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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
I had many great things about Emerald waterways and their ships. Once i realized that they were owned by The Scenic group, i knew I had to check their ship out. Danube Delights was the first river cruise that i have ever been on. I ... Read More
I had many great things about Emerald waterways and their ships. Once i realized that they were owned by The Scenic group, i knew I had to check their ship out. Danube Delights was the first river cruise that i have ever been on. I wanted to do this one as I was told that it is a great cruise for beginners and most people can trace some family heritage to that area. I was not disappointed with my choice. Not know what to expect, I was really surprised at how much detail and organization the cruise director had. He had us well prepared for what we were going to do the next day and where to be when it was time to go. Between the cruise director and the activities director, you had a ton of choices for things to do to fill your morning, day and evening. The food and the restaurant were amazing. The staff absolutely made sure you had more than enough to east and drink. If you somehow left hungry, it is your own fault. I was amazed at how many of the staff members knew the guests by name and what they drank. The front of the house/hotel staff has embrocation and disembarkation down to a science. It only took a few minutes each day to unload the entire ship The cabin was awesome. Plenty of room for everything. It is like a nice hotel room in the states... a little bit smaller but very nice. Very sleek modern design with A/C great for American travelers. The bathroom/shower is a little small, but i am a big guy and I was still able to use it without much effort. Even thought he shore excursions are very planned outwith guides, you have plenty of free time to take care of all of your shopping needs or go see something that might not be on the tour. They are also extremely flexible if you do not want to go on the tour or if you wan to break off at any point The nightly entertainment was great. The entire ship was engaged and having a blast. I would absolutely use Emerald again for a river cruise and recommend to anyone Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I went on this cruise unexpectedly. My mother and sister had gone on several river cruises but I had not - they always struck me as an over-controlled experience with more focus on the ship than on the places visited. But when my mother ... Read More
I went on this cruise unexpectedly. My mother and sister had gone on several river cruises but I had not - they always struck me as an over-controlled experience with more focus on the ship than on the places visited. But when my mother set up this trip for her 80th birthday I got a chance to see what the fuss was about. Wow. WOW. First off, you do get to see PLENTY! And one of the wonderful things about Emerald Waterways is that they do all of the planning for you: passes, passport review (Enchantment of Eastern Europe goes through 5 countries in 9 days, so this is a LOT of paperwork off my plate), tour buses, guides, the works. Given I'm over burdened with logistics in my day-to-day life, this all-inclusive experience takes a lot of the stress out of planning a vacation. Emerald also coordinates experiences that going it alone can't, most notably an in-home visit for a homemade lunch with a Croatian family. The guides on all off-ship excursions are excellent. If you're a history buff (like me!) you get a lot of history and context for what you're seeing, from someone who lives there and has lived that history. Given how little I knew about eastern Europe in general this was a huge plus for me. I didn't know about the long shadows both the Roman and Ottoman empires cast over this part of the world, nor the varied and nuanced experiences of the Cold War and communism in the Balkans. I went back to the ship each night with a dozen notes for follow up at the library when I got home. The ship itself was exceptional. Service was incredibly attentive - within two days the waiters knew me and my coffee preferences on sight. The cruise director briefed us each night, so we'd know what to expect in terms of activities, local currencies and time changes, menu (more on that later), and was incredibly approachable and knowledgable. One thing that always daunted me about the idea of a cruise was getting lost on a huge boat of hundreds of people. I appreciated the fairly small ship and crew/crowd size (I think plus crew it was less than 200 people). I think this allowed both for better service and easier interactions between fellow vacationers at dinners and on excursions. The food was fantastic. They never overfed you, but I can honestly say my stomach never growled once the entire time I was on board. Dinner was previewed each night with a handout and chef recommendations, the latter of which almost never set a foot wrong. The food was excellent, in small enough portions to not feel overstuffed by appetizer, soup, main course and dessert. "One" glass of wine is provided with dinner, but that glass is constantly refilled by the attentive wait staff. Breakfast and lunch buffets were equally good. All meals included vegetarian options, and the staff even accommodated dietary restrictions on the family lunch visits. My only reservations: I'd have preferred a bit more "quiet space". Even during in the quietest times in the public areas there was music running, when I would