To explain the title: Due to low water on the Rhine and Danube we had to change ships, from the Emerald Sky to the Emerald Destiny, stopping at the emerald Star for lunch. Towards the end of the cruise we had to change again from the Emerald Destiny to the Emerald Sun. Although I would have rather avoided this, it did give me the chance to see four ships covering all three generations of the Emerald fleet.
Cabins and Facilities
Starting with the Sky (1st generation): The cabin was of adequate size, very clean with good storage (mainly consisting of 6 huge drawers). My only criticisms are: the wardrobe was half filled by a mini bar and safe meaning that they was less than 2 feet of hanging space (this issue has been resolved on 2nd and 3rd generation ships - more later) and Insufficient storage in the bathroom (only two shallow cupboards and no shelves)- my wife had nowhere to put her creams and potions. Other issues on the ship were that there was only one central flight of stairs causing problems at meal times and the layout of the central buffet bar in the dining room (hot food was all at one end, once again causing crowding in one area) A final niggle was that the very popular cook, providing eggs to order only had a single burner and pan leading to long queues around his station (which was also where the toasters were located). It is worth mentioning that the Emerald Star is also 1st generation and has exactly the same issues. On to the Emerald Destiny (3rd generation): The minibar and safe have been move out of the wardrobe, effectively doubling the amount of useful hanging space, but there relocation has led to the removal of two of the six drawers mentioned earlier. This would have been acceptable but for the fact that two more drawers have been removed and replaced with a small dressing table and chair. Further detrimental changes have been made in the bathroom: The two cupboards that were available in the Sky have been removed and replaces with a small shelf and a poorly designed under sink unit with awkward side access. The shower door now opens inward, which results in a user of above average size having to flatten themselves against the wall of the shower so that they can get out. Worse of all there is now a significant step between the bedroom and the bathroom - I lost count of how many times I tripped over it. On the plus side the egg cook on the Destiny now has two burners doubling his egg output! The Emerald Sun (2nd generation) Has the same storage layout as the Destiny, but the bathroom has much better storage and no treacherous step. It also has the improved buffet layout of the Destiny. Overall the 2nd generation ships would be my choice given what i know now.