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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. This cruise was very interesting and informative. The crew could not have been better. To say they were wonderful would be an understatement. Our waiters were amazing and attentive. The front desk was helpful and ... Read More
Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. This cruise was very interesting and informative. The crew could not have been better. To say they were wonderful would be an understatement. Our waiters were amazing and attentive. The front desk was helpful and informative. Our cruise director was very genuine and knowledgeable, and always made an effort to talk to everyone. The ship is beautiful. There is a lovely pool and in the evening the floor goes over it and it is turned into a cinema! Our rooms were always kept neat and it was truly refreshing coming back to the room after a full day of activities! After dinner, it was always a joy coming back to a pillow chocolate! We even had adorable towel bunnies which were quite impressive! The activities were great for people of all ages, children to the elderly, and I could rave about the service forever, but I am about to go sit atop the lovely sun deck on the ship!:) (We are on the Emerald Star traveling from Bucharest to Budapest. It wouldn’t allow me to properly click which destination or date! We boarded 07/13/19 and disembark 07/21/19! We are on the Danube additionally not the Rhine, this website wouldn’t allow me to properly click my cruise but I just had to fill this out because my experience was unforgettable.) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Emerald made us an offer we couldnt refuse when there was nothing suitable for our original choice of Amsterdam to Basel. They suggested Nuremberg to Frankfurt at a very reasonable price. Having already experienced our first river ... Read More
Emerald made us an offer we couldnt refuse when there was nothing suitable for our original choice of Amsterdam to Basel. They suggested Nuremberg to Frankfurt at a very reasonable price. Having already experienced our first river cruise on Avalon Nuremberg to Budepest, we questioned whether Emerald could be anywhere as good - we shoudnt have worried Their Destiny is brand new and in tip top shape with the added bonus of an onboard swimming pool that was lovely to use. Our welcome package mailed to us included two large good quality backpacks. Something we didnt need or use for the cruise but certainly an item of value. Frankly I would have been just as pleased with a good set of luggage labels - we still use the ones supplied by Avalon Our cabins were excellent slightly smaller than Avalon and bathrooms not as big or as good. Also Avalon score with superb L'occitane shampoos and soaps, and we preferred that the Avalon French Balcony slides open floor to ceiling versus Emerald drop down half window. But this really is nitpicking and both cabins are very very good Food and selection was excellent. Also Emerald have really got their act together on the "on and off" boat procedure. A simple named tag records each person leaving and returning to the boat. Plus the rechargeable head set system supplied with each cabin works like a dream when joining excursions, all of which were of the highest standard. Avalon were nowhere as good in this respect Another welcome addition is no end of cruise tipping - a saving of hundreds of dollars over Avalon So what were the negatives - Avalon win hands down on entertainment. Their evening shows were excellent, not so Emerald who relied on their own inhouse person to offer a variety of ways to amuse guests. this did not appeal at all and preferred to have a quiet coffee and swim in the pool room. And finally the itinerary stopping everyday in another small German Town was a complete delight and we loved every excursion To sum up and whilst I would rate Avalon at 98%, Emerald probably 95%. But would not hesitate to sail again with either. Both excellent and Emerald certainly offered better value for money. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Overall, a pleasant week-long cruise from Nuremberg to Bernkastel on a clean modern ship. We saw some beautiful countryside and historic places in the company of people we got on well with, but - due to a few niggles - we would rate this ... Read More
Overall, a pleasant week-long cruise from Nuremberg to Bernkastel on a clean modern ship. We saw some beautiful countryside and historic places in the company of people we got on well with, but - due to a few niggles - we would rate this cruise only 3½ stars and might try a different company next time. Excursions: Sightseeing was our main reason for taking this holiday and Emerald’s included excursions were interesting with knowledgeable guides. Typically they were walking tours of old towns and castles, with an informative and humorous wine-tasting at the Residenz palace in Würzburg. Most allowed about half an hour’s free time, but in Bamberg the 1½ hours’ wait for the bus back to the ship was excessive. We took an optional excursion (€52 pp) to Trier, which unfortunately we found over-rated, though there were some stunning views on the return to the ship. Food & drink: At dinner (single sitting around 7 pm) tables were mostly for four, with some for two that filled up straight away. Food was fine but nothing special, eg steak might not be cooked as you liked. Service was friendly but rather inflexible, as anyone who didn’t want a starter had to wait for others to catch up, and at 9 pm the lights were turned on in an unsubtle way to get people to leave. Apart from a local red wine, included wines were indifferent, and reds and whites were all served at the same temperature. Breakfast tables weren’t re-laid so it could be hard to find somewhere to sit. We usually had a light lunch and afternoon snacks from the bar. Public areas: Low-backed chairs in the lounge were uncomfortable. Entertainment wasn’t to everyone’s taste and there’s nowhere else to go indoors except the humid pool area when a film isn’t showing. So we probably didn’t get our money’s worth from the premium drinks package (€23 pppd to us). The sun deck was closed for much of our cruise, due to height restrictions. Airport transfers: Arriving at Munich, we followed Emerald’s written instructions to meet at a café in Terminal 1, only to be rebuked as a rep had been waiting for us in Terminal 2. On departure, a 1¾ hour transfer to Frankfurt turned into 3 hours, with a rest break, an unplanned stop at a different terminal, and an unpleasant 15 minute walk (with luggage) from the coach to check-in. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My husband and I booked ‘The Enchantment of Eastern Europe’ cruise for May 2019. This was our first river cruise in Europe. The whole holiday package was booked with Emerald and we certainly could not fault the organisation from ... Read More
