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Sail Date: July 2019
Chose this cruise because I love France. Arles, Avignon and Lyon were really interesting ports of call. Ship was spotless. Food was very good. Service in the dining area was excellent. All staff and crew were friendly, helpful and ... Read More
Chose this cruise because I love France. Arles, Avignon and Lyon were really interesting ports of call. Ship was spotless. Food was very good. Service in the dining area was excellent. All staff and crew were friendly, helpful and efficient. We were disappointed that the ship often sailed during the night. When it did sail during the day, there was no access to the top deck due to the many, many lochs and bridges. (There was free access when in port). On day 6, the french authorities boarded the ship for an audit. The ship was prevented from completing its journey. The next day : * we travelled by coach to a vineyard - over 2 hours each way * a scheduled cheese/wine event did not take place * we made our own arrangements for lunch * returning from the coach trip, we were told to pack as we would be staying overnight at the Radisson hotel and we had to find somewhere for our evening meal * we were able to claim for 2 basic meals - but the allowance was far short of the standard and number of courses we had become accustomed to plus, unlimited wine with our meals * passengers were very low in spirit at the end of the holiday and we have never had an explanation as to why the ship's paperwork was not in order. * Liberte was unable to make its return journey to Arles, meaning many more disappointed people. I have written to Emerald Waterways suggesting compensation should be a seventh of the cruise price. I have not had a reply - just a standard letter and a cheque for £110. I don’t think this is adequate when you consider the disruption and inconvenience we experienced. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Maybe we have high expectations? I just don't understand how so many people can say "Fantastic, Wonderful, Amazing" In my experience there is always room to improve. On our cruise we had "lock" problems so were ... Read More
Maybe we have high expectations? I just don't understand how so many people can say "Fantastic, Wonderful, Amazing" In my experience there is always room to improve. On our cruise we had "lock" problems so were unable to reach our last port of call and were transferred via bus. Made for a very long and uncomfortable day. In general the ports we visited were nice, but I wouldn't be interested in returning for extended stays, other then Budapest and Prague. The food on board was OK, but only 40% of it seemed to change daily, they kept serving the same items over and over again. I was also surprised to find we were forced to join other people at meal time. I understand many people enjoy this, but me and my husband like to enjoy a quite dinner after a long day of touring share our thoughts of the day. The idea of a peaceful relaxing dinner with each other, a glass of wine, is just what we are looking for. However, being pushed into making small talk with strangers each night was not what we were expecting. After all is said and done, we will go on another river boat cruise, but more prepared with the pluses and minus. 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
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
This was our third cruise with Emerald. We have also cruised with Uniworld and Viking. We chose this trip from Budapest to Amsterdam on Emerald because our previous trips with Emerald were wonderful. Unfortunately that was not quite the ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Emerald. We have also cruised with Uniworld and Viking. We chose this trip from Budapest to Amsterdam on Emerald because our previous trips with Emerald were wonderful. Unfortunately that was not quite the case. I have written about our cabin below so I won't go into that any further. The ship was very nice and comfortable and the staff was great. Michael the Cruise Director was outstanding. The food was plentiful and you would never go hungry but my husband said it was nothing special. The soups were weak and salty; not much taste. The dinners were somewhat unusual too; beef cheeks and lots of lamb!!!! At dinner we expected men to wear long pants but instead we had several that had on sport shorts and flip flops. Emerald does have a dress policy but doesn't enforce it. We talked with the Hotel manager and the head of the dining room who admitted they had a dress code but they didn't ask the gentlemen to please put on pants for dinner. Very disappointing. The tours and guides were excellent. Most were college students who were very entertaining and knowledgeable. Because of the low river levels we only missed two stops in Passau and Koblenz and were very, very fortunate to be able to sail all the way to Amsterdam. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We liked the itinerary of this cruise however, the river was low and we were informed at 6pm the previous evening could only board at Passau not Nuremberg. We arrived in Munich Airport at 11am - our baggage did not arrive until 12.15, we ... Read More
We liked the itinerary of this cruise however, the river was low and we were informed at 6pm the previous evening could only board at Passau not Nuremberg. We arrived in Munich Airport at 11am - our baggage did not arrive until 12.15, we could not find the meeting staff for Emerald - no signs - no notices at the cafe proposed for the meeting. We were then approached by a lady with no identification telling us that our transport had left and we would not get transport until 14.30 - flippantly told just to have some lunch!! We were taken to the car and left the airport at 2.30pm. When nearing Passau the driver informed us that we still had one hour to drive. He then proceeded south and obviously had no idea where he was going, we went through fields and farmyards but no sign of a river. The driver would not stop to find out where we were - my husband called Emerald Dawn and asked where they were berthed - he told us near the central station in Amsterdam! After a further 4 calls where the driver would not communicate with the ship - we asked for his papers which stated we were going to Emerald Sun. We finally arrived at the ship at 6.20pm - no apology for lack of information or inconvenience, in fact quite