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Sail Date: December 2018
We loved the 7 day Christmas Markets cruise from Budapest to Nurenberg! The Emerald Waterways cruise line was a wonderful choice. The food was excellent! Wine, Beer and Soft Drinks are included at each lunch and dinner. Balocz our ... Read More
We loved the 7 day Christmas Markets cruise from Budapest to Nurenberg! The Emerald Waterways cruise line was a wonderful choice. The food was excellent! Wine, Beer and Soft Drinks are included at each lunch and dinner. Balocz our cruise director, was organized, enthusiastic, engaging and well spoken. The tour guides on the local excursions were excellent as well! We loved touring the Christmas Markets and Balocz would share interesting information each night about the next day's city. The rooms on the Emerald Sun were very clean and well appointed. As it was December and the sun set at 4:30 p.m., we didn't spend very much time on the top deck but it looked like a great place to enjoy the sun in the spring, summer or fall. We started our trip in Budapest and enjoyed two days there before our cruise. We wished we had had a couple extra days as there were so many sights to visit. The cruise stopped in Bratislava, Milk, Durnstein, Vienna, Passau, Regensberg and finally, Nurenberg. We took the day excursion to Salzburg on the day we arrived in Passau. The trip to Salzburg was magical as it had snowed the night before. We will definitely book another cruise through Emerald Waterways. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Note: We were supposed to sail on the Emerald Destiny, but because of low water levels, passengers cruised on the Emerald Sun instead. Our Christmas Market cruise with Emerald Waterways was everything we had hoped it would be. We ... Read More
Note: We were supposed to sail on the Emerald Destiny, but because of low water levels, passengers cruised on the Emerald Sun instead. Our Christmas Market cruise with Emerald Waterways was everything we had hoped it would be. We started in Budapest and travelled along the Danube until we reached Nuremberg where we proceeded by motor coach for the three-day extension in Prague. Everything went smoothly from beginning to end, thanks to the cruise director and staff who attended to every detail. This was our first river cruise and we were impressed with the personal attention that the staff provided to each of its passengers such as arranging transfers to and from the airport, assisting in planning activities, providing free use of an iPad on board, etc. There were many items included in the cruise package including tipping, complimentary beverages with lunch and dinner (including wine and beer), as well as many walking tours with experienced guides. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our port stops. The ship was docked as close as possible to the towns and cities we were visiting which made it convenient for touring. We were especially charmed by the Christmas markets in Budapest and Prague which offered a variety of local foods and numerous hand-made crafts. The Christmas lights and decorations added a magical touch to the overall atmosphere. The smaller places we stopped at were also delightful. One excursion offered the opportunity of meeting with a Slovakian couple in their private home to enjoy coffee and cake with them. Dürnstein is a lovely town with lots of atmosphere, plenty of shopping opportunities, and you can even explore the castle ruins. Other interesting excursions that were available included a trip to the enchanting city of Salzburg. Prague is a captivating city with its stunning architecture and lovely cultural atmosphere. The three-day extension included the coach transfer from Nuremberg to Prague, accommodation, daily breakfast, and a local dinner with entertainment, as well as the services of a tour guide. We were pleased with our accommodation in Prague at the Grandium Hotel which was only a short walk from Old Town Square. The excellent complimentary buffet breakfast was offered in a spacious dining area, and it included a generous assortment of selections. On this portion of the trip, we were accompanied by a most professional, knowledgeable, personable, and experienced tour guide. He provided a very interesting city tour which included various highlights such as Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, and a visit to the Old Town Square. I would highly recommend this guide if you are ever in Prague (Petr, pzamostny@bdiscovery.org). We wish to extend a sincere thanks to all the staff and tour guides of Emerald Waterways for a wonderful trip! Read Less
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Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. The cruise exceeded our expectations. There was some concern that due to low water level in the rivers we may have to change ships or go by bus for part of the trip but we did ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. The cruise exceeded our expectations. There was some concern that due to low water level in the rivers we may have to change ships or go by bus for part of the trip but we did go the full trip on the Emerald Dawn. The crew were fantastic, they were so attentive and friendly while being very efficient. The shore excursions all went well with very experienced guides. We did have snow which just made the trip for us. The cabin we had was comfortable enough. The cabin was very clean and well presented. The food for breakfast, lunch and dinner was of a high standard. Our cruise director was seemed to work 20 hours a day as he always seemed to be working away at his desk! Our embarkation went very smoothly. We arranged our own travel after the cruise and our cruise director organised a suitable transport for 5 people for us to the train station. Everything just ran like clockwork. We would definately cruise with Evergreen/Emerald Waterways again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We have just completed the Amsterdam to Budapest Christmas Markets river cruise. It was very good trip and I would highly recommend it to anyone. We were somewhat worried about the river levels as Europe had a terrible summer and many ... Read More