My husband and I booked ‘The Enchantment of Eastern Europe’ cruise for May 2019. This was our first river cruise in Europe. The whole holiday package was booked with Emerald and we certainly could not fault the organisation from arriving in Budapest to being dropped back off at the airport on Bucharest and all the hotels/transfers/excursions in between. First impressions of the ship was great. Very sleek with modern, comfortable furnishings. If you are used to ocean cruising though the rooms are very small. We had a balcony room which turned out to be useless. We were frequently docked beside other boats rendering the balcony unusable. When you did open the window you ended up with mosquitos and bugs flying into the room. The only problem in the room was the noise from flushing toilets – it was so loud. I have never experienced this level of noise from the toilets on a ship before. If you were standing near the door the noise made you jump it was so loud. On the first evening we had an evening cruise along the Danube and this was a highlight. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. For the first 3 days the scenery was boring and monotonous – speaking to other cruisers they recommended sailing up The Danube as it is much more interesting and picturesque. The cruise director was excellent. She briefed us each night before dinner with details of the following day and its activities. She was extremely knowledgeable and approachable. The food was a disappointment. It was very salty, (especially the soup) lots of garlic and mustard. On one evening both appetisers contained feta cheese. Food was never served hot it was always lukewarm. I expected wine to be served from the countries we were travelling through but it was mostly German and Austrian. The service in the restaurant seemed to vary depending on where you were sitting. There is only one restaurant and dinner was served every night at 7pm. We like to eat alone and the layout of the restaurant accommodated this. In fact most of the tables for 2 were beside the window. You had to be there when the restaurant opened to guarantee getting the table size you wanted. We tended to skip breakfast and have the lighter lunch in the lounge. This suited us as it was too busy in the dining room. There was a coffee machine in the lounge which had a good choice of different coffees and even hot chocolate. The drinks were always warm - never hot We didn’t do all the trips on offer preferring sometimes to do our own thing. The excursions we did go on were well-planned and the guides knowledgeable. The excursions tagged as ‘Emerald Active’ were anything but. The one we went on to the rock church was more of a stroll. All the trips were at a very slow pace which I found frustrating. The evening entertainment was virtually non-existent but this didn’t really matter to us. Emerald now have an activity manager on the ship who did a few pieces of entertainment in the evening after dinner e.g. Name that Tune, Neil Diamond songs, The Rat Pack. It was all very boring. We always tend to book through a travel agent and on this occasion we were pleased we did as on the return journey we had to fly from Bucharest to Frankfurt then on to Manchester. The flight to Manchester was cancelled (along with many other flights due to thunderstorms). I managed to contact our agent and he rebooked us on a flight early the following morning. We had to stand in a queue in Frankfurt airport for 3.5 hours to be allocated accommodation for the evening. All in all I found the European river cruising experience sedate and boring. Even though we paid a similar price to what we would pay for an ocean cruise of the same length this experience was far inferior. If I were to try it again in the future I would choose a different river and probably a different cruise company. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Our very first river cruise, and it's hard to believe we'll ever have a more enjoyable, rewarding cruise experience. My wife and I usually go on more adventurous, independent holidays, and were nervous that we might feel a ... Read More
Our very first river cruise, and it's hard to believe we'll ever have a more enjoyable, rewarding cruise experience. My wife and I usually go on more adventurous, independent holidays, and were nervous that we might feel a little claustrophobic and restricted. How wrong we were.... From the moment we climbed on board to be checked in to the final sumptuous breakfast before disembarking, everything was perfect. On board the Emerald Destiny, our cabin was outstanding, the food was high quality and with sensible proportions, the entertainment was spot on and the entire staff and crew professional and friendly. We enjoyed the flexibility of meals, in the lounge or in the dining room, and loved the opportunity to meet interesting new people at each meal taken in the dining room, rather than being allocated the same table with the same people every day. Phew. Away from the ship, the shore excursions were interesting and led by expert local guides who really helped to give us a deep insight into Balkan history, culture, food and wine. The undoubted highlight for me was a trip to a local Elementary school in Osijek, Croatia, followed by a lovely authentic lunch hosted by a Croatian lady in her humble home. Our first river cruise, but hopefully not our last.... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary and because we wanted to explore Central Europe and in particular, to spend a couple of days in Vienna. The whole organisation of the cruise was impeccable from start to finish ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary and because we wanted to explore Central Europe and in particular, to spend a couple of days in Vienna. The whole organisation of the cruise was impeccable from start to finish and we were very impressed with the standard of the accommodation and the dining facilities. Any comments regarding improvements would be so minor as to hardly warrant mentioning eg. water for the tea machine was never hot enough - but where can you get a decent cup of tea outside the UK anyway? The onboard entertainment was restrained and understated which was fine for us but may not have suited those looking for something more lively. Seating for meals was not predetermined so you could sit wherever you wanted, alone or with friends as you wished. There were choices as to the difficulty of walks and excursions so those who wanted to stride out could do so and those with mobility issues were also catered for. Our Cruise Director was exceptional and always ready to help at any time of day. Given that complimentary drinks were available at lunch and dinner, we found that everything was included other than the gifts we bought whilst ashore. A cabin allowance of 250 euros meant that we could take up at least one of the additional excursions without any extra expenditure. We booked two further days stay in Budapest after the cruise had finished and it was not until we had left the ship that we actually began to spend any money! Altogether we thought it represented excellent value and it would be hard to imagine how it could be bettered. Well done Emerald! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
I am an airline employee and received information from ID 90 and they shared a special that looked like something we wanted to try. It turned out to be really great and we loved the crew and ship! Would definitely do it again. We took ... Read More
I am an airline employee and received information from ID 90 and they shared a special that looked like something we wanted to try. It turned out to be really great and we loved the crew and ship! Would definitely do it again. We took another couple and they agreed it was a great time! The ship was one of the newest, very pretty and our cabin was very nice. Dining was great and even had Hungarian goulash available when we came back late from our private concert while in Vienna.~ Loved the greeting with the hot towels and our cabin was always made up and cleaned when we returned from being out and about! Would we do it again, YES!!! We were invited to sit the last evening at the captain's table. We found Jasper to be quite experienced and would hope to have him lead the ship again should we have the opportunity to be so lucky to have him. Also shout out to Maria, the head of the cabins and we also thought that Balegio was superb at leading all of us on announcements and directions. Loved it!!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I went on this cruise unexpectedly. My mother and sister had gone on several river cruises but I had not - they always struck me as an over-controlled experience with more focus on the ship than on the places visited. But when my mother ... Read More
I went on this cruise unexpectedly. My mother and sister had gone on several river cruises but I had not - they always struck me as an over-controlled experience with more focus on the ship than on the places visited. But when my mother set up this trip for her 80th birthday I got a chance to see what the fuss was about. Wow. WOW. First off, you do get to see PLENTY! And one of the wonderful things about Emerald Waterways is that they do all of the planning for you: passes, passport review (Enchantment of Eastern Europe goes through 5 countries in 9 days, so this is a LOT of paperwork off my plate), tour buses, guides, the works. Given I'm over burdened with logistics in my day-to-day life, this all-inclusive experience takes a lot of the stress out of planning a vacation. Emerald also coordinates experiences that going it alone can't, most notably an in-home visit for a homemade lunch with a Croatian family. The guides on all off-ship excursions are excellent. If you're a history buff (like me!) you get a lot of history and context for what you're seeing, from someone who lives there and has lived that history. Given how little I knew about eastern Europe in general this was a huge plus for me. I didn't know about the long shadows both the Roman and Ottoman empires cast over this part of the world, nor the varied and nuanced experiences of the Cold War and communism in the Balkans. I went back to the ship each night with a dozen notes for follow up at the library when I got home. The ship itself was exceptional. Service was incredibly attentive - within two days the waiters knew me and my coffee preferences on sight. The cruise director briefed us each night, so we'd know what to expect in terms of activities, local currencies and time changes, menu (more on that later), and was incredibly approachable and knowledgable. One thing that always daunted me about the idea of a cruise was getting lost on a huge boat of hundreds of people. I appreciated the fairly small ship and crew/crowd size (I think plus crew it was less than 200 people). I think this allowed both for better service and easier interactions between fellow vacationers at dinners and on excursions. The food was fantastic. They never overfed you, but I can honestly say my stomach never growled once the entire time I was on board. Dinner was previewed each night with a handout and chef