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Sail Date: May 2019
We had often thought about cruising from Amsterdam to Budapest. Friends said it really didnt matter much which line you used, they all go to the same places, and when you walk through other ships at ports they are all very similar. So when ... Read More
We had often thought about cruising from Amsterdam to Budapest. Friends said it really didnt matter much which line you used, they all go to the same places, and when you walk through other ships at ports they are all very similar. So when Emerald launched into the NZ market with sharp entry prices we picked on price. Always warry about "you get what you pay for" our first impressions at the quality of the bags put us into a positive frame of mind, shallow as that may seem. On 27 May we embarked on the Emerald Star in Amsterdam for a cruise to Budapest. The plus The ship is nice and modern. Really comfy cabins. Clean. Well designed. Quite often your ship is tied up to other lines, you pass through and get a bit of a look. I think Emerald are as good as any and better than a few. We are picky. We found the service and staff wonderful. Right from when they spotted us getting out of the taxi on the wharf. No OTT "I want to be your best friend" just courteous and efficient service. There is one sitting for meals. At a table for 6, all the meals arrived hot at the same time. Nothing was a problem. No pestering to buy drinks, but if you wanted one it a steward was there. Must be esp! At lunch and dinner wine and beer is included, your glass never emptied. You needed to watch and say no if you didn't want topped up. Entertainment Emerald now have an entertainment mgr. New this season. Ours, Bret, was brilliant and he had the place humming every night. Other lines don't do this. They also bought on musicians from time to time. It was great. They make a fuss about birthdays and anniversaries. (They must get birthdays from your passport) The heated pool.is wonderful. Its quite surreal swimming in an infinity pool when its raining outside (its got a glass roof) They are quite obsessive at making sure those with allergies are catered for. Once again nothing is too much trouble. The Dining manager, Constantine could not have been more helpful. Generally the food is great. They need some desert recipes. They are average for snacks. The Cons Too much time is spent motoring up the River. For almost 1/2 the trip the handrails were down on the top deck as bridges were low and you cant use the top deck. Stops in some towns far too short. The noise!!!! you can not hear anyone in the corridor or speaking next door but the noise from locks and toilets is incredible. More detail in cabin review. The bikes! The provide bikes were about as basic as you can get. In the ports you can see that other lines have proper bikes. Most have a few E Bikes. Emeralds bike are a joke, only thing missing is the trainer wheels. To be fair they do discourage you from using them. I doubt we would ever go on another River Cruise, ocean cruising is better value for $. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We had an amazing time on this cruise. Everything thing runs like clockwork. We were picked up from the airport and then from that minute onwards everything was taken care of, from embarkation to disembarkation. We had to think of nothing. ... Read More
We had an amazing time on this cruise. Everything thing runs like clockwork. We were picked up from the airport and then from that minute onwards everything was taken care of, from embarkation to disembarkation. We had to think of nothing. Which is exactly what I wanted. We were in a Balcony Suite which was was just lovely, we could lower our window down to half way and just sit and enjoy the view. The staff were friendly and helpful nothing was too much trouble. Even when there was an emergency they were willing to send emails for passengers to loved ones who had no way of contacting them. Louis the Cruise Director was so helpful and friendly. The towns that we stopped at were so beautiful. The food was great and we got to try a lot of the local foods. We also went to a Concert in Vienna which was fantastic. Thanks for the memories Emerald Waterways. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Recommended by travel Agent. Excellent crew, service, rooms and schedule. Food was exceptional special to visit with Robert at the captain’s dinner. The Hungarian and Bavarian entertainment was wonderful and so much fun. Loved the ... Read More
Recommended by travel Agent. Excellent crew, service, rooms and schedule. Food was exceptional special to visit with Robert at the captain’s dinner. The Hungarian and Bavarian entertainment was wonderful and so much fun. Loved the personal greetings on and off the boat. Nina was everywhere__ always present and available to us. Nice all paid before we began cruise. The walking tours and coaches very nice. I will recommend to my friends. Thanks so much. Svetlana very sweet to us. It is great to have beverages provided at all meals. The coffee machines are so nice to have access to__i am now spoiled. The weather was rainy, but didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. I wish I had seen jewelry earlier. Disappointed I didn’t buy. Impressive that the staff are appreciated and treated well, that is important to me. Robert introduced all staff by name—great work,,Keep up this good reputation of service to all. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
