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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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Chose this cruise as it was an area we were interested in seeing. We stopped at very interesting places which gave us access to local history and culture in a comfortable manner. The guides were particularly good and made the historical ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it was an area we were interested in seeing. We stopped at very interesting places which gave us access to local history and culture in a comfortable manner. The guides were particularly good and made the historical information very interesting. We had an extended stay in Bucharest at the beginning of the holiday at the Raddison Blue hotel which proved to be a good start to an excellent holiday. We were able to explore this wonderful city as well as having a city tour before embarkation. We joined the ship and were shown to our cabin by one of the ships stewards who told us about the facilities in the cabin. The meals on board have been excellent and good choices at each sitting. The restaurant staff have been very helpful and attentive throughout. We have enjoyed the entertainment on board but on a special note was Brett's performance. Also our cabin steward was excellent and always mindful of our needs. The shore excursions we joined were interesting and helped us understand local culture Our Cruise Director,Patricia, was most excellent at her job, very helpful and very pleasant at all times. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We arrived before our check-in time so cabin was not yet ready but we were welcomed on board, our luggage was stored for us and we were offered buffet lunch. Embarkation and disembarkation were very well organized. Cabins are very ... Read More
We arrived before our check-in time so cabin was not yet ready but we were welcomed on board, our luggage was stored for us and we were offered buffet lunch. Embarkation and disembarkation were very well organized. Cabins are very comfortable and efficient. Crew was exceptional. Meals on board were delicious - chef takes advantage of regional specialties and local fresh markets. Free wine (white, red, rose) and beer (only one choice on draught) with lunch and dinner (3 hour windows each). Panoramic balcony rooms have windows the full cabin width where the top drops down to allow plenty of outdoor air and viewing. Emerald's payment policy of 50% at booking with remaining balance due shortly before cruising was appreciated (rather than full payment required at booking like at least one other company). Tip: take advantage of discounts offered by attending an information session. Emerald's docking locations are typically right in the city centre so there weren't many bus trips; you could walk to the town centres which was appreciated if you wanted to go back into town during free time. Included shore excursions were interesting and educational. Local tour guides in each town were very personable and knowledgeable. The optional tour ($) to Pont du Gard was a definite highlight of the trip. Worth every Euro! Emerald also has the policy of encouraging their guests to buy and bring on board local beer, wine and food and will gladly uncork and provide glasses, etc. for you. We would definitely book with Emerald again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
A group of retired high school friends travelled together to experience the delights of the Rhine and enjoy quality time together. This line was a repeat for a few and highly recommended. Booking was convenient for a geographically diverse ... Read More
A group of retired high school friends travelled together to experience the delights of the Rhine and enjoy quality time together. This line was a repeat for a few and highly recommended. Booking was convenient for a geographically diverse group. The cabins were well equipped, the food plentiful and varied and excursions diversified. Where I found it lacking was in the entertainment and excursion/tour areas. A violin player one night and an opera trio another night were the sole “real” entertainment. The other nights had either a movie option (attended by 3 guests) or really lame karaoke or “game” shows. The guided tours were scheduled early and lasted less than 2 hours. Most took us to tourist areas, encouraged shopping, and only “free” time scheduled for the long afternoons. Weather was unseasonably cold and rainy so we couldn’t use the lovely sun deck except for one day. Emphasis was placed on the meals which were delightful and exquisite. I guess I depended on the cruise line and should have done more research into the visited cities. We also encountered 2 holidays during our week which added to larger crowds and less business openings. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary and because we wanted to explore Central Europe and in particular, to spend a couple of days in Vienna. The whole organisation of the cruise was impeccable from start to finish ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary and because we wanted to explore Central Europe and in particular, to spend a couple of days in Vienna. The whole organisation of the cruise was impeccable from start to finish and we were very impressed with the standard of the accommodation and the dining facilities. Any comments regarding improvements would be so minor as to hardly warrant mentioning eg. water for the tea machine was never hot enough - but where can you get a decent cup of tea outside the UK anyway? The onboard entertainment was restrained and understated which was fine for us but may not have suited those looking for something more lively. Seating for meals was not predetermined so you could sit wherever you wanted, alone or with friends as you wished. There were choices as to the difficulty of walks and excursions so those who wanted to stride out could do so and those with mobility issues were also catered for. Our Cruise Director was exceptional and always ready to help at any time of day. Given that complimentary drinks were available at lunch and dinner, we found that everything was included other than the gifts we bought whilst ashore. A cabin allowance of 250 euros meant that we could take up at least one of the additional excursions without any extra expenditure. We booked two further days stay in Budapest after the cruise had finished and it was not until we had left the ship that we actually began to spend any money! Altogether we thought it represented excellent value and it would be hard to imagine how it could be bettered. Well done Emerald! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Having completed an excellent Norwegian Northern Lights cruise we received an offer via Iglu Cruises for this cruise which included some good perks like the Premium Drinks package and an M&S voucher for both of us. Having looked ... Read More
Having completed an excellent Norwegian Northern Lights cruise we received an offer via Iglu Cruises for this cruise which included some good perks like the Premium Drinks package and an M&S voucher for both of us. Having looked into Emerald Waterways they got good reviews and the ships are all quite new and looked lovely. We have cruised on the sea before, but never on a river and we thought the Rhine would be interesting. We were not disappointed! We didn't get to explore Basel before we sailed as we were tired although there was a couple of hours which was available and some did. The airport transfer and embarkation all went smoothly and we were made very welcome on arrival at the ship. The cabins were ready ahead of the scheduled time which was nice. We had a Panorama Balcony stateroom which was a good size and very nicely furnished and fitted. The shower room was particularly generously sized for a ship. There was very little noise when the ship was sailing and it was exceptionally smooth. The only time we heard anything was when berthing at the ports but it was minimal. Dining was excellent with a good choice of dishes and much use of local produce. The hotel staff were very helpful and did their best to accommodate any special requests. The number and choice of ports was just about right and the price included guided tours at each stop. Other more active excursions were available at extra cost, but we didn't use these. Most of the tours were good although a couple of the guides were not really on top of their game. The bar/lounge was very comfortable and well staffed with a selection of books and games available to borrow. As we had the Premium Drinks package we could order anything from the bar at anytime without charge. All guests get complimentary wine, beer or soft drink with lunch and dinner. The ship was able to accommodate all guests at one open sitting for dinner. As mentioned above all the staff were very friendly and helpful and Michael our Cruise Director kept us all fully informed about the daily schedule and timings. This was delivered to each cabin the night before. If there was any area which was a bit disappointing it was the evening entertainment. We had a group of opera singers who were no doubt very good but not to our taste. On another evening we had a lovely violinist who played a wide variety of music and was excellent. A karaoke night was less successful and we felt not really a good choice for the type of passengers on board. There were also a couple of film nights, but we didn't go to these. Yes we would certainly go again having enjoyed it immensely. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We were on the special Tulip Season cruise recently. From April 17 - 24, 2019. We thought the ship was larger than expected. The lounge area was roomy enough for everyone (as noted every evening when all were in attendance for the Port ... Read More
We were on the special Tulip Season cruise recently. From April 17 - 24, 2019. We thought the ship was larger than expected. The lounge area was roomy enough for everyone (as noted every evening when all were in attendance for the Port talk by Nina. (Cruise Director). From the moment we stepped on the ship, we were pampered and catered to. Our cabin was okay in size. I had researched beforehand so I knew what to expect. I got really tired of the small sink in the bathroom. But, there is a good amount of hidden storage behind the mirrors. It was nice to have a mini refrigerator. Our cabin steward was Arditt and I couldn't have been happier with him. I asked for ice to be delivered daily; and he did not let me down. He kept the room very clean for us. Also broght me a few extra towels each day. I very much appreciated him. The Captain was nice and made himself seen and available to the guests. Robert was always cordial. Nina did an excellent job, as did Julia, the activity director. My husband