the opposite. We wrote a letter to the CEO of Emerald and handed a copy to the cruise director - he did not even acknowledge it. They then told us we would be going back up the river to Regensburg the following day by coach - 2.5 hours each way - this was not what we expected and could not face another long bus trip. By the next day we had somewhat calmed down and the remainder of the cruise was good. On leaving the ship on 15th Sept. we were taken to Budapest Airport for the flight to Amsterdam and on to Edinburgh, the flight arrived late - the air bridge would not work the steward announced we would still catch our flight to Edinburgh. We RAN to the gate to find out the Edinburgh flight was gone -we are 74 years old and did not feel good after this rush. KLM were very helpful put us on the next flight where we found that 2 of our fellow ship passengers going to Edinburgh were booked and had not had the rush to a flight that was gone. The inefficiencies of the transfers were appalling, but the most disappointing was the attitude of the management of the ship, they were just not interested. this experience would not entice us to book Emerald again, in fact we could not recommend it. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our first River Cruise we will repeat. We chose Emerald because Senic included drinks all day and we do not drink as much. We were told that Emerauld's quality was outstanding for less as Wine and beer and soft drinks meals ... Read More
This was our first River Cruise we will repeat. We chose Emerald because Senic included drinks all day and we do not drink as much. We were told that Emerauld's quality was outstanding for less as Wine and beer and soft drinks meals only. We did have a few drinks between meals but mostly at the beginning of the cruise and used our credits on board to pay. The care with our Cruise director Darren was outstanding so was the whole crew .Each night we get explanations on the next day activities and countries what excursions to choose. There is lots of free time if we choose to do nothing. They truly care. Darren went out of his way to accommodate us during the heat wave to make us comfortable during excursions. The Captain is the only one who risked going through the low water levels we stayed informed all the way. Precautions were taken and we felt secure. The comfort on the ship is outstanding. Air conditioning on-going. Sheets and bed all is top quality. Embarkation and disembarkation are easy pizzy! No hassle, no climbing stairs, waiting for contents to be checked, many entrances to come in or out from, good monitoring of passengers entering or exiting ship even when anchored with other ships. Activities with music and dancers from different countries were awesome and had us all participating (no obligation). Loved that the tips were included no extra to pay ever!!! We loved Vienna. The after thought is spend less time in little countries such as Lynz and Durnstein and more in bigger countries like 2 days in Vienna as it was in Budapest. Vienna is wonderful the history, the buildings, the sites...we would like to return to spend one week in Vienna only. Concert in Vienna is a must. Family visit in Bratislava is high on our list of likes. The Budapest part is something to remember for the rest of your life. We took the option to stay in Budapest and regretted it simply because Emerald excursions did such a good job at showing us the country plus the night cruise was breathtaking, 2 days more cost us over $1000. (we had to pay for our excursions, food and all) and not worth it because we had covered so much with our guides for free and great explanations. First 3 days in Prague were very well organized, our tour guide was perfectly bilingual, helpful and knowledgeable. She told us so much on on each one of our tours we really enjoyed those 3 days. The bus to Nuremberg on the 4th day made us wonder why we left Prague so late. We were under the impression that there was an organized tour in Nuremberg before boarding the ship. We left Prague at 1h30pm it took us 5 hours to get from Prague to Nuremberg. The meal stop (at our expense) was in a mcDonalds on the side of the road. Could have had a lunch packed for us from the hotel before leaving or go to a local restaurant? Anyhow, this stop is not representative of the ship standards and was very disappointing in terms of a short visit in Nuremberg and food but we should of understood at that moment that the food standards of Emerald are far from ours... Speaking of food... If you like veggies and soup (soups were very good but very salty) bread and cold cuts and desserts you are in for a treat also, there were many fruit and nuts to choose from.I have travelled more than my share business and pleasure, sea cruises, organized or not trips, it is the first time I come back having lost weight because nothing on the menu turned our crank! Nothing refined...I can appreciate we ate local...goulash, sausages, sauerkraut, shneizell we had the impression that nothing was freshly made more like warmed up cafeteria and fat. There was an option choice for those who did not like the day menu, steak, salmon or chicken breast. Steak was not the best quality and lots of pulling to cut, if you like your steak medium rare by the time they come up the stairs and serve it continues to cook and turns out to be well done; the chicken is more like an overcooked thin cutlets=dry like cardboard, salmon very dry and small portion. Captain's night Chateaubriand and fish the portions were so small 3 bites later and it was gone, night of the Celebration supper Beef cheeks tasted like plastic (could not eat it had a salad with cheese) . Lunch is a buffet pretty much always the same. I hate to post such a bad review for food because all the rest was soooooo over the top excellent.But for our group food kicks the experience up a notch! We would like an explanation of why the quality was so poor it will help us choose our next cruise. I do recommend this cruise and if food is important for you then ask more questions before you book. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our first river cruise and it was our honeymoon, so we decided to splash out and book the best. Emerald included everything, meals, wine, tours, tips and this was a perfect way to get a feel of river cruising. We chose our cabin, ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and it was our honeymoon, so we decided to splash out and book the best. Emerald included everything, meals, wine, tours, tips and this was a perfect way to get a feel of river cruising. We chose our cabin, mid boat and on the top deck with panoramic balcony. This was perfect, roomy, comfortable, clean and with great facilities such as WiFi and free movies. Lovely touch of turn down each night, towel animals which made us smile and chocolate on the pillow. The staff looking after the rooms were friendly and helpful, they couldn’t be faulted. The boat was beautiful and easy to navigate. The reception staff were helpful and friendly, always willing to answer questions and the cruise director worked hard and spoke well at the evening meetings. There were however a couple of issues which did lead us to think we would try an alternative cruise line if we went again. The breakfast and lunches were great, lots of choice and lovely food but the food at dinner was well below par. Portion sizes were small and the quality was lacking, definitely not worth the money. The serving staff were friendly but there were some language issues and there appeared to be issues with the kitchen staff, mainly the head chef. There were lots of complaints which was a shame. The other thing we didn’t enjoy was the way the tours were set up. We often only had 30 mins to an hour to have coffee and look round and then had to rush back to the boat for lunch. Packed lunches weren’t an option for some reason. The best trip was the day we had in Strasbourg, we opted to miss lunch and stay in town. If we did a river cruise again we would check the tours out first. We felt like sheep being herded most of the time rather than valued travellers. Not sure if this is a common issue on river tours? If we had thought ahead we would also have booked a couple of nights in Switzerland at the end of the cruise as no time to see otherwise. Entertainment on board was limited, a good evening violinist and not so good singers on one afternoon. There was a keyboard player in the bar each evening who was good but not a lot of atmosphere. The welcome and farewell dinners weren’t outstanding. Lots of clapping the staff but as the farewell dinner was on the Thursday rather than the actual last night it all felt a bit strange. The best entertainment was a guest who had brought along a harmonica! Great American blues. Overall the cruise was a lovely relaxing holiday, we would just choose to try an alternative cruise line in future to see if they offer a more individual service. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Chose this cruise to celebrate a special event. Staff was accomodating though even with room being çleaned' twice a day, the vacuum obviously didn't work well.Tours were basic and food was disappointing with the chef's ... Read More
Chose this cruise to celebrate a special event. Staff was accomodating though even with room being çleaned' twice a day, the vacuum obviously didn't work well.Tours were basic and food was disappointing with the chef's menu being rather boring after the first few days. The soups were a mild variance of the consomme of the previous day.Rooms were small but adequate but the lack of a dance floor and entertainment made you want for the calm of your room! Main complaints: no onboard credit for Canadians. Welearnt later that the UK guests were provided 100 pounds each. All guests arrived with Emerald backpacks , not a prioity but principle All communication with thiscompany and through the travel agent has been UNANSWERED for nigh on 6 months! When you pay thei kind of money you expect a certain degree of service. Just wanted an apology but since none was received Never using them again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
Price & itinerary were what we were looking for. Also had read that the Radiance was a new ship (built in 2017). Ship very modern and clean with much chrome & glass. Found that layout of public areas (restaurant & ... Read More
Price & itinerary were what we were looking for. Also had read that the Radiance was a new ship (built in 2017). Ship very modern and clean with much chrome & glass. Found that layout of public areas (restaurant & bar/lounge) were quite crowded, with furniture almost on top of each other. Food was pretty good, although some foods at breakfast buffet were cold when they should not have been. Service was very good, as were shore excursions and local guides. Cruise tour Director (Luis Gomes) was excellent. Cabin layout was disappointing as it was advertised as "balcony". However, turned out to be simply a pull down half picture window. Overall cabin layout was very crowded, with access to bathroom quite restricted. Much prefer balcony cabin layout on AMA Waterway ships; which are true "French Balconies". Overall, cruise was enjoyable as onboard service was very good as were the excursions and local tour guides. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
The Good. The entire crew were excellent throughout the cruise and unable to be faulted. Always a ready smile, happy to chat and would go out of their way to ensure we and other passengers were going to get the most enjoyment out of ... Read More
The Good. The entire crew were excellent throughout the cruise and unable to be faulted. Always a ready smile, happy to chat and would go out of their way to ensure we and other passengers were going to get the most enjoyment out of this cruise. Embarkation in Amsterdam and disembarkation in Budapest went smoothly and seemlessly. Our cabin on the lower deck was cosy and just a small window to let light in, but unable to look out off unless one was over 2 metres tall. But this is what we booked and expected. The cabin was kept clean every day, bed comfortable and chocolates every night on our pillows. The information chanel on the televison was normally a day or two behind with details of activities and it became necessary to go to reception to get this changed. In the end we just didnt bother and relied on the daily printed newsletter. Tours and guides. Most were good, some not so good, and a couple just downright boring. Some guides must have been paid by the words they spoke, never shutting up and constantly filling our heads with nondiscript facts that went in and out at the same time. The Bad As allude above, a few guides suffered from verbal overload. Yes most of us were interested in facts and figures about the tour we were on, but