor heard the sound of the engines. We often lowered the upper window of our French balcony, hanging our heads out the window to enjoy the air and the views. The room was comfy, and efficiently used the space. Our housekeeper, Petra, was friendly, efficient and kept our room immaculate without ever disturbing us. We sailed North to South from Lyon to Arles, making stops at Chalon, Tournon, Viviers, and Avignon. Our Cruise Director, Jana, introduced herself and made us feel welcome and at ease, giving us an overview of what we would see in the following 7 days. Each evening she would explain the next day’s itinerary and what excursion options we could choose [or just relax on the ship playing games and meeting new friends]. At each of those nightly previews she would relate a “story” to us which would crack us up. You can’t miss Jana’s stories. She introduced the captain and the captain 2. The captain welcomed us in French while captain 2 translated, adding several funny quips which may or may not have been in the original. Jana then brought out Istvan, the “floating hotel” director. He obviously has a stressful job and emphasized our comfort and safety. Next, we met our activities director Drazen, who was hysterical the entire trip. He led most of the games such as music and movie trivia, true-or-false, and the more physical activities such as bike trips, pool aquatics. The chef, Theo, was very talented. The food was outstanding. The breakfast was a full buffet, lunch was a buffet combo with the main entrée being a selection prepared in the galley kitchen. Dinner was outstanding both in its variety [with many different selections for each night] and the quality of the cuisine and presentation. Every dinner exceeded our expectations. And, of course, the wines from the Rhone valley [Cote du Rhone, Burgundy, T’ain L’Hermitage, Chateauneuf de Pape] were outstanding. The servers in the dining room were attentive [especially Antonio], and mastered the art of mirrored service, so that both sides of the table received their plates at the same time. They must have made 15 trips each meal up and down the stairs from the dining room to the galley. Everyone could choose their daily excursions depending on their wishes and/or activity level. And they were all great! Informative bus/walking/bike tours utilized local guides who knew the area and their subjects, and geared their script and speed to their audience. Emerald has done a great job of building a crew on this ship who works as a team and as a family, always smiling, accommodating our every need and excited to share with us the pleasures of river cruising. By the way, don’t sleep through the locks. To see the ship go through one of those is fascinating. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We had never been to the south of France and wanted to get a taste of the area to know whether we would like to return. We chose to spend a few days in Lyon ahead of the trip to overcome jet lag and to get to know the area, and we chose ... Read More
We had never been to the south of France and wanted to get a taste of the area to know whether we would like to return. We chose to spend a few days in Lyon ahead of the trip to overcome jet lag and to get to know the area, and we chose the Nice extension at the end of the journey for the same reason. Embarkation in Lyon and disembarkation in Arles were both smooth.The ship was new, clean, efficient and the operation was run very well. The service throughout is first good. The cabins were well appointed, and there was plenty of room for our luggage under the bed. Although the cabins are small, we really only slept there and didn't need a larger cabin. The food continues to be excellent and suitably varied by region. Our cruise director, Jana, is fantastic; coincidentally, she had been our cruise director on our first cruise three years ago, and we were delighted to see her. She recognized us right away! There were many more activities during the cruise this time, and they were well thought out and attracted a good number of guests. We enjoyed the shore excursions, although a few of the local guides were disappointing. We passed on our thoughts at the end of the trip via the evaluation form. For us, the best extra excursion was to Pont du Gard, the amazing Roman aqueduct. We were joined by two other family members and two friends, for a party of six. Would we take another cruise on Emerald? In a heartbeat! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
It is really hard to criticize this company. It would be like kicking a puppy. They are just so eager and try so hard. Before selecting this cruise we saw some river cruise shows on the travel channel. We were put off by the passengers ... Read More
It is really hard to criticize this company. It would be like kicking a puppy. They are just so eager and try so hard. Before selecting this cruise we saw some river cruise shows on the travel channel. We were put off by the passengers being one step form a nursing home and the lame entertainment. No, all our well-traveled friends assured us. Viking is nothing like that. Hate to say it, but that's exactly what it was. Initially on board, we thought this would be our first and last river cruise. During the week, the amazing staff and service grew on us, and now we can easily envision another such adventure. The great parts were the included tours and the afternoon lectures. I was expecting super-gourmet food, and although they attempted authentic cuisine, it was a bit more plebeian than imagined. Still, quite tasty and excellent choices. The passengers were mostly American with a few scattered Brits and Canadians. I might have appreciated more diversity, but we met some very interesting people nonetheless. We mostly just took the included tours and walked around each town on our own after lunch. You can get plenty of exercise this way if you want to. After exhaustion sets in, we found it very pleasant chatting with folks in the lounge, sipping wine or tea along with delicious homemade cookies and watching the scenery pass by. A French friend recommended Les Baux and Lumieres. Thank goodness I took his advice and sprang for this optional excursion. It was the most amazing part of the trip by far. The worst part was the air route home selected by Viking, supposedly free. You get what you pay for. They scheduled us to leave the ship at 3:30 am. The car that took us to the airport broke down on the highway soon thereafter. The driver made us get out for fear of our vehicle being hit in the pitch dark. We waited in the freezing cold for about 45 minutes, climbing over the highway barrier to be safe, while the driver frantically called everyone he knew to come get us. Viking redeemed themselves by meeting us at the airport and whisking us through the first class check-in even though we were flying steerage. Three exhausting flights later, we were home. Next time, I will pay more attention to the flights and times they offer me, and pay extra to not run the gauntlet. Overall, the experience was excellent even with the aforementioned downsides. Just do it! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Wanted to see something of the South of France & sample some of the wines. We have travelled with Emerald twice before & really enjoyed the holidays. This cruise was of similar standard however there were a few minor problems. The ... Read More
Wanted to see something of the South of France & sample some of the wines. We have travelled with Emerald twice before & really enjoyed the holidays. This cruise was of similar standard however there were a few minor problems. The cabins were smaller than The Emerald Sky - lacking in storage space. When the weather was really hot & we wanted the swimming pool roof open non of the staff knew how to operate the roof so it remained closed. The food in the evenings was OK - the meat was on the whole was tough & I was unable to eat it at times, the restaurant staff never noticed that I was not eating until dinner was over so I was unable to have another meal. One of our party is Gluten Free therefore unable to drink beer/lager, as we had had a problem with getting cider on the Emerald Skye I contacted Emerald before our holiday & was told they would inform Liberte staff however the bar staff did not understand cider & insisted on serving it in a small wine glass even though we were paying for a full 330mls, they were obviously keeping what was left in the bottle for the next drink which consequently was flat & undrinkable. We enjoyed the excursions, saw some amazing places, the guides were excellent. The staff on the whole were enthusiastic & friendly & accommodating. It was a shame that most of the sailing was at night so we were unable to sit on the sun deck & watch the world go by & see the sights unlike the Rhine cruise. The ship was clean, the cabin staff efficient. One the whole we had a lovely week and would sail with Emerald again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We wanted to take a cruise and looked first at cruises within the United States but it was actually less expensive to go to Europe with Viking and the airfare was outstanding with Viking taking care of all the details. It was a "no ... Read More
We wanted to take a cruise and looked first at cruises within the United States but it was actually less expensive to go to Europe with Viking and the airfare was outstanding with Viking taking care of all the details. It was a "no brainer" to us. Viking met us at the airport and provided bus transportation to the ship. They took care of our luggage and delivered it to our room. Disembarkation was smooth as well with Viking taking care of all the details including taking our luggage to the bus and the bus itself. The ship was clean as was our cabin. Dining was outstanding. The food was excellent, the variety vast, and the featured local specialties were fun. There was some ship-based entertainment which was fun and we particularly enjoyed the cultural presentations. The service was beyond reproach. Every employee was courteous and went out of his or her way to make sure we were accommodated. The selection or ports and the included excursions were great. We also went on several optional excursions which were well planned and definitely a good value. We have already scheduled another cruise this year with Viking. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We had always wanted to go on a River Cruise and friends of ours recommended the Lyon to Avignon cruise so we booked it. From the moment we arrived on the ship to the time we left for home we were impressed with the amenities and the ... Read More
We had always wanted to go on a River Cruise and friends of ours recommended the Lyon to Avignon cruise so we booked it. From the moment we arrived on the ship to the time we left for home we were impressed with the amenities and the hospitality of the ship's crew. We arrived early on the first day having taken an early flight from LHR to Lyon and since we were the only ones on our flight we had the pleasure of getting a private car from the airport to the ship. Since we arrived early (at about 10am), our room was not ready so we checked our luggage with the front desk and had a nice chat with a couple who were getting ready to depart. I thought we were going to have to wait until 3pm, but we were pleasantly surprised that our room was ready at about 11am! We got a short tour of the room and after we unpacked it was time for lunch. The included excursions were good for the most part and for the majority of our time we had good weather. It was only the last full day when we had rain. We did two of the optional tours ("Beaujolais and Truffles" and "the Flavors of Provence") and would recommend them highly. Overall, we would recommend this cruise to others. I would have liked to spend more time in Avignon, but now that I have been to that part of France I would probably go back to Lyon and Avignon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Ship was great. Crew was outstanding.Everthing. With a smile. Gabriela our cabin stewardess was particularly attentive and went the extra mile to make our accommodations clean and beautiful.The captain was very helpful with explaining the ... Read More
