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Sail Date: August 2019
We wanted to be on a river that we haven't sailed on, to visit new places & see castles. The Majestic Rhine cruise fit the bill. We had this trip booked for August 2018, but as we all know now, the water level of the Rhine River ... Read More
We wanted to be on a river that we haven't sailed on, to visit new places & see castles. The Majestic Rhine cruise fit the bill. We had this trip booked for August 2018, but as we all know now, the water level of the Rhine River was too low then, & as such, Emerald Waterways cancelled our trip. We, however, still wanted to fulfill the aforementioned & rebooked for August 2019. We were cautiously optimistic as this trip came to fruition & it did not disappoint. We are frequent ocean cruisers & have been on 3 Avalon river cruises & 1 other Emerald river cruise on the "Mekong Navigator" from Vietnam to Cambodia. So this is our 1st time sailing on an "Emerald" ship. We found the Emerald Sun to be a very clean & comfortable. It appears to me, more modern & brighter than the Avalon ships, perhaps because of their use of mirrors throughout the ship. Other than Emerald's indoor swimming pool, which morphs into a movie theatre, its lay out is quite similar to that of the Avalon ships. The crew & staff on Emerald Sun are second to none. There were all very friendly, courteous & helpful. The food on the Sun was very good, albeit the selection was understandably a bit limited. However, in my opinion, the fish served on the Sun was probably the best I’d ever had on any of the cruises we’ve been on. It was freshly cooked & moist to perfection. We also had a great cruise director, the animated “Wes”. On our 8 day cruise, we had 2 evenings with guest performers, one day with opera singers & the other day with a violinist. We also had 2 days of great singing by “Sarah”, our activity manager. On the other days, Sarah hosted trivia games & the like. There was also 4 movie nights with pop corn in the theatre. We did not partake in any of the available activities, except for Sarah's singing performances. The included excursions, although subjective, but for me, they were very good, with lots of photo ops of old, well kept colourful buildings & churches. Then on the 7th day of our 8 day cruise, we'd left Koblenz at approximately 7 AM enroute to Rudesheim & sailed through the Middle Rhine Gorge, where castles sat proudly on hilltops. All in all, a very satisfying trip. We are ready to set sail again with Emerald. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
The quality of food and the service on board this ship is excellent. Unfortunately the disembarkation and the situation we found ourselves in was traumatic to say the least and it robbed us of the last two days of our cruise which was very ... Read More
The quality of food and the service on board this ship is excellent. Unfortunately the disembarkation and the situation we found ourselves in was traumatic to say the least and it robbed us of the last two days of our cruise which was very expensive. Let me explain - after our evening meal on Thursday the captain announced that we had been ordered to return to Lyon by the French Authorities- no explanation as to why and we still don’t know why. We were told that on Friday morning we were to have breakfast between 7am and 8am as the staff, who were all wonderful, had been ordered to cease all services at 8am. So if you stayed on board, which we did, there was no lunch, no evening meal not even a cup of coffee. We elected to stay on board instead of subjecting ourselves to a very long coach journey. When the coach did return we were told to pack our cases and be ready to leave as we were to be transferred the hotel Radisson in Lyon. This is not what you expect to experience on an expensive river cruise with a reputable company. I must say the Cruise Director Jana (I hope that is how to spell her name) was absolutely marvellous and was assisted by Drazen who was also marvellous. They had arranged wonderful entertainment. One thing we were disappointed with was that we couldn’t enjoy sitting on the top deck when the ship was sailing as we did when we were on the Rhine cruise. I’m not sure the French Authorities want to have cruises on their rivers if this is how they treat the people on them. We still haven’t had an explanation as to why this situation occurred. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Having (Ocean) cruised for a few times we decided we should try a river cruise. We had heard good reports from friends so gave it a go. We arrived at Bucharest expecting to go on Emerald Destiny and found out it was going to be Emerald ... Read More
Having (Ocean) cruised for a few times we decided we should try a river cruise. We had heard good reports from friends so gave it a go. We arrived at Bucharest expecting to go on Emerald Destiny and found out it was going to be Emerald Star. We had not been told, in fact our agent had checked only a few days previously and was told there were no changes. No matter, the ships are virtually identical. We found the plusses tp be ALL inclusive, a more personal feeling (only 169 passengers) able to regularly meet the same people who we enjoyed being with and more to see as always in sight of land. On the minus side we found cabin space quite limited especially hanging space which was only fifteen inches of usable rail. Despite having a 'balcony' passengers were encouraged not to open the window when moving. Entertainment was very limited unless you are keen on quizzes and games. The couple of performances by local artists were however very good. The dining room was so noisy. All glass and chrome it did not absorb any of the sound. It was almost impossible to talk to people on the same table. This was made worse by only the one sitting where almost everyone came in at once which significantly affected the time it took to be served. Dinner times were consistently over two hours long which may be fine for some but too long for us. Mooring places could sometimes be a bit grim. Just a floating dock in the middle of nowhere. Two or three of the trips took place whilst the ship was moving to another place so with quite a bit of overnight cruising there was not a great deal of moving whilst on board during the day. We had to try it but I think it will be big ship cruising from now on. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Overall, a pleasant week-long cruise from Nuremberg to Bernkastel on a clean modern ship. We saw some beautiful countryside and historic places in the company of people we got on well with, but - due to a few niggles - we would rate this ... Read More
Overall, a pleasant week-long cruise from Nuremberg to Bernkastel on a clean modern ship. We saw some beautiful countryside and historic places in the company of people we got on well with, but - due to a few niggles - we would rate this cruise only 3½ stars and might try a different company next time. Excursions: Sightseeing was our main reason for taking this holiday and Emerald’s included excursions were interesting with knowledgeable guides. Typically they were walking tours of old towns and castles, with an informative and humorous wine-tasting at the Residenz palace in Würzburg. Most allowed about half an hour’s free time, but in Bamberg the 1½ hours’ wait for the bus back to the ship was excessive. We took an optional excursion (€52 pp) to Trier, which unfortunately we found over-rated, though there were some stunning views on the return to the ship. Food & drink: At dinner (single sitting around 7 pm) tables were mostly for four, with some for two that filled up straight away. Food was fine but nothing special, eg steak might not be cooked as you liked. Service was friendly but rather inflexible, as anyone who didn’t want a starter had to wait for others to catch up, and at 9 pm the lights were turned on in an unsubtle way to get people to leave. Apart from a local red wine, included wines were indifferent, and reds and whites were all served at the same temperature. Breakfast tables weren’t re-laid so it could be hard to find somewhere to sit. We usually had a light lunch and afternoon snacks from the bar. Public areas: Low-backed chairs in the lounge were uncomfortable. Entertainment wasn’t to everyone’s taste and there’s nowhere else to go indoors except the humid pool area when a film isn’t showing. So we probably didn’t get our money’s worth from the premium drinks package (€23 pppd to us). The sun deck was closed for much of our cruise, due to height restrictions. Airport transfers: Arriving at Munich, we followed Emerald’s written instructions to meet at a café in Terminal 1, only to be rebuked as a rep had been waiting for us in Terminal 2. On departure, a 1¾ hour transfer to Frankfurt turned into 3 hours, with a rest break, an unplanned stop at a different terminal, and an unpleasant 15 minute walk (with luggage) from the coach to check-in. Read Less
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
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
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
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
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
The staff were great, in particular cruise director Michael. The maid service for our room was excellent. Tour guides on the excursions were friendly and very knowledgeable. Europe experienced a very hot summer resulting in low water ... Read More
The staff were great, in particular cruise director Michael. The maid service for our room was excellent. Tour guides on the excursions were friendly and very knowledgeable. Europe experienced a very hot summer resulting in low water levels. We were told that many other cruise ships had to bus their guests around the low areas but our very experienced captain was able to sail us through although we had to bypass a stop at one town because of low water. Improvements could be made in food services, particularly for vegetarians. The veggie menu showed little imagination; very heavily potato based, not enough protein based veggies. Accessibility on the shore excursions for persons with limited mobility could be improved by making sure the shore drop off and pickup points were the same place. Often there was a considerable walking distance between these points. Also, more information could be made available on how to access tour trams (cho-cho trains) for those who cannot walk around the towns. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
This cruise is sold as Evergreen in Australia and is the "budget" line for Scenic. Not quite so plush and not all-inclusive. However it is a good choice for those who may not want to do all the tours (walking tours were included ... Read More