our brains do have a limited capacity to absorb hundreds of years of information in a short period of time. The good guides kept the information to the basics, what is it, where is it, why etc, others felt it important to tell not only their life stories, but the entire life story of what it was we were looking at. These long winded guides were the topic of conversation around the dinner table, and not in a complimentary manner either. The Ugly Yes river cruise ships have limited space and this shows in the dining room. Breakfast isn't so bad, it's staggered and people come to eat in a timely manner that doesn't overcrowd the buffet serving area. Lunch (buffet) was a nightmare, the dining rooms doors usually opened at noon, on the dot and the crowds rush in, firstly to get the right table and then to be first in line to get to the food. It would be 30 minutes before the lines settled down and others who didn't wants to push and shove were able to get their food. And who's idea was it to have one nights dinner buffet style. Same situation as lunch. Dinner wasn't that much better, though it was waiter service, with people lining up outside the dining room up to 20 minutes before opening time to get their favourite table. The after dinner entertainment left much to be desired. We had just three evenings of entertainment which was greatly enjoyed by passengers and well attended. The first a trivia night, the second a dance night, the third a liar night. All three were fun and gratefully appreciated by all in attendance which was most of the ship, The after dinner entertainment for the rest of the cruise was taken up by the single musician on his piano, and whilst very good, could not attract a crowd and hence the room was mostly empty after 9pm The food thoughout was fair to good, some days excellent, some days not so. On days when food was left on plates waiters made the enquiry as to why and eager to satisfy with replacement food. Whist breakfast and lunch buffets were plentyful, it was on days quite bland. Dinner was from menu selection and the best meal of the day with several choices. (To be fair, whilst lunch was buffet style, passengers were offered a menu at lunch times and could order items from the kitchen. We did this perhaps half the time when we found something to our liking) The outside upper deck was closed from around day 3 or 4 and wasnt available for use by passengers until around day10 or 11, so for half the cruise this area was out of bounds due to low bridges over the rivers and canals. Passengers during this time could not avail themselves of the fine weather to sunbathe or exercise. Have cruised before on ocean liners, first time on a river cruise and not sure we would do another river cruise. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this company over its competitors because of good CC and word-of-mouth reviews; and this cruise because of its romantic Christmas nature. Some aspects were excellent: small but comfortable and well-appointed cabins with great ... Read More
We chose this company over its competitors because of good CC and word-of-mouth reviews; and this cruise because of its romantic Christmas nature. Some aspects were excellent: small but comfortable and well-appointed cabins with great views; the small but superb swimming pool facility; the top quality guides, who spoke perfect English and were informative, interesting and, in a couple of cases, superbly droll. We had lots of snow and a particularly memorable blizzard experience at Rothenberg. We also had an absolutely top quality cruise director. So why no five stars? Two reasons. Firstly, rank incompetence in arrangements for arrival/welcome at Munich airport, a situation which left our driver, when we finally found him, driving us at top speed the 170 kilometres from Munich to Nuremburg (was there really no airport closer?) to ensure we arrived at time for departure. This meant we did not begin our holiday in a relaxed frame of mind and we would urge all customers of Emerald to double-check instructions for reception after flight to Munich rather than taking at face value the instructions in their booklet regarding meeting in a certain cafe. Even more disappointing was the poor quality of food on this cruise. Buffet breakfast and lunch began average and seemed to improve as the cruise continued. But served dinners were lacklustre throughout. Menus were uninspiring and unimaginative, especially - though not exclusively - for vegetarians like me; portions were small which would have been fine had quality been good, but it rarely rose above average and a couple of times was below that. Twice, we chose to eat off-ship. This problem may have been a blip; generally Emerald's food seems to be well reviewed. However, it was a severe disappointment to us and to quite a few fellow cruisers we talked to. The dinners just felt cheaply sourced and put together; and inadequate. Since quality cuisine is a very important part of the cruise experience It has left us feeling that we did not get our money's worth and that we don't want to travel with Emerald again. None of this is to intended to impugn the excellence of the committed restaurant and bar staff who did their very best - though at times waits were lengthy and they appeared short-staffed....Generally, the entertainment was poor - quizzes, a zither player and some execrable movies - though the glassblower was interesting. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Recently travelled with Emerald from Budapest to Amsterdam. I went to Budapest a couple of days early, and stayed on the ship the first night. We did a tour of Budapest from the ship, as well as an evening cruise on the Danube. The ship ... Read More
