Emerald River Cruising on the Rhine

Read my review of Scenic Tours new river cruise line called Emerald Waterways which began in Amsterdam and ended in Basel, Switzerland. Trip was taken June of 2014.

Emerald  River Cruising on the Rhine
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by Jennifer Chedore, CTC

I was honoured to participate in a "familiarization" cruise with Scenic Tours new river cruise line called Emerald Waterways in June of 2014.  This inaugural sailing began in Amsterdam, Netherlands and ended in Basel, Switzerland.

As you may know from our previous articles, Scenic River Cruises is an amazing all inclusive cruise line offering everything from all butler service to complimentary laundry service which puts them above and beyond their competition.  Having all these luxuries though is not on everyone’s list of necessities or in everyone’s budget,  therefore Emerald Cruise Line emerged which offers a vacation more comparable to the other river cruise lines at a more affordable rate.

The Emerald Sky is a beautiful ship to look at both inside and out.  The décor is very modern and sleek but comfortable with a very welcoming feel to every area. 

The Reception was quaint but sparkled with all the glass and mirrors.  The dining room was crisp and bright with all views out the floor to ceiling windows and the lounge area comfortable and inviting fully equipped with central bar and specialty coffee machine, again with the striking panoramic views.   

The Sun deck spanned the full length of the ship and during the spring like temperatures, we were able to lounge in the sun or under a covered table depending on how warm it was to admire the beautiful scenery.  If the Sun deck was off limits due to low bridges or locks, fresh air could still be found on the bow where there were tables and chairs set up some of which were under the warming propane heaters built right into the ship’s overhang.  There is a small enclosed pool area with cozy lounge at the rear of the Horizon deck and equipped with a retractable glass roof.  At night, this area becomes a movie theatre complete with popcorn which can hold about 30 people.

The double occupancy staterooms are not large but range from 162 square feet for the Standard cabins