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10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot ... Read More
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot more info on what to expect and someone to answer questions, like your cabin steward whom we didn’t see until the second day. This doesn’t improve, if you miss a port talk you are completely in the dark. The owners suite is small compared to other cruise/River ships. No tv in bedroom so bring binoculars to see it in the sitting room. Expect to hear your neighbors as the rooms have very thin walls. No ice offered unless you get a glass of ice at the bar. If you want a drink you must go to the bar and it’s like asking for a favor. With the premium package you get whatever bottle they have open, and if it’s a good wine, expect it to runout quickly! The cabin steward left our used towels because we didn’t throw them on the floor. Who knew? as this was never communicated. Emerald assured us we wouldn’t hear joggers above our suite but you definitely do, at 6am. They told us we had to put up with it for four days. The crew told us this was the last cruise and they didn’t know if the ship was returning or they had jobs. How sad for them and to bad for us. We sat at the Captains table which was very nice. The food should of been exceptional which I can’t say was the case. I’m really trying to be positive but so far the experience hasn’t lived up to our expectations. The included guided tours have been managed well and you see a lot of the cities you visit. The food is probably the biggest disappointment. No variety and mainly the same theme throughout the whole cruise. The buffet menu was offered only on a couple days, but don’t expect the classics these are only offered when it is a dinner menu night. The soups are either consommé or bouillon and nothing special. When a buffet is offered expect complete chaos. No formal direction just one big free for all. I went on the bike trip from Durnstein to Melk. They did try to talk us out of it but the reviews were to good for me to skip it. The guide was young and worked with her farther who brought up the rear. We did the 20 miles in 3 hours with a half hour lunch break and 5 photo opts. The pace was way to fast and that was because the guide did double duty and needed to get back for the Abby tour. Two folks had to get a cab (52 euro) to get back to the ship. Active is one description but this is Tourist de France. Nothing offered after dinner. OK, my wife and I can’t complain anymore. So much is wrong about this experience we just decided to give in and let it happen. They will not change so we go with the flow but will never ever make the same mistake. Emerald is at best a 2 Star and needs improving. Anyone who travels knows what expectations should be provided and they have a long way to go. Hope this review enlightens your decision. So choose well and happy travels. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We were attracted to the design of the ship, especially the drop down balcony area. On receiving the brochure it was difficult to choose a trip because they all looked so good. The Rhone/ Soane are was chosen for the scenery, the history ... Read More
We were attracted to the design of the ship, especially the drop down balcony area. On receiving the brochure it was difficult to choose a trip because they all looked so good. The Rhone/ Soane are was chosen for the scenery, the history and the culture of the area. Wine growing was an advantage. Each day the morning walking trip with expert guides was included in the cost and well worth doing. Group 1 was always available for a slower paced walk. Walking poles and umbrellas are provided in cabins but we did not need them. After lunch on board, excellent with all dietary needs catered for, there was always an optional extra trip you could pay for. We took part in 3 and felt they were worth it but one other trip friends took part in was felt to be less interesting than the description given implied. As part of Emerald Active there were bikes on board to borrow at each stop and the tow paths were very well maintained. Regular cyclists were able to do 15-30k rides with a guide meeting the boat at the next port on the afternoon we cruised. Entertainment was limited but enjoyable with a pianist during meals, We were lucky in having Darren as our cruise director. He was very efficient with all the arrangements and was great entertainment being a natural comic. We also had a French singer one night and music to listen or dance to in late evening though the dance area was very small. The swimming pool was small but for exercise at the flick of a switch you could swim as long as you wished without moving forward. This are became a cinema after 9pm most nights and had it's own bar and tea station. We didn't use the gym but a massage went down well after all the walking. there was a hairdresser and beautician also. With a small library and table games as well as the putting green and walking track on deck there really was not enough time to try every thing available. Our