Recently travelled with Emerald from Budapest to Amsterdam. I went to Budapest a couple of days early, and stayed on the ship the first night. We did a tour of Budapest from the ship, as well as an evening cruise on the Danube. The ship itself was modern, with good facilities. Shore excursions were well organised, and the tours hit all the highlights. Options offered were good. On board entertainment consisted of a piano player in the lounge, and the odd game night. Movies in the theatre were the same as you could get in your cabin, so not well attended. The crew night was fun - it wasn't professional, but that was the charm, and the crew acknowledged they were amateurs. Cabin was clean, and well maintained, although a little tight between one bed and the bathroom. Drawer space was more than adequate, but at the cost of a smallish closet which contained the room safe and mini-bar. Cabin staff was excellent. Overall, staff were good. Unfortunately, lunch and breakfast were buffet style and the food was not kept warm. Eggs cooked for you at breakfast were fine, but the meats and scrambled eggs were in trays that appeared not to be heated. Even if you dug down to the bottom of the scrambled eggs, they were still cold. At lunch, soup was hot, and pasta in heated dishes were warm, but the other hot entrees were anything but. Ironically, dessert at the evening meal was frequently served on dishes that appeared to come straight from the dishwasher. Hence, cheese melted to the dish, and ice cream melted quickly. This was a remarkable adventure, but when people ask if I recommend it, I tell them yes, but not with Emerald because of the food. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I had never been on a riverboat cruise so picked this one simply through online research and because it stopped at the places I wished to see. The excursions and visits to castles, palaces, abbeys, churches and historic cities and towns ... Read More
I had never been on a riverboat cruise so picked this one simply through online research and because it stopped at the places I wished to see. The excursions and visits to castles, palaces, abbeys, churches and historic cities and towns were all wonderful - I’m sure I will never be there again, so it was a very compact and educational 2weeks. Most of the guides were very good. Some, however, dwelt on an excessive amount of facts which were quickly forgotten, too numerous to remember. I had some difficulty adjusting to and accepting the limitations of the riverboat itself. This was partly due to the fact that I had previously taken so many ocean cruises on some very large ships. We had a one bedroom suite which gave us more room than most of the passengers. The room needed more lighting esp. for a vanity. Women are still not considered in most hotels, ships etc. I disliked the open seating at the dining hall. If you did not get there promptly it was not always possible to find seating for all of your party together. Breakfast and lunch times were good re food choices, but the evening meal left much to be desired. Being exposed to European dishes is fine but not every night with the same selection of foods. I found it impossible to eat much of the food offered. A lot of it simply was too spicy or strange for me. When not on an excursion there was virtually nothing to do on board the boat. The lounge was too small to accommodate everyone, the pool was a joke and the library consisted of a handful of books. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
The cruise director was excellent and could not be faulted. The ship was very clean and our cabin person looked after us very well. However a major down side of this cruise was the food which was extremely disappointing. I do not eat ... Read More
The cruise director was excellent and could not be faulted. The ship was very clean and our cabin person looked after us very well. However a major down side of this cruise was the food which was extremely disappointing. I do not eat milk, cream or butter so I told reception on the first day. They told me that they would put a menu for me in the room every day. This they did for the first five days, but sadly all they did was to high light the food I could not eat, which was the major part of the menu. No alternative was offered. They offer rump steak and chips to everyone who wants it and I had no choice but to eat this 5 nights out of 7. The steak was extremely small (4oz max) with a few chips on the side and that was it! Not even a slice of tomato or any garnish at all, and no vegetables. I paid thousands of pounds for this cruise and everyone we talked to said that they did not like the evening meals. My husband eats anything , but he said everything just tasted the same. Portions were very small, and at night on our table we all asked for extra bread every night to fill up on. The dining room was the nosiest I have ever experienced, with everyone shouting at each other in order to hear what was being said, maybe the low ceilings had something to do with it. The excursions were good and were included in the price. On board we played the mini golf 3 holes. The entertainment was very good when available, in particular the violin player. All in all the cruise was just average, but the staff did try their best to look after everyone. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on ... Read More
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on many evenings at dinner ,when you needed another glass of wine the staff didn't seem to notice . But, other than that ,, it was lovely. The ports of call were great and loved the day we went to have tea with a local family. Would loved to have tried the pool but wasn't brave enough . Due to the weather. Nina our tour guide was always there to answer any questions. Had a massage and it was just " wonderful. Please enjoy your cruise and have fun. Would go with Emerald again . So go go go go go ,fun fun fun . Xx Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
we saw this as an opportunity to see French towns and that did not disappoint. however the staff are fed up and unhappy. If management went undercover they'd gauge their staff as they are easy to talk to you and slag off the company. ... Read More
we saw this as an opportunity to see French towns and that did not disappoint. however the staff are fed up and unhappy. If management went undercover they'd gauge their staff as they are easy to talk to you and slag off the company. this is not good as it filters to passengers. the food is basic and certainly not top notch. complimentary drink or people on the full package do not get their glasses refilled often and it's clear the staff are under orders not to re-fill often. I mean there was a long wait between drinks. their are not enough waiters in the bar and they deliberately wander around trying not to make eye contact, again a sign on not serving too many drinks and top deck on sun lounge no staff were ever seen - shocking. shore excursions - extra trips are over priced and not value for money. other companies are certainly better. overall rating average. entertainment is poor and the pianist is clearly depressed. you could save money and put on a CD. they are now not bothered if staff or especially passengers sanitise on leaving and entering ship and not bothered if passengers sanitise going into restaurant. again, shocking as a lot of old people and infection control is paramount. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We are very frequent cruisers (50+ ocean cruises) but we recently took our first ever river cruise aboard the Emerald Sun travelling from Budapest to Nuremberg. The holiday didn't start off well with the airline (KLM) arranged by ... Read More
