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We had previously cruised with Emerald (15-Day Splendours of Europe in 2017) so we felt familiar with the Emerald tours. As expected, the ship was very clean everywhere, rooms, restaurants, common areas. Portugal did not disappoint but even though the staff on the ship tried very hard to be welcoming and accommodating, there was one major irritant. Communications, especially by staff whose jobs it was to communicate with passengers. The reception staff were excellent, however. On our previous cruise we had enjoyed the announcements which gave simple instructions like which busses were going where & at what time, what's next on the schedule, reminders for when to turn in our extra excursion requests etc. On this cruise, there were no such announcements. They would have been extra useful on this cruise because the English language proficiency of some of the crew was low. For example, the first night's Sunset Cruise was missed by many of us because it wasn't clearly indicated that we would sail in Porto harbour before (or during) dinner. Subsequently many of us simply went to dinner. On our previous cruise, the evening sail in Budapest was a highlight, commentated by the cruise director and clearly communicated beforehand. Hint: Cruise first, then dinner OR dinner first, followed by cruise of Harbour. One of the on-board activities was tile painting but it was not clearly indicated when or where we could pick up our finished tiles. Our bus to Lisbon was delayed because some of the passengers were told to wait on the ship while the rest of us had already embarked on the bus.

The cruise was a way for us to visit Portugal without driving.

Emerald Radiance Cruise Review by Susan Surette-Draper

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Europe
We had previously cruised with Emerald (15-Day Splendours of Europe in 2017) so we felt familiar with the Emerald tours. As expected, the ship was very clean everywhere, rooms, restaurants, common areas.

Portugal did not disappoint but even though the staff on the ship tried very hard to be welcoming and accommodating, there was one major irritant. Communications, especially by staff whose jobs it was to communicate with passengers. The reception staff were excellent, however.

On our previous cruise we had enjoyed the announcements which gave simple instructions like which busses were going where & at what time, what's next on the schedule, reminders for when to turn in our extra excursion requests etc.

On this cruise, there were no such announcements. They would have been extra useful on this cruise because the English language proficiency of some of the crew was low. For example, the first night's Sunset Cruise was missed by many of us because it wasn't clearly indicated that we would sail in Porto harbour before (or during) dinner. Subsequently many of us simply went to dinner. On our previous cruise, the evening sail in Budapest was a highlight, commentated by the cruise director and clearly communicated beforehand.

Hint: Cruise first, then dinner OR dinner first, followed by cruise of Harbour.

One of the on-board activities was tile painting but it was not clearly indicated when or where we could pick up our finished tiles.

Our bus to Lisbon was delayed because some of the passengers were told to wait on the ship while the rest of us had already embarked on the bus.
Susan Surette-Draper’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin A316
Although our cabin was billed as Balcony, what it really had was a small tiled area with a large window and mirrors. This did not mask the fact that we had to move the chairs to get into the closet. We found the cabin small.
An extend time in Porto, tied to an Scenic ship, deprived us of a view of Porto from May 16th afternoon to our departure on May 18th. We had previously enjoyed beautiful landscapes and felt like we were stuck in a small dark room for that time in Porto.
As for the add-on to Lisbon, we appreciated the transfer and the Hotel was excellent, though a bit too far from downtown to fully experience the city at leisure. The City Tour was fraught with frustration due to the re-routed traffic on a special Sunday. Modifications would improve the experience. Change the day? Give vouchers for a Hop On Hop Off Bus?