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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
We arrived in Budapest, were quickly escorted to our ship, and our river cruise along the Danube visiting Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania began. Chosen for our 50th Wedding Anniversary, and a part of the World we had not yet visited, ... Read More
We arrived in Budapest, were quickly escorted to our ship, and our river cruise along the Danube visiting Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania began. Chosen for our 50th Wedding Anniversary, and a part of the World we had not yet visited, we could not have been more satisfied. Our ship, Emerald Sky is only 3 years old, and her cabins, lounge with ample seating, restaurant, decks, and pool all exceeded expectation. The restaurant and bar staff never seemed to run out of energy, and were constantly available to either assist or offer service and help, and always with smiles and laughter. Every afternoon our Cruise Director gave an amazing insight into each port we were about to visit, peppered with fun. Chef and his kitchen staff worked wonders and produced a never ending selection of interesting and tasty dishes. Each day coaches took us to places of interest, local culture, history, and the chance to meet and talk with local people. We were able to enjoy a 3 course meal in a private home served to us by the owner. This was a truly brilliant experience, and offered us the chance to learn first hand about life in Croatia We were entertained in the evenings with local music, singing and dancers. Emerald Waterways managed to choose tour guides full of information, interest and laughter, bringing to life many of the ports and cities we visited, remembering that so much happened in this part of the World, only 20 years ago, when bombs dropped, and guns were fired. This part of the Danube includes the Giant Gate 1 and 2. Incredibly impressive locks which our ship simply slid through without a single bump! Magic. Leaving Emerald Sky is sad, we have already booked to travel with Emerald next year. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose this cruise to experience the different countries and cultures of Eastern Europe and it did not disappoint. The staff were very professional and extremely helpful, nothing was a bother for them. We have been on a number of ... Read More
We chose this cruise to experience the different countries and cultures of Eastern Europe and it did not disappoint. The staff were very professional and extremely helpful, nothing was a bother for them. We have been on a number of ocean cruises and found we preferred river cruising as it's much more intimate and the food was of an exceptionally high standard that never failed to please. The excursions were excellent too with very knowledgeable guides who kept us interested throughout the trips. There were a number of highlights on the tours but these will remain with us for years to come: Hosted lunch in Croatia Tito's resting place in Belgrade The Palace of Bucharest Our cruise director also delivered a talk on Communism on the first evening and you could have heard a pin drop. It was so interesting and informative. The hotel accommodation in The Sheraton, for our two nights in Bucharest was also excellent with beautiful rooms and excellent food. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
Our cabin was excellent. The cruise director was excellent; he was very helpful when we had a problem and sorted it out very quickly to our entire satisfaction. We enjoyed the contrast between busy cities, Belgrade and Bucharest, and ... Read More
Our cabin was excellent. The cruise director was excellent; he was very helpful when we had a problem and sorted it out very quickly to our entire satisfaction. We enjoyed the contrast between busy cities, Belgrade and Bucharest, and their superb architecture and pretty villages set in beautiful countryside. The country churches were astonishing. We thoroughly enjoyed the visit to a village school and being entertained by the children as well as looking at the improvements being made as a result of the Emerald initiative to give aid to improve science facilities and also to upgrade the classrooms and the buildings. It was a pleasure to eat in the home of a local family. The food on board was very good was very good and vegetarians were well catered for. Service from the steward was excellent. The evening entertainment was not as varied as our last cruise with Emerald on the Rhine though the local dancers were very entertaining. We were pleased that the cruise director stayed with us for the two days in Bucharest at the end of the cruise ensuring that we had information to enjoy our stay and alsohis support. We are considering our next cruise with Emerald in 2018. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was my first river cruise after sailing on 19 ocean cruises. I was curious to see how it compared. The service and food on this cruise were so far superior to the ocean cruises. Our days were full - typically our mornings and ... Read More
This was my first river cruise after sailing on 19 ocean cruises. I was curious to see how it compared. The service and food on this cruise were so far superior to the ocean cruises. Our days were full - typically our mornings and afternoons were filled with activities on shore. Every lunch and dinner on board felt like the finest celebration, with delicious food and wine flowing generously. The wonderful and caring crew seemed to make each guest feel special. I must note that the crew took my food allergy (gluten) very seriously - I had plenty of delicious options at every meal. The cruise director (Simona) was top notch. Each day of the cruise, from morning until nighttime was carefully and expertly orchestrated. Our week was delightful and effortless. I wish I could have stayed another week. Thank you to the crew for making this week such a delight. We took the train on our own from Paris to Lyon and made our way to the ship. Not difficult - just a short taxi ride. Compared to the ocean cruises, the embarkation and disembarkation could not have been easier. We just walked on and off. Upon disembarkation, we took the ship's transfer to Marseille airport and then took our own taxi to our hotel in Marseille for one last night in the south. We stayed at the Intercontinental at the old port and would recommend it. Took a boat tour of Les Calanques and dined in the cafes at the port. Very enjoyable. The ship's excursions were lovely. We joined most of the morning tours and most of the additional afternoon tours and enjoyed them all. I suppose we were lucky because the weather was perfect every day. The one thing we will remember most about this cruise was the kindness and generosity of the crew. It was obvious from the smiling faces on all of the passengers throughout the cruise that everyone agreed. I would recommend this cruise to anyone. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