I had many great things about Emerald waterways and their ships. Once i realized that they were owned by The Scenic group, i knew I had to check their ship out. Danube Delights was the first river cruise that i have ever been on. I ... Read More
I had many great things about Emerald waterways and their ships. Once i realized that they were owned by The Scenic group, i knew I had to check their ship out. Danube Delights was the first river cruise that i have ever been on. I wanted to do this one as I was told that it is a great cruise for beginners and most people can trace some family heritage to that area. I was not disappointed with my choice. Not know what to expect, I was really surprised at how much detail and organization the cruise director had. He had us well prepared for what we were going to do the next day and where to be when it was time to go. Between the cruise director and the activities director, you had a ton of choices for things to do to fill your morning, day and evening. The food and the restaurant were amazing. The staff absolutely made sure you had more than enough to east and drink. If you somehow left hungry, it is your own fault. I was amazed at how many of the staff members knew the guests by name and what they drank. The front of the house/hotel staff has embrocation and disembarkation down to a science. It only took a few minutes each day to unload the entire ship The cabin was awesome. Plenty of room for everything. It is like a nice hotel room in the states... a little bit smaller but very nice. Very sleek modern design with A/C great for American travelers. The bathroom/shower is a little small, but i am a big guy and I was still able to use it without much effort. Even thought he shore excursions are very planned outwith guides, you have plenty of free time to take care of all of your shopping needs or go see something that might not be on the tour. They are also extremely flexible if you do not want to go on the tour or if you wan to break off at any point The nightly entertainment was great. The entire ship was engaged and having a blast. I would absolutely use Emerald again for a river cruise and recommend to anyone Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Highly recommended for value & service. We did all excursions and found the value to be great. Food on board was exceptional. They provided special evenings of local culture & food. A real highlight of the tour. Ship was the ... Read More
Highly recommended for value & service. We did all excursions and found the value to be great. Food on board was exceptional. They provided special evenings of local culture & food. A real highlight of the tour. Ship was the newest in the fleet and in great shape. The port locations provided a great exposure for each destination. This was our first cruise and would definitely go again. The level of training by the staff was great. Our cabin was always cleaned well and timely. Boarding the boat on the beginning was seamless. They also had the disembarkation well coordinated. Our bags were handled and we did not worry about them. The ship provided a great variety of activities to pass the time but you were more likely to be top deck to watch the beautiful scenery pass by. I would highly recommend this cruise line and this particular trip to our friends. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
I am an airline employee and received information from ID 90 and they shared a special that looked like something we wanted to try. It turned out to be really great and we loved the crew and ship! Would definitely do it again. We took ... Read More
I am an airline employee and received information from ID 90 and they shared a special that looked like something we wanted to try. It turned out to be really great and we loved the crew and ship! Would definitely do it again. We took another couple and they agreed it was a great time! The ship was one of the newest, very pretty and our cabin was very nice. Dining was great and even had Hungarian goulash available when we came back late from our private concert while in Vienna.~ Loved the greeting with the hot towels and our cabin was always made up and cleaned when we returned from being out and about! Would we do it again, YES!!! We were invited to sit the last evening at the captain's table. We found Jasper to be quite experienced and would hope to have him lead the ship again should we have the opportunity to be so lucky to have him. Also shout out to Maria, the head of the cabins and we also thought that Balegio was superb at leading all of us on announcements and directions. Loved it!!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
The Douro River was a cruise we had not yet taken. We have experienced a number of other River Cruises and Cruise lines. The Emerald Radiance is the best we have experienced. We particularly appreciated their all inclusive policy. ... Read More