cabin was compact as the bed was huge and we had 2 chairs and a table in the balcony area plenty of cupboard and drawer space and the best shower I've seen even in a hotel. There was a safe and TV but no kettle but tea etc was always available with good choice. It was plenty big enough as your balcony are is inside the electric drop down windows. This was an advantage over conventional doors as no chance of things rolling or blowing into the river. Our cabin attendant was very good. All the staff were friendly, efficient and professional often multi tasking. We enjoyed the informality of talking to the Captain and other staff. Catering was excellent with plenty of choice and drinks included with meals. Don't worry if you have food intolerance as they mark up a menu for you so you can make informed choices. Overall the trip was great and the ship brand newbut we did find Emerald inflexible to deal with prior to the trip and as we booked 18 months ahead some details had changed but we were not informed.We will book again though. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
After numerous ocean cruises, we decided it was time to try a European river cruise and friends suggested Avalon. Choose the Blue Danube Budapest-Prague itinerary for mid-Oct based on the sites, included pre and post-cruise hotels, the ... Read More
After numerous ocean cruises, we decided it was time to try a European river cruise and friends suggested Avalon. Choose the Blue Danube Budapest-Prague itinerary for mid-Oct based on the sites, included pre and post-cruise hotels, the price of a Royal Suite and hopes for fall colors. Overall, we were delighted with the stay in Budapest and Prague, the included city tours and the awesome fall colors along the Danube. Biggest disappointments included the lack of any on-board amenities for a suite, mediocre food and entertainment, an egotistical Cruise Director, poor communications and policies before and during the cruise. Specifics include poor excursion policies, pricing where excursions booked on-line cannot be changed beyond four days prior to the cruise. After listening to the Cruise Director's on board review I met with him to request changes including canceling and adding some. While able to add excursions, he immediately disclaimed any association with pre-booked excursions and would not cancel. Find this very disappointing, frustrating so warn others not to book pre-cruise as there were always plenty, but pricey, openings. Also, unlike suites on ocean cruises, we did not have any on-board amenities. In fact, while we could get only a continental breakfast delivered they charged $2 pp! With 137 passengers we only saw the officers at the first and last cocktail receptions! Overall, think ocean cruises on small ships offers much more than river boats! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
The timing was ideal. Central Europe was beautiful. The weather was ideal, as the vineyard leaves were showing fall colors. The cruise schedule was the right combination of scenic cruising and off-vessel tours. Our tour Director always ... Read More
The timing was ideal. Central Europe was beautiful. The weather was ideal, as the vineyard leaves were showing fall colors. The cruise schedule was the right combination of scenic cruising and off-vessel tours. Our tour Director always had the answers and kept us informed in a fun way. Entertainment during the evenings on board was delightful, exciting and educational. Dining always included a choice of locally inspired dishes and desserts. Room service was superb. Ports and shore excursions were just the right combination of activity, education and fun. We participated in all included tours and several optional tours. The staff always greeted us and often recognized us by name. We are two seniors on a honeymoon. We enjoyed dining with many different groups. We would go again. Travel arrangements were very well managed. We were met at the Amsterdam Airport by Viking Guides giving us immediate confidence that it was going to be a great trip. We are planning another river cruise! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Everthing about the cruise was perfect. Scenic did everything for us. Our flights before and after went smoothly without any hitches. We were picked up and delivered before and after right on schedule. On board the cabin was quite ... Read More
Everthing about the cruise was perfect. Scenic did everything for us. Our flights before and after went smoothly without any hitches. We were picked up and delivered before and after right on schedule. On board the cabin was quite comfortable. It was always cleaned up daily. The food on board as excellent. Service was impeccable. Our cruise director Sonia was phenomenal. She provided daily updates and arranged plenty of fun times.Our side trips were well organized and most enjoyable. Entertainment on board was very good. The sailing down the Rhine, Main and Danube we most scenic. We enjoyed the many stops and ventures through the towns. There were many extras that were provided free of charge. Even the 200 euros that we got were well used. The Taylor made gps were quite useful. We enjoyed the company of many passengers from around the world. All total we won give Scenic an A++ Read Less
