162 Emerald Waterways Emerald Sun Cruise Reviews

Danube Delights Cruise on the Emerald Sun with Emerald Waterways. Excellent! Our first river cruise but certainly not our last. The ship was brand new; it was christened during our trip along with its sister ship the Emerald Dawn. ... Read More
Danube Delights Cruise on the Emerald Sun with Emerald Waterways. Excellent! Our first river cruise but certainly not our last. The ship was brand new; it was christened during our trip along with its sister ship the Emerald Dawn. The ship was immaculately clean and beautifully designed. We had booked a Panoramic Balcony Stateroom which was comfortable, roomy and attractively appointed. The stateroom was cleaned twice a day! The food on the ship was varied, often containing dishes relevant to the area which we had visited that day and without exception delicious. Entertainment on most evenings was provided by George the pianist together with taped music for those passengers who wanted to party, party! On two occasions the entertainment was provided by local groups; an oompah duo - very entertaining and on another occasion a typical music and folk dancing group who were superb. There was a small gym on the ship, a small swimming pool and a cinema, none of which we used. Every member of the staff was friendly, courteous, helpful and hard working. Nothing was too much trouble. My partner was rather disappointed to find that an Apple Strudel had not been included on the menu. On his busiest day of the cruise the chef took time out to prepare one for him especially! The Cruise Director on our trip - Ray - was without a doubt a major contributor to our enjoyment of the cruise. He was extremely knowledgeable about every port of call, always available to the guests and a delight to spend time with. All in all we can't wait for our next trip with Emerald. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
From the moment we boarded the 'Emerald Sun' we were made to feel welcome, due to a traffic jam on the way from Munich to the ship we arrived too late for lunch. However the chef provided me with a delicious curry. The ' ... Read More
From the moment we boarded the 'Emerald Sun' we were made to feel welcome, due to a traffic jam on the way from Munich to the ship we arrived too late for lunch. However the chef provided me with a delicious curry. The ' Cruise Director' - Ray - was first class and gave great presentations on the forthcoming visits. We found him most knowledgeable and very approachable. I think the staff on this ship are the best I have ever encountered during my decades of travelling. To give an example I said to the head chef that Apple Strudel would be nice at one meal, he told me that he would try to fit it in the menu. By the final evening of the cruise I had resigned myself to the fact that the Strudel was not going to appear. Imagine my surprise and delight when the head chef popped his head out of the galley to say that my Strudel was ready. This was made on the day the ship was christened and the galley crew were very busy - now that's service. The Texan Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
None of my party has ever been on a cruise before and didn't know what to expect. We loved it! It was a perfect vacation for my mom as her ability to walk long distances or on hard terrain is limited. My sister and I enjoyed it just ... Read More
None of my party has ever been on a cruise before and didn't know what to expect. We loved it! It was a perfect vacation for my mom as her ability to walk long distances or on hard terrain is limited. My sister and I enjoyed it just as much as she did although we did take the opportunity to take longer and faster walks when we could. The ship is new, having been brought on-line just this year. The amenities were all very nice although the pool was a little smaller than I expected. However, they do have an "endless pool-type" feature that creates a current if you want to swim. The weather when we sailed was cool and rainy for most of the days so I don't know if the retractable roof was opened much during the cruise. The lounge area is nice and has a lot of seating although if all cabins had been filled I think it might have been a little more crowded than I wold have liked. We found the cabins to be more spacious than we expected, and very comfortable. The ability to open the window as we sailed helped with the temperature control and brought in fresh air. We had full size floor to ceiling windows with two chairs we could use to watch as we sailed.The window was very large allowing us to stick our heads out to look around if we wished. We were on the middle floor which was perfect. We heard from others that it was noisier on the top floor but we heard very little noise in our cabins. We returned from dinner each night to find chocolate on our pillows and the schedule for the next day. (One day we forgot to turn off our do no disturb light so when they came in to put the chocolates on the beds they cleaned our cabin which we really appreciated but didn't expect.) The length of the walking tours were just right and we were allowed free time in just about every city we stopped in. For passengers who needed more time or fewer obstacles, there was always a "gentle walkers group which was perfect for our mom. For the most part the tour guides were very personable and knowledgeable about the area being toured. The guides were local at each port. The absolutely BEST part of the cruise was the staff. As "the Texan" says in a previous review, the staff on the Emerald Sun made