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Sail Date: August 2019
We wanted to be on a river that we haven't sailed on, to visit new places & see castles. The Majestic Rhine cruise fit the bill. We had this trip booked for August 2018, but as we all know now, the water level of the Rhine River ... Read More
We wanted to be on a river that we haven't sailed on, to visit new places & see castles. The Majestic Rhine cruise fit the bill. We had this trip booked for August 2018, but as we all know now, the water level of the Rhine River was too low then, & as such, Emerald Waterways cancelled our trip. We, however, still wanted to fulfill the aforementioned & rebooked for August 2019. We were cautiously optimistic as this trip came to fruition & it did not disappoint. We are frequent ocean cruisers & have been on 3 Avalon river cruises & 1 other Emerald river cruise on the "Mekong Navigator" from Vietnam to Cambodia. So this is our 1st time sailing on an "Emerald" ship. We found the Emerald Sun to be a very clean & comfortable. It appears to me, more modern & brighter than the Avalon ships, perhaps because of their use of mirrors throughout the ship. Other than Emerald's indoor swimming pool, which morphs into a movie theatre, its lay out is quite similar to that of the Avalon ships. The crew & staff on Emerald Sun are second to none. There were all very friendly, courteous & helpful. The food on the Sun was very good, albeit the selection was understandably a bit limited. However, in my opinion, the fish served on the Sun was probably the best I’d ever had on any of the cruises we’ve been on. It was freshly cooked & moist to perfection. We also had a great cruise director, the animated “Wes”. On our 8 day cruise, we had 2 evenings with guest performers, one day with opera singers & the other day with a violinist. We also had 2 days of great singing by “Sarah”, our activity manager. On the other days, Sarah hosted trivia games & the like. There was also 4 movie nights with pop corn in the theatre. We did not partake in any of the available activities, except for Sarah's singing performances. The included excursions, although subjective, but for me, they were very good, with lots of photo ops of old, well kept colourful buildings & churches. Then on the 7th day of our 8 day cruise, we'd left Koblenz at approximately 7 AM enroute to Rudesheim & sailed through the Middle Rhine Gorge, where castles sat proudly on hilltops. All in all, a very satisfying trip. We are ready to set sail again with Emerald. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
My brother and his wife had cruised with Emerald Waterways a few years ago, and they were highly impressed. So on their recommendations, we decided to book with Emerald Waterways. All gratuities were included. Bicycles were on board to ... Read More
My brother and his wife had cruised with Emerald Waterways a few years ago, and they were highly impressed. So on their recommendations, we decided to book with Emerald Waterways. All gratuities were included. Bicycles were on board to be signed out and used at port. Swimming pool on board. Nightly entertainment. Delicious, artistically presented dinners with excellent vegetarian selections. In Basel we boarded about 1100, and rested in the lounge with other early passengers while rooms were being prepared. We were given a wonderful buffet lunch, and then taken to our rooms. The excursions were well directed and interesting. Free time usually in the afternoons to pursue other interests or rest on top deck. At the end of the tour, because we were not being transferred to the Amsterdam Airport, but rather staying in Amsterdam for three more days, we waited in the lounge until our taxi arrived to take us to the Airbnb. I would like the coordinator of Emerald Destiny to know that the taxi charged us 35 EU to travel about 15-20 min from our boat to the airbnb. We didn't notice that he hadn't put the meter on, and were too naive to know what the usual fare should be for this short distance. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
From the moment we arrived at the ship we were treated and made to feel very special. Transfers to and from the airport were stress free, and on time. The ship was well laid out, cabins more than adequate, entertainment and activities well ... Read More
From the moment we arrived at the ship we were treated and made to feel very special. Transfers to and from the airport were stress free, and on time. The ship was well laid out, cabins more than adequate, entertainment and activities well organised and run, our cruise director was great, always kept us well informed. The food was amazing with plenty of choices. Was always well presented and delivered hot. The staff are always friendly, lots of fun. Places on the boat to sit and enjoy the view, or just sit quietly if wanted. Nothing was too much trouble for any of the staff. The cabins where kept immaculate and very clean, the bed was comfortable. This cruise was more than I had dreamed of. It is something my husband and I had dreamed of for many years. We would recommend this to anyone. We saw a lot of places and things, tour guides always very informative. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because of the location and price. We were met at dockside by the tour director (Nina), dropped our bags off. She took us onboard where we could have a snack and a coffee. We then went off to explore Amsterdam. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the location and price. We were met at dockside by the tour director (Nina), dropped our bags off. She took us onboard where we could have a snack and a coffee. We then went off to explore Amsterdam. There was no set seating in the dining area so you could choose to join others or be by yourself. The meals were a la carte and lunch and dinner usually consisted of five courses, breakfast was a very good buffet. Service was great, attentive but not hovering over your shoulder. The only negative about food/dining was that sometimes it was slow but overall very good. The Rhine River was spectacular, the shore trips were excellent and very well organised, english speaking guides on every occasion and we were provided with a listening device so that it wasn't necessary to be next to the guide to hear him. My big gripe is that on this particular trip Emerald/Evergreen had a film crew on board,complete with models to produce a advertising clip. That was a pain, go to the pool and they were there filming, you're lying in the sun on the top deck and the next thing there is a drone buzzing up and down,around the ship filming. I thought it was intrusive. Another thing it seemed that the film crew had special privileges, they were allowed to smoke on the Terrace (which is a non smoking area) everyone else had to smoke at a special area at the stern. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
