Sail Date: December 2018
Note: We were supposed to sail on the Emerald Destiny, but because of low water levels, passengers cruised on the Emerald Sun instead. Our Christmas Market cruise with Emerald Waterways was everything we had hoped it would be. We ... Read More
Note: We were supposed to sail on the Emerald Destiny, but because of low water levels, passengers cruised on the Emerald Sun instead. Our Christmas Market cruise with Emerald Waterways was everything we had hoped it would be. We started in Budapest and travelled along the Danube until we reached Nuremberg where we proceeded by motor coach for the three-day extension in Prague. Everything went smoothly from beginning to end, thanks to the cruise director and staff who attended to every detail. This was our first river cruise and we were impressed with the personal attention that the staff provided to each of its passengers such as arranging transfers to and from the airport, assisting in planning activities, providing free use of an iPad on board, etc. There were many items included in the cruise package including tipping, complimentary beverages with lunch and dinner (including wine and beer), as well as many walking tours with experienced guides. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our port stops. The ship was docked as close as possible to the towns and cities we were visiting which made it convenient for touring. We were especially charmed by the Christmas markets in Budapest and Prague which offered a variety of local foods and numerous hand-made crafts. The Christmas lights and decorations added a magical touch to the overall atmosphere. The smaller places we stopped at were also delightful. One excursion offered the opportunity of meeting with a Slovakian couple in their private home to enjoy coffee and cake with them. Dürnstein is a lovely town with lots of atmosphere, plenty of shopping opportunities, and you can even explore the castle ruins. Other interesting excursions that were available included a trip to the enchanting city of Salzburg. Prague is a captivating city with its stunning architecture and lovely cultural atmosphere. The three-day extension included the coach transfer from Nuremberg to Prague, accommodation, daily breakfast, and a local dinner with entertainment, as well as the services of a tour guide. We were pleased with our accommodation in Prague at the Grandium Hotel which was only a short walk from Old Town Square. The excellent complimentary buffet breakfast was offered in a spacious dining area, and it included a generous assortment of selections. On this portion of the trip, we were accompanied by a most professional, knowledgeable, personable, and experienced tour guide. He provided a very interesting city tour which included various highlights such as Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, and a visit to the Old Town Square. I would highly recommend this guide if you are ever in Prague (Petr, pzamostny@bdiscovery.org). We wish to extend a sincere thanks to all the staff and tour guides of Emerald Waterways for a wonderful trip! 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
This was our third cruise with Emerald. We have also cruised with Uniworld and Viking. We chose this trip from Budapest to Amsterdam on Emerald because our previous trips with Emerald were wonderful. Unfortunately that was not quite the ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Emerald. We have also cruised with Uniworld and Viking. We chose this trip from Budapest to Amsterdam on Emerald because our previous trips with Emerald were wonderful. Unfortunately that was not quite the case. I have written about our cabin below so I won't go into that any further. The ship was very nice and comfortable and the staff was great. Michael the Cruise Director was outstanding. The food was plentiful and you would never go hungry but my husband said it was nothing special. The soups were weak and salty; not much taste. The dinners were somewhat unusual too; beef cheeks and lots of lamb!!!! At dinner we expected men to wear long pants but instead we had several that had on sport shorts and flip flops. Emerald does have a dress policy but doesn't enforce it. We talked with the Hotel manager and the head of the dining room who admitted they had a dress code but they didn't ask the gentlemen to please put on pants for dinner. Very disappointing. The tours and guides were excellent. Most were college students who were very entertaining and knowledgeable. Because of the low river levels we only missed two stops in Passau and Koblenz and were very, very fortunate to be able to sail all the way to Amsterdam. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Although the Emerald Ship was beautiful and the staff and food excellent, the water system is very noisy. It sounded like a bowling ball was rolling across the ceiling of my suite every 15-20 seconds. I spoke with the hotel director and ... Read More
Although the Emerald Ship was beautiful and the staff and food excellent, the water system is very noisy. It sounded like a bowling ball was rolling across the ceiling of my suite every 15-20 seconds. I spoke with the hotel director and she was aware of the noise issue and told me she had reported it to the company, but nothing ever changes. So if you want a peaceful cruise, don't chose Emerald Waterways. Sleeping beneath a bowling alley was not my idea of a relaxing way to spend my nights on what is billed as a luxury cruise. I will not cruise with Emerald Water ways again. Everything else met my expectations. The ship was clean and well appointed and the staff was friendly and helpful. The shore excursions were well-planned and executed. My main concern is the quality of the sleeping experience, a rather important part of any cruise. September was a great time to travel and I would encourage others to cruise the Rhine during this time of the year. My advice is to find another cruise line first. Read Less
