6 Emerald Waterways Emerald Destiny Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
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
After doing some research, we decided on Emerald as the dates and duration suited us. Also your brochure was very persuasive with lovely photos. We decided on a grand balcony stateroom but were disappointed to find on many occasions ... Read More
After doing some research, we decided on Emerald as the dates and duration suited us. Also your brochure was very persuasive with lovely photos. We decided on a grand balcony stateroom but were disappointed to find on many occasions that other boats were moored along side us. This meant having to keep the blinds closed during the day. The food was very disappointing at first but improved a little towards the end of the week. After dinner we felt rushed out of the dining room as staff were trying to set up for the next day. We would have liked to be able to sit there and have after dinner drinks and carry on a conversation with other guests. The music in the lounge was always so loud it was difficult to hear what others were saying. Our highlights were Regensburg, but we didn't have much time there as we sailed early in the day. The best guide by far was Alex in Passau. He was amusing and had knowledge of not only the history but current and relevant information about his area. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The cruise definitely meets expectations. The food is great, along with the service. The only thing I didn't care for, is that it's not for active people. If you're active or like to workout at all, the gym is basically ... Read More
The cruise definitely meets expectations. The food is great, along with the service. The only thing I didn't care for, is that it's not for active people. If you're active or like to workout at all, the gym is basically useless. It has a rowing machine and a bench, and fits one person comfortably at a time. Not even a basic treadmill. To top it off, you're told that you can't use the top deck to run, as patrons below are disturbed. The top deck is also closed for the last 1-2 days of travel. It's a small ship, which makes it intimate, but has it's limitations for sure. But then again, if you're there to eat and drink away and don't care much on being active, it's a paradise for you. The cabins are decent, the housekeeping staff is great. Alcohol is readily available. It definitely provides good service, the piece missing is good activities for active people. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Emerald Destiny Ratings
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