My family wanted to see places along the French Riviera along southern France. We were all celebrating my parents' 65th wedding anniversary, and we couldn't have picked a better cruise experience for all of us! The staff on the ... Read More
My family wanted to see places along the French Riviera along southern France. We were all celebrating my parents' 65th wedding anniversary, and we couldn't have picked a better cruise experience for all of us! The staff on the Emerald Liberte was just incredible---very polite and always seeing to our needs. We actually were on a first name basis with many of the wait and restaurant staff (Daniel, Constantin, Andrea, Igor, Tibor), and the Cruise Director, Simona. Zolton was the piano entertainer in the bar/lounge, and he was marvelous, typically playing well-known favorites. (Thanks to you all, guys!) The ship's staff also entertained us one night with several skits, which were hilarious! The cabins were clean and neat and attended to by the staff at least twice daily. The housekeeping staff were also very polite, pleasant, and attended to our needs and requests. We've been on ocean liners in the past, but on the Emerald Liberte, it was a much smaller group of those on the cruise and the staff, and therefore, a much more intimate and meaningful experience. The excursions into the cities were great and varied, and the guides for these excursions were all excellent. Getting on and off the ship was seamless and smooth. The food on the ship was incredible....a wide variety of foods to choose from at each meal. The dinners in particular were great, served in courses, and each considered specialty items from the chef on board. There was even a guest chef from France one night, who had been given awards for his culinary talents. But the overall dining experience was wonderful. In summary, we couldn't have had a better experience on this particular cruise, and we are already planning another one for next year using Emerald Waterways! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
While we're not new to ocean cruising, this was our first River Cruise and we have been impressed by Emerald and their staff. The whole package was well-organised and ran smoothly, despite delays in the Main river and the ... Read More
While we're not new to ocean cruising, this was our first River Cruise and we have been impressed by Emerald and their staff. The whole package was well-organised and ran smoothly, despite delays in the Main river and the Main-Danube canal, and we all accommodated the revisions in timetable without any problems. The ship - only two months old when we boarded - was magnificent, and both the crew and hotel/cruise staff seemed proud of her. The food was excellent - although not everybody we spoke to agreed - and we could easily choose from the short menu of dishes offered in the evening and limited selection when we took lunch (we usually skip lunch on cruises!). It reflected the locality and the character of the voyage well. Our cabin, although a little smaller than we have been used to at sea, was well-appointed and more than adequate - we don't spend too long in it, anyway. Most tours, wine with meals and tips are included, so don't be concerned by the "Up front" price. The tours we often simply walking from where we had docked near city centres. The cruse directory had arranged for various entertainers to come on board when we had a late departure, and there was a resident pianist, but don't expect grand cruise ship shows - there are less than 200 passengers! A warning - the Main and the canal have low bridges - the top desk had to be closed for several days, leaving no outside space unless yo had a balconly. Overall? we'll probably go back to Emerald in the future, depending on the itinerary 9and any offers we see)! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Emerald's customer service was outstanding, all the way from our first phone call to make initial inquiries to the very end of the trip, when we were dropped off at Amsterdam Airport. Our trip began with three days in Prague, ... Read More
Emerald's customer service was outstanding, all the way from our first phone call to make initial inquiries to the very end of the trip, when we were dropped off at Amsterdam Airport. Our trip began with three days in Prague, where the K & K Hotel was great - centrally located and walking distance to all the wonderful sites. Our local guide and host, Martin Maly, was fantastic - full of good humor, anecdotes and knowledge. A special dinner hosted at a local restaurant adjacent to a museum was the highlight of the Prague trip. On board the ship (we boarded in Budapest), our cruise director, Alex Berger and the entire crew were extremely friendly, flexible, and always willing to go the extra mile to make us comfortable. The waiters in the dining room even remembered our tastes in condiments and made sure to have them ready for us at our table each and every day. Our cabin attendant was just as amiable and ready to assist us at all times. The night cruise along the shores of Budapest on our first night was truly magnificent. We enjoyed every minute of it. The itinerary we picked on Emerald came at a a fairly competitive price. It also included free airfare to and from our city, transfers, taxes and gratuities. The meals were quite good as well, with a variety of local cuisine, and wines and beers included in the price. Every meal was unique, prepared and served with pride and panache. At each port, the local guides and itineraries were excellent. The amount of walking was just enough for good exercise as well as plenty of sightseeing. Some free time at most of the ports was a plus for shopping and additional sightseeing. Overall, a great experience on Emerald Star and kudos to Emerald Waterways for making it remarkable. My wife and I would definitely recommend them. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose this river cruise to celebrate my husband's 50th birthday. We tend to go on ocean cruise liners but thought we would try something different for his celebration. CABIN - GOOD POINTS Great cabin, we had booked a Balcony ... Read More