The Douro River was a cruise we had not yet taken. We have experienced a number of other River Cruises and Cruise lines. The Emerald Radiance is the best we have experienced. We particularly appreciated their all inclusive policy. We were traveling with a group of 14 all were pleased with the great service provided by a welcoming and knowledgeable staff. The meals were varied and delicious. I particularly want to thank HOTEL Manager Manuel for his excellent service .Emerald will be at the top of my cruising list. This is a fairly new boat on the river, equipped with Wi-Fi in every room. Instead of a balcony or a patio door there. Is a window the width of your room the top half of which folds down into the bottom half at their touch of a button to give you an open air view. The visits to wine Estates are extremely well done with experienced guides. Try it you'll like it. Read Less
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
The staff were very attentive and very friendly it was obvious they were having fun and this was infectious creating lots of fun for us. The itinerary was well organized with many excellent day trips to a wide variety of places. Each one ... Read More
The staff were very attentive and very friendly it was obvious they were having fun and this was infectious creating lots of fun for us. The itinerary was well organized with many excellent day trips to a wide variety of places. Each one provided uswith well informed guides who were very easy to listen to and who helped us to see and understand the history and culture of their destination. The food was very well prepared with buffet style breakfasts and lunches. Dinner allowed much variety and was aka cart. Foods of the region were featured as well as steak salmon or vegetarian meals. The cabins were perfectly laid out and provided us with just enough space and all the necessary amenities. There were numerous extras with regards to local entertainers and added programs that enhanced our trip. There were no hidden fees everything was included. Our cruise director Darren ensured everyone enjoyed as much or as little as they wanted. We would book another cruise with Emerald. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
The destiny is a beautiful river boat with modern layout and appeal. From the beginning the “all in” travel from Budapest to Passau, Will filled with planned guided tours that gave you history and character from a variety of towns and ... Read More
The destiny is a beautiful river boat with modern layout and appeal. From the beginning the “all in” travel from Budapest to Passau, Will filled with planned guided tours that gave you history and character from a variety of towns and cities, including Melk, Durnstien, Linz, Vienna, Passau, with picturesque coats of the Danube and classical Bavarian, Austrian, and Hungarian towns. We were entrained by the Vienna imperial orchestra, the concert was outstanding. The food and wine was good and regional, amazing for serving over 150 passengers. Most of all from the crew to the cabin management and the hospitality staff were top extremely friendly and the organist was top rate (he was a professional opera singer). Can not say enough positive things about our trip. Budapest at night cruise was breath taking. Vienna (my first time) has great buildings and museums, Melk Abbey was so over the top, but still strikingly beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
we chose this cruise because it was two weeks and ended in amsterdam. I will start with the food i like my food and expect it to be of good quality and sufficient meat fish and vegetables. It was none of the above the fish and meat ... Read More
we chose this cruise because it was two weeks and ended in amsterdam. I will start with the food i like my food and expect it to be of good quality and sufficient meat fish and vegetables. It was none of the above the fish and meat were meager portions with miniscule vegetables which were often just a squeezed paste on the plate, and the sauce was just three or four dots on the plate and gravy when mentioned was brown scrape on the plate. Desserts were always with cream cakes etc if you like cream you will enjoy and squirty cream every where Breakfast ok lunch and dinner as above. One thing i will say here is that in the uk emerald are offering unlimited drinks package . That is rubbish it is only spirits and cocktails and the wine that is produced at the lunch and dinner which is included in the ordinary package and is free, it is marketing scam, Entertainment was piano player which was good and a couple of nights extra guests performed. What they do not tell you is that the lovely top deck is out of bound for three quarters of the cruise due to low bridges Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
I did this cruise with my sister, mother and aunt. As I am unable to walk a lot due to continuous cancer issues. We were served like royalty from day one. All trips were well organised and arranged. All staff were extremely friendly. ... Read More