recommendations, the latter of which almost never set a foot wrong. The food was excellent, in small enough portions to not feel overstuffed by appetizer, soup, main course and dessert. "One" glass of wine is provided with dinner, but that glass is constantly refilled by the attentive wait staff. Breakfast and lunch buffets were equally good. All meals included vegetarian options, and the staff even accommodated dietary restrictions on the family lunch visits. My only reservations: I'd have preferred a bit more "quiet space". Even during in the quietest times in the public areas there was music running, when I would have just preferred to hear the lull of the water against the ship's hull. I would have welcomed more opportunities to exchange cash/go to ATMs. While most of the countries on this trip (Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary) take euros some of the time, each country has its own currency and not all vendors take credit/debit cards. It was quite easy to wind up with a handful of currency on Wednesday that you couldn't use Thursday and couldn't exchange easily. I would also have liked the opportunity to visit a post office to send souvenirs home, but this may be out of an unrealistic desire to avoid overweight bag charges. The short version: would I do again? You bet! You get to see a lot with very little logistics on your part and you only have to unpack once. The food is phenomenal and all of it is included, including tips. The staff can help you with just about anything where you might get stuck, and you go home with unique memories and even more curiosity. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
This was our third cruise with Emerald. We have also cruised with Uniworld and Viking. We chose this trip from Budapest to Amsterdam on Emerald because our previous trips with Emerald were wonderful. Unfortunately that was not quite the ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Emerald. We have also cruised with Uniworld and Viking. We chose this trip from Budapest to Amsterdam on Emerald because our previous trips with Emerald were wonderful. Unfortunately that was not quite the case. I have written about our cabin below so I won't go into that any further. The ship was very nice and comfortable and the staff was great. Michael the Cruise Director was outstanding. The food was plentiful and you would never go hungry but my husband said it was nothing special. The soups were weak and salty; not much taste. The dinners were somewhat unusual too; beef cheeks and lots of lamb!!!! At dinner we expected men to wear long pants but instead we had several that had on sport shorts and flip flops. Emerald does have a dress policy but doesn't enforce it. We talked with the Hotel manager and the head of the dining room who admitted they had a dress code but they didn't ask the gentlemen to please put on pants for dinner. Very disappointing. The tours and guides were excellent. Most were college students who were very entertaining and knowledgeable. Because of the low river levels we only missed two stops in Passau and Koblenz and were very, very fortunate to be able to sail all the way to Amsterdam. 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
Excellent service throughout. Personal service on a smaller ship and more relaxing. Food could not be faulted. Such variety to suit all tastes. All the dining staff were great and was no trouble for special requests and the wine ... Read More
Excellent service throughout. Personal service on a smaller ship and more relaxing. Food could not be faulted. Such variety to suit all tastes. All the dining staff were great and was no trouble for special requests and the wine flowed well! Cruise Director very helpful and always smiling and knowledgeable who put a great package together with lots of added touches to make the days very special Tours were given by brilliant knowledgeable local guides catering for all abilities. Cabins are a bit small but loved the balcony view. Cabin service was excellent, Jolene was very efficient and pleasant Embarkation great, greeted well and cabins ready when we arrived Disembarkation was smooth and very organised and buses arrived on time and put our cases on the bus. We had a wonderful time and would certainly book again. it wasn't the cheapest cruise but you mainly get what you pay for! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary and, in particular, the opportunity for an extra day visiting a particular city, Vienna. The only very minor disappointment of the cruise was that, until we got there, we were not aware that ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary and, in particular, the opportunity for an extra day visiting a particular city, Vienna. The only very minor disappointment of the cruise was that, until we got there, we were not aware that Vienna would be closed on our free day there, I.e. Sunday. However, this was more than compensated by the alternative excursion to Bratislava. Following our experience on a previous cruise, We also chose to book the cruise via a travel agent, rather than directly with the cruise operator. This turned out to be very wise. The travel agent dealt with all the flight issues, and everything went according to plan. The cruise company's representatives to and from the airports were really obliging. On board, all the staff were first class and really engaged with the guests without being fawning or overbearing. We particularly liked the option of a lighter lunch and breakfast, together with a light tea, a service not offered by our previous cruise operator, and this reduced the tendency to over indulge. In addition, the layout of the dining room accommodated those couples who wanted to be on their own, those who wished to dine with newly made friends, and those who had gone in a party and wished to dine as a party. We were also able to observe the readiness with which the chef was able to accommodate those guests who had specific dietary requirements. There was a varied range of excursions and for these, there were really nice touches such as umbrellas and walking poles in the cabins. The evening entertainment was not really relevant to ourselves but that which was offered seemed to be in keeping with the demographic attracted to river cruising as opposed to ocean cruising. Just about everything about the cruise more than met our expectations, and we have no hesitation in recommending Emerald to prospective river cruisers. Indeed, we are already looking to book our next river cruise with Emerald. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