and I are on the active side; so had it not been for Julia, I might have been disappointed on the options and level of activity for us. My one big complaint is that this cruise line adveritses the movie nights in the pool area. But, those were not mentioned or arranged any of the days we were on board. I feel like someone should have told us why this wasn't done. This amenity was a selling point to me choosing this particular ship and cruise line. As noted by several guests, the dining experience is great. But, the level of noise makes it very difficult to carry on much of a conversation. Might just be how it is, since there's only one seating for dinner. But, I thought I'd mention it because several of the Veteran River Cruise guests said they experienced a little bit better noise level on another cruise line. Wine and beer as advertised for lunch and dinner. I was surprised at how much they will allow you to have. It was really nice. I guess I assumed beforehand that they'd be a little "stingy" with it; but that was not the case at all. Nemitt was our waiter for many of the nights and I found that we missed him when he wasn't working our area. Hope this review helps you! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise primarily for the visit to the tulip gardens. The vessel itself was good as were the trips and the crew. The guides and the equipment to hear the guides were good. We particularly liked the lady guide when we went to ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for the visit to the tulip gardens. The vessel itself was good as were the trips and the crew. The guides and the equipment to hear the guides were good. We particularly liked the lady guide when we went to Delft, and the gentleman when we went to Arnhem (he was 8yrs old during the battle for Arnhem and was able to relate to it and the Dutch views about it). The on board entertainment was poor. The musician/pianist employed on board has gone and been replaced by an entertainments/activities officer. The evening entertainment was poor and it drove most of the passengers out of the lounge in the evening. There are only so many quizzes anyone can tolerate ! Notably on the last night a duo played on board, admittedly only for 35 minutes, but the lounge was full for this. Surely Emerald would benefit from having better entertainment for which they may have to pay, but it would be more than recompensed in bar sales. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
I am an airline employee and received information from ID 90 and they shared a special that looked like something we wanted to try. It turned out to be really great and we loved the crew and ship! Would definitely do it again. We took ... Read More
I am an airline employee and received information from ID 90 and they shared a special that looked like something we wanted to try. It turned out to be really great and we loved the crew and ship! Would definitely do it again. We took another couple and they agreed it was a great time! The ship was one of the newest, very pretty and our cabin was very nice. Dining was great and even had Hungarian goulash available when we came back late from our private concert while in Vienna.~ Loved the greeting with the hot towels and our cabin was always made up and cleaned when we returned from being out and about! Would we do it again, YES!!! We were invited to sit the last evening at the captain's table. We found Jasper to be quite experienced and would hope to have him lead the ship again should we have the opportunity to be so lucky to have him. Also shout out to Maria, the head of the cabins and we also thought that Balegio was superb at leading all of us on announcements and directions. Loved it!!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have just returned from a week long cruise on the Emerald Dawn from Amsterdam to Basel. We were very impressed by the level of service and the facilities. All members of staff from cruise director Michael, the hotel manager Albert, ... Read More
We have just returned from a week long cruise on the Emerald Dawn from Amsterdam to Basel. We were very impressed by the level of service and the facilities. All members of staff from cruise director Michael, the hotel manager Albert, entertainment manager Callum to Bali who cleaned our room were friendly, helpful and worked hard to make the cruise special. The ship The ship was clean, light and spacious with a lounge area which was great for meeting with other guests and for entertainment. There was also tea and coffee available at all times. We didn't use the pool but it did look very inviting and often this was a quieter area on the ship. The sun deck was a favourite place and we luckily had the weather to enjoy it. Our cabin We had a panorama balcony cabin on the upper deck which was kept spotless by the housekeeping staff. The bed was very comfortable and the bathroom, although compact as one would expect on a river cruise boat, was more than adequate. Blinds on the window allowed complete privacy - important if you are moored next to another boat which happened on a couple of occasions. We were surprised by how quiet it was at night, even when cruising, and this was maybe the advantage of an upper deck room. There was a good entertainment system with films available. Dining Breakfast was great with a good selection and there was a choice of a light lunch in the lounge or a more comprehensive