Having retired in 2018, my wife and I were looking for a quality river cruise experience with an established river cruise line. We conducted extensive research and spoke to friends about their experience. We eventually settled on Emerald ... Read More
Having retired in 2018, my wife and I were looking for a quality river cruise experience with an established river cruise line. We conducted extensive research and spoke to friends about their experience. We eventually settled on Emerald and booked with them in January 2018 on the Danube Delights cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest.
We spent 5 days in Nuremberg prior to the cruise and so, we were responsible for arranging our own transportation to the ship docking site which we understood. We understood that but encountered some difficulty in contacting Emerald and getting the necessary information. When we initially called Emerald at the number they provided on the first morning of the cruise (Saturday, August 24), the young lady we spoke with informed us the cruise did not depart until the following day. Our itinerary clearly indicated the cruise started on Saturday. I implored her to verify that and call us back. After a half hour without a callback, I called again and the young lady confirmed that the cruise started on Saturday, as we had thought, gave me the ship phone number, and the docking location (Europakai 10) located about 5.4 miles from the hotel. The taxi ride to the ship cost about 20 Euros which was quite reasonable.
Upon arrival, we were promptly greeted by a friendly staff member who insisted on getting our luggage from the taxi, advised us he would assure it was delivered to our room, and directed us to the lounge where we could relax and have a drink. My cousin who lives in Nuremberg planned to see us off on the cruise and I asked the activity director if she and her boyfriend could join us in the lounge. He responded that was certainly not a problem but they would need to disembark at least 30 minutes before we set sail. The entire boarding process was easy and effortless and the crew we encountered all made us feel welcomed.
The entire cruise was absolutely splendid with great accommodations, outstanding food, interesting tours, awesome staff and wonderful cultural events provided on board. The staff were friendly, professional, efficient and hard working. Our cabin was attended to twice a day and always in perfect order. The food either met or exceeded our expectations and we tend to be discerning diners who are accustomed to occasional dining at top-Zagat rated restaurants. The only complaint was that on two evenings, our main course arrived at our table after 9:00 pm and at 9:30 pm, much too late. I brought this to the attention of the restaurant manager and advised him we had no problem being served last, but the main course needed to be on the table before 8:00 pm.
The tour guides were energetic, knowledgeable, and provided outstanding tours of the towns and historic sites we visited. Their English speaking skills were impeccable and they gladly answered any and all questions.
On the last morning of the cruise, we were effortlessly and efficiently transported to Budapest International for our Lufthansa flight back to Los Angeles. Because of the lengthy flight time between Los Angeles and Munich (arrival)/Budapest (departure), we opted to pay an additional $2,200 ($1,100 per person) to upgrade to Business Class. It was well worth the money and we arrived in Munich well-rested and eager to begin our travels. Lufthansa business class seats recline to a completely horizontal position allowing one to nap/sleep.
Overall, our experience traveling with Emerald Waterways was absolutely delightful and we look forward to future trips exploring France, the Netherlands, and Germany again! Read Less