Ship was great. Crew was outstanding.Everthing. With a smile. Gabriela our cabin stewardess was particularly attentive and went the extra mile to make our accommodations clean and beautiful.The captain was very helpful with explaining the operational functions of piloting the ship. Jana was very organized and efficient,and enthusiastic.We also enjoyed our waiters especially Sasa. We appreciated the variety in all the meals served ,Many of the choices were well prepared and beautifully presented. The evening with the local chef was a lovely surprise. And he even signed the menus for us! We thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed the daily tours with the knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides we appreciated the special events such as the wine tasting and the cheese tastings. It was great having entertainment each evening. Enjoyed the option of watching movies. We liked the option of having bike rides. Also appreciated the Pool. We enjoyed most of the wines but thought the house wines available from the bar could have been more varied. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
Everything on the boat was excellent. The food, the staff and service were top shelf. We stayed in a Veranda Suite. The tours were average but the scenery was not very interesting while cruising, unlike our previous Viking tour from ... Read More
Everything on the boat was excellent. The food, the staff and service were top shelf. We stayed in a Veranda Suite. The tours were average but the scenery was not very interesting while cruising, unlike our previous Viking tour from Budapest to Amsterdam. Every place we stopped was over crowded with tourists. At several stops we had to stand in long lines to see the attraction. It was extremely hot most of the week (this was our fault for choosing mid July). On one tour, after walking around the city we were taken the top of a very high site, by a tram, that overlooked the city and river which was very interesting, but it started raining at the top of the hill. The tram took us about 1/3 of the way back to the boat and dumped us off in pouring rain. Only 1 couple had an umbrella so everybody got 'soaked to the bone' walking back to the boat. On our next cruise we will go either early or late in the season, but definitely on Viking. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We had not cruised the River Rhone before and were interested to see this part of France. We were not disappointed. The boat was just the right size, pristine and welcoming. The crew were all friendly, from the Captain, Cruise Manager and ... Read More
We had not cruised the River Rhone before and were interested to see this part of France. We were not disappointed. The boat was just the right size, pristine and welcoming. The crew were all friendly, from the Captain, Cruise Manager and Hotel Manager, through dining room and kitchen staff, to cabin staff and the engine room and maintenance staff. We were introduced to them all. Our Chef was inspirational, producing four-course lunches and dinners with ample choices at each course, all to an extremely high standard. Wine and soft drinks complemented each meal and were included in the cost of the cruise. There was a choice of on-shore excursions from each port, depending on our interests and abilities, and we travelled in modern coaches to reach the further destinations. There were guided walking tours from the boat at each port and some tours by bicycle. We would highly recommend cruising with Ama Waterways. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Emerald would like to think that they are on the same level as Avalon...not so. They have a long way to get there. The rooms are small and you can hear the toilets flushing all night long fro the nearby cabins. The bathrooms are ... Read More
Emerald would like to think that they are on the same level as Avalon...not so. They have a long way to get there. The rooms are small and you can hear the toilets flushing all night long fro the nearby cabins. The bathrooms are small and difficult to maneuver for the average sized adult. The Cruise Director although pleasant, was new to the industry and needs more experience. She did not know anybody’s name and spent most of her time just making announcements. The ship was heavy with glass and mirrors throughout to make it appear larger. The decor was bland and uninviting. The housekeeping staff, as well as the wait staff were very attentive and friendly. The sun deck was totally unused. No barbecue, no activities, nothing. Just a place for someone and the staff to go to smoke. The movies shown were the same that you could see on your tv in the cabin. The food was “all French all the time” with limited selections to choose from. Some of the included excursions were more of just a filler. No wow factor. Upon disembarking we saw every able body person carrying luggage...including the head chef...REALLY? I expected more from Emerald and was very disappointed. This was my first and last time with Emerald. It’s back to Avalon for me. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
This was a fabulous cruise! It was even better than we expected. Everything about it was first class! I can’t say enough wonderful things about Viking. The crew was friendly, helpful and always available to answer any questions. The ... Read More
This was a fabulous cruise! It was even better than we expected. Everything about it was first class! I can’t say enough wonderful things about Viking. The crew was friendly, helpful and always available to answer any questions. The ship was immaculate and the crew was fantastic. The pre-dinner get togethers were an entertainment in themselves. More…the tours were great. They were very informative and the variety of choices was terrific. The cabin was a good size and fully supplied with soap and all necessities. The food was very good. There was a wonderful variety every meal!! Every night we met new people and had such fun. The dining experience was very impressive. The culture, art and scenery we experienced was breathtaking. I hope many more people will get to enjoy this beautiful country. I definitely recommend Viking to everyone who love to travel. This was our first cruise but not our last with Viking!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