This cruise is sold as Evergreen in Australia and is the "budget" line for Scenic. Not quite so plush and not all-inclusive. However it is a good choice for those who may not want to do all the tours (walking tours were included as was a night at a winery) and a real highlight was Salamanca. The food is just as good as on any river cruise. I particularly enjoyed sampling the Portuguese choices on the menu and the Vino Verde. The entertainment (if you want this) is low key - mainly just a pianist though on one night there was a delightful duo playing music from around the world and I even got up to dance. The only negatives for me were: firstly all the mirrors on the ship (it is a house of mirrors) which were initially very disorientating and secondly we decided to take a cabin on the lower deck (104) because we thought it might be too chilly to use a balcony. (In fact it was VERY hot in Portugal!) The cabin was comfortable (as was the bed) and fitted out very well but had a smell of damp that was unpleasant. If you are going on this cruise you also need to be aware that you need to get in early to book anything popular such as the tile painting, visit to the Mateuse Palace etc and alternative activities for onboard activities aren't available which is disappointing. Maria, our cruise director was delightful, as were all the Portuguese crew. They were perhaps the most friendly crew we have encountered and were wonderful ambassadors for Portugal. They were also very well organised. I loved the Douro, and would advise one of the upper decks with a balcony is worth the extra money. Just as an aside, we found the average age on the cruise somewhat older than we expected - more late 70s than the 50s to 60s that we were expecting but a nice mix of nationalities. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Having completed a river cruise 3 years ago on the Danube with another river cruise line we were looking again to another great cruise. This time it was with Emerald and we weren’t disappointed. Our pickup at Zurich airport went ... Read More
Having completed a river cruise 3 years ago on the Danube with another river cruise line we were looking again to another great cruise. This time it was with Emerald and we weren’t disappointed. Our pickup at Zurich airport went flawlessly and we were soon on the Emerals Sky. Originally we were supposed to be on the Emerald Destiny but due to low water levels we were changed to the Sky. This didn’t present any problems however as the crew of Sky, excuse the pun, went overboard to make us feel so welcome. Arriving way before our expected arrival time our cabins were soon made ready and we were able to settle in and relax a little from a long flight and have a light lunch. Even Captain Stamen Dimitrov and Cruise Dorector Balazs were there to greet us on our arrival. Certainly a sign of things to come as we could not say more about the great service we received from all of the crew throughout the cruise. The Rhine cruise likely many in Europe is a trip through history and the tours and the guides we were fortunate to have were first class. All were well organized and having an “active” tour was a great option. The only bike option was in Amsterdam however so another on the cruise would likely go over well. Our dining experience was pretty much 4 star and the service was excellent although a little bit of extra help at the omelet station in the morning might have sped things along. Entertainment was fairly low key as things tend to be on a river boat cruise, just a pianist, but we should comment that the electronic violinist who came aboard one evening was excellent. In closing we would like to make special mention of our Captain Stamen Dimitrov who was so personalable, and skilled in navigating our ship safely through low water levels to reach our destinations. Also our Cruise Director Balazs who worked so hard to organize all the tours and events and made them go so well. Thank you. Still waiting for the photo Balazs. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
It was all inclusive the cruise staff were friendly and excellent. The cabin was very good the bed was very comfortable.On suite was great shower was great always plenty of hot water.All of the trips were good and the local guides were ... Read More
It was all inclusive the cruise staff were friendly and excellent. The cabin was very good the bed was very comfortable.On suite was great shower was great always plenty of hot water.All of the trips were good and the local guides were friendly and very knowledgeable.One of the highlights was the Concert in Vienna superb! The balcony suite cabin was great apart from the cigarette smoke drifted in when we had our window open shame the ship wasn’t no smoking. Apart from that everything was very good. We thought the meals were first class from breakfast to the five course evening meal. The all inclusive drinks package and the tips all included was brilliant. The whole package was very well organised and from the cruise director to our cabin cleaner were second to none. Most enjoyable five star service and ship was very good. Cruising down the Danube was very magnificent. Thank you again to everyone. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
It was our Emerald wedding anniversary so wanted to go on the Emerald Radiance to celebrate on the day. We were presented with Champagne, chocolates and a bouquet of flowers from the company which was a pleasant surprise. We were met at ... Read More