2 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
Excellent service throughout. Personal service on a smaller ship and more relaxing. Food could not be faulted. Such variety to suit all tastes. All the dining staff were great and was no trouble for special requests and the wine ... Read More
Excellent service throughout. Personal service on a smaller ship and more relaxing. Food could not be faulted. Such variety to suit all tastes. All the dining staff were great and was no trouble for special requests and the wine flowed well! Cruise Director very helpful and always smiling and knowledgeable who put a great package together with lots of added touches to make the days very special Tours were given by brilliant knowledgeable local guides catering for all abilities. Cabins are a bit small but loved the balcony view. Cabin service was excellent, Jolene was very efficient and pleasant Embarkation great, greeted well and cabins ready when we arrived Disembarkation was smooth and very organised and buses arrived on time and put our cases on the bus. We had a wonderful time and would certainly book again. it wasn't the cheapest cruise but you mainly get what you pay for! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary and, in particular, the opportunity for an extra day visiting a particular city, Vienna. The only very minor disappointment of the cruise was that, until we got there, we were not aware that ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary and, in particular, the opportunity for an extra day visiting a particular city, Vienna. The only very minor disappointment of the cruise was that, until we got there, we were not aware that Vienna would be closed on our free day there, I.e. Sunday. However, this was more than compensated by the alternative excursion to Bratislava. Following our experience on a previous cruise, We also chose to book the cruise via a travel agent, rather than directly with the cruise operator. This turned out to be very wise. The travel agent dealt with all the flight issues, and everything went according to plan. The cruise company's representatives to and from the airports were really obliging. On board, all the staff were first class and really engaged with the guests without being fawning or overbearing. We particularly liked the option of a lighter lunch and breakfast, together with a light tea, a service not offered by our previous cruise operator, and this reduced the tendency to over indulge. In addition, the layout of the dining room accommodated those couples who wanted to be on their own, those who wished to dine with newly made friends, and those who had gone in a party and wished to dine as a party. We were also able to observe the readiness with which the chef was able to accommodate those guests who had specific dietary requirements. There was a varied range of excursions and for these, there were really nice touches such as umbrellas and walking poles in the cabins. The evening entertainment was not really relevant to ourselves but that which was offered seemed to be in keeping with the demographic attracted to river cruising as opposed to ocean cruising. Just about everything about the cruise more than met our expectations, and we have no hesitation in recommending Emerald to prospective river cruisers. Indeed, we are already looking to book our next river cruise with Emerald. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
First time cruise with my wife to get a real break from the office. Saw an Ad in our Norfolk Magazine - Dancing on the Danube - to include a visit to Vienna, how could one resist? No advertisement can describe the excellence of this ... Read More
First time cruise with my wife to get a real break from the office. Saw an Ad in our Norfolk Magazine - Dancing on the Danube - to include a visit to Vienna, how could one resist? No advertisement can describe the excellence of this amazingly beautiful river boat, the program of visits along the Danube, its incredible staff and their professionalism. Value for money? without any doubt - a golden thread of goodwill linked each day. Bravo, Emerald Waterways! We'll be booking again! If there were any issues these were related to arrival at Munich airport where the instructions and information as well as the Tour operator were poorly represented. Likewise at departure from Budapest airport there were long delays due to another baggage handling breakdown and complete lack of customer information. Highlight of the cruise was in fact the Farewell Party with the Captain when he and all the crew and staff were represented. All passengers gave them a standing ovation and it was an extraordinary but full deserved recognition of the success of the cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our first River Cruise we will repeat. We chose Emerald because Senic included drinks all day and we do not drink as much. We were told that Emerauld's quality was outstanding for less as Wine and beer and soft drinks meals ... Read More
This was our first River Cruise we will repeat. We chose Emerald because Senic included drinks all day and we do not drink as much. We were told that Emerauld's quality was outstanding for less as Wine and beer and soft drinks meals only. We did have a few drinks between meals but mostly at the beginning of the cruise and used our credits on board to pay. The care with our Cruise director Darren was outstanding so was the whole crew .Each night we get explanations on the next day activities and countries what excursions to choose. There is lots of free time if we choose to do nothing. They truly care. Darren went out of his way to accommodate us during the heat wave to make us comfortable during excursions. The Captain is the only one who risked going through the low water levels we stayed informed all the way. Precautions were taken and we felt secure. The comfort on the ship is outstanding. Air conditioning on-going. Sheets and bed all is top quality. Embarkation and disembarkation are easy pizzy! No hassle, no climbing stairs, waiting for contents to be checked, many entrances to come in or out from, good monitoring of passengers entering or exiting ship even when anchored with other ships. Activities with music and dancers from different countries were awesome and had us all participating (no obligation). Loved that the tips were included no extra to pay ever!!! We loved Vienna. The after thought is spend less time in little countries such as Lynz and Durnstein and more in bigger countries like 2 days in Vienna as it was in Budapest. Vienna is wonderful the history, the buildings, the sites...we would like to return to spend one week in Vienna only. Concert in Vienna is a must. Family visit in Bratislava is high on our list of likes. The Budapest part is something to remember for the rest of your life. We took the option to stay in Budapest and regretted it simply because Emerald excursions did such a good job at showing us the country plus the night cruise was breathtaking, 2 days more cost us over $1000. (we had to pay for our excursions, food and all) and not worth it because we had covered so much with our guides for free and great explanations. First 3 days in Prague were very well organized, our tour guide was perfectly bilingual, helpful and knowledgeable. She told us so much on on each one of our tours we really enjoyed those 3 days. The bus to Nuremberg on the 4th day made us wonder why we left Prague so late. We were under the impression that there was an organized tour in Nuremberg before boarding the ship. We left Prague at 1h30pm it took us 5 hours to get from Prague to Nuremberg. The meal stop (at our expense) was in a mcDonalds on the side of the road. Could have had a lunch packed for us from the hotel before leaving or go to a local restaurant? Anyhow, this stop is not representative of the ship standards and was very disappointing in terms of a short visit in Nuremberg and food but we should of understood at that moment that the food standards of Emerald are far from ours... Speaking of food... If you like veggies and soup (soups were very good but very salty) bread and cold cuts and desserts you are in for a treat also, there were many fruit and nuts to choose from.I have travelled more than my share business and pleasure, sea cruises, organized or not trips, it is the first time I come back having lost weight because nothing on the menu turned our crank! Nothing refined...I can appreciate we ate local...goulash, sausages, sauerkraut, shneizell we had the impression that nothing was freshly made more like warmed up cafeteria and fat. There was an option choice for those who did not like the day menu, steak, salmon or chicken breast. Steak was not the best quality and lots of pulling to cut, if you like your steak medium rare by the time they come up the stairs and serve it continues to cook and turns out to be well done; the chicken is more like an overcooked thin cutlets=dry like cardboard, salmon very dry and small portion. Captain's night Chateaubriand and fish the portions were so small 3 bites later and it was gone, night of the Celebration supper Beef cheeks tasted like plastic (could not eat it had a salad with cheese) . Lunch is a buffet pretty much always the same. I hate to post such a bad review for food because all the rest was soooooo over the top excellent.But for our group food kicks the experience up a notch! We would like an explanation of why the quality was so poor it will help us choose our next cruise. I do recommend this cruise and if food is important for you then ask more questions before you book. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our first river cruise and the big draw for us was that we would have a special show at the Venice Arsenal from dancers from the British TV show "Strictly Come Dancing": Vincent Simone and Flavia Caccace. We were ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and the big draw for us was that we would have a special show at the Venice Arsenal from dancers from the British TV show "Strictly Come Dancing": Vincent Simone and Flavia Caccace. We were extremely impressed with the high standards on board the ship. The cabins were luxurious and stylishly decorated with wonderfully comfortable beds. Food was good and plentiful. All of the staff on board the ship were helpful, polite and good natured and did a fantastic job. Whilst we were cruising, the Danube waters became very low and some ships could not continue with their cruise as expected. However, our Captain got us through the expected itinerary with just a few hold ups due to having to sail more slowly than usual. Top marks to all the Emerald Destiny staff in all departments. There were lots of activities to entertain us on board and off. There were energetic bike rides on offer as well as additional trips to cities away from the river if you wanted to spread your wings a bit. In the evenings there was music and dancing available and sometimes local folk musicians giving us a taste of the local culture. The absolute highlight of our trip though was the music recital and dance performance in Vienna. Vincent and Flavia danced sublimely and then were happy to meet us, their fans, having pictures taken and a chat. There were very few downsides to the cruise, but we were very disappointed that our stop in Linz was on a Sunday when everything was closed. There were some really interesting vintage and artisan shops there, so not being able to go in was frustrating. Another slight disappointment was that during the on-board dancing masterclass with Vincent and Flavia the day after their performance, there was not enough room for everyone who wanted to take part. More thought was needed about how furniture could be moved and space created. Overall though, this was a fabulous experience and one that I am happy to recommend. Read Less
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