We have just completed the Amsterdam to Budapest Christmas Markets river cruise. It was very good trip and I would highly recommend it to anyone. We were somewhat worried about the river levels as Europe had a terrible summer and many cruises were impacted with people having to change boats or take long legs on coaches. Thankfully this never happened to us. Whilst, Evergreen have their river guarantee we didn't need to rely on it. About a week before the cruise we were called by Evergreen to tell us the situation and give us a couple of options. We decided to proceed as planned. The ship was excellent and we were in a grand balcony suite, it provided a a little extra room and a few extra comforts. Now for some specifics: Food: The food was a generally pretty good - in terms of quality and quantity it couldn't be faulted. Where there is room for improvement is variety. As someone who doesn't eat fish/seafood I was often left with one choice. They have a couple of standing choices in terms of steaks and chicken but these were not well prepared in my opinion. Alcohol - they offer free beer and wine with meals. If you want anything else outside of meal times you will need to pay for it or arrange for a drinks package. This is what we did. Laundry - depending on your canine choice you may get some pieces of laundry included - a couple of pieces a day. Regardless its not enough and the laundry charges are stupendously high. Tours - You basically stop in a town each day. Usually in the morning, you have breakfast and at about 9am you muster to go exploring. There are local guides and audio devices for each person so you can listen to the guides explanation. This was very good and all of the guides we experienced were professional and most often had a great sense of humour. They are usually residents in the towns you visit. You then get a couple of hours of free time to go shopping or exploring in your own time. Discover More Tours - These tours are offered as additional extras. They go to slightly out of the way places - usually by coach. You pay more for these and they happen while the rest of the passengers are doing the standard tour. We did a couple - to the Dracenfels castle and to Saltzburg. Each of these was about $120 per person. The Salzburg tour was excellent (think town from Sound of Music) the Dracenfels castles was a complete waste of time and money. This was one of the first tours and as such it didn't help us get off to the best start. The castle is basically a large house that has been designed to look like a castle. It was opened up especially for our tour - but that said there were covers over stall/shops that had been set up inside to keep them out the snow. The guide tried hard but could do too much. There were a number of onboard entertainment events - including local performers from Austria and Hungary - excellent events. There were a couple of other entertainment activities such as trivia and dance nights. The cruise director we had on board - Darren, was excellent. He worked tirelessly to make everything happen. A great personality and helped make the trip fun. Cannot recommend him highly enough. I've seen a few other comments about the age of the passengers. My wife and I are both 46 and while we amongst the youngest on the ship (there were a few in there 20s) we didn't feel out of place. There were plenty of fit and able people and most groups walked a good pace. There was typically one group for 'slow' walkers. As I indicated earlier we really enjoyed the trip. We paid for the upgrades to business class flights and the upgraded cabin. The business class flights were a good option when coming from Australia especially if you are over 6ft tall. We arrived a little early - 3 days in Amsterdam and stayed a little later in Budapest (another 3 days). If I had my time again I would reduce the post cruise Budapest stay to an extra day. We will probably take another cruise like this in a couple of years to go and we happily choose Evergreen again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Chose this cruise for 2 reasons: a) My birthday b) Mary Berry on board as my wife is a fan! The crew were excellent; all seemed to get on really well and were very efficient & cheerful Excursions were also v.good with free time ... Read More
Chose this cruise for 2 reasons: a) My birthday b) Mary Berry on board as my wife is a fan! The crew were excellent; all seemed to get on really well and were very efficient & cheerful Excursions were also v.good with free time to explore. Local guides spoke good English & were easily understood. The cabins have a poor layout & poor sound insulation. The wall which has your headboard has the neighbouring cabin's TV on the other side. It would be better if dividing walls had BOTH TVs on it. Also the bathroom door is a sliding one which is only 18inches from the bed. Every time our neighbours used the bathroom we could hear the door opening and closing. The bed is comfortable but it is 2 single beds pushed together & more floor space could've been made by having a standard double bed. Not shown how to convert the room into a balcony; certainly wasn't obvious. Didn't like sailing at night as we missed many scenic views along the way. Minimal daytime sailing which was a great shame. Also going through locks at 3am wakes you up! Please Emerald STOP SAILING AT NIGHT!! The food on board was excellent; except the one time buffet which was lukewarm and with a good choice. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
WE chose this cruise over Viking because of the great deal. Our fare included the Premium Liquor package, r/t airfare for $295, an upgraded room, and one extra excursion. Viking's fare was almost $2000 more for all of that. (Note: ... Read More
WE chose this cruise over Viking because of the great deal. Our fare included the Premium Liquor package, r/t airfare for $295, an upgraded room, and one extra excursion. Viking's fare was almost $2000 more for all of that. (Note: Viking's trip includes 10 days vs. our 7 and also 3 days in Lisbon, which we did on our own for probably less.) Not having sailed with Emerald before we kept our expectations low. But we were pleasantly surprised. The ship was relatively new, full of chrome and glass with comfortable seating in the lounge. The staff were friendly, very accommodating, and helpful. Our room, albeit small like most river cruise cabins, was still comfortable with great beds. Given that it was November and the weather was not that good, it was nice to have the full window and a little extra space in the cabin to view the passing landscape vs. a regular balcony....much more comfortable. The food was very good - probably not up to the par of Viking (which I have taken 4 trips on), but still good....and the Portuguese wines were excellent...and they were not stingy with the pours. We did have to