Sail Date: June 2019
Review Are you under 70? Do you like an active lifestyle? Do you enjoy great food and wine? Do you like to socialize with well educated and cultured travelers? If so, DO NOT CRUISE WITH EMERALD WATERWAYS. We did the Danube River from ... Read More
Review Are you under 70? Do you like an active lifestyle? Do you enjoy great food and wine? Do you like to socialize with well educated and cultured travelers? If so, DO NOT CRUISE WITH EMERALD WATERWAYS. We did the Danube River from Budapest to Bucharest. The average passenger was British, 75 years old, had difficulty walking, and complained about everything. I was prevented from taking a morning walk on the sun deck walking track because my footsteps (at 3.6 mph) disturbed someone on the deck below. I would have been happy to use a treadmill, but alas, the “gym” didn’t have one, just three never-used recumbent bicycles. We could never get the in-cabin movies to work until the final day of the cruise, despite being in an owner’s suite. We barely saw our butler (a glorified cabin maid), and although we purchased the inclusive alcohol package, it apparently did not include premium wine. The offerings were horrible local wines. Food choices were limited. Beef was usually tough and overcooked, the chicken was dry, and desserts were uninspiring. It is really too bad that the ship, which is quite beautiful, is staffed by a crew that still needs to learn a lot about service and accommodation. Maybe they should rename it Emerald Walker-ways. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose Emerald at the suggestion of friends who had sailed a different itinerary in Europe. We were suppose to sail out of Amsterdam on the Emerald Dawn on Aug 18. We were informed a week early that we would now be on the Star. A few ... Read More
We chose Emerald at the suggestion of friends who had sailed a different itinerary in Europe. We were suppose to sail out of Amsterdam on the Emerald Dawn on Aug 18. We were informed a week early that we would now be on the Star. A few days before sailing and a day before we were flying to Amsterdam, we were informed that Emerald had NO boats on the Rhine. We were told we'd be put up in a hotel, but we had to e-mail everyone to find out which hotel. We got that information from our travel agent eventually, but NOT anything from Emerald. They had failed to ensure having boats on the Rhine even when it was apparent the river levels were dropping. Really negligent after knowing for weeks of potential problems. Friends who were sailing with Viking only had a small inconvenient bus portage, but we were put up in an airport hotel in Amsterdam for two nights followed by a flight to Vienna and then bused up to Melk missing the entire Dutch countryside and the entire Rhine River valley, etc and basically wasting three days with the exception of a evening canal cruise in Amsterdam. In fairness, Emerald did offer full refund or credit for our cruise, but at a much too late date and we had pre-booked hotel, transportations and events in Amsterdam, Budapest and London as had many others who did sail. The boat was exactly half full at 91 passengers. I cannot imagine how full the public areas would have been if half had not cancelled. The staff and crew were amazing as were all the free tours we took. It did seem odd that the Captain did not attend his farewell dinner though. We had the 'premium drink package' which was quite overpriced, but convenient. Now for the food. In a word, it was lousy. Everything was oversalted and tough. The breakfast was ok. I've had better omelets at any restaurant. Lunch was boringly the same most days and items off the menu again, salty. Unlike every cruise and all inclusive we're ever been on, dinner menu was dreadful. Small, overcooked, over salted items. I've never seen more food returned anywhere. (Note- we started from Melk on the Star, but even then had to pack and ended up on the Sun and both kitchens produced the worst food.) When boarding the Sun and being introduced to the chef, we thought things may improve. It did not. Common areas including bar, pool, fitness were great, albeit we were half full. Lastly, when what seemed like half the passengers were coughing after the second day aboard the Sun, we found the A/C vents were covered in mold. Only after reporting, taking photos and insisting on action the next day did anyone deal with this issue. Interestingly, they then dealt with all the cabins. To sum things up, the boat and crew were amazing, but communications by Emerald management AND the food was dreadful. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
First time cruising on a ship. Saved a lot of money for this. Looked like a good deal free air fare 150 E credit. We arrived a day earlier than the cruise to allow for jet lag to wear off a bit only to be informed by the hotel that are ... Read More
First time cruising on a ship. Saved a lot of money for this. Looked like a good deal free air fare 150 E credit. We arrived a day earlier than the cruise to allow for jet lag to wear off a bit only to be informed by the hotel that are cruise would Br be leaving for another day as the ship could. Not sail into Budapest. A shock hearing this from the hotel and not the cruise line. So we were bused to our next stop Bratislava. We got on the boat a day later. Nice cabins lower deck level 1. Boat full. My wife and I are 54 years old. Average age on boat 70 plus. Even though we attended a emerald cruise event in our city after booked and specifically aske the age range and was informed that lots of 40 and 50 year olds were in these cruises. Crew were excellent in every way. Sailed for 4 days back and forth the last days in and out of Austria only to find when we got back from a really poor and expensive excursion on the Thursday that the ship could not go on. We had a few choices. Stay with the program and BUS around nd in and out of hotels. Meaning lots of unpacking. Hotel meals etc. Or they would fly us home. We had already extended our flight to accommodate extra days with friends at the end of the cruise so that was out. They would only compensate for seven days of lost travel. Web in fact we lost 10 nights. Saw an interesting