First time cruise with my wife to get a real break from the office. Saw an Ad in our Norfolk Magazine - Dancing on the Danube - to include a visit to Vienna, how could one resist? No advertisement can describe the excellence of this ... Read More
First time cruise with my wife to get a real break from the office. Saw an Ad in our Norfolk Magazine - Dancing on the Danube - to include a visit to Vienna, how could one resist? No advertisement can describe the excellence of this amazingly beautiful river boat, the program of visits along the Danube, its incredible staff and their professionalism. Value for money? without any doubt - a golden thread of goodwill linked each day. Bravo, Emerald Waterways! We'll be booking again! If there were any issues these were related to arrival at Munich airport where the instructions and information as well as the Tour operator were poorly represented. Likewise at departure from Budapest airport there were long delays due to another baggage handling breakdown and complete lack of customer information. Highlight of the cruise was in fact the Farewell Party with the Captain when he and all the crew and staff were represented. All passengers gave them a standing ovation and it was an extraordinary but full deserved recognition of the success of the cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our first River Cruise we will repeat. We chose Emerald because Senic included drinks all day and we do not drink as much. We were told that Emerauld's quality was outstanding for less as Wine and beer and soft drinks meals ... Read More
This was our first River Cruise we will repeat. We chose Emerald because Senic included drinks all day and we do not drink as much. We were told that Emerauld's quality was outstanding for less as Wine and beer and soft drinks meals only. We did have a few drinks between meals but mostly at the beginning of the cruise and used our credits on board to pay. The care with our Cruise director Darren was outstanding so was the whole crew .Each night we get explanations on the next day activities and countries what excursions to choose. There is lots of free time if we choose to do nothing. They truly care. Darren went out of his way to accommodate us during the heat wave to make us comfortable during excursions. The Captain is the only one who risked going through the low water levels we stayed informed all the way. Precautions were taken and we felt secure. The comfort on the ship is outstanding. Air conditioning on-going. Sheets and bed all is top quality. Embarkation and disembarkation are easy pizzy! No hassle, no climbing stairs, waiting for contents to be checked, many entrances to come in or out from, good monitoring of passengers entering or exiting ship even when anchored with other ships. Activities with music and dancers from different countries were awesome and had us all participating (no obligation). Loved that the tips were included no extra to pay ever!!! We loved Vienna. The after thought is spend less time in little countries such as Lynz and Durnstein and more in bigger countries like 2 days in Vienna as it was in Budapest. Vienna is wonderful the history, the buildings, the sites...we would like to return to spend one week in Vienna only. Concert in Vienna is a must. Family visit in Bratislava is high on our list of likes. The Budapest part is something to remember for the rest of your life. We took the option to stay in Budapest and regretted it simply because Emerald excursions did such a good job at showing us the country plus the night cruise was breathtaking, 2 days more cost us over $1000. (we had to pay for our excursions, food and all) and not worth it because we had covered so much with our guides for free and great explanations. First 3 days in Prague were very well organized, our tour guide was perfectly bilingual, helpful and knowledgeable. She told us so much on on each one of our tours we really enjoyed those 3 days. The bus to Nuremberg on the 4th day made us wonder why we left Prague so late. We were under the impression that there was an organized tour in Nuremberg before boarding the ship. We left Prague at 1h30pm it took us 5 hours to get from Prague to Nuremberg. The meal stop (at our expense) was in a mcDonalds on the side of the road. Could have had a lunch packed for us from the hotel before leaving or go to a local restaurant? Anyhow, this stop is not representative of the ship standards and was very disappointing in terms of a short visit in Nuremberg and food but we should of understood at that moment that the food standards of Emerald are far from ours... Speaking of food... If you like veggies and soup (soups were very good but very salty) bread and cold cuts and desserts you are in for a treat also, there were many fruit and nuts to choose from.I have travelled more than my share business and pleasure, sea cruises, organized or not trips, it is the first time I come back having lost weight because nothing on the menu turned our crank! Nothing refined...I can appreciate we ate local...goulash, sausages, sauerkraut, shneizell we had the impression that nothing was freshly made more like warmed up cafeteria and fat. There was an option choice for those who did not like the day menu, steak, salmon or chicken breast. Steak was not the best quality and lots of pulling to cut, if you like your steak medium rare by the time they come up the stairs and serve it continues to cook and turns out to be well done; the chicken is more like an overcooked thin cutlets=dry like cardboard, salmon very dry and small portion. Captain's night Chateaubriand and fish the portions were so small 3 bites later and it was gone, night of the Celebration supper Beef cheeks tasted like plastic (could not eat it had a salad with cheese) . Lunch is a buffet pretty much always the same. I hate to post such a bad review for food because all the rest was soooooo over the top excellent.But for our group food kicks the experience up a notch! We would like an explanation of why the quality was so poor it will help us choose our next cruise. I do recommend this cruise and if food is important for you then ask more questions before you book. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our first river cruise and the big draw for us was that we would have a special show at the Venice Arsenal from dancers from the British TV show "Strictly Come Dancing": Vincent Simone and Flavia Caccace. We were ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and the big draw for us was that we would have a special show at the Venice Arsenal from dancers from the British TV show "Strictly Come Dancing": Vincent Simone and Flavia Caccace. We were extremely impressed with the high standards on board the ship. The cabins were luxurious and stylishly decorated with wonderfully comfortable beds. Food was good and plentiful. All of the staff on board the ship were helpful, polite and good natured and did a fantastic job. Whilst we were cruising, the Danube waters became very low and some ships could not continue with their cruise as expected. However, our Captain got us through the expected itinerary with just a few hold ups due to having to sail more slowly than usual. Top marks to all the Emerald Destiny staff in all departments. There were lots of activities to entertain us on board and off. There were energetic bike rides on offer as well as additional trips to cities away from the river if you wanted to spread your wings a bit. In the evenings there was music and dancing available and sometimes local folk musicians giving us a taste of the local culture. The absolute highlight of our trip though was the music recital and dance performance in Vienna. Vincent and Flavia danced sublimely and then were happy to meet us, their fans, having pictures taken and a chat. There were very few downsides to the cruise, but we were very disappointed that our stop in Linz was on a Sunday when everything was closed. There were some really interesting vintage and artisan shops there, so not being able to go in was frustrating. Another slight disappointment was that during the on-board dancing masterclass with Vincent and Flavia the day after their performance, there was not enough room for everyone who wanted to take part. More thought was needed about how furniture could be moved and space created. Overall though, this was a fabulous experience and one that I am happy to recommend. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We are regular ocean cruisers, but were hesitant about river cruise, wondering what it was like, whether it would be too small etc. This review will cover the excellent and maybe some other aspects you may wish to consider. We traveled ... Read More
We are regular ocean cruisers, but were hesitant about river cruise, wondering what it was like, whether it would be too small etc. This review will cover the excellent and maybe some other aspects you may wish to consider. We traveled on the Danube, joining the Destiny at Budapest and finishing at Passau. We had a lower cabin with restricted view. We flew back via Munich. So arrival and embarkation was fine. Emerald arrange everyone to collect from various planes so we had about 30 mins wait before going on the bus to the ship. Getting on was very straight forward. The river water was low and someone tripped and the slope was quite steep, however the low water meant that not all ships following us got through. So whilst good weather is often an advantage I will be looking to see if there are exceptionally low water conditions as part of my planning - This was chosen at the last minute. We don't normally do trip but short trips were included in the price, these help orientate us in whatever town or village we were in and were great. We also had some really great entertainment, for example, in Vienna, we went to the Arsenal (a war museum) one evening, for bubbly and in this venue we were entertained by a Strauss music concert and lieder, then a Q&A and dance routines by Vincent and Flavia (ex-Strictly Come Dancing fame), ex-world champion Argentine Tango dancers. They gave us a dance lesson the next day and were very funny and charming. Other on-board entertainment was local and maybe not to everyone's taste. There is no real room for dancing (a postage stamp of a dance floor), it's not really that type of trip. The food was excellent, with local delicacies on offer each evening. There is only one set time for dinner, however no fixed seating, so if you end up sitting with someone you don't like, you can avoid them the second time. the average cruiser appeared to be older active person (there's often quite a bit of walking in the orientation trips). The Austrian and Bavarian villages often have old uneven pavements and can be on hills. They also offer free bike excursions (or you can simply borrow a bike). The weather was exceptionally hot and many destinations don't have air-conditioning, so if going at a hot time of year bring a fan! The ship, however, is just right, neither too hot nor cold. We first thought of buying an upgrade to a balcony, but this was rather expensive. We are glad we didn't as often those with windows couldn't see out as on canals and rivers, other ships have a habit of tying up against you at night, so it would be only of benefit when cruising during the day. The horizon lounge offered great views and some people spent the cruising time on the top deck. It did not feel crowded, even at lunch time and no long queues or aimlessly trying to find a seat as we have