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85 Emerald Waterways Cruise Reviews

We have been on a number of sea cruises previously and this was our 3rd river cruise that we chose for the destinations. We had not been on Emerald before so this was a new experience for us. We were met at the airport and transferred ... Read More
We have been on a number of sea cruises previously and this was our 3rd river cruise that we chose for the destinations. We had not been on Emerald before so this was a new experience for us. We were met at the airport and transferred to the ship without any problem and greeted by the crew who were very helpful. Our luggage arrived at the cabin safely that we found that the cabin facilities were clean and well prepared as was the rest of the ship. Our first lunch was a little disappointing as there was not a great deal of choice but this improved at dinner where there were more choices available - the main criticisms that we had at dinner was that it did take a long while to be served and we found that the noise level in the dining room was so loud that it was difficult to hold conversations and this was evident at all dinners except where there was a split dinner. We were not alone in these criticisms as other guests made the same comments. The other main criticism was the noise in our cabin from the vacuum toilet system and again other guests made the same comments in adjacent cabins. The excursions were very well organised and some of the guides were very good. The disembarkation went well although we were left at the airport with no support from Emerald and had to queue for over 30 minutes at check in. Some passengers were unsure about where to check in and as there was no representative available felt a little disappointed. Apart from the noise issue it was a good cruise but this would put me off using Emerald again as this was not a problem on previous cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This cruise was arranged through Vermont Biking Tours VBT. The cabin were similar to Avalon, Viking, and Uniworld quality. The staff was excellent speaking English very well and very professional. However, the dining experience is much ... Read More
This cruise was arranged through Vermont Biking Tours VBT. The cabin were similar to Avalon, Viking, and Uniworld quality. The staff was excellent speaking English very well and very professional. However, the dining experience is much to be desired. Breakfast and lunch were adequate. Dinner was another matter. The dining room was noisy and it was very difficult to converse. The main course offerings were way und the offerings by Emerald’s competition. One of our party was a vegetarian. Main courses were unappetizing and probably 70 calories. Standard offerings were substantially below the competition. We have been on Viking on the Danube river before with a much better culinary experience. They appeared understaffed, with dinners taking over 2 hours to complete. The staff were working hard, so we would blame corporate Incompetence. Tours had good guides, but there seemed fewer offerings than Viking. Bicycle tours were a pleasant surprise. Excellent ship with a poor dining experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I was really disappointed with Emerald. They advertised their food as being high-end cuisine. It was really average. I had their lunch in the dining room on the first two days of our 14 day cruise, and never returned. There is a lot of ... Read More
I was really disappointed with Emerald. They advertised their food as being high-end cuisine. It was really average. I had their lunch in the dining room on the first two days of our 14 day cruise, and never returned. There is a lot of food, but it was all of mediocre quality. No complaints about breakfast, there was a lot of variety and it was excellent. Their dinners were not high-end cuisine. Again most were adequate, but nothing spectacular. The service on board was outstanding. The wait staff were all excellent, five stars to everyone. The administrative staff all performed their assignments adequately, but nothing out of the ordinary. No complaints about the staterooms at all. There again very high-quality and the stewards who were responsible for maintaining them did an outstanding job. The excursions were disappointing. They were adequate, but nothing more. About half of their local guides were the bottom of the barrel for sure. This was a 14 Day Danube- Main- Rhine River Cruise in July, 2019. The cruise itself is spectacular and I would recommend it to anyone. I booked with Emerald instead of with Viking, and I think I made a mistake. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Chose this cruise because I love France. Arles, Avignon and Lyon were really interesting ports of call. Ship was spotless. Food was very good. Service in the dining area was excellent. All staff and crew were friendly, helpful and ... Read More
Chose this cruise because I love France. Arles, Avignon and Lyon were really interesting ports of call. Ship was spotless. Food was very good. Service in the dining area was excellent. All staff and crew were friendly, helpful and efficient. We were disappointed that the ship often sailed during the night. When it did sail during the day, there was no access to the top deck due to the many, many lochs and bridges. (There was free access when in port). On day 6, the french authorities boarded the ship for an audit. The ship was prevented from completing its journey. The next day : * we travelled by coach to a vineyard - over 2 hours each way * a scheduled cheese/wine event did not take place * we made our own arrangements for lunch * returning from the coach trip, we were told to pack as we would be staying overnight at the Radisson hotel and we had to find somewhere for our evening meal * we were able to claim for 2 basic meals - but the allowance was far short of the standard and number of courses we had become accustomed to plus, unlimited wine with our meals * passengers were very low in spirit at the end of the holiday and we have never had an explanation as to why the ship's paperwork was not in order. * Liberte was unable to make its return journey to Arles, meaning many more disappointed people. I have written to Emerald Waterways suggesting compensation should be a seventh of the cruise price. I have not had a reply - just a standard letter and a cheque for £110. I don’t think this is adequate when you consider the disruption and inconvenience we experienced. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Maybe we have high expectations? I just don't understand how so many people can say "Fantastic, Wonderful, Amazing" In my experience there is always room to improve. On our cruise we had "lock" problems so were ... Read More
