3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
A luxury suite on a relaxing cruise through beautiful scenery with amazing locks. Personal iPad provided. Restaurant served a never ending selection of main meals with light breakfast and lunches served in the bar area. The bar ... Read More
A luxury suite on a relaxing cruise through beautiful scenery with amazing locks. Personal iPad provided. Restaurant served a never ending selection of main meals with light breakfast and lunches served in the bar area. The bar included a self service coffee machine with a bottomless cookie jar. Service was exceptional, quiet and unobtrusive, the cabin was immaculate at all times. "Roses are red violets are blue, Emerald Radiance we love you. With cocktails aplenty Our glasses never empty Tables laden with food and wine Why go anywhere else to dine. Our Captain's the best He's never at rest Guiding us through locks And missing the rocks Until at days end he safely docks. But now one week on we have to be gone And so with a sigh we must wave goodbye. To fun and laughter with all new friends Our stern window view and all of the crew. Our wonderful cruise holiday ends." Thankyou Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose Emerald because of recommendations on line. They were offering good on board credit and other discounts. The Radiance is a beautiful ship and the staterooms are stunning. The lounge is good but the bar is too big leaving only room ... Read More
We chose Emerald because of recommendations on line. They were offering good on board credit and other discounts. The Radiance is a beautiful ship and the staterooms are stunning. The lounge is good but the bar is too big leaving only room for sitting. There was no space if anyone wanted to dance. The bar is the wrong place. The Entertainment could have been better . There was the resident pianist and one evening a local group played. Having travelled with other river cruise companies this was poor compared with them. The crew however were amazing and made the trip very enjoyable. It is a full on trip with a very busy programme during the day. The weather was amazing which greatly enhanced our enjoyment. The food was very good but it is necessary to enjoy meat. Servings of meat were huge although vegetables were in short supply at the evening dinner. Fish was available as an alternative. We purchased a drinks package which meant drinks were available all day. Other than this we spent very little, which meant while the trip might have appeared expensive everything was included for us. We spent 3 extra days in Lisbon which was great and wished we had stayed longer in Porto as it is quite beautiful. Transfers between Cities, hotels and the ship went very smoothly. I would recommend the Douro as the countryside was some of the most stunning we had seen. Not too many locks and all praise for the Captain as the river in some areas was very narrow and navigation must have been difficult. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our third cruise with Emerald Waterways and cannot speak highly enough of the luxurious balcony suite, the continual flow of excellent cuisine and above all the fantastic,friendly crew . Have booked the Rhine next June!! .The ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Emerald Waterways and cannot speak highly enough of the luxurious balcony suite, the continual flow of excellent cuisine and above all the fantastic,friendly crew . Have booked the Rhine next June!! .The crew deserve deserve a special mention for the way they conducted themselves in cleaning the ship after going through the bush fires that covered the ship in smoke ash..The crew kept us humourously entertained during this period.It must said that Captain was very welcoming at the start of the cruise and kept this up throughout with a quiet dignity On arrival at the airport at the beginning of the cruise we had rather a long wait to gather all the incoming passengers due different flight times otherwise the transfer went smoothly. The Cruise Director was very good and humourous bit not intrusive.All in all another trip with lots of memories to take home Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We were recommended a river cruise by many people and found this small river cruise in a part of Portugal that we had never been to. The whole trip was well planned out, the ship and crew were fantastic and we will definitely will go ... Read More
We were recommended a river cruise by many people and found this small river cruise in a part of Portugal that we had never been to. The whole trip was well planned out, the ship and crew were fantastic and we will definitely will go again. We were the youngest people on the cruise, by about 30 years, but that didn’t matter at all. We had a fantastic time and met some amazing people who will be friends for life. The river itself was quieter than we expected, and so some of the ports were a bit disappointing. The excursions were great and the touring was interesting. The ship was served by people who were either from the local area or deeply loved the area, and this came across in the way they shared their experiences and hospitality. The food and drink reflected the area we travelled through. The food was great and there was more food and drink than anyone could ask for. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We sailed the Douro in Portugal in October 2017 and I can’t praise the boat and crew enough. We had the cheapest cabin with a window but this didn’t matter as there was plenty of room and the bathroom was a decent size with all ... Read More