note on this site in June emerald having water issues but did not bother informing passengers ahead of time. As well you can tell me the ship did not realize they’ve ever not traveling on a river past 5 days. Food was not 5 star. 3.5 at best. Lots of same old for breakfast and lunch. Don’t stay in the lunch or dinner room past the allotted hours or they would flash the light for you to get out. Having them boost about unlimited beer and wine for lunch and dinner is a joke. Draft beeer , one brand. A few glasses maybe but you only have a just over an hour and get out of the room. Fitness rom hold maybe two people. Emerald failed. Expensive excursions that are not included are a rip off. We are still in Europe after paying a lot of money to see things the cruise line failed to provide . Did not expect have to play travel agent for 10 days , truly is a crime. If you plan a summer cruise and don’t get to do it. don’t do it book with another company later on in the year if you go. Not with Emerald as they do not care about their customers just the booking. Poor planning all around. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
we chose this cruise because it was two weeks and ended in amsterdam. I will start with the food i like my food and expect it to be of good quality and sufficient meat fish and vegetables. It was none of the above the fish and meat ... Read More
we chose this cruise because it was two weeks and ended in amsterdam. I will start with the food i like my food and expect it to be of good quality and sufficient meat fish and vegetables. It was none of the above the fish and meat were meager portions with miniscule vegetables which were often just a squeezed paste on the plate, and the sauce was just three or four dots on the plate and gravy when mentioned was brown scrape on the plate. Desserts were always with cream cakes etc if you like cream you will enjoy and squirty cream every where Breakfast ok lunch and dinner as above. One thing i will say here is that in the uk emerald are offering unlimited drinks package . That is rubbish it is only spirits and cocktails and the wine that is produced at the lunch and dinner which is included in the ordinary package and is free, it is marketing scam, Entertainment was piano player which was good and a couple of nights extra guests performed. What they do not tell you is that the lovely top deck is out of bound for three quarters of the cruise due to low bridges Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
-Little information available prior to departure for the whole trip. Inappropriate boarding information made available to us -Change of ship received by e-mail on day of departure when I requested location to board. -Spouse and myself ... Read More
-Little information available prior to departure for the whole trip. Inappropriate boarding information made available to us -Change of ship received by e-mail on day of departure when I requested location to board. -Spouse and myself had to carry our own bags onto pontoon next to ship upon arrival prior to being taken care of by attendant. Rushed on-board welcome although we were ahead of time. -Dining and wine experience is below average compared with what I have received on prior cruises with other companies and hygiene practices require improvements. Repetitive limited daily buffets where passengers were touching food with their hands and about 40%++ of passengers were sick during cruise. -Service below what to be expected, if you did not ask repetitively, you did not get. -Cabin was very clean. -Upper deck on ship was closed for about half of trip duration. -Disembarkation activity at end of trip was well organized. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We sailed on 13th sept 2017 We chose this cruise from Bucharest to Budapest because of the itinerary and we were not disappointed. The various trips out and the insight into the history was excellent. We were supposed to be on Sky ... Read More
We sailed on 13th sept 2017 We chose this cruise from Bucharest to Budapest because of the itinerary and we were not disappointed. The various trips out and the insight into the history was excellent. We were supposed to be on Sky but it was changed to Sun, which was no problem as the ships are identical. The ship itself was spotless, every one of the crew was helpful and polite. The shiny surfaces, glass and mirrored surfaces did take a bit of getting used to, and could be a bit of a problem especially the stairs where we saw a few near accidents. The balcony suite was fine, always kept immaculately clean by Darko. Plenty of hanging storage as the safe has now been moved. The dining experience however was nothing like as advertised. The dining room itself is extremely noisy, and the only way to converse with fellow passengers is to shout, making it an uncomfortable experience. The food was to say the least disappointing and not at all as represented in the brochure. I have to say however, a fellow traveller who had recently been on Sky said the meals on there were excellent. Portions were extremely small, bland and unappetising. Several guests felt they had to order double to be satisfied. A starter of meatballs should not only consist of one meatball, neither should the cheese board consist of three tiny cubes of cheese with a similar thumbnail size of chutney and no crackers. We flew KLM Manchester via Schiphol threw Emerald. When we arrived in Bucharest our luggage along with quite a few other couples failed to arrive. We duly filled in the claim form, went out into arrivals to find all the transport had gone. Ourselves with one other couple after landing at 1.20pm had to wait until 5.20pm for transport, despite the Emerald rep telling us first of all it would only be 10mins. She then asked us to wait for the London flight promising us to be first on the transport. We were then totally ignored when the transport arrived but managed to tag on at the end. When we got to the hotel our cruise director Yana took details of our lost luggage, but after that showed no interest in it unless we asked her. We were not informed the night after when it arrived and the following morning it had disappeared again, thankfully found on another floor!! As a result of this we went from Wednesday morning till Saturday afternoon in the clothes we stood up in. Yana did say on the Friday, again after asking what we should do, that we had €100 each for necessities. This experience soured what should have been a very enjoyable holiday. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