I did this cruise with my sister, mother and aunt. As I am unable to walk a lot due to continuous cancer issues. We were served like royalty from day one. All trips were well organised and arranged. All staff were extremely friendly. This is a very professional River Cruise and I hope to return soon, for another experience. We were not met at the airport in Zurich by waterways, but by Scenic (we didn't know who would fetch us). We knew which port we would start at, just the time seemed confusing. The dining experience was phenomenal. So much choice and efficient and friendly waiters. Quiz nights, music night and Nina our entertainment director kept us updated all the time. Just was disappointed that whilst cruising past the Loreley, we could not hear Nina on the microphone below deck (please check out systems) as it was a beautiful day to be outside. Galley excursion was very interesting too. Ships Captain did a great job as did all his crew, whilst sailing and docking, etc. We made lots of friends. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our first river cruise having ocean cruised for many years. We weren’t disappointed, the cruise, the ship, food, tours and entertainment far exceeded our expectations. Nothing was too much trouble for Emerald and our cruise ... Read More
This was our first river cruise having ocean cruised for many years. We weren’t disappointed, the cruise, the ship, food, tours and entertainment far exceeded our expectations. Nothing was too much trouble for Emerald and our cruise director Wes was absolutely fantastic. We were very lucky too as the weather was about 70 deg every day with clear blue gorgeous skies. Everything was thought out in great detail, even the walking tours thought about everyone involved with normal pace walking, faster pace walking and a guide for the not so active walker. Commentary came through little hands sets/earphones tuned into the guide you chose. The ship was beautiful, very decadent and spotless. Our cabin was beautiful with plenty of space, bathroom beautiful. We couldn’t fault the food, so much choice from the buffets to the served evening meal. There was plenty to do as there was always a guided tour, sail along the beautiful scenery or just relaxing inside the beautiful lounge. Service was wonderful, nothing too much trouble and everyone was so friendly, Like one happy family. We were please with all the ports from Nurenberg to Budapest. Bratislava was very quaint and the afternoon tour to have afternoon tea with a family was brilliant. The highlight I think was the optional tour to an evening concert in Vienna, it was simply wonderful. I can’t praise this cruise enough and we shall certainly return to Emerald in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
I was celebrating my 60th birthday and booked some 19 months in advance on a favourable deal which was subsequently upgraded to an All Inclusive package.. We were amazingly fortunate with the weather which was 10 degrees Centigrade over ... Read More
I was celebrating my 60th birthday and booked some 19 months in advance on a favourable deal which was subsequently upgraded to an All Inclusive package.. We were amazingly fortunate with the weather which was 10 degrees Centigrade over the seasonal average. Everyone both staff and guests were friendly and the occasion had a lovely positive feel about it. All on board were polite and the open dining allowed my wife and l to make new acquaintances each evening and form friendships. The food was generally of a good standard without being exceptional and I thought the buffet style warm breakfast could have been more varied. The ship itself was of a high standard whilst our budget cabin was more than adequate.was celebrating my 60th birthday and booked some 19 months in advance on a favourable deal which was subsequently upgraded to an All Inclusive package.. We were amazingly fortunate with the weather which was 10 degrees Centigrade over the seasonal average. Everyone both staff and guests were friendly and the occasion had a lovely positive feel about it. All on board were polite and the open dining allowed my wife and l to make new acquaintances each evening and form friendships. The food was generally of a good standard without being exceptional and I thought the buffet style warm breakfast could have been more varied. The ship itself was of a high standard whilst our budget cabin was more than adequate. The on board entertainment was ok though I thought the disco playlist could have been more extensive. The excursions were all entertaining with each and every guide remarkably knowledgeable. Of the cities we visited I liked Bratislava the best, Vienna was very busy and Budapest absolutely beautiful. My only criticism would be around bar service - Emerald need to set a policy on queuing -either allow customers to form an orderly queue or insist on waiter service only as the haphazard mix n match policy left some guests feeling disgruntled at times. Overall a wonderful experience terrific value for money and I would definitely cruise with Emerald again but not for a few years as I have now ticked that box. The on board entertainment was ok though I thought the disco playlist could have been more extensive. The excursions were all entertaining with each and every guide remarkably knowledgeable. Of the cities we visited I liked Bratislava the best, Vienna was very busy and Budapest absolutely beautiful. My only criticism would be around bar service - Emerald need to set a policy on queuing -either allow customers to form an orderly queue or insist on waiter service only as the haphazard mix n match policy left some guests feeling disgruntled at times. Overall a wonderful experience terrific value for money and I would definitely cruise with Emerald again but not for a few years as I have now ticked that box. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Always wanted to do the southern France cruise having been on three others previously. The opportunity to do it on a new ship at a most reasonable price, plus a drinks package thrown in was too good to miss. The decision was a good ... Read More
