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893 Emerald Waterways Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise as it suited us and our friends date wise, number of days wise and places it visited. Having done 3 cruises on large ships (2 in the Caribbean and 1 to the Norway fjords) we were surprised how different it was. It ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it suited us and our friends date wise, number of days wise and places it visited. Having done 3 cruises on large ships (2 in the Caribbean and 1 to the Norway fjords) we were surprised how different it was. It was so relaxing watching the world go slowly by and you could barely notice the movement. Sea sickness doesn't happen on these cruises, yet you still visit other places from the same 'hotel' room. Our only downside was getting up early most days for trips, which started between 0815 and 0915. The cabin was spacious, the food great, the service wonderful and the staff so friendly. We enjoyed the violinist and opera singers - two separate entertainers on different days. The pool was lovely for cooling off in too, though rather small for swimming in. Our drinks package worked well and was far more economical. Being with around 170 passengers, you get to know more people on the cruise and a lot of the staff. We are already planning our next river cruise! Most people on the cruise were 60-75, like us. If you are younger and don't mind being in the minority then that is fine. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Our first European trip was an incredible experience. We fell in love with the culture, the people and, of course, Emerald. We were impressed by the simplicity and warmth of the check in and check out process. The food was delish and ... Read More
Our first European trip was an incredible experience. We fell in love with the culture, the people and, of course, Emerald. We were impressed by the simplicity and warmth of the check in and check out process. The food was delish and more always available if needed....perfect for a 15yr old son. The service was excellent without being stuffy. They knew us by name the moment we stepped on!! The ports and tours were a perfect blend of activities that made us feel much more involved in the true culture of the towns. The age group on board was much older than us and quiet but our family enjoyed meeting and learning from others. However, more younger people on board would have been nice for our family especially in the evenings. We also would have loved more flexibility with meals particularly dinner. Maybe a serving time within a 90 min time frame would have allowed us some variability. Overall, Emerald exceeded our expectations and solidified our love for Emerald, river cruises and Europe. We can't wait to sail with Emerald again!!! Read Less
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
Sail Date June 2019
This was our first time cruising and could not have had a more positive experience. Every attention to detail was covered by Emerald. We arrived a day early for an extra 24 hours in Lyon but still Emerald picked us up from the airport and ... Read More
This was our first time cruising and could not have had a more positive experience. Every attention to detail was covered by Emerald. We arrived a day early for an extra 24 hours in Lyon but still Emerald picked us up from the airport and then again from the Raddison the next day. The ship was immaculate, not a speck of dust and how they keep all those huge windows gleaming is amazing. The staff were wonderful. Jana the Tour Director did a marvelous job, well supported by Drazen the Activities Manager and a host of others. The food was 5 star at every meal, as were the wines. The tours and entertainments were top hole. There is something on offer from 7am to 10:45pm, but of course, nothing is compulsory. That said, the tours were not to be missed with knowledgeable guides and fascinating places. The onboard entertainments offered something for everyone. There was never a dull moment, and certainly never a hungry moment or any problem with getting a drink! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was my second Emerald River cruise. I had already been on the Emerald Radiance the year before and had an excellent time so was slightly worried that it could not be as good again. I was wrong, it was just as excellent and we had the ... Read More
This was my second Emerald River cruise. I had already been on the Emerald Radiance the year before and had an excellent time so was slightly worried that it could not be as good again. I was wrong, it was just as excellent and we had the extra bonus of the delightful friendly Mary Berry sailing with us for part of the trip. This time I was traveling with my 23-year-old daughter. I had given her the option of a week away anywhere she fancied and Portugal on the Emerald Radiance was what she picked. I had told her that she would likely be the only one of her age on board but she was happy to be amongst a mixed age group. She had a ball and her only compliant was having to leave the fabulous crew and the delicious food served at the end of the week! The captain and crew made you feel so very special with personal attention from the cruise director, Maria Elena, the hotel manager, Manuel and the Maitre D, Cornel. All the staff were polite, very friendly, helpful and approachable. Manuel and his team all genuinely seem to support each other and work well together. The ship is modern and spacious enough that it doesn't feel crowded and the open dining allows for meeting fellow passengers but there are also plenty of tables for two if you prefer. On our last evening on board the crew kindly pushed together tables to accommodate 14 of us who wanted to dine together. We really enjoyed the quizzes that took place after dinner, they were really good fun and well organised. The food was superb, beautifully presented and the wines were excellent. The trips are informative and interesting. We took the optional excursion to the Mateus Palace which was one of my highlights this time The onboard activities were excellent including making Pasteis de Nata, port wine cocktails, bracelets and tile painting. They were all very popular and you came away with a nice little memento. I will definitely be back with Emerald in the very near future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My wife and I recently turned 60 and were looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We found it and couldn't be happier. From the moment we arrived we were kept very busy, well fed, and wonderfully entertained. The trip more ... Read More
