1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We booked an elegant river cruise and got a mediocre bus tour. My wife and I boarded the Emerald Sky in Amsterdam on September 29 on a scheduled 15 Day “Splendours of Europe” river cruise. This ship was a replacement for the ... Read More
We booked an elegant river cruise and got a mediocre bus tour. My wife and I boarded the Emerald Sky in Amsterdam on September 29 on a scheduled 15 Day “Splendours of Europe” river cruise. This ship was a replacement for the Emerald Sun that was unable to complete it’s previous cruise due to low water levels on the Danube. We were most disappointed with the latter portion of our “cruise”. We had anticipated that we might need to be bussed from one ship to another past a shallow part of the river. We did not suspect that the last 5 days of the trip would be done by coach. This resulted in: • Missing some of the main attractions and events that we were looking forward to. • Mediocre mass meals, rushed and served in overwhelmed restaurants • Long bus rides • The use of highway rest stops with long lines for toilet facilities • Lengthy walks a brisk pace to get to hotels and restaurants • Guided walks where we were unable to hear the guides due to the absence of the personal sound systems that had been left on the ship • Considerable time spent in lines or waiting for something to happen • Much jostling with other passengers at venues • On the plus side, we were put up in 3 lovely Hotels Apparently we are to be offered some financial compensation as part of a “cruise guarantee”. Both my wife and I feel that it will not make up for our disappointment at the way the cruise ended. In my opinion, the fact that the organization and execution of these last 5 days was placed on the shoulders of the ship’s cruise director, resulted in a less than satisfactory experience. Although she was excellent whilst on the ship, running a coach tour, especially one for 138 passengers, requires a different set of skills and specific expertise. I do not fault her, as she worked her heart out and was obviously stressed. I put the blame on the company that placed her in that position. Again, in my opinion, Emerald should have anticipated that the ship would not be able to navigate the whole river and deployed replacement vessels as needed. If they could not provide the cruise as advertised, they should have cancelled it and offered us other options. Low water on the rivers had been an issue all summer. I feel that decisions about this cruise were not made with customer service as a priority. As a result, we were left with a very poor opinion of Emerald/Scenic. We enjoyed the first few days on the Sky. We had several excursions where the leaders were exceptional and injected their talks on history and architecture with humour and personal antidotes. Other guides seemed to be intent on providing the group with as much information that they could fit into an hour- long march through the centre of town. I really enjoyed my bicycle excursion through the Dutch countryside on the first day of the cruse and was looking forward to several more as the trip progressed. Dining Meals are provided in the aptly named “Reflections Restaurant”. A light breakfast and lunch is available in the upper floor lounge. Dinner is table service while breakfast and lunch are buffet style. We found that the service staff were attentive and friendly. The food was well prepared and there were a variety of menu choices, Wine and beer were served at lunch and dinner in unlimited quantities. Some of us found that the wines offered were only of average quality. We found one major fault with the dining room. It was incredibly noisy. We found our selves almost shouting to be heard by our dinner companions – it was apparent that others were in the same situation, which added to the din. The previously mentioned hard glossy surfaces that adorned the room seemed to reflect every sound. Tables were set up so that conversations and laughter carried the length of the room. The bright, high key lighting did nothing to mute the voices of those who tended to be loud. The atmosphere was more akin to a dining hall than “fine dining” The “Reflections” dining room needs some serious work on acoustics the next time this ship is in refit.  Other The other public areas were well laid out and there was a nice outdoor area at the front of the ship. The pool area at the stern was a nice quiet spot to read. I enjoyed the beverage machines that were available all day with a variety of coffees and teas. Having bicycles available for shore excursions was a nice touch. The captain was very personable and was seen interacting with passengers on many occasions. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
I chose this cruise for the price, the itinerary, and age of the ship. Since this was my 4th river cruise I wasn’t expecting to be dazzled, but I was. The ship was beautiful and the staff was better than amazing. Nina, the cruise ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the price, the itinerary, and age of the ship. Since this was my 4th river cruise I wasn’t expecting to be dazzled, but I was. The ship was beautiful and the staff was better than amazing. Nina, the cruise director, was the best I have experienced. She was warm, caring, and always thinking of ways to aid passengers who had difficulty with mobility. The food was outstanding and the chef was so friendly. I mentioned that I loved one soup and the next day it was under my door! The last night most of the crew came and danced with the passengers. Such fun. I have sailed on Gate1, Amawaterways, Viking, and Emerald and Emerald provided the best experience. I would not hesitate to sail with them again and am already searching for a 2019 trip. Give Emerald a try. You will not regret it. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We have done a couple of river cruises but this one exceeded our expectations. The service was excellent, the variety of food at all times was great although the portions sometimes were small but it didn't bother us, enjoyed every meal. ... Read More