meal in the Reflections restaurant. In addition there was afternoon tea. Dinner was a busy affair with all guests seated at the same time to make service easier. However service was very good and wine with the meal was plentiful. I have read some reviews about portion sizes but considering all the other meals available we felt they were more than adequate. The quality of food was on the whole good. We received a drinks package as we had booked early and did enjoy being able to have additional drinks with no extra cost. Excursions We particularly enjoyed our tours of Amsterdam, Koblenz and Strasbourg though Cologne was not such an attractive place. Most of the guides were very knowledgeable and entertaining and the pace of walking was comfortable. There was usually a special group for those that wanted a slower walk. The hike in the Black Forest was a lovely way to complete the cruise and we wished it could have been a bit longer. The beauty of this was that if you wanted a quiet day on the ship you could forego the trips. Overview One of the things that made me choose Emerald was that all tips including those for guides, were included in the price which made the trip stress free. Information about each day was presented in a programme delivered to our room the night before. Embarkation, disembarkation, trips, and events were all well organised and ran smoothly - no mean feat when dealing with nearly 180 passengers. We had a wonderful time and will certainly be considering Emerald for our next cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This staff were terrific - professional, and very well organised. Each member was war and friendly, without familiarity. Though they did know what our preferences for tea/coffee, wine etc. after a couple of days. The pace was gentle, ... Read More
This staff were terrific - professional, and very well organised. Each member was war and friendly, without familiarity. Though they did know what our preferences for tea/coffee, wine etc. after a couple of days. The pace was gentle, offering well guided daily walks, and more activities if one wanted. Local guides provided much one the way of local and historical information. The food at all meals was excellent, and the wines were local to each area we visited and the wait staff ‘generous’ with it, within reason. The bar offered many selections either a la Carte or via a couple of drinks package options. Again, the staff excelled and provided fun and entertainment. The cabin was well set out, spacious for its type and facilities. Cabin service twice daily was very good. The welcoming warm and the disembarkation procedure was seamless and very well organised. Could not fault any service provided and had a wonderful time on aboard and at our stops along the way. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Went on a river cruise on board the Emerald Liberte back in April. Can't say enough about the entire trip. From the moment we boarded the crew were so welcoming and helpful. Our cabins were nice but the balcony and window were ... Read More
Went on a river cruise on board the Emerald Liberte back in April. Can't say enough about the entire trip. From the moment we boarded the crew were so welcoming and helpful. Our cabins were nice but the balcony and window were fantastic. Everyday the food was amazing. From breakfast to dinner, there was always something delicious to eat. The staff in the lounge and dining room were always there to help. Both Captains and Yanna and Drazen were exceptional. The daily excursions gave you a nice feel for the towns we stopped in. It was great docking right in the middle of the towns. Every town we stopped it was beautiful but my favorites would be Lyon, Avignon and Arles. Nightly entertainment was fun. But it was also relaxing to just sit in enjoy a conversation with the group. It was the most wonderfully relaxing but fun trip I have taken in a while. I can't wait to take another Emerald Cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Having completed one Emerald cruise on the Danube, and been impressed, we decided a second on the Rhone should follow. We were not disappointed! It was the first of this season but the boat, the crew and all hotel staff were bonded as a ... Read More
Having completed one Emerald cruise on the Danube, and been impressed, we decided a second on the Rhone should follow. We were not disappointed! It was the first of this season but the boat, the crew and all hotel staff were bonded as a very competent, friendly and professional team who constantly demonstrated a desire to please. Accommodation, bar and drinks, onboard entertainment, pool/cinema area and especially the food and accompanying wines were all consistently very good. And of course last but not least, the guided land tours and scenery were in excess of expectations. We had a drinks package and struggled thereafter to spend money on board! My wife regrettably made up for it whilst on shore and we came home with marvellous cheeses, mustards, wines and chocolates! Jana the cruise Director and DD the cruise Entertainment director were superb and got to know all 130 passengers personally and treated them as both individuals and as members of the Team Emerald. A glowing review I know but well deserved Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Wonderful way way to see Southern France. Service was incredible. Friendly service staff. The food was deliciously prepared. We saw a little bit of everything from architecture to art museums. Plenty of time if you want to hang out on the ... Read More
