This is the first time I have been on a river cruise and I can only say that I was not disappointed at all.
From arriving in Budapest in sweltering heat and walking down the gangplank to the day we left the ship, it was absolutely fantastic. The amenities, service and staff were first class and I can only say that it was a superb, relaxing, fun holiday. We met and have made friends with some really lovely people.
Our cabin was one of the cheaper options, a stateroom, and although we did not have the picture window, the facilities were exactly the same as the more expensive rooms.
The food was plentiful, fresh and very very good. An amazing choice - not all to my personal taste but then there was plenty to choose from. The format was a buffet style breakfast and lunch and waiter service for dinner in the Restaurant with a lighter version of breakfast and lunch being available from the lounge area. If you did not wish to sample some of the cuisine from the countries you were visiting or cruising through, then there were staple dishes you could select - steak; poached salmon etc. It was difficult to believe that you were on board a ship and not in a high quality restaurant and that space below deck, in the galley, was very restricted.
It was also a bonus that all wine, beer and soft drinks consumed during meals were included and incorporated into the price of the trip. Should you wish to drink more during the day, there were two upgrade options available. Again, excellent value. Tea and coffee were available 24 hours a day.
The décor for the whole ship was clean, bright and modern. This was to be expected as the ship was only a couple of months old - and I did hear one or two comments from older guests that it was a little 'too modern' for their liking with a little too many mirrors and too much chrome! It was exceptionally clean, hygienic and stylish.
The staff on board were superb - quite a few from Eastern Europe themselves so able to give that personal touch to the holiday. All the staff, without exception, went out of their way to be polite and helpful and genuinely wanted you, the guest, to enjoy yourself to the full.
The additional leisure facilities on board were unbelievable. A small gym, massage parlour, walking track, O's and X's, small pitch and putt and of course, the pool which converted into a cinema in the evening. During the day, the roof to the pool was open and then in the evening the floor of the pool rose and made the whole area into a cinema, with fresh popcorn being offered! Absolutely wonderful.
The trips and tours were optional but included. Some were half a day, some a full day inclusive of lunch and one was the opportunity to be entertained by a local family. Most entertaining and enjoyable.
There is nothing I could say that I disliked. I did make one or two suggestions on the feed back form at the end of the holiday but these were only minor things.
Thank you to all the current staff on Emerald Dawn for giving my husband and I a fantastic, first time river cruise experience. We shall certainly be back!
All towels changed whilst at dinner each evening and each morning.
Facilities and amenities excellent: all toiletries provided, tissues, hair dryer, bath robes and slippers. Plenty of drawer and hanging space.
Bottled water in room - restocked when consumed.