Chose because we thought it was more upmarket than others and paid over £4000 for 2. Cruise director and waiters tried hard but were let down by company procedures on food and visits. Chef found it hard to deviate from the company ... Read More
Chose because we thought it was more upmarket than others and paid over £4000 for 2. Cruise director and waiters tried hard but were let down by company procedures on food and visits. Chef found it hard to deviate from the company pictures of plates of food that they showed us when we complained. Chef found it hard to understand that spice and gluten were not to be included in our diet. 3 conversations later we started to make some headway. However, their interpretation of gluten free items particularly cakes and bread left very much to be desired. Suggest you take your own! There were too many days moored alongside other river boats. When you have one either side, why do you need a panoramic balcony stateroom? The cabin goes into semi darkness and you just as well be below water line! What is a balcony? Be careful if you think it is where you can sit outside (cabin side) and watch the river flow-it is not. It is a large window and 2 chairs and a table inside your cabin. The highlight was going to be kerkenhof gardens. We were allowed 2 1/2 hours there only! The captains gala dinner was a non event..no different from any other dinner, except, you were presented with a splash of some fizzy wine that just wetted the bottom of the glass-same both dinners-pathetic. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise as we had not done a river cruise before and the Delights of the Danube for seven nights seemed to be just what we were looking for. However, we were very disappointed by the poor quality food and lack of choice, fine ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had not done a river cruise before and the Delights of the Danube for seven nights seemed to be just what we were looking for. However, we were very disappointed by the poor quality food and lack of choice, fine dining it was not and on a cruise you expect the food to be memorable, this was for all the wrong reasons. The dress code of smart casual for dinner was not adhered to with many passengers wearing shorts, t shirts and flip flops in the dining room. Such attire is fine in the day, but not in the evening and is not acceptable. The food, poor entertainment and dress code are areas that need to be improved in order to get returning customers. I am afraid that we will not return to cruise with Emerald and from speaking to many of the British passengers it seems that many share my views. An expensive cruise that offers very poor value for money Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We liked the itinerary of this cruise however, the river was low and we were informed at 6pm the previous evening could only board at Passau not Nuremberg. We arrived in Munich Airport at 11am - our baggage did not arrive until 12.15, we ... Read More
We liked the itinerary of this cruise however, the river was low and we were informed at 6pm the previous evening could only board at Passau not Nuremberg. We arrived in Munich Airport at 11am - our baggage did not arrive until 12.15, we could not find the meeting staff for Emerald - no signs - no notices at the cafe proposed for the meeting. We were then approached by a lady with no identification telling us that our transport had left and we would not get transport until 14.30 - flippantly told just to have some lunch!! We were taken to the car and left the airport at 2.30pm. When nearing Passau the driver informed us that we still had one hour to drive. He then proceeded south and obviously had no idea where he was going, we went through fields and farmyards but no sign of a river. The driver would not stop to find out where we were - my husband called Emerald Dawn and asked where they were berthed - he told us near the central station in Amsterdam! After a further 4 calls where the driver would not communicate with the ship - we asked for his papers which stated we were going to Emerald Sun. We finally arrived at the ship at 6.20pm - no apology for lack of information or inconvenience, in fact quite the opposite. We wrote a letter to the CEO of Emerald and handed a copy to the cruise director - he did not even acknowledge it. They then told us we would be going back up the river to Regensburg the following day by coach - 2.5 hours each way - this was not what we expected and could not face another long bus trip. By the next day we had somewhat calmed down and the remainder of the cruise was good. On leaving the ship on 15th Sept. we were taken to Budapest Airport for the flight to Amsterdam and on to Edinburgh, the flight arrived late - the air bridge would not work the steward announced we would still catch our flight to Edinburgh. We RAN to the gate to find out the Edinburgh flight was gone -we are 74 years old and did not feel good after this rush. KLM were very helpful put us on the next flight where we found that 2 of our fellow ship passengers going to Edinburgh were booked and had not had the rush to a flight that was gone. The inefficiencies of the transfers were appalling, but the most disappointing was the attitude of the management of the ship, they were just not interested. this experience would not entice us to book Emerald again, in fact we could not recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Chose this cruise to celebrate a special event. Staff was accomodating though even with room being çleaned' twice a day, the vacuum obviously didn't work well.Tours were basic and food was disappointing with the chef's ... Read More