My wife and I recently turned 60 and were looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We found it and couldn't be happier. From the moment we arrived we were kept very busy, well fed, and wonderfully entertained. The trip more than matched our expectations. As with any such excursion, there are bound to be an occasional glitch to the schedule, but the crew was able to improvise and all was good. For example: We were scheduled to sail on the Emerald Destiny from Nuremberg to Budapest, however an issue with the locks downstream of Nuremberg necessitated us being transported directly to Regensburg where we embarked on the Emerald Star. We missed Nuremberg, but had a full day and a half in Regensburg. From what I've been told, we didn't miss much in Nuremberg and had a wonderful time exploring Regensburg. We took in the extra side-trip to Salzburg and enjoyed wandering the streets there after our guided tour. My wife is a huge Sound of Music fan and lover of Mozart, so that was very special for her. My only criticism of the trip was how our tour guides on the bus from the ship to Salzburg would point out things they could see out of the front of the bus. Unfortunately, unless you're sitting in the first couple of rows, you really can't see what they are talking about. Vienna unfortunately was essentially closed for the day for a national religious holiday (Corpus Christi Day). None-the-less, it was fascinating to see and walk around the old town area. We attended the evening concert while in Vienna. If there was a part of the trip that I didn't feel we got our money's worth, this was it. It was only a small 8-piece chamber orchestra with two vocalists in a small performance hall. (flat floor, folding chairs, no A/C) The music was wonderful, but the added excursion was way overpriced. I'm sure we could have found an alternate performance elsewhere that evening in the city at half the cost. I just hope the musicians were well paid, but I doubt they were. One of the highlights of the trip was the home visit that was arranged in Bratislava. We were divided into small groups and escorted to visit with a local family. It was a perfectly delightful way to spend an afternoon. A moonlight cruise up and down the Danube in Budapest was also listed, but in light of the recent disaster involving a Viking river cruise ship and another harbour cruise ship, all such trips have been cancelled until further notice. The crew planned a party on the upper deck instead, but a thunderstorm rolled in and forced the party indoors. So don't expect any night cruises in Budapest for the foreseeable future. Overall, I would highly recommend the trip to anyone who asks. There would be nothing stopping us from doing another river cruise with Emerald, but we have so many other destinations in the world that it is very unlikely we'll do it again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was our first cruise and we had just begun to explore river cruise options when we learned our friends, who were seasoned travelers, had completed the research and had already booked this cruise. While we had never been on a cruise ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we had just begun to explore river cruise options when we learned our friends, who were seasoned travelers, had completed the research and had already booked this cruise. While we had never been on a cruise so we had nothing direct to compare it to, we have lived in Europe - Germany & Belgium, in the Middle East and we have traveled extensively. Without question, river cruising with Emerald is a uniquely pleasant and enriching experience. However, first, we want to complement the crew. Without exception, we felt every member of the crew treated us likefamily that really cared about our experience. Black (sp) and Harry kept us entertained and well informed. We looked forward to their daily updates and the enriching events they had planned. Every member of the crew seemed to sincerely want to ensure all of our needs were met with enthusiasm. From Edi, who cleaned up our room and managed our laundry, to the servers - I wish I could remember all of their names, but Dragana, Alan, several others were standouts, serving us with pleasure. The lady at the front desk answered our questions with a smile and provided helpful suggestions. The food was outstanding! My complements to the chef - Alexander I believe, and his entire staff. We were never hungry, always had outstanding options and the food was so good, it was difficult to follow my quantity plan of only eating part of everything. Our room surprised me at how large it was and how much space was provided. We were on the 3rd floor and had a balcony. The only disappointment was when another ship would berth next to us. Nothing like waking up to find the entire dining room of another ship next to you. Several of the excursions gave us an unique look into the lives of other cultures, which we really enjoyed. Thank you Emerald Waterways. Next time we want to take a cruise, you will be our first choice. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My sister and I travel each year and decided to do our first river cruise. We always do research before deciding. Emerald was the best value for the money and good reviews. We chose the 8 day Danube Delights with extended 3 days in ... Read More
My sister and I travel each year and decided to do our first river cruise. We always do research before deciding. Emerald was the best value for the money and good reviews. We chose the 8 day Danube Delights with extended 3 days in Prague. Booking was a breeze (a year in advance) and as we had questions during the year they were answered promptly. We made our own travel arrangements, but the transfer from the airport to the ship was made by Emerald and went smoothly. We do wish we had arrived a day or two early to have had more time in Budapest. The ship is very modern and kept clean and sparkling (lots of mirrors). The staff were extremely helpful and always greated you with a smile. Our cabin was great (not that we stayed in it other than to sleep) and kept clean and organized by our stewart. I was suprised how quite it was in the cabin. Jamie was the cruise entertainment director and did a great job with a variety of events for all ages and interests. With great