Emerald Sun Cruise Review by Whammers
- Sail Date: June 2017
- Destination: Europe River
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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