Chose this cruise to celebrate a special event. Staff was accomodating though even with room being çleaned' twice a day, the vacuum obviously didn't work well.Tours were basic and food was disappointing with the chef's menu being rather boring after the first few days. The soups were a mild variance of the consomme of the previous day.Rooms were small but adequate but the lack of a dance floor and entertainment made you want for the calm of your room! Main complaints: no onboard credit for Canadians. Welearnt later that the UK guests were provided 100 pounds each. All guests arrived with Emerald backpacks , not a prioity but principle All communication with thiscompany and through the travel agent has been UNANSWERED for nigh on 6 months! When you pay thei kind of money you expect a certain degree of service. Just wanted an apology but since none was received Never using them again Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our first river cruise and it was our honeymoon, so we decided to splash out and book the best. Emerald included everything, meals, wine, tours, tips and this was a perfect way to get a feel of river cruising. We chose our cabin, ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and it was our honeymoon, so we decided to splash out and book the best. Emerald included everything, meals, wine, tours, tips and this was a perfect way to get a feel of river cruising. We chose our cabin, mid boat and on the top deck with panoramic balcony. This was perfect, roomy, comfortable, clean and with great facilities such as WiFi and free movies. Lovely touch of turn down each night, towel animals which made us smile and chocolate on the pillow. The staff looking after the rooms were friendly and helpful, they couldn’t be faulted. The boat was beautiful and easy to navigate. The reception staff were helpful and friendly, always willing to answer questions and the cruise director worked hard and spoke well at the evening meetings. There were however a couple of issues which did lead us to think we would try an alternative cruise line if we went again. The breakfast and lunches were great, lots of choice and lovely food but the food at dinner was well below par. Portion sizes were small and the quality was lacking, definitely not worth the money. The serving staff were friendly but there were some language issues and there appeared to be issues with the kitchen staff, mainly the head chef. There were lots of complaints which was a shame. The other thing we didn’t enjoy was the way the tours were set up. We often only had 30 mins to an hour to have coffee and look round and then had to rush back to the boat for lunch. Packed lunches weren’t an option for some reason. The best trip was the day we had in Strasbourg, we opted to miss lunch and stay in town. If we did a river cruise again we would check the tours out first. We felt like sheep being herded most of the time rather than valued travellers. Not sure if this is a common issue on river tours? If we had thought ahead we would also have booked a couple of nights in Switzerland at the end of the cruise as no time to see otherwise. Entertainment on board was limited, a good evening violinist and not so good singers on one afternoon. There was a keyboard player in the bar each evening who was good but not a lot of atmosphere. The welcome and farewell dinners weren’t outstanding. Lots of clapping the staff but as the farewell dinner was on the Thursday rather than the actual last night it all felt a bit strange. The best entertainment was a guest who had brought along a harmonica! Great American blues. Overall the cruise was a lovely relaxing holiday, we would just choose to try an alternative cruise line in future to see if they offer a more individual service. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
The cruise director was excellent and could not be faulted. The ship was very clean and our cabin person looked after us very well. However a major down side of this cruise was the food which was extremely disappointing. I do not eat ... Read More
The cruise director was excellent and could not be faulted. The ship was very clean and our cabin person looked after us very well. However a major down side of this cruise was the food which was extremely disappointing. I do not eat milk, cream or butter so I told reception on the first day. They told me that they would put a menu for me in the room every day. This they did for the first five days, but sadly all they did was to high light the food I could not eat, which was the major part of the menu. No alternative was offered. They offer rump steak and chips to everyone who wants it and I had no choice but to eat this 5 nights out of 7. The steak was extremely small (4oz max) with a few chips on the side and that was it! Not even a slice of tomato or any garnish at all, and no vegetables. I paid thousands of pounds for this cruise and everyone we talked to said that they did not like the evening meals. My husband eats anything , but he said everything just tasted the same. Portions were very small, and at night on our table we all asked for extra bread every night to fill up on. The dining room was the nosiest I have ever experienced, with everyone shouting at each other in order to hear what was being said, maybe the low ceilings had something to do with it. The excursions were good and were included in the price. On board we played the mini golf 3 holes. The entertainment was very good when available, in particular the violin player. All in all the cruise was just average, but the staff did try their best to look after everyone. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
We had Emerald highly recommended by our Travel Agent, who had sent other clients on your Danube cruises. We were also swayed by the brochure, which promised a most enjoyable cruise. In the main, we did enjoy it, but there were ... Read More