My wife and I have been on a couple of ocean cruises and I was not really thrilled with them. Last year we thought that we would give River cruising a try, and chose a trip from Budapest to Passeau on the Danube. All the reviews of Emerald ... Read More
My wife and I have been on a couple of ocean cruises and I was not really thrilled with them. Last year we thought that we would give River cruising a try, and chose a trip from Budapest to Passeau on the Danube. All the reviews of Emerald were great so we booked our trip with them. Our experience was excellent on that cruise and we booked this cruise up the Rhine almost as soon as we got back home. What makes Emerald so exceptional to me is the staff. From the time you get on board until the time you leave, they are there trying to make your stay as pleasant as they can. Our cabin assistant Paul would greet us with a hello and how are you, or how was your meal, every time we saw him. The bar staff quickly became aware of what our favorite drinks and we hardly had to say what we wanted before it was there for us. The serving staff at meals were always questioning how we had enjoyed what we had just been served, and were ready to address any issues we may have had. One evening, a dining partner found the meat of his dinner to be especially good and asked if it was possible to receive more, within minutes he received a new plate with an additional double portion of the meat. What I also find exceptional with Emerald is the way that they treat the staff. On both cruises, all of the staff on board were presented to the passengers giving us an opportunity to show our appreciation. On a tour of the kitchen I found out that the ship provides meals to the staff similar to the passengers but also based on their dietary and religious needs. On this cruise I have to single out the Cruise Director Nina, for the work that she did in juggling the tours that we went on. Due to events beyond her control she had to make last minute scheduling changes that could not have been easy. The Activities Director kept the evenings highly entertaining with a variety of shows, musicals, and games that engaged everyone on board. The one final person that I would like to mention is the Hospitality Director Albert Andrei. We were fortunate enough to meet him on our previous cruise and were surprised to see him on this ship. While it was a surprise, it also indicated that we would be well taken care of. A happy, efficient staff is not magic, it is built and encouraged by management and I credit this to Albert on the Emerald Dawn. So how was the ship and everything else about the cruise? It was everything that I had experienced the previous year. The room was great, the food was great, the excursions were informative and of the right duration, the scenery while cruising was beautiful. Did we have any issues on this trip? Sure. You can’t take a trip like this without having minor inconveniences. However, we enjoyed every minute of it. Our challenge now is to decide which Emerald cruise to take next year. It is down to Portugal, or Southeast Asia. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first foray into cruising, as I suffer from very bad motion sickness, an ocean cruise was definitely not on the cards! We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary so chose what we hoped was a special cruise on a special ... Read More
This was our first foray into cruising, as I suffer from very bad motion sickness, an ocean cruise was definitely not on the cards! We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary so chose what we hoped was a special cruise on a special boat and we were not disappointed. Everything from the overall design to the onboard style and decor was stunning, with a gorgeous pool area (seriously underused on our trip), although for us having it to ourselves was lovely, especially with the poolside bar and comfy chairs. All the staff could not have been friendlier, from the housekeeping to the bar staff, from the waiters to Albert the hotel manager, and not forgetting Michael the cruise director, they were all so helpful and charming with a good sense of humour! On this particular cruise, we liked the choice in activities and excursions available, all targeted at those enjoying their cruise at different levels and pace. So there were always active excursions as well as more gentle ones on offer. Similarly we didn’t always want to go on the coach tours, so when moored up in the great city locations often meant we could do our own thing, and pop back to the ship for lunch/dinner, just like a hotel. That said the organised excursions and tours we did get involved in were all excellent with handpicked informative and entertaining tour guides. The food was simply amazing, chef Stefan was an inspiration with his choices, often regionally themed as we sailed through various places. Wines were similarly excellent, all good quality and lots of it on offer! We loved the galley tour, seeing where our fantastic meals were created. We were really quite emotional (and more than a little embarrassed) on the last night to be presented with a beautifully decorated Anniversary cake in front of the very full restaurant! I am happy to report we will certainly be booking again with Emerald Waterways and more importantly, I did not suffer from even a teeny bit of travel sickness as the ship is so beautifully quiet and very stable, so there is no sensation at all of any movement other than travelling forwards. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Having completed an excellent Norwegian Northern Lights cruise we received an offer via Iglu Cruises for this cruise which included some good perks like the Premium Drinks package and an M&S voucher for both of us. Having looked ... Read More