We are very frequent cruisers (50+ ocean cruises) but we recently took our first ever river cruise aboard the Emerald Sun travelling from Budapest to Nuremberg. The holiday didn't start off well with the airline (KLM) arranged by Emerald cancelling the outgoing flights due to 'high winds' whereby instead of arriving at the ship at lunchtime it was after 6.00 pm we eventually arrived. Despite our late arrival the transfer arrangements worked well and we received a warm welcome on board. Prior to the cruise Emerald described their cabins as some of the biggest on the river cruise market. We had nothing to compare this with but when we were shown to our cabin - a panorama balcony cabin - we found it to be very, very compact. It was the smallest cabin we have ever experienced. It did have a large bathroom, probably disproportionately large when compared to the size of the cabin with the entrance sliding door only 40 cms or so away from the side (pillow end) of the bed. The cabin was well appointed with drawer space but seemingly at the expense of hanging wardrobe space. One half of the wardrobe contained the fridge and safe so the remaining hanging space was even too short for trousers folded in half on a trouser hanger or blouses, etc. There was a very large flat screen TV with a reasonable amount of channels and free to view movies and the electrical sockets required the standard 'European' adapter. The sockets were poorly placed, however, particularly for my wife as there wasn't a mirror near to the sockets where she could 'do' her hair or apply her makeup. We had our own hairdryer with us with a relatively long lead so my wife resorted to sitting (or kneeling) round the corner in the entrance hallway, which was in itself poorly illuminated and using the full length darkened mirror - not ideal. There was adequate lighting and mirrors in the bathroom for her to apply her makeup. One omission that I would have expected to find in such a modern ship was usb charging points to prevent having to fiddle about with adapters, etc. As we arrived so late on the ship we made our way to the main lounge as quickly as we could and did see the last 15 minutes or so of the performance of the Hungarian folk group. They were very good as were the Bavarian 'oompah oompah' band on our last evening. All other entertainment was staff led and while the resident pianist was okay a decent singer or two would have made all the difference. As stated at the outset we have nothing to compare this experience against so perhaps this is the 'standard' aboard such relatively 'high end' river cruises. The Gala Welcome Dinner was quite a disappointment. There were relatively few choices, again this may be standa5rd across the river cruise industry, and the food that was served was at best warm. I eat anything but my wife is less adventurous when it comes to food. There were a few daily 'alternatives' always available such as clear soup, chicken breast, rump steak, which she resorted to on a number of occasions. I asked for a steak once - medium rare - that was delivered very well done. I would point out though that most of the meat served on the cruise was very good quality and very tender, but it was seldom served hot. Breakfasts offered the standard fare and a reasonable variety but again the hot food was seldom hot. I'm not a great lover of warm beans and scrambled egg. The breads, cold cuts, cheeses, etc., were, however, very good so I resorted to those for most breakfasts. Coffee on the ship was excellent with modern bean fed coffee machines available and delightful short crust biscuits to enjoy with the coffee. Bus and/or walking tours were included in this cruise and were very well delivered, with excellent guides providing the clearly well informed commentary. The audio devices provided worked very well. All the towns/cities we visited on this cruise were most enjoyable. These included Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Melk, Passau, Regensberg, with Vienna being the exception, not because of the scenery, but because after the walking tour we had 2 hours free time before the earliest bus back to the ship. It was a very cold day and because it was a Sunday all the 'regular' shops were closed. Highlight of the cruise was probably the evening sail in Budapest with all the important buildings and landmarks illuminated. What we didn't realise about this cruise was the 25 locks to navigate between Budapest and Nuremberg. Experiencing some of these in daylight was actually very interesting, but actually quite alarming on occasion when these were navigated at night. We were often awoken with loud bangs and shudders caused by the ship coming into contact with the lock walls. Coming awake on such occasions it was actually quite disorientating looking out the full size window to see 'nothing' but a dark, wet lock wall only a few inches away. We really enjoy sitting on the top deck of the ship watching the landscape go by but when negotiating some locks we were sometimes restricted from doing due to low lying lock structures, etc. This was most evident on the last section of the cruise when were negotiating the Maine-Danube canal and the top deck was closed for more than a day due to low bridges, etc. If we are to repeat our river cruise experience we would certainly do our research beforehand and avoid rivers with locks, or at least so many locks. As part of our cruise we had a 'premium drinks package' and the ship had a good selection of beers, wines and spirits to allow us to fully enjoy that package. Dress code was quite casual throughout the cruise. I took from the cruise brochures that I would occasionally wear a jacket and tie, so I took a dress jacket, a couple of appropriate shirts and suitable ties, but when I wore it to the Welcome Gala dinner I realised immediately that I was completely overdressed so it never 'escaped' from the wardrobe again during the cruise. So all in all a reasonably enjoyable and relaxing cruise holiday, but not one that we were 'blown away' with. If we are to consider another river cruise we may check out the 'competition. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was our first river cruise; after some research I booked via Iglu as they recommended Emerald for first timers. There were issues with the booking process - the invoices kept showing the wrong return flight and I had great difficulty ... Read More