Maybe we have high expectations? I just don't understand how so many people can say "Fantastic, Wonderful, Amazing" In my experience there is always room to improve. On our cruise we had "lock" problems so were unable to reach our last port of call and were transferred via bus. Made for a very long and uncomfortable day. In general the ports we visited were nice, but I wouldn't be interested in returning for extended stays, other then Budapest and Prague. The food on board was OK, but only 40% of it seemed to change daily, they kept serving the same items over and over again. I was also surprised to find we were forced to join other people at meal time. I understand many people enjoy this, but me and my husband like to enjoy a quite dinner after a long day of touring share our thoughts of the day. The idea of a peaceful relaxing dinner with each other, a glass of wine, is just what we are looking for. However, being pushed into making small talk with strangers each night was not what we were expecting. After all is said and done, we will go on another river boat cruise, but more prepared with the pluses and minus. Read Less
Sail Date July 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 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
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
This was our third cruise with Emerald. We have also cruised with Uniworld and Viking. We chose this trip from Budapest to Amsterdam on Emerald because our previous trips with Emerald were wonderful. Unfortunately that was not quite the ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Emerald. We have also cruised with Uniworld and Viking. We chose this trip from Budapest to Amsterdam on Emerald because our previous trips with Emerald were wonderful. Unfortunately that was not quite the case. I have written about our cabin below so I won't go into that any further. The ship was very nice and comfortable and the staff was great. Michael the Cruise Director was outstanding. The food was plentiful and you would never go hungry but my husband said it was nothing special. The soups were weak and salty; not much taste. The dinners were somewhat unusual too; beef cheeks and lots of lamb!!!! At dinner we expected men to wear long pants but instead we had several that had on sport shorts and flip flops. Emerald does have a dress policy but doesn't enforce it. We talked with the Hotel manager and the head of the dining room who admitted they had a dress code but they didn't ask the gentlemen to please put on pants for dinner. Very disappointing. The tours and guides were excellent. Most were college students who were very entertaining and knowledgeable. Because of the low river levels we only missed two stops in Passau and Koblenz and were very, very fortunate to be able to sail all the way to Amsterdam. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We liked the itinerary of this cruise however, the river was low and we were informed at 6pm the previous evening could only board at Passau not Nuremberg. We arrived in Munich Airport at 11am - our baggage did not arrive until 12.15, we ... Read More
We liked the itinerary of this cruise however, the river was low and we were informed at 6pm the previous evening could only board at Passau not Nuremberg. We arrived in Munich Airport at 11am - our baggage did not arrive until 12.15, we could not find the meeting staff for Emerald - no signs - no notices at the cafe proposed for the meeting. We were then approached by a lady with no identification telling us that our transport had left and we would not get transport until 14.30 - flippantly told just to have some lunch!! We were taken to the car and left the airport at 2.30pm. When nearing Passau the driver informed us that we still had one hour to drive. He then proceeded south and obviously had no idea where he was going, we went through fields and farmyards but no sign of a river. The driver would not stop to find out where we were - my husband called Emerald Dawn and asked where they were berthed - he told us near the central station in Amsterdam! After a further 4 calls where the driver would not communicate with the ship - we asked for his papers which stated we were going to Emerald Sun. We finally arrived at the ship at 6.20pm - no apology for lack of information or inconvenience, in fact quite the opposite. We wrote a letter to the CEO of Emerald and handed a copy to the cruise director - he did not even acknowledge it. They then told us we would be going back up the river to Regensburg the following day by coach - 2.5 hours each way - this was not what we expected and could not face another long bus trip. By the next day we had somewhat calmed down and the remainder of the cruise was good. On leaving the ship on 15th Sept. we were taken to Budapest Airport for the flight to Amsterdam and on to Edinburgh, the flight arrived late - the air bridge would not work the steward announced we would still catch our flight to Edinburgh. We RAN to the gate to find out the Edinburgh flight was gone -we are 74 years old and did not feel good after this rush. KLM were very helpful put us on the next flight where we found that 2 of our fellow ship passengers going to Edinburgh were booked and had not had the rush to a flight that was gone. The inefficiencies of the transfers were appalling, but the most disappointing was the attitude of the management of the ship, they were just not interested. this experience would not entice us to book Emerald again, in fact we could not recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was our first River Cruise we will repeat. We chose Emerald because Senic included drinks all day and we do not drink as much. We were told that Emerauld's quality was outstanding for less as Wine and beer and soft drinks meals ... Read More