done in ocean going vessels. The food was surprisingly good with options of Hungarian, Austrian and Bavarian dishes on offer as you went through those countries. Wine and beer included at lunch and dinner. The cabin was fine, and as I didn't need to bring formal wear, there was plenty of storage space. Ladies did dress up slightly on some evenings, but not as formal as on larger ships. It was too hot to wear a jacket, so smart/casual trousers and shirt was fine for evening. There was a slight whoosh, from the toilets as they flushed (powerful flush!) and sometimes you would hear this in the mornings, but no-one else seemed to notice. Shower was excellent. The only slight niggle was disembarkation and being at the airport four hours before our flight (which ended up being delayed by 1.3 hours, missing our connection, necessitating a 12 hour overall door-to-door journey- not Emerald's fault but we will add on some days at the end on our next cruise.) The destinations were interesting, beautiful and allowed for enough cruising/visiting time. Almost wanted to do a back-to-back as every destination was worthy of more time spent in it. Service was exceptional in all departments. It was our first river cruise and won't be our last! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Been with Emerald Waterways before, we were very pleased with them and wanted to do a different part of the Danube. This was a new ship in 2017 and everything was sparkling as usual with Emerald. The staff are very friendly courteous and ... Read More
Been with Emerald Waterways before, we were very pleased with them and wanted to do a different part of the Danube. This was a new ship in 2017 and everything was sparkling as usual with Emerald. The staff are very friendly courteous and efficient. The service could not be faulted. The weather was good but the water levels very low which required the captain to alter the schedule a little to get past the restriction which he did successfully, when other boats were stranded. He had to empty the swimming pool briefly to reduce weight and gain sufficient clearance(3 cm). Something to think about when taking river cruises in the Summer months. The on- board spending allowance(200 euros/ cabin) was very helpful in buying gifts. The menu choices were extensive and the food delicious, and with the generous wines at meals, we felt it was unnecessary to buy the drinks package. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We booked the cruise a year in advance so we got a good deal. We wanted to add an additional day on at the beginning, so that we could visit relatives and this was arranged by Emerald without any problems. Embarkation and ... Read More
We booked the cruise a year in advance so we got a good deal. We wanted to add an additional day on at the beginning, so that we could visit relatives and this was arranged by Emerald without any problems. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly indeed. The ship was extremely clean and tidy and all of the staff were very friendly, polite and helpful. The cabin was always clean and very tidy and the swan that the lady made out of two towels one day was brilliant! The waiting staff and others laughed and joked with us and the other passengers!! The food was extremely good and you could eat as much as you wanted at the buffet breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. The service overall was superb. The entertainment on board was great and the various groups that came on board were very good. The resident singer/keyboard player was extremely talented. The guided tours were very informative and the guides' English was always very good. The only problem was that the guide in Budapest, didn't wait for everyone to get off the bus, before moving off, which meant that a group of us lost him a couple of times. The trip in Bratislava to visit a lady in her home, was the highlight of the whole trip for us. It was extremely interesting to be able to talk to her and to find out her opinions about life during Communism and life afterwards.Our interpreter, who was a 16-year old lad called Oliver had superb English and I was very impressed with his language skills for someone so young!!! The cake and drink that she gave us was delicious. Something on the boat that we felt was not good at all, was a step that a man fell over in the restaurant on the ship. I also nearly fell over on it, although I had been told that it was there. It was a step at the far end of the restaurant (at the front of the ship) and it was only about 3 inches or so high. However one dark carpet finished before it and the actual step was covered by another dark carpet, so that it was not very visible at all. I think that there needs to be some obvious tape or some form of marking it out to people, so that they can see it much more easily... All of the staff onboard were brilliant, but Darren the Cruise Director was a star, as he not only ensured that we were fully aware of what was happening, where and when, but he also produced our luggage tags for us before disembarkation and was on and off the boat on disembarkation day with every group of passengers, checking that our luggage was there and saying goodbye to us. He was also a very funny entertainer during the daily Port Talks and the little readings that he did just before we went to dinner were hilarious. He's very good with accents too!!!! Unfortunately, me and my Mum got tummy bugs a few days after the end of the cruise, but at least it was much better that getting them during the cruise. An extremely enjoyable and informative cruise and I wouldn't hesitate in using Emerald again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
The itinerary featured several cities that we were keen to visit as well as the Danube experience. The daily activity options were varied which met the needs of the very active as well as those who wanted a more gentle approach to the ... Read More