weather, we did enjoy the sun deck daily. Emerald has open seating for meals and it gave us an opportunity to eat and converse with many of the other cruisers. We thoroughly enjoyed learing from the veteran river cruisers. Some had been on 8 river cruises in several continents. The food was plentiful and if you didn't like your first choice they would bring you another. Beer and wine are included for lunch and dinner and our glasses were never empty. There were beverages packages as a option or just pay by the drink at the bar (prices were below most bars in the states) if you wanted a before or after dinner drink. Darren, our tour director, did a great job in keeping us up-to-date on weather conditions for each day and the local customs for the next port. He would teach us the local language for greetings and other words that would be helpful, although most everyone spoke english very well. At each port there was a tour included in the cost of the cruise and were done very well by local guides. Due to departure times, we did not have a lot of time to explore (shop) on our own, so we skipped a few of the included tours and explored (shopped) on our own. We have discussed going back to the region and traveling on our own or maybe a bus tour to see more of the area. Overall, the trip and experiences were great. The ships crew, fellow travelers from all over the world and local guides provided us with wonderful memories. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We had been wanting to try a riverboat cruise for awhile now. It just so happened that an Irish musician by the name of Seamus Kennedy, whom we enjoyed seeing at many an Irish Pub in the DC area during the 1980's was, along with his ... Read More
We had been wanting to try a riverboat cruise for awhile now. It just so happened that an Irish musician by the name of Seamus Kennedy, whom we enjoyed seeing at many an Irish Pub in the DC area during the 1980's was, along with his wife, the host of this cruise. We had not seen him perform live in 35 years and he was still amazing! The company sponsoring the cruise was Mayflower Tours and they did an excellent job. We received all our boarding documents before leaving home, including a nice backpack for the excursions. We received free airfare from Montana to Prague and then Budapest back to Montana. We upgraded our seats to Comfort Plus (about one thousand dollars each and worth every penny), just behind the first class section of the aircraft. We also added three days extra in Prague and Budapest to check out the cities on our own. We stayed at the Hotel Grandium in Prague, about a block from Wenceslas Square and within walking distance of almost everything. Outstanding hotel, with a breakfast to die for! In Budapest, we stayed at the InterContinental, right on the river by the Chain Bridge. I had stayed there 40 years ago, still a beautiful hotel. Our room was on the ninth floor, facing the river and the views were amazing, especially at night. Now to the ship. The Emerald Sun was beautifully maintained, spotless everywhere you went. The entire crew was exceptional and made you feel right at home. Initially, we booked a room on deck 1 (room 117) just below waterline and were more than happy with it. Just for the heck of it my wife inquired about an upgrade to deck 2 or 3 and for an extra $400.00 we moved up to deck 2 (room 214). The room was excellent. We loved having the window that lowered electrically half way open, turning the room into a big balcony. The bed was comfy, plenty of room for all our stuff and the bathroom plenty big enough. Our cabin attendant kept the room spotless. I can't say enough about the quality of the dining. Up to this point, nobody could compare to Celebrity, but these guys could and DID! All the meals were spectacular, we hated to get of that ship. The entertainment was beyond wonderful. To start with there were about 17 of us that signed up just because of Seamus Kennedy. He held trivial pursuit nights in the lounge and spur of the moment 1 or 2 hour mini-concerts at the pool for us. Not mention sing-a-longs during our bus rides. An absolute joy to travel with. The ship had various entertainers come aboard depending on what city we docked at, not to mention an amazing on-board piano player in the lounge almost every night. At every city we had ship sponsored walking tours with guides, very well organized. Also, there were many special excursions folks signed up for at an additional cost. We had lived just south of Munich for three years in the late 80's, so we skipped the extra excursions to Salzburg and Vienna. We absolutely loved Prague and Budapest and would recommend those two cities for a visit. Of note, we did most of our Danube River cruising at night while we slept. I do remember going thru many, many locks and that was interesting. We would definitely do a river cruise again. Oh BTW, we loved the Infinity Pool and used it almost daily, usually all to ourselves! My wife loved the exercise room and I loved watching her use it! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We did the Splendours of Europe cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. Originally to be on Emerald Sky but changed to Emerald Dawn due to the lock issue near Nuremburg. The arrival on the ship was seamless and all the staff were so gracious ... Read More
We did the Splendours of Europe cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. Originally to be on Emerald Sky but changed to Emerald Dawn due to the lock issue near Nuremburg. The arrival on the ship was seamless and all the staff were so gracious and helpful. Cruise Director Nina was excellent. she was on top of everything, informative and kept us up to date on excursions, etc. Our cabin was perfect for the two of us and out cabin assistant Dysas was friendly, happy and so efficient. This was our first river cruise or any cruise and we could not have picked a better route, or company to do this with. We did numerous excursions, including two 30+ km bike tours. the guides provided by Emerald were very knowledgeable and had a great sense of humour making the tours very entertaining and informative. The dining on board for all meals was exceptional. We had the menu for the next day, the evening before and service was very quick and the the staff were so attentive. Never a wine glass or beer glass was empty for long. There was also entertainment during the evening. We had a violinist, oom pah pah band, trivia nights, etc. If you were not entertained, that was your problem. The tours included a visit to a family on one stop and that was so different and so delightful to viist with locals. Cannot say enough good things about Emerald Waterways, their crew and the way we were treated. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