Wonderful way way to see Southern France. Service was incredible. Friendly service staff. The food was deliciously prepared. We saw a little bit of everything from architecture to art museums. Plenty of time if you want to hang out on the deck, or by the pool, or walk the town where the ship is docked. Cabins were clean, quiet and efficient. The gym is small, but there is a running track up on top of the ship. There was plenty of walking on the tours, so lots of opportunities to get exercise if you want it. This is a mature crowd, and children are not allowed which makes for a very quiet good time. The cruise is geared towards an older crowd, so if you are looking for extreme partying or a 24 hour buffet, this isn't the cruise for you. There is always some sort of entertainment at night. There isn't much shopping to do, but for me, I appreciate a more educational trip - the tour guides were very interesting and full of information. Great Value, great time! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We loved the 7 day Christmas Markets cruise from Budapest to Nurenberg! The Emerald Waterways cruise line was a wonderful choice. The food was excellent! Wine, Beer and Soft Drinks are included at each lunch and dinner. Balocz our ... Read More
We loved the 7 day Christmas Markets cruise from Budapest to Nurenberg! The Emerald Waterways cruise line was a wonderful choice. The food was excellent! Wine, Beer and Soft Drinks are included at each lunch and dinner. Balocz our cruise director, was organized, enthusiastic, engaging and well spoken. The tour guides on the local excursions were excellent as well! We loved touring the Christmas Markets and Balocz would share interesting information each night about the next day's city. The rooms on the Emerald Sun were very clean and well appointed. As it was December and the sun set at 4:30 p.m., we didn't spend very much time on the top deck but it looked like a great place to enjoy the sun in the spring, summer or fall. We started our trip in Budapest and enjoyed two days there before our cruise. We wished we had had a couple extra days as there were so many sights to visit. The cruise stopped in Bratislava, Milk, Durnstein, Vienna, Passau, Regensberg and finally, Nurenberg. We took the day excursion to Salzburg on the day we arrived in Passau. The trip to Salzburg was magical as it had snowed the night before. We will definitely book another cruise through Emerald Waterways. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We have just completed the Amsterdam to Budapest Christmas Markets river cruise. It was very good trip and I would highly recommend it to anyone. We were somewhat worried about the river levels as Europe had a terrible summer and many ... Read More
We have just completed the Amsterdam to Budapest Christmas Markets river cruise. It was very good trip and I would highly recommend it to anyone. We were somewhat worried about the river levels as Europe had a terrible summer and many cruises were impacted with people having to change boats or take long legs on coaches. Thankfully this never happened to us. Whilst, Evergreen have their river guarantee we didn't need to rely on it. About a week before the cruise we were called by Evergreen to tell us the situation and give us a couple of options. We decided to proceed as planned. The ship was excellent and we were in a grand balcony suite, it provided a a little extra room and a few extra comforts. Now for some specifics: Food: The food was a generally pretty good - in terms of quality and quantity it couldn't be faulted. Where there is room for improvement is variety. As someone who doesn't eat fish/seafood I was often left with one choice. They have a couple of standing choices in terms of steaks and chicken but these were not well prepared in my opinion. Alcohol - they offer free beer and wine with meals. If you want anything else outside of meal times you will need to pay for it or arrange for a drinks package. This is what we did. Laundry - depending on your canine choice you may get some pieces of laundry included - a couple of pieces a day. Regardless its not enough and the laundry charges are stupendously high. Tours - You basically stop in a town each day. Usually in the morning, you have breakfast and at about 9am you muster to go exploring. There are local guides and audio devices for each person so you can listen to the guides explanation. This was very good and all of the guides we experienced were professional and most often had a great sense of humour. They are usually residents in the towns you visit. You then get a couple of hours of free time to go shopping or exploring in your own time. Discover More Tours - These tours are offered as additional extras. They go to slightly out of the way places - usually by coach. You pay more for these and they happen while the rest of the passengers are doing the standard tour. We did a couple - to the Dracenfels castle and to Saltzburg. Each of these was about $120 per person. The Salzburg tour was excellent (think town from Sound of Music) the Dracenfels castles was a complete waste of time and money. This was one of the first tours and as such it didn't help us get off to the best start. The castle is basically a large house that has been designed