We chose this river cruise to celebrate my husband's 50th birthday. We tend to go on ocean cruise liners but thought we would try something different for his celebration. CABIN - GOOD POINTS Great cabin, we had booked a Balcony suite on the 3rd floor and were upgraded to Grand Balcony Suite. Having spoken to others in the original suite we had booked, the only extras seemed to be a Nespresso coffee machine (very nice) and 2 items of laundry a day free of charge. We also had robe and slippers, not sure if other cabins did? The cabin was well thought out, we really liked the opening window that gave the feeling of a balcony. Be aware that when you are deep down in a lock, you will be looking at a concrete wall! CABIN - NOT SO GOOD POINTS Every morning at 6am someone was running on the sundeck - thump thump thump, over and over, 6am EVERY morning without fail. This only stopped when they closed the sundeck for 5 days due to low bridges. So no early morning sleep ins for us, which you would expect on holiday, they did not happen thanks to the runner upstairs. Along with the runner, you then start getting announcements in your cabin - "your coach for your day trip will leave at 8.30am" - "Your coach will leave in the next 5 mins". We couldn't find any off switch for this (as you get on an ocean liner) to every day, we were put through far too many announcements in the cabin. Our next door neighbour was obviously hard of hearing - TWICE we had to call them to ask them to turn the TV down - they were watching a wartime film, endless gunfire, bombs, fighter jets. One time we called them at 1.15am and then another day we had to call them at 5.30am. These times are not acceptable for having your TV blaring out! Prepare yourself for a very small wardrobe! It simply wasn't big enough for the two of us for a fortnights cruise - we took a case each and expected space for our clothes but it wasnt to be. There was 2 deep pull out drawers which were ok, but we had to keep some of our clothes in the suitcase because of lack of storage. STAFF The bar staff were fantastic - always there to serve (although when sat on the front of the ship it would have been nice to have had a waiter offering drinks). They were friendly and outgoing. A special mention of Antonio and Buzz, both brilliant bar men. The restaurant staff work hard and were always on hand. The wine waiter would sometimes need a nudge to fill the wine glass up which was surprising having read on here that they are quick to top you up. The reception staff were helpful when needed. Our Cruise Director was Wes. For the first few days of the cruise we got the feeling that Wes wasn't enjoying being on the boat. He seemed really down and sometimes disinterested. We heard from another guest that he had been saying how much he missed his baby, so maybe that was it. It made it difficult to approach him sometimes which is a shame. He lightened up a bit towards the end of the cruise. Our Cabin steward Wincy did a great job in keeping our cabin clean and tidy. We didn't once get a swan made out of towels during the fortnight, some guests did. It didn't bother us, but it would have been a nice touch. FOOD - GOOD POINTS The food was always hot when it arrived at the table. The lunchtime buffet was reasonable. We had continental breakfast in the cabin every morning, this was a little hit and miss. Some days bread, other days no bread, some days pastries, other days no pastries, some days fruit, other days no fruit. All a bit odd really. FOOD - BAD POINTS God forbid you go onto this ship being a vegetarian who doesn't eat eggs! Although we notified the restaurant manager on day one, it was hit and miss every single evening with my meal. The main menu consists of 2 starters and 3 mains - you were lucky if any of these were vegetarian and containing no egg. I had to reiterate every single evening that I was vegetarian, it got tiresome. On one occasion I was given a bowl of shredded lettuce with a chopped strawberry on top. No dressing, no nothing else, just a bowl of lettuce and a strawberry. Not acceptable for a holiday that cost just short of £10K! I said to the waiter he must be joking when he placed it in front of me, but alas, he was not. The food was a real let down. The lunchtime buffet was marginally better, at least I could have a mixed salad, cheese and bread most days, although after 14 days it got rather boring. I don't rate the choice of food for vegetarians/vegans at all. Food is a huge part of your holiday and when no interest or imagination is used by the chefs, its a real let down. BAR/LOUNGE A big space with various seats and settees with a coffee machine that sometimes broke down. This is where the entertainment takes place. PLEASE NOTE- There is only ONE toilet on this floor next to the bar/lounge which is used by both men and women. There was constantly a queue outside the one toilet. Ridiculous! Without going into too much detail, it was not always pleasant to use the toilet after a gentleman had come out. ENTERTAINMENT - GOOD POINTS None to make unfortunately. There was an Oompah band which added a bit of something, another singing/dancing group one other night. ENTERTAINMENT - BAD POINTS Mundane and repetitive. The same keyboard player, day in, day out playing the same songs every night. Apart from the 2 efforts of an oompah and another local dancing group, there was a zipher player on another night. It was like pulling teeth. We left after half an hour with another group and thankfully the ship was in dock that night so we found solace in a very nice bar away from the ship. We found the entertainment staid, boring, mundane and repetitive. No imagination whatsoever. The staff put on a show on the last night which was ok, sometimes cringeworthy, especially when they did a "funny" sketch about a woman being blind. Not that funny really. A handful of times they made the pool area into a cinema by dragging the pools chairs into 2 or 3 rows. There as no booking system for a seat (about15-20 seats) so it is first come first served. We managed to get some seats on the back row whilst we watched the whole of the front row play on their phones and ipads all night, not watching the film at all (and I'm not talking about young people people here, but the elderly, clearly with no thought for anyone else by illuminating our view with ipads and phones). PORTS OF CALL/DISEMBARKATION It was nice to be able to walk of the ship without having to queue with lots of people. Security was a bit of a surprise, or should I say lack of. Some people scanned themselves back in and some forgot or couldnt be bothered. Again, on a cruise liner, your room card is taken from you by a steward, scanned and handed back to you. Your bags are also checked or x-rayed. Just seemed a bit free and easy on Emerald. We had some wonderful ports of call, with great photo opportunities. We particularly enjoyed the classical concert in Vienna. FACILITIES There is a very small pool at the back which people tended to just stand in to cool off. We found out on the last day from a fellow guest there is a small button hidden somewhere in the pool that turns it into a resistance pool. There are no signs whatsoever about that, so it was mainly used as a cooling off/communal bath from what we saw. There are a lack of toilets and I don't like sharing toilets with men. I wasn't aware of any exercise classes or yoga or anything like that? OVERALL VIEW After 5 days on the boat we had to change boats due to some problem with the depth of the river. The