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
Sail Date June 2019
Good ship and service. Friendly crew. The Duro River is winding and beautiful. The tours are good but the stops have limited appeal. The wine and port is very good. Need more ship board entertainment and physical activities. Overall ... Read More
Good ship and service. Friendly crew. The Duro River is winding and beautiful. The tours are good but the stops have limited appeal. The wine and port is very good. Need more ship board entertainment and physical activities. Overall relaxing and enjoyable. The food and wine were excellent. The wait staff was very good. The crew was friendly and helpful. We had good weather that made the cruise very enjoyable. The three night stop was good and the old city is interesting. Porto is a great city with many hills and small winding streets. Salamanca is a beautiful city in Spain with an interesting history including its focus on educate. The dinner at the Pacheco winery was awesome in the wine cellar. The tours we took required us to get on buses. The streets of the towns are quite narrow and winding; the bus drivers did incredible jobs navigating us. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
There were 8 family members in our group from Nuremburg, Germany to Budapest, Hungary from June 7-14, 2019 on the Emerald Sky. We are disappointed in Emerald Waterways in many ways: 1) They did NOT inform us that the river boat locks ... Read More
There were 8 family members in our group from Nuremburg, Germany to Budapest, Hungary from June 7-14, 2019 on the Emerald Sky. We are disappointed in Emerald Waterways in many ways: 1) They did NOT inform us that the river boat locks were broken until the ship LEFT the docks and were changing the itineraries on us. They did NOT give us an opportunity to decide whether we wanted to be on this new itinerary. 2) They told us there would be a refund given to us 7 days after the cruise - we wrote to them an email after 7 days and wrote back saying it will be 14 days after the cruise ended to know what the discount would be. Heard back today saying it will be another 7-14 days because of the 4th of July holiday and things are backed up. We are going on 24 days after the cruise ended AND still no word on a refund. 3) With the changed itinerary and heading north Germany, we were unable to access the top deck - which rendered us trapped on the boat for the first 4 days! The locks were too narrow and too many so they could not open the top up. 4) We didn't get to use the top deck until they took the passengers on a BUS trip from Nuremberg to Melk to aboard the Emerald Dawn. But you started in Nuremberg you say? - that's correct, we left Nuremberg Day 1 to only return back to then get on a BUS to drive people to Melk to get onto another ship with all new staff. 5) Emerald's new itinerary did NOT include Vienna - therefore, we had to leave the boat in Nuremburg (after they took us around Germany for 4 days) to then take a train to Vienna, book an Airbnb, hire a tour guide, hire a van driver - all on our own expense so that we could visit the ONE city that the group wanted to visit. Shame on Emerald for not even putting Vienna on the new changed itinerary! Be aware that Emerald can fully change your 7 day river boat cruise from Nuremburg, Germany to Budapest, Germany to just touring around Germany and end up in Budapest - that's it! You have no say in what cities they promised in the brochures and paying such high dollars for! I did not leave my 2 young children to tour around Germany and then Budapest. I wanted to see all the cities in between, but nope, didn't get to do any of that! We are highly disappointed in the way they tricked us on the boat as the boat left the docks to tell us this new itinerary to let US make our decision if we wanted to stay aboard or not. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Overall, a pleasant week-long cruise from Nuremberg to Bernkastel on a clean modern ship. We saw some beautiful countryside and historic places in the company of people we got on well with, but - due to a few niggles - we would rate this ... Read More
Overall, a pleasant week-long cruise from Nuremberg to Bernkastel on a clean modern ship. We saw some beautiful countryside and historic places in the company of people we got on well with, but - due to a few niggles - we would rate this cruise only 3½ stars and might try a different company next time. Excursions: Sightseeing was our main reason for taking this holiday and Emerald’s included excursions were interesting with knowledgeable guides. Typically they were walking tours of old towns and castles, with an informative and humorous wine-tasting at the Residenz palace in Würzburg. Most allowed about half an hour’s free time, but in Bamberg the 1½ hours’ wait for the bus back to the ship was excessive. We took an optional excursion (€52 pp) to Trier, which unfortunately we found over-rated, though there were some stunning views on the return to the ship. Food & drink: At dinner (single sitting around 7 pm) tables were mostly for four, with some for two that filled up straight away. Food was fine but nothing special, eg steak might not be cooked as you liked. Service was friendly but rather inflexible, as anyone who didn’t want a starter had to wait for others to catch up, and at 9 pm the lights were turned on in an unsubtle way to get people to leave. Apart from a local red wine, included wines were indifferent, and reds and whites were all served at the same temperature. Breakfast tables weren’t re-laid so it could be hard to find somewhere to sit. We usually had a light lunch and afternoon snacks from the bar. Public areas: Low-backed chairs in the lounge were uncomfortable. Entertainment wasn’t to everyone’s taste and there’s nowhere else to go indoors except the humid pool area when a film isn’t showing. So we probably didn’t get our money’s worth from the premium drinks package (€23 pppd to us). The sun deck was closed for much of our cruise, due to height restrictions. Airport transfers: Arriving at Munich, we followed Emerald’s written instructions to meet at a café in Terminal 1, only to be rebuked as a rep had been waiting for us in Terminal 2. On departure, a 1¾ hour transfer to Frankfurt turned into 3 hours, with a rest break, an unplanned stop at a different terminal, and an unpleasant 15 minute walk (with luggage) from the coach to check-in. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Emerald made us an offer we couldnt refuse when there was nothing suitable for our original choice of Amsterdam to Basel. They suggested Nuremberg to Frankfurt at a very reasonable price. Having already experienced our first river ... Read More
