Emerald Dawn Cruise Review by HenryGF
- Sail Date: September 2017
- Destination: Europe River
Every aspect of this cruise exceeded our expectations. Before departure, we received a comprehensive information pack and an Emerald backpack. This created a very positive impression of Emerald's approach to customer engagement and satisfaction, and this impression grew as our cruise progressed. When we boarded we were greeted by the Cruise Director and the Captain, and welcomed. We were shown to our cabin by the person who turned out to be the head housekeeper, who explained the features of the cabin. The cabins are small by ocean cruise ship standards but very cleverly designed. We had all the space and storage we needed. The beds are very very comfortable. Useful robes and very comfy slippers are supplied to every cabin, with free bottled water. Every cabin was supplied with a guide book to the rivers and towns we would be visiting, plus an extremely useful map.
Dining on board was a pleasure, and the food was to a very high standard. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style with abundant choices , with lighter, more limited options available in the lounge. Dinner is a la carte, and served by the very hard working waiters. Wines and beers are included for all passengers at lunch and dinner, and there was no shortage of either.
There was an excellent resident pianist, and local entertainers were brought on board in several ports.
The cruise director engaged with the passengers every evening, holding a briefing for the following day's activities. He was also available for most of the day at his desk. Michael is clearly very skilled in this role, and was much appreciated by all of the passengers.
In each port, walking tours of the port or nearby city were included, and all of the local guides used by Emerald were either excellent, or better than that. In several ports there are optional tours, at an extra cost. Free maps are provided at each port, and the ship provides free radio receivers which the tour guides use to give their commentaries, and these work better than most other devices we have ever used.
Unlike ocean cruising, there isn't the constant pressure to sell gifts / tours / activities / photography / upscale dining etc etc, and that made for a refreshing change.
As a recreational sailor, I was keen to learn about how the ship is navigated, and on two occasions I was invited into the bridge, where the deck officers were only too happy to explain and demonstrate procedures to me. I really valued and appreciated this.
Despite being a young company, Emerald Waterways could teach a lot of other prominent cruise lines how to deliver excellent customer service and satisfaction.
In summary, we enjoyed this trip immensely. Will we do a river cruise again? We have already booked two more with Emerald.
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