This was our first River Cruise we will repeat. We chose Emerald because Senic included drinks all day and we do not drink as much. We were told that Emerauld's quality was outstanding for less as Wine and beer and soft drinks meals only. We did have a few drinks between meals but mostly at the beginning of the cruise and used our credits on board to pay. The care with our Cruise director Darren was outstanding so was the whole crew .Each night we get explanations on the next day activities and countries what excursions to choose. There is lots of free time if we choose to do nothing. They truly care. Darren went out of his way to accommodate us during the heat wave to make us comfortable during excursions. The Captain is the only one who risked going through the low water levels we stayed informed all the way. Precautions were taken and we felt secure. The comfort on the ship is outstanding. Air conditioning on-going. Sheets and bed all is top quality. Embarkation and disembarkation are easy pizzy! No hassle, no climbing stairs, waiting for contents to be checked, many entrances to come in or out from, good monitoring of passengers entering or exiting ship even when anchored with other ships. Activities with music and dancers from different countries were awesome and had us all participating (no obligation). Loved that the tips were included no extra to pay ever!!! We loved Vienna. The after thought is spend less time in little countries such as Lynz and Durnstein and more in bigger countries like 2 days in Vienna as it was in Budapest. Vienna is wonderful the history, the buildings, the sites...we would like to return to spend one week in Vienna only. Concert in Vienna is a must. Family visit in Bratislava is high on our list of likes. The Budapest part is something to remember for the rest of your life. We took the option to stay in Budapest and regretted it simply because Emerald excursions did such a good job at showing us the country plus the night cruise was breathtaking, 2 days more cost us over $1000. (we had to pay for our excursions, food and all) and not worth it because we had covered so much with our guides for free and great explanations. First 3 days in Prague were very well organized, our tour guide was perfectly bilingual, helpful and knowledgeable. She told us so much on on each one of our tours we really enjoyed those 3 days. The bus to Nuremberg on the 4th day made us wonder why we left Prague so late. We were under the impression that there was an organized tour in Nuremberg before boarding the ship. We left Prague at 1h30pm it took us 5 hours to get from Prague to Nuremberg. The meal stop (at our expense) was in a mcDonalds on the side of the road. Could have had a lunch packed for us from the hotel before leaving or go to a local restaurant? Anyhow, this stop is not representative of the ship standards and was very disappointing in terms of a short visit in Nuremberg and food but we should of understood at that moment that the food standards of Emerald are far from ours... Speaking of food... If you like veggies and soup (soups were very good but very salty) bread and cold cuts and desserts you are in for a treat also, there were many fruit and nuts to choose from.I have travelled more than my share business and pleasure, sea cruises, organized or not trips, it is the first time I come back having lost weight because nothing on the menu turned our crank! Nothing refined...I can appreciate we ate local...goulash, sausages, sauerkraut, shneizell we had the impression that nothing was freshly made more like warmed up cafeteria and fat. There was an option choice for those who did not like the day menu, steak, salmon or chicken breast. Steak was not the best quality and lots of pulling to cut, if you like your steak medium rare by the time they come up the stairs and serve it continues to cook and turns out to be well done; the chicken is more like an overcooked thin cutlets=dry like cardboard, salmon very dry and small portion. Captain's night Chateaubriand and fish the portions were so small 3 bites later and it was gone, night of the Celebration supper Beef cheeks tasted like plastic (could not eat it had a salad with cheese) . Lunch is a buffet pretty much always the same. I hate to post such a bad review for food because all the rest was soooooo over the top excellent.But for our group food kicks the experience up a notch! We would like an explanation of why the quality was so poor it will help us choose our next cruise. I do recommend this cruise and if food is important for you then ask more questions before you book. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was our first river cruise and it was our honeymoon, so we decided to splash out and book the best. Emerald included everything, meals, wine, tours, tips and this was a perfect way to get a feel of river cruising. We chose our cabin, ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and it was our honeymoon, so we decided to splash out and book the best. Emerald included everything, meals, wine, tours, tips and this was a perfect way to get a feel of river cruising. We chose our cabin, mid boat and on the top deck with panoramic balcony. This was perfect, roomy, comfortable, clean and with great facilities such as WiFi and free movies. Lovely touch of turn down each night, towel animals which made us smile and chocolate on the pillow. The staff looking after the rooms were friendly and helpful, they couldn’t be faulted. The boat was beautiful and easy to navigate. The reception staff were helpful and friendly, always willing to answer questions and the cruise director worked hard and spoke well at the evening meetings. There were however a couple of issues which did lead us to think we would try an alternative cruise line if we went again. The breakfast and lunches were great, lots of choice and lovely food but the food at dinner was well below par. Portion sizes were small and the quality was lacking, definitely not worth the money. The serving staff were friendly but there were some language issues and there appeared to be issues with the kitchen staff, mainly the head chef. There were lots of complaints which was a shame. The other thing we didn’t enjoy was the way the tours were set up. We often only had 30 mins to an hour to have coffee and look round and then had to rush back to the boat for lunch. Packed lunches weren’t an option for some reason. The best trip was the day we had in Strasbourg, we opted to miss lunch and stay in town. If we did a river cruise again we would check the tours out first. We felt like sheep being herded most of the time rather than valued travellers. Not sure if this is a common issue on river tours? If we had thought ahead we would also have booked a couple of nights in Switzerland at the end of the cruise as no time to see otherwise. Entertainment on board was limited, a good evening violinist and not so good singers on one afternoon. There was a keyboard player in the bar each evening who was good but not a lot of atmosphere. The welcome and farewell dinners weren’t outstanding. Lots of clapping the staff but as the farewell dinner was on the Thursday rather than the actual last night it all felt a bit strange. The best entertainment was a guest who had brought along a harmonica! Great American blues. Overall the cruise was a lovely relaxing holiday, we would just choose to try an alternative cruise line in future to see if they offer a more individual service. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Chose this cruise to celebrate a special event. Staff was accomodating though even with room being çleaned' twice a day, the vacuum obviously didn't work well.Tours were basic and food was disappointing with the chef's ... Read More
Chose this cruise to celebrate a special event. Staff was accomodating though even with room being çleaned' twice a day, the vacuum obviously didn't work well.Tours were basic and food was disappointing with the chef's menu being rather boring after the first few days. The soups were a mild variance of the consomme of the previous day.Rooms were small but adequate but the lack of a dance floor and entertainment made you want for the calm of your room! Main complaints: no onboard credit for Canadians. Welearnt later that the UK guests were provided 100 pounds each. All guests arrived with Emerald backpacks , not a prioity but principle All communication with thiscompany and through the travel agent has been UNANSWERED for nigh on 6 months! When you pay thei kind of money you expect a certain degree of service. Just wanted an apology but since none was received Never using them again Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Chose this cruise because Tim Wonnacott was going to take passengers around @Flee Markets' which he did and he was very entertaining. From the outside 'Liberte' looks very new and sleek, but inside furnishings in both the ... Read More
Chose this cruise because Tim Wonnacott was going to take passengers around @Flee Markets' which he did and he was very entertaining. From the outside 'Liberte' looks very new and sleek, but inside furnishings in both the Main lounge and Dining room have been done on the cheep with the quality of a lower end furniture store.. Cabins to say the least are cramped even in the upper grades which we were on the top deck. Crew were all very good as were the 2 Captains but there appeared to be a lack of waiting staff in the dining room at dinner, and getting your wine glass filled which was the smallest measure I have ever had on a River cruise could be a bit of a wait, but what was served was very acceptable. Breakfast was excellent with the standard Buffet Fare. Lunch and dinner was OK but I have eaten far better in lower end French Restaurants in my Home town of Edinburgh. Maybe we a spoilt in Edinburgh because we have many French restaurants with chefs who have been trained in Lyon and Rhone area. Escargot was bland and Mules Marinade half the mussels had not opened [NOT GOOD] The usual piano player provided entertainment and one night we had a female French singer who was OK, but one night we had a great local band who made the boat 'Rock' and everyone including all the crew including both Captains all joined in and we had a fantastic night. Included excursions were in general OK, but first River Cruise I have ever been on where walking ability was not taken into account when dividing groups resulting in a very slow pace for all and those who were slow walkers often dropping out on the tours. We never used the Bikes because the Captain rightly decided the winds were to strong for safe cycling. Overall thow we met a lot of lovely other passengers some of whom we have already contacted since returning home to meet up in the future, we all agree that Emerald is doing this on the 'Cheap', both on the size of Cabins, food quality and number of guides [who were all very good] on executions we will not be sailing with then again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Emerald would like to think that they are on the same level as Avalon...not so. They have a long way to get there. The rooms are small and you can hear the toilets flushing all night long fro the nearby cabins. The bathrooms are ... Read More