Having completed an excellent Norwegian Northern Lights cruise we received an offer via Iglu Cruises for this cruise which included some good perks like the Premium Drinks package and an M&S voucher for both of us. Having looked into Emerald Waterways they got good reviews and the ships are all quite new and looked lovely. We have cruised on the sea before, but never on a river and we thought the Rhine would be interesting. We were not disappointed! We didn't get to explore Basel before we sailed as we were tired although there was a couple of hours which was available and some did. The airport transfer and embarkation all went smoothly and we were made very welcome on arrival at the ship. The cabins were ready ahead of the scheduled time which was nice. We had a Panorama Balcony stateroom which was a good size and very nicely furnished and fitted. The shower room was particularly generously sized for a ship. There was very little noise when the ship was sailing and it was exceptionally smooth. The only time we heard anything was when berthing at the ports but it was minimal. Dining was excellent with a good choice of dishes and much use of local produce. The hotel staff were very helpful and did their best to accommodate any special requests. The number and choice of ports was just about right and the price included guided tours at each stop. Other more active excursions were available at extra cost, but we didn't use these. Most of the tours were good although a couple of the guides were not really on top of their game. The bar/lounge was very comfortable and well staffed with a selection of books and games available to borrow. As we had the Premium Drinks package we could order anything from the bar at anytime without charge. All guests get complimentary wine, beer or soft drink with lunch and dinner. The ship was able to accommodate all guests at one open sitting for dinner. As mentioned above all the staff were very friendly and helpful and Michael our Cruise Director kept us all fully informed about the daily schedule and timings. This was delivered to each cabin the night before. If there was any area which was a bit disappointing it was the evening entertainment. We had a group of opera singers who were no doubt very good but not to our taste. On another evening we had a lovely violinist who played a wide variety of music and was excellent. A karaoke night was less successful and we felt not really a good choice for the type of passengers on board. There were also a couple of film nights, but we didn't go to these. Yes we would certainly go again having enjoyed it immensely. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Having completed a river cruise 3 years ago on the Danube with another river cruise line we were looking again to another great cruise. This time it was with Emerald and we weren’t disappointed. Our pickup at Zurich airport went ... Read More
Having completed a river cruise 3 years ago on the Danube with another river cruise line we were looking again to another great cruise. This time it was with Emerald and we weren’t disappointed. Our pickup at Zurich airport went flawlessly and we were soon on the Emerals Sky. Originally we were supposed to be on the Emerald Destiny but due to low water levels we were changed to the Sky. This didn’t present any problems however as the crew of Sky, excuse the pun, went overboard to make us feel so welcome. Arriving way before our expected arrival time our cabins were soon made ready and we were able to settle in and relax a little from a long flight and have a light lunch. Even Captain Stamen Dimitrov and Cruise Dorector Balazs were there to greet us on our arrival. Certainly a sign of things to come as we could not say more about the great service we received from all of the crew throughout the cruise. The Rhine cruise likely many in Europe is a trip through history and the tours and the guides we were fortunate to have were first class. All were well organized and having an “active” tour was a great option. The only bike option was in Amsterdam however so another on the cruise would likely go over well. Our dining experience was pretty much 4 star and the service was excellent although a little bit of extra help at the omelet station in the morning might have sped things along. Entertainment was fairly low key as things tend to be on a river boat cruise, just a pianist, but we should comment that the electronic violinist who came aboard one evening was excellent. In closing we would like to make special mention of our Captain Stamen Dimitrov who was so personalable, and skilled in navigating our ship safely through low water levels to reach our destinations. Also our Cruise Director Balazs who worked so hard to organize all the tours and events and made them go so well. Thank you. Still waiting for the photo Balazs. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife and I have just returned home from our Rhine Cruise on the Emerald Sky. Due to a ship swap due to low water levels, we sailed on the Emerald Sky instead of the Emerald Destiny as we were originally due to be on. All I can say ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned home from our Rhine Cruise on the Emerald Sky. Due to a ship swap due to low water levels, we sailed on the Emerald Sky instead of the Emerald Destiny as we were originally due to be on. All I can say is a huge "Thank you" to all the hard working Emerald Sky's crew/staff and the Emerald Cruise hospitality team onboard the Sky for making our trip memorable. All of the tours went seamlessly and were well thought out and very informative, all the tour guides knowlegable and able to answer all questions about our visits to the various places etc. The food was 1st class (Andraz the chef we had met before on the Emerald Sun in 2016) from the Buffet Breakfast and Lunch, to the Wonderful Dinners each evening, served extremely well by the extremely hard working waiters and waitresses. Widodo our cabin Steward worked very hard and kept our Panorama Balcony Suite well stocked with water and consumables. Many thanks to Balasz our Cruise Director who also worked very hard organising everything in port and the entertainment on board the Emerald Sky. Also keeping all the tour port talks interesting and happening ontime. This was our 3rd cruise with Emerald waterways and we are looking forward to joining them again in April 2019 in Amsterdam for our trip around Holland and Belgium. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Although the Emerald Ship was beautiful and the staff and food excellent, the water system is very noisy. It sounded like a bowling ball was rolling across the ceiling of my suite every 15-20 seconds. I spoke with the hotel director and ... Read More
Although the Emerald Ship was beautiful and the staff and food excellent, the water system is very noisy. It sounded like a bowling ball was rolling across the ceiling of my suite every 15-20 seconds. I spoke with the hotel director and she was aware of the noise issue and told me she had reported it to the company, but nothing ever changes. So if you want a peaceful cruise, don't chose Emerald Waterways. Sleeping beneath a bowling alley was not my idea of a relaxing way to spend my nights on what is billed as a luxury cruise. I will not cruise with Emerald Water ways again. Everything else met my expectations. The ship was clean and well appointed and the staff was friendly and helpful. The shore excursions were well-planned and executed. My main concern is the quality of the sleeping experience, a rather important part of any cruise. September was a great time to travel and I would encourage others to cruise the Rhine during this time of the year. My advice is to find another cruise line first. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
It was all inclusive the cruise staff were friendly and excellent. The cabin was very good the bed was very comfortable.On suite was great shower was great always plenty of hot water.All of the trips were good and the local guides were ... Read More
It was all inclusive the cruise staff were friendly and excellent. The cabin was very good the bed was very comfortable.On suite was great shower was great always plenty of hot water.All of the trips were good and the local guides were friendly and very knowledgeable.One of the highlights was the Concert in Vienna superb! The balcony suite cabin was great apart from the cigarette smoke drifted in when we had our window open shame the ship wasn’t no smoking. Apart from that everything was very good. We thought the meals were first class from breakfast to the five course evening meal. The all inclusive drinks package and the tips all included was brilliant. The whole package was very well organised and from the cruise director to our cabin cleaner were second to none. Most enjoyable five star service and ship was very good. Cruising down the Danube was very magnificent. Thank you again to everyone. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose Emerald at the suggestion of friends who had sailed a different itinerary in Europe. We were suppose to sail out of Amsterdam on the Emerald Dawn on Aug 18. We were informed a week early that we would now be on the Star. A few ... Read More
We chose Emerald at the suggestion of friends who had sailed a different itinerary in Europe. We were suppose to sail out of Amsterdam on the Emerald Dawn on Aug 18. We were informed a week early that we would now be on the Star. A few days before sailing and a day before we were flying to Amsterdam, we were informed that Emerald had NO boats on the Rhine. We were told we'd be put up in a hotel, but we had to e-mail everyone to find out which hotel. We got that information from our travel agent eventually, but NOT anything from Emerald. They had failed to ensure having boats on the Rhine even when it was apparent the river levels were dropping. Really negligent after knowing for weeks of potential problems. Friends who were sailing with Viking only had a small inconvenient bus portage, but we were put up in an airport hotel in Amsterdam for two nights followed by a flight to Vienna and then bused up to Melk missing the entire Dutch countryside and the entire Rhine River valley, etc and basically wasting three days with the exception of a evening canal cruise in Amsterdam. In fairness, Emerald did offer full refund or credit for our cruise, but at a much too late date and we had pre-booked hotel, transportations and events in Amsterdam, Budapest and London as had many others who did sail. The boat was exactly half full at 91 passengers. I cannot imagine how full the public areas would have been if half had not cancelled. The staff and crew were amazing as were all the free tours we took. It did seem odd that the Captain did not attend his farewell dinner though. We had the 'premium drink package' which was quite overpriced, but convenient. Now for the food. In a word, it was lousy. Everything was oversalted and tough. The breakfast was ok. I've had better omelets at any restaurant. Lunch was boringly the same most days and items off the menu again, salty. Unlike every cruise and all inclusive we're ever been on, dinner menu was dreadful. Small, overcooked, over salted items. I've never seen more food returned anywhere. (Note- we started from Melk on the Star, but even then had to pack and ended up on the Sun and both kitchens produced the worst food.) When boarding the Sun and being introduced to the chef, we thought things may improve. It did not. Common areas including bar, pool, fitness were great, albeit we were half full. Lastly, when what seemed like half the passengers were coughing after the second day aboard the Sun, we found the A/C vents were covered in mold. Only after reporting, taking photos and insisting on action the next day did anyone deal with this issue. Interestingly, they then dealt with all the cabins. To sum things up, the boat and crew were amazing, but communications by Emerald management AND the food was dreadful. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