We had Emerald highly recommended by our Travel Agent, who had sent other clients on your Danube cruises. We were also swayed by the brochure, which promised a most enjoyable cruise. In the main, we did enjoy it, but there were aspects that we thought could be significantly improved. Our main disappointment was the cuisine. We did not like the single sitting arrangement for dinner. We thought the food at dinner especially was short on variety, quality and quantity, with too much emphasis on presentation. We were not offered a barbeque, despite the great weather on our first three days. There were only 3 nights when the 'quiet area' was available with nowhere to sit quietly on other nights. We felt that a number of the tours were included just to fill in the timetable. However, the guides throughout were excellent, and we learned a great deal about the history of the 5 countries visited during and post Communism. The visits to the various fortresses and farms were overdone and added little value. The horse show was only average and very muddy!!. The two lunch meals out were disappointing, although we enjoyed the private house lunch. The service and professionalism of the crew was excellent, the ship was very well appointed, and the free use 24/7 of the coffee/tea machine was much appreciated (Suggest you provide a similar machine in the Dining Room as an alternative to the weak coffee served at breakfast). All this went a long way to making the cruise enjoyable, and to mitigating the issues highlighted above.. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
I had been to Germany on several occasions and wanted to show my wife some of the places I had been. We chose Emerald Waterways as it appeared to fit our requirements. Overall it was a pleasant holiday and the crew and staff on the ... Read More
I had been to Germany on several occasions and wanted to show my wife some of the places I had been. We chose Emerald Waterways as it appeared to fit our requirements. Overall it was a pleasant holiday and the crew and staff on the Emerald Sun are excellent. Breakfast and lunch are good with also the option of having a light breakfast and a light lunch.. Dinner was not an enjoyable experience, I fund the dinning restaurant far to noisy and on two occasions I had to send my food back as it was cold. I was told on one occasion when I returned my stak as being cold that if I ask for a medium steak it would not be piping hot this i can accept but the chips that went with the steak should be hot. I think there should be two sittings to give the staff more time and also it would not be so noisy included excursions were overall good but do not buy the optional castle tour or wine tasting as they are a waste of money. So overall not a bad holiday but it could of been better. So sorry Emerald Waterways I do not think I will be going again foe a while. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
Decided to try river cruising after many ocean trips. Interesting itinerary on the Main and Rhine rivers, with quaint medieval towns and lots of castles. Excellent guides on the walking tours. Unable to use sun deck for first few days ... Read More
Decided to try river cruising after many ocean trips. Interesting itinerary on the Main and Rhine rivers, with quaint medieval towns and lots of castles. Excellent guides on the walking tours. Unable to use sun deck for first few days because of low bridges on the Main, so outside space very limited. Pool area small but pleasant to sit in, gym extremely small! Evening entertainment was very limited - pianist or occasional film. Cabin and public areas were well maintained. Coffee machine in the lounge was well used produced better coffee than the dining room. Food was mostly a triumph of style over substance - nicely presented but disappointing food, bland and lacking in both quality and quantity. Included wines were of much better standard than the food. For a holiday costing as much as a high end ocean cruise, this is unacceptable. Will probably stick to the high seas in future! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
Oh dear, we hoped for so much more. We were promised it would be OK, but it wasn't. We know vegetarians are often forgotten, but airlines have got the hang of it, why not Emerald? Why put ham in the soup? Pollute the lentils with ... Read More
Oh dear, we hoped for so much more. We were promised it would be OK, but it wasn't. We know vegetarians are often forgotten, but airlines have got the hang of it, why not Emerald? Why put ham in the soup? Pollute the lentils with bacon or tuna. Why? It truly spoiled our trip. Every day we hoped the next day would be better. I wasn't. All the rest was fine. I have complained, so we will see where it goes. Come on Emerald. Get a grip. It's easy - no meat. Use standard veggie stuff, Linda MacCartney, Quorn. Make it easy on yourself. It's a wheel that does not need re inventing. The ship was as good as it could be given it is a river boat so ceilings are low, so noise levels are high. Crew were good, cruise director was great. Scenery good. Trips OK. Just the food ----- We are booked with a sister company and really worried the Group just have no clue. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
This was our 3rd river cruise. We chose EW over the leading River Cruise line in the U.S. market because we wanted a different experience all around and EW did NOT dissapoint! For starters, if you are not part of their pre-cruise ... Read More
This was our 3rd river cruise. We chose EW over the leading River Cruise line in the U.S. market because we wanted a different experience all around and EW did NOT dissapoint! For starters, if you are not part of their pre-cruise excursion, do not count on any communication from EW to find where you would find the ship on the Danube . If one did not use Emerald for airport transfer and were in Budapest prior to cruise, GOOD LUCK!! You're on your own. EW makes it "your" responsibility to call the ship and find out the port location! - The port location was the furthest from the city center and absolutely nothing to look at. Remember with this cruise one spends a full afternoon, evening, overnight, breakfast and lunch aboard the ship sitting on the Danube. - THIS WAS THE MOST ANNOYING aspect of our cruise: We always stay on the bottom floor because we spend very little time in the room just as when we are in a hotel and there is so much to see and explore outside of the room (in this case the ship)! If you are on the first floor there is a horrendous noise every time "anyone" on the ship flushes the toilet in their room. It's a loud pop and accompanied by a loud "waterfall" like noise. No kidding. Totally unacceptable!! How can EW market rooms in a floor that has this type of constant noise disturbance!? - Buffet food was mediocre at best and reminded me of the dorm cafeteria food in my college days. The only bright spot was the salad variety. On the dinner selections, there was not one main course item that I would ever remember as tasty or flavorful. Nothing had any flavor! Every dish was bland. - Very noisy dining lounge due to poor acoustic design. Another blunder by design engineers!! - Big crowds and not enough stations for the breakfast and lunch buffets. High passenger to host/waiter ratios. Only 6 or 7 hosts/waiters for about 180 passengers. I felt bad for all the staff on the dining room. THE ONLY BRIGHT SPOT: The staff in every department. From the Air dept. in Boston to the housekeeping crew to the captain. They do the absolute best they can and work very hard. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
