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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Having (Ocean) cruised for a few times we decided we should try a river cruise. We had heard good reports from friends so gave it a go. We arrived at Bucharest expecting to go on Emerald Destiny and found out it was going to be Emerald ... Read More
Having (Ocean) cruised for a few times we decided we should try a river cruise. We had heard good reports from friends so gave it a go. We arrived at Bucharest expecting to go on Emerald Destiny and found out it was going to be Emerald Star. We had not been told, in fact our agent had checked only a few days previously and was told there were no changes. No matter, the ships are virtually identical. We found the plusses tp be ALL inclusive, a more personal feeling (only 169 passengers) able to regularly meet the same people who we enjoyed being with and more to see as always in sight of land. On the minus side we found cabin space quite limited especially hanging space which was only fifteen inches of usable rail. Despite having a 'balcony' passengers were encouraged not to open the window when moving. Entertainment was very limited unless you are keen on quizzes and games. The couple of performances by local artists were however very good. The dining room was so noisy. All glass and chrome it did not absorb any of the sound. It was almost impossible to talk to people on the same table. This was made worse by only the one sitting where almost everyone came in at once which significantly affected the time it took to be served. Dinner times were consistently over two hours long which may be fine for some but too long for us. Mooring places could sometimes be a bit grim. Just a floating dock in the middle of nowhere. Two or three of the trips took place whilst the ship was moving to another place so with quite a bit of overnight cruising there was not a great deal of moving whilst on board during the day. We had to try it but I think it will be big ship cruising from now on. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We choose to cruise as we wanted to experience something different. We thought it would be a relaxing and luxurious way to travel whilst being able to visit several countries on the way. From the moment we arrived at the ship there was a ... Read More
We choose to cruise as we wanted to experience something different. We thought it would be a relaxing and luxurious way to travel whilst being able to visit several countries on the way. From the moment we arrived at the ship there was a warm and friendly welcome from the cruise director Balazs and the other staff that greeted us. We found our cabin to be well equipped, comfortable and quite spacious. We soon got used to life on board and found there were and good choice of excursions and activities to suit everyone. The friendliness of all crew and staff made the trip very enjoyable. They were helpful, polite and efficient and nothing was too much trouble. There was a wonderful ambience on board the ship and it was very easy to join in the social activities on offer. We enjoyed this cruise so much, it exceeded our expectations and we would not hesitate to cruise again with Emerald. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
As travel agent, we wanted to try out the Emerald service, and we are convinced, that the service is fabulous and excellent. We sailed from Nuremberg to Amsterdam, in July 2019. After arriving from the airport we got on board in minutes. ... Read More
As travel agent, we wanted to try out the Emerald service, and we are convinced, that the service is fabulous and excellent. We sailed from Nuremberg to Amsterdam, in July 2019. After arriving from the airport we got on board in minutes. The staff is extremely polite, and nice at the reception, in the restaurant, in the bar etc.. The pool has a relaxing atmosphere. The city tours have been well organized with professional guides, comfortable couches. We had great opportunity to visit the most important places, monuments, castles and churches. During our free time we have been good advised to explore the cities in an independent way. Every evening we had various entertaining programs with a lot of fun and laughing moments. The whole crew made our trip enjoyable, comfortable and memorable. We enjoyed our breakfast buffet every morning and 4 courses dinner each evening as well as our lunch combining buffet and menu. Additionally we had joyful teatime and late night snack. All food was fresh and well prepared. 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
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our third river cruise with Emerald, having thoroughly enjoyed the two previous ones on the Douro and Rhine, we were not disappointed. Everything went smoothly from beginning to end, largely due, in our opinion to the ... Read More