Emerald would like to think that they are on the same level as Avalon...not so. They have a long way to get there. The rooms are small and you can hear the toilets flushing all night long fro the nearby cabins. The bathrooms are small and difficult to maneuver for the average sized adult. The Cruise Director although pleasant, was new to the industry and needs more experience. She did not know anybody’s name and spent most of her time just making announcements. The ship was heavy with glass and mirrors throughout to make it appear larger. The decor was bland and uninviting. The housekeeping staff, as well as the wait staff were very attentive and friendly. The sun deck was totally unused. No barbecue, no activities, nothing. Just a place for someone and the staff to go to smoke. The movies shown were the same that you could see on your tv in the cabin. The food was “all French all the time” with limited selections to choose from. Some of the included excursions were more of just a filler. No wow factor. Upon disembarking we saw every able body person carrying luggage...including the head chef...REALLY? I expected more from Emerald and was very disappointed. This was my first and last time with Emerald. It’s back to Avalon for me. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Price & itinerary were what we were looking for. Also had read that the Radiance was a new ship (built in 2017). Ship very modern and clean with much chrome & glass. Found that layout of public areas (restaurant & ... Read More
Price & itinerary were what we were looking for. Also had read that the Radiance was a new ship (built in 2017). Ship very modern and clean with much chrome & glass. Found that layout of public areas (restaurant & bar/lounge) were quite crowded, with furniture almost on top of each other. Food was pretty good, although some foods at breakfast buffet were cold when they should not have been. Service was very good, as were shore excursions and local guides. Cruise tour Director (Luis Gomes) was excellent. Cabin layout was disappointing as it was advertised as "balcony". However, turned out to be simply a pull down half picture window. Overall cabin layout was very crowded, with access to bathroom quite restricted. Much prefer balcony cabin layout on AMA Waterway ships; which are true "French Balconies". Overall, cruise was enjoyable as onboard service was very good as were the excursions and local tour guides. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
The Good. The entire crew were excellent throughout the cruise and unable to be faulted. Always a ready smile, happy to chat and would go out of their way to ensure we and other passengers were going to get the most enjoyment out of ... Read More
The Good. The entire crew were excellent throughout the cruise and unable to be faulted. Always a ready smile, happy to chat and would go out of their way to ensure we and other passengers were going to get the most enjoyment out of this cruise. Embarkation in Amsterdam and disembarkation in Budapest went smoothly and seemlessly. Our cabin on the lower deck was cosy and just a small window to let light in, but unable to look out off unless one was over 2 metres tall. But this is what we booked and expected. The cabin was kept clean every day, bed comfortable and chocolates every night on our pillows. The information chanel on the televison was normally a day or two behind with details of activities and it became necessary to go to reception to get this changed. In the end we just didnt bother and relied on the daily printed newsletter. Tours and guides. Most were good, some not so good, and a couple just downright boring. Some guides must have been paid by the words they spoke, never shutting up and constantly filling our heads with nondiscript facts that went in and out at the same time. The Bad As allude above, a few guides suffered from verbal overload. Yes most of us were interested in facts and figures about the tour we were on, but our brains do have a limited capacity to absorb hundreds of years of information in a short period of time. The good guides kept the information to the basics, what is it, where is it, why etc, others felt it important to tell not only their life stories, but the entire life story of what it was we were looking at. These long winded guides were the topic of conversation around the dinner table, and not in a complimentary manner either. The Ugly Yes river cruise ships have limited space and this shows in the dining room. Breakfast isn't so bad, it's staggered and people come to eat in a timely manner that doesn't overcrowd the buffet serving area. Lunch (buffet) was a nightmare, the dining rooms doors usually opened at noon, on the dot and the crowds rush in, firstly to get the right table and then to be first in line to get to the food. It would be 30 minutes before the lines settled down and others who didn't wants to push and shove were able to get their food. And who's idea was it to have one nights dinner buffet style. Same situation as lunch. Dinner wasn't that much better, though it was waiter service, with people lining up outside the dining room up to 20 minutes before opening time to get their favourite table. The after dinner entertainment left much to be desired. We had just three evenings of entertainment which was greatly enjoyed by passengers and well attended. The first a trivia night, the second a dance night, the third a liar night. All three were fun and gratefully appreciated by all in attendance which was most of the ship, The after dinner entertainment for the rest of the cruise was taken up by the single musician on his piano, and whilst very good, could not attract a crowd and hence the room was mostly empty after 9pm The food thoughout was fair to good, some days excellent, some days not so. On days