us feel welcome the minute we set stepped out of our cab and grabbed our suitcases. We were on the same cruise as the Texan and agree with everything he said. The cruise director (Ray) worked very hard to provide all of the passengers with a good experience. He took our mother under his wing and called her "mum" which she really enjoyed. When she wasn't feeling well he knew (don't ask me how) and asked after her. He checked in with her when she would move around the ship which we really appreciated. I can't imagine a better cruise director. The wait staff, chefs, front desk staff, and housekeeping staff (and all of the other staff we met on board) were also wonderful. Their humor and their ability to remember our personal preferences was amazing. From the first day, they knew our likes and dislikes. My mom couldn't decide between desserts one evening so they brought her both. (She has never eaten so much and so well in her life....) The staff were always smiling, always polite, and always made sure we were having the best time possible. Some people felt the food became somewhat monotonous but we enjoyed it. The only thing I would have liked to see is fewer 5-course dinners as I am typically a more casual diner. The breakfast and lunch buffets were always good. the dinner were also good but lengthy. Possibly more spicy foods on occasion would be nice. I would love to cruise with this staff again at some time and would not hesitate to recommend the cruise line, the ship, and the staff to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our first river cruise, but having done 4 big ship cruises in recent years and with an ever increasing bucket list of European cities we want to visit, a cruise down the Rhine seemed an ideal way to spend a week. We had a great ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, but having done 4 big ship cruises in recent years and with an ever increasing bucket list of European cities we want to visit, a cruise down the Rhine seemed an ideal way to spend a week. We had a great week on the Emerald Sun; the crew were wonderful, attentive and friendly in all departments, but not intrusive; the food was very good with a great choice on the menu for each dinner; really liked having a different red or white wine being served with dinner each night. The ship was very comfortable, the large main lounge is the centre for evening entertainment and seemed large enough to accommodate all guests without feeling crowded. There is a (small) cinema onboard but we never went to it so cannot comment on this feature. Our cabin was light and airy, but the bathroom was somewhat cramped; that said the extra inches in the main part of the cabin is more use over the course of the holiday. Our only complaint was not being aware that sun deck would not be open whilst on the Main because of so many low bridges. All the Guides in the ports we visited were excellent, and the split between guided element and free time was just about right. Each night the cruise Director gave a short briefing before dinner regarding the next day's ports and explained the various options. A local map with points of interest and local information was available from reception at each port, which made it easy to find your own way around after the guided tours. All in all a highly enjoyable week and we will certainly be looking at another cruise with Emerald in the future. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Trip of a lifetime for 2 ladies in late 60s. We had researched well and decided on a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. Modern boats with excellent food , wifi, brilliant tv system great cabins with balconies. The first week was ... Read More
Trip of a lifetime for 2 ladies in late 60s. We had researched well and decided on a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. Modern boats with excellent food , wifi, brilliant tv system great cabins with balconies. The first week was superb and exceeded our expectations.the low water level on the Danube then made it impossible for our boat to continue. We were offered a flight home or transfer to an equivalent boat. We chose the latter. Well the staff and food transferred with us - excellent- but the Boat was by no means equal- virtually no wifi ( imperative as my companions husband was in Peru on business), no English TV, poor cabins with sofa beds and stained carpet, poor plumbing. We complained on board as did many other guests and were assured we would be contacted upon our return home- total silence! Several letters were exchanged and we were offered 5% off our next cruise by very arrogant customer service personnel - totally unexceptable- this cruise was £3.800 each! Family bereavement unabled us to continue our dialogue and take the matter further but future travellers beware. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Setting off from Amsterdam we were informed that the sun deck was to be closed for the following 4 days due to low bridges. We had not been informed beforehand and it went against what the brochure and itinerary said about enjoying the sun ... Read More
