ms Emerald Review

Tauck  ms Emerald (Photo: Tauck River Cruises)
Tauck ms Emerald (Photo: Tauck River Cruises)
ms Emerald
5.0 / 5.0 Cruise Critic Editor Rating
to book


Large cabins, fewer passengers than more creates an intimate cruising experience


All-inclusive cruise fares are high

Bottom Line

Completely inclusive experience by company that seems to have thought of everything


Passengers 98
Crew 40
Passenger to Crew 2.45:1
Launched 2006, refurbished 2017
Shore Excursions 0
Colleen McDaniel
Cruise Critic Editor-In-Chief

ms Emerald Overview

A cruise on Tauck's ms Emerald is as much about the destinations as it is about the ship (thankfully, both are excellent). The ship is designed to sail the shallow and fluctuating French waterways of the Rhone and Seine rivers, and it brings passengers to incredible locations in comfort and luxurious style.

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Emerald is beautiful without being ostentatious. The ship's public spaces and cabins include impeccably maintained polished marble and brass features, along with glass and crystal light fixtures. Emerald was completely refurbished in 2017 in large part to reduce the number of passengers onboard while introducing a new, large cabin category; cabins on Deck 2 were revamped, growing from 150 square feet to 225 square feet. The refurbishment also brought with it Arthur's, a casual restaurant named for Tauck's chairman, Arthur Tauck.

The cruise line/touring company has mastered destinations, too, providing a comfortable and fascinating experience in which passengers don't have to lift a finger if they don't want to. Most journeys on Emerald start with a land-tour option, which begins with transportation from the airport to a hotel -- all arranged by Tauck. The land option gives passengers a chance to explore cities like Paris, London or Monte Carlo, and Tauck arranges a mix of organized activities and time on your own for exploration.

Effortlessness is perhaps the defining characteristic of a cruise on Emerald. Everything a passenger needs has been planned for, and service is exceptional: friendly, intuitive and fast. And everything is included, from drinks to tips and shore excursions. This is the perfect cruise for someone who doesn't want to worry about any planning once it begins, the traveler who wants to show up and have everything taken care of.

While passengers can skip the ship's planned activities, most don't, which can be tricky for people who like to venture off on their own occasionally. It's even likely that other passengers will comment out of concern (or curiosity) if someone skips a cruise ship excursion. (With 98 passengers -- compared with 150 to almost 200 on other cruise ships and lines -- those sailing on Emerald tend to bond quickly.) Emerald is ideal for travelers who want to explore without any hassles.

Fellow Passengers

Passengers on Emerald are primarily Americans over 60 years old and often closer to 70. They tend to be well heeled and well traveled; they know what they want and aren't afraid to ask for it. They've also likely had experience with guided travel. In fact, many passengers have traveled with Tauck before, either on another cruise or as part of the company's land travel branch. A number of solo travelers sail on Emerald as well.

Emerald offers several family sailings in the summer as part of the Tauck Bridges program. These sailings tend to be of the multigenerational variety, with grandparents, parents and children comprising the passenger base. Cruises occasionally draw passengers from other English-speaking regions, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

ms Emerald Dress Code

The daily dress code is casual and comfortable, as passengers will be visiting European cities and towns where they likely will do lots of walking -- on uneven surfaces in many areas. Passengers wear layers to account for weather swings, which might include chillier mornings, rainy days or hot afternoons. Laundry service, for a per-item fee, is available onboard.

In the evening, the vibe is somewhat dressier, with a suggested "resort casual" dress code. Men wear slacks and button-down or collared shirts, while women wear slacks and blouses. T-shirts, jeans, flip-flops and sneakers are on the no-no list in the ship's main dining room, Compass Rose, in the evening. Passengers do not need to follow a dress code if dining at the ship's alternative restaurant, Arthur's.

Emerald typically holds at least one gala night, where passengers are requested -- but not required -- to dress up. Most passengers elect to dress a little fancier, with men wearing jackets (though most skip the ties) and women adding dressier tops or wearing elegant pantsuits. Occasionally, passengers will attend dinners on land, where the dress code is similar to what's worn on the gala night.

ms Emerald Inclusions 

Your cruise fare covers virtually everything on Emerald. That includes all gratuities (for crew, tour guides, hotel concierges and valets, and drivers), drinks (regional wines, beer and premium spirits), transportation to and from the airport, hotel and ship, shore excursions and Wi-Fi.

You'll pay extra for spa treatments, which are reasonably priced and include gratuity for the therapist. Laundry services also are extra; you'll pay a per-item price, which ranges from about 2 to 8 euros, depending on the item. The euro is the ship's onboard currency.

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ms Emerald Member Reviews

ms Emerald
Off Shore
Sail Date: Sep 2017
This cruise was not a good match for us. We have been to France many times, most recently in April of this year, always on our own, and are both reasonably fluent in French. What we thought would be a spectacular...Read More
ms Emerald
Sail Date: May 2015
Excellent ship on French Waterways (Rhone) with Tauck. Once you are on the ship, everything is included (well, we don't ask for laundry, so can't comment on it). But all drinks (soft/hard/wine) are included. Food...Read More
ms Emerald
Sail Date: Aug 2014
We recently returned home from our 40th Anniversary adventure that included Tauck’s French Escapade from Paris to Monte Carlo. Everyone knows I’m a big Tauck fan and I found this cruise package to be up to their...Read More
ms Emerald
Sail Date: Jul 2014
Tauck's French Escapade River Cruise Review July 18-31, 2014. South to North Overview: This Tauck adventure features 4 nights in hotels, 2 in Monte Carlo and 2 in Paris. In between there is a 9 night river cruise...Read More

Tauck River Cruising Fleet