This was our first river cruise; after some research I booked via Iglu as they recommended Emerald for first timers. There were issues with the booking process - the invoices kept showing the wrong return flight and I had great difficulty getting a resolution....being told it'll be OK on the day does not inspire confidence. When the data pack arrived, the flight out did not have an e-ticket; on arrival at LHR T5 BA sent us to the wrong terminal so we nearly missed our flight. Arrival at Budapest was chaotic as there was a full coach and the driver was overwhelmed trying to load all the luggage on two sides - we ended up helping him out. The ship is very clean (almost clinical) and our cabin was compact but fine for the purpose (we are both slim). The lounge & dining room are both excellent, as is the upper deck and seating area at the stern. The cruise director was superb; excellent English and a real understanding of the different guest nationalities. Most of the staff genuinely wanted the guests to have a good time; after only a day they remembered that my wife could not tolerate cow's milk and wine. The other guests were from the USA, Canada, Australia & UK. We made some good friends very quickly; it was interesting to note that only those from the USA did not mix and stayed in their group, apart from on the excursions when they had no choice. The food choice was disappointing - it reminded us of the many corporate meals we had had during our business days. Meat dishes were OK but the fish disappointing - bland and lifeless. The exception was the 'Bavarian themed meal'; that was excellent. We discovered that HQ plan the menus - the Exec. Chef was obviously talented.....why not let him plan as well as execute (basic business sense to us)? A couple of the staff needed training - the Deputy Maitre-de was very abrupt to the point of rudeness to my wife and another lady. When it was reported to him via other staff he became sycophantic to the point of sarcasm. Some of his 'jokes' were offensive to Western Europeans. One of the bar staff had a heavy cough; after coughing into her hand she then handled glasses etc without washing. Needless to say by the end of the week a number of us were going down with sore throats...in my case I am on antibiotics + a week off to clear a resulting chest infection. My first illness for 20+ years. We stuck with the included excursions - though most were very good, by the end of the week we were 'excursioned-out'. The highlight was the visit to a Slovak family for a tour of their garden plus tea & cakes. The highlight of the tour was sat up front, cruising the Wachau Valley, on a sunny day with convivial company. The Crew Show was very funny and the Umpah Band memorable. Dis-embarkation was extremely well organised and we arrived at Munich Airport in plenty of time for our flight. BA were less well organised and failed to get their crew to the plane until well after the scheduled departure time so we arrived one & half hours late. Their information system wasn't updated so our limo' driver got nearly to T5 before delays were shown and these were much lower than actual even though they must have known an hour before. I Overall it was a great experience but there are systemic issues that need addressing so we won't be using Emerald again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
My husband and I toured with Emerald River Cruises on the Emerald Star ship, Budapest to Prague, 11 days, September 28th to October 8th, 2017. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise very much especially the itinerary and staff interaction. A ... Read More
My husband and I toured with Emerald River Cruises on the Emerald Star ship, Budapest to Prague, 11 days, September 28th to October 8th, 2017. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise very much especially the itinerary and staff interaction. A special thanks to Vladimir, Vladvarmina, Milos and Olga in the restaurant. Their jovial interaction made our trip most enjoyable. Our Cruise Director, Balazs, was the most efficient, helpful, individual we have ever encountered on a River Cruise. The only downside to our cruise was the cabin and food. The cabin was very, very small. We stayed on the 2nd main floor where the restaurant and front desk were located. Its location was perfect. The room itself was very modernly appointed, kept very clean (thank you Anton) but way too small for two people. The window of this Panoramic Balcony Suite was poorly designed and does not allow for easy viewing of the scenery outside. The automatic window slides down but the main frame where you sit blocks your viewing quality. Secondly, the food was mediocre and never warm except at the a la carte sittings for dinner. In this modern day and age, there must be a way to keep the food hot. Many of the passengers were first time cruisers and a younger crowd. On our cruise there was an even distribution of Canadians, U.S. and the rest were British, Australian and a family from Malaysia. The interaction with other guests was easy and we had a lot of fun with them. As I said before, we had a wonderful time but have been spoiled by our voyages with Uniworld and Avalon River Cruises, who have larger cabins and outstanding food, always hot, even at the buffet. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I was not sure what to expect from this cruise as I had never been on a river cruise before but having said that it was not that good! First im going to say the good things. The boat was first class The crew were first class ... Read More