This was our third river cruise with Emerald, having thoroughly enjoyed the two previous ones on the Douro and Rhine, we were not disappointed. Everything went smoothly from beginning to end, largely due, in our opinion to the experience, hard work and dedication of our super (and funny) cruise director Darren (he reminded me of Alan Carr). As on our previous two cruises with Emerald, all meals and the complimentary wines served with lunch and dinner were just superb (one or two of the waiters serving wine seemed more reluctant than others to top-up regularly, but they were easily avoided by moving to a table where one of their more generous colleagues were serving). There was an inclusive excursion at every stop, with local top notch tour guides provided. Every town/city was interesting, we particularly enjoyed Avignon and Viviers, and we found these inclusive tours were enough without going on additional paying excursions in the afternoon. We thought that rather too much cruising was done during the hours of darkness, and it would have been nice to have more opportunities to sit and watch the world go by during the afternoons and evenings, but I'm sure there were probably good logistical reasons for this. We would certainly go on another Emerald river cruise, but are quickly running out of rivers in Europe. I've marked fitness & recreation, entertainment and enrichment activities as excellent, but in all honesty, I didn't avail myself of any fitness facilities and the other two categories are a matter of taste. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Being a Single traveller and never being on a River Cruise I wasn't sure what to expect. Firstly my room was upgraded WoooT! First thing to check out was the beds... super comfy! Then on to check out the pool, the dining and the roof ... Read More
Being a Single traveller and never being on a River Cruise I wasn't sure what to expect. Firstly my room was upgraded WoooT! First thing to check out was the beds... super comfy! Then on to check out the pool, the dining and the roof top. Overall I was impressed with everything, the staff were always asking if everything was okay and if I wanted anything. After setting sail and seeing many other cruise boats, I found this one to be the best. After looking at APT and Scenic cruises I wasn't impressed with their ship layout. particularly at front. Emerald ships decks seem to be higher and it was really nice to sit out on the front deck. There was endless amount of entertainment and shore excursions. The shore excursions were great, they catered for all levels of fitness and it was great to see entertainment director join in on some of the tours. Whilst all the staff were lovely and super awesome, (my extra deserts.. Stefan your the best!) I believe they work way too hard, you would see them first thing in the morning and still be working till the early hours of the next morning (they deserve a pay rise!) All in all I wouldn't do the same cruise again, I would chose a different route but with the same company as I really liked the ship's design. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Everything about our cruise was of the very highest order, from the ship itself to the crew and the food - all absolutely 5 star. Special shout out to cruise director Luis who was, all at the one time, friendly, accessible and thoroughly ... Read More
Everything about our cruise was of the very highest order, from the ship itself to the crew and the food - all absolutely 5 star. Special shout out to cruise director Luis who was, all at the one time, friendly, accessible and thoroughly professional all the while maintaining a great sense of humour. Can’t thank him enough for his efforts on behalf of all passengers aboard this superlative river cruise ship. There was a time during our cruise when the water levels on the Rhine were low and potentially problematic and indeed a number of ships from other lines just gave it up with everyone having to continue by coach. Not our mob though, they kicked off the passengers (for a shore activity we would have been doing anyway), drained the pool and the water tanks thus raising the ships water level and successfully managed to get through. We reembarked a bit further down the river and the cruise continued with barely a blip and. They went the extra mile for us where others others would not and we were so very appreciative. Cannot say enough nice things about Emerald Dawn and her fantastic captain & crew. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Previous experience with Emerald waterways. We found the cruise lived up to expectations. Following the loss of our luggage the crew were wonderful , and went out of there way to help, in tracing our luggage . Giving us toothbrushes and ... Read More
Previous experience with Emerald waterways. We found the cruise lived up to expectations. Following the loss of our luggage the crew were wonderful , and went out of there way to help, in tracing our luggage . Giving us toothbrushes and toothpaste ,sun lotion. And laundering our clothes so we had clean clothes until our luggage arrived. Following the breakdown of the air conditioner we were transferred to a new cabin . All the crew were friendly , and very soon they new who we were . The dinning room was clean and the waiter staff were exceptional . We had the same waiter and very soon he got to no our likes and dislikes. What can I say about the food , it was superb plenty off choice and there was always three alternatives The entertainment was suitable for us . We did not attend all the activities that were on offer, All the trips were timed perfectly the guides excellent and knowledgable. The food was exceptional and the waiters attentive and nothing was to much trouble . We stayed in the stateroom on the lower deck , this was comfortable and clean with all towels and bathroom toiletries changed daily. Overall we found the ship friendly . Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