34 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Without a doubt one of the best vacations we have ever been on. i was worried because we had taken the viking river cruise up the rhine and the bar was set pretty high. gate 1 met and at times exceeded the bar. the moment we entered the ... Read More
Without a doubt one of the best vacations we have ever been on. i was worried because we had taken the viking river cruise up the rhine and the bar was set pretty high. gate 1 met and at times exceeded the bar. the moment we entered the airport in prague to be transferred to the hotel until the moment we were transferred to the departure airport in budapest everyone and everything was fantastic. mari in prague was a great initial point of contact for gate 1 and gave us tips and suggestions that were perfect. she was there for us and any of the rest of the group 24/7. the imperial hotel was above and beyond our expectations, and for a first time gate 1 traveler, left an appetite for more. the transfers from the airport, hotel to the ship and the departing airport were coordinated perfectly. then there was the cruise. what a trip!!!!! the stops and tours were out of this world. gate 1 really stepped up the game and again we were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the tours and the tour guides. michael in regensburg, gerhardt in salzburg and nora in bratislava. the crew on the ship was without a doubt the best team we had ever cruised with. the following individuals need mentioning: captain peter, hotel manager cristian, 1st receptionist nicoleta, ex chef miro, maître d marcin, housekeeping samsudin, cruise director karol, activity host saber, room steward veri, head waitress baloga, 2nd waiter marius and richard the piano man. there were many more and they all deserve a big hand. the cabin we chose was comfortable and roomy, i stand 6'5" and the issue i have with these ships is the bathroom and shower. not this time!!! it was very efficient and the shower was the perfect fit. we were in room 215 and it wasn't a suite. the food was gourmet every night and the breakfast was as you want it. there was entertainment on the ship every night thanks to karol and saber. saber had nightly trivia contest and they were very entertaining, especially the battle of the sexes. karol arranged for local groups on the ship to sing and dance the local specialties along with a couple of nights of local refreshments. karol also narrated the wachau valley tour on the ship as we cruised down to vienna and spoke on the danube river and the locks. and cristina was always there to help with any request. the individual stops and tours at regensburg, melk abbey, salzburg, passau, vienna, bratislava and budapest were well organized and the quality of the tour guides were top notch. i always say that if you walk away learning more than you knew at the start you were doing good. i learned more than i ever expected. this was a very educational trip as well as an enjoyable learning experience. Everyone asks me what was my favorite part? the whole trip!!! i could go on and on but the only way anyone would understand is to experience it themselves. this is the first of gate 1 new ships with more to come. this is a must trip and this is the must company to use. thank you all for a great time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on many ... Read More
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on many evenings at dinner ,when you needed another glass of wine the staff didn't seem to notice . But, other than that ,, it was lovely. The ports of call were great and loved the day we went to have tea with a local family. Would loved to have tried the pool but wasn't brave enough . Due to the weather. Nina our tour guide was always there to answer any questions. Had a massage and it was just " wonderful. Please enjoy your cruise and have fun. Would go with Emerald again . So go go go go go ,fun fun fun . Xx Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
My husband and I love cruises but we wanted something a little different than the usual island hopping. Friends of ours had recommended Viking and we decided the time had come for us to give it a try. We arrived on the Budapest after ... Read More