We sailed the Douro in Portugal in October 2017 and I can’t praise the boat and crew enough. We had the cheapest cabin with a window but this didn’t matter as there was plenty of room and the bathroom was a decent size with all the toiletries you needed, including dressing gown and slippers. All the food was good both from the lunchtime buffet to the evening meal which was chosen from the menu and served at the table.Wine was included with the meals and tea ,coffee and hot chocolate were available all day. Along with breakfast and afternoon tea one didn’t go hungry. Altogether a wonderful cruise and we would recommend Emerald Waterways to anyone. All the gratuities and excursions except for two optional ones were free . There was no other extra expenses onboard unless you used the Wellness Centre or required certain drinks which didn’t leave you with a bill at the end. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
The Douro has always been a place we wanted to see. The scenery did not disappoint. It was magical. The staff were very knowledgeable and always helpful. Mealtimes were unforgettable. The variety and quality of each meal on board showed ... Read More
The Douro has always been a place we wanted to see. The scenery did not disappoint. It was magical. The staff were very knowledgeable and always helpful. Mealtimes were unforgettable. The variety and quality of each meal on board showed how much thought and pre planning had been put in by the chef and his staff. Our three couriers on board always had time to listen and were always available for a chat or any additional information with alternative suggestions for on or offboard activities. The layout of the lounge was a little awkward with the large bar in the centre meaning that the staff were only visible to half the passengers in the room while infomation and talks were being given. However staff did their utmost to overcome this. Overall we would highly recommend the Emerald Radiance cruise as it will be remembered as one of our most enjoyable holidays. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Emerald's new cruiser certainly met the mark. Very plush and with everything we needed, the food was outstanding and the all inclusive drinks package had a wide selection of the best brands. The sun deck was well equipped with good ... Read More
Emerald's new cruiser certainly met the mark. Very plush and with everything we needed, the food was outstanding and the all inclusive drinks package had a wide selection of the best brands. The sun deck was well equipped with good chairs and lungers and effect sun screens. Staff were outstanding, from a very proud Captain through to the cleaning staff - nothing was too much trouble. Fellow guests were a good mix of English, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand and made for some inetresting discussions. Off shore trips were good using Emerald's own fleet of brand new coaches. The Duoro is a beautiful area and cruising it in both directions was not a negative but a plus - stopping at different spots each way. All the cruising was done in daylight, enhancing the enjoyment. We were expecting good - it was significantly better. Well done Emerald - we'll be back Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Chose this cruise to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary - only company which had vacancies for the dates required. Ship was brand new and very well decorated and furnished although dining chair legs stuck out causing many people ... Read More
Chose this cruise to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary - only company which had vacancies for the dates required. Ship was brand new and very well decorated and furnished although dining chair legs stuck out causing many people including staff to fall over them. Food was a bit disappointing - buffet breakfast was good as was the buffet lunch but dinner was very ordinary and a bit of a let down. Barbeque was a waste of time. Food was cold. All staff were very friendly and keen to help. Excursions were good and guides were very knowledgeable. Disappointed with the disembarkation process, once at the airport we were left to our own devices where as in the past with other companies we have been accompanied to the airport and assisted with the procedures. I noticed that some people were quite disorientated. Particularly passengers requiring mobile assistance. One problem - on completing our hand made tiles. They were placed on the bar for collection. A couple of people including me did not receive their tiles. On questioning this with one of the directors ( one could not be found) I was told well take one that is there then. I do feel that if there had been any breakages then it should have been pointed out or at least contact passengers to see if someone had inadvertently taken one that they shouldn't. Apart from the above which in my view only needs a little 'tweeking' we had a good holiday. This would not stop me from going with Emerald again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We wanted to visit the wine region in Portugal and after a good experience with Emerald on a previous cruise we were very disappointed with this one .The cabins are very small compared with their Star ships and the bathroom was minute ... Read More
