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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Review Are you under 70? Do you like an active lifestyle? Do you enjoy great food and wine? Do you like to socialize with well educated and cultured travelers? If so, DO NOT CRUISE WITH EMERALD WATERWAYS. We did the Danube River from ... Read More
Review Are you under 70? Do you like an active lifestyle? Do you enjoy great food and wine? Do you like to socialize with well educated and cultured travelers? If so, DO NOT CRUISE WITH EMERALD WATERWAYS. We did the Danube River from Budapest to Bucharest. The average passenger was British, 75 years old, had difficulty walking, and complained about everything. I was prevented from taking a morning walk on the sun deck walking track because my footsteps (at 3.6 mph) disturbed someone on the deck below. I would have been happy to use a treadmill, but alas, the “gym” didn’t have one, just three never-used recumbent bicycles. We could never get the in-cabin movies to work until the final day of the cruise, despite being in an owner’s suite. We barely saw our butler (a glorified cabin maid), and although we purchased the inclusive alcohol package, it apparently did not include premium wine. The offerings were horrible local wines. Food choices were limited. Beef was usually tough and overcooked, the chicken was dry, and desserts were uninspiring. It is really too bad that the ship, which is quite beautiful, is staffed by a crew that still needs to learn a lot about service and accommodation. Maybe they should rename it Emerald Walker-ways. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot more ... Read More
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot more info on what to expect and someone to answer questions, like your cabin steward whom we didn’t see until the second day. This doesn’t improve, if you miss a port talk you are completely in the dark. The owners suite is small compared to other cruise/River ships. No tv in bedroom so bring binoculars to see it in the sitting room. Expect to hear your neighbors as the rooms have very thin walls. No ice offered unless you get a glass of ice at the bar. If you want a drink you must go to the bar and it’s like asking for a favor. With the premium package you get whatever bottle they have open, and if it’s a good wine, expect it to runout quickly! The cabin steward left our used towels because we didn’t throw them on the floor. Who knew? as this was never communicated. Emerald assured us we wouldn’t hear joggers above our suite but you definitely do, at 6am. They told us we had to put up with it for four days. The crew told us this was the last cruise and they didn’t know if the ship was returning or they had jobs. How sad for them and to bad for us. We sat at the Captains table which was very nice. The food should of been exceptional which I can’t say was the case. I’m really trying to be positive but so far the experience hasn’t lived up to our expectations. The included guided tours have been managed well and you see a lot of the cities you visit. The food is probably the biggest disappointment. No variety and mainly the same theme throughout the whole cruise. The buffet menu was offered only on a couple days, but don’t expect the classics these are only offered when it is a dinner menu night. The soups are either consommé or bouillon and nothing special. When a buffet is offered expect complete chaos. No formal direction just one big free for all. I went on the bike trip from Durnstein to Melk. They did try to talk us out of it but the reviews were to good for me to skip it. The guide was young and worked with her farther who brought up the rear. We did the 20 miles in 3 hours with a half hour lunch break and 5 photo opts. The pace was way to fast and that was because the guide did double duty and needed to get back for the Abby tour. Two folks had to get a cab (52 euro) to get back to the ship. Active is one description but this is Tourist de France. Nothing offered after dinner. OK, my wife and I can’t complain anymore. So much is wrong about this experience we just decided to give in and let it happen. They will not change so we go with the flow but will never ever make the same mistake. Emerald is at best a 2 Star and needs improving. Anyone who travels knows what expectations should be provided and they have a long way to go. Hope this review enlightens your decision. So choose well and happy travels. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I wanted to tour the Rhone River and visit the wine region and do some tasting and that was the focus of this cruise. A very nice feature was either red or white wine was served at lunch and dinner at no additional cost. We had lots of ... Read More
I wanted to tour the Rhone River and visit the wine region and do some tasting and that was the focus of this cruise. A very nice feature was either red or white wine was served at lunch and dinner at no additional cost. We had lots of opportunities to buy fine wines on our outings which we could then consume with our meals. There was a wine maker on board who gave a talk and a tasting. He explained the characteristic of the grapes in the regions we visited which was fun for even those not into wine, Some of the outings were included in the price of the cruise such as walking tours of the town with local guides.There was plenty to do each day, or you could just relax in the beautiful lounge. The boat is new and very luxuriant. It had only been in service for less than six months. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
this cruise was the worst I have ever taken. The boat was full of problems we where in cabin 110 next to the crew door that was slammed day and night the crew in the next cabin talked loudly well into the night and sound proofing was non ... Read More