Emerald made us an offer we couldnt refuse when there was nothing suitable for our original choice of Amsterdam to Basel. They suggested Nuremberg to Frankfurt at a very reasonable price. Having already experienced our first river cruise on Avalon Nuremberg to Budepest, we questioned whether Emerald could be anywhere as good - we shoudnt have worried Their Destiny is brand new and in tip top shape with the added bonus of an onboard swimming pool that was lovely to use. Our welcome package mailed to us included two large good quality backpacks. Something we didnt need or use for the cruise but certainly an item of value. Frankly I would have been just as pleased with a good set of luggage labels - we still use the ones supplied by Avalon Our cabins were excellent slightly smaller than Avalon and bathrooms not as big or as good. Also Avalon score with superb L'occitane shampoos and soaps, and we preferred that the Avalon French Balcony slides open floor to ceiling versus Emerald drop down half window. But this really is nitpicking and both cabins are very very good Food and selection was excellent. Also Emerald have really got their act together on the "on and off" boat procedure. A simple named tag records each person leaving and returning to the boat. Plus the rechargeable head set system supplied with each cabin works like a dream when joining excursions, all of which were of the highest standard. Avalon were nowhere as good in this respect Another welcome addition is no end of cruise tipping - a saving of hundreds of dollars over Avalon So what were the negatives - Avalon win hands down on entertainment. Their evening shows were excellent, not so Emerald who relied on their own inhouse person to offer a variety of ways to amuse guests. this did not appeal at all and preferred to have a quiet coffee and swim in the pool room. And finally the itinerary stopping everyday in another small German Town was a complete delight and we loved every excursion To sum up and whilst I would rate Avalon at 98%, Emerald probably 95%. But would not hesitate to sail again with either. Both excellent and Emerald certainly offered better value for money. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Review Are you under 70? Do you like an active lifestyle? Do you enjoy great food and wine? Do you like to socialize with well educated and cultured travelers? If so, DO NOT CRUISE WITH EMERALD WATERWAYS. We did the Danube River from ... Read More
Review Are you under 70? Do you like an active lifestyle? Do you enjoy great food and wine? Do you like to socialize with well educated and cultured travelers? If so, DO NOT CRUISE WITH EMERALD WATERWAYS. We did the Danube River from Budapest to Bucharest. The average passenger was British, 75 years old, had difficulty walking, and complained about everything. I was prevented from taking a morning walk on the sun deck walking track because my footsteps (at 3.6 mph) disturbed someone on the deck below. I would have been happy to use a treadmill, but alas, the “gym” didn’t have one, just three never-used recumbent bicycles. We could never get the in-cabin movies to work until the final day of the cruise, despite being in an owner’s suite. We barely saw our butler (a glorified cabin maid), and although we purchased the inclusive alcohol package, it apparently did not include premium wine. The offerings were horrible local wines. Food choices were limited. Beef was usually tough and overcooked, the chicken was dry, and desserts were uninspiring. It is really too bad that the ship, which is quite beautiful, is staffed by a crew that still needs to learn a lot about service and accommodation. Maybe they should rename it Emerald Walker-ways. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Been wanting to see the Douro for sometime and our travel against recommended Emerald. What a Find! Brilliant modern ship, superbly comfortable, and the Portugese crew were the most smiley and helpful people we have ever come across in any ... Read More
Been wanting to see the Douro for sometime and our travel against recommended Emerald. What a Find! Brilliant modern ship, superbly comfortable, and the Portugese crew were the most smiley and helpful people we have ever come across in any holiday destination. Add to this the beauty of Europe’s most unspoilt and beautiful river and you have all the ingredients of a holiday made in heaven. Go for it! The shore excursions were well chosen and uncrowded, with guides who treated us like adults and kept us entertained as well as informed. The onboard cruise manager, Marie Helena was so friendly, helpful , knowledgeable and unfazed, I suggested she join the queue to be Prime Minister of England. Dining room served excellent local and beautifully presented dinners with waiting staff who were unfailingly friendly and helpful Look no further - if you want to cruise the magical Douro, this has to be the ship for you. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We had often thought about cruising from Amsterdam to Budapest. Friends said it really didnt matter much which line you used, they all go to the same places, and when you walk through other ships at ports they are all very similar. So when ... Read More