From the moment we arrived at the ship we were treated and made to feel very special. Transfers to and from the airport were stress free, and on time. The ship was well laid out, cabins more than adequate, entertainment and activities well ... Read More
From the moment we arrived at the ship we were treated and made to feel very special. Transfers to and from the airport were stress free, and on time. The ship was well laid out, cabins more than adequate, entertainment and activities well organised and run, our cruise director was great, always kept us well informed. The food was amazing with plenty of choices. Was always well presented and delivered hot. The staff are always friendly, lots of fun. Places on the boat to sit and enjoy the view, or just sit quietly if wanted. Nothing was too much trouble for any of the staff. The cabins where kept immaculate and very clean, the bed was comfortable. This cruise was more than I had dreamed of. It is something my husband and I had dreamed of for many years. We would recommend this to anyone. We saw a lot of places and things, tour guides always very informative. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We sailed on our first river cruise a few weeks ago. We were scheduled to be on the Emerald Destiny but owing to some port issues, we sailed on the Star instead. I was originally a bit disappointed only because Destiny is a newer vessel. ... Read More
We sailed on our first river cruise a few weeks ago. We were scheduled to be on the Emerald Destiny but owing to some port issues, we sailed on the Star instead. I was originally a bit disappointed only because Destiny is a newer vessel. However, the Star and its crew exceeded all our expectations. There were 7 in our group - celebrating my upcoming birthday - the ages ranged from 27 - 68. And we are a fairly tough bunch to impress - several of us had traveled fairly extensively - but a wonderful time was had by all. Vessel - was sparkling clean, well-maintained and we had no complaints. We were in the lower staterooms which were nicely-sized, well-appointed and had large windows. On several occasions we were beside port walls or other boats and were glad we didn't spend more on balcony rooms. We had plenty of space for our belongings and stowed the suitcases under the bed. Around mid-week, we had some occasional noise from the area below but it was easily blocked if needed overnight, by the provided earplugs. I used these on 2 nights. Others did not use them and had no issues with noise. Room was services twice a day - always clean and tidy. Loved the aesthetic which was modern and on the "glam" side. Lots of chrome and contemporary touches. Tasteful throughout. Lots of space to spread out and not crowded for dining or port talks in the lounge. There is a small gym, small pool, massage room and salon, on board. The top deck is very comfortable for viewing the beautiful scenery while traveling between ports during the day and at night. Staff -- we can't say enough about the stellar staff on this vessel. Everyone was very, very good. These folks know hospitality and take pride in their work. The cruise director, Geanina, was beyond excellent. Calm, cool and professional at all times and handled all issues with care and consideration - making special accommodations for us several times. Communication was thorough and timely throughout the week. Ziggy (overall manager) went above and beyond on several occasions for us and Constantin (dining manager) checked in routinely to make sure everyone was happy. Kris, our main server made the cruise special for all of us. His attention to detail, good humor and commitment to his work was obvious. Exceptional focus that made for a truly memorable celebration. Martin was more behind the scenes but did a wonderful job keeping our stateroom in great shape. Food -- We enjoyed the food very much. As others have noted, they are a bit heavy with the salt in the soups on occasion but overall, we thought the choices, preparation and presentation were all very, very good. We also had several folks with food restrictions and they were fantastic making sure everyone's needs were met. We had a few foodies with us and they were impressed with many of the meals. The wines were paired nicely and were of good quality. And they are generous with pours. Snacks and tea in the afternoons and coffee, tea, hot chocolate and cookies available at all times in the lounge. Outings - guides were all very good and met or exceeded expectations at all ports. Outings left on time and returned on time. We added on the concert in Vienna and the Salzburg trip - both were terrific. We had two classically trained musicians (voice and instrumental) with us and I was a bit anxious about the concert - but we were all very, very impressed with the quality of the instruments and voices. Top notch performances in a stunning space with amazing acoustics. A very special private evening in Vienna. Ports - we loved them all (Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Durnstein, Melk, Passau (we opted for