My husband and I love cruises but we wanted something a little different than the usual island hopping. Friends of ours had recommended Viking and we decided the time had come for us to give it a try. We arrived on the Budapest after over twelve hours of traveling. We were tired from our trip and ready to collapse. The Viking staff picked us up at the airport and got us to the Gullveig with a minimum of fuss. Once aboard, we were told to expect our room to be ready by 1pm. Jaded travelers that we are we thought we'd actually be allowed in at 3 but the staff was as good as their word, at 1pm we were in the door able to finally relax. That was the first of many promises kept over the course of the week. When the Maitre'D Panayot found out I was a diabetic, he gave me a card with the number "5" on it. For the rest of the cruise, every time I sat down to eat, I'd just put the card on the table and Panayot would come and personally make sure my dietary needs were met. He kept entrees from being seasoned with sauces that might not be good for me and made sure desserts like fresh fruit with whipped cream were there for me every day. Other aspects of the service were equally excellent. Each day, the Captain was there to personally greet the guests as they returned aboard ship. When we wanted to see parts of Prague that were not covered on the normal tour. The tour director was able to make special arrangements and find a guide and transportation for us. The food was exquisite and the waiters and waitress were friendly and professional. The small size of the ship made the experience intimate and friendly. By the end of the cruise we knew almost everyone aboard. Then there was sailing up the Danube watching the lovely countryside glide by us as we made our way leisurely up river. We would get off the ship and go on beautifully orchestrated tours that had the memory cards of our cameras filled and the soles of our shoes noticeably thinner. Exhausting at times but well worth every minute! As I've said before, my husband and I are the veteran of many cruises but this was by far the best. We can't wait to do this again! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
After a very positive experience on the Seine with Scenic, this cruise was an easy choice. Traveling with a small group, we were able to enjoy the company of our friends, and of many other new friends. I would identify the passengers ... Read More
After a very positive experience on the Seine with Scenic, this cruise was an easy choice. Traveling with a small group, we were able to enjoy the company of our friends, and of many other new friends. I would identify the passengers on the Opal as fairly young group, and the staff embraced, and encouraged, our wish to have fun on the ship, as well as off. As previously experienced, our excursions with Scenic were interesting, and well guided. The outings were perhaps a bit short, part day tours, due to a need for the Opal to cover the distance to the next stop. This is not a criticism of the cruise, but a characteristic of this cruise. The crew were vey capable of ensuring the time spent on the Opal passed quickly. The food and the ship were excellent, as we now expect with Scenic. Our balcony was perhaps underutilized, but that relates to the fall weather, and meeting our group in the lounge, or dining room, instead of watching the sights as a couple from our balcony. Enough cannot be said about the staff on the ship. I believe every Scenic ship is well designed and appointed, but the effort and care of the Opal staff ensured this cruise has established a very high standard for our Scenic cruises that are likely to follow. A few days were well spent in Amsterdam before the cruise, to adjust to the time change and enjoy Dutch culture. Touring in and around around Zurich after the cruise is expensive, but wound out the trip nicely. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Arrival in Basel was a bit convoluted, something that could have been avoided if Vantage had told us in advance to exit our baggage claim into Switzerland. This caused some delay as some travelers were wandering about seeking transport to ... Read More
Arrival in Basel was a bit convoluted, something that could have been avoided if Vantage had told us in advance to exit our baggage claim into Switzerland. This caused some delay as some travelers were wandering about seeking transport to the ship. It was one of the few weak spots in the trip. We were welcomed to the ship with lunch while cabin preparation was being completed. Food service was excellent and provided by an engaging young staff. Meals were varied and attempted to meet local fare. We did not have a meal I did not like and especially came to love the daily soup options. The ship was the nicest of the ships we have been exposed to in seven Vantage cruises. It is fairly new and it showed. Our cabin was larger than previous ships although clothes storage was a bit of a challenge. Our cabin attendant was excellent and friendly. Laundary service was particulary efficient. One small negative was the absence of a piano player onboard. In his place was a jukebox and some local entertainers, nice but more limited. The daily tours were interesting and I learned a great deal, for me an important standard for a cruise. I now wonder how I have missed the excellent German wines for so long. Both the Moselle River and Luxembourg were new to us and we were move at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and loved the Moselle Valley. Our dock spots were often away from our destinations but that s partly due to the size of some places visited. I can’t this of a tour I did not enjoy. This was a vey good trip, Read Less

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