Setting off from Amsterdam we were informed that the sun deck was to be closed for the following 4 days due to low bridges. We had not been informed beforehand and it went against what the brochure and itinerary said about enjoying the sun deck. The only outside space was at the front of the ship where maybe 30 or so people could huddle together. The cabin was only just adequate and this was despite upgrading to a grand Balcony Suite (the second largest room aboard) The ship was modern and reasonably comfortable. The air con worked well as did the WiFi. Evening entertainment was limited and mainly consisted of a piano player. The food was good although became repetitive after 14 nights. I think the Chicken Buillon was on the menu every night, and the same food was often in many courses, for example pears appeared in a starter, main course and sweet for two consecutive days, which is a problem if like my wife you don't like pears. Half way through the cruise we had to swap ships when at Passau due to low water levels. This was sprung on us two days beforehand with an ultimatum letter from the company stating "accept the transfer we offer you with no compensation or go home". The replacement vessel had smaller toms, no balconies and we were sited on a lower deck that we had booked for. Two weeks after the cruise I'm still awaiting a response from Emerald Waterways about my complaint. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
I must point out that we are not reviewing this trip as experienced conventional cruise travellers. A conventional sea cruise on a large ship with "entertainment", long periods at sea, crowds etc is the nearest thing to hell on ... Read More
I must point out that we are not reviewing this trip as experienced conventional cruise travellers. A conventional sea cruise on a large ship with "entertainment", long periods at sea, crowds etc is the nearest thing to hell on holiday that we could imagine. We booked this first cruise because we wanted to spend sample time at the advertised destinations, and with that objective in mind Emerald came out a clear winner on price and facilities, in particular the contemporary design of the ships which we saw as a refreshing alternative to the very conventional and crusty looking competition. We hoped that the service offered matched the design i.e. was highly competent, stylish and customer oriented, without being fawning. Our holiday tastes are luxury without pretension, with first rate service and good value. Our cruise was the Amsterdam to Budapest "Splendours of Europe" cruise over 15 nights. I won't cover the itinerary - it is on the Emerald web site in full detail. Suffice to say there were interesting off-ship opportunities every day, sometimes several, all included in the price. On some days there were additional longer trips for an extra charge. We took several of these, and they were excellent and good value for money. The accommodation was, to a confirmed 4/5 star hotel traveller (accommodation/service based, not pretention/frilly curtains based), quite simply excellent. Contemporary, stylish, very comfortable, very well designed, and in perfect condition. We were lucky enough to be able to afford one of the 4 top-level suites, but all that gave us was extra space and some extra inclusive services - the facilities were the same in every room that we saw. Our ship was the Emerald Sun, on its second cruise (new carpet smell!), but all four ships appear to be the same. I won't list the excellent facilities - again they are on the Emerald web site. Maintenance was excellent - we could observe constant maintenance, and contrasted the results several times with the competitors' ships which we saw, some at very close quarters. But the highest point was the staff. Quite simply exceptionally good. Highly professional, excellently trained, cheerful and friendly at all times, always there to help but never intrusive, and efficient to a high degree. You can see from my other reviews that I am critical of anything less that the highest service levels (again, based on service and not pretention), but this group were a cut above the best I have seen anywhere - congratulations to the Emerald trainers and managers. River cruising seems to be expensive compared to sea cruising, due mainly I guess to scale. Looking after 160 customers with just under 50 staff is not cheap, and use of the Rhine and Danube facilities cannot be cheap either. But if you want a truly memorable blow-out holiday in Europe, Emerald seems to us to be the way to go. We are hoping to do another Emerald cruise soon. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We had only one previous river cruise some years ago so were interested to see how things had changed. They certainly have! The Sun is a fantastic and very modern ship, and despite some peoples thoughts we felt the cabins were everything ... Read More
We had only one previous river cruise some years ago so were interested to see how things had changed. They certainly have! The Sun is a fantastic and very modern ship, and despite some peoples thoughts we felt the cabins were everything we required. The cruise director Simeona was outstanding, very knowledgible, entertaining and friendly. The only downside was the day we went through the Rhine gorge the weather was cold and wet (but I don't think we can blame Emerald for that!!) What was a bit disappointing was that due to low bridges on the canal the sun deck was closed and I think that Emerald should mention that in their literature. Overall this cruise was most enjoyable helped by the fantastic crew and brilliant chefs. We will certainly be looking forward to our next river cruise hopefully with Emerald. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
If you have any hesitations about booking this new cruise line...don't have them! This was such a fantastic experience in every way. This was only our 2nd river cruise (we did an Oberoi Nile tour a few years ago) but we have done ... Read More