Salzburg) and Regensburg. They provided a wonderful variety of sizes, beauty and "vibe." The low water levels in the Danube prevented us from getting to Nuremburg but the captain got us to Regensburg so we would not miss a port and then took us back to Passau for disembarkation. Above and beyond. Specific pluses - we did not have to deal with taking lots of extra cash for gratuities for the various staff and tour guides. EW puts all of the gratuities in the cost of the trip - yay!!! We did provide a little extra to a couple of folks on the ship. We are already planning our next trip - it will be on Emerald Waterways (or Scenic). Negatives - nothing on the cruise. We would prefer a bit more communication in the months leading up to the trip. I never got a deadline for providing all the info for passengers and that was a bit hectic and last minute when I got a call saying I needed to get the info in within a day. But generally, the negatives were minor and our interactions in booking went well. Truly a delightful trip full of lifetime memories for our family - thank you, Emerald Waterways! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
My wife and I have been on a couple of ocean cruises and I was not really thrilled with them. Last year we thought that we would give River cruising a try, and chose a trip from Budapest to Passeau on the Danube. All the reviews of Emerald ... Read More
My wife and I have been on a couple of ocean cruises and I was not really thrilled with them. Last year we thought that we would give River cruising a try, and chose a trip from Budapest to Passeau on the Danube. All the reviews of Emerald were great so we booked our trip with them. Our experience was excellent on that cruise and we booked this cruise up the Rhine almost as soon as we got back home. What makes Emerald so exceptional to me is the staff. From the time you get on board until the time you leave, they are there trying to make your stay as pleasant as they can. Our cabin assistant Paul would greet us with a hello and how are you, or how was your meal, every time we saw him. The bar staff quickly became aware of what our favorite drinks and we hardly had to say what we wanted before it was there for us. The serving staff at meals were always questioning how we had enjoyed what we had just been served, and were ready to address any issues we may have had. One evening, a dining partner found the meat of his dinner to be especially good and asked if it was possible to receive more, within minutes he received a new plate with an additional double portion of the meat. What I also find exceptional with Emerald is the way that they treat the staff. On both cruises, all of the staff on board were presented to the passengers giving us an opportunity to show our appreciation. On a tour of the kitchen I found out that the ship provides meals to the staff similar to the passengers but also based on their dietary and religious needs. On this cruise I have to single out the Cruise Director Nina, for the work that she did in juggling the tours that we went on. Due to events beyond her control she had to make last minute scheduling changes that could not have been easy. The Activities Director kept the evenings highly entertaining with a variety of shows, musicals, and games that engaged everyone on board. The one final person that I would like to mention is the Hospitality Director Albert Andrei. We were fortunate enough to meet him on our previous cruise and were surprised to see him on this ship. While it was a surprise, it also indicated that we would be well taken care of. A happy, efficient staff is not magic, it is built and encouraged by management and I credit this to Albert on the Emerald Dawn. So how was the ship and everything else about the cruise? It was everything that I had experienced the previous year. The room was great, the food was great, the excursions were informative and of the right duration, the scenery while cruising was beautiful. Did we have any issues on this trip? Sure. You can’t take a trip like this without having minor inconveniences. However, we enjoyed every minute of it. Our challenge now is to decide which Emerald cruise to take next year. It is down to Portugal, or Southeast Asia. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We had always wanted to go on a river cruise, It was much better that a cruise on an ocean liner , The cruise director always let us know what was coming up next and that was very helpful , The shore excursions were great and the food was ... Read More
We had always wanted to go on a river cruise, It was much better that a cruise on an ocean liner , The cruise director always let us know what was coming up next and that was very helpful , The shore excursions were great and the food was great on the boat. The beer was very good and the wine was excellent. We especially liked meeting local people in Bratislava. The crew was always there for you in case you had any questions I made a video slideshow of just the pictures I took and put it on Youtuber . I made a separate slideshow from my wife's pictures We also me two couples that we dined with almost every night . One couple was from Canada and the other was from the UK. They were delightful people One of the most enjoyable times was when we were cruising in the heart of the wine country and the captain, or tour guide was explaining what we were seeing. The cruise into Budapest during dinner was also very enjoyable, We would definitely do another cruise -Mark Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was my second Emerald River cruise. I had already been on the Emerald Radiance the year before and had an excellent time so was slightly worried that it could not be as good again. I was wrong, it was just as excellent and we had the ... Read More