The timing was right and we had never visited any of the towns in France before. Viking was recommended to us by neighbors and friends. The large cruise ships had become too crowded, impersonal and not very relaxing. The cabin was ... Read More
The timing was right and we had never visited any of the towns in France before. Viking was recommended to us by neighbors and friends. The large cruise ships had become too crowded, impersonal and not very relaxing. The cabin was immaculate and roomy. We enjoyed having a balcony on which to relax between meals, tours or with a glass of wine after dinner. The staff could not have been more accommodating and pleasant. The tours were excellent. We are history buffs as well as wine lovers. Both interests were peaked on our tours. And the guides were wonderful. The entertainment on board was fun; informative and well done. This cruise answered all our wants and needs. We have since sung Viking ‘s praises to everyone we know who is considering a cruise. This is truly the only way to go and we are already considering our next Viking cruise in Portugal next year. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
The ship and crew were fabulous. We had a wondeful cruise but it was way too sedentary for us. We like to exercise which there wasn’t any and we love to see entertainment which there was very little, if any. The food was good but ... Read More
The ship and crew were fabulous. We had a wondeful cruise but it was way too sedentary for us. We like to exercise which there wasn’t any and we love to see entertainment which there was very little, if any. The food was good but really nothing to write home about. If you love excursions though this is what it is all about. We had cooking classes, saw history that was made over 2000 years ago. They offered many free excursions but we upgraded and did a lot that cost an additional fee. They were the ones that we enjoyed the most. Seeing the countryside, wine tasting in the basement of a castle. Watching a dog find truffles, goat farmers make goat cheese, exploring the many foods that were made by top notch bakers, chocolatiers, cheese makers and sausage makers was what made the trip. We also enjoyed the many people that we met on the ship. They were wonderful and the many stories they had made it great. Not enough activity for me but I do think I will try one of their ocean cruises next. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose the route (Rhone from Lyon to Marsailles) and having been bumped from a Scenic trip (same route) were offered this in it's place! I think we got a good substitute in a three month old ship and state of the art. We decided on ... Read More
We chose the route (Rhone from Lyon to Marsailles) and having been bumped from a Scenic trip (same route) were offered this in it's place! I think we got a good substitute in a three month old ship and state of the art. We decided on the owners suite to provide space as our previous river cruises have been in very small cabins. The cabin was great but probably not worth an extra £2000 for the two of us! We normally do sea cruises (Seven Seas) but only two other river trips. Amawaterways from Siam Reap to Saigon (Rather primitive) Also Volga cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg (Okay). In both cases trips chosen for venues! Staff were excellent especially the bar, housekeeping and reception staff. The second captain was great and filled in for captain who didn't speak English. The off boat trips were in general very well led by tour guides and as interesting as could be in a small area. The food in general was disappointing especially when the kitchen staff showed they could raise their game for special dinners (farewell for example). Wines served at dinner were however really very good. 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: March 2017
Friends invited us to join them on this cruise. It was so much more than I expected. The ship is beautiful, the land excursions were such fun, the food was wonderful, I have celiac disease and gluten free food was such a delight, the ... Read More
Friends invited us to join them on this cruise. It was so much more than I expected. The ship is beautiful, the land excursions were such fun, the food was wonderful, I have celiac disease and gluten free food was such a delight, the chef and restaurant manager were outstanding and were happy to meet my needs. I enjoyed all the amenities, the staff were outstanding, the service impeccable. The stateroom was more than adequate, and everything was clean and so well maintained. We all enjoyed the shore excursions, the truffle farm with our guide Jeanette was such fun. I especially enjoyed the Viviers excursion and the chcurch with the pipe organist, it was such a lovely little town and that was such a nice day for all of us. The wines provided by our sommelier were so wonderful, was determined to try the reds since we were traveling in burgundy, they were so good. This was the trip of a lifetime as far as I was concerned, I would and have recommended to friends. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was a highly recommended line by all who we talked to. Our trip from Avignon to Lyon exceeded our expectations (which were very high having talked to knowing friends) in every way. I have limited mobility and the cruise staff did all ... Read More
This was a highly recommended line by all who we talked to. Our trip from Avignon to Lyon exceeded our expectations (which were very high having talked to knowing friends) in every way. I have limited mobility and the cruise staff did all they could to make my and my wife's experience a memorable one. The food was representative of local fare as much as possible and the beverages were fantastic. One of us would just mention a desire to the staff and it just appeared. Taken care of. They have a way of making you feel as if you're the only couple aboard. We have only one regret - we didn't book a longer cruise. With one day consumed by air travel at each end of the cruise, eight days was too short. It seemed that as soon as we were starting to really luxuriate it was time to go home. We've since booked a longer cruise for this Fall. Read Less

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