We have done a couple of river cruises but this one exceeded our expectations. The service was excellent, the variety of food at all times was great although the portions sometimes were small but it didn't bother us, enjoyed every meal. The only negative comment would be that the restaurant and lounge area were very noisy. The included shore excursions were well organised, we liked the freedom of not having to give our names in advance, just turn up if you want to go, so if you change your mind at the last minute that was no problem. There was not much entertainment, unlike the ocean cruises but if you want the glitz and glamour then a river cruise is not for you. The ship was absolutely spotless, the same with the cabin. The crew were very friendly and efficient, always smiling and seeing them all at the Captain's Gala Dinner was lovely, haven't had that on other river cruises. Would recommend Emerald without hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
The staff were great, in particular cruise director Michael. The maid service for our room was excellent. Tour guides on the excursions were friendly and very knowledgeable. Europe experienced a very hot summer resulting in low water ... Read More
The staff were great, in particular cruise director Michael. The maid service for our room was excellent. Tour guides on the excursions were friendly and very knowledgeable. Europe experienced a very hot summer resulting in low water levels. We were told that many other cruise ships had to bus their guests around the low areas but our very experienced captain was able to sail us through although we had to bypass a stop at one town because of low water. Improvements could be made in food services, particularly for vegetarians. The veggie menu showed little imagination; very heavily potato based, not enough protein based veggies. Accessibility on the shore excursions for persons with limited mobility could be improved by making sure the shore drop off and pickup points were the same place. Often there was a considerable walking distance between these points. Also, more information could be made available on how to access tour trams (cho-cho trains) for those who cannot walk around the towns. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
My husband and I had a marvellous time, in every way. The crew and all other staff were great, as was the entertainment. We met lots of great people, particularly two groups of Canadians who were great to be with.The food and excursions ... Read More
My husband and I had a marvellous time, in every way. The crew and all other staff were great, as was the entertainment. We met lots of great people, particularly two groups of Canadians who were great to be with.The food and excursions were superb - cannot be faulted. The bedroom was all we had expected, clean and very comfortable, with lots of coat-hangers, which was a very pleasant surprise, not the norm! ( I had taken a few, just in case!) Toiletries were good and stocked up everyday and the room was attended to twice daily.. As we had booked a balcony suite, that is what we expected, not two chairs and a table inside the cabin. This would be our only complaint of the ship but it didn't spoil an otherwise truly memorable holiday. We have travelled with other cruise companies but this is definitely the best so far. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Having completed a river cruise 3 years ago on the Danube with another river cruise line we were looking again to another great cruise. This time it was with Emerald and we weren’t disappointed. Our pickup at Zurich airport went ... Read More
Having completed a river cruise 3 years ago on the Danube with another river cruise line we were looking again to another great cruise. This time it was with Emerald and we weren’t disappointed. Our pickup at Zurich airport went flawlessly and we were soon on the Emerals Sky. Originally we were supposed to be on the Emerald Destiny but due to low water levels we were changed to the Sky. This didn’t present any problems however as the crew of Sky, excuse the pun, went overboard to make us feel so welcome. Arriving way before our expected arrival time our cabins were soon made ready and we were able to settle in and relax a little from a long flight and have a light lunch. Even Captain Stamen Dimitrov and Cruise Dorector Balazs were there to greet us on our arrival. Certainly a sign of things to come as we could not say more about the great service we received from all of the crew throughout the cruise. The Rhine cruise likely many in Europe is a trip through history and the tours and the guides we were fortunate to have were first class. All were well organized and having an “active” tour was a great option. The only bike option was in Amsterdam however so another on the cruise would likely go over well. Our dining experience was pretty much 4 star and the service was excellent although a little bit of extra help at the omelet station in the morning might have sped things along. Entertainment was fairly low key as things tend to be on a river boat cruise, just a pianist, but we should comment that the electronic violinist who came aboard one evening was excellent. In closing we would like to make special mention of our Captain Stamen Dimitrov who was so personalable, and skilled in navigating our ship safely through low water levels to reach our destinations. Also our Cruise Director Balazs who worked so hard to organize all the tours and events and made them go so well. Thank you. Still waiting for the photo Balazs. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife and I have just returned home from our Rhine Cruise on the Emerald Sky. Due to a ship swap due to low water levels, we sailed on the Emerald Sky instead of the Emerald Destiny as we were originally due to be on. All I can say ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned home from our Rhine Cruise on the Emerald Sky. Due to a ship swap due to low water levels, we sailed on the Emerald Sky instead of the Emerald Destiny as we were originally due to be on. All I can say is a huge "Thank you" to all the hard working Emerald Sky's crew/staff and the Emerald Cruise hospitality team onboard the Sky for making our trip memorable. All of the tours went seamlessly and were well thought out and very informative, all the tour guides knowlegable and able to answer all questions about our visits to the various places etc. The food was 1st class (Andraz the chef we had met before on the Emerald Sun in 2016) from the Buffet Breakfast and Lunch, to the Wonderful Dinners each evening, served extremely well by the extremely hard working waiters and waitresses. Widodo our cabin Steward worked very hard and kept our Panorama Balcony Suite well stocked with water and consumables. Many thanks to Balasz our Cruise Director who also worked very hard organising everything in port and the entertainment on board the Emerald Sky. Also keeping all the tour port talks interesting and happening ontime. This was our 3rd cruise with Emerald waterways and we are looking forward to joining them again in April 2019 in Amsterdam for our trip around Holland and Belgium. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
To explain the title: Due to low water on the Rhine and Danube we had to change ships, from the Emerald Sky to the Emerald Destiny, stopping at the emerald Star for lunch. Towards the end of the cruise we had to change again from the ... Read More
To explain the title: Due to low water on the Rhine and Danube we had to change ships, from the Emerald Sky to the Emerald Destiny, stopping at the emerald Star for lunch. Towards the end of the cruise we had to change again from the Emerald Destiny to the Emerald Sun. Although I would have rather avoided this, it did give me the chance to see four ships covering all three generations of the Emerald fleet. Cabins and Facilities Starting with the Sky (1st generation): The cabin was of adequate size, very clean with good storage (mainly consisting of 6 huge drawers). My only criticisms are: the wardrobe was half filled by a mini bar and safe meaning that they was less than 2 feet of hanging space (this issue has been resolved on 2nd and 3rd generation ships - more later) and Insufficient storage in the bathroom (only two shallow cupboards and no shelves)- my wife had nowhere to put her creams and potions. Other issues on the ship were that there was only one central flight of stairs causing problems at meal times and the layout of the central buffet bar in the dining room (hot food was all at one end, once again causing crowding in one area) A final niggle was that the very popular cook, providing eggs to order only had a single burner and pan leading to long queues around his station (which was also where the toasters were located). It is worth mentioning that the Emerald Star is also 1st generation and has exactly the same issues. On to the Emerald Destiny (3rd generation): The minibar and safe have been move out of the wardrobe, effectively doubling the amount of useful hanging space, but there relocation has led to the removal of two of the six drawers mentioned earlier. This would have been acceptable but for the fact that two more drawers have been removed and replaced with a small dressing table and chair. Further detrimental changes have been made in the bathroom: The two cupboards that were available in the Sky have been removed and replaces with a small shelf and a poorly designed under sink unit with awkward side access. The shower door now opens inward, which results in a user of above average size having to flatten themselves against the wall of the shower so that they can get out. Worse of all there is now a significant step between the bedroom and the bathroom - I lost count of how many times I tripped over it. On the plus side the egg cook on the Destiny now has two burners doubling his egg output! The Emerald Sun (2nd generation) Has the same storage layout as the Destiny, but the bathroom has much better storage and no treacherous step. It also has the improved buffet layout of the Destiny. Overall the 2nd generation ships would be my choice given what i know now. Dining A very similar experience on all of the ships: All of the meals were at fixed times, meaning that the dining room went from empty to full in around 5 minute. Sitting near to the ends of the dining room kept the noise down to a bearable level. The tables are not allocated so you sit where you like at each meal. Some people did not like this, but I enjoyed the chance to sit with different people at each meal. Breakfast was the usual