If you have any hesitations about booking this new cruise line...don't have them! This was such a fantastic experience in every way. This was only our 2nd river cruise (we did an Oberoi Nile tour a few years ago) but we have done many luxury ocean cruises. Wow, after this, we may not go back to ocean-liners. First, this ship is brand new. Everything was sleek, clean and perfect....and I am picky. We had an "Owner's Suite," and initially I was worried about how small it was. But honestly, we got used to it. And now after the 14 days, I see why the rooms and so forth need to be small. These ships efficiently use every bit of space, because the boats cannot be any bigger, or they will not fit into the locks. We were very lucky to have good weather. We had no problems at all. The ship does an amazing job of coordinating activities and providing plenty to do. There are a variety of extra activities you can sign up for. One that I did was a 30k bike ride in Austria. OMG this goes down as one of the TOP five things I have ever done! The whole experience was very educational. They gave us a guidebook and river map at the start, and our amazing, terrific, outstanding cruise director--Simona--gave us daily reviews of what we saw and what was coming up. They did a perfect job of giving us a sampling of regional foods, regional entertainment, great tours, option for smaller tours, help with any request, and just simply more than enough to keep busy, yet relaxed. I am a very light sleeper. I rarely heard or felt anything at night while the boat was moving. I would open my patio everyday to hear and smell the black forest's nature, see the swans and ducks, and was in amazement with what could be seen off the Rhine and Danube Rivers. Castles, medieval villages, beautiful landscapes and great historical sites. While off the boat, throughout Germany, the people could not have been better. We had no negative experiences. We were in a different port everyday. In terms of the ship: plenty of charging stations in the room (priority for us!), decent free wifi, coffee maker, frig stocked with goodies at no charge, super clean, tiny exercise room (you won't have much time for that though), GREAT pool area that transforms into an evening cinema and free beach cruiser bikes to use everyday while in port. LOVED the swim in place device in the pool. Liked the laundry service. Notice that depends on your room-level, but at one point they offered to clean a bag of clothes I think for about 25 Euros. There is no real dress code for the dining room, so simple clothes are all you need. Now, this is not a big cruise ship, but that to me is what made this nice. The simplicity was great. None of our group of four gained weight, because there was a lot of activity and walking (they also provided "easy" walking groups for people who could not walk as well) and portion sizes were not huge. Meals were elegant and everything I ate was good. I particularly liked the light meals served in the lounge everyday for breakfast and lunch. Loved the local wines at each meal. In terms of service: our room hostess, Tiromira was AMAZING and so friendly but not obtrusive. The food and service were excellent. Nothing negative to say here. At the end of the cruise I felt like I was leaving my new family. All the wait staff became our friends and they tried so hard to meet everybody's needs. We will book another without hesitation. The only thing is, I don't think they could top this one! The other thing I have come to realize is the ship has no control over weather, river water levels and other factors that could delay, postpone or cancel a tour. I am not sure what they would do, but it would be good to find that out in advance. Not sure if there is insurance that would cover this, and then you could just go somewhere else in Europe yourself? But, we had NO problems at all. Sunny and warm everyday and going through the 64 locks was very educational. Austria and Bavaria were unbelievable. We did not think we would like Germany, but were we ever surprised! We plan to return to Vienna (loved the private concert in the castle that we attended). Felt that stop needed 3+ days to see it all. We spent five days in Budapest, which is about right to see the highlights. And again, I am a picky, savvy traveler, having been on many, many luxury-type tours. I do not see how you can say anything bad about this line...at least on the tour we did. Just loved every minute of it in every way. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We had an amazing experience on Emerald Sun! Our cruise director Yana was absolutely wonderful, so attentive and knowledgeable! We really enjoyed her port talks and lectures, she truly works very hard to meet everyone's needs. Our ... Read More
We had an amazing experience on Emerald Sun! Our cruise director Yana was absolutely wonderful, so attentive and knowledgeable! We really enjoyed her port talks and lectures, she truly works very hard to meet everyone's needs. Our panorama balcony suite was quite functional, lots of storage space, comfy beds and high quality bedding. Very nice shower, great water pressure and temperature. The rooms are cleaned twice daily, and our housekeeper Mariana always did a great job. My only complaint would be not having enough TV channels, however free on demand movies were a nice touch. We used the pool quite a few times, it had an "endless swimming pool" feature which can be turned on/off if needed. We didn't use the exercise area but I did get a massage and it was exceptional. Food on board was excellent, great variety and flavours. They try to match