This was my second Emerald River cruise. I had already been on the Emerald Radiance the year before and had an excellent time so was slightly worried that it could not be as good again. I was wrong, it was just as excellent and we had the extra bonus of the delightful friendly Mary Berry sailing with us for part of the trip. This time I was traveling with my 23-year-old daughter. I had given her the option of a week away anywhere she fancied and Portugal on the Emerald Radiance was what she picked. I had told her that she would likely be the only one of her age on board but she was happy to be amongst a mixed age group. She had a ball and her only compliant was having to leave the fabulous crew and the delicious food served at the end of the week! The captain and crew made you feel so very special with personal attention from the cruise director, Maria Elena, the hotel manager, Manuel and the Maitre D, Cornel. All the staff were polite, very friendly, helpful and approachable. Manuel and his team all genuinely seem to support each other and work well together. The ship is modern and spacious enough that it doesn't feel crowded and the open dining allows for meeting fellow passengers but there are also plenty of tables for two if you prefer. On our last evening on board the crew kindly pushed together tables to accommodate 14 of us who wanted to dine together. We really enjoyed the quizzes that took place after dinner, they were really good fun and well organised. The food was superb, beautifully presented and the wines were excellent. The trips are informative and interesting. We took the optional excursion to the Mateus Palace which was one of my highlights this time The onboard activities were excellent including making Pasteis de Nata, port wine cocktails, bracelets and tile painting. They were all very popular and you came away with a nice little memento. I will definitely be back with Emerald in the very near future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My sister and I travel each year and decided to do our first river cruise. We always do research before deciding. Emerald was the best value for the money and good reviews. We chose the 8 day Danube Delights with extended 3 days in ... Read More
My sister and I travel each year and decided to do our first river cruise. We always do research before deciding. Emerald was the best value for the money and good reviews. We chose the 8 day Danube Delights with extended 3 days in Prague. Booking was a breeze (a year in advance) and as we had questions during the year they were answered promptly. We made our own travel arrangements, but the transfer from the airport to the ship was made by Emerald and went smoothly. We do wish we had arrived a day or two early to have had more time in Budapest. The ship is very modern and kept clean and sparkling (lots of mirrors). The staff were extremely helpful and always greated you with a smile. Our cabin was great (not that we stayed in it other than to sleep) and kept clean and organized by our stewart. I was suprised how quite it was in the cabin. Jamie was the cruise entertainment director and did a great job with a variety of events for all ages and interests. With great weather, we did enjoy the sun deck daily. Emerald has open seating for meals and it gave us an opportunity to eat and converse with many of the other cruisers. We thoroughly enjoyed learing from the veteran river cruisers. Some had been on 8 river cruises in several continents. The food was plentiful and if you didn't like your first choice they would bring you another. Beer and wine are included for lunch and dinner and our glasses were never empty. There were beverages packages as a option or just pay by the drink at the bar (prices were below most bars in the states) if you wanted a before or after dinner drink. Darren, our tour director, did a great job in keeping us up-to-date on weather conditions for each day and the local customs for the next port. He would teach us the local language for greetings and other words that would be helpful, although most everyone spoke english very well. At each port there was a tour included in the cost of the cruise and were done very well by local guides. Due to departure times, we did not have a lot of time to explore (shop) on our own, so we skipped a few of the included tours and explored (shopped) on our own. We have discussed going back to the region and traveling on our own or maybe a bus tour to see more of the area. Overall, the trip and experiences were great. The ships crew, fellow travelers from all over the world and local guides provided us with wonderful memories. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We had been wanting to try a riverboat cruise for awhile now. It just so happened that an Irish musician by the name of Seamus Kennedy, whom we enjoyed seeing at many an Irish Pub in the DC area during the 1980's was, along with his ... Read More
