Christened alongside her sister, the Emerald Sun, in August 2015, the Emerald Dawn is one of the newest additions to the fleet of Australian-owned Emerald Waterways Star-Ships. These innovative, airy ships, first launched in 2014, are making waves in the river cruise industry thanks to their panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows, innovative open air cabin balconies and swimming pools with retractable roofs that convert into cinemas by night.
Passengers It’s not just passengers ‘down under’ who appreciate the laid back but luxurious feel on the Emerald Dawn – the ship is also hugely popular with holidaymakers from the UK, USA and Canada. The company’s contemporary ethos and the ship’s box fresh condition mean that it also attracts a slightly younger guest as well as the more traditional mature river cruiser. With a maximum capacity of 182 passengers, and 47 friendly crew on hand to serve them, the atmosphere is intimate and relaxed, and the service is friendly yet attentive, with gratuities included as part of Emerald Waterway’s all-inclusive policy. Thanks to its good provision of single staterooms, Emerald Dawn is also popular with single travellers.
Dining Reflections is the main restaurant on Emerald Dawn, and large and varied breakfast (with egg chef) and lunch buffets are served here daily. At night, Reflections plays host to a four-course dinner with a relaxed open-seating policy and wines, beers and soft drinks included. Your cruise on Emerald Dawn includes welcome and farewell dinners. These occasions are the highlights of the ship’s social calendar, but although some people choose to dress up a bit more than usual, there’s no dress code or formality, and you can sit where you like. The Terrace, which can be found at the bow of Emerald Dawn, serves drinks, snacks and light meals in a lovely al fresco setting. Plus there’s the Sky Barbecue on the Sun Deck. Tea and coffee are available all day on the ship.
Entertainment The floor of the rooftop swimming pool is raised in the evenings so passengers can enjoy a movie under the stars, complete with comfy armchairs and popcorn. The Emerald Dawn also plays host to local entertainers, quizzes and one evening of the itinerary is devoted to a tongue in cheek staff talent show and disco. A drink in the contemporary Horizon Bar and Lounge is a lovely way to start or end your evening as you enjoy the panoramic views and listen to the resident pianist.
Activities Most passengers’ activity is concentrated on exploring the beautiful towns, cities and villages of the itinerary. However you can learn about the area you’re travelling through with an EU lecture or the headphones that provide a commentary without you having to leave the ship. A nightly newsletter gives you information about the next day’s port call, so you can prepare for your guided tour. You can enhance your sightseeing experience with EmeraldPLUS activities such as Black Forest gateau tasting on the Jewels of the Rhine itinerary. Onboard, it’s all about unwinding after another busy day on dry land on the Sun Deck or in the lounges. If you need to get in touch with home, free Wi-Fi is available. The Sun Deck is also home to a putting green.
Accommodation Staterooms on the Emerald Dawn have an understated yet luxurious feel. The Horizon Deck is home to the ship’s most expensive cabins including the Owner’s One Bedroom Suites and Grand Balcony Suites, which feature personal verandas that you can seal off from the rest of the cabin. There are also some Emerald Panorama Balcony Suites on this deck. The Vista Deck is entirely devoted to Emerald Panorama Balcony Suites which, like the higher grade suites, boast the Star-Ships’ signature decked balconies with ‘open air system’. Instead of the French Balconies found on most river cruise lines, you can make your cabin’s floor-to-ceiling window drop down at the touch of a button, letting in fresh air and enhancing the view. The Riviera Deck is home to the ships’ Emerald Staterooms. These are slightly smaller than the Panorama Balcony Suites but safes, hairdryers, minibars and climate control come as standard in all cabins. You’ll also enjoy daily bottled water and a flat screen TV with a good selection of English-speaking channels.
Spa/Wellbeing As well as its show stopping swimming pool with retractable roof, the Emerald Dawn has a Wellness & Fitness Centre where you can work out or treat yourself to a blow dry or a massage. For gentler exercise you can do a few circuits of the Sun Deck’s walking track.
Itineraries Emerald Dawn is making her river debut on the Rhine and the Danube. On the 7- night Jewels of the Rhine itinerary she’ll be passing through the magical scenery of the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland with an emphasis on art museums and castles. The 7 nights of the Highlights of Netherlands & Belgium cruise visits Amsterdam, Antwerp, Veere, Arnhem, Edam, Volendam and Hoorn.