We had often thought about cruising from Amsterdam to Budapest. Friends said it really didnt matter much which line you used, they all go to the same places, and when you walk through other ships at ports they are all very similar. So when Emerald launched into the NZ market with sharp entry prices we picked on price. Always warry about "you get what you pay for" our first impressions at the quality of the bags put us into a positive frame of mind, shallow as that may seem. On 27 May we embarked on the Emerald Star in Amsterdam for a cruise to Budapest. The plus The ship is nice and modern. Really comfy cabins. Clean. Well designed. Quite often your ship is tied up to other lines, you pass through and get a bit of a look. I think Emerald are as good as any and better than a few. We are picky. We found the service and staff wonderful. Right from when they spotted us getting out of the taxi on the wharf. No OTT "I want to be your best friend" just courteous and efficient service. There is one sitting for meals. At a table for 6, all the meals arrived hot at the same time. Nothing was a problem. No pestering to buy drinks, but if you wanted one it a steward was there. Must be esp! At lunch and dinner wine and beer is included, your glass never emptied. You needed to watch and say no if you didn't want topped up. Entertainment Emerald now have an entertainment mgr. New this season. Ours, Bret, was brilliant and he had the place humming every night. Other lines don't do this. They also bought on musicians from time to time. It was great. They make a fuss about birthdays and anniversaries. (They must get birthdays from your passport) The heated pool.is wonderful. Its quite surreal swimming in an infinity pool when its raining outside (its got a glass roof) They are quite obsessive at making sure those with allergies are catered for. Once again nothing is too much trouble. The Dining manager, Constantine could not have been more helpful. Generally the food is great. They need some desert recipes. They are average for snacks. The Cons Too much time is spent motoring up the River. For almost 1/2 the trip the handrails were down on the top deck as bridges were low and you cant use the top deck. Stops in some towns far too short. The noise!!!! you can not hear anyone in the corridor or speaking next door but the noise from locks and toilets is incredible. More detail in cabin review. The bikes! The provide bikes were about as basic as you can get. In the ports you can see that other lines have proper bikes. Most have a few E Bikes. Emeralds bike are a joke, only thing missing is the trainer wheels. To be fair they do discourage you from using them. I doubt we would ever go on another River Cruise, ocean cruising is better value for $. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose Emerald from a friend's recommendation and were not disappointed. We made our own flight arrangements and flew into Budapest 3 days prior to our departure to meet up with our friends and explore the city. What a ... Read More
We chose Emerald from a friend's recommendation and were not disappointed. We made our own flight arrangements and flew into Budapest 3 days prior to our departure to meet up with our friends and explore the city. What a fabulous destination; steeped in history with fantastic shopping and food. We checked into Emerald on departure day and were warmly greeted. All our luggage showed up in our spacious room and cocktails were served. Awesome start. The food was fresh, innovative, hearty and always personalized with amazing service from every single staff member....without exception The Emerald team made EVERYONE feel they were the most important customer. Take advantage of every excursion and active adventure that Emerald offers. Great tour guides (fluent English), incredible history, scenery and sights in all ports of call. The Emerald Active selections were a lot of fun and helped keep some of the inevitable weight gain at bay. We highly recommend Emerald and the Danube Delights agenda...we would do it all over again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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
Sail Date May 2019
We had an amazing time on this cruise. Everything thing runs like clockwork. We were picked up from the airport and then from that minute onwards everything was taken care of, from embarkation to disembarkation. We had to think of nothing. ... Read More
We had an amazing time on this cruise. Everything thing runs like clockwork. We were picked up from the airport and then from that minute onwards everything was taken care of, from embarkation to disembarkation. We had to think of nothing. Which is exactly what I wanted. We were in a Balcony Suite which was was just lovely, we could lower our window down to half way and just sit and enjoy the view. The staff were friendly and helpful nothing was too much trouble. Even when there was an emergency they were willing to send emails for passengers to loved ones who had no way of contacting them. Louis the Cruise Director was so helpful and friendly. The towns that we stopped at were so beautiful. The food was great and we got to try a lot of the local foods. We also went to a Concert in Vienna which was fantastic. Thanks for the memories Emerald Waterways. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We were picked up at 2:00 and transferred to the Emerald Sun where a member of the cruise staff showed us to our room. Our room was great, crisp white lines, mirrors and a floor to ceiling window. After unpacking we explored the ship. We ... Read More
We were picked up at 2:00 and transferred to the Emerald Sun where a member of the cruise staff showed us to our room. Our room was great, crisp white lines, mirrors and a floor to ceiling window. After unpacking we explored the ship. We could have gone ashore, but had spent 2 and a half days in Amsterdam so stayed on board. All meals were included and were excellent. I like having a buffet for breakfast and lunch. At lunch you did have the option to order from the menu as well. Dinner was served, 3 choices, meat, fish and vegetarian as well as steak, salmon and chicken daily. Each dinner included a choice of two appetizers, soup, and 4 desserts. The cheese on ship was amazing! The chef did a great job! The included tours were excellent. Extremely knowledgeable guides who spoke amazing English. The only negative was our docking. We did not have the best docking sites. But Emerald had busses that took us into town if necessary. We purchased four extra tours. The Dragonburg Castle was ok, there was filming that day which made part of the gardens out of bounds. The WW II tour was very interesting and explained how Hitler was able to rise to power. The Vienna concert was a highlight of the tour. The members of the Symphony Orchestra played Vienna classics and the soloists were good. The Jewish Quarter tour in Budapest was heart breaking. The Nazis' massacre of the Jews unbelievable. Our tour guide was new to Emerald and took us all over Budapest, showing us hidden food trucks, synagogues, and rebuilt areas. The on board entertainment, glass blower, zither player, violinist, Ompa Band and Hungarian dancers, were all of good quality. I found the zither player especially interesting as I knew very little about how it is played. Very difficult! Louis, from Portugal, is a very organized cruise director. His dry sense of humour was very appreciated and he made our cruise memorable. He was patient with all the questions and always seemed to have time for each guest. Ben, the activities director, was new to this job and tried to provide lots of different activities from yoga, to trivia, to bike tours, as well as cabarets and karoke. Well done, Ben All in all a memorable river cruise and would definitely cruise with Emerald again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Recommended by travel Agent. Excellent crew, service, rooms and schedule. Food was exceptional special to visit with Robert at the captain’s dinner. The Hungarian and Bavarian entertainment was wonderful and so much fun. Loved the ... Read More