this cruise was the worst I have ever taken. The boat was full of problems we where in cabin 110 next to the crew door that was slammed day and night the crew in the next cabin talked loudly well into the night and sound proofing was non existant. The sink in the bathroom leaked onto the floor every time we used it and the lights over the basin did not work. the food left a lot to be desired hot food was only just warm and cold food was the same heat. on the meals served in the dining room started at 19.00 we where still eating at 22.00 and lost the will to live. on BBQ night the food was cold and my wife and I where taken ill after eating under cooked chicken. the entertainment was 1 man playing an organ but after taking so long to eat everyone usually went to bed. when we arrived back in port an army of workmen came on board some deck was pulled up another 3 sections of BBQ fixed and a host of other problems Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
The ship was excellent. The staff were excellent. The food was excellent. HOWEVER there was no cruise. We arrived at Basel airport and were taken on a coach to a muddy field where the ship was moored, not Basel. Due to flooding on ... Read More
The ship was excellent. The staff were excellent. The food was excellent. HOWEVER there was no cruise. We arrived at Basel airport and were taken on a coach to a muddy field where the ship was moored, not Basel. Due to flooding on the Rhine all locks were closed and we spent three days moored at the first lock, with no expectation of moving on. We were moored on the Alsace canal. On the 4th evening everyone was told that they would be leaving the ship the following morning and would not be returning. The rest of the week would be spent in hotels. There had been a warning the previous evening the locks may not reopen soon and that cargo vessels took preference when they did. It was suggested that arrangements could be made for anyone who wished to fly home. We chose this option. TODAY we received a cursory compensation offer in the form of vouchers for a future cruise! After talking to various people on our return it seems that weather problems on the Rhine, Rhone and Danube are not uncommon. In the light of this we are hardly likely to want to use the vouchers. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We love the River Rhine and looked forward to seeing it glide by our cabin window on our first cruise. We were to board in Basel so spent two days there in the excellent Hotel Victoria enjoying the trams and the pouring rain. There ... Read More
We love the River Rhine and looked forward to seeing it glide by our cabin window on our first cruise. We were to board in Basel so spent two days there in the excellent Hotel Victoria enjoying the trams and the pouring rain. There was some alarm when we phoned the boat for confirmation of joining instructions. We were told that because of the rain the Rhine was very high and the boat could not get to Basel so was at Kembs. We should take a bus out to the airport and try to find a rep with transport. A bus took us to a field with a path to the boat. We were not advised to cancel the cruise at that time. The Reception was welcoming and our cases were taken to an excellent cabin that we thought suited us fine. We wandered round the boat and thought that it all looked good, especially the lounge and dining room. The sun deck furniture was all knocked flat for passing under bridges. As it happened, we never passed under a bridge and the furniture was never re-erected. So there were no activities up there. There was an evening briefing when we met Karla the Cruise Director. They had postponed the Welcome Reception until the next day because of the stresses folk had had on the way to the boat. The dining room seemed splendid on entry and promised some good food. However the roof was low and all sound seemed amplified. The service was fairly slow and it was acoustically painful to sit there waiting while everybody else was shouting to make themselves heard. We never managed to finish a meal. No evening entertainment was arranged while we were on the boat apart from an old film each evening in the small swimming pool/cinema area. The boat moved a few kilometres to the Breisach end of the canal but was trapped there by the high water in the canal so daily excursions were at first reorganised. Boats that had been left in the River Rhine got away. Some of the day trips were strenuous for the less fit. On the Tuesday night we were told that we would all have to leave the boat the next day. The main party must leave by 7.am for a gruelling coach tour to Amsterdam. For the rest, arrangements would be made by offices in their own countries for passengers to be flown home. There is a good video under the heading ‘Emerald Sky Jewels of the Rhine’ on Youtube that shows the problems. We flew home exhausted, with very swollen ankles and needing a holiday. A look at the weather records showed that the boat should not have been brought in to the Alsace Canal and been trapped. Having done so though, the ‘cruise’ should never have been attempted. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We were on Emerald Sky early May from Basel to Amsterdam. It was docked in Kembs in France on the canal d'Alsace. As we were already in Basel we had to go to the airport to be bussed to the ship. Due to inclement weather, the ship ... Read More
