Sail Date: October 2017
We chose Emerald based after attending a very informative presentation which they put on in Calgary and after doing a fair bit of research on the internet. Emerald appeared to offer the best value for dollars spent. We were certainly not ... Read More
We chose Emerald based after attending a very informative presentation which they put on in Calgary and after doing a fair bit of research on the internet. Emerald appeared to offer the best value for dollars spent. We were certainly not disappointed. When we booked the cruise we were booked on the Emerald Sun, but a few days before departure we were notified of a change of Ship and we embarked on the Emerald Sky. The only difference between the two ships is their launch date. The Emerald Sky is about four years old. A fairly modern and well kept ship. From the moment we stepped on the ship until we disembarked in Amsterdam the service was excellent. We felt that every member of the crew was going out of their way to ensure that we had a wonderful vacation. The daily excursions were well organised. The local guides were extremely knowledgeable and gave use very interesting insights of their local areas. Very informative walking and/or bus tours. We also attended a concert which was arranged for us in Vienna. A wonderful evening! Our Cruise Director, Patricia, did a fantastic job. I'm not sure when she slept as she always seemed to be available to help guests with whatever problem they might have. The food on the ship was extremely good. Breakfast and Lunch were buffet style with a very nice variety on both. Although the Breakfast Buffet was the same every day, there was enough selection to allow one to have a different breakfast every day (15) of the cruise and lunch always included some samples of local cuisine. Dinners were plated meals, but again, there was a good choice and the serving size was just right. The ship was very well maintained and kept spotless through out the entire cruise. We would highly recommend Emerald if you are in the market for river cruise. We certainly hope to be back. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
Recently travelled with Emerald from Budapest to Amsterdam. I went to Budapest a couple of days early, and stayed on the ship the first night. We did a tour of Budapest from the ship, as well as an evening cruise on the Danube. The ship ... Read More
Recently travelled with Emerald from Budapest to Amsterdam. I went to Budapest a couple of days early, and stayed on the ship the first night. We did a tour of Budapest from the ship, as well as an evening cruise on the Danube. The ship itself was modern, with good facilities. Shore excursions were well organised, and the tours hit all the highlights. Options offered were good. On board entertainment consisted of a piano player in the lounge, and the odd game night. Movies in the theatre were the same as you could get in your cabin, so not well attended. The crew night was fun - it wasn't professional, but that was the charm, and the crew acknowledged they were amateurs. Cabin was clean, and well maintained, although a little tight between one bed and the bathroom. Drawer space was more than adequate, but at the cost of a smallish closet which contained the room safe and mini-bar. Cabin staff was excellent. Overall, staff were good. Unfortunately, lunch and breakfast were buffet style and the food was not kept warm. Eggs cooked for you at breakfast were fine, but the meats and scrambled eggs were in trays that appeared not to be heated. Even if you dug down to the bottom of the scrambled eggs, they were still cold. At lunch, soup was hot, and pasta in heated dishes were warm, but the other hot entrees were anything but. Ironically, dessert at the evening meal was frequently served on dishes that appeared to come straight from the dishwasher. Hence, cheese melted to the dish, and ice cream melted quickly. This was a remarkable adventure, but when people ask if I recommend it, I tell them yes, but not with Emerald because of the food. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We picked this cruise from three other possibilities as we liked the itinerary and the option to have free time to do our own thing. The passengers were mainly 60 plus and my husband and I are 51 and 48. The passengers were a pleasant ... Read More
We picked this cruise from three other possibilities as we liked the itinerary and the option to have free time to do our own thing. The passengers were mainly 60 plus and my husband and I are 51 and 48. The passengers were a pleasant mix of mainly American, Canadian and Australian. From my observation everyone was very friendly and mingled well. Everything went very smoothly from airport pickup to airport departure. We had one minor hiccup with our baggage being misplaced at the end of our tour at the hotel and this was sorted quickly with very minimal fuss. Our cruise director Patricia was excellent. Nothing was ever too much trouble and made sure everything ran smoothly. The dining was spot on. Buffet breakfasts and lunch and five course sit down dinners with endless wine. Special thanks to Eldar (Eddie) and his offsider (I'm so sorry can't remember your name) they were always very attentive, polite and great fun. Our cabin was always very well maintained by Aulia who was friendly and always greeted us by name with a smile. The ports and shore excursions were well thought out. A map with clearly marked points of interest were always handed out with a complimentary bottle of water. We did an optional tour to Rothenburg and special thanks to Renee (Renate) as she organised a tasting tour as we walked through the main street. This was for me a real highlight to try foods from the local businesses. A great touch. All in all we had a great cruising experience. We have cruised before on the ocean but this was our first river cruise experience and would absolutely do another. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We were very pleasantly suprize with the attentiveness of the staff from the time we stepped on the ship to our departure. All staff was eager to have a conversation in English and share about themselves and where they were from. The ... Read More
We were very pleasantly suprize with the attentiveness of the staff from the time we stepped on the ship to our departure. All staff was eager to have a conversation in English and share about themselves and where they were from. The chef gave a tour of the galley. I was able to make a same day appt for a massage . The staff was very attentive to our every need. Our meals were supurb. With a lovely variety to choose from . The excursions were very informative with enough free time to explore on your own. We were given maps and information when we traveled out on our own to explore so that we could find our way back to the ship. This has been a wonderful holiday to be able to make many stops to different cities along the three rivers. Will definitely will look to Emerald waterways to book another get away in the near future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot ... Read More
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot more info on what to expect and someone to answer questions, like your cabin steward whom we didn’t see until the second day. This doesn’t improve, if you miss a port talk you are completely in the dark. The owners suite is small compared to other cruise/River ships. No tv in bedroom so bring binoculars to see it in the sitting room. Expect to hear your neighbors as the rooms have very thin walls. No ice offered unless you get a glass of ice at the bar. If you want a drink you must go to the bar and it’s like asking for a favor. With the premium package you get whatever bottle they have open, and if it’s a good wine, expect it to runout quickly! The cabin steward left our used towels because we didn’t throw them on the floor. Who knew? as this was never communicated. Emerald assured us we wouldn’t hear joggers above our suite but you definitely do, at 6am. They told us we had to put up with it for four days. The crew told us this was the last cruise and they didn’t know if the ship was returning or they had jobs. How sad for them and to bad for us. We sat at the Captains table which was very nice. The food should of been exceptional which I can’t say was the case. I’m really trying to be positive but so far the experience hasn’t lived up to our expectations. The included guided tours have been managed well and you see a lot of the cities you visit. The food is probably the biggest disappointment. No variety and mainly the same theme throughout the whole cruise. The buffet menu was offered only on a couple days, but don’t expect the classics these are only offered when it is a dinner menu night. The soups are either consommé or bouillon and nothing special. When a buffet is offered expect complete chaos. No formal direction just one big free for all. I went on the bike trip from Durnstein to Melk. They did try to talk us out of it but the reviews were to good for me to skip it. The guide was young and worked with her farther who brought up the rear. We did the 20 miles in 3 hours with a half hour lunch break and 5 photo opts. The pace was way to fast and that was because the guide did double duty and needed to get back for the Abby tour. Two folks had to get a cab (52 euro) to get back to the ship. Active is one description but this is Tourist de France. Nothing offered after dinner. OK, my wife and I can’t complain anymore. So much is wrong about this experience we just decided to give in and let it happen. They will not change so we go with the flow but will never ever make the same mistake. Emerald is at best a 2 Star and needs improving. Anyone who travels knows what expectations should be provided and they have a long way to go. Hope this review enlightens your decision. So choose well and happy travels. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
I was celebrating my 60th birthday and booked some 19 months in advance on a favourable deal which was subsequently upgraded to an All Inclusive package.. We were amazingly fortunate with the weather which was 10 degrees Centigrade over ... Read More
I was celebrating my 60th birthday and booked some 19 months in advance on a favourable deal which was subsequently upgraded to an All Inclusive package.. We were amazingly fortunate with the weather which was 10 degrees Centigrade over the seasonal average. Everyone both staff and guests were friendly and the occasion had a lovely positive feel about it. All on board were polite and the open dining allowed my wife and l to make new acquaintances each evening and form friendships. The food was generally of a good standard without being exceptional and I thought the buffet style warm breakfast could have been more varied. The ship itself was of a high standard whilst our budget cabin was more than adequate.was celebrating my 60th birthday and booked some 19 months in advance on a favourable deal which was subsequently upgraded to an All Inclusive package.. We were amazingly fortunate with the weather which was 10 degrees Centigrade over the seasonal average. Everyone both staff and guests were friendly and the occasion had a lovely positive feel about it. All on board were polite and the open dining allowed my wife and l to make new acquaintances each evening and form friendships. The food was generally of a good standard without being exceptional and I thought the buffet style warm breakfast