Recommended by travel Agent. Excellent crew, service, rooms and schedule. Food was exceptional special to visit with Robert at the captain’s dinner. The Hungarian and Bavarian entertainment was wonderful and so much fun. Loved the personal greetings on and off the boat. Nina was everywhere__ always present and available to us. Nice all paid before we began cruise. The walking tours and coaches very nice. I will recommend to my friends. Thanks so much. Svetlana very sweet to us. It is great to have beverages provided at all meals. The coffee machines are so nice to have access to__i am now spoiled. The weather was rainy, but didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. I wish I had seen jewelry earlier. Disappointed I didn’t buy. Impressive that the staff are appreciated and treated well, that is important to me. Robert introduced all staff by name—great work,,Keep up this good reputation of service to all. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I can certainly agree with some of the previous reviews of this ship and this particular itinerary. We arrived on our own by train from Vienna. The instructions we received said we could not embark before 3 pm. We took a chance and ... Read More
I can certainly agree with some of the previous reviews of this ship and this particular itinerary. We arrived on our own by train from Vienna. The instructions we received said we could not embark before 3 pm. We took a chance and went directly to the ship at around 1 PM thinking we could at least check our bags until the room was ready and do some walking on our own. When we got to the ship we were pleasantly surprised to find that lunch was being served until 3 pm. There was also an escorted walk by the Activities Director after lunch. This was appreciated but it would have been nice to have been told this in advance of our arrival. We were also not aware in advance that we were going to receive a tour of Bucharest on our departure day. They kept us busy until 3 pm when the hotel rooms were available. Again we were not informed of this until the day before and fortunately we had not arranged any tours for that day on our own. Yes the room is noisy. We had a room on the lowest deck without a “balcony”. You know there is a noise issue when you find they have provided ear plugs. The flushing of toilets does sound like a bowling ball. Hopefully your neighbors do not flush often in the middle of the night! On the other side of the room, you can hear the scrapping of chairs above you whenever the furniture is rearranged. The problem is that the balcony portion of the room has a wood floor so anytime a chair is moved, you can hear it. Too bad they didn’t extend the carpeting over the whole room or put some tennis balls on the bottom of the chairs to prevent this. If your neighbors watch TV or talk you can also hear them. My personal solution to the noise problem is to play a white noise app on my iPhone and/or iPad. It masked out some of the noise but its hard to avoid the loud toilets. The room came with a large umbrella and some good quality walking sticks. Storage is tight in the room but we made do with the various shelves (two in the bathroom next to the sink were kind of hidden). It would have been nice to have a place next to the door to store your room keys to avoid leaving without them. There was no instructions for the thermostat so I had to ask at reception as I wasn’t sure what all the buttons and colors meant. There was a strange large black tumbler in the bathroom. It did not look clean. I had to ask and was told it was for toothbrushes which seemed strange. I stored it out of sight. Emerald advertises that you will receive a backpack and wallet. We did not receive ours before departure but did get a notice that they were delayed from the supplier. It is now two weeks after our cruise and we still have not received them. We were glad to not have spent the extra money for a balcony as on this cruise it would have been almost useless. Most of the daytime cruising is not particularly scenic and can be viewed just as well from the lounge areas. When in port you are probably going to be next to the dock or another ship so there is not anything to see. However, one morning I opened the curtain and got a view of a naked lady on the ship next to us, not more than 10 feet away. She was my age, so it was not a pleasant site. If you do get a balcony, most of the time we were docked port side to the piers so the starboard side seemed to be preferable, at least for this cruise. The port talks were not broadcast in our room. I asked the cruise director and she told me that the audio was broken and therefore they could not do it. This was an incontinence as the lounge does get fairly crowded with some people standing. Meal service at dinner varied depending on where you sat. Some evenings it was efficient but on others it was extremely slow and drawn out. Guests at other tables were having dessert while we were still waiting for our entrees. We were almost never asked if we wanted coffee at the end of the meal. We did learn the best areas to sit if we wanted better service. The soups were salty and thin, mostly broths. The food was never hot and perhaps this is because they do not cover the plates. I did enjoy the appetizers, entrees and desserts for the most part and appreciated the smaller sizes. I had steak one night (which is available every night) and it was excellent. Lunch in the dining room was disappointing. If you arrived at the middle of the lunch period it was difficult to