After research on river cruises on Cruise Critic we chose the Emerald line because of great reviews and the added bonus of not worrying about tipping and additional costs. Since this was our first river cruise it appealed to us that we would know our total costs up front and not have to worry about surprises. We enjoyed an included guided tour at each stop along the way between Passau and Budapest with local experienced guides.
The common areas on the ship like the lounge, dining room, pool and sun deck were comfortable and well maintained - many a luxurious hour was spent watching the exquisite countryside glide past. At one point as we were all on the sun deck enjoying a description of the vineyards we were passing the serving crew appeared carrying trays of the wine being described - very classy. We had been told that the approach to Budapest was especially impressive and given the approximate arrival time early the next morning - sitting on the deck, sipping a cappuccino while classical music played and the river sights appeared ahead of us is something we'll never forget...also the night cruise under the lighted bridges of Budapest was unforgettable too and the crew once again offering trays of 'Blue Danube cocktails' added a lovely touch.
We enjoyed all the generous meals offered with local dishes thrown in to highlight our ports of call. While there were daily specials offered there was also a menu you could order from if you preferred. The wine offerings always reflected the area we were passing through. Especially outstanding was the accommodation of food allergies - no fuss about the fact that I hadn't mentioned my preference for gluten free prior to the trip, it was easily accommodated.
Generous drawers and closets so everything could be stored. Incredible panoramic window view. High quality bed, bed coverings, towels with housecoat and slippers provided. Great lighting for reading.