transition was ok - a 1.5 hour bus journey from one boat to another. Of course, the inconvenience was having to pack our suitcases yet again and then unpack on the new boat yet again. Wes told us all on the bus that we were lucky to have another Emerald boat 1.5 hours away that we could swap to as usually, when this happens with the river depth etc, the holiday ends up being a coach trip for the duration of the holiday. You are taken from hotel to hotel night after night on a coach, without a boat in sight. You are not able to claim any insurance or money back for this. Now THAT is enough to put me off river cruising again. Can you imagine paying near on £10K and ended up on a two week coach tour of Germany? Wes thought it was amusing when telling us that this happens frequently. We couldn't see the funny side to be fair. AND FINALLY..... We enjoyed having the wonderful views for my husband's 50th and the great ports of call. We didn't enjoy the 6am runner above our heads, the noisy neighbour with the loud TV, the lack of entertainment, mediocre food, a disinterested cruise director and the thought that at anytime this could become an extremely expensive coaching holiday. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
From embarking to disembarkation the cruise was a delight. The quality throughout the ship was excellent. The common rooms were spacious and well laid out. The food was always of a high quality and the Chef was very accommodating to my ... Read More
From embarking to disembarkation the cruise was a delight. The quality throughout the ship was excellent. The common rooms were spacious and well laid out. The food was always of a high quality and the Chef was very accommodating to my fussy choice of meals, thanks Chef! The staff were very efficient and very, naturally, friendly. All the tours were very well organised. We never felt rushed from one place to another, they were kept to a very slow pace to keep the whole experiences very relaxed. The on board entertainment was very relaxed and enjoyable, nice touch to have a cinema available in the pool area. The only downside to a fantastic holiday came at the beginning when we were delayed travelling by train to the embarkation point resulting in a very stressful day until arriving at the ship. I would recommend this cruise to anyone who wants a high quality, totally relaxing holiday. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
Excellent Cruise Director Jana, very professional. Good quality staff with only a few exceptions in the bar and restaurant. Low deck cabin very comfortable Air conditioned throughout Quality of food very good, gala dinners were ... Read More
Excellent Cruise Director Jana, very professional. Good quality staff with only a few exceptions in the bar and restaurant. Low deck cabin very comfortable Air conditioned throughout Quality of food very good, gala dinners were the best, Lunch very nice, plenty of choice. Breakfast the same. Older Clientelle generally so don't expect lively night life Quality of cocktails very good compared to Sea cruise with Celebrity Excursions mostly walking except in Challon Recommend wine tasting in Tournon Only down side is that low bridges especially in Lyon, but not only, result in top deck being completely cleared and no access for guests for periods of time. Shades on deck are only really nets not full suns screens so be careful on very hot summer days Premium package was included offer for us as incentive to book. Boat takes 138 but were only about 100 on our cruise, would be concerned about capacity of Bar and restaurant if the boat is full. Do not recommend resistance and deportation Museum in Lyon 24hr pass for Metro, bus and trams in Lyon €5.60 per person at time of writing Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
Needed to experience a river cruise for the first time and I couldn't have chosen a better one. The ship was only commissioned this year so everything was brand new with no teething problems to note. With 128 passengers and 44 ... Read More
Needed to experience a river cruise for the first time and I couldn't have chosen a better one. The ship was only commissioned this year so everything was brand new with no teething problems to note. With 128 passengers and 44 ships staff a 1 to 3 ratio is not going to be bettered often. We were all well looked after. All the staff spoke English. The menus for the evening meals were well thought out and matched the area we were passing through. Choices of standard items were also available if the themed menu was not required. A good choice of red, white and rose wine was also aviailable with every meal as part of the standard package. Every day a free walking shore excursion was available in the morning when it was cooler with knowledgeable English speaking guides available and a useful portable audio system was available. Additional excursions were available in the afternoons as an additional cost. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was our third Emerald Waterways River Cruise and our binth overall. It was clear to us that the all Portuguese crew had not been together for long as they were not all singing from the same hymm sheet. The scenery along the Douro was ... Read More
This was our third Emerald Waterways River Cruise and our binth overall. It was clear to us that the all Portuguese crew had not been together for long as they were not all singing from the same hymm sheet. The scenery along the Douro was stunning and was well worth seeing. Our cabin (216) was as we exoected it, except for the bed. Unfortunately the bed was different to those we have had before on Emerald and other companies. This meant that our suitcase of 20cm could not fit under. The cabin and bathroom was lept clean and tidy, but is there really any need to change the flannels twice daily? The food was as always delicious except for the Barbecue which due to the extremely hot weather we had indoors. This type of meal is not our thing and by the time we had eaten our salad there was not much barbecue food left. Our chicken was undercooked (wifes), tough as old boot (mine). All of the Dinners were served in the main restaurant but it was clear that the staff had not been together long. For example we received our First Course as other were finishing their Main Course. This occurred on most of the nights. At least the wine flowed, although it seemed to dry up as the week went on! All the trips were well planned. I missed the slow walking tours that were available on all other cruises and had great difficulty keeping up. The trip to the Museum of Art and Archaeology of the Côa Valley, I found too lengthy and tedious. Although the guide was extremely knowledgeable, we had information overload and left after a couple of rooms. This was echoed by other passengers. At least the view over the valley was worth the trip. Departure as usual was well planned and went without a hitch. This cruise had it's faults but I am certain that by the time the crew have a few more cruises under their belts Emerald will return to their high standards. We have booked another cruise with them in 2018 to the Balkans. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We like Portugal and as we enjoyed our last river cruise we thought we would try the Douro cruise. We were met by the Emerald rep at the airport and swiftly taken to the ship. Emerald Radiance is a beautiful brand new ship and the crew are ... Read More