have just preferred to hear the lull of the water against the ship's hull. I would have welcomed more opportunities to exchange cash/go to ATMs. While most of the countries on this trip (Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary) take euros some of the time, each country has its own currency and not all vendors take credit/debit cards. It was quite easy to wind up with a handful of currency on Wednesday that you couldn't use Thursday and couldn't exchange easily. I would also have liked the opportunity to visit a post office to send souvenirs home, but this may be out of an unrealistic desire to avoid overweight bag charges. The short version: would I do again? You bet! You get to see a lot with very little logistics on your part and you only have to unpack once. The food is phenomenal and all of it is included, including tips. The staff can help you with just about anything where you might get stuck, and you go home with unique memories and even more curiosity. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
It was all inclusive the cruise staff were friendly and excellent. The cabin was very good the bed was very comfortable.On suite was great shower was great always plenty of hot water.All of the trips were good and the local guides were ... Read More
It was all inclusive the cruise staff were friendly and excellent. The cabin was very good the bed was very comfortable.On suite was great shower was great always plenty of hot water.All of the trips were good and the local guides were friendly and very knowledgeable.One of the highlights was the Concert in Vienna superb! The balcony suite cabin was great apart from the cigarette smoke drifted in when we had our window open shame the ship wasn’t no smoking. Apart from that everything was very good. We thought the meals were first class from breakfast to the five course evening meal. The all inclusive drinks package and the tips all included was brilliant. The whole package was very well organised and from the cruise director to our cabin cleaner were second to none. Most enjoyable five star service and ship was very good. Cruising down the Danube was very magnificent. Thank you again to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Typically, we have chosen a more independent style of travel, but with everyone raving about river cruising we thought we would give it a try. Overall, this seemed to be a good company to cruise with. It is mostly all inclusive unless ... Read More
Typically, we have chosen a more independent style of travel, but with everyone raving about river cruising we thought we would give it a try. Overall, this seemed to be a good company to cruise with. It is mostly all inclusive unless you want to drink all day long. Wine and beer are available at meals and there is no limit. Included activities are mostly walking tours, however you can also bike if desired. The tours are educational, but because the guides have to adjust to all health and walking levels they tended to be less vigorous than what I would want. This is not a fault of the company, and they did try to gently organize groups into like fitness levels. Overall, I did like this company to cruise with, but I came away with the feeling that river cruising was not for me. It is far too structured for my liking and there were days that I felt herded like cattle to get the walking tour over with, back onthe boat and eat again! My LEAST favourite part is the line up to get into the dining room at dinner. They want everyone there at the same time as their food service is very structured. I understand why this has to occur, but it makes for a very un-relaxed feel at dinner. The buffet at breakfast and lunch is average quality....nothing outstanding but always good. The layout for traffic flow needs to be improved. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was my first real river cruise ( I don't consider my Nile cruise reflective of the genre) and my friends and I lucked out in going on a very new ship ( inaugurated in May 2017) with a very cool group of people. Unlike ocean ... Read More
This was my first real river cruise ( I don't consider my Nile cruise reflective of the genre) and my friends and I lucked out in going on a very new ship ( inaugurated in May 2017) with a very cool group of people. Unlike ocean cruising the ship complement is much smaller and as is expected skews older. I had no problem with either I love being referred to us "young people". The tours in each city were geared accordingly from active to gentle walkers. The predominance of the touring was inclusive of the price with two optional side tours for an additional fee. The fee was reasonable and not like the normal "soaking" you get from ocean cruise excursions. The pace was not hectic and as such I think you get a more in depth concept of the art, culture and history of each stop. I will say that when traveling through the 40+ locks on the Main you kind of want to say can we get a fast forward but the pace is part of the charm of river cruising. Be forewarned there is not much as far as evening entertainment, but as everyday is a touring day ( no days at sea) you don't miss too much the over activity of night life. Each evening we got an overview of the port for the next day and on arrival local guides came aboard to provide the tour experience. Most of the tours were walking though in the bigger cities like Cologne (Koln) a bus was needed for more direct access to the city centre. I think the Cologne stop was too short but that's the allotment. The food was OK nothing to rave about not much to complain about; I've actually had worse food on a recent RCCL Ocean cruise. I think I'd be up for trying this again. Good thing Scenic - which operates Emerald- has new routes coming on line in 2018. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Family recommendation. First time on a river boat cruise. Will definitely travel this way again. The staff was amazing! Very friendly and accommodating. We have no complaints about the staff and service at all. Boat was clean, common areas ... Read More