lunch buffet's theme to a particular port you happen to visit that day, which is very thoughtful. A la carte dinners were always superb, included wines were also high quality. Restaurant staff is simply outstanding, by the end of your cruise you really start to feel like you're surrounded by family because everyone is trying very hard to make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Embarkation/Disembarkation were very well organized, and there was a light lunch served on the embarkation day while people were waiting for their cabins to be prepared, in case you arrived too early. The reception staff is very friendly and always ready to help. Unlike the previous reviewer I actually found the ship to be very stylish, and loved the modern furniture and lighting, it had a very European feel to it. I also found the entertainment to be sufficient - besides the live piano tunes, there were two local bands invited on two separate occasions, a glass blowing presentation and a presentation on apricot processing in Austrian wine country, which I enjoyed a lot (and everyone got a free jar of jam!) and movies, of course. One night the crew also put on a talent show which was very cute. The included tours with local guides were exceptional. The only optional tour we went on was the viennese concert which in my opinion is an absolute must, it was incredible. We enjoyed all the ports except perhaps Rudesheim which felt a bit like a tourist trap, but this is where people usually start the Rhine Gorge cruise so I can see why they'd choose to stop there. We cruised the Gorge on a beautiful sunny afternoon so it was great to see the sights and all the castles, accompanied by Yana's commentaries. All in all, I would most definitely recommend this cruise and this particular ship to anyone, and would gladly take another Emerald cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
A lovely new ship with great cabins and super staff, however one quickly discovered what was less good. The lobby has white plastic stairs which are frankly, dangerous, and the naff chandelier is, well, naff. Want to know about the ... Read More
A lovely new ship with great cabins and super staff, however one quickly discovered what was less good. The lobby has white plastic stairs which are frankly, dangerous, and the naff chandelier is, well, naff. Want to know about the advertised library and shop? Don't bother, they don't exist! The gym has only one working machine "the rest have never worked". We have done several river trips with 3 other cruise companies and thoroughly enjoyed them, awarding 8 to 10 out of 10. Emerald offers no talks on local history etc and their evening entertainment is truly awful. Three quiz nights, for example. Why not be done with it and have three bingo nights as well! The side trips were not that enjoyable, but perhaps this reflects the dearth of suitable venues. The supposed highlight of the cruise, the gorge, was mostly done in the dark for some reason. The Bucharest hotel was no more than 2 star and reminiscent of the communist era. An experience not to be repeated; surprisingly parent company is Scenic Tours. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
The brand new SUN is a nice ship. The beds are comfy, the opening windows are a nice touch and the food is pretty good. The staff were also very good. As this was the maiden voyage, there were some teething issues; hair dryers turned up ... Read More
The brand new SUN is a nice ship. The beds are comfy, the opening windows are a nice touch and the food is pretty good. The staff were also very good. As this was the maiden voyage, there were some teething issues; hair dryers turned up late, the pool wasn't in action until about day 4 and then it was very cold. Our bar fridge did not work for the entire trip and the light above our sink liked to blink off occasionally. For the most part, food was pretty good but often the cooked food (in the warming plates) were warm-ish. Also, I'm gluten free and it seemed like the waiters weren't well educated about what that meant and it wasn't always easy to get GF food. However, once I started speaking directly with the Maitre D or the chef, things were better. So don't be shy! My main gripe, as someone who is not yet retired, was the early timing of breakfast. Cooked breakfast was offered between 7 and 9. I don't usually get out of bed before 9 on holidays! So if I wanted a fried egg, I had to set the alarm. Setting the alarm is not really my idea of a holiday! Also, because of the early starts, we tended to do our own thing and only took advantage of 2 included tours. The first one was a bit dry but the 2nd guide was really funny and made the tour more enjoyable. If you have walking issues and/or you don't mind getting up early EVERY DAY, then you'll be fine. They did offer us a lunch when we embarked. Earlier reviews about starving until dinner on the embarkation day is no longer true. The self-serve coffee/tea is really good but a queue would often form since there is only one machine. All in all, I don't think I'd do this type of cruise again, but it was an interesting experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Emerald Sun Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.7
Dining 4.0 4.2
Entertainment 4.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.5 4.7
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family N/A 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 4.0 4.3
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 4.5 4.3

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