We had been wanting to try a riverboat cruise for awhile now. It just so happened that an Irish musician by the name of Seamus Kennedy, whom we enjoyed seeing at many an Irish Pub in the DC area during the 1980's was, along with his wife, the host of this cruise. We had not seen him perform live in 35 years and he was still amazing! The company sponsoring the cruise was Mayflower Tours and they did an excellent job. We received all our boarding documents before leaving home, including a nice backpack for the excursions. We received free airfare from Montana to Prague and then Budapest back to Montana. We upgraded our seats to Comfort Plus (about one thousand dollars each and worth every penny), just behind the first class section of the aircraft. We also added three days extra in Prague and Budapest to check out the cities on our own. We stayed at the Hotel Grandium in Prague, about a block from Wenceslas Square and within walking distance of almost everything. Outstanding hotel, with a breakfast to die for! In Budapest, we stayed at the InterContinental, right on the river by the Chain Bridge. I had stayed there 40 years ago, still a beautiful hotel. Our room was on the ninth floor, facing the river and the views were amazing, especially at night. Now to the ship. The Emerald Sun was beautifully maintained, spotless everywhere you went. The entire crew was exceptional and made you feel right at home. Initially, we booked a room on deck 1 (room 117) just below waterline and were more than happy with it. Just for the heck of it my wife inquired about an upgrade to deck 2 or 3 and for an extra $400.00 we moved up to deck 2 (room 214). The room was excellent. We loved having the window that lowered electrically half way open, turning the room into a big balcony. The bed was comfy, plenty of room for all our stuff and the bathroom plenty big enough. Our cabin attendant kept the room spotless. I can't say enough about the quality of the dining. Up to this point, nobody could compare to Celebrity, but these guys could and DID! All the meals were spectacular, we hated to get of that ship. The entertainment was beyond wonderful. To start with there were about 17 of us that signed up just because of Seamus Kennedy. He held trivial pursuit nights in the lounge and spur of the moment 1 or 2 hour mini-concerts at the pool for us. Not mention sing-a-longs during our bus rides. An absolute joy to travel with. The ship had various entertainers come aboard depending on what city we docked at, not to mention an amazing on-board piano player in the lounge almost every night. At every city we had ship sponsored walking tours with guides, very well organized. Also, there were many special excursions folks signed up for at an additional cost. We had lived just south of Munich for three years in the late 80's, so we skipped the extra excursions to Salzburg and Vienna. We absolutely loved Prague and Budapest and would recommend those two cities for a visit. Of note, we did most of our Danube River cruising at night while we slept. I do remember going thru many, many locks and that was interesting. We would definitely do a river cruise again. Oh BTW, we loved the Infinity Pool and used it almost daily, usually all to ourselves! My wife loved the exercise room and I loved watching her use it! 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
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
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Review Are you under 70? Do you like an active lifestyle? Do you enjoy great food and wine? Do you like to socialize with well educated and cultured travelers? If so, DO NOT CRUISE WITH EMERALD WATERWAYS. We did the Danube River from ... Read More
Review Are you under 70? Do you like an active lifestyle? Do you enjoy great food and wine? Do you like to socialize with well educated and cultured travelers? If so, DO NOT CRUISE WITH EMERALD WATERWAYS. We did the Danube River from Budapest to Bucharest. The average passenger was British, 75 years old, had difficulty walking, and complained about everything. I was prevented from taking a morning walk on the sun deck walking track because my footsteps (at 3.6 mph) disturbed someone on the deck below. I would have been happy to use a treadmill, but alas, the “gym” didn’t have one, just three never-used recumbent bicycles. We could never get the in-cabin movies to work until the final day of the cruise, despite being in an owner’s suite. We barely saw our butler (a glorified cabin maid), and although we purchased the inclusive alcohol package, it apparently did not include premium wine. The offerings were horrible local wines. Food choices were limited. Beef was usually tough and overcooked, the chicken was dry, and desserts were uninspiring. It is really too bad that the ship, which is quite beautiful, is staffed by a crew that still needs to learn a lot about service and accommodation. Maybe they should rename it Emerald Walker-ways. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Been wanting to see the Douro for sometime and our travel against recommended Emerald. What a Find! Brilliant modern ship, superbly comfortable, and the Portugese crew were the most smiley and helpful people we have ever come across in any ... Read More