Family recommendation. First time on a river boat cruise. Will definitely travel this way again. The staff was amazing! Very friendly and accommodating. We have no complaints about the staff and service at all. Boat was clean, common areas were easily accessible and always well serviced. My wife's and my only complaint would be that the bike tour should have been either explained this is for all levels of riders or they should have tiers like all the other excursions. Most of the bikes were good for 32 km but the smaller bikes are not the right fit for this type of ride. I would highly recommend this trip to my family and friends and we will definitely do this type of cruise again. Michael the cruise director was awesome! Very entertaining. Shout out to all of the crew on the emerald destiny. You are all first rate! Congratulations and keep up the awesome work! We have never seen a more friendly and hard working crew before. Ever! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
First, the ship: Brand spanking new and it showed. Everything was meticulously clean and polished and the size of the ship was perfect. The "verandah" cabin is also perfect with the roll down window. The staff was superb ... Read More
First, the ship: Brand spanking new and it showed. Everything was meticulously clean and polished and the size of the ship was perfect. The "verandah" cabin is also perfect with the roll down window. The staff was superb throughout. Second, fellow passengers: Having only 120 or so on board for 2 weeks meant we were able to get to know many and make some good friends along the way. Third, the rivers (Rhine, Main & Danube): All are gorgeous with boundless curves, hills, castles and cute little towns and a couple of big cities. Fourth, the canal and locks: Absolutely fascinating and an engineering marvel to enjoy. Fifth, the itinerary: It was interesting, but often the stops in some lovely towns were too short to really have time to enjoy on your own time. They do a good job of including daily tours and excellent tour guides. Sixth, the food: Overall the food was OK, More variety from the locales visited would be an excellent addition. Our chef's Goulash was the best ever! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We booked this trip less than 6 weeks before embarkation, based on many of the helpful discussions on this website. We added a few days in Prague before the cruise and in Belgium after the cruise, so did not utilise Emerald's ... Read More
We booked this trip less than 6 weeks before embarkation, based on many of the helpful discussions on this website. We added a few days in Prague before the cruise and in Belgium after the cruise, so did not utilise Emerald's transfers. The ship is brand new, but everything ran smoothly and most of the initial kinks seem to be ironed out. Our crew and staff were friendly and accomodating; as our cruise director, Michael, gauged how energetic some of us were, he added/modified activities to cater for us. As Emerald is a fairly new line with a small fleet, they don't always have the choice berths in port. In fact we found out that our embarkation berth in Budapest was so far away from the city centre that we stayed based at our mid-town hotel so we could continue exploring the sights right until just before dinner on the Destiny. Our ethos was that the boat is a logistical aide and not the destination itself. Breakfast and lunch were buffet affairs. Although there was a decent spread, I found breakfast became a little monotonous. At least lunch always included some locally inspired dishes to give us variety. Dinners were sit down meals with plated service- selection of starters, soup, mains and dessert. The quality and presentation of dishes was consistently good and professional. Service was a little inconsistent at times if there were any unusual requests, but generally it was friendly and sharp. Service in the lounge was friendly and efficient. Very seldom did anyone have to wait to get a drink in hand. With our cocktail requests the bartenders tended to pour too much liquor in the glass. Our onboard entertainer was a talented singer-pianist with a wide repertoire. Sometimes however, he tried too hard to get the party going, rather than let the natural rhythm of the guests dictate the pacing of the songs. Our guests artists included a zither player, oom-pah band and Hungarian folk musicians. We expected these might be a bit kitsch, but they all turned out to be skillful and quite entertaining. On board exercise facilities included a few ergonomic machines, a small pool, and the rooftop walking track. Unfortunately, due to the height restrictions on the Main canal the rooftop was closed nearly half our trip so we could not fully utilise these facilities. The included tours of all the cities were generally of a very high standard, giving us a lot of information about the city, while still entertaining us and allowing us time to explore (or shop) on our own. We became quite spoilt by this experience and will definitely opt for local guides on any of our future holidays. All-in-all we were very happy with our trip on Emerald. It was great value for money and the experience was definitely one of our bucket list objectives achieved. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This cruise was chosen because of its itinerary and duration. I had not previously visited the cities included and had not experienced a river cruise. Overall the organisation and provision of the whole package was very good. My only ... Read More