to look like a castle. It was opened up especially for our tour - but that said there were covers over stall/shops that had been set up inside to keep them out the snow. The guide tried hard but could do too much. There were a number of onboard entertainment events - including local performers from Austria and Hungary - excellent events. There were a couple of other entertainment activities such as trivia and dance nights. The cruise director we had on board - Darren, was excellent. He worked tirelessly to make everything happen. A great personality and helped make the trip fun. Cannot recommend him highly enough. I've seen a few other comments about the age of the passengers. My wife and I are both 46 and while we amongst the youngest on the ship (there were a few in there 20s) we didn't feel out of place. There were plenty of fit and able people and most groups walked a good pace. There was typically one group for 'slow' walkers. As I indicated earlier we really enjoyed the trip. We paid for the upgrades to business class flights and the upgraded cabin. The business class flights were a good option when coming from Australia especially if you are over 6ft tall. We arrived a little early - 3 days in Amsterdam and stayed a little later in Budapest (another 3 days). If I had my time again I would reduce the post cruise Budapest stay to an extra day. We will probably take another cruise like this in a couple of years to go and we happily choose Evergreen again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Chose this cruise for 2 reasons: a) My birthday b) Mary Berry on board as my wife is a fan! The crew were excellent; all seemed to get on really well and were very efficient & cheerful Excursions were also v.good with free time ... Read More
Chose this cruise for 2 reasons: a) My birthday b) Mary Berry on board as my wife is a fan! The crew were excellent; all seemed to get on really well and were very efficient & cheerful Excursions were also v.good with free time to explore. Local guides spoke good English & were easily understood. The cabins have a poor layout & poor sound insulation. The wall which has your headboard has the neighbouring cabin's TV on the other side. It would be better if dividing walls had BOTH TVs on it. Also the bathroom door is a sliding one which is only 18inches from the bed. Every time our neighbours used the bathroom we could hear the door opening and closing. The bed is comfortable but it is 2 single beds pushed together & more floor space could've been made by having a standard double bed. Not shown how to convert the room into a balcony; certainly wasn't obvious. Didn't like sailing at night as we missed many scenic views along the way. Minimal daytime sailing which was a great shame. Also going through locks at 3am wakes you up! Please Emerald STOP SAILING AT NIGHT!! The food on board was excellent; except the one time buffet which was lukewarm and with a good choice. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
WE chose this cruise over Viking because of the great deal. Our fare included the Premium Liquor package, r/t airfare for $295, an upgraded room, and one extra excursion. Viking's fare was almost $2000 more for all of that. (Note: ... Read More
WE chose this cruise over Viking because of the great deal. Our fare included the Premium Liquor package, r/t airfare for $295, an upgraded room, and one extra excursion. Viking's fare was almost $2000 more for all of that. (Note: Viking's trip includes 10 days vs. our 7 and also 3 days in Lisbon, which we did on our own for probably less.) Not having sailed with Emerald before we kept our expectations low. But we were pleasantly surprised. The ship was relatively new, full of chrome and glass with comfortable seating in the lounge. The staff were friendly, very accommodating, and helpful. Our room, albeit small like most river cruise cabins, was still comfortable with great beds. Given that it was November and the weather was not that good, it was nice to have the full window and a little extra space in the cabin to view the passing landscape vs. a regular balcony....much more comfortable. The food was very good - probably not up to the par of Viking (which I have taken 4 trips on), but still good....and the Portuguese wines were excellent...and they were not stingy with the pours. We did have to cope with cloudy and rainy days, but for the most part, our excursions were fine. One comment....on the first day the cruise director decided to give the full itinerary in much too much detail. You could see passengers just nodding off - and of course not listening. She then reported every night on the next day. Most cruise directors just give a short overview on the first night and then give more specifics daily. Suggest she do the same. The other comment, it would have been nice to have had a little more free time to wander the towns we visited...but we were told the ship had a tight schedule with the locks....I am sure the summer tours are better about this. Our disembarkation was one of the smoothest I have experienced. The cruise directors ordered a taxi and then personally escorted us to the car and helped with the luggage. Nice touch. Big kudos to the staff manning the concierge desk, the bar staff, the waiters and waitresses, and the cabin attendants. And the captain was very accessible. They all made the trip that much more special. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise because we have had excellent holidays with Emerald before and we had not done this cruise. The ship was quite new and was kept in immaculate condition. We were in an Owner's Suite which was very spacious ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have had excellent holidays with Emerald before and we had not done this cruise. The ship was quite new and was kept in immaculate condition. We were in an Owner's Suite which was very spacious and equipped with everything you would want. The meals were superb, enhanced by the included wine and beer, and the service exceptionally friendly and helpful. The evening entertainment of quizzes was good and the musical entertainment particularly enjoyable. The tile painting and cork bracelet making were unusual and entertaining. There were also demonstrations of cooking custard tarts and mixing cocktails based on Port, both of which allowed passengers to partake in the action. The shore excursions were well organised and interesting. The ship's Captain was more than a phantom figure but was around a lot of the time and particularly welcomed everyone back on board when returning from an excursion. We enjoyed this cruise enormously and are looking for more for next year. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Although veteran ocean cruisers, we'd never tried river cruising until August 2017, when we sailed with Emerald Waterways on the Douro in Portugal. Reader, we loved it! Measured against our vague criteria of Ambience (the ship and its ... Read More
Although veteran ocean cruisers, we'd never tried river cruising until August 2017, when we sailed with Emerald Waterways on the Douro in Portugal. Reader, we loved it! Measured against our vague criteria of Ambience (the ship and its facilities, the river, its scenery and towns), Service (the crew's friendliness, helpfulness and professionalism) and Food (quality, variety, flavour, novelty), everything was absolutely excellent. Especially the food: great news, since it's a major focus of every holiday we take. Portugese chef Nuno Gomes was an absolute star, turning out delightful delicacies, dish after dish. Not only talented, but also enthusiastic and proud of what he created, Nuno was to be seen running the egg station each morning at breakfast, and at lunch explaining the regional dishes which he'd that day prepared. He was a highly-competent professional, and he absolutely made our holiday. And so we returned to Emerald in October 2018, this time on the Rhône in France (from Lyon to Arles). Well, the Ambience was again excellent, and so indeed was the Service (everyone from Captain Dario on down was lovely); we've nothing negative to say about either. Which brings us to the Food. The Food was, well, OK. It wasn't poor, it wasn't unpleasant, the ingredients were excellent... it just wasn't as well-prepared as we'd hoped for. Chef Teodor (much younger than Nuno) seemed to be just going though the motions; there was no passion in his food. Favours were indistinct or muddy, corners were cut (eg 'glazed carrots' were plain boiled, fruit wasn't fully peeled) and, boy, were potatoes over-used! Every soup was potato soup; the 'fresh carrot' soup had added hints of carrot, the 'fresh fennel' soup had only added aniseeds, and the 'fresh cauliflower' soup had been shown a photograph of a cauliflower. Even a 'Quiche Lorraine' (classically eggs, cream and bacon, plus optional cheese) was padded with potato; sheesh! And if you're dishing up a succession of bland wispy gelatine-set savoury mousses, please don't try to dignify them as 'parfaits', or 'pates', or 'terrines'. So, meal after meal, we were left thinking: with a little more care and imagination, that could have been so much nicer. (The star of every lunch and dinner was waiter/sommelier Sasa, whose insightful comments on the wines he was serving were very much appreciated.) In summary, the cruise was a bit disappointing -- for us -- only because of the cookery. On the other hand, most of the other passengers seemed perfectly happy, so maybe you shouldn't pay too much attention to these remarks... unless food means as much to you as it does to us. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
The Douro River was a cruise we had not yet taken. We have experienced a number of other River Cruises and Cruise lines. The Emerald Radiance is the best we have experienced. We particularly appreciated their all inclusive policy. ... Read More
The Douro River was a cruise we had not yet taken. We have experienced a number of other River Cruises and Cruise lines. The Emerald Radiance is the best we have experienced. We particularly appreciated their all inclusive policy. We were traveling with a group of 14 all were pleased with the great service provided by a welcoming and knowledgeable staff. The meals were varied and delicious. I particularly want to thank HOTEL Manager Manuel for his excellent service .Emerald will be at the top of my cruising list. This is a fairly new boat on the river, equipped with Wi-Fi in every room. Instead of a balcony or a patio door there. Is a window the width of your room the top half of which folds down into the bottom half at their touch of a button to give you an open air view. The visits to wine Estates are extremely well done with experienced guides. Try it you'll like it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