Been wanting to see the Douro for sometime and our travel against recommended Emerald. What a Find! Brilliant modern ship, superbly comfortable, and the Portugese crew were the most smiley and helpful people we have ever come across in any holiday destination. Add to this the beauty of Europe’s most unspoilt and beautiful river and you have all the ingredients of a holiday made in heaven. Go for it! The shore excursions were well chosen and uncrowded, with guides who treated us like adults and kept us entertained as well as informed. The onboard cruise manager, Marie Helena was so friendly, helpful , knowledgeable and unfazed, I suggested she join the queue to be Prime Minister of England. Dining room served excellent local and beautifully presented dinners with waiting staff who were unfailingly friendly and helpful Look no further - if you want to cruise the magical Douro, this has to be the ship for you. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We had often thought about cruising from Amsterdam to Budapest. Friends said it really didnt matter much which line you used, they all go to the same places, and when you walk through other ships at ports they are all very similar. So when ... Read More
We had often thought about cruising from Amsterdam to Budapest. Friends said it really didnt matter much which line you used, they all go to the same places, and when you walk through other ships at ports they are all very similar. So when Emerald launched into the NZ market with sharp entry prices we picked on price. Always warry about "you get what you pay for" our first impressions at the quality of the bags put us into a positive frame of mind, shallow as that may seem. On 27 May we embarked on the Emerald Star in Amsterdam for a cruise to Budapest. The plus The ship is nice and modern. Really comfy cabins. Clean. Well designed. Quite often your ship is tied up to other lines, you pass through and get a bit of a look. I think Emerald are as good as any and better than a few. We are picky. We found the service and staff wonderful. Right from when they spotted us getting out of the taxi on the wharf. No OTT "I want to be your best friend" just courteous and efficient service. There is one sitting for meals. At a table for 6, all the meals arrived hot at the same time. Nothing was a problem. No pestering to buy drinks, but if you wanted one it a steward was there. Must be esp! At lunch and dinner wine and beer is included, your glass never emptied. You needed to watch and say no if you didn't want topped up. Entertainment Emerald now have an entertainment mgr. New this season. Ours, Bret, was brilliant and he had the place humming every night. Other lines don't do this. They also bought on musicians from time to time. It was great. They make a fuss about birthdays and anniversaries. (They must get birthdays from your passport) The heated pool.is wonderful. Its quite surreal swimming in an infinity pool when its raining outside (its got a glass roof) They are quite obsessive at making sure those with allergies are catered for. Once again nothing is too much trouble. The Dining manager, Constantine could not have been more helpful. Generally the food is great. They need some desert recipes. They are average for snacks. The Cons Too much time is spent motoring up the River. For almost 1/2 the trip the handrails were down on the top deck as bridges were low and you cant use the top deck. Stops in some towns far too short. The noise!!!! you can not hear anyone in the corridor or speaking next door but the noise from locks and toilets is incredible. More detail in cabin review. The bikes! The provide bikes were about as basic as you can get. In the ports you can see that other lines have proper bikes. Most have a few E Bikes. Emeralds bike are a joke, only thing missing is the trainer wheels. To be fair they do discourage you from using them. I doubt we would ever go on another River Cruise, ocean cruising is better value for $. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We were picked up at 2:00 and transferred to the Emerald Sun where a member of the cruise staff showed us to our room. Our room was great, crisp white lines, mirrors and a floor to ceiling window. After unpacking we explored the ship. We ... Read More
We were picked up at 2:00 and transferred to the Emerald Sun where a member of the cruise staff showed us to our room. Our room was great, crisp white lines, mirrors and a floor to ceiling window. After unpacking we explored the ship. We could have gone ashore, but had spent 2 and a half days in Amsterdam so stayed on board. All meals were included and were excellent. I like having a buffet for breakfast and lunch. At lunch you did have the option to order from the menu as well. Dinner was served, 3 choices, meat, fish and vegetarian as well as steak, salmon and chicken daily. Each dinner included a choice of two appetizers, soup, and 4 desserts. The cheese on ship was amazing! The chef did a great job! The included tours were excellent. Extremely knowledgeable guides who spoke amazing English. The only negative was our docking. We did not have the best docking sites. But Emerald had busses that took us into town if necessary. We purchased four extra tours. The Dragonburg Castle