Group that travels together often. We wanted a sharing experience that also had diversity of experiences. We could see beautiful sites and interact with other passengers from around the world. We had a great Cruise director in Alex. ... Read More
Group that travels together often. We wanted a sharing experience that also had diversity of experiences. We could see beautiful sites and interact with other passengers from around the world. We had a great Cruise director in Alex. He did his research and gave entertaining talks. Dining staff was great. Gilbert and Svet and Bojan were everywhere. Mladin was a good overeseer. Recipes were varied for everyone to find something they enjoyed. It seemed that great care was taken in the preparation of meals. Our cabin was kept immaculate by Widoto. Other staff were very warm and friendly, also. Side tours were varied and fun, especially the bike tour in Amsterdam. Visiting with a previous exchange student was special. I appreciated the beautiful scenery as an amateur photographer. There were many side trips where we could explore on our own time. Organization was well done. The Captain let me see inside the "wheelhouse". Cool! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
After much research for our first river cruise, we decided to book with Emerald. While, I usually book my own vacations, I did go through a travel agent this time as I have never been to Europe. I did book my own airfare and hotel ... Read More
After much research for our first river cruise, we decided to book with Emerald. While, I usually book my own vacations, I did go through a travel agent this time as I have never been to Europe. I did book my own airfare and hotel pre-cruise but did the Emerald add-on with the hotel and transfer at the end of the cruise which was well worth the price. My wife and I left mid-June and spent five nights in Munich before taking a train to Zurich for four nights. Using trains and trams was a new experience for us and while we were a little intimidated at first, we quickly adapted. We decided to visit the Zurich airport the day before pickup to make sure that it was easy to find the pickup spot. Pickup and transfer to the ship was easy and on time. Passengers were primarily from England, USA, Canda, but also included Ireland, Scotland, and Australia, Average age would be early 60s. We are early 50s and were on the younger side. We did see two families with teenagers. I think pricing for River Cruises, in general, makes this situation. For the price of a River Cruise, we could have done about three Caribbean cruises. The ship was easy to navigate compared to large Caribbean ships only have three floors with one main dining area and one lounge. The trip from Basel to Amsterdam was wonderful. We couldn't have asked for better weather! Each day we had city tours, sometimes we would have to take a bus but not all the time. All the tours were excellent and were done by local guides with the exception of Cologne which was just OK. The guides on this tour were much younger and a little inexperienced IMHO. But the tours were only two hours so we had plenty of time to do our own sightseeing if we wanted. We had French Balcony cabin 220 which was probably the nicest cabin we ever stayed in. This was a standard balcony cabin which we paid a premium for the view and the window that slid down. However, if we do another river cruise we would opt for the lowest level and use the money saved for upgraded airfare. Other than sleeping, we really didn't spend much time in the cabin. Food Breakfast had a light offering of food in the lounge area and a standard buffet with omelette station in the main dining room. Lunch in the main dining room was buffet style as well and didn't change much from day to day. You could order off the menu which was the same items that were on the buffet which really didn't make sense with the exception of a few Classic items: steak and chicken breast and Cesar salad. The dinner menu changed nightly with meat, fish, and vegetarian options with the Classic items also available. Food was good but many felt that the portion sizes were too small with the exception of the Captains Farewell dinner. Same issue with dessert. We noticed the salad dressings, especially at lunch, looked and tasted watered down. I have never seen such thin blue cheese dressing, but then I am from Buffalo and we are used to thick Blue Cheese! The late night snack at 10:30 was disappointing. It mainly consisted of leftover desserts or appetizers from earlier in the day and the portions again were small. We stayed off ship one evening for dinner in port. Emerald includes beer and wine at lunch and dinner. Most of them were very good and the servers made sure your glass was filled. I had a wine/beer drink package for 10 Euros/day which was a great deal compared to Caribbean cruises. There was another package for around 22 Euro for spirits as well. Drinks prices are reasonable and depending upon your drinking habits, it may not be beneficial. Bar service was fair to good with the exception of Svetlana who was the best. We usually tried to sit in her area as we knew she did a great job! Emerald should let passengers know that there are drink packages available at check-in. While I was asked by a server if I had a drink package when I ordered my first glass of wine, a couple we met didn't know there were packages available until the last night! The packages are listed in the lounge menu book but most people usually know what they want when they walk into a bar and therefore didn't pick them up. We didn't use the complimentary bikes or go to movie night in the pool area. The pool was nice though! This was a great cruise and absolutely loved it. We met a lot of nice people from all over the world! While there is room for improvement, we would consider Emerald again for a future cruise. Their all-inclusive package and payment structure is the main reason why we chose them. Another company wanted full payment almost 11 months in advance which we felt wasn't reasonable. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