We were on Emerald Sky early May from Basel to Amsterdam. It was docked in Kembs in France on the canal d'Alsace. As we were already in Basel we had to go to the airport to be bussed to the ship. Due to inclement weather, the ship cruised 45 km to the lock at Breisach. It spent the next 5 days stuck in the lock there with Emerald bussing passengers to the Black Forest (included attraction), then to Colmar on France and finally a whole day tour to Heidelburg (5 hours on a bus) - very strenuous. The last evening the Tour guided announced that everybody must leave the ship by 7am the next day with no return to the ship and be bussed to Amsterdam missing out some of the included sights and staying in hotels on the way. The alternative was to fly home which is what we chose. While we waited for our tickets all the cabins were stripped of bed linen and made ready for the next lot. So we cruised 45 km in 5 days. It was the most expensive bus tour we have ever had. Later Emerald sent a derisory amount of vouchers for money off another booking with them. The day after we returned home I tracked the Emerald Sky with FleetMonitor racing back to Amsterdam to pick up the next set of passengers. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
While some passengers do get a cruise, others do not. Because of the weather, the cruise should have been cancelled before they embarked us and we would have had our money back. Now, over a month later, the 180 passengers have been ... Read More
While some passengers do get a cruise, others do not. Because of the weather, the cruise should have been cancelled before they embarked us and we would have had our money back. Now, over a month later, the 180 passengers have been offered only a 25% refund in return for having no holiday cruise whatsoever. Beware. Emerald are not ABTA bonded.! The cabin was good but the view was the same for the four days that the boat did not move. The top deck amenities were never available. The restaurant has a low ceiling and noise gets louder and louder as folk try to shout above each other . Waiting for the food to come is painful on the ears. There was no evening entertainment while we were there. The trips arranged each day got more and more gruelling. Eventually everyone had to get off the boat and either fly home or take the four coaches that saw little of the Rhine on the way to Amsterdam. The less-fit folk had a very hard time. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
What happens if your cruise never starts due to flooding or low water? Did you read the small print in your contract BEFORE you paid up? Are the crew actually employees of Emerald with decision making powers, or are they contracted ... Read More
What happens if your cruise never starts due to flooding or low water? Did you read the small print in your contract BEFORE you paid up? Are the crew actually employees of Emerald with decision making powers, or are they contracted staff "who need to wait for the office to open." If you are elderly or disabled how will you cope with an 800 km bus trip instead? And No, your travel insurance will NOT cover you if you "fail to sail"! The BBC's World Weather forecast on Thursday 30 April 2015, two days prior to our cruise, warned of further, very heavy rain for Switzerland on that Thursday/Friday night, a slight respite on Saturday followed by another very heavy belt of rain along with rising temperatures causing faster snow melt. They also forecast "a real risk of flooding." In fact roads were closed, some villages isolated and the police were out with loudhailers. Basel docking for cruise boats was underwater. That was before our non cruise started! And the forecasters were right! The water level in Basel rose from 550 cms on Thursday to 830 cms by Monday 4th May. Importantly, our boat had not managed to complete its previous leg and could not even get under the bridge into Basel. The day before our cruise was due to commence the Emerald Sky was moored up - NOT ON THE RHINE - but on the Grand Canal d'Alsace where it remained stuck for 6 days. Unwarned and unprepared for what lay ahead, we arrived in Basel and were bussed to a section of the canal in the middle of nowhere. During the night the Emerald Sky moved a short distance down the Canal to Breisach from where we could see the Viking boats parallel to us but on the Rhine until they managed to sail on! For the next 3 days a bus programme was instigated and a tantalising possibility was held before our noses that the Sky "might sail in which case the bus will take you to the new mooring!" Obviously, this was tosh. The rainwater had to drain somewhere and that 'somewhere' was the Rhine whose force was too great to open the Canal lock gates. Plainly, after going nowhere for 4 days, it would be impossible for the Emerald Sky to catch up on its schedule, let alone reach Amsterdam without going full pelt and non stop. Suddenly, after dinner at 9 pm on Tuesday evening we were told to 1) to pay all our bar bills immediately 2) to pack our suitcases and leave them outside our cabins by 6 am and 3) to vacate the boat by 7 am to begin days of long bus journeys and packing/unpacking each day. Not one person from the Emerald Office in Switzerland, even though one was promised and we were only 30 miles away, came to speak to the passengers or help the poor beleaguered cruise director (on a short term contract) to organise help for people in wheelchairs or flights for those who couldn't face hours of lengthy bus trips etc. So my point is this. If bad weather strikes AFTER the cruise begins, well it's "force majeure" and certainly not the cruise company's fault, although you should expect upfront honesty. However, in this case, the cards were well and truly stacked against the cruise even starting. The demographic of a river cruise will often contain a small number of immobile passengers who want to enjoy the company of their family and friends and are prepared to remain on board and enjoy the views and facilities while the others go on trips. Emerald should have warned us on that first day that they were moored on a canal, might be stuck there for several days (for goodness sake, the Rhine is a major waterway with plenty of technical forecasting) and if unlucky, they may have to turn the cruise into a bus tour. They should have given the passengers options of a refund or another cruise on that first day. In similar circumstances Tauck offer a total refund, Viking on the other hand offered a total refund or a 50% voucher for those who were prepared to take their chances (google lemons into lemonade Viking Rhone.) Emerald offered a measly £500 of vouchers to use on a future cruise with them one month after our return. No thanks. How good will your cruise company be if things go wrong? The ship, the crew, the food, the cabins were all fine. The backroom people let them down. It could have been great. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