We like Portugal and as we enjoyed our last river cruise we thought we would try the Douro cruise. We were met by the Emerald rep at the airport and swiftly taken to the ship. Emerald Radiance is a beautiful brand new ship and the crew are justly proud of her. The public areas were comfortable, clean and well maintained, staff always available for your every need. The cabin was clean and comfortable, very comfortable beds, and serviced twice a day. The food was delicious and plentiful with a good range to cater for every taste. All the excursions were well planned and interesting, Emerald have their own coaches that follow the ship, so no waiting around, they were always there ready for us. The cruise director and his two assistants were very professional and knowledgeable, and always very friendly and helpful. On board entertainment was varied and interesting. We were very fortunate that the last night in Porto there was a festival and we had the best view of the river fireworks, and Emerald put on live music for us, a really lovely finish to a fantastic week. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
The cruise along the Douro valley - incl. a coach trip into Spain to visit Salamanca - appealed to us more than trips along The Rhine or The Danube - though the The Rhone trip in Southern France also appeals. The Douro Valley did not ... Read More
The cruise along the Douro valley - incl. a coach trip into Spain to visit Salamanca - appealed to us more than trips along The Rhine or The Danube - though the The Rhone trip in Southern France also appeals. The Douro Valley did not disappoint, not least of the interest being the spectacular vineyards and the hugely impressive locks that have to be navigated through pretty well right up to the border with Spain. The highlights of the trips off-boat for us were our visits to Salamanca (the Museo Art Nouveau Y Art Deco is an absolute gem ... & in our view a little undersold as an attraction), and also to Guimaraes - not only for the impressive Palace of the Dukes of Braganza but for the overall attractiveness of the town. Our cruising experience was a pleasure from beginning to end. The staff without exception were friendly and efficient, Hygiene standards and cabin cleaning throughout the boat were exemplary, and the cuisine could only be rated as first class - as for a 5 star hotel. A thoroughly enjoyable holiday experience that will tempt us onto a European river (somewhere or other) with Emerald again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was our first River Cruise. River Cruising was relaxing and enjoyable. Cabins were well designed. Crew extremely friendly and helpful. Breakfast and Lunch offered good variety buffets. Dinner selections a bit limited. Towns ... Read More
This was our first River Cruise. River Cruising was relaxing and enjoyable. Cabins were well designed. Crew extremely friendly and helpful. Breakfast and Lunch offered good variety buffets. Dinner selections a bit limited. Towns visited were interesting and tours excellent. Stops in Vienna and Cologne too short. Could have enjoyed extra day in both. Our cruise started on the Emerald Sun but due to low water levels we changed ships after 7 days to the Emerald Sky. The Sky was a year newer than the Sun and both were really great River Cruise Ships. The Cruise director, Wes, was knowledgeable and friendly. The Hotel Officer was very available and accommodating. WE enjoyed dinner one night at the Captain's table. Service was excellent in the dining room and bar. Rooms were always cleaned and refreshed twice daily. Going through 65 lock during the cruise was a new experience for us. I highly recommend the Emerald Waterways cruises.. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Having been on numerous sea cruises we decided to try a river cruise for the first time with friends who have been before and recommended Emerald Waterways. Emerald Waterways delivered a good cruise with only some small changes to the ... Read More
Having been on numerous sea cruises we decided to try a river cruise for the first time with friends who have been before and recommended Emerald Waterways. Emerald Waterways delivered a good cruise with only some small changes to the itinerary, for example we had a buffet dinner the first night instead of a cocktail reception and welcome dinner which we had on the second night. This was actually better bearing in mind people would have been travelling the first day. The food was excellent considering the small kitchen and drinks flowed freely at lunch and dinner. We had a top deck R category cabin which was a tad small and the wardrobe space was not enough, but everything else was excellent. The entertainment could have been geared more to the area we were travelling in, but having said that the artists we saw were good. The crew were excellent giving a friendly service. In this day and age security could have been tighter, always a difficult balance between relaxed atmosphere and good security. One thing that struck us was the fact that smoking was allowed at the front on the top deck which meant when the boat was moving everybody at the back enjoyed the smoke as well!! All in all a good first river cruise, enjoyed the Rhine, super scenery and will book again with Emerald Waterways. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We have been on over 40 ocean cruises and for a couple of years my husband has talked about wanted to try a river cruise. However, river cruises tend to cost a lot more than an ocean cruise. So we are veteran cruisers but new to river ... Read More