when food was left on plates waiters made the enquiry as to why and eager to satisfy with replacement food. Whist breakfast and lunch buffets were plentyful, it was on days quite bland. Dinner was from menu selection and the best meal of the day with several choices. (To be fair, whilst lunch was buffet style, passengers were offered a menu at lunch times and could order items from the kitchen. We did this perhaps half the time when we found something to our liking) The outside upper deck was closed from around day 3 or 4 and wasnt available for use by passengers until around day10 or 11, so for half the cruise this area was out of bounds due to low bridges over the rivers and canals. Passengers during this time could not avail themselves of the fine weather to sunbathe or exercise. Have cruised before on ocean liners, first time on a river cruise and not sure we would do another river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this company over its competitors because of good CC and word-of-mouth reviews; and this cruise because of its romantic Christmas nature. Some aspects were excellent: small but comfortable and well-appointed cabins with great ... Read More
We chose this company over its competitors because of good CC and word-of-mouth reviews; and this cruise because of its romantic Christmas nature. Some aspects were excellent: small but comfortable and well-appointed cabins with great views; the small but superb swimming pool facility; the top quality guides, who spoke perfect English and were informative, interesting and, in a couple of cases, superbly droll. We had lots of snow and a particularly memorable blizzard experience at Rothenberg. We also had an absolutely top quality cruise director. So why no five stars? Two reasons. Firstly, rank incompetence in arrangements for arrival/welcome at Munich airport, a situation which left our driver, when we finally found him, driving us at top speed the 170 kilometres from Munich to Nuremburg (was there really no airport closer?) to ensure we arrived at time for departure. This meant we did not begin our holiday in a relaxed frame of mind and we would urge all customers of Emerald to double-check instructions for reception after flight to Munich rather than taking at face value the instructions in their booklet regarding meeting in a certain cafe. Even more disappointing was the poor quality of food on this cruise. Buffet breakfast and lunch began average and seemed to improve as the cruise continued. But served dinners were lacklustre throughout. Menus were uninspiring and unimaginative, especially - though not exclusively - for vegetarians like me; portions were small which would have been fine had quality been good, but it rarely rose above average and a couple of times was below that. Twice, we chose to eat off-ship. This problem may have been a blip; generally Emerald's food seems to be well reviewed. However, it was a severe disappointment to us and to quite a few fellow cruisers we talked to. The dinners just felt cheaply sourced and put together; and inadequate. Since quality cuisine is a very important part of the cruise experience It has left us feeling that we did not get our money's worth and that we don't want to travel with Emerald again. None of this is to intended to impugn the excellence of the committed restaurant and bar staff who did their very best - though at times waits were lengthy and they appeared short-staffed....Generally, the entertainment was poor - quizzes, a zither player and some execrable movies - though the glassblower was interesting. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Recently travelled with Emerald from Budapest to Amsterdam. I went to Budapest a couple of days early, and stayed on the ship the first night. We did a tour of Budapest from the ship, as well as an evening cruise on the Danube. The ship ... Read More
Recently travelled with Emerald from Budapest to Amsterdam. I went to Budapest a couple of days early, and stayed on the ship the first night. We did a tour of Budapest from the ship, as well as an evening cruise on the Danube. The ship itself was modern, with good facilities. Shore excursions were well organised, and the tours hit all the highlights. Options offered were good. On board entertainment consisted of a piano player in the lounge, and the odd game night. Movies in the theatre were the same as you could get in your cabin, so not well attended. The crew night was fun - it wasn't professional, but that was the charm, and the crew acknowledged they were amateurs. Cabin was clean, and well maintained, although a little tight between one bed and the bathroom. Drawer space was more than adequate, but at the cost of a smallish closet which contained the room safe and mini-bar. Cabin staff was excellent. Overall, staff were good. Unfortunately, lunch and breakfast were buffet style and the food was not kept warm. Eggs cooked for you at breakfast were fine, but the meats and scrambled eggs were in trays that appeared not to be heated. Even if you dug down to the bottom of the scrambled eggs, they were still cold. At lunch, soup was hot, and pasta in heated dishes were warm, but the other hot entrees were anything but. Ironically, dessert at the evening meal was frequently served on dishes that appeared to come straight from the dishwasher. Hence, cheese melted to the dish, and ice cream melted quickly. This was a remarkable adventure, but when people ask if I recommend it, I tell them yes, but not with Emerald because of the food. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I had never been on a riverboat cruise so picked this one simply through online research and because it stopped at the places I wished to see. The excursions and visits to castles, palaces, abbeys, churches and historic cities and towns ... Read More
