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901 Emerald Waterways Cruise Reviews

My wife and I have been on a couple of ocean cruises and I was not really thrilled with them. Last year we thought that we would give River cruising a try, and chose a trip from Budapest to Passeau on the Danube. All the reviews of Emerald ... Read More
My wife and I have been on a couple of ocean cruises and I was not really thrilled with them. Last year we thought that we would give River cruising a try, and chose a trip from Budapest to Passeau on the Danube. All the reviews of Emerald were great so we booked our trip with them. Our experience was excellent on that cruise and we booked this cruise up the Rhine almost as soon as we got back home. What makes Emerald so exceptional to me is the staff. From the time you get on board until the time you leave, they are there trying to make your stay as pleasant as they can. Our cabin assistant Paul would greet us with a hello and how are you, or how was your meal, every time we saw him. The bar staff quickly became aware of what our favorite drinks and we hardly had to say what we wanted before it was there for us. The serving staff at meals were always questioning how we had enjoyed what we had just been served, and were ready to address any issues we may have had. One evening, a dining partner found the meat of his dinner to be especially good and asked if it was possible to receive more, within minutes he received a new plate with an additional double portion of the meat. What I also find exceptional with Emerald is the way that they treat the staff. On both cruises, all of the staff on board were presented to the passengers giving us an opportunity to show our appreciation. On a tour of the kitchen I found out that the ship provides meals to the staff similar to the passengers but also based on their dietary and religious needs. On this cruise I have to single out the Cruise Director Nina, for the work that she did in juggling the tours that we went on. Due to events beyond her control she had to make last minute scheduling changes that could not have been easy. The Activities Director kept the evenings highly entertaining with a variety of shows, musicals, and games that engaged everyone on board. The one final person that I would like to mention is the Hospitality Director Albert Andrei. We were fortunate enough to meet him on our previous cruise and were surprised to see him on this ship. While it was a surprise, it also indicated that we would be well taken care of. A happy, efficient staff is not magic, it is built and encouraged by management and I credit this to Albert on the Emerald Dawn. So how was the ship and everything else about the cruise? It was everything that I had experienced the previous year. The room was great, the food was great, the excursions were informative and of the right duration, the scenery while cruising was beautiful. Did we have any issues on this trip? Sure. You can’t take a trip like this without having minor inconveniences. However, we enjoyed every minute of it. Our challenge now is to decide which Emerald cruise to take next year. It is down to Portugal, or Southeast Asia. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We were interested in the area and have travelled on Emerald before and liked the boats (especially the swimming pool). . The crew were very good, customer service excellent, a there was a varied and interesting events programme. There ... Read More
We were interested in the area and have travelled on Emerald before and liked the boats (especially the swimming pool). . The crew were very good, customer service excellent, a there was a varied and interesting events programme. There was not a lot of sailing during the day as the nature of the trip meant there were short hops rather than long gaps between towns but that was more than made up for by the interesting medieval towns on the itinerary. There was lots to do on and off board with a full programme including yoga, walking tours, aqua aerobics and quizzes and all the staff were cheerful, efficient and hard working and any problems ( of which there were few) were dealt with immediately). The cabins were comfortable and well designed with ample storage space and kept immaculately clean by the housekeeping staff and there was a good choice of food, delicious and well cooked. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this river cruise because it was highly recommended by our travel agent and other collegues who have gone on other river cruises. (The Douro river valley is very picturesque with its vineyards and old vineyard buildings dominating ... Read More
We chose this river cruise because it was highly recommended by our travel agent and other collegues who have gone on other river cruises. (The Douro river valley is very picturesque with its vineyards and old vineyard buildings dominating the landscape). We had a 3 day stay in Lisbon before our departure. Hotel Jupiter Lisboa was excellent. The included bus tour of the city was very good. but we thought the excursion to Sintra the second day should have been included in our price. The trip to Porto from Lisbon was somewhat long....we spent too much time in the resort town of Navarre where there was little too do but shop for trinkets. The ship was very attractive and clean, but tended too be a bit too small. Cabin was tight even though we had a Panorama view suite. Bed was very comfortable, and steward service was excellent. We were somewhat disappointed in the size of the ship...only one dining room and lounge area..tended to be too intimate and small. The sundeck's walking track was too crowded and there was no putting green. The entertainment on the ship after supper was barely there...no piano music on the grand piano...trivia game with the activity director. Embarkation of the ship went fairly smoothly, but we were very disappoointed in the evening sunset cruise that was suppose to happen in Porto. There was no announcement and the ship did a sail while still light, no where near sunset and everyone was just getting settled and ready for dinner. Ports and included excursions were very good and enjoyable. Most tour directors knew their information. Service was very good and friendly. However, communication was somewhat difficult. Employees could speak English but some appeared to have a hard time understanding questions. On board activiites like bracelet making and tile painting were good ideas but instructors tended to take over and do the project for you. Meals on the Radiance were good. Breakfasts and lunches were very good but the supper dining experiences were somewhat disappointing. Soups tended to be bland and some of the entrees lacked taste. Presentation was excellent. We are not big drinkers, but I thought the included beer and wine, at no cost, was a nice gesture. We have no intention on going on another river cruise because we found it too relaxing, and ( I hate to say it but somewhat boring' especially on the sea days). We heard such wonderful things about river cruises, and it was good, but maybe our expectations were too high. On one last note, having all gratuities included up front, made it much easier. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We had always wanted to go on a river cruise, It was much better that a cruise on an ocean liner , The cruise director always let us know what was coming up next and that was very helpful , The shore excursions were great and the food was ... Read More