Always wanted to do the southern France cruise having been on three others previously. The opportunity to do it on a new ship at a most reasonable price, plus a drinks package thrown in was too good to miss. The decision was a good one. The ship, crew, itinerary were all excellent. Being able to travel by train from London to Avignon direct was the icing on a very enjoyable cake. The reason for choosing this itinerary was because of the places listed for visits on the included itinerary plus a couple of optional extras which were paid for as extras. These were very good value for money. On each shore excursion there was detailed background to the history of the destination, with plenty of time after the organised bit to do your own thing before returning to the ship. Even the security system for ensuring every passenger was on board prior to leaving a port was first class, as proved on a number of occasions when the reception staff asked over the tannoy for named people to confirm they were on board. No risk of being left high and dry! Cruise number five will be on the Danube, and with Emerald - it’s just a case of when, but the sooner the better! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We had not done it before and wanted to visit the cities we stopped at without packing and unpacking. River cruising is a gentle way of holidaying. Meeting interesting people from many different countries and enjoying good food. All ... Read More
We had not done it before and wanted to visit the cities we stopped at without packing and unpacking. River cruising is a gentle way of holidaying. Meeting interesting people from many different countries and enjoying good food. All excursions were well organised and the local guides were superb.The coaches and drivers were also excellent and drove well. The way of communication when out on excursion was via Quietvox and worked very well making it easy to hear the information by our own particular guide . All staff were courteous and friendly at all times. The room was spacious with plenty of storage space and were serviced twice a day.The sundeck was well furnished. The on-board announcements were clear and informative without being intrusive,the 15 minute warning before any disembarkation was just right not too early and not too last minute.The programme director was clear and helpful at all times. Would recommend this cruise to our friends Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
When we were embarking we were greeted by the Staff with warmth and wonderful smiles.My 73 year old Mother and my self (52) were guided and felt completely secure with the staff on this vessel.The ship had 3levels the top was a sundeck ... Read More
When we were embarking we were greeted by the Staff with warmth and wonderful smiles.My 73 year old Mother and my self (52) were guided and felt completely secure with the staff on this vessel.The ship had 3levels the top was a sundeck with a walking track , putting green and plenty of loungers.There was even a smoking area for those that smoked. The mid section of the vessel was the accomidations which were clean and fresh looking. the rooms were quaint and up today, a safe in each room , but a no time did I feel the need to use it. The Dinning room was on the third floor and to no fault of the staff the buffet breakfasts and lunches were a little chaotic at times as the other passengers would t follow a cue line. The y were budding in and some times out and out rude.The food was awesome and plenty of it. The dinners were a service and our waiters were fantastic. Wine was flowing and they were quick to clean up the service. Our waiter Ivan was from Macedonia and he was professional but funny as well. The entertainment was mostly geared to seniors and so I wasn't so excited about that but you can't please every one all the time. The pool at the rear of the boat was lovely and most days / night we had it to our selves.The shore excursions were well put together especially when they split up into slow med and fast walking groups. My only disappointment was an extra excursion that I paid for $59. Eu that was for a wine tasting and that I would pass on if offered again.I would go again as the staff MADE the trip .THe Accommodations Manager and the Dinning room manager were TOP notch. I absolutly loved this river cruise I was so glad I went. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
My mothers friend suggested it! We went mother daughter trip, had an amazing time! Upon arrival in Iceland someone from Emerald was there to greet us and make transition to bus and to boat inAmsterdam so smooth! sailing the Rhine river ... Read More