The itinerary featured several cities that we were keen to visit as well as the Danube experience. The daily activity options were varied which met the needs of the very active as well as those who wanted a more gentle approach to the trip. We wanted to make the most of the day time cruising experience which worked well. If the ship was cruising at night it was vert restful looking out of the cabin window seeing the water passing by. The food was very good as was the wine and other beverages. The wine changed daily as did the menu to feature the local cuisine and wine region One very impressive aspect was the excellent team spirit demonstrated by the ships team Without exception they were all very customer focused and attentive. The cruise director was extremely good and all tours were well organised. Great thought has gone into ensuring a great customer experience by Emerald/. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
The staff were very attentive and very friendly it was obvious they were having fun and this was infectious creating lots of fun for us. The itinerary was well organized with many excellent day trips to a wide variety of places. Each one ... Read More
The staff were very attentive and very friendly it was obvious they were having fun and this was infectious creating lots of fun for us. The itinerary was well organized with many excellent day trips to a wide variety of places. Each one provided uswith well informed guides who were very easy to listen to and who helped us to see and understand the history and culture of their destination. The food was very well prepared with buffet style breakfasts and lunches. Dinner allowed much variety and was aka cart. Foods of the region were featured as well as steak salmon or vegetarian meals. The cabins were perfectly laid out and provided us with just enough space and all the necessary amenities. There were numerous extras with regards to local entertainers and added programs that enhanced our trip. There were no hidden fees everything was included. Our cruise director Darren ensured everyone enjoyed as much or as little as they wanted. We would book another cruise with Emerald. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
After lots of research we decided that an Emerald cruise would give us a great holiday. This was our first experience of cruising and we chose Emerald as the itinerary looked good, the ship appeared luxurious and the services on offer ... Read More
After lots of research we decided that an Emerald cruise would give us a great holiday. This was our first experience of cruising and we chose Emerald as the itinerary looked good, the ship appeared luxurious and the services on offer were ideal for us. From the very start every aspect of our holiday was meticulously organised and we felt like VIPS. The comfort on board was fantastic, food fabulous and every crew member helpful, polite and efficient. The itinerary of excursions was very good but there was no pressure to join in - we did what we wanted to, or just relaxed on board. We are not people who are keen on mixing with large groups and we were delighted to find that we could eat at a table for two if we felt like it. Although the crew were attentive they were also discreet and we were never "pestered" to join in with on board events nor required to vacate our cabin - our steward happily fitted his cleaning duties into our schedule. This first cruise was so good that we have already booked a cruise with Emerald, this time on the Rhine next July. You may find similar cruises for a lower price, but for the quality of every aspect of a river cruise Emerald is worth any extra expense. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
The destiny is a beautiful river boat with modern layout and appeal. From the beginning the “all in” travel from Budapest to Passau, Will filled with planned guided tours that gave you history and character from a variety of towns and ... Read More
The destiny is a beautiful river boat with modern layout and appeal. From the beginning the “all in” travel from Budapest to Passau, Will filled with planned guided tours that gave you history and character from a variety of towns and cities, including Melk, Durnstien, Linz, Vienna, Passau, with picturesque coats of the Danube and classical Bavarian, Austrian, and Hungarian towns. We were entrained by the Vienna imperial orchestra, the concert was outstanding. The food and wine was good and regional, amazing for serving over 150 passengers. Most of all from the crew to the cabin management and the hospitality staff were top extremely friendly and the organist was top rate (he was a professional opera singer). Can not say enough positive things about our trip. Budapest at night cruise was breath taking. Vienna (my first time) has great buildings and museums, Melk Abbey was so over the top, but still strikingly beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
We embarked on our first class cruise to a lovely welcome by staff and were quickly ushered to our beautiful room. Our cabin steard, Jalena, explained the details of the room and continuously assisted us throughout the week with advice, ... Read More
We embarked on our first class cruise to a lovely welcome by staff and were quickly ushered to our beautiful room. Our cabin steard, Jalena, explained the details of the room and continuously assisted us throughout the week with advice, kind words and an ever present smile. The food on the journey was wonderful. We had no complaints with any meals. Each of the ports were extremely interesting and tours were provided highlighting each city. Especially satisfying was the visit to a family's home outside Bratislava where we enjoyed an afternoon with the locals. What a nice touch! Embarking and Debarking were flaeless due to the efforts of Darren, the Cruise Director. The man never stops trying to ensure that everything runs smoothly throughout the week. He even arranged transportation to the airport for us two days after we left the ship! We would not hesitate to sail with Emerald again. Read Less
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