This cruise was chosen because of its itinerary and duration. I had not previously visited the cities included and had not experienced a river cruise. Overall the organisation and provision of the whole package was very good. My only criticism of the travel arrangements was a 4 hour lay over at Frankfurt airport on our return to the UK. The ship was new so all onboard facilities were up to date and in good order. The dining procedures and quality of food were also very good other than the provision of adequate menu options for my wife in the early part of the cruise. She is vegetarian and this was documented in advance. Following a mix up in internal communication she was left on one occasion with a green salad only. This was subsequently rectified adequately by the restaurant manager and chef. Entertainment was minimal onboard but not unexpected. On this type of cruise I do not feel it is required. Service was very good by all crew members without exception. The excursions were all of great interest with expert and efficient guides. All arrangements were efficiently managed for the comfort of passengers. My wife and I would look to book again on a different itinerary. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Having been on numerous sea cruises we decided to try a river cruise for the first time with friends who have been before and recommended Emerald Waterways. Emerald Waterways delivered a good cruise with only some small changes to the ... Read More
Having been on numerous sea cruises we decided to try a river cruise for the first time with friends who have been before and recommended Emerald Waterways. Emerald Waterways delivered a good cruise with only some small changes to the itinerary, for example we had a buffet dinner the first night instead of a cocktail reception and welcome dinner which we had on the second night. This was actually better bearing in mind people would have been travelling the first day. The food was excellent considering the small kitchen and drinks flowed freely at lunch and dinner. We had a top deck R category cabin which was a tad small and the wardrobe space was not enough, but everything else was excellent. The entertainment could have been geared more to the area we were travelling in, but having said that the artists we saw were good. The crew were excellent giving a friendly service. In this day and age security could have been tighter, always a difficult balance between relaxed atmosphere and good security. One thing that struck us was the fact that smoking was allowed at the front on the top deck which meant when the boat was moving everybody at the back enjoyed the smoke as well!! All in all a good first river cruise, enjoyed the Rhine, super scenery and will book again with Emerald Waterways. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
Ship was good, crew was good, food was good. Trips were good as were the ports of call with the exception of the black Forrest. We went on a bus trip which took one and a half hours each way so we could have a slice of black Forrest cake. ... Read More
Ship was good, crew was good, food was good. Trips were good as were the ports of call with the exception of the black Forrest. We went on a bus trip which took one and a half hours each way so we could have a slice of black Forrest cake. We thought we were going for a hike that in fact was a 2 K ramble. We would suggest that this particular port be changed to another closer to Basel. There was no recycling on the ship which was strange. Coffee machine was wonderful as was the different coffees it produced. This was our first river cruise and despite the above criticism regarding the hike we would still recommend Emerald and would definitely travel with them again. The crew entertained us after dinner one evening and did a wonderful job. Embarkation and disembarkation was well organized and went very smoothly. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Wanted to try and see the difference in this line as compared to others. Cabin size is small and I think it is because of the lay out of the cabin. Could have been better but overall ok. Food and service was very good. The staff works ... Read More
Wanted to try and see the difference in this line as compared to others. Cabin size is small and I think it is because of the lay out of the cabin. Could have been better but overall ok. Food and service was very good. The staff works very hard every day. Cruise Director, Patricia, was outstanding. Pool on back of deck 3 was very nice touch. All in all would do it again. The meet at the airport needs to be improved. No one there when arrived and had to wait quiet awhile for transport which took another 1.5 hours. Disembarking went well. To see the christening of the ship was really a nice treat. Entertainment on board was good as well in fact better than most. The crew entertainment was also quite good. The guest brought on board did an a very good job. Definitely would recommend good value for money. Read Less
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