It was our Emerald wedding anniversary so wanted to go on the Emerald Radiance to celebrate on the day. We were presented with Champagne, chocolates and a bouquet of flowers from the company which was a pleasant surprise. We were met at the airport and transported to the dock at Porto with relevant ease and escorted to our cabin after being greeted on board by Manuel. All the staff were very friendly and helpful nothing was too much trouble. The Radiance was a beautiful ship and a pleasure to be on. Cabin was a little noisy when starting the engines and the shower was a little small to get in and out for a large person but very clean. Excursions were very informative and not too long. Entertainment was varied and mainly good especially the Quiz nights and we were luckyto win both of them. I would definitely travel with them again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Almost exceeded all expectations from start to finish, excellent customer service from all staff, lead by Captain Dario and Captain 2 Remi and superbly supported by Jana, the Cruise Director. Cleanliness, spaces both within Cabin and ... Read More
Almost exceeded all expectations from start to finish, excellent customer service from all staff, lead by Captain Dario and Captain 2 Remi and superbly supported by Jana, the Cruise Director. Cleanliness, spaces both within Cabin and public rooms perfectly adequate for the number of guests on board. Had a lower deck cabin which was fine - hardly spent time in it! Food plentiful, very good at all meals always something to suit all tastes - perhaps even spoilt for choice - HOWEVER, one of the reasons for choosing this particular cruise on the Rhone was it was promoted that cuisine on board would be using fresh local food and the food and style of southern France: sadly during the galley tour we learnt that food was centrally sourced including bread and ice cream and that meals were planned by Head Office for all cruise ships whether they were on Rhone or Danube. The only real Provencal meal was the one prepared by the guest chef, which was superb, and could not be faulted. This doesn't mean that the Head Chef didn't have his twist on how he presented his food and he certainly had style and presence: it was just a disappointment that our understanding was marred by the fact that it wasn't all as authentic as expected. Overall there was a good balance of activities which you could take up or leave and do your own thing. The knowledge sessions on cheese and wine were interesting and the one evening of dancing was most unexpected but very enjoyable, more so seeing such interaction of all staff with guests. As with the food, the marketing suggested that there would be opportunity to visit vineyards and 'savour some of the world's best wines' sadly we sailed passed them by night sailing. We would arrange our own next time for example, in hindsight. we would have had time to visit L'Hermitage in Touron. We will go again, these two aspects lost the 5th star, but didn't mar our overall experience. we are already looking at dates for next year! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Friends picked this cruise for us ! Overall, our trip from Bucharest to Budapest was excellent. The ship had great staff with excellent food & wine, both notably with local origins. Our cabin was just 20 steps from the pool. ... Read More
Friends picked this cruise for us ! Overall, our trip from Bucharest to Budapest was excellent. The ship had great staff with excellent food & wine, both notably with local origins. Our cabin was just 20 steps from the pool. There were a few minor problems: -air conditioning was sometimes poor, most notably in busy restaurant at dinner -WIFI was intermittent, we lost WIFI for 3-4 days along the Danube- most frustrating ! -The map for Ruese, Bulgaria was incorrect; the ship was berthed off map; our walking tour was most interesting though and worthy of our efforts. People most helpful & friendly. The itinerary included many interesting locations, with much history to see & enjoy. The guides were excellent. -The wine tasting near Vidin was excellent. -more time could be spent in Bucharest & Budapest on our itinerary, Overall, an excellent itinerary and an excellent ship, the Emerald Sun. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We had been on other river cruises but this was the first time on an Emerald ship. The ship was lovely- clean and well planned. our cabin was one of the cheaper ones and lower down with only a small high window but it was perfectly fine ... Read More
We had been on other river cruises but this was the first time on an Emerald ship. The ship was lovely- clean and well planned. our cabin was one of the cheaper ones and lower down with only a small high window but it was perfectly fine with plenty of room. The staff were the highlight of the cruise, especially Jana, the cruise director. She was friendly, unflappable and very good at her job. All the staff seemed to gel together well and this made for a nice atmosphere on board. The food was amazing and you never went hungry. The waiting staff and the bar staff were charming. We visited many places and the included walking tours were generally informative. There was a good choice of extra trips if you wanted to explore further. The swimming pool on board was great and, although small, was big enough to swim a few strokes in. The only criticism is that much of the sailing was done at night. It would have been nice to have seen a bit more of the scenery. I would certainly go on an Emerald cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Emerald had been very well recommended. Attended cruise show in Birmingham and got a good impression. Have done many European cruises and this cruise was to one of the few places we have not visited. The Holiday was generally very ... Read More