I had never been on a riverboat cruise so picked this one simply through online research and because it stopped at the places I wished to see. The excursions and visits to castles, palaces, abbeys, churches and historic cities and towns were all wonderful - I’m sure I will never be there again, so it was a very compact and educational 2weeks. Most of the guides were very good. Some, however, dwelt on an excessive amount of facts which were quickly forgotten, too numerous to remember. I had some difficulty adjusting to and accepting the limitations of the riverboat itself. This was partly due to the fact that I had previously taken so many ocean cruises on some very large ships. We had a one bedroom suite which gave us more room than most of the passengers. The room needed more lighting esp. for a vanity. Women are still not considered in most hotels, ships etc. I disliked the open seating at the dining hall. If you did not get there promptly it was not always possible to find seating for all of your party together. Breakfast and lunch times were good re food choices, but the evening meal left much to be desired. Being exposed to European dishes is fine but not every night with the same selection of foods. I found it impossible to eat much of the food offered. A lot of it simply was too spicy or strange for me. When not on an excursion there was virtually nothing to do on board the boat. The lounge was too small to accommodate everyone, the pool was a joke and the library consisted of a handful of books. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The cruise director was excellent and could not be faulted. The ship was very clean and our cabin person looked after us very well. However a major down side of this cruise was the food which was extremely disappointing. I do not eat ... Read More
The cruise director was excellent and could not be faulted. The ship was very clean and our cabin person looked after us very well. However a major down side of this cruise was the food which was extremely disappointing. I do not eat milk, cream or butter so I told reception on the first day. They told me that they would put a menu for me in the room every day. This they did for the first five days, but sadly all they did was to high light the food I could not eat, which was the major part of the menu. No alternative was offered. They offer rump steak and chips to everyone who wants it and I had no choice but to eat this 5 nights out of 7. The steak was extremely small (4oz max) with a few chips on the side and that was it! Not even a slice of tomato or any garnish at all, and no vegetables. I paid thousands of pounds for this cruise and everyone we talked to said that they did not like the evening meals. My husband eats anything , but he said everything just tasted the same. Portions were very small, and at night on our table we all asked for extra bread every night to fill up on. The dining room was the nosiest I have ever experienced, with everyone shouting at each other in order to hear what was being said, maybe the low ceilings had something to do with it. The excursions were good and were included in the price. On board we played the mini golf 3 holes. The entertainment was very good when available, in particular the violin player. All in all the cruise was just average, but the staff did try their best to look after everyone. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on ... Read More
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on many evenings at dinner ,when you needed another glass of wine the staff didn't seem to notice . But, other than that ,, it was lovely. The ports of call were great and loved the day we went to have tea with a local family. Would loved to have tried the pool but wasn't brave enough . Due to the weather. Nina our tour guide was always there to answer any questions. Had a massage and it was just " wonderful. Please enjoy your cruise and have fun. Would go with Emerald again . So go go go go go ,fun fun fun . Xx Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
we saw this as an opportunity to see French towns and that did not disappoint. however the staff are fed up and unhappy. If management went undercover they'd gauge their staff as they are easy to talk to you and slag off the company. ... Read More
we saw this as an opportunity to see French towns and that did not disappoint. however the staff are fed up and unhappy. If management went undercover they'd gauge their staff as they are easy to talk to you and slag off the company. this is not good as it filters to passengers. the food is basic and certainly not top notch. complimentary drink or people on the full package do not get their glasses refilled often and it's clear the staff are under orders not to re-fill often. I mean there was a long wait between drinks. their are not enough waiters in the bar and they deliberately wander around trying not to make eye contact, again a sign on not serving too many drinks and top deck on sun lounge no staff were ever seen - shocking. shore excursions - extra trips are over priced and not value for money. other companies are certainly better. overall rating average. entertainment is poor and the pianist is clearly depressed. you could save money and put on a CD. they are now not bothered if staff or especially passengers sanitise on leaving and entering ship and not bothered if passengers sanitise going into restaurant. again, shocking as a lot of old people and infection control is paramount. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We are very frequent cruisers (50+ ocean cruises) but we recently took our first ever river cruise aboard the Emerald Sun travelling from Budapest to Nuremberg. The holiday didn't start off well with the airline (KLM) arranged by ... Read More