It covered the Douro River with optional excursions. The best part was that you weren't locked into any activity that you didn't want to participate in. A good overview of Spain and Portugal. The on board dining was excellent ... Read More
It covered the Douro River with optional excursions. The best part was that you weren't locked into any activity that you didn't want to participate in. A good overview of Spain and Portugal. The on board dining was excellent and gave us a taste of the local cuisine. The concierge Manuel was an exemplary organizer with a good command of the English language. He commanded the staff appropriately and effectively. He was always available and ready to help. He has a vast knowledge of the history and local culture. Without his direction the cruise would not have run as smoothly .I would recommend Manuel as concierge on any cruise. I would recommend this cruise to anyone who wants to have a relaxing time and still be overseas enjoying the scenery the company the hospitality of this crew. It caters for all ages and tastes with numerous possibilities to organize your own holiday. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I went on this cruise unexpectedly. My mother and sister had gone on several river cruises but I had not - they always struck me as an over-controlled experience with more focus on the ship than on the places visited. But when my mother ... Read More
I went on this cruise unexpectedly. My mother and sister had gone on several river cruises but I had not - they always struck me as an over-controlled experience with more focus on the ship than on the places visited. But when my mother set up this trip for her 80th birthday I got a chance to see what the fuss was about. Wow. WOW. First off, you do get to see PLENTY! And one of the wonderful things about Emerald Waterways is that they do all of the planning for you: passes, passport review (Enchantment of Eastern Europe goes through 5 countries in 9 days, so this is a LOT of paperwork off my plate), tour buses, guides, the works. Given I'm over burdened with logistics in my day-to-day life, this all-inclusive experience takes a lot of the stress out of planning a vacation. Emerald also coordinates experiences that going it alone can't, most notably an in-home visit for a homemade lunch with a Croatian family. The guides on all off-ship excursions are excellent. If you're a history buff (like me!) you get a lot of history and context for what you're seeing, from someone who lives there and has lived that history. Given how little I knew about eastern Europe in general this was a huge plus for me. I didn't know about the long shadows both the Roman and Ottoman empires cast over this part of the world, nor the varied and nuanced experiences of the Cold War and communism in the Balkans. I went back to the ship each night with a dozen notes for follow up at the library when I got home. The ship itself was exceptional. Service was incredibly attentive - within two days the waiters knew me and my coffee preferences on sight. The cruise director briefed us each night, so we'd know what to expect in terms of activities, local currencies and time changes, menu (more on that later), and was incredibly approachable and knowledgable. One thing that always daunted me about the idea of a cruise was getting lost on a huge boat of hundreds of people. I appreciated the fairly small ship and crew/crowd size (I think plus crew it was less than 200 people). I think this allowed both for better service and easier interactions between fellow vacationers at dinners and on excursions. The food was fantastic. They never overfed you, but I can honestly say my stomach never growled once the entire time I was on board. Dinner was previewed each night with a handout and chef recommendations, the latter of which almost never set a foot wrong. The food was excellent, in small enough portions to not feel overstuffed by appetizer, soup, main course and dessert. "One" glass of wine is provided with dinner, but that glass is constantly refilled by the attentive wait staff. Breakfast and lunch buffets were equally good. All meals included vegetarian options, and the staff even accommodated dietary restrictions on the family lunch visits. My only reservations: I'd have preferred a bit more "quiet space". Even during in the quietest times in the public areas there was music running, when I would have just preferred to hear the lull of the water against the ship's hull. I would have welcomed more opportunities to exchange cash/go to ATMs. While most of the countries on this trip (Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary) take euros some of the time, each country has its own currency and not all vendors take credit/debit cards. It was quite easy to wind up with a handful of currency on Wednesday that you couldn't use Thursday and couldn't exchange easily. I would also have liked the opportunity to visit a post office to send souvenirs home, but this may be out of an unrealistic desire to avoid overweight bag charges. The short version: would I do again? You bet! You get to see a lot with very little logistics on your part and you only have to unpack once. The food is phenomenal and all of it is included, including tips. The staff can help you with just about anything where you might get stuck, and you go home with unique memories and even more curiosity. Read Less
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