We had always wanted to go on a river cruise, It was much better that a cruise on an ocean liner , The cruise director always let us know what was coming up next and that was very helpful , The shore excursions were great and the food was great on the boat. The beer was very good and the wine was excellent. We especially liked meeting local people in Bratislava. The crew was always there for you in case you had any questions I made a video slideshow of just the pictures I took and put it on Youtuber . I made a separate slideshow from my wife's pictures We also me two couples that we dined with almost every night . One couple was from Canada and the other was from the UK. They were delightful people One of the most enjoyable times was when we were cruising in the heart of the wine country and the captain, or tour guide was explaining what we were seeing. The cruise into Budapest during dinner was also very enjoyable, We would definitely do another cruise -Mark Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We booked on short notice. This one was available for the cruise location we were looking for, and had some spots available. First thing we looked for was "tipping included" and pretty much everything else was also included. ... Read More
We booked on short notice. This one was available for the cruise location we were looking for, and had some spots available. First thing we looked for was "tipping included" and pretty much everything else was also included. Due to a lock door incident weeks prior, we were actually on the Emerald Destiny and not the Emerald Star -- a new ship in the fleet -- and it was amazing. Clean, fresh and new. The staff and crew were incredible -- always going above and beyond. Helpful, friendly and always smiling. The excursions were perfect. Just the right number. There was something new to do every day. Food was great. Lots of choice and the farewell dinner was unbelievably awesome. We knew ahead of time that there would be a large American group on board -- their group was SO FRIENDLY and it really added to the cohesiveness of the trip. Thank you, Parrot Heads! I have absolutely no criticisms of this trip or the crew or the touring company. Well done, Emerald. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise for its itinerary, with some of the ports being new to us. We have travelled on Emerald Waterways several times before, so had a high expectation and our expectations were all met and exceeded by this ship, its crew ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinerary, with some of the ports being new to us. We have travelled on Emerald Waterways several times before, so had a high expectation and our expectations were all met and exceeded by this ship, its crew and the itinerary. Emerald have high standards, and this continues on this ship. The crew are very hard working and friendly, and make every effort to respond to whatever requests passengers make. As with every Emerald ship we have been on, the food is to a very high standard. The crew prepare the dining room perfectly, so that it is almost a shame for the passengers to come in and spoil the beautifully laid tables. Cabins on river ships have to be fairly small, but they are well thought out with adequate storage space, and very good quality amenities. The Quietvox system which is provided free for shore excursions, is really good. Entertainment is always good on these ships, but on this cruise there were two US singer/songwriters plus a large group of their followers, all of whom added to the normal entertainment. The singers gave three concerts during the week, which were fun and enjoyable. There were also local artistes who came on board, and they were also good. If we have one less positive point about Emerald it is that we have done almost all of their itineraries and need them to add more so that we can make more bookings. We love sailing with Emerald. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I was chosen to perform with a friend on board Brent Burns and 88 Parrot Head fans who went with us. My wife and I have done cruises on bigger ships, this was the first time on a river cruise. From the moment we hit the Amsterdam airport ... Read More
I was chosen to perform with a friend on board Brent Burns and 88 Parrot Head fans who went with us. My wife and I have done cruises on bigger ships, this was the first time on a river cruise. From the moment we hit the Amsterdam airport to the time we departed from Zurich we just had a great time. The ship in one I would choose again and again. The staff were helpful, friendly and seem to always have a smile on their faces as if they enjoyed what they did...a rarity. From our director to the young lady who tended to our cabin, to the front desk, the food staff...all were just outstanding. Our onshore tours were well organized and our tour guides were informative and friendly. We truly enjoyed the mix of being able to relax and yet still see a lot all at the same time. And certainly we enjoyed not having to pack and repack numerous times during this week journey. I would recommend this trip and this ship highly to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We where looking for a different idea for our holidays and went to a presentation for Emerald Waterways in Vancouver. We were impressed with the presentation and the all inclusive price no nickel and dimming you at very turn. So we took ... Read More
We where looking for a different idea for our holidays and went to a presentation for Emerald Waterways in Vancouver. We were impressed with the presentation and the all inclusive price no nickel and dimming you at very turn. So we took a brochure and a couple of weeks later booked the 8 day trip down the Rhine. We had an excellent trip, enjoyed all the off boat excursions. They were all very well organized with each days itinerary and map of the excursions. The guides where quiet knowledgeable and with the Quietvox system you could easily follow and hear your guide. Topping it off was the excellent food and service with lots of choices. I really liked the extra touch of the towels sculpture left at the end of the bed with the next day programme. We will be looking forward to another Emerald Waterways trip in 2020, somewhere ??? Had a great holiday and highly recommend Emerald Waterways. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
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
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