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I am not really one to write reviews but after my experience on the Emerald Star I felt compelled to share what I can only describe as "the trip of a lifetime!". I have avoided ocean cruising as my husband gets seasick but after speaking to some friends who had been river cruising, we decided to book with Emerald Waterways. We flew into Munich from Manchester and were met by the Emerald Rep at the airport and transferred to the ship. I'm not quite sure what I expected but I was blown away by how clean, luxurious, light and airy the ship was! We were shown to our cabin after a light lunch and it was bigger than I expected with full length windows that slide down at the press of a button. I could get used to this! The staff on board were fantastic, always cleaning and looking after you. Our cabin cleaner always had a smile at the ready and seemed genuinley interested in how our day was and where we had been out to experience without being too informal. In fact, all of the staff seemed to know who they could have a joke with and who preferred a more serious approach whilst they were proffessional to a T! The food was some of the best food I have tasted. I was impressed by the buffet on the first night but when the gala dinners and the al a carte service started on the second night, our evening meals became an event to look forward to! There was always 2 options of starters and soups plus 3 choices for main meals. If you didnt like those choices, you could choose from Salmon, steak and chicken every night as well and the steak was cooked to perfection! The deserts were delightful although I would have liked to have know which cheeses were on the cheese board as I don't like all cheeses. The excursions we went on were well organised and although they were tiring, we learnt so much about the local areas and history. Our guides had these "whisper boxes" and we carried a box around our necks with headphones so even if I held back to take a picture, I could still hear the guide talking. I won't bore you with all the destinations but my 2 favourites were Cesky Krumlov which was an extra excursion with Emerald but well worth it. It is a stunning little town really quirky but so picturesque. The other was Budapest, the history, the buildings and the tour was so enjoyable and informative. We read before we went that gratuities were included with Emerald Waterways but we were surprised to find that even the bus drivers and guides don't ask for tips. In fact, one guide refused on the first trip when my husband offered her some money saying she had been paid. We did leave some for the cleaning staff as they were so exceptional and it felt wrong to us not to leave something. So, good and bad points: Good; the staff are the best I have ever come across. The food, the excursions, the pool was lovely although we only went in once, the cabin was immaculate and the bed was so comfy! Bad; Some of the excursions were a little tiring as my husband isn't good on his feet, although there was a slower group which helped and Karla our Cruise Director told us before hand what was entailed. Munich airport was huge and we werent prepared for how far we had to walk to the meeting point. I can't actually think of anything else bad. The Emerald Star was a beautiful ship, light airy and contemporary in design. The staff were attentive and proffessional and couldn't have done more to make our trip special. The excursions were brilliantly executed, informative and educational with excellent clearly spoken guides. Karla our cruise director was fantastic and her port talks were informative, light and entertaining. Compared to the other ships we saw on the river, the Emerald Star was the Queen of the Danube and I wouldnt hesitate to recommend to other people, I already have to friends and family since we got home! Well done Emerald, I will be booking again soon!

Blown away by my experience

Emerald Star Cruise Review by riversrundeep

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
I am not really one to write reviews but after my experience on the Emerald Star I felt compelled to share what I can only describe as "the trip of a lifetime!".
I have avoided ocean cruising as my husband gets seasick but after speaking to some friends who had been river cruising, we decided to book with Emerald Waterways. We flew into Munich from Manchester and were met by the Emerald Rep at the airport and transferred to the ship. I'm not quite sure what I expected but I was blown away by how clean, luxurious, light and airy the ship was! We were shown to our cabin after a light lunch and it was bigger than I expected with full length windows that slide down at the press of a button. I could get used to this!
The staff on board were fantastic, always cleaning and looking after you. Our cabin cleaner always had a smile at the ready and seemed genuinley interested in how our day was and where we had been out to experience without being too informal. In fact, all of the staff seemed to know who they could have a joke with and who preferred a more serious approach whilst they were proffessional to a T!
The food was some of the best food I have tasted. I was impressed by the buffet on the first night but when the gala dinners and the al a carte service started on the second night, our evening meals became an event to look forward to! There was always 2 options of starters and soups plus 3 choices for main meals. If you didnt like those choices, you could choose from Salmon, steak and chicken every night as well and the steak was cooked to perfection! The deserts were delightful although I would have liked to have know which cheeses were on the cheese board as I don't like all cheeses.
The excursions we went on were well organised and although they were tiring, we learnt so much about the local areas and history. Our guides had these "whisper boxes" and we carried a box around our necks with headphones so even if I held back to take a picture, I could still hear the guide talking.
I won't bore you with all the destinations but my 2 favourites were Cesky Krumlov which was an extra excursion with Emerald but well worth it. It is a stunning little town really quirky but so picturesque. The other was Budapest, the history, the buildings and the tour was so enjoyable and informative.
We read before we went that gratuities were included with Emerald Waterways but we were surprised to find that even the bus drivers and guides don't ask for tips. In fact, one guide refused on the first trip when my husband offered her some money saying she had been paid. We did leave some for the cleaning staff as they were so exceptional and it felt wrong to us not to leave something.
So, good and bad points:
Good; the staff are the best I have ever come across. The food, the excursions, the pool was lovely although we only went in once, the cabin was immaculate and the bed was so comfy!
Bad; Some of the excursions were a little tiring as my husband isn't good on his feet, although there was a slower group which helped and Karla our Cruise Director told us before hand what was entailed. Munich airport was huge and we werent prepared for how far we had to walk to the meeting point.
I can't actually think of anything else bad. The Emerald Star was a beautiful ship, light airy and contemporary in design. The staff were attentive and proffessional and couldn't have done more to make our trip special. The excursions were brilliantly executed, informative and educational with excellent clearly spoken guides. Karla our cruise director was fantastic and her port talks were informative, light and entertaining. Compared to the other ships we saw on the river, the Emerald Star was the Queen of the Danube and I wouldnt hesitate to recommend to other people, I already have to friends and family since we got home! Well done Emerald, I will be booking again soon!
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Cabin Review

Cabin 215
The cabin was a great size and the full length windows meant it felt light and airy. There was a lot of clever designing wich left plenty of room for you to put things away. We found the cupboards behind the mirrors but other people we spoke to hadn't and werent sure where to put their toiletaries initially. The beds were the most comfy we have slept in and felt like we were in a hotel. We were very happy with our cabin and really enjoyed lieing on the bed in the morning with the window down as we pulled into a new city. We did think we were getting a balcony which was a little disapointment but the design actually grew on us as the week went on. Sometimes balconies feel a bit small but here it felt like your room turned into a balcony. I believe the Grand Balcony Suites do have a proper balcony but we will probably book this cabin again on our next cruise.