could have been more varied. The ship itself was of a high standard whilst our budget cabin was more than adequate. The on board entertainment was ok though I thought the disco playlist could have been more extensive. The excursions were all entertaining with each and every guide remarkably knowledgeable. Of the cities we visited I liked Bratislava the best, Vienna was very busy and Budapest absolutely beautiful. My only criticism would be around bar service - Emerald need to set a policy on queuing -either allow customers to form an orderly queue or insist on waiter service only as the haphazard mix n match policy left some guests feeling disgruntled at times. Overall a wonderful experience terrific value for money and I would definitely cruise with Emerald again but not for a few years as I have now ticked that box. The on board entertainment was ok though I thought the disco playlist could have been more extensive. The excursions were all entertaining with each and every guide remarkably knowledgeable. Of the cities we visited I liked Bratislava the best, Vienna was very busy and Budapest absolutely beautiful. My only criticism would be around bar service - Emerald need to set a policy on queuing -either allow customers to form an orderly queue or insist on waiter service only as the haphazard mix n match policy left some guests feeling disgruntled at times. Overall a wonderful experience terrific value for money and I would definitely cruise with Emerald again but not for a few years as I have now ticked that box. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on many ... Read More
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on many evenings at dinner ,when you needed another glass of wine the staff didn't seem to notice . But, other than that ,, it was lovely. The ports of call were great and loved the day we went to have tea with a local family. Would loved to have tried the pool but wasn't brave enough . Due to the weather. Nina our tour guide was always there to answer any questions. Had a massage and it was just " wonderful. Please enjoy your cruise and have fun. Would go with Emerald again . So go go go go go ,fun fun fun . Xx Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We are very frequent cruisers (50+ ocean cruises) but we recently took our first ever river cruise aboard the Emerald Sun travelling from Budapest to Nuremberg. The holiday didn't start off well with the airline (KLM) arranged by Emerald ... Read More
We are very frequent cruisers (50+ ocean cruises) but we recently took our first ever river cruise aboard the Emerald Sun travelling from Budapest to Nuremberg. The holiday didn't start off well with the airline (KLM) arranged by Emerald cancelling the outgoing flights due to 'high winds' whereby instead of arriving at the ship at lunchtime it was after 6.00 pm we eventually arrived. Despite our late arrival the transfer arrangements worked well and we received a warm welcome on board. Prior to the cruise Emerald described their cabins as some of the biggest on the river cruise market. We had nothing to compare this with but when we were shown to our cabin - a panorama balcony cabin - we found it to be very, very compact. It was the smallest cabin we have ever experienced. It did have a large bathroom, probably disproportionately large when compared to the size of the cabin with the entrance sliding door only 40 cms or so away from the side (pillow end) of the bed. The cabin was well appointed with drawer space but seemingly at the expense of hanging wardrobe space. One half of the wardrobe contained the fridge and safe so the remaining hanging space was even too short for trousers folded in half on a trouser hanger or blouses, etc. There was a very large flat screen TV with a reasonable amount of channels and free to view movies and the electrical sockets required the standard 'European' adapter. The sockets were poorly placed, however, particularly for my wife as there wasn't a mirror near to the sockets where she could 'do' her hair or apply her makeup. We had our own hairdryer with us with a relatively long lead so my wife resorted to sitting (or kneeling) round the corner in the entrance hallway, which was in itself poorly illuminated and using the full length darkened mirror - not ideal. There was adequate lighting and mirrors in the bathroom for her to apply her makeup. One omission that I would have expected to find in such a modern ship was usb charging points to prevent having to fiddle about with adapters, etc. As we arrived so late on the ship we made our way to the main lounge as quickly as we could and did see the last 15 minutes or so of the performance of the Hungarian folk group. They were very good as were the Bavarian 'oompah oompah' band on our last evening. All other entertainment was staff led and while the resident pianist was okay a decent singer or two would have made all the difference. As stated at the outset we have nothing to compare this experience against so perhaps this is the 'standard' aboard such relatively 'high end' river cruises. The Gala Welcome Dinner was quite a disappointment. There were relatively few choices, again this may be standa5rd across the river cruise industry, and the food that was served was at best warm. I eat anything but my wife is less adventurous when it comes to food. There were a few daily 'alternatives' always available such as clear soup, chicken breast, rump steak, which she resorted to on a number of occasions. I asked for a steak once - medium rare - that was delivered very well done. I would point out though that most of the meat served on the cruise was very good quality and very tender, but it was seldom served hot. Breakfasts offered the standard fare and a reasonable variety but