2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Although the Emerald Ship was beautiful and the staff and food excellent, the water system is very noisy. It sounded like a bowling ball was rolling across the ceiling of my suite every 15-20 seconds. I spoke with the hotel director and ... Read More
Although the Emerald Ship was beautiful and the staff and food excellent, the water system is very noisy. It sounded like a bowling ball was rolling across the ceiling of my suite every 15-20 seconds. I spoke with the hotel director and she was aware of the noise issue and told me she had reported it to the company, but nothing ever changes. So if you want a peaceful cruise, don't chose Emerald Waterways. Sleeping beneath a bowling alley was not my idea of a relaxing way to spend my nights on what is billed as a luxury cruise. I will not cruise with Emerald Water ways again. Everything else met my expectations. The ship was clean and well appointed and the staff was friendly and helpful. The shore excursions were well-planned and executed. My main concern is the quality of the sleeping experience, a rather important part of any cruise. September was a great time to travel and I would encourage others to cruise the Rhine during this time of the year. My advice is to find another cruise line first. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
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
6 Helpful Votes
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: 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
Sail Date: July 2019
My brother and his wife had cruised with Emerald Waterways a few years ago, and they were highly impressed. So on their recommendations, we decided to book with Emerald Waterways. All gratuities were included. Bicycles were on board to ... Read More
My brother and his wife had cruised with Emerald Waterways a few years ago, and they were highly impressed. So on their recommendations, we decided to book with Emerald Waterways. All gratuities were included. Bicycles were on board to be signed out and used at port. Swimming pool on board. Nightly entertainment. Delicious, artistically presented dinners with excellent vegetarian selections. In Basel we boarded about 1100, and rested in the lounge with other early passengers while rooms were being prepared. We were given a wonderful buffet lunch, and then taken to our rooms. The excursions were well directed and interesting. Free time usually in the afternoons to pursue other interests or rest on top deck. At the end of the tour, because we were not being transferred to the Amsterdam Airport, but rather staying in Amsterdam for three more days, we waited in the lounge until our taxi arrived to take us to the Airbnb. I would like the coordinator of Emerald Destiny to know that the taxi charged us 35 EU to travel about 15-20 min from our boat to the airbnb. We didn't notice that he hadn't put the meter on, and were too naive to know what the usual fare should be for this short distance. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. This cruise was very interesting and informative. The crew could not have been better. To say they were wonderful would be an understatement. Our waiters were amazing and attentive. The front desk was helpful and ... Read More
Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. This cruise was very interesting and informative. The crew could not have been better. To say they were wonderful would be an understatement. Our waiters were amazing and attentive. The front desk was helpful and informative. Our cruise director was very genuine and knowledgeable, and always made an effort to talk to everyone. The ship is beautiful. There is a lovely pool and in the evening the floor goes over it and it is turned into a cinema! Our rooms were always kept neat and it was truly refreshing coming back to the room after a full day of activities! After dinner, it was always a joy coming back to a pillow chocolate! We even had adorable towel bunnies which were quite impressive! The activities were great for people of all ages, children to the elderly, and I could rave about the service forever, but I am about to go sit atop the lovely sun deck on the ship!:) (We are on the Emerald Star traveling from Bucharest to Budapest. It wouldn’t allow me to properly click which destination or date! We boarded 07/13/19 and disembark 07/21/19! We are on the Danube additionally not the Rhine, this website wouldn’t allow me to properly click my cruise but I just had to fill this out because my experience was unforgettable.) Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose Emerald because of the help staff at time of booking and we are glad we did. The planned our entire trip including our flights and everything went very smooth. The entire staff was friendly and made sure we had whatever we needed. ... Read More
We chose Emerald because of the help staff at time of booking and we are glad we did. The planned our entire trip including our flights and everything went very smooth. The entire staff was friendly and made sure we had whatever we needed. Our cruise director Luka was fantastic and extremely organized and knowledgeable of the towns and culture. He also was a great musician and tour guide along the river. The food was very good and gave us a taste of the different areas we were going through. The activities were well planned out and fun, everything was done on time and the guides did a good job. The cabins are nice and the balcony window that you can lower is great! Our room was always kept clean and the beds were comfortable. I highly recommend EMERALD CRUISES to anyone interested in a luxury trip on the river Rhine. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We booked on short notice. This one was available for the cruise location we were looking for, and had some spots available. First thing we looked for was "tipping included" and pretty much everything else was also included. ... Read More
We booked on short notice. This one was available for the cruise location we were looking for, and had some spots available. First thing we looked for was "tipping included" and pretty much everything else was also included. Due to a lock door incident weeks prior, we were actually on the Emerald Destiny and not the Emerald Star -- a new ship in the fleet -- and it was amazing. Clean, fresh and new. The staff and crew were incredible -- always going above and beyond. Helpful, friendly and always smiling. The excursions were perfect. Just the right number. There was something new to do every day. Food was great. Lots of choice and the farewell dinner was unbelievably awesome. We knew ahead of time that there would be a large American group on board -- their group was SO FRIENDLY and it really added to the cohesiveness of the trip. Thank you, Parrot Heads! I have absolutely no criticisms of this trip or the crew or the touring company. Well done, Emerald. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise for its itinerary, with some of the ports being new to us. We have travelled on Emerald Waterways several times before, so had a high expectation and our expectations were all met and exceeded by this ship, its crew ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinerary, with some of the ports being new to us. We have travelled on Emerald Waterways several times before, so had a high expectation and our expectations were all met and exceeded by this ship, its crew and the itinerary. Emerald have high standards, and this continues on this ship. The crew are very hard working and friendly, and make every effort to respond to whatever requests passengers make. As with every Emerald ship we have been on, the food is to a very high standard. The crew prepare the dining room perfectly, so that it is almost a shame for the passengers to come in and spoil the beautifully laid tables. Cabins on river ships have to be fairly small, but they are well thought out with adequate storage space, and very good quality amenities. The Quietvox system which is provided free for shore excursions, is really good. Entertainment is always good on these ships, but on this cruise there were two US singer/songwriters plus a large group of their followers, all of whom added to the normal entertainment. The singers gave three concerts during the week, which were fun and enjoyable. There were also local artistes who came on board, and they were also good. If we have one less positive point about Emerald it is that we have done almost all of their itineraries and need them to add more so that we can make more bookings. We love sailing with Emerald. Read Less
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