Emerald had been very well recommended. Attended cruise show in Birmingham and got a good impression. Have done many European cruises and this cruise was to one of the few places we have not visited. The Holiday was generally very good, staff and fellow passengers very nice. The weather was extremely hot, 33C on some days and we found the excursions a little bit rushed. Would have preferred more time and less places. Food was excellent and drinks plentiful. We would like to recommend the attention given us by Restaurant Manager, Slobodan & David. Also Magarita (think name correct, beautiful blonde) always smiling in bar and restaurant. Found restaurant rather noisy as all coming to dine around the same time. The staff worked extremely hard and were always obliging. The Captain & Nina Cruise Director always visible and willing to offer support and answer questions. Nina very knowledgeable and energetic! Would have liked more written information in Cabin re emergency procedures as due to Captain's foreign accent did not hear some of what was being said. The odd general thing like Church Service times for Sundays in towns visited on that day, in information folder in reception would be most helpful (this is frequently difficult to find on cruise boats and ships). Thanks to Bernadette in reception for her remarkable patience when very busy. Visiting Arnhem, the graves and war museum an opportunity to be taken and Maastricht if you are a follower of Andre Rieu. Antwerp RC Cathedral best we have seen. Impressed by guide Hendrick (Amsterdam) and Edward (Arnhem). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose Emerald Waterways after researching 6 popular cruise lines that sailed the Rhine river, and can say that our 1st ever cruise experience was overall fantastic. The cruise lived up to our expectations, and exceeded some, in all ... Read More
We chose Emerald Waterways after researching 6 popular cruise lines that sailed the Rhine river, and can say that our 1st ever cruise experience was overall fantastic. The cruise lived up to our expectations, and exceeded some, in all areas except the food quality. Being all-inclusive was important to us, no worries about calculating gratuities, port fees, etc.. We loved the Swissôtel Basel that Emerald booked for us pre-cruise. All the airport to hotel / to ship transfers went smoothly and on time. We had fun exploring the city on our own for a day (and recovering from jet lag), before embarking on Emerald Sun. Lunch the first day was not included but they prepared a light buffet for us new passengers in the lounge, a thoughtful touch. We cruised from Basel to Amsterdam over 8 days under sunny skies. Our cabin was spacious, well-designed, and like the ship itself, absolutely immaculate. The bed was the most comfortable 'hotel' bed I've ever slept in (I usually suffer bad sleep during vacations) and the attentive cabin steward saw to our every need. Top marks. The fleet is quite new, our ship was 3 years old, and are of a modern and sleek design. It featured a beautiful infinity pool at the stern, small gym, hairdresser, cinema (pool transforms for film night), huge sundeck with shade canopies and mini-putt, bicycles for excursions, large main dining room, and a bar & lounge for relaxing or to enjoy a light breakfast or lunch. The shore excursions were included, except for one optional tour to Moselle and Cochem--which I highly recommend, it was fantastic!. We enjoyed all of the guided tours, either walking or by coach. The local guides really knew their stuff and the sites selected were interesting (and not only churches). The 'QuietVox' system let us meander about and still hear our guide. Of course one could always opt out of a tour and explore individually, or stay and relax on ship. With all that was wonderful, the very ordinary food was a disappointment. I don't know if the wait staff was new, but they lacked polish and some never smiled at the guests. The service varied greatly and the food quality & preparation was . . . okay. Not the high standard I was expecting of Emerald. We had to return a fish dish, it was hard, dry and tasteless. A fellow diner returned some veal that was all gristle. We were only told on day 3 that we could order from a menu at lunch, as well as partake of the buffet. This would have helped. Everyone we met complained of the small portions served at the evening meal—2 or 3 bites of the meat or fish, a couple of tablespoons of rice or potatoes, and a few vegetable bits. Very artsy but not enough to fill 5 year old child. One meal featured mashed potatoes dyed Smurf blue??? The white and red wines offered with the meals were rarely from the regions we were travelling through, but mainly Austrian or Slovakian. Mediocre quality, and the white served at room temperature. On the last day I discovered there were other wines one could have, despite me asking a waiter earlier in the week if they had a German Riesling since we were in the Rhine Valley. The wait staff did not seem to all have the same information. Training? However, the salads were good and varied, and they offered wonderful cheeses and bread. I ate a lot of bread. The 2 soups I tried were extremely salty so I had to give them a pass. The desserts were commercial, not much better than supermarket quality. Food aside, the trip was wonderful and we enjoyed the sights along the scenic Rhine. The crew was courteous and professional and the ship elegant and quiet. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Previously, we had river cruised with Viking on the Danube/Rhine 15 day holiday which we thoroughly enjoyed. Had seen the adverts for Emerald Waterways and thought we would try a shorter cruise with them. The whole booking procedure was ... Read More