My mothers friend suggested it! We went mother daughter trip, had an amazing time! Upon arrival in Iceland someone from Emerald was there to greet us and make transition to bus and to boat inAmsterdam so smooth! sailing the Rhine river was so enjoyable with so many sights to see! The excursions were catered to several levels of fitness so even those who had difficulty could enjoy the touring spots! Breakfast and lunch...so many choices available. Dinner was always delicious although smll for my appetite! The wait staff absolutely phenomenal!, couldn't say enough about our usually like Zulkipili, Padli and Dragana, as I'm sure all of the staff were so helpful and personable! Each and every staff from the dishwashers to the captIn were all so pleasant and receptive! The tour guides except for 1 were all amazing, well informed and attentive to all the people in the group! the ship was beautiful, except those darn silver shiny strips on the stairs, oh my when the sun shines they can blind you! Yes the ship was always kept clean, saw Eva and many others constantly cleaning and polishing and removing Anything dirty! The music was well done, thank you Benny! Iwould suggest some local music playing in the background, maybe on the bow seating area or topside! I can't say enough about the excursions, Emerald got you there and back with no problems and made everything so interesting and easy!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Four of us sailed on the Emerald Sky from Aug 10 to Aug 24. We got on the ship in Budapest, and disembarked in Amsterdam. We had Emerald make the air bookings and airport to ship and ship to airport transfers. Our travel agent was able ... Read More
Four of us sailed on the Emerald Sky from Aug 10 to Aug 24. We got on the ship in Budapest, and disembarked in Amsterdam. We had Emerald make the air bookings and airport to ship and ship to airport transfers. Our travel agent was able to include the Premium Alcohol Package (I think that is what they call it), which gave us free, unlimited drinks. The only exception was upgraded wines and champagne, which costs extra. Emerald has "included" tours at every port. They also had "Discover More" tours that cost extra at some of the ports. Two of us took in the special Vienna concert and one of them took the special tour to Rothenberg. The only other extras we paid for were a couple of laundry loads (24 euros for washing and ironing for a medium size bag of clothes). This review is limited to our personal experience - more exhaustive reviews of the facilities have been done by CruiseCritic. GETTING THERE The flight arrangements, and airport transfers were handled flawlessly. We flew Air France non-stop to Paris, waited about three hours for our connection (our bags were checked through to Budapest, so we didn't have to hassle with them in Paris), and got to Budapest at about 3 in the afternoon. We were met by somebody holding up an Emerald sign and were at the ship at about 4:30. WELCOME ON THE SHIP This is one part of the experience that was less than pleasant. The Emerald ship was parked behind another ship. So we clambered on to the top deck of the first ship, then down the stairs to the embarkation level of Sky. Nobody directed us and there was nobody to follow. We came to a closed door and rang a bell. Somebody responded and opened the door, but then proceeded to tell us: "Don't you know the code to open the door?" We said we just got there, and, of course, we do not know the code. For future cruisers with Emerald, the code is the 4-digit sailing date "ddmm", in our case 1008. Our bags were already there when we finally got to Reception. Checking in was a piece of cake. No credit card was required to check in. NO FOOD was available until dinner. THIS SHOULD BE CORRECTED! CABIN We were in Cabins 233 and 234, facing each other on the middle passenger deck. We had what Emerald calls "Panorama Balcony cabins". The cabins were as expected based on our earlier readings on Cruisecritic. Hang space in the closet is somewhat restricted by the presence of the mini-bar and room safe, and drawer space outside the closet is overly generous. As pointed out in previous reviews, it would be a rather simple change to move the mini-bar and safe out of the closet and reduce the drawers. That had not been done yet on the Sky. By the way we did get to see one of the Grand Balcony Cabins on the deck above ours. Emerald wanted $1,000 to upgrade us (I think the brochure rate is higher by close to $2,000). We declined before we saw the Grand Balcony cabin and are SO glad we did. The cabin is slightly larger (about two feet deeper) and has a useable door between the cabin and balcony. Emerald throws in some perks like room service of appetizers before dinner and an invitation to the Captain's Table. I don't think I would pay even $100 for the upgrade, but that is my opinion - others may value dining with the captain and in-the-cabin happy hour more. By the way, the mini-bar is NOT included in the Premium Package and there is no room service on drinks (although I am sure that could be arranged). Our cabin had a very narrow access to the bathroom door between the bed and bathroom wall. This was obviously done to provide a little more room on the "balcony" (more on that later) side of the bed. My wife and I are both skinny, and the narrow space was not a big problem, but it could be an issue for normal-sized people especially if you do not wish to disturb your sleeping mate. The balcony is part of the cabin with different flooring. It has a small table and two deck