We wanted to visit the wine region in Portugal and after a good experience with Emerald on a previous cruise we were very disappointed with this one .The cabins are very small compared with their Star ships and the bathroom was minute .There was hardly room to go round the bed to use the very small ,infant sized toilet. Our biggest disappointment was that out of 7 nights ,we only had 4 proper dinner evenings. One night was a so called BBQ which consisted of Luke warm precooked chicken which was dry and unpalatable ,small pieces of pork which was dry ,some sausages ,baked potatoes and a very limited salad offering .This was followed by a small dish of ice cream . Another night was a meal in a local venue which we did not go to .Those of us who stayed on board were served a very poor meal with chips still frozen in the middle . The first night was just a buffet ,so again ,not a dining experience. Several guests had stomach upsets including both of us .I continued to be ill on return to England and our hospitals tests came back as E.coli . We will not be going with Emerald again Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Full trip report Overview We researched the various cruises available on the Douro, including Viking, Scenic, AMA, and CroisiEurope who all run their own ships. We also looked at Agents who buy blocks on other boats. We chose ... Read More
Full trip report Overview We researched the various cruises available on the Douro, including Viking, Scenic, AMA, and CroisiEurope who all run their own ships. We also looked at Agents who buy blocks on other boats. We chose Emerald as, for us, they had the best overall offering, a new ship. We had cruised with them before on the Danube and knew the standard to expect. We booked direct, and early, to get the best discounts and cabin choice. We had a chance to have a tour around their Scenic sister ship, Azure, whilst moored alongside. They are the same size with identical sun deck, although we preferred the partial shade on Emerald rather than the solid awning on Scenic. Scenic is all suite (white-chrome, and a bit clinical) with butler service (who wants their smalls unpacked!) with less guests/different crew ratio (96/33 against 112/37 on Emerald) and more dining options. We were told by our crew, who swap between boats when required, that the food is the same on both boats but all silver service in Azure. They also far preferred working on Radiance as although busier, the guests were more friendly and inclusive. I genuinely think it was their honest view, not said to please. Inclusive liquor packages are the same but they have a 3-piece band at night rather than a pianist! Apparently, they play to an empty lounge after dinner as the Scenic guests all were in bed, unlike the Emerald bar which was lively most nights until midnight. We honestly couldn’t see the extra value in paying thousands of £/$ to sail Scenic rather than Emerald. Pre/Post Cruise The Emerald price includes air fares to/from the UK. From our own experience, we knew that this generally included transfers in Paris/Frankfurt or Amsterdam if not flying from London airports. When our flights were offered they included a 06.15 departure and a 55-minute connection-a disaster waiting to happen. We took a price reduction of £250 each, booked direct flights to Oporto the day before departure and stayed at the OPO airport hotel and still had some change. Our advice-investigate the alternatives. Other guests, who had lost luggage/missed connections/late arrivals wished they had knew this option. Joining The Emerald price includes collection/drop off at the airport so we made our way, refreshed after a good sleep and breakfast, to Porto Arrivals to be collected with two other guests and transferred to the Emerald Radiance just as the last group were disembarking. We were the first of the new guests to arrive. Bliss. We had the ship to ourselves, and a private guided tour, until after lunch when the next few arrived. We sat in the sun, watching the Red Bull Air Race Practice and enjoyed a delightful buffet lunch with local wine & beer before we were shown to our suite promptly at 3pm. 10/10 The Ship The newest on the Douro, it’s first cruise was in June. The early cruises attracted criticism with early teething problems with cabin fittings and service levels but the all Portuguese crew had got their act by the time we joined the September cruise. As you would expect, everything is new-and it shows. The Horizon Bar & Lounge are the hub of the ship and the service from head barman Abel, supported by Sandra, sparkled. Guests had an option of having a light breakfast/snack lunch here or on The Terrace whilst the full buffet breakfast and lunch was laid out in Reflections 9/10 Suites (as they are called) Although they vary in size from 150to300 sq ft and you get what you paid for. Everyone we spoke to seemed to be happy with their rooms, however grand or modest, especially the comfort of the beds. We heard of only one flooding and one complaint of noise, a cabin directly below the crane which started up at 06.30 am as we prepared to depart each morning-note there is no night sailings on the Douro. Our suite at the stern was very quiet with only propeller noise at 7am on departure. 