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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 $.

Average overall

Emerald Star Cruise Review by GrumpyKiwi

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
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 $.
GrumpyKiwi’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 111
My low cabin score is due to noise!
We were on bottom deck. There is no noise between cabins BUT toilet doors slide and the noise carries from side to side and from above. The toilets are electric. They sound like an aircraft carrier launching a jet.
Going through the locks at night is noisy and there is a sensation similar to an earthquake. Fellow passengers from Christchurch or other places that have experienced quakes had problems with flash back.
When the boat goes in a lock the water slops around the side of the ship. This triggers a response in many bladders!! SO...the doors slide NOISILY. The grinding sliding noise is then followed but a squadron of jets being launched as toilets flush. Some nights you get no sleep.

After the first night we complained. The receptionist said there was an extra tank under our room, they might be able to shift us to another room on that deck. However cruise director said, "That's just the way it is. Its 130€ a night for better room".

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews