6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this company over its competitors because of good CC and word-of-mouth reviews; and this cruise because of its romantic Christmas nature. Some aspects were excellent: small but comfortable and well-appointed cabins with great ... Read More
We chose this company over its competitors because of good CC and word-of-mouth reviews; and this cruise because of its romantic Christmas nature. Some aspects were excellent: small but comfortable and well-appointed cabins with great views; the small but superb swimming pool facility; the top quality guides, who spoke perfect English and were informative, interesting and, in a couple of cases, superbly droll. We had lots of snow and a particularly memorable blizzard experience at Rothenberg. We also had an absolutely top quality cruise director. So why no five stars? Two reasons. Firstly, rank incompetence in arrangements for arrival/welcome at Munich airport, a situation which left our driver, when we finally found him, driving us at top speed the 170 kilometres from Munich to Nuremburg (was there really no airport closer?) to ensure we arrived at time for departure. This meant we did not begin our holiday in a relaxed frame of mind and we would urge all customers of Emerald to double-check instructions for reception after flight to Munich rather than taking at face value the instructions in their booklet regarding meeting in a certain cafe. Even more disappointing was the poor quality of food on this cruise. Buffet breakfast and lunch began average and seemed to improve as the cruise continued. But served dinners were lacklustre throughout. Menus were uninspiring and unimaginative, especially - though not exclusively - for vegetarians like me; portions were small which would have been fine had quality been good, but it rarely rose above average and a couple of times was below that. Twice, we chose to eat off-ship. This problem may have been a blip; generally Emerald's food seems to be well reviewed. However, it was a severe disappointment to us and to quite a few fellow cruisers we talked to. The dinners just felt cheaply sourced and put together; and inadequate. Since quality cuisine is a very important part of the cruise experience It has left us feeling that we did not get our money's worth and that we don't want to travel with Emerald again. None of this is to intended to impugn the excellence of the committed restaurant and bar staff who did their very best - though at times waits were lengthy and they appeared short-staffed....Generally, the entertainment was poor - quizzes, a zither player and some execrable movies - though the glassblower was interesting. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise for its destinations, and the opportunity to shop many different Christmas Markets without having to pack up and travel by bus and/or train to the various cities. The all inclusive pricing, including airfare, was a ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its destinations, and the opportunity to shop many different Christmas Markets without having to pack up and travel by bus and/or train to the various cities. The all inclusive pricing, including airfare, was a major factor in our decision to cruise with Emerald Waterways. We did our homework prior to booking, and there were no unexpected issues for us on this cruise. While not gourmet, the food on this cruise was good. We aren't foodies, so we were satisfied with the dining options. Our cabin was very clean and comfortable, and the housekeeping staff took excellent care of us. Our cruise director was outstanding! He went above and beyond to make the trip fun and festive. We experienced snow, ice and rain -- all of which any Christmas Market cruiser should realize is a possibility. This type of cruise is not for weather weenies! We came prepared, and we were unaffected by the various weather conditions we encountered. We enjoyed shopping in Bamberg, and the optional Rothenberg excursion was spectacular in the "thunder snow". Miltenberg had ample shopping opportunities along its main street, but the small market booths there were mostly food and beverage booths. We visited Siegfried's Mechanical Museum in Rudesheim, and enjoyed the festive market area during another snowstorm. Miltenberg and Rudesheim are both in easy walking distance from the ship, which we felt was advantageous. We arrived in Koblenz in the early evening and consumed tasty sausages while walking the various market areas, which again mostly featured food and drink stalls. We were greeted in Cologne with very poor weather (heavy rain), but we still managed to make some of our favorite purchases near the Gnome Market, which was the prettiest market we visited on this cruise. We enjoyed hot apple cider at this market, and the commemorative mugs we collected there were adorable. Before returning to the ship we stopped back at the Cologne cathedral where we were fortunate enough to hear the pipe organ at noon mass. The canal cruise in Amsterdam gave us a good overview of the old parts of the city, but the bus tour with a stop at the museum area did not afford enough time to visit any or the surrounding museums. We did have plenty of time to walk back into the city after the canal/bus tour finished. Although there is not a Christmas Market in Amsterdam, there are plenty of shops to visit and points of interest to walk to. Our journey ended at Amsterdam. Our flights and transfers, all arranged by Emerald Waterways, went off without a hitch. Our overall rating is excellent. We would travel again with Emerald, and we would recommend it to others. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This was a wonderful Christmas Market cruise on the Main and Rhine Rivers visiting Nuremberg, Bamberg, Wurzburg, Miltenberg, Rudesheim am Rhein, Koblenz, Cologne and Amsterdam. This was a Christmas Market cruise. Bring bubble wrap, ... Read More
This was a wonderful Christmas Market cruise on the Main and Rhine Rivers visiting Nuremberg, Bamberg, Wurzburg, Miltenberg, Rudesheim am Rhein, Koblenz, Cologne and Amsterdam. This was a Christmas Market cruise. Bring bubble wrap, packing tape and scissors. If you are not interested in visiting the markets, this is not the cruise for you. The Emerald Dawn's food was good but not haute cuisine. If you want an epicurean experience, this is not the cruise for you. This is a winter cruise, there was snow, rain and, in Amsterdam, icy sidewalks. There are cobbled streets and stairs on the included walking tours. If you have mobility issues this is not the cruise for you. We booked this cruise after receiving a very attractive offer from Emerald which included airfare. There were no problems with booking the exact flights we wanted to Munich. Since we were the only passengers arriving early in Munich, a private driver met us at the Munich airport. The ship wasn't due to arrive in Nuremberg for several hours, so the driver took us to the Christmas Market, dropped us off for a few hours of shopping before taking us to the ship. The ship was sailing from Budapest to Amersterdam. About 45 passengers disembarked at Nuremberg and another 45, including ourselves, boarded. When we arrived, the Nuremberg city tour was just leaving. We dropped our luggage and boarded the coach for an over view of the city and another stop at the Christmas Market. This time we found our way to the charming Kinderweihnacht (Children's Market). Be certain to try the Nuremberg bratwurst. Three small sausages on a bread roll. Shopping tip: Nuremberg is famous for its gingerbread which is sold all over the market. For less expensive German goodies visit the Norma grocery store near the McDonald's on the square where the Christmas Market is held. Great Christmas cookies and candy at modest prices. Bamberg is a wonderfully charming city. A coach took us the short distance into the city. The walking tour included a visit to the cathedral. Shopping tip: Moheen-Haus, Obere Brucke 14, Bamberg, This is a lovely shop housed in the old building. It specializes in coffee, tea and spices but also has gift and household items and leather goods. Free gift wrapping. A coach took us from the town of Kitzingen for a short transfer to Wurzburg. The Main River is narrow, has a lot of bends and locks. While the bus ride to Wurzburg took 30 minutes, the river trip took 4 hours. The tour here included a visit to the Residenz with its marvelous Baroque interior. Shopping tip: Salamander is a great shoe store with a good selection. I was interested in Haflinger felt and cork clogs and the store has a wonderful selection. Salamander is right across the street from Galeria Kauthof, a very nice, large department store. Next up was a stop at Miltenberg a small town with great shops along its main street. After the walking tour, we climbed the hill above the town for a fanastic view and still had plenty of time to shop. Shopping tip: Look for Franconian regional wine in its distinctive flasks called Bockbeutel. Next stop: Rudesheim am Rhein. Here a mini-train took us the few blocks from the ship to Siegfried's Mechanical Music Museum which is a delight. The town was the most decorated we visited with cut pine trees on the streets, large Santa statues and Christmas music. The town is crammed with market stalls selling some handmade items but also a lot of tacky items. We couldn't resist buying cookies from a stall where children were raising money for their school. The ship arrived late in the afternoon in Koblenz. The markets we found there seemed to be focused on food, were small and scattered though several squares. Cologne has several markets and we visited the one near the cathedral and the Gnome Market a few blocks away. These were the best markets we visited with the most unique and best quality items. The Gnome Market has distinctive stalls and is wonderfully decorated. Having previously visited Amsterdam we visited a couple of museums we had not visited before and shopped at the Albert Heijn grocery in the central train station near the ship's dock. Shopping tip: Buy your cheese at Albert Heijn or a grocery in Amsterdam. Don't wait until the airport. The Euro 19 cheese we bought at Albert Heijn was Euro 28 at the airport. Disembarkation was easy with a guide on the coach. The guide walked us into the terminal and put us in line for our flight home. Emerald's airport transfers are excellent. Service was very good and the cruise director, Balazs was outstanding. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Always wanted to do a Christmas Market cruise. Should have stayed in Frankfurt or Nuremburg, where we were for two days each prior to embark'. Food: 2 star at best. Breakfast OK. No Eggs Benny offered, only poached, scrambled etc eggs. ... Read More
Always wanted to do a Christmas Market cruise. Should have stayed in Frankfurt or Nuremburg, where we were for two days each prior to embark'. Food: 2 star at best. Breakfast OK. No Eggs Benny offered, only poached, scrambled etc eggs. The so called english bacon was'nt. Sliced something. Very ordinary. Mostly tinned fruit. Lunch menu unacceptable. Pasta dishes never included meat or seafood - only tomato sauce type thing. Just cheap food. Frozen or from cans. Some salad. Dinner - tragic. Night 1 menu said "lamb chops". There was one lamb chop. What restaurant have you ever been to where lamb chops became one lamb chop - very small to boot, and that was the best meal ! Eggplant five days in a row - unacceptable - and we like eggplant. After three days ate off the ship wherever we were parked - like the other people that we saw ashore. The ship was to be in dock over the winter - we suspect the cupboards and freezers were being emptied. Our cost analysis for the food we ate per day was about $10-15 each. Cabin. Arrived to find earplugs on the bed - hmmm. Our neighbours must have kept trying to watch Skyfall before falling asleep. We kept being woken up thinking we were being bombed. Bathroom small but OK - not as nice as AMA or Uniworld but OK although a heated floor would have been nice. Entertainment. Some guy on an electric organ or trivial pursuit. Bad. Excursions. Good tour guides but included trips were all walking tours. Took a cab back to the ship a couple of times rather than wait around in the cold weather. This is not about this particular cruise but there were not many hours in port compared to cruises with a shorter travel distance. Nurnberg to Amsterdam is about 650 kms. Think about booking shorter cruises for a longer port experience - especially in Summer. Overall - Will never go with Emerald ever again. Paid the same price as Uniworld or AMA - no comparison whatsoever. Emerald - 2 star at best. AMA or Uniworld 5 star in comparison. The pool is nice. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I will begin this by saying, this trip was booked for the sole purpose of visiting the Christmas Markets. My mother had been to Germany several times, and I was anxious to see the wonderful sights she had seen while visiting the Christmas ... Read More
I will begin this by saying, this trip was booked for the sole purpose of visiting the Christmas Markets. My mother had been to Germany several times, and I was anxious to see the wonderful sights she had seen while visiting the Christmas Markets previously. We have traveled on several cruises together through the years, but always pn ocean liners. We researched the trip. We researched the destinations. We definitely did our homework. That being said, I will refer to a particular evening when our Cruise Director was going over the following day's itinerary. I heard a passenger lament that we were going to "Another Christmas Market" with a groan and eyeroll as she said it. I turned to my mother and said, "How could she be upset about that? This was advertised as a Christmas Market Cruise!" I heard many of these rumblings throughout the trip. I was somewhat offended, because I will cherish the trip, the memories and the people we met for the rest of my life. I had an awesome trip, so I found it a little hard to stomach the ones that were saying such rude things. I found the ship and crew warm and welcoming. The staff bent over backward to make us feel at home. Many of the crew members filled multiple roles. They did so with efficiency and kindness. As I said previously, we had been on several cruises. They were ocean cruises. This was the first river cruise I'd been on. I knew that the