chairs, and a powered top window that slides down to bring in the outside. Mind you, some of the waters we sailed on were stinky, so most of the time we did not open the window. The Rhine is much cleaner than the Danube and Main. But for daytime sailing in the Rhine Valley, you want to be on the top deck for a 360 view. FOOD and DRINK The food was awesome and plentiful. Because portions were generally small, we sometimes got both appetizers, and always had dessert or the cheese plate. The fresh eggs cook in the dining room, and offerings of the fresh cooking or carvings were specially good. The drinks menu is excellent and most drinks were well-made. Our favorites were martinis, single malt scotches (somewhat limited choice as you would expect on a rather small ship), mojitos, name brand Vodka (I fell in love with Belvedere), and of course, the wines. On most evenings, the wines were fair-to-middling. We did not pay extra for better wines. Generally, the vintages served at dinner are newer than those shown on the dinner menu. We asked about that and were told the menus were printed earlier and not updated. ANOTHER EASY FIX, Emerald. HORIZON LOUNGE We spent a lot of our free time in this lounge. It can seat almost all the passengers, but it helps to get there a little earlier to secure good seating. Bar service is good. ENTERTAINMENT Our resident musician was Gianni, an Italian pianist/singer, who was excellent. Extras were a very good Bavarian band that boarded at one lock and exited on the next, a glass-blower that we missed, the crew show (excellent), and singing/belting by our talented cruise director (we found his singing to be enthusiastic but not accomplished). SHORE EXCURSIONS We found our guides to be extremely good. The Quiet Boxes, furnished to all the passengers, worked marvelously, so listening was never an issue. And every single tour guide we had spoke EXCELLENT English, so understanding was never an issue. Most guides were also very FUNNY. I took the Discover More tour of Rothenburg that I especially enjoyed. The others in our party declined because it entailed over two hours in the coach. Rothenburg is an old city (I can hear you going: SO? Every European city has old sections. In Rothenburg, there is no new section and the old buildings have been maintained extremely well. Walking on the city wall is fun and informative. GYM There is a small gym with a rowing machine, an exercise bike and a bench. My wife and I used the facility almost every other day and ran into very few other passengers. The free wights were adequate for our limited routines. SUMMARY Other than a few criticisms noted above, our experience was fantastic. We got lucky with the weather (never got rained on). I would thoroughly recommend this cruise. If you cannot take the full 14-night cruise, the seven nights between Nuremberg and Amsterdam can be considered. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Cruise was excellent. We picked the Classic Danube which included a three night stay in Prague. We were on the Emerald sky. The crew was exceptional along with the food. The ports were all interesting and the guides were very well ... Read More
Cruise was excellent. We picked the Classic Danube which included a three night stay in Prague. We were on the Emerald sky. The crew was exceptional along with the food. The ports were all interesting and the guides were very well informed. Had the panorama balcony on deck three which is just below the sun deck, we never heard any noise. The pool was heated and at night it is transformed into the riverview club where movies were available on a few nights. Included in the price were all tips even for the guides and bus drivers. We even had a crew show, local entertainment on some nights and a demonstration of local jams and schnapps. I would pick Emerald waterways again. I rate them a 10 plus in every category. Everyone on board was very friendly, we met some wonderful people. Bottle water was free in your room and given out each day before your tours. Beer, wine and soda was free evety day at lunch and dinner. Buffet at breakfast and lunch was bountiful. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
My mum-in-law asked for this trip & what fun we 3 had- We were river rat virgins & look forward to the next one! The ship & cabins were stunning & pristine, dining delicious & imaginative. The entertainment was fun for ... Read More
My mum-in-law asked for this trip & what fun we 3 had- We were river rat virgins & look forward to the next one! The ship & cabins were stunning & pristine, dining delicious & imaginative. The entertainment was fun for all ages (21 to 81!) & the crew show not to be missed! We loved that we got to know the staff & they made efforts to get to know us & our preferences. My husband's birthday surprise was really well done. We did as many shore excursions as possible & loved the humorous history. The bike trip was very active & thank you for giving us speed choice in walking tours. We made lots of new friends & hope to visit with again. (Please start A loyalty program!) We appreciated minimal broadcasted announcements. Embarkation & disembarkation was super easy. We should have gone a day early to enjoy a Budapest thermal bath but did explore Nuremberg city center & War Memorial the last day of cruise & take a train to see/ sleep Munich & fly home. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