buffet affair offering both hot and cold food. Quantity and quality were both excellent, (including the much mentioned eggs). The afternoon meal offered both hot meals selected from a menu and served by the waiters and a buffet selection. The evening meal was waiter service only and was usually four or five course consisting of three main choices (Meat, Fish and Vegetarian). Its worth noting the the portions were fairly small so five courses was not too much. In addition Steak, Roast Chicken and Grill Salmon were always available if nothing on the menu took your fancy. For those with a larger appetite there was afternoon tea and a late night snack. All of the ships had a Tea / Coffee station situated in the lounge and in the pool area. A second station in the lounge would have been useful as there were often queues for hot drinks. Talking of drinks - soft drinks and alcoholic drinks are served free with lunch and dinner. The waiters were usually very quick to refill any empty glasses. Shore Excursions These pretty much followed a formulae: A guided walk around the town followed by some free time to explore on your own. The guides were all good and used a "Quietvox" system (this mean the guide had a small radio transmitter and the tourists all had a small receiver and earpiece - so no struggling to hear what they were saying). Special mention must be giving to Jim - a Lederhosen wearing Scotsman who was our guide in one of the German towns (I forget which) he was absolutely brilliant and funny as well. One thing that is not immediately obvious from the brochures is that the ship does not always dock within walking distance of the town - a short coach ride was often the order of the day. This review is becoming longer that I intended so to cut things short: The staff on the ships were very friendly, efficient and helpful, although those on the Sky were significantly better that any of the others, always seeming to go "the extra mile" The sun deck was not always available - having to be closed for three days to facilitate passing under low bridges (I was told this was normal, not caused by low water levels) Entertainment was ok, consisting mainly of a resident musician / singer and a library of movies. As dinner usually went on until 2130 - 2200 this level of entertainment was fine And finally I have to mention the slick and speedy way we (and our luggage) were transferred from on ship to the other to get around low water areas. I cannot think how they could have improved on the process - other than the nuisance of having to pack and unpack it was completely painless. I suspect this was due in a large part to the efforts of Wes, our cruise director who stayed with us throughout. Wes was always available, cheerful and helpful working something like a 16 hour day for 14 days solid. He was an absolute superstar. In summary a great cruise with only a few minor niggles - I would definitely do it again Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
Group that travels together often. We wanted a sharing experience that also had diversity of experiences. We could see beautiful sites and interact with other passengers from around the world. We had a great Cruise director in Alex. ... Read More
Group that travels together often. We wanted a sharing experience that also had diversity of experiences. We could see beautiful sites and interact with other passengers from around the world. We had a great Cruise director in Alex. He did his research and gave entertaining talks. Dining staff was great. Gilbert and Svet and Bojan were everywhere. Mladin was a good overeseer. Recipes were varied for everyone to find something they enjoyed. It seemed that great care was taken in the preparation of meals. Our cabin was kept immaculate by Widoto. Other staff were very warm and friendly, also. Side tours were varied and fun, especially the bike tour in Amsterdam. Visiting with a previous exchange student was special. I appreciated the beautiful scenery as an amateur photographer. There were many side trips where we could explore on our own time. Organization was well done. The Captain let me see inside the "wheelhouse". Cool! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
The ship is smart and clean and is kept clean by a great team of staff. The cabins are well equipped and kept clean and restocked daily. Dining is 1st class with plenty to choose from. Lunch has a selection of starters and sweets on buffet ... Read More
The ship is smart and clean and is kept clean by a great team of staff. The cabins are well equipped and kept clean and restocked daily. Dining is 1st class with plenty to choose from. Lunch has a selection of starters and sweets on buffet style and your mains are on a menu and cooked fresh. There are wines and beers throughout lunch (as much as you want) supplied by a great team of waiters. Dinner is alacarte with a good selection on the menu every night, again with plenty of wines supplied throughout the meal. The service on board is 1st class and you need for nothing from getting on board to leaving at the end of the cruise. There is light entertainment every night usually a piano player so don’t expect shows every night. The lounge area is very relaxing and you will also find the bar there. Read Less
Emerald Sky Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.5
Dining 5.0 4.2
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 1.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.4
Enrichment 3.0 4.1
Service 5.0 4.7
Value For Money 5.0 4.2
Rates 5.0 N/A

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