Emerald sets high expectations but then fails to deliver. On an 8 day cruise, the top deck was closed for four days. The food is satisfactory, but the service needs a lot of improvement. There was only one night of "local" ... Read More
Emerald sets high expectations but then fails to deliver. On an 8 day cruise, the top deck was closed for four days. The food is satisfactory, but the service needs a lot of improvement. There was only one night of "local" entertainment. We traveled through Germany, but only one lunch contained any local cuisine. A lot of minor issues detracted from the overall enjoyment of our cruise. The shore excursions were very good. Most of the tour guides were knowledgeable and very entertaining. During lunch and dinner, complimentary wine and beer are served liberally. If you are drinking something other than that, getting a first glass or even a refill is painfully slow. I contacted Emerald customer service and informed them of some shortcomings. Response time was very slow and did not rally address my concerns. The European river cruise is much better than ocean cruising, but overall I was not satisfied with Emerald. I Would be hesitant to book another cruise with Emerald. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose this river cruise to celebrate my husband's 50th birthday. We tend to go on ocean cruise liners but thought we would try something different for his celebration. CABIN - GOOD POINTS Great cabin, we had booked a Balcony ... Read More
We chose this river cruise to celebrate my husband's 50th birthday. We tend to go on ocean cruise liners but thought we would try something different for his celebration. CABIN - GOOD POINTS Great cabin, we had booked a Balcony suite on the 3rd floor and were upgraded to Grand Balcony Suite. Having spoken to others in the original suite we had booked, the only extras seemed to be a Nespresso coffee machine (very nice) and 2 items of laundry a day free of charge. We also had robe and slippers, not sure if other cabins did? The cabin was well thought out, we really liked the opening window that gave the feeling of a balcony. Be aware that when you are deep down in a lock, you will be looking at a concrete wall! CABIN - NOT SO GOOD POINTS Every morning at 6am someone was running on the sundeck - thump thump thump, over and over, 6am EVERY morning without fail. This only stopped when they closed the sundeck for 5 days due to low bridges. So no early morning sleep ins for us, which you would expect on holiday, they did not happen thanks to the runner upstairs. Along with the runner, you then start getting announcements in your cabin - "your coach for your day trip will leave at 8.30am" - "Your coach will leave in the next 5 mins". We couldn't find any off switch for this (as you get on an ocean liner) to every day, we were put through far too many announcements in the cabin. Our next door neighbour was obviously hard of hearing - TWICE we had to call them to ask them to turn the TV down - they were watching a wartime film, endless gunfire, bombs, fighter jets. One time we called them at 1.15am and then another day we had to call them at 5.30am. These times are not acceptable for having your TV blaring out! Prepare yourself for a very small wardrobe! It simply wasn't big enough for the two of us for a fortnights cruise - we took a case each and expected space for our clothes but it wasnt to be. There was 2 deep pull out drawers which were ok, but we had to keep some of our clothes in the suitcase because of lack of storage. STAFF The bar staff were fantastic - always there to serve (although when sat on the front of the ship it would have been nice to have had a waiter offering drinks). They were friendly and outgoing. A special mention of Antonio and Buzz, both brilliant bar men. The restaurant staff work hard and were always on hand. The wine waiter would sometimes need a nudge to fill the wine glass up which was surprising having read on here that they are quick to top you up. The reception staff were helpful when needed. Our Cruise Director was Wes. For the first few days of the cruise we got the feeling that Wes wasn't enjoying being on the boat. He seemed really down and sometimes disinterested. We heard from another guest that he had been saying how much he missed his baby, so maybe that was it. It made it difficult to approach him sometimes which is a shame. He lightened up a bit towards the end of the cruise. Our Cabin steward Wincy did a great job in keeping our cabin clean and tidy. We didn't once get a swan made out of towels during the fortnight, some guests did. It didn't bother us, but it would have been a nice touch. FOOD - GOOD POINTS The food was always hot when it arrived at the table. The lunchtime buffet was reasonable. We had continental breakfast in the cabin every morning, this was a little hit and miss. Some days bread, other days no bread, some days pastries, other days no pastries, some days fruit, other days no fruit. All a bit odd really. FOOD - BAD POINTS God forbid you go onto this ship being a vegetarian who doesn't eat eggs! Although we notified the restaurant manager on day one, it was hit and miss every single evening with my meal. The main menu consists of 2 starters and 3 mains - you were lucky if any of these were