Previously, we had river cruised with Viking on the Danube/Rhine 15 day holiday which we thoroughly enjoyed. Had seen the adverts for Emerald Waterways and thought we would try a shorter cruise with them. The whole booking procedure was done by telephone and could not have been easier. As we had made and paid for our reservations of a Grand Balcony Suite early we also received the Premium Drinks package. This was of little value to my wife and me as we are not "big drinkers" and would not have been worth the cost if we had had to purchase it. At the outset, the ship is as luxurious as advertised except we found our suite to be somewhat small. The staff without exception are excellent as was the food. The service provided was first class including the bar staff remembering our preferred tipples. The suite was kept spotless as was the rest of the ship. Our walking tours were interesting and as I have hip and knee problems was pleased with the pace set by the guide. The evening entertainment was as expected and we enjoyed it during the nights we were not too tired from the day's activities. We did not use the swimming pool, exercise area or ladies hairdresser etc but overall considered the cruise good value for money. So why not 5*? On arrival at Lyon airport we were met as arranged by a young man who, after checking off his list set off across a cobbled space at a pace it was almost impossible for many of us to keep up. He stopped at the station for the rest of the party to arrive and then off again to the coach. We waited over 35 minutes in the coach for a couple whom we assumed had got lost. Surely it would have been better for him to go at a pace more relating to that of the ages and obvious infirmities of many of the guest. I would single out Yana and the Captain for special mention as memorable on our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
A modern ship quite well designed, although single staircase from deck 2 to deck 3 caused congestion at times. Also, limited public toilet facilities meant trips back to cabin needed. Overall, the trip was very well organised, with ... Read More
A modern ship quite well designed, although single staircase from deck 2 to deck 3 caused congestion at times. Also, limited public toilet facilities meant trips back to cabin needed. Overall, the trip was very well organised, with good crisis management when things didn't quite go to plan. The stops and excursions were all extremely worthwhile with a very high standard of local tour guides and different options available depending upon fitness levels. The staff were generally very friendly and helpful. Main disappointment was with the dining, specifically at dinner. Breakfast and lunch buffets were fine, but the dinner menu options were not always inspiring (or local as claimed). Portions were also often very small (we are not big eaters and I wonder what some of the Americans on board thought), This applied particularly to fish and vegetarian options which we often chose as we didn't fancy the meat option. Also, service was a bit slow - the 4 course meal could take up to 2 hours - we think the problem was in the kitchen, We felt that if they were less ambitious with presentation and made more use of self service for some courses this would improve things. It should be stressed that there were no problems with the quality of the food provided and there was a late night snack option available, which we unexpectedly used on occasion. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Typically, we have chosen a more independent style of travel, but with everyone raving about river cruising we thought we would give it a try. Overall, this seemed to be a good company to cruise with. It is mostly all inclusive unless ... Read More
Typically, we have chosen a more independent style of travel, but with everyone raving about river cruising we thought we would give it a try. Overall, this seemed to be a good company to cruise with. It is mostly all inclusive unless you want to drink all day long. Wine and beer are available at meals and there is no limit. Included activities are mostly walking tours, however you can also bike if desired. The tours are educational, but because the guides have to adjust to all health and walking levels they tended to be less vigorous than what I would want. This is not a fault of the company, and they did try to gently organize groups into like fitness levels. Overall, I did like this company to cruise with, but I came away with the feeling that river cruising was not for me. It is far too structured for my liking and there were days that I felt herded like cattle to get the walking tour over with, back onthe boat and eat again! My LEAST favourite part is the line up to get into the dining room at dinner. They want everyone there at the same time as their food service is very structured. I understand why this has to occur, but it makes for a very un-relaxed feel at dinner. The buffet at breakfast and lunch is average quality....nothing outstanding but always good. The layout for traffic flow needs to be improved. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
Everything was wonderful except I would not go again on Emerald Dawn, or orther ships like her, because the ill-fitting sliding bathroom door was only 60 cm from the nearest pillow of the bed and the loo was only another 45cm further ... Read More