9/10 Dining and Beverages The Emerald price included, for most guests, all liquor and future cruises are fully inclusive. This included fine Spirits included premium Gins and Black label whisky, Vintage Port and included Cava/Prosecco but not Champagne. The Douro wines stocked and served were excellent. We thought the food was of very high standard with a wide choice to match all tastes. Lobster, crab, scallop and prawns were a feature on one night and every evening included a local signature dish. The Captains Gala dinner was excellent but we, and many others, enjoyed the buffet evenings rather than waiter service. Much wider choice, hotter food and we ate at our own speed. The farewell dinner should have been buffet-instead it was table d’hote. A big error by management with guests wanting an early night and still waiting for their main course at 9pm This is however the only real moan as the food and service was really good, well cooked and presented, a wide choice to meet all tastes and always the alternatives of Chef’s Specials of Grilled Salmon, Chicken or super Sirloin steak with fries-delicious! Two final points, both frequently reported and taken on by Management. Everyone was banging their legs, and there were a few near tumbles, because of the splayed rear legs of the chairs. Change them… And there are no soup spoons, only dessert shovels which are useless for soup. Buy some… 7.5/10 Crew All Portuguese, they have only been together for 3 months but are now working as a team. Good English, big smiles and always willing to help, The Captain Alfonso Ribeiro, speaks perfect English and is full of stories, some not printable. He is the most senior captain on the river, poached from Viking, and was originally a DS trawler captain. The waiting staff are worked really hard, especially at dinners as do the bar staff who despite the pressures from thirsty guests, smile through it all. Housekeeping is immaculate and the laundry service is spot on. The cruise director Luis Gomes worked on large cruise ships catering for the US market and it shows. (-: 8/10 Cruising and Excursions The highlights for us was the actual cruise itself, up (and down) the magnificent river Douro winding through the steep sided vineyards. We were blessed with fabulous weather, a warm 21c in Porto climbing as we passed through the mountains and onto the Spanish high plain to 36c in Salamanca. Sitting in the sun, G&T in hand watching the vineyards of Taylor, Crofts and Sandemans go by, was a real treat Passing the locks was a great experience but we soon learned to take shelter from the sun deck when leaving the lock to avoid getting wet with drips from the overhead gantry. Only two optional excursions were offered- Mateus Palace and Guimaraes and although guests who took the Mateus tour enjoyed the house and gardens they did not like the trip to Guimaraes as it was long motorway journey with little to enjoy or see in Guimaraes. All other excursions are included and our favourites were Porto itself, the lovely river side town of Pinhão and the full day in Salamanca. For those on board, when cruising, there was always an afternoon activity-cocktail making, tile painting and talks. In the evening, there was always music in the bar or a quiz or competition for those up for it although many, knackered, preferred an early night. 8.5/10 Guests Mainly from the UK, making up 75% the rest a mix of Australians, Canadians and from the US. Only a few aged under 45 (travel agents?) with the average age in the high 60’s with a good smattering of lively 80’s (affectionally called the “sticks”) A really good mix and, as the meals are free seating, most guests had a chance to mix and mingle. 10/10 Summary The Douro is a lovely river and has fascinating micro climate winding through vineyards, olive groves almonds and eventually, just over the border with Spain, oaks with the famous black pigs. Porto is a great City to explore and Salamanca is a must Emerald has a well-paced cruise with excursions to meet all tastes, and cabins to meet most pockets and seems to attract a good mix of guests. 8.5/10 Read Less
Emerald Radiance Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 5.0 4.2
Entertainment 4.0 3.4
Public Rooms 3.5 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.4
Family N/A 3.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.3
Enrichment 4.5 4.0
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.2

Find an Emerald Radiance Cruise