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Emerald Waterways River Cruises

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Emerald Waterways
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Emerald Waterways 

Debuting on the rivers of Europe as recently as 2014, Emerald Waterways is an Australian-owned river cruise company whose modern, elegant and airy ships reflect its stylish, youthful ethos. One of Emerald’s innovations is a swimming pool with a retractable roof that turns into a cinema at night, which speaks volumes about its fresh approach, and it dubs itself ‘the next generation of river cruising’.On an Emerald cruise the focus is firmly on relaxation and enjoyment. The fact that all cruises are all-inclusive with an emphasis on good value for money and friendly yet professional service, means that this is easily accomplished as you meander down the rivers of historic Europe, taking in the stunning scenery they have to offer. And not only are your onboard costs (including tips) taken care of, the price also includes all transfers, meaning you don’t have to worry about a thing. With Emerald Waterways, you can also venture further and cruise the unforgettable rivers of Southeast Asia. 

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To ensure that guests can enjoy their river cruise experience in the utmost safety, Emerald Waterways have enhanced their pre-cruise and onboard measures. Prior to cruising, all guests must have completed a health evaluation survey, and before departure will be briefed on health and safety protocols. Once onboard, measures included more frequent cleaning of suites and public spaces, as well as hand sanitiser dispensers in public areas, suites and corridors. Strict hygiene standards continue on shore excursions, with hand sanitiser provided on transport and activities complying to destination specific guidelines.


Emerald Sky, the first ship in the fleet, was christened by 60s supermodel Twiggy, whose status as a timeless style icon perfectly matches Emerald’s cutting edge yet chic vibe. Now the custom-built sleek and contemporary Emerald Star, Sun, Dawn and Belle have joined their stylish older sister. Expect to find a spacious sun deck, two restaurants, and fantastic leisure and wellbeing facilities, with floor-to-ceiling views ship-wide. As well as the Emerald Star Ships, Emerald also charters the A-ROSA Stella cruise ship for its French river cruises - also designed with guests’ comfort and relaxation in mind. In Southeast Asia, the 2014-built French colonial-style Mekong Navigator provides guests with native-style luxury. 


Due to its roots, many Emerald passengers are Australians, who appreciate the casual, modern atmosphere onboard. The rest of the guests tend to made up of British, American and Canadian travellers, meaning it’s rare to hear anything but English being spoken onboard. Most guests are couples or friends who are attracted by Emerald’s excellent onboard facilities and up to date approach to river cruising. The ships are also popular with solo travellers, thanks to the good provision of single cabins. The Star-Ships have a maximum capacity of 182 passengers across 92 cabins, so never feel too crowded. 


All Emerald cruises start with a welcome dinner where you can mingle with your fellow passengers, and end with a farewell dinner where you can swap contact details with new friends. The dress code is more dressed up than on other nights, but there’s never a formal feel on Emerald. The main restaurant onboard the Star-Ships is Reflections, where you can enjoy breakfast and lunch buffets, followed by a delicious four course dinner in a relaxed, casual environment with no need to book a table. And when the weather’s nice, The Terrace, at the bow of the ships, is a lovely place to enjoy a casual meal or cup of coffee and a snack. Tea and coffee are always available, and wines, beers and soft drinks (with meals) are all part of the all-inclusive deal. Tips are also included.Dining facilities vary on the A-ROSA Stella and Mekong Navigator, but the relaxed, informal Emerald atmosphere remains similar. 


In the evenings, many Emerald passengers enjoy their pre or post dinner drink while they take in the passing views and listen to some live piano music in the stylish Horizon Lounge with its floor to ceiling windows. There are also occasional trivia nights, local entertainment and, on one evening per cruise, a staff talent show is followed by a disco. There’s also the chance to unwind with a drink and some popcorn as you watch a classic or recent Hollywood release in the cinema that’s cleverly transformed from the daytime pool area when night falls. 


Emerald’s customers are happy to relax and unwind onboard after another exciting day exploring offshore on a guided excursion.  When you do dock, the excellent tours and EmeraldPLUS activity programme (extra charge) will add more to your visit than the average tourist experience, with bookable events like Black Forest Gateau tasting and lunch with a local Croatian family. Many itineraries also include an onboard EU lecture, and every evening the cruise director gives a talk about the next day’s port of call. You can also find this information in the nightly newsletter. There’s also the chance to listen to a commentary about historic areas you are passing through via headphones. 


Emerald Star-Ships’ main innovation is the replacement of the traditional river cruise French balcony with a state of the art indoor balcony with decked area and ‘open air system’. Just touch the button and the top half of your cabin’s floor to ceiling window will drop down to let the air in and let you lean out to admire the panoramic view. Panorama Balcony Suites are slightly bigger than the standard staterooms, but both are modern and the presence of lots of mirrors adds an illusion of space. The Grand Balcony Suites incorporate a personal veranda that can be closed off from the rest of the cabin. Air conditioning, safes, daily bottled water, hairdryers and premium toiletries come as standard. Each cabin also includes a payable minibar and a flat screen TV with a wide choice of English-speaking channels. 


Emerald Star-Ships have dedicated Wellness & Fitness Areas to cater to all your pampering needs. You can relax with a massage, visit the hairdresser or work out in the fitness room. The star of the show is the fantastic swimming pool with retractable roof. The pool is a great place to start your day or unwind after a busy afternoon sightseeing.The Sun Deck has a walking and jogging track and there’s also a mini putting green. 


The Emerald Star-Ships glide seamlessly down the Main, Rhone, Danube, Rhine and Saone rivers, taking in many beautiful places of interest along the way, from palaces and castles to vineyards and gardens. Itineraries vary from 8 -17 days and include lots of fascinating offshore excursions and EmeraldPLUS activities. An Emerald cruise is a wonderful way to discover the delights of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, too. Ranging between 18 and 21 days, all Asian itineraries include a seven-night cruise of the River Mekong on the Mekong Navigator. This ship offers all the amenities that Emerald passengers expect, but with a capacity of just 68 guests, there’s a real feeling of exclusivity. 

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