Our group of 8 went to enjoy ourselves and we did. Good food well served, great staff, superlative guides. Would like to eat a bit earlier than 7 pm but this is common to everyone. If you go anywhere to find fault you will. But we ... Read More
Our group of 8 went to enjoy ourselves and we did. Good food well served, great staff, superlative guides. Would like to eat a bit earlier than 7 pm but this is common to everyone. If you go anywhere to find fault you will. But we overlook any little things and are great full we are there. The history astounded, the local foods were good, the staff worked hard. The moving windows in the cabins were neat. We were disappointed with the last minute switch in ships for no apparent reason as we were beside the original one we thought we had booked. The movie area was broken so that we enjoyed the pool but only saw movies on the TV. The booking we ok. The website needs reprogramming to actually allow the choices being offered rather than a manual override. Weather good to too hot. But on those days we enjoyed the scenery from the ship. Local entertainment was great. Overall, we old go again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
It offered the best value for the money and this proved to be true. My group loved the ship and the cruise! The staff was extraordinary especially the cruise director, Darren, and all the front desk staff but also the wait staff was ... Read More
It offered the best value for the money and this proved to be true. My group loved the ship and the cruise! The staff was extraordinary especially the cruise director, Darren, and all the front desk staff but also the wait staff was great, everyone so nice and friendly and pleasant, including the cabin stewards and just every employee made you feel special. The pianist Benny was amazingly talented and versatile and my group loved him! The ship is beautiful, the cabins spacious and light, it is all top notch! The food wonderful and especially enjoyed the fact that they included regional specialties at the meals! The two on board performances they had were so enjoyable too. The ports we visited were lovely and we all especially enjoyed the tea with the local family in Braislava. I really highly recommend the Emerald Sun to anyone wanting to river cruise in Europe! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
I had a group of 23 who wanted to do a river cruise of the Danube. Emerald offered the best value for the money. This proved to be absolutely true and my group all enjoyed it very much. The staff was absolutely great! The cruise ... Read More
I had a group of 23 who wanted to do a river cruise of the Danube. Emerald offered the best value for the money. This proved to be absolutely true and my group all enjoyed it very much. The staff was absolutely great! The cruise director, Darren was especially great for me to work with since I had a group to look after but everyone on the ship was so lovely esp the folks at the reception desk and all the restaurant staff and the biggest plus was also the wonderful pianist, Benny! talk about a terrific entertainer! he was great too! The two on board shows we had were so enjoyable. The food was lovely and had a lot of regional specialties which we all really liked. The ship is very lovely and my cabin very spacious. The ports were so nice especially loved the tea with local family in Bratislava and also we all loved Budapest. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Wanted to try something different to a big sea cruise and to see lovely scenery whilst cruising. The boarding of the ship, cabin allocation etc. all done very efficiently. All the crew were very friendly and helpful. The cruise ... Read More
Wanted to try something different to a big sea cruise and to see lovely scenery whilst cruising. The boarding of the ship, cabin allocation etc. all done very efficiently. All the crew were very friendly and helpful. The cruise director was excellent. Food wise - very good service and the food for all meals was first class. Our daughter is quite a fussy eater so although the main menu had slightly different items there was alway the option of: 'normal' steak, chicken, fish etc. The whole ship was run very efficiently and kept immaculately clean the whole time. The excursions were very good and included in the price. And quite often there were several shuttle buses available after the main excursions - again included in the price. We only cruised during the day the first few days - which was great to see the lovely scenery. So slightly disappointing that we then cruised a night and missed all the scenery the last half of the cruise. This was obviously done so more time could be spent at the big cities. So this would have been a personal preference to see less of the cities and more of the countryside. Again, a personal preference was the smaller places we stopped at but everybody seemed to enjoy the big cities such as Vienna and Budapest. We went with our daughter & husband and although they are nearly 50 they were probably the youngest on board bar one or two. But never the less really were impressed and enjoyed it. Read Less
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