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 ... Read More
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. The shore excursions were included, except for one optional tour to Moselle and Cochem--which I highly recommend, it was fantastic!. We enjoyed all of the guided tours, either walking or by coach. The local guides really knew their stuff and the sites selected were interesting (and not only churches). The 'QuietVox' system let us meander about and still hear our guide. Of course one could always opt out of a tour and explore individually, or stay and relax on ship. With all that was wonderful, the very ordinary food was a disappointment. I don't know if the wait staff was new, but they lacked polish and some never smiled at the guests. The service varied greatly and the food quality & preparation was . . . okay. Not the high standard I was expecting of Emerald. We had to return a fish dish, it was hard, dry and tasteless. A fellow diner returned some veal that was all gristle. We were only told on day 3 that we could order from a menu at lunch, as well as partake of the buffet. This would have helped. Everyone we met complained of the small portions served at the evening meal—2 or 3 bites of the meat or fish, a couple of tablespoons of rice or potatoes, and a few vegetable bits. Very artsy but not enough to fill 5 year old child. One meal featured mashed potatoes dyed Smurf blue??? The white and red wines offered with the meals were rarely from the regions we were travelling through, but mainly Austrian or Slovakian. Mediocre quality, and the white served at room temperature. On the last day I discovered there were other wines one could have, despite me asking a waiter earlier in the week if they had a German Riesling since we were in the Rhine Valley. The wait staff did not seem to all have the same information. Training? However, the salads were good and varied, and they offered wonderful cheeses and bread. I ate a lot of bread. The 2 soups I tried were extremely salty so I had to give them a pass. The desserts were commercial, not much better than supermarket quality. Food aside, the trip was wonderful and we enjoyed the sights along the scenic Rhine. The crew was courteous and professional and the ship elegant and quiet. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
After reading many reviews we chose Emerald Waterways for the value, amenities, and itinerary. They did not disappoint. We were picked up at the airport and had seamless transfers for each leg of the trip. We added the pre-cruise package ... Read More
After reading many reviews we chose Emerald Waterways for the value, amenities, and itinerary. They did not disappoint. We were picked up at the airport and had seamless transfers for each leg of the trip. We added the pre-cruise package in Zurich and Lucerne. Stayed in great hotels and had a fabulous guide accompany us throughout. Embarkation and disembarkation were fast and painless. The Emerald Sun is a beautiful, modern river ship that is well maintained and exceptionally clean. All of the staff were friendly and went out of their way to be helpful. 182 guests to 46 staff- not a bad ratio! Our room was very comfortable, with a surprising amount of storage room. Great shower. Great bed. In addition to the usual items, we found robes, slippers, an umbrella, and even walking sticks in our room. The ship includes an indoor, heated swimming pool (with optional current) at the stern that looks out to the river through a floor to ceiling window. The floor of the pool comes up to created a movie theater on some evenings. Emerald brings bicycles along for passenger who wish to use them in port. There was a nice variety on the menu and all of the food was beautifully presented. Some dishes could have used a bit more flavor, but that was our only complaint. Wine and beer were complimentary with lunch and dinner. Each port included an excursion and we found each of our guides well informed as well as entertaining. We loved that fact that our entire trip was included in their pricing-even the tips! We felt we got a wonderful value as well as a memorable trip! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We had never sailed on the Rhine and wished to see Strasbourg. We had sailed with Scenic before and Emerald are a part of the same group, so we had reasonable expectations of a similar high standard. The food and service were excellent. ... Read More
We had never sailed on the Rhine and wished to see Strasbourg. We had sailed with Scenic before and Emerald are a part of the same group, so we had reasonable expectations of a similar high standard. The food and service were excellent. All the crew whom we interfaced with throughout the cruise were cheerful, helpful and could not be faulted. This includes Cruise Director, Hotel Manager, Reception, waiters, wine-waiters, seamen, cabin housekeeper and catering staff. The resident pianist/singer was excellent. The ports and excursions were fine, but there could have been more and more varied en-board entertainment. We had an inclusive drinks package which worked well, but not all the table wines were first class. In particular the Austrian Merlot was very thin and had little flavour. All the food was excellent except for one starter of salmon mousse which had no salmon taste and a beetroot soup which was very pale and tasted of nothing at all. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We found this cruise to be very well organized. The communication with guests was excellent. The transitions from port to port was smooth as were the disembarkations. The staff was exceptionally friendly and efficient! Food was good and ... Read More