We are very frequent cruisers (50+ ocean cruises) but we recently took our first ever river cruise aboard the Emerald Sun travelling from Budapest to Nuremberg. The holiday didn't start off well with the airline (KLM) arranged by Emerald cancelling the outgoing flights due to 'high winds' whereby instead of arriving at the ship at lunchtime it was after 6.00 pm we eventually arrived. Despite our late arrival the transfer arrangements worked well and we received a warm welcome on board. Prior to the cruise Emerald described their cabins as some of the biggest on the river cruise market. We had nothing to compare this with but when we were shown to our cabin - a panorama balcony cabin - we found it to be very, very compact. It was the smallest cabin we have ever experienced. It did have a large bathroom, probably disproportionately large when compared to the size of the cabin with the entrance sliding door only 40 cms or so away from the side (pillow end) of the bed. The cabin was well appointed with drawer space but seemingly at the expense of hanging wardrobe space. One half of the wardrobe contained the fridge and safe so the remaining hanging space was even too short for trousers folded in half on a trouser hanger or blouses, etc. There was a very large flat screen TV with a reasonable amount of channels and free to view movies and the electrical sockets required the standard 'European' adapter. The sockets were poorly placed, however, particularly for my wife as there wasn't a mirror near to the sockets where she could 'do' her hair or apply her makeup. We had our own hairdryer with us with a relatively long lead so my wife resorted to sitting (or kneeling) round the corner in the entrance hallway, which was in itself poorly illuminated and using the full length darkened mirror - not ideal. There was adequate lighting and mirrors in the bathroom for her to apply her makeup. One omission that I would have expected to find in such a modern ship was usb charging points to prevent having to fiddle about with adapters, etc. As we arrived so late on the ship we made our way to the main lounge as quickly as we could and did see the last 15 minutes or so of the performance of the Hungarian folk group. They were very good as were the Bavarian 'oompah oompah' band on our last evening. All other entertainment was staff led and while the resident pianist was okay a decent singer or two would have made all the difference. As stated at the outset we have nothing to compare this experience against so perhaps this is the 'standard' aboard such relatively 'high end' river cruises. The Gala Welcome Dinner was quite a disappointment. There were relatively few choices, again this may be standa5rd across the river cruise industry, and the food that was served was at best warm. I eat anything but my wife is less adventurous when it comes to food. There were a few daily 'alternatives' always available such as clear soup, chicken breast, rump steak, which she resorted to on a number of occasions. I asked for a steak once - medium rare - that was delivered very well done. I would point out though that most of the meat served on the cruise was very good quality and very tender, but it was seldom served hot. Breakfasts offered the standard fare and a reasonable variety but again the hot food was seldom hot. I'm not a great lover of warm beans and scrambled egg. The breads, cold cuts, cheeses, etc., were, however, very good so I resorted to those for most breakfasts. Coffee on the ship was excellent with modern bean fed coffee machines available and delightful short crust biscuits to enjoy with the coffee. Bus and/or walking tours were included in this cruise and were very well delivered, with excellent guides providing the clearly well informed commentary. The audio devices provided worked very well. All the towns/cities we visited on this cruise were most enjoyable. These included Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Melk, Passau, Regensberg, with Vienna being the exception, not because of the scenery, but because after the walking tour we had 2 hours free time before the earliest bus back to the ship. It was a very cold day and because it was a Sunday all the 'regular' shops were closed. Highlight of the cruise was probably the evening sail in Budapest with all the important buildings and landmarks illuminated. What we didn't realise about this cruise was the 25 locks to navigate between Budapest and Nuremberg. Experiencing some of these in daylight was actually very interesting, but actually quite alarming on occasion when these were navigated at night. We were often awoken with loud bangs and shudders caused by the ship coming into contact with the lock walls. Coming awake on such occasions it was actually quite disorientating looking out the full size window to see 'nothing' but a dark, wet lock wall only a few inches away. We really enjoy sitting on the top deck of the ship watching the landscape go by but when negotiating some locks we were sometimes restricted from doing due to low lying lock structures, etc. This was most evident on the last section of the cruise when were negotiating the Maine-Danube canal and the top deck was closed for more than a day due to low bridges, etc. If we are to repeat our river cruise experience we would certainly do our research beforehand and avoid rivers with locks, or at least so many locks. As part of our cruise we had a 'premium drinks package' and the ship had a good selection of beers, wines and spirits to allow us to fully enjoy that package. Dress code was quite casual throughout the cruise. I took from the cruise brochures that I would occasionally wear a jacket and tie, so I took a dress jacket, a couple of appropriate shirts and suitable ties, but when I wore it to the Welcome Gala dinner I realised immediately that I was completely overdressed so it never 'escaped' from the wardrobe again during the cruise. So all in all a reasonably enjoyable and relaxing cruise holiday, but not one that we were 'blown away' with. If we are to consider another river cruise we may check out the 'competition. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
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