grandeur of a ocean cruise ship would not be found on a river cruise. I knew there would be no casino, no nightclub, no nightly shows. I knew there would be no midnight buffets with ice sculptures. I don't care about those things. We booked this trip to add to a lifetime of memories that my mom and I have been making together. We were not disappointed. I found the ship to provide for every necessity we had, and provide well. The ship was well kept, it was lovely and when I compared it to other ships we saw cruising the Rhine I was pleasantly pleased that our ship was amongst the nicest. Dining. I heard quite a few people complaining about the fare. I heard some rather needless and unkind things being said. So here is my assessment of the food and dining experience. I found the food to be good, plentiful and very tailored to the passenger pool. If we were to take a walking trip around the meal bar you would find: fresh cheeses, sliced meats, salad options, fruits, bread, desserts, hot and cold cereals, soups, rice, fish, sandwiches, hot veggies, meat choices, usually a pasta choice, omelettes to order at breakfast and the list goes on. If you want a lighter fare you can visit the lounge and enjoy a pancake, french toast, soup, pasta or sandwich at breakfast or lunch. At dinner the menu also plentiful. Typically there were 2 choices of appetizer, a soup, a featured item as main course and a dessert. If you did not care of the featured main course there was a choice of chicken, steak, fish or Ceasar Salad every night, as well. No, you will not find the vast array of food you'd find on an ocean cruise. That being said, if you find fault in the food on this cruise then I would say you should have booked a Cuisine Cruise instead. I found the food to be delicious, and I thought the Chef was wonderful. Entertainment and Activities were not a huge priority to us. We did not book this cruise to be entertained and party. We were on this trip to enjoy time spent with each other and any new friends we would meet, and we did meet some wonderful people. We thoroughly enjoyed the glassblower, the cookie making, the musical entertainment, the movie nights, disco night and trivia. They were wonderfully presented and fun to attend. Service. The ENTIRE staff bent over backwards to help us. If I were going to say anything on the downside, it would be that my mother and I are not alcohol drinkers. I found it a bit difficult at first to get a soft drink. The wait staff have to go to a different location to get a soft drink so it throws off their service rhythm. Which I totally understand. Dining on a smaller scale ship is like a well thought out ballet. Everything has it's place because of limited space. They are super organized and efficient. I felt I was inconveniencing them to ask for a soft drink. They are pronto with the alcohol, but soft drinks not so much. I worked it out by mid cruise, I began ordering my soft drinks two at a time so that I wouldn't have to ask for a refill later in the meal. Ironically, the majority of the ladies we sat with began doing the same so we became known as the soda drinkers. We also made sure to sit in the areas of the dining room that we knew the waiters were a bit more flexible. From the Captain on down to the room stewards, everyone was wonderful. Ports, docking and excursions. Ports were wonderful. Transportation from the ship to our destinations was quick and efficient. I enjoyed the all the places we visited. I absolutely LOVED Rothenberg, which in our package was an excursion. It was my absolute favorite. If we had thought it through more, we would have gotten an earlier flight to Nuremberg and visited the Market there before boarding the ship. We enjoyed a diverse choice of stops with the commonality of the Christmas Markets, which we loved. If I was going to find a downside, I would have to say the arrival times to the Market locations. I had anticipated this experience for so long. After researching the destinations and seeing pictures of the marketplaces at each, I had a very clear vision in my head. I was mildly disappointed that the majority of the markets we visited weren't even open when we arrived, because we arrived in the mornings. I was excited to experience the markets in the evening when they were lit up to get the full effect of Christmas time festivities. I was grateful to get to see them, but would have loved to see them all at night. I understand we were at the mercy of our port time and sail schedule, but that would be the only thing I would say was disappointing. Overall, this was the trip of a lifetime and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I would do it again and again, and I would sail with Emerald again to do it. It was a great way to "sample" some locations to possibly revisit so that I can spend more time in the places that truly stood out to me. In an nutshell: I loved the entire trip. What I didn't love was the bashing being done by some of the other passengers. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I had never been on a riverboat cruise so picked this one simply through online research and because it stopped at the places I wished to see. The excursions and visits to castles, palaces, abbeys, churches and historic cities and towns ... Read More
I had never been on a riverboat cruise so picked this one simply through online research and because it stopped at the places I wished to see. The excursions and visits to castles, palaces, abbeys, churches and historic cities and towns were all wonderful - I’m sure I will never be there again, so it was a very compact and educational 2weeks. Most of the guides were very good. Some, however, dwelt on an excessive amount of facts which were quickly forgotten, too numerous to remember. I had some difficulty adjusting to and accepting the limitations of the riverboat itself. This was partly due to the fact that I had previously taken so many ocean cruises on some very large ships. We had a one bedroom suite which gave us more room than most of the passengers. The room needed more lighting esp. for a vanity. Women are still not considered in most hotels, ships etc. I disliked the open seating at the dining hall. If you did not get there promptly it was not always possible to find seating for all of your party together. Breakfast and lunch times were good re food choices, but the evening meal left much to be desired. Being exposed to European dishes is fine but not every night with the same selection of foods. I found it impossible to eat much of the food offered. A lot of it simply was too spicy or strange for me. When not on an excursion there was virtually nothing to do on board the boat. The lounge was too small to accommodate everyone, the pool was a joke and the library consisted of a handful of books. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our first river cruise after many ocean cruises because we wanted to visit central Europe and to experience the difference of a river cruise. The cruise was 14 nights from Amsterdam to Budapest. We flew to Amsterdam to tour ... Read More
This was our first river cruise after many ocean cruises because we wanted to visit central Europe and to experience the difference of a river cruise. The cruise was 14 nights from Amsterdam to Budapest. We flew to Amsterdam to tour for 2 days prior to the cruise and I would recommend others to arrive at the embarkation city a few days in advance to adjust to jet lag as well as to enjoy the city. We chose Emerald because of their full itiner The embarkation process was as easy as could be, it took no more then 3 minutes to get our room keys. We choose Emerald because their ships are at most 2 years old, they visited all the towns we wanted to see, their pricing was significantly less than their competitors, they had an included excursion at every port, all staff gratuities were included as well as airport or hotel transfers. The ship's interior was very contemporary, lots of glass and chrome decor and wrap around windows in the lounge and dining room making it easy to have an uninterrupted view of the scenery. Our cabin was well designed with plenty of storage in the cabin and bathroom. The exterior wall was all glass to maximize viewing whereby you could lower the top half of the glass wall when weather permitted. Dining: Breakfast was always a large, varied buffet accompanied with made to order eggs and omelets. There was every sort of cereal, yogurt, deli meats and cheeses, breakfast meats and baked goods. Everything was of high quality and tasty. Lunch was also always a large, varied buffet and once again everything was of high quality and very tasty. Many lunch items were regionally oriented. Dinner was sit down served by waiters with a different menu every day and comprised of a choice of appetizers, a delicious soup of the day, choice of 3 entrees and 2 desserts. Overall the dinners were more creative than found on ocean cruise ships and it was plated with an artist's eye for color and flair. Included daily excursions were conducted by professional local guides that spoke perfect English, were well worth the time and were informative. On board extra activities included local talent and demonstrations - ie. a glass blower, an Ompha band, zither player, dancers, etc. Our cruise director Jana was a GEM! She was as pleasant as could be and arranged for a MD to come aboard to treat a few of us for colds. She even went to the pharmacy in port to pick up the prescriptions the MD ordered. NOW, that is service! The rest of the staff did their best to please the passengers. We can strongly recommend Emerald to anyone who want to experience a river cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This cruise seemed to be very suitable for us and we booked way in advance. We enjoyed it thoroughly. It was great not to have to worry about gratuities, wine with meals etc. and the complimentary tours in each port of call were very ... Read More