We have been on over 40 ocean cruises and for a couple of years my husband has talked about wanted to try a river cruise. However, river cruises tend to cost a lot more than an ocean cruise. So we are veteran cruisers but new to river cruising. I know some readers may be thinking, "Yes, but your tours are included and I don't like the ques or the kids or size of ocean ships." I could take issue with all of those statements based on our experience but won't go into it as I'm writing to review one particular ship. I wasn't sure this type of trip would be right for my husband because while he can walk unassisted and usually without a cane, the walking tours, often uneven walking surfaces, sights without accessible features more modern structures tend to have is often mentioned as reasons why people with mobility issues aren't advised to try this type of vacation at times in travel articles, etc. However, these boards were very helpful in my research (reading about "slow walker" tours, which ships had which features, etc.) and our neighbors had done 2 river cruises on Viking in the past 2 years and gave us a lot of info. which helped. River cruises are not for those in a wheelchair. If ramps are not a problem and one can do steps - at least a bit - then it's possible to enjoy a river cruise. Some land activities or tours may have to be skipped for the highly impaired but for moderately impaired walkers, a river tour is doable. I researched the various lines and "personalities" of them, as well as the ships and checked pricing. Our intial plan was to cruise in 2018. I was not happy with the cost and resisted pulling the trigger on a booking. After reading about the various lines, I compared prices and other features of Emerald, Viking and Avalon cruises. Emerald seemed to be the best value and had some extra features on it's ships (like the pools) that we likedwhich other lines lacked. Additionally, a half price sale on all remaining 2017 cabins finally convinced us, and while there were hardly any dates left, we managed to get a cabin for June, which was our desired month to go. The demographics of this cruise: Avg. age was retirement and above, with a decent number of those in their 40's or 50's. There was one family on board with 2 sons. The boys looked about 8 and 10 or 11 in my estimate and conducted themselves very well. I figured they must be bored out their minds, but their father often took them swimming and they certainly seemed to have fun in the pool. There was a very high percentage of people from the UK on board, with a fair number of Australians, a fair number of people of Asian or Indian decent, some from Germany and maybe 15 or so from the U.S. (the best could tell). English was the ship's language and all of the crew seemed able to speak English. This ship is outstanding in both design and cleanliness. There is lots of chrome and glass, kept smudge free almost miraculously. The shower power is good and the linens and bedding of very good quality. We had an "acquarium room", so the windows were positioned just above the water line. This wasn't bad at all! Especially since sometimes the river boats were "stacked" side by side. So anyone with the "balcony" type windows might just be a foot or so from a cabin on another ship, blocking any view. The Emerald ships' drafts are shallow and the wheelhouses can drop down under low bridges to a lower level than many others so they are often able to continue cruising when the rivers are too low for many ships or too high for others that have trouble with low bridges and high water. Dress really was not formal at all on any night. Just a couple of men had on jackets one or two nights. On those nights a very few women dressed up as though for a cocktail party on a couple of nights. but they were definitely exceptions to the rule. Some wore resort casual dresses, most wore pants or capris. Overall the dress was relaxed and not at all formal. I wore capris every night with a top nicer than one I'd have worn for shore side sightseeing. Most people seemed to have dressed down, with clothing one would call resort casual. At the captain's dinner, a fair number of men wore dress shirts (but no ties) .and nice slacks. Other nights most wore polo style shirts and Dockers style slacks or khakis. I even noticed men wearing shorts at dinner in the dining room a couple of times, but not a lot. My favorite part of the cruise was simply the times we were underway on the river and the section of the Rhine with the many castles. Even late in the evening to nightfall there were things to look at - such as the moon, bridges, houses we'd pass, etc. Just cruising along was so relaxing! (I wish there had been more time cruising along.) From talking to others who had sailed on Viking or other lines, it sounded like our tours and things were almost identical to other lines' doing the same itinerary. They usually departed at 9 a.m. Some guides were better than others. Personally, we are not big on official "tours", preferring to do things we especially want to do on our own schedule and in our own way. However, as so many do, we took advantage of the tours "because we paid for them" in our fare. If we get to do another river cruise, we may be more picky about which tours we actually take part in. We usually had a decent amount of time on our own to peruse shops or whatever at the stops we made. My favorite was a trip through the Black Forest region to an historical park with old Bavarian farm houses, etc. There was a demonstration of how Black Forest Cake is made. Everyone was given a piece and it was SOOOO delicious! Many commented that it was the best they'd ever eaten! Entertainment may have been a bit more lively than on some lines as there was actually a couple of nights where people danced to disco and oldies. One afternoon some opera singers performed. Most nights there was a piano player in the lounge. The last night was a very enjoyable crew show and afterwards they did a "YMCA" performance and the dance to get the crowd moving. The effort the staff makes to please the passengers was above and beyond. No matter what, they would go out of their way to please. Especially a couple of the bar waiters who didn't hesitate to insist they could bring our drinks to us no matter where we were hanging out, be it the top deck, the lovely and relaxing pool area or the lounge. Sometimes we initially would go down to the lounge bar planning to get our drink and carry it up with us. However, we were urged to allow the staff to wait on us and they did. The food was always of very good quality and very nicely presented. Although the selections weren't as numerous as on an ocean going cruise, whatever they could provide or do to please your palate, they did. (I am quite picky about steak or beef and want mine very well done, so am usually afraid to order it. Our waiter insisted the meat would be cooked the way I wanted it and it was, even though I knew the cook or chef was going out of his way to make it that way). The included house wines were fine, although somehow (?), to our surprise, we were told upon check in that we had the upgraded beverage package! Though my husband and I are not heavy drinkers, I was very happy to get my favorite, a caparhina (very well and properly made and tasty, with plenty of muddled limes) every day. My only criticism was that at the breakfast and sometimes the lunch buffets, the layout of the food could have been better organized. At times (especially the first day's breakfast buffet) food was laid out in such a manner that people started out on both sides, passing each other in at the far end, with