Everything was wonderful except I would not go again on Emerald Dawn, or orther ships like her, because the ill-fitting sliding bathroom door was only 60 cm from the nearest pillow of the bed and the loo was only another 45cm further away.....so all forms of privacy are lost when you have to answer " the call of nature " to have less privacy than that which I have at home is totally unacceptable !! Also, the practice of the company to " give you a gift of 100euros each " to spend mainly on bar-drinks, is not as generous as it first seems. In the whole week, my wife and I only " usedup" 50 euros out of the " allowance " of 200 euros. so they "made " 150 euros out of us for nothing. It would be far more fair to " sign a tab " for whatever you bought and paid a bill at the end of the week, like you do in any case, for all perchases .....so beware, choose a company that doesn't pretend to give you something when It's your own money in the first place !! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose Emerald for a variety of reasons, one of them being that all prices were in Canadian dollars so we knew exactly what it would cost. Also, included in this cruise price was a pre-cruise stay in Prague. Prague is a walking city, ... Read More
We chose Emerald for a variety of reasons, one of them being that all prices were in Canadian dollars so we knew exactly what it would cost. Also, included in this cruise price was a pre-cruise stay in Prague. Prague is a walking city, and we spent three days walking everyone. On the first day in Prague, we had a tour of Prague Castle then on the last night in Prague we were fortunate to have dinner in Prague Castle. These two things were all part of our cruise tour package. We went to the Jewish Quarter which was extremely interesting with a lot of history. Our hotel was located very close to Wenceslas Square, Prague, which was a hub of activity all the time. From there we could walk to Old Town Square where the famout Prague Astronomical Clock hands of the wall of the Old City Hall. In the square there are a lot of restaurants (a little over priced, due to it being a large tourist attraction) and also a wonder store where you can purchase good quality Czech crystal. The name of the store is Erpet, which is located kitty corner to the astronomical clock. On Ma 25th, we were taken to Nuremberg to board the Emerald Sky. Our room was wonderful, with a window which you could open half way, and gave you the feeling of being on a french balcony. What impressed us most in this room, were the large dresser drawers, six in total, deep and big. You never get this much storage of most cruise ships. The next day arrived in Regensberg, Germany, which again is a walking town. Purchased great mustard there. The next day we travelled to Passau, but we did not really see this little town, as we opted to take the Emerald More, tour to Salzburg for the day. (extra cost for this) Here we saw where the Sound of Music had some scenes shot, as well as a lot of the history of Mozart. We then went to Durstein in Austria. Again a very picturesic town, where they make a lot of their own alcohol, one of which is a very tasty Apricot Liqueur. In Vienna, after the tour with Emerald we set off on our own to Schonbrunn Castle which is a must see if in Vienna. Beautiful castle, and lovely garden. In Bratislava, we were fortunate enough to visit the home of one of the local people who used to have their own vineyards, years ago. This sweet lady had baked some beautiful squares for our tour bus of about 18 people, and also had jugs of white wine had been produced from the vines in the vineyards she still owned. Budapest our last stop. We stayed there for an extra 3 days, and again this is also a walking town, like a lot of European towns and cities are. We went for the Great Hall, which is a large indoor market. To get here you walk down this pedestrian street, with shops, restaurants, and vendors on both sides. We really enjoyed the food and entertainment in Budapest. Sorry, about this long review, but it was great cruise. The only negative, if you really feel this is a negative, was the buffet lunch every day. They did change the choices, but not enough to make it a different experience daily. Breakfast was also a buffet, but they had a station where you could get your eggs made to order. Dinner was always wonderful, having local dishes from the different places we visited. There was very little entertainment at night, only a piano player in the beautiful bar, but we found we were so tired at night after full 8 hour days of touring, we did not really miss this, as we were usually up and about by 7:30 in the morning. Most of the tours are included in your cruise price on Emerald, and the transfers as well. Service was excellent on this cruise, and the staff very attentive at all times. They were always anxious to try and please you, and it was emphasized that tips were included in the cruise price and not to tip at all. We did tip when we took the Salzburg tour, and maybe one or two other tours, but not at the end of the cruise. Very different from the large ocean cruises, which have taken about 16, the latest one last year from Rome. On a river cruise you dock right in town so it is extremely easy to embark and disembark from the cruise ship. On the large ships, it is more difficult and takes longer. Our ship only had 184 passengers, compared to 2,000 or more on the larger ships. There are pros and cons to both a river cruise and an ocean cruise. If you like more choices of meals and restaurants, more glamorous dining and bars, and evening entertainment, and more things to do, the maybe a river cruise is not for you. We really feel everybody should experience a river cruise if you can. A great way to cruise, would recommend it to everyone, young and old. Read Less
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