Our “Splendours of Europe” cruise on Emerald Star (Emerald Waterways’ ship, new in 2014) was extremely disappointing and did not live up to the advertised standard. Our expectations were not unrealistic, based on previous experience ... Read More
Our “Splendours of Europe” cruise on Emerald Star (Emerald Waterways’ ship, new in 2014) was extremely disappointing and did not live up to the advertised standard. Our expectations were not unrealistic, based on previous experience - this was our fifth river cruise – but we felt very badly let down: • Our flights from the UK were arranged by Emerald Waterways – at an extra of £129 each to the cruise cost, for the ‘regional connection’ from Newcastle via Amsterdam. The connection time in Amsterdam proved inadequate as our slightly delayed departure from Newcastle resulted in our missing the connecting flight and having a 7½ hour wait for the next flight. Arriving on board ship after midnight after a day like that was not a good start and no apology was forthcoming. • We had been given to understand that the cruise started in Budapest, but the majority of passengers had boarded in Prague a week earlier and had coalesced into large, friendly, impenetrable and noisy groups before we joined. There were no quiet areas in the public rooms. • Most of the passengers were Australians who had been sold the cruise as an “Evergreen Retirement Cruise”, for Australians only. They were surprised to find British people joining them and there was bias and preferential treatment to them. This should have been notified to ‘others’ before booking. • The brochure clearly states that a jacket and tie/smart casual dress code would be applied for evening dining, with shorts and thongs unacceptable. This was completely disregarded by most passengers, with no enforcement by the staff. • Our cabin was advertised as having a large picture window, but turned out to have had a design change so that there was only a small, high level window through which a view could be gained only by standing on tip-toe. • Our letter of complaint to Emerald Waterways elicited no useful response. They will have to do better at those prices!!   Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
I have delayed my review until after settlement of my financial claim against Emerald Waterways., but I am now able to write my review. Some of the points have already been covered in the earlier 3 star reviews but potential travellers do ... Read More
I have delayed my review until after settlement of my financial claim against Emerald Waterways., but I am now able to write my review. Some of the points have already been covered in the earlier 3 star reviews but potential travellers do need to be warned against travelling with this line. Our trip was from Budapest to Nuremberg and the first problems occurred after our collection from Budapest airport, this was booked as a package so the vast majority of passengers were on the same early flight. We were met at the airport and transported to the ship(unusually without a guide) when we arrived at the ship the cases were unloaded and we were expected to carry them up the gangway. We were then ushered into a lounge, given a flavoured soft drink and left there with no announcements. We were expecting lunch as is normal but after half an hour we went to search of lunch to be told that the first meal was dinner and no local restaurants were open.After much complaining some food was reluctantly found but the majority of passengers were given nothing, we were allowed into our cabins at about 3pm. One of the major selling points of this cruise line is a swimming pool with a retractable roof, however the roof was not opened once during the cruise, the excuse being that this would result in debris being deposited in the pool, so you are left with a small indoor pool, not good enough, if debris accumulates the pool should be cleaned. Another selling point is the covering of the swimming pool to create a cinema in the evening. Unfortunately the equipment went wrong after the first night and there was no attempt to rectify the situation, so no cinema for the rest of the cruise. Worse was to follow for me, first I slipped on a wet gangway on the way back from a trip, luckily I was unhurt but the gangplank should have been covered as soon as it started to rain. Second on the last night of the cruise I left my mobile phone on charge in my cabin and when I returned later in the evening it had gone.The theft has been dealt with subsequently but at first the line sought to deny any liability saying that I should have left the phone in the safe which seems to imply that theft is the norm on their ships. The claim has now been settled. I associate myself with the comments made in earlier postings about the cabins and dining room acoustics.The food was in the main good although service was extremely variable and in some instances very amateurish. There other problems of a minor nature which I will not dwell upon, suffice to say that this was a very expensive cruise and failed in most ways to live up to expectations. In a line's first year of operation you would expect them to pull out all the stops to build up a good reputation, not so Emerald and if they continue to offer such a substandard product they will surely fail in what is a very competitive market.   Read Less
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