vegetarian and containing no egg. I had to reiterate every single evening that I was vegetarian, it got tiresome. On one occasion I was given a bowl of shredded lettuce with a chopped strawberry on top. No dressing, no nothing else, just a bowl of lettuce and a strawberry. Not acceptable for a holiday that cost just short of £10K! I said to the waiter he must be joking when he placed it in front of me, but alas, he was not. The food was a real let down. The lunchtime buffet was marginally better, at least I could have a mixed salad, cheese and bread most days, although after 14 days it got rather boring. I don't rate the choice of food for vegetarians/vegans at all. Food is a huge part of your holiday and when no interest or imagination is used by the chefs, its a real let down. BAR/LOUNGE A big space with various seats and settees with a coffee machine that sometimes broke down. This is where the entertainment takes place. PLEASE NOTE- There is only ONE toilet on this floor next to the bar/lounge which is used by both men and women. There was constantly a queue outside the one toilet. Ridiculous! Without going into too much detail, it was not always pleasant to use the toilet after a gentleman had come out. ENTERTAINMENT - GOOD POINTS None to make unfortunately. There was an Oompah band which added a bit of something, another singing/dancing group one other night. ENTERTAINMENT - BAD POINTS Mundane and repetitive. The same keyboard player, day in, day out playing the same songs every night. Apart from the 2 efforts of an oompah and another local dancing group, there was a zipher player on another night. It was like pulling teeth. We left after half an hour with another group and thankfully the ship was in dock that night so we found solace in a very nice bar away from the ship. We found the entertainment staid, boring, mundane and repetitive. No imagination whatsoever. The staff put on a show on the last night which was ok, sometimes cringeworthy, especially when they did a "funny" sketch about a woman being blind. Not that funny really. A handful of times they made the pool area into a cinema by dragging the pools chairs into 2 or 3 rows. There as no booking system for a seat (about15-20 seats) so it is first come first served. We managed to get some seats on the back row whilst we watched the whole of the front row play on their phones and ipads all night, not watching the film at all (and I'm not talking about young people people here, but the elderly, clearly with no thought for anyone else by illuminating our view with ipads and phones). PORTS OF CALL/DISEMBARKATION It was nice to be able to walk of the ship without having to queue with lots of people. Security was a bit of a surprise, or should I say lack of. Some people scanned themselves back in and some forgot or couldnt be bothered. Again, on a cruise liner, your room card is taken from you by a steward, scanned and handed back to you. Your bags are also checked or x-rayed. Just seemed a bit free and easy on Emerald. We had some wonderful ports of call, with great photo opportunities. We particularly enjoyed the classical concert in Vienna. FACILITIES There is a very small pool at the back which people tended to just stand in to cool off. We found out on the last day from a fellow guest there is a small button hidden somewhere in the pool that turns it into a resistance pool. There are no signs whatsoever about that, so it was mainly used as a cooling off/communal bath from what we saw. There are a lack of toilets and I don't like sharing toilets with men. I wasn't aware of any exercise classes or yoga or anything like that? OVERALL VIEW After 5 days on the boat we had to change boats due to some problem with the depth of the river. The transition was ok - a 1.5 hour bus journey from one boat to another. Of course, the inconvenience was having to pack our suitcases yet again and then unpack on the new boat yet again. Wes told us all on the bus that we were lucky to have another Emerald boat 1.5 hours away that we could swap to as usually, when this happens with the river depth etc, the holiday ends up being a coach trip for the duration of the holiday. You are taken from hotel to hotel night after night on a coach, without a boat in sight. You are not able to claim any insurance or money back for this. Now THAT is enough to put me off river cruising again. Can you imagine paying near on £10K and ended up on a two week coach tour of Germany? Wes thought it was amusing when telling us that this happens frequently. We couldn't see the funny side to be fair. AND FINALLY..... We enjoyed having the wonderful views for my husband's 50th and the great ports of call. We didn't enjoy the 6am runner above our heads, the noisy neighbour with the loud TV, the lack of entertainment, mediocre food, a disinterested cruise director and the thought that at anytime this could become an extremely expensive coaching holiday. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Cruising for years only ever done far eastern river cruises and many sea cruises so thought would try European for a bit of luxury. Boat was very nice. Lift goes to bar and dining floors but not sun deck. Cabin on lower floor was very ... Read More
Cruising for years only ever done far eastern river cruises and many sea cruises so thought would try European for a bit of luxury. Boat was very nice. Lift goes to bar and dining floors but not sun deck. Cabin on lower floor was very nice. Well laid out, very good beds and pillows. Big t.v.poor hairdryer (bring your own) plenty of space, good shower. All cabins on boat at all grades were identical except for extra space at windows or balconies. (apart from owners suite and maybe one other) Let down by the range and quality of food. The buffets instead of diner were awful. It did improve a bit after lots of complaints. It took 2 hours to eat dinner. This was not the excellent staffs fault. They needed more staff, and to attempt to serve 173 people at the same time from a small galley was impossible. All tours were fine. All staff friendly and efficient (sometimes in the face of adversity) Very hot weather which caused problems with water level on the Danube so the last two days itinerary had to be changed. These things happen but it was extremely badly handled we were kept in the dark about what was happening and when we tried to find out we were either given a small amount of incorrect information or nothing at all. Would have given it 4 stars if food and info had been better. Tried to fill in Emeralds own survey but the (third) e survey address I was given did not work. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