confusion as to whose turn it was to serve themselves and who was going in what direction. Plus there seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to which dish - or maybe 2 - and not necessarily an important dish, would duplicated on both sides of the buffet, but most items were not. I can't say enough about the man who made the omelets. Very organized and he worked at a good pace, making tasty individual omelets or eggs to order. Our "Jewels of the Rhine" cruise was initially listed on the Emerald website as being on the Emerald Dawn. Since we booked only barely 2 months out with a T/A who was new to us and operated out of a different state (I booked with them due to a rebate offered through that agency), I was not specifically made aware that our ship was to be the Destiny until we boarded. We had to walk through a Viking ship to reach our ship so we hadn't seen the name on the hull of our's. We learned upon check in due to the "Welcome to the Destiny" offered us by the staff and officers in the lobby. We were quite surprised to be getting on a 5 week old ship! Lucky us! I can highly recommend this ship and this cruise line. I felt we got a very good price, though the undiscounted, full price would still have been somewhat less than a similar cruise on any of the mainstream river cruise lines. So I will agree, it does seem to be the best value cruise line! For the record, if we do another river cruise, well definitely go on Emerald Waterways again. They offer an excellent product and excellent value. We are still confirmed ocean cruisers, though, so this type of cruise won't take the place of those. We just see the 2 types of vacations similar yet very different and enjoy both Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
We so enjoyed our first experience of river cruising last year that we decided we would like another fabulous holiday. Having to wait at the airport for an hour was rather tedious but once on board we found that the crew and accommodation ... Read More
We so enjoyed our first experience of river cruising last year that we decided we would like another fabulous holiday. Having to wait at the airport for an hour was rather tedious but once on board we found that the crew and accommodation was as good as last time. Our Tour Director was a very pleasant person but initially we did wonder if he had come from a Butlin's resort unlike the lady last year who was very calm and professional. This time the excursions weren't quite as well organized, the first excursion the guides arrived half an hour late, but once we got going the guides in our group were very good, interesting and informative. The chose of port visits was excellent. We do enjoy having some time on board to just cruise. It would be better if the timetable allowed the ship to come into port during daylight so you could have the views and photo opportunities. The food was excellent Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Chose the cruise for the lovely cities on the itinerary and was certainly not disappointed. Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest all beautiful - highlight was the evening cruise at Budapest with all the lovely buildings lit up. The boat was ... Read More
Chose the cruise for the lovely cities on the itinerary and was certainly not disappointed. Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest all beautiful - highlight was the evening cruise at Budapest with all the lovely buildings lit up. The boat was modern and very well appointed with lovely bar/lounge and dining room, and a spacious top deck. Although the boat was full it never appeared crowded. The crew from Captain downward were fantastic - nothing was too much trouble. The menus were varied, with plenty of choice and very good quality. The cruise director was a real star both in his helpfulness and the information and entertainment he provided. He worked hard to recover our luggage which had been delayed by the airline. The shore excursions were good, although one or two started a little early for us. All in all an excellent experience and value for money. We would not hesitate to travel Emerald again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We have been on several river cruises but not cruised with this company. Many lines offer this trip but Emerald seemed to have the best sounding itinerary and inclusions for a Danube trip. The whole cruiser, our cabins, public rooms and ... Read More
We have been on several river cruises but not cruised with this company. Many lines offer this trip but Emerald seemed to have the best sounding itinerary and inclusions for a Danube trip. The whole cruiser, our cabins, public rooms and spaces were all excellent. Food was to die for, 4 -5 courses or extensive buffet at three meals a day. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff to attend to our needs/requests. The onshore trips were well balanced between coach and guided walking. without exception very experienced guides amusing and informative, sensitive in pace and focus to the nature of the (small) group they lead. I was interested to see some people on the 'active elements' arranged for them. We have not encountered this before. The extra cruising along the Danube in Budapest, after dark, on our last night, was just magical. i strongly recommend this trip and this company. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Cruising for years only ever done far eastern river cruises and many sea cruises so thought would try European for a bit of luxury. Boat was very nice. Lift goes to bar and dining floors but not sun deck. Cabin on lower floor was very ... Read More
Cruising for years only ever done far eastern river cruises and many sea cruises so thought would try European for a bit of luxury. Boat was very nice. Lift goes to bar and dining floors but not sun deck. Cabin on lower floor was very nice. Well laid out, very good beds and pillows. Big t.v.poor hairdryer (bring your own) plenty of space, good shower. All cabins on boat at all grades were identical except for extra space at windows or balconies. (apart from owners suite and maybe one other) Let down by the range and quality of food. The buffets instead of diner were awful. It did improve a bit after lots of complaints. It took 2 hours to eat dinner. This was not the excellent staffs fault. They needed more staff, and to attempt to serve 173 people at the same time from a small galley was impossible. All tours were fine. All staff friendly and efficient (sometimes in the face of adversity) Very hot weather which caused problems with water level on the Danube so the last two days itinerary had to be changed. These things happen but it was extremely badly handled we were kept in the dark about what was happening and when we tried to find out we were either given a small amount of incorrect information or nothing at all. Would have given it 4 stars if food and info had been better. Tried to fill in Emeralds own survey but the (third) e survey address I was given did not work. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Having previously cruised the Rhine 2 years ago with a different cruise line, we decided to try The Danube on Emerald Sun. Embarkation was very smooth and efficient and we were greeted by cheerful and smiling crew. We had a problem with ... Read More
