We chose Emerald Waterways after researching 6 popular cruise lines that sailed the Rhine river, and can say that our 1st ever cruise experience was overall fantastic. The cruise lived up to our expectations, and exceeded some, in all areas except the food quality. Being all-inclusive was important to us, no worries about calculating gratuities, port fees, etc..
We loved the Swissôtel Basel that Emerald booked for us pre-cruise. All the airport to hotel / to ship transfers went smoothly and on time. We had fun exploring the city on our own for a day (and recovering from jet lag), before embarking on Emerald Sun. Lunch the first day was not included but they prepared a light buffet for us new passengers in the lounge, a thoughtful touch.
We cruised from Basel to Amsterdam over 8 days under sunny skies. Our cabin was spacious, well-designed, and like the ship itself, absolutely immaculate. The bed was the most comfortable 'hotel' bed I've ever slept in (I usually suffer bad sleep during vacations) and the attentive cabin steward saw to our every need. Top marks. The fleet is quite new, our ship was 3 years old, and are of a modern and sleek design. It featured a beautiful infinity pool at the stern, small gym, hairdresser, cinema (pool transforms for film night), huge sundeck with shade canopies and mini-putt, bicycles for excursions, large main dining room, and a bar & lounge for relaxing or to enjoy a light breakfast or lunch.
Our cabin was fantastic. Well-designed, bright, and we loved the huge windows that slid down halfway. Our little balcony area was a private oasis, so nice to have a morning coffee in the fresh Rhine air. I dread hotel beds as my back is very sensitive and I usually sleep badly, but this was the most comfortable bed I've ever experienced. The climate control was great and we slept soundly. The cabin was surprisingly soundproof, I only heard footsteps early morning on the sundeck above if the crew had to tie up.
Every amenity was offered, and the cabin steward was attentive and efficient.
Marvellous old town and the guided tour was interesting and fun.
A lovely city to visit, great food and friendly people. Very clean and safe with wonderful free public transit for hotel guests.
I enjoyed the old town and learning its history. Great beer!