We found this cruise to be very well organized. The communication with guests was excellent. The transitions from port to port was smooth as were the disembarkations. The staff was exceptionally friendly and efficient! Food was good and service was excellent. Staff went out of their way to accommodate any needs. Most of the tours were well done. Strasbourg tour guide was a bit of a disappointment but all others were very knowledgeable and fun. The facilities were surprising considering riverboats are not very big. They were comfortable and covered every need. The cabins are efficiently designed and the beds are comfortable. We are seniors and appreciated that tours came with a gentle option for older guests but also had more active options for the more active traveler. The cruise director was helpful and fun, she quickly arranged for tickets to museums and was on hand for any assistance needed. Next year we hope to do the Danube with this company. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
I did this cruise with my sister, mother and aunt. As I am unable to walk a lot due to continuous cancer issues. We were served like royalty from day one. All trips were well organised and arranged. All staff were extremely friendly. ... Read More
I did this cruise with my sister, mother and aunt. As I am unable to walk a lot due to continuous cancer issues. We were served like royalty from day one. All trips were well organised and arranged. All staff were extremely friendly. This is a very professional River Cruise and I hope to return soon, for another experience. We were not met at the airport in Zurich by waterways, but by Scenic (we didn't know who would fetch us). We knew which port we would start at, just the time seemed confusing. The dining experience was phenomenal. So much choice and efficient and friendly waiters. Quiz nights, music night and Nina our entertainment director kept us updated all the time. Just was disappointed that whilst cruising past the Loreley, we could not hear Nina on the microphone below deck (please check out systems) as it was a beautiful day to be outside. Galley excursion was very interesting too. Ships Captain did a great job as did all his crew, whilst sailing and docking, etc. We made lots of friends. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
First time on a cruise and not sure what to expect. I did explore the departure city very briefly. The staff was friendly and helpful and attentive. I was vacationing with friends. My cabin was clean, the ship was easily gotten around. ... Read More
First time on a cruise and not sure what to expect. I did explore the departure city very briefly. The staff was friendly and helpful and attentive. I was vacationing with friends. My cabin was clean, the ship was easily gotten around. I cannot say enough about the staff - warm, friendly, attentive and fun. The food offered was widely varied for everyone’s tastes. There was something for everyone. The activities and entertainment was fun and lively. The port and shore excursions were overall interesting and the guides knowledgeable and entertaining. Would I go again? Most certainly! Would I recommend this cruise and cruise line? Definitely! Embarkation was smooth because the staff answered any and all questions on the spot. Disembarkation review by the staff seems easy enough and I am sure if there are any questions or problems that the staff will assist with efficiency. All in all, it was a most enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
We had chosen this cruise after spending 8 days in 2016 on the Danube cruise and had a great experience. All the staff on board were very friendly and efficient and polite. The cruise Michael was very professional and knowledgeable, in ... Read More
We had chosen this cruise after spending 8 days in 2016 on the Danube cruise and had a great experience. All the staff on board were very friendly and efficient and polite. The cruise Michael was very professional and knowledgeable, in fact he was our tour director on the Danube cruise. All the trips and visits were all well organised and interesting and we had no complaints on any of them. The onboard experience was perfect, lovely cabin, excellent food and drink and great entertainment. The flights to and from the destinations all were on time and with no problems experienced. Travel from the airport by coach to the ship was trouble free and also the return from the boat to the airport. All in all I would recommend river cruises as a great way to see lots of different places with expert tour guides to make it very interesting. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
First cruise experience (river or ocean), selected due to interesting places visited in one week. All of the staff were terrific - very helpful, giving the impression nothing would be too much trouble and all were very friendly and ... Read More
First cruise experience (river or ocean), selected due to interesting places visited in one week. All of the staff were terrific - very helpful, giving the impression nothing would be too much trouble and all were very friendly and supportive. Cruise Director Michael was very organised and also very positive in all he did. Food and wine selections were generally excellent. It was a shame that the cinema/pool options were not fully functioning throughout; on a relatively small boat and if the weather does not let you out on deck, I realise it is difficult to have many options in the evening, but there really was no alternative to the bar/lounge and whatever entertainment was set out in the evening if we were sailing or away from a town when moored. The excursions were excellent ; the hike in the Black Forest was led by two super guides who were informative and supported the participants with shade and water breaks on a very hot day. The history- post-grad student Mark who took us around Koblenz was outstanding - probably the best guided tour we ever had for information, enthusiasm and answering questions from thr Group. In general, the balance of shore time between well-led tours and free time was excellent. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I chose to cruise again with Emerald following a very enjoyable experience with them two years ago on the Danube. I chose the Rhine this time, from Basel to Amsterdam and was not disappointed. The food was excellent, beautifully ... Read More