The Emerald Sun itself was lovely, and the staff went out of their way on every level. We were a party of six and sat at the same table every night and became friends with our three wait staff people ... they were exceptional and we had a ... Read More
The Emerald Sun itself was lovely, and the staff went out of their way on every level. We were a party of six and sat at the same table every night and became friends with our three wait staff people ... they were exceptional and we had a lot of fun. The negatives on this cruise were there was virtually nothing to do after dinner most nights. There were two evenings with group participation - Name that Tune and Disco Night and they were fun. On the optional cruise review the last day we mentioned they needed more of this type of thing. Movies were second run and although pool sans theater could probably seat more, it was never set up for more then 10 - 12. One disappointment was due to the number of low bridges we would be going under from Amsterdam to Nuremberg, the sun deck was only available the first two days. They explained that everything needed to be removed from the top (perimeter railings, shade canopies, all deck chairs even the bridge (which was hydraulically lowered), but we weren't expecting it to be pretty mjuch the entire cruise. Nothing is mentioned about this in the cruise write-up. We had expected to take a drink up top in the evening and watch all the small communities go by ... but that couldn't happen. While the breakfast and lunch buffets always had something for everyone, the evenings meals were not as great as we thought they would be, or maybe we are just used to ocean cruising. The chef always announced his recommendation at the port review for the next day, but the alternative selection was basically the same every night. Also could have used more chocolate desserts, however the ice cream that was available every night was very, very good. Some very unusual entrée offerings, but Emerald is an Australian company and very possibly they were catering to Aussie taste-buds, not U.S. I would guess 75% of the cruisers were Australian, lots of really nice people we truly enjoyed meeting. There were two extra excursion offerings, but the one didn't have enough people sign up so it was cancelled. It was a nice surprise that they offered laundry service one day, that was really appreciated. This was our first river cruise and rather doubt we'd do another one. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We had been asked by a group of friends to go on a river cruise. We had traveled around Germany prior to the cruise and spent the prior two nights in Nuremberg before joining the group on the Emerald Sun. Did have trouble contacting the ... Read More
We had been asked by a group of friends to go on a river cruise. We had traveled around Germany prior to the cruise and spent the prior two nights in Nuremberg before joining the group on the Emerald Sun. Did have trouble contacting the ship for docking location and instructions but finally reached them by e-mail. We had looked into the cruise and found it to be a new cruise company with new boats. The Cabin was average and had a window in the cabin. Unfortunately, the cabin had no view as it was right at the water line.The staff was remarkable. Very well presented with even the captain coming out of hiding and being around the decks at times. Staff answered many questions that I had regarding what there was to do in the ports. There wasn't much in the way of entertainment compared to ocean going cruises which we have been on many times. The boat is only so big to wander around. They had a band come onboard a couple of nights to play and a piano player playing on other nights. They had a couple of game night activities that involved the entire ship. Very few used the pool that we saw and even fewer availed themselves to the high tech theatre. Dining was one issue that was definitely different. Breakfasts and lunches were buffet style as were two dinners while onboard. The other five dinners featured local favorites. I didn't much care for their selections so thank goodness they had their anytime options and I had grilled chicken. Presentation of meals was very good with splashes of color that added a flare to the plate but portion sizes were very small. Also, we had to ask for additional rolls as they brought only enough just for the table and water glasses were also hard to get filled. A couple of times I had to get up and fill my own. Meals lacked any spice and seemed rather bland to me. When we got home I had to go to Taco Bell to get some spice as my taste buds were in need. Services were good on the cruise. Port and shore excursions in the brochure sounded like they would be longer with them actually ranging from one to one and a half hours with the exception of four hours in Budapest. Guides were local and spoke good English. The best excursion was a cultural exchange with a person from Slovakia for a couple of hours. Learning about their country and getting a feel for their culture was a good experience. The bike ride between cities was also a welcome break from the ship and gave a different view of the country traveled. We didn't go on any of their Plus tours but did manage to get to the sights using public transport and found them interesting. Disembarkation was good with shuttle service to the airport on time for flights. I would probably not go on another river cruise but it was a good experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 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
Emerald Sun Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family N/A 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.5 0.0

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