was ok, there was filming that day which made part of the gardens out of bounds. The WW II tour was very interesting and explained how Hitler was able to rise to power. The Vienna concert was a highlight of the tour. The members of the Symphony Orchestra played Vienna classics and the soloists were good. The Jewish Quarter tour in Budapest was heart breaking. The Nazis' massacre of the Jews unbelievable. Our tour guide was new to Emerald and took us all over Budapest, showing us hidden food trucks, synagogues, and rebuilt areas. The on board entertainment, glass blower, zither player, violinist, Ompa Band and Hungarian dancers, were all of good quality. I found the zither player especially interesting as I knew very little about how it is played. Very difficult! Louis, from Portugal, is a very organized cruise director. His dry sense of humour was very appreciated and he made our cruise memorable. He was patient with all the questions and always seemed to have time for each guest. Ben, the activities director, was new to this job and tried to provide lots of different activities from yoga, to trivia, to bike tours, as well as cabarets and karoke. Well done, Ben All in all a memorable river cruise and would definitely cruise with Emerald again! 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Our second cruise on Emerald Waterways and as wonderful as the first. Great value on a fabulous itinerary. The staff is very friendly and accommodating. A special thanks to Darien for being attentive and hilarious; he made the trip ... Read More
Our second cruise on Emerald Waterways and as wonderful as the first. Great value on a fabulous itinerary. The staff is very friendly and accommodating. A special thanks to Darien for being attentive and hilarious; he made the trip special. The food was excellent and even include a diner prepared by a celebrity chef; an underlying fantastic meal. The wines served were very good and changed ever day. Somehow they seem to outdo the previous day’s selection ever day. All the city stops were interesting with an included morning tour in each, we took 2 of the 4 optional afternoon tours; finding them both well worth it. All the guides we had were professional and informative. Seeing the Roman Aqueduct was a particularly memorable sight. Both River Cruises we have taken have been relaxing and afforded us the opportunity to meet interesting other people; this trip was no exception as we spent much time with two other couples; one from Perth Australia and another from England near the Scotland border and with one our neighbors and their associated friends. We were shocked to find a group of 16 on board that were from nearby in our little state of Delaware; what are the odds. Highly recommend Emerald Warerways. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
From start to finish, the cruise was outstanding. We had to leave our hotel at 10 am and enquired if we could drop our bags off at the boat just after 10 as we knew check in wasn't until 3 pm. The email response was, not a problem. ... Read More
From start to finish, the cruise was outstanding. We had to leave our hotel at 10 am and enquired if we could drop our bags off at the boat just after 10 as we knew check in wasn't until 3 pm. The email response was, not a problem. Arrived around 10:30 am and were welcomed on board and was asked to head upstairs, help ourselves to a coffee and they would organise our room to be readied first for us. Very unexpected, but a wonderful first impression and we were in our room at 11:15 am when we thought we wouldn't be there until after 3 pm. Lunch was also offered. We were in the "aquarium" class and we have decided next time to go up a level so we could have a bit of a view, but more importantly, some fresh air if needed. Going from Budapest to Amsterdam, the port side was moored alongside the piers and other boats more so than the starboard side, so would get a starboard cabin next time for the trip. Food: I found the food to be varied and delicious with those who like meat, potato and three veges catered for. If the mains were not to your liking, every lunch and evening meal, there was chicken, fish or steak you could choose. All of the staff were outstanding; the captain, who as we were ahead of time, stopped in the early morning and waited until after 8 am when we were to go through one of the biggest locks so that the passengers could watch, the cleaning staff, chefs and wait staff. Nothing was too much trouble and there as always a smile on their faces. I don't know how they do it. I enjoyed the activities and it was good that they included walks for those who were a bit slower than other and another for those who were a bit more active and those who liked a bit of a hike. When we finished our cruise at Amsterdam, we weren't due to check into our hotel until later in the afternoon, and they were happy for those who didn't have to leave until a bit later, to wait on board and have lunch. Cons: I don't have any. If I am unhappy with something, I will let the people know so that they are aware of the issue and can look to improve things for later. This cruise and especially the staff was once again - outstanding and would happily do another cruise with Emerald (Evergreen) Read Less
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