I chose to cruise again with Emerald following a very enjoyable experience with them two years ago on the Danube. I chose the Rhine this time, from Basel to Amsterdam and was not disappointed. The food was excellent, beautifully presented, wonderful choices and plentiful. Breakfast choices included full cooked breakfast, cereal, cold meats and cheese or a combination of everything! The staff could not have been more helpful and cheerful and nothing was too much trouble. The ship, including my cabin was immaculate. The entertainment and trips ashore were varied and enjoyable. Quizzes at lunchtime and in the evening for those who wanted to take part. The ship has a cinema with a different film being presented each night. We were spoilt for choice some days! Trips ashore included a hike in the Black Forest followed by coffee and Black Forest gateau, wonderful. A canal boat trip in Amsterdam was also included. My companion took advantage of on board beauty treatments and thoroughly enjoyed them. Leisure time was plentiful if required. Well done Emerald. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
Recommended by friends and travel agent. The ship was immaculate. The staff were outstanding, the food was great. The mix of activities, excursions and leisure time suited us perfectly ( mid sixties couple in good health ). Our cabin ... Read More
Recommended by friends and travel agent. The ship was immaculate. The staff were outstanding, the food was great. The mix of activities, excursions and leisure time suited us perfectly ( mid sixties couple in good health ). Our cabin was very nice and was spotless. The bed was very comfortable. We chose the low cost, water level cabin with a small window and were very happy with it , as we spent most of our time on the sundeck or the fore-deck enjoying the beautiful views. The ship is very quiet and vibration free. The only time you could notice the engines was when docking or during maneuvers in port. While docked you could occasionally hear some noise from onshore but this was not under the control of the cruise and was very infrequent and unobtrusive. The meals on board were excellent and there were always lots of excellent alternates available. This is a small ship and not like an ocean cruise with several restaurants of varying type. That being said ; there was always food available and it was always excellent quality. Dining is always informal. There was never any requirement to get "dressed up" for any meal or activity. On board activities were obviously not as varied as on huge ocean liner; but this was fine because we in a new port every day. Exploration and sightseeing were the focus of the cruise. There were small scale ( but very nice ) activities and entertainment in the evenings. This would not be a great cruise for people who spend all their time on the ship. The on-shore excursions were well designed and tailored for the ( mostly over 50 ) passengers. There were fast paced, regular, and "gentle" tours and guides for the varying levels of mobility present. There were also hiking and bicycle tours for those who wanted a higher activity level. The crew and service level were excellent. Their English was great and they were all very friendly and accommodating. I would not recommend this as a cruise for small kids. It is more oriented to a mature adult group. It is a small ship and the ability to entertain kids is limited. We quite enjoyed the quiet , laid-back, relaxed atmosphere. One of the best things about Emerald is their all inclusive service. There is ZERO expectation to have tips or gratuities of any sort for any activity during the cruise either on or off the ship. You could quite literally enjoy the entire cruise ( without limiting activities, excursions etc ) and not spend a penny. We loved the cruise and are planning another with Emerald already. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
The cruise director was excellent and could not be faulted. The ship was very clean and our cabin person looked after us very well. However a major down side of this cruise was the food which was extremely disappointing. I do not eat ... Read More
The cruise director was excellent and could not be faulted. The ship was very clean and our cabin person looked after us very well. However a major down side of this cruise was the food which was extremely disappointing. I do not eat milk, cream or butter so I told reception on the first day. They told me that they would put a menu for me in the room every day. This they did for the first five days, but sadly all they did was to high light the food I could not eat, which was the major part of the menu. No alternative was offered. They offer rump steak and chips to everyone who wants it and I had no choice but to eat this 5 nights out of 7. The steak was extremely small (4oz max) with a few chips on the side and that was it! Not even a slice of tomato or any garnish at all, and no vegetables. I paid thousands of pounds for this cruise and everyone we talked to said that they did not like the evening meals. My husband eats anything , but he said everything just tasted the same. Portions were very small, and at night on our table we all asked for extra bread every night to fill up on. The dining room was the nosiest I have ever experienced, with everyone shouting at each other in order to hear what was being said, maybe the low ceilings had something to do with it. The excursions were good and were included in the price. On board we played the mini golf 3 holes. The entertainment was very good when available, in particular the violin player. All in all the cruise was just average, but the staff did try their best to look after everyone. Read Less
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