Having previously cruised the Rhine 2 years ago with a different cruise line, we decided to try The Danube on Emerald Sun. Embarkation was very smooth and efficient and we were greeted by cheerful and smiling crew. We had a problem with luggage as, due to disruption at Heathrow airport, our bags could not be loaded onto the flight before we left London. Credit to BA -they flew the bags out on the next flight and they were delivered to the ship at about 11:45pm. The ship is very modern and spacious with excellent public areas. Having been built in 2015, everything is bright and fairly new. Panoramic floor to ceiling windows are everywhere, making the views spectacular from almost anywhere on the ship. We had a panoramic balcony cabin which was very spacious, light and airy. The meals were good, although choice was somewhat limited at breakfast and dinner. The buffet meal layout was a little illogical, meaning it was difficult to negotiate and often resulted in frustrating queues. Wine accompanying the meal was good quality local wine. The entertainment was good-two evenings with local entertainers-a Bavarian Oompah band and a Hungarian folk dancing group, an on board schnapps and jam tasting; quizzes some evenings, a disco evening and excellent onboard musician. We enjoyed the putting course on the sun deck and the cinema converted from the swimming pool on some evenings. The service from all the crew was excellent and always with a cheerful smile. The cruise director Nina was superb, even when having to cope with the adversity of low river levels leading to disruption and reorganisation of scheduled tours. Ports, walking tours and tour guides were excellent. I would highly recommend this ship. The main criticism is that the food could be improved, however the excellent facilities and crew made this less important in the overall scheme of things. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
Chosen for the River Danube experience, we were not disappointed but being less active than some some, coach shore tours - even if not into the ancient places would have been appreciated for a taste of new places. Staff were excellent ... Read More
Chosen for the River Danube experience, we were not disappointed but being less active than some some, coach shore tours - even if not into the ancient places would have been appreciated for a taste of new places. Staff were excellent throughout being helpful, informative and ever cheerful and calm. There were shades of ;Happy Camper' in the mien of communal notices but most went along with that. On the last night we were praised for being a great crowd.... the next morning we we not so welcome with bed linen changed whilst we were at early breakfast and before 7.40 am and when we had to have bags out by 8.30am. This was not so good and upset many. Travel bag labels would have been useful since BA had to deliver 49 or more after an airport failure - no fault of the cruise people - many hours later and having t give bag description at Budapest to get them. He quality cruise back packs - a choice of a bag might have been better for many....... not all of us a back pack people! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
We have been on other river cruises and wanted to experience the River Danube. The itinerary appealed to us, and we sailed north from Budapest. Budapest by night was a magical evening, and we found both Budapest and Bratislava two vey ... Read More
We have been on other river cruises and wanted to experience the River Danube. The itinerary appealed to us, and we sailed north from Budapest. Budapest by night was a magical evening, and we found both Budapest and Bratislava two vey clean cities full of attractive buildings, and lots of history. Vienna with its musical history as well as being part of the Holy Roman Empire was also most interesting. The live concert in Vienna was a bonus and a joy. Der stein was real picture post card Bavarian riverside village with an amazing abbey. The Wachau Valley was heavenly. River cruising at its best. Beautiful scenery, warm sunshine, and just drifting along, with just birdsong . What more could we want. Regensburg with its beautiful stained glass windows in its cathedral, and the old stone bridge were further pieces of history to enjoy. Despite low water preventing us from sailing as far as Nurenburg we had a wonderful experience of river cruising on the Danube. The friendly welcome as we boarded the boat was very wel come after an early start leaving England at 06.15 and a 4 hour wait between connecting flights at Frankfurt. All the staff were friendly and nothing was too much trouble. We chose to stay on the boat rather than go on a long day trip by coach to Salzberg. We go on river cruises to be on the river, and visit the nearby places of interest. The food was displayed attractively and satisfied our needs. The quality of the food was of a high standard. The staff who looked after the trips, and entertainment were very good, and everything was extremely well organised, even down to the way we disembarked at the end of a lovely holiday. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
My wife and I wanted to see the European Cities and decided to use Emerald Waterways to cruise the Danube. The cruise was perfect in every way: Cabin: lacked nothing except a Kettle! Engine noise: soothing Lounge facilities ... Read More
My wife and I wanted to see the European Cities and decided to use Emerald Waterways to cruise the Danube. The cruise was perfect in every way: Cabin: lacked nothing except a Kettle! Engine noise: soothing Lounge facilities excellent. Dining Room excellent except buffet bun fight. The latter needs better organisation. Food: First Class sometimes even higher. Sun Deck: 'Spacious' doesn't get near it! Crew: Nina: Brilliant organiser, managed the few drought and lock problems with aplomb and made our holiday perfect. The Captain, crew, stewards, chefs, waiters, room maids were all genuinely friendly, helpful and efficient. The group tours of the various cities, towns and villages were excellent. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and gave us a real insight into the history of each country. Their command of the English language was superb. We did go on one of the extra excursions. This was to a concert in Vienna and was the highlight of the cruise for us. Overall an amazing holiday, we will be back! Read Less
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