again the hot food was seldom hot. I'm not a great lover of warm beans and scrambled egg. The breads, cold cuts, cheeses, etc., were, however, very good so I resorted to those for most breakfasts. Coffee on the ship was excellent with modern bean fed coffee machines available and delightful short crust biscuits to enjoy with the coffee. Bus and/or walking tours were included in this cruise and were very well delivered, with excellent guides providing the clearly well informed commentary. The audio devices provided worked very well. All the towns/cities we visited on this cruise were most enjoyable. These included Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Melk, Passau, Regensberg, with Vienna being the exception, not because of the scenery, but because after the walking tour we had 2 hours free time before the earliest bus back to the ship. It was a very cold day and because it was a Sunday all the 'regular' shops were closed. Highlight of the cruise was probably the evening sail in Budapest with all the important buildings and landmarks illuminated. What we didn't realise about this cruise was the 25 locks to navigate between Budapest and Nuremberg. Experiencing some of these in daylight was actually very interesting, but actually quite alarming on occasion when these were navigated at night. We were often awoken with loud bangs and shudders caused by the ship coming into contact with the lock walls. Coming awake on such occasions it was actually quite disorientating looking out the full size window to see 'nothing' but a dark, wet lock wall only a few inches away. We really enjoy sitting on the top deck of the ship watching the landscape go by but when negotiating some locks we were sometimes restricted from doing due to low lying lock structures, etc. This was most evident on the last section of the cruise when were negotiating the Maine-Danube canal and the top deck was closed for more than a day due to low bridges, etc. If we are to repeat our river cruise experience we would certainly do our research beforehand and avoid rivers with locks, or at least so many locks. As part of our cruise we had a 'premium drinks package' and the ship had a good selection of beers, wines and spirits to allow us to fully enjoy that package. Dress code was quite casual throughout the cruise. I took from the cruise brochures that I would occasionally wear a jacket and tie, so I took a dress jacket, a couple of appropriate shirts and suitable ties, but when I wore it to the Welcome Gala dinner I realised immediately that I was completely overdressed so it never 'escaped' from the wardrobe again during the cruise. So all in all a reasonably enjoyable and relaxing cruise holiday, but not one that we were 'blown away' with. If we are to consider another river cruise we may check out the 'competition. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
We were not sure what to expect on this cruise but it turned out to be very good but we were very disappointed not to go to Nuremberg because of some technical problems with the boat and I think we should of still been taken there by bus ... Read More
We were not sure what to expect on this cruise but it turned out to be very good but we were very disappointed not to go to Nuremberg because of some technical problems with the boat and I think we should of still been taken there by bus to tour the city. One day we were docked next to another boat and they pumped out the sewage and this let an awful smell in our cabin Not good! We had a side trip booked in Prague that was canceled without any explanation and this was paid for through our booking. Having complained enough the rest of the cruise went extremely well and we met new friends and had a great time. The crew were very good and very entertaining the night time atmosphere was great The food was first rate with lots of choices. There was was a good selection of drinks on board both alcoholic and non alcoholic so the evenings were fun. We would recommend this to anybody Barrie and Lesley Steele Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
I was not sure what to expect from this cruise as I had never been on a river cruise before but having said that it was not that good! First im going to say the good things. The boat was first class The crew were first class ... Read More
I was not sure what to expect from this cruise as I had never been on a river cruise before but having said that it was not that good! First im going to say the good things. The boat was first class The crew were first class The food and entertainment was first class. Most of the tours were first class. Now the not so good! Hardly any daytime cruising! While docked for some reason they decided to pump out the sewage that left a disgusting stink in our cabin made both of us a little nauseous! When we left Prague we were told we would not be going to Nuremberg but to Ragensburg and no attempt was made to take us by bus to Nuremberg for the day and no compensation given for something we paid for, and Nuremberg was a place I was looking forward to seeing! One of our Discover more trips to Blatna was cancelled without compensation this also was something we wanted to do! The beds in the cabin need to have some way to stop them from separating (Velcro) So would I recommend this cruise? Probably but make sure everything is looked into thoroughly before you pay. We did have fun and met new friends so it was not a total washout the countries we visited were fabulous and with a rich history 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 3.7
Family 1.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.4
Enrichment 3.0 4.1
Service 5.0 4.6
Value For Money 5.0 4.2
Rates 5.0 N/A

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