This cruise seemed to be very suitable for us and we booked way in advance. We enjoyed it thoroughly. It was great not to have to worry about gratuities, wine with meals etc. and the complimentary tours in each port of call were very professional and informative. Very good fun. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth and easy. In a couple of years when we've saved up, we will probably consider going on the South of France cruise with Evergreen. Ports and shore excursions were all handled very smoothly, including transfers by bus from port to whichever town. We saw some wonderful places in Europe that we probably wouldn't have seen otherwise. The service was excellent, both at meals and in the cabin. The waitstaff and bar staff were courteous, pleasant and friendly. The musician in the Horizon lounge was proficient but could have known more numbers. We enjoyed the Hungarian dances and the violinists, not to mention the zither player. The oompa-oompa band was fun too. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
My sister and I decided to go with evergreen (emerald waterways) as it is the cheaper sister company of scenic. Very similar itineraries etc, however at a more affordable price. Our cabin was nothing unusual, only slightly smaller than the ... Read More
My sister and I decided to go with evergreen (emerald waterways) as it is the cheaper sister company of scenic. Very similar itineraries etc, however at a more affordable price. Our cabin was nothing unusual, only slightly smaller than the more expensive ones. Our window was only small, but we were only in our cabin to sleep n change, so didn't affect us, we could still look out to see what the weather was like! And that is all you really need! The staff were of the highest quality, professional, polite and experienced. The food was great and plenty of it. Each lunch and dinner on board we had a selection of beer and wine, not top notch, but definitely drinkable! We got the wine and beer package @ $EU 9.90 per day, which entitled you to unlimited house wine and beer during the day, which was worth it. We didn't use the full amount every day, but it worked out cheaper than buying the drinks on an ad-hoc Basis. Definitely recommend you have a couple of days pre and post cruise wherever you are, as the cruise only supplies a small tour of these cities. Be prepared for the locks on the Budapest to Amsterdam cruise, around 68 of them. The shore excursions were mostly great, they were included and occurred in all ports, with active, medium and slow walkers catered for. Please be truthful in your estimation of your physical fitness, don't put your hand up for active if you cannot walk at a fast pace and easily go up n down steps. Also be prepared for uneven cobblestones paths, uneven steps etc. the optional excursions were mostly well worth it. Totally recommend this cruise and this boat (I can't call them ships as they are not big enough for that). Well worth it. Do it! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
We had never been on any cruise or organised tour group before having always travelled independently, so were initially unsure if this would be right for us. But we loved every minute of every day of this two weeks from Budapest to ... Read More
We had never been on any cruise or organised tour group before having always travelled independently, so were initially unsure if this would be right for us. But we loved every minute of every day of this two weeks from Budapest to Amsterdam. The ship is beautiful, the staff wonderful, the food amazing and the scenery and activities were great. Michael the Cruise Director was terrific and helped make the cruise lots of fun. Igor the hotel manager and all his staff were excellent. Melitza who cleaned our room was so efficient that any time we stepped outside we came back to a clean and tidy room. We enjoyed both time in our cabin watching the scenery float by as well as the public spaces. We met some lovely people and that added to our enjoyment and we will be keeping in touch with quite a few. Chef Kumar and all the wait staff meant that meal times were (far too!!) enjoyable. The food was lovely with many choices and they catered for all tastes and requirements. We enjoyed riding the bikes and going on the hikes as well as some of the additional activities. I can't recommend this highly enough and our next trip will be organised around an Emerald river cruise as well. Read Less
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