find a clean, set table. If you asked a server to reset a table, it was a major undertaking that took a long time. It was also difficult to find a server to take your drink order if you did not arrive at the start of the meal time. The buffet itself was not replenished or even minimally maintained during the meal period. One day we saw nearly empty trays that were left untouched for 45 minutes. I took a picture of this and sent it to Emerald but did not get a reply. The picture is attached to this review. I mentioned this to a server and he only shrugged his shoulders. When they reset the tables, they did not replace or clean the table mats in any way. They looked dirty and unsanitary. The tables for two were convenient but the curtains could not be easily pulled back and sometimes blocked the view. An easy fix would be to install some curtain ties. Another easy fix would be for the ID scanner that you need to use when departing and returning to the ship. The ID’s our worn on a neck lanyard but the scanner is on a pedestal that is about 4 ft tall. This means everyone has to lean over at an uncomfortable angle to scan their ID. The pedestal needs to be raised a few feet, perhaps placed on a base so that it would be easier to do the scan. We chose Emerald particularly because of the advertised on board bikes. The Cruise Director announced that of the 20 bikes on board, 5 were broken. When we tried to sign up for the guided bike tour of Belgrade (the only one offered during the week long cruise) we could only be waitlisted as 15 passengers had already signed up. It was unclear when the list was made available and we tried to sign up just after the excursion talk finished. We talked to the Cruise Director and to her credit she was able to arrange for more bikes so that we were able to go on the excursion which was enjoyable. However, this should not have been an issue as the bike tour is heavily promoted by Emerald and I could not find any mention in the fine print that it was subject to availability. It would also be helpful if information could have been provided about bike paths/lanes that could be used on our own in the various ports. It was difficult to research this info on our own as we were not sure where we would be docked ahead of time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My husband and I booked ‘The Enchantment of Eastern Europe’ cruise for May 2019. This was our first river cruise in Europe. The whole holiday package was booked with Emerald and we certainly could not fault the organisation from ... Read More
My husband and I booked ‘The Enchantment of Eastern Europe’ cruise for May 2019. This was our first river cruise in Europe. The whole holiday package was booked with Emerald and we certainly could not fault the organisation from arriving in Budapest to being dropped back off at the airport on Bucharest and all the hotels/transfers/excursions in between. First impressions of the ship was great. Very sleek with modern, comfortable furnishings. If you are used to ocean cruising though the rooms are very small. We had a balcony room which turned out to be useless. We were frequently docked beside other boats rendering the balcony unusable. When you did open the window you ended up with mosquitos and bugs flying into the room. The only problem in the room was the noise from flushing toilets – it was so loud. I have never experienced this level of noise from the toilets on a ship before. If you were standing near the door the noise made you jump it was so loud. On the first evening we had an evening cruise along the Danube and this was a highlight. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. For the first 3 days the scenery was boring and monotonous – speaking to other cruisers they recommended sailing up The Danube as it is much more interesting and picturesque. The cruise director was excellent. She briefed us each night before dinner with details of the following day and its activities. She was extremely knowledgeable and approachable. The food was a disappointment. It was very salty, (especially the soup) lots of garlic and mustard. On one evening both appetisers contained feta cheese. Food was never served hot it was always lukewarm. I expected wine to be served from the countries we were travelling through but it was mostly German and Austrian. The service in the restaurant seemed to vary depending on where you were sitting. There is only one restaurant and dinner was served every night at 7pm. We like to eat alone and the layout of the restaurant accommodated this. In fact most of the tables for 2 were beside the window. You had to be there when the restaurant opened to guarantee getting the table size you wanted. We tended to skip breakfast and have the lighter lunch in the lounge. This suited us as it was too busy in the dining room. There was a coffee machine in the lounge which had a good choice of different coffees and even hot chocolate. The drinks were always warm - never hot We didn’t do all the trips on offer preferring sometimes to do our own thing. The excursions we did go on were well-planned and the guides knowledgeable. The excursions tagged as ‘Emerald Active’ were anything but. The one we went on to the rock church was more of a stroll. All the trips were at a very slow pace which I found frustrating. The evening entertainment was virtually non-existent but this didn’t really matter to us. Emerald now have an activity manager on the ship who did a few pieces of entertainment in the evening after dinner e.g. Name that Tune, Neil Diamond songs, The Rat Pack. It was all very boring. We always tend to book through a travel agent and on this occasion we were pleased we did as on the return journey we had to fly from Bucharest to Frankfurt then on to Manchester. The flight to Manchester was cancelled (along with many other flights due to thunderstorms). I managed to contact our agent and he rebooked us on a flight early the following morning. We had to stand in a queue in Frankfurt airport for 3.5 hours to be allocated accommodation for the evening. All in all I found the European river cruising experience sedate and boring. Even though we paid a similar price to what we would pay for an ocean cruise of the same length this experience was far inferior. If I were to try it again in the future I would choose a different river and probably a different cruise company. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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