I was not sure what to expect from this cruise as I had never been on a river cruise before but having said that it was not that good! First im going to say the good things. The boat was first class The crew were first class The food and entertainment was first class. Most of the tours were first class. Now the not so good! Hardly any daytime cruising! While docked for some reason they decided to pump out the sewage that left a disgusting stink in our cabin made both of us a little nauseous! When we left Prague we were told we would not be going to Nuremberg but to Ragensburg and no attempt was made to take us by bus to Nuremberg for the day and no compensation given for something we paid for, and Nuremberg was a place I was looking forward to seeing! One of our Discover more trips to Blatna was cancelled without compensation this also was something we wanted to do! The beds in the cabin need to have some way to stop them from separating (Velcro) So would I recommend this cruise? Probably but make sure everything is looked into thoroughly before you pay. We did have fun and met new friends so it was not a total washout the countries we visited were fabulous and with a rich history Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Wanted to compare it with sea cruising. We go on sea cruising a lot and they cater better for dietary problems. too long to wait for meals. When you are on trips food was not good and should of been told when it was going to be serve ... Read More
Wanted to compare it with sea cruising. We go on sea cruising a lot and they cater better for dietary problems. too long to wait for meals. When you are on trips food was not good and should of been told when it was going to be serve late.There was also a lecture in the pool area on the only time to had to go in the pool, very bad organisation. Very little selection in fruit and biscuits. Not very happy about the food at all, thought it would of been better for the price, very expensive for what we got. Cabin and ship was very clean and modern, could do with better entertainment, also when they had a captains welcome and farewell party you should of been able to order any drink, they were very stingy with the champagne, it was an 1" in the bottom of the flute. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
We had Emerald highly recommended by our Travel Agent, who had sent other clients on your Danube cruises. We were also swayed by the brochure, which promised a most enjoyable cruise. In the main, we did enjoy it, but there were ... Read More
We had Emerald highly recommended by our Travel Agent, who had sent other clients on your Danube cruises. We were also swayed by the brochure, which promised a most enjoyable cruise. In the main, we did enjoy it, but there were aspects that we thought could be significantly improved. Our main disappointment was the cuisine. We did not like the single sitting arrangement for dinner. We thought the food at dinner especially was short on variety, quality and quantity, with too much emphasis on presentation. We were not offered a barbeque, despite the great weather on our first three days. There were only 3 nights when the 'quiet area' was available with nowhere to sit quietly on other nights. We felt that a number of the tours were included just to fill in the timetable. However, the guides throughout were excellent, and we learned a great deal about the history of the 5 countries visited during and post Communism. The visits to the various fortresses and farms were overdone and added little value. The horse show was only average and very muddy!!. The two lunch meals out were disappointing, although we enjoyed the private house lunch. The service and professionalism of the crew was excellent, the ship was very well appointed, and the free use 24/7 of the coffee/tea machine was much appreciated (Suggest you provide a similar machine in the Dining Room as an alternative to the weak coffee served at breakfast). All this went a long way to making the cruise enjoyable, and to mitigating the issues highlighted above.. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise as it traveled through Eastern Europe to countries which we haven't visited before. Found the layout of the ship. especially the lounge with bar in the center rather than at the end not very satisfactory as ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it traveled through Eastern Europe to countries which we haven't visited before. Found the layout of the ship. especially the lounge with bar in the center rather than at the end not very satisfactory as not everyone could see the entertainment. It was not possible to watch the entertainment in the cabin although it was supposed to be available. Also the outside terrace too small. Swimming pool was a useful asset. Service in the dining room very rushed and we were told that they were short of staff. Other cruises we have been on we were able to have more conversation with the dining staff. Tour director was very personable and helpful. Shore excursions interesting and the use of bikes very good. A chance to explore Bucharest our own using the Metro whilst at the Sheraton was excellent We will probably not travel with this company again as we have found others more to more to our liking. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We wanted to visit the wine region in Portugal and after a good experience with Emerald on a previous cruise we were very disappointed with this one .The cabins are very small compared with their Star ships and the bathroom was minute ... Read More
We wanted to visit the wine region in Portugal and after a good experience with Emerald on a previous cruise we were very disappointed with this one .The cabins are very small compared with their Star ships and the bathroom was minute .There was hardly room to go round the bed to use the very small ,infant sized toilet. Our biggest disappointment was that out of 7 nights ,we only had 4 proper dinner evenings. One night was a so called BBQ which consisted of Luke warm precooked chicken which was dry and unpalatable ,small pieces of pork which was dry ,some sausages ,baked potatoes and a very limited salad offering .This was followed by a small dish of ice cream . Another night was a meal in a local venue which we did not go to .Those of us who stayed on board were served a very poor meal with chips still frozen in the middle . The first night was just a buffet ,so again ,not a dining experience. Several guests had stomach upsets including both of us .I continued to be ill on return to England and our hospitals tests came back as E.coli . We will not be going with Emerald again Read Less
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