cope with cloudy and rainy days, but for the most part, our excursions were fine. One comment....on the first day the cruise director decided to give the full itinerary in much too much detail. You could see passengers just nodding off - and of course not listening. She then reported every night on the next day. Most cruise directors just give a short overview on the first night and then give more specifics daily. Suggest she do the same. The other comment, it would have been nice to have had a little more free time to wander the towns we visited...but we were told the ship had a tight schedule with the locks....I am sure the summer tours are better about this. Our disembarkation was one of the smoothest I have experienced. The cruise directors ordered a taxi and then personally escorted us to the car and helped with the luggage. Nice touch. Big kudos to the staff manning the concierge desk, the bar staff, the waiters and waitresses, and the cabin attendants. And the captain was very accessible. They all made the trip that much more special. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise because we have had excellent holidays with Emerald before and we had not done this cruise. The ship was quite new and was kept in immaculate condition. We were in an Owner's Suite which was very spacious ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have had excellent holidays with Emerald before and we had not done this cruise. The ship was quite new and was kept in immaculate condition. We were in an Owner's Suite which was very spacious and equipped with everything you would want. The meals were superb, enhanced by the included wine and beer, and the service exceptionally friendly and helpful. The evening entertainment of quizzes was good and the musical entertainment particularly enjoyable. The tile painting and cork bracelet making were unusual and entertaining. There were also demonstrations of cooking custard tarts and mixing cocktails based on Port, both of which allowed passengers to partake in the action. The shore excursions were well organised and interesting. The ship's Captain was more than a phantom figure but was around a lot of the time and particularly welcomed everyone back on board when returning from an excursion. We enjoyed this cruise enormously and are looking for more for next year. 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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Although veteran ocean cruisers, we'd never tried river cruising until August 2017, when we sailed with Emerald Waterways on the Douro in Portugal. Reader, we loved it! Measured against our vague criteria of Ambience (the ship and its ... Read More
Although veteran ocean cruisers, we'd never tried river cruising until August 2017, when we sailed with Emerald Waterways on the Douro in Portugal. Reader, we loved it! Measured against our vague criteria of Ambience (the ship and its facilities, the river, its scenery and towns), Service (the crew's friendliness, helpfulness and professionalism) and Food (quality, variety, flavour, novelty), everything was absolutely excellent. Especially the food: great news, since it's a major focus of every holiday we take. Portugese chef Nuno Gomes was an absolute star, turning out delightful delicacies, dish after dish. Not only talented, but also enthusiastic and proud of what he created, Nuno was to be seen running the egg station each morning at breakfast, and at lunch explaining the regional dishes which he'd that day prepared. He was a highly-competent professional, and he absolutely made our holiday. And so we returned to Emerald in October 2018, this time on the Rhône in France (from Lyon to Arles). Well, the Ambience was again excellent, and so indeed was the Service (everyone from Captain Dario on down was lovely); we've nothing negative to say about either. Which brings us to the Food. The Food was, well, OK. It wasn't poor, it wasn't unpleasant, the ingredients were excellent... it just wasn't as well-prepared as we'd hoped for. Chef Teodor (much younger than Nuno) seemed to be just going though the motions; there was no passion in his food. Favours were indistinct or muddy, corners were cut (eg 'glazed carrots' were plain boiled, fruit wasn't fully peeled) and, boy, were potatoes over-used! Every soup was potato soup; the 'fresh carrot' soup had added hints of carrot, the 'fresh fennel' soup had only added aniseeds, and the 'fresh cauliflower' soup had been shown a photograph of a cauliflower. Even a 'Quiche Lorraine' (classically eggs, cream and bacon, plus optional cheese) was padded with potato; sheesh! And if you're dishing up a succession of bland wispy gelatine-set savoury mousses, please don't try to dignify them as 'parfaits', or 'pates', or 'terrines'. So, meal after meal, we were left thinking: with a little more care and imagination, that could have been so much nicer. (The star of every lunch and dinner was waiter/sommelier Sasa, whose insightful comments on the wines he was serving were very much appreciated.) In summary, the cruise was a bit disappointing -- for us -- only because of the cookery. On the other hand, most of the other passengers seemed perfectly happy, so maybe you shouldn't pay too much attention to these remarks... unless food means as much to you as it does to us. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
The Douro River was a cruise we had not yet taken. We have experienced a number of other River Cruises and Cruise lines. The Emerald Radiance is the best we have experienced. We particularly appreciated their all inclusive policy. ... Read More
The Douro River was a cruise we had not yet taken. We have experienced a number of other River Cruises and Cruise lines. The Emerald Radiance is the best we have experienced. We particularly appreciated their all inclusive policy. We were traveling with a group of 14 all were pleased with the great service provided by a welcoming and knowledgeable staff. The meals were varied and delicious. I particularly want to thank HOTEL Manager Manuel for his excellent service .Emerald will be at the top of my cruising list. This is a fairly new boat on the river, equipped with Wi-Fi in every room. Instead of a balcony or a patio door there. Is a window the width of your room the top half of which folds down into the bottom half at their touch of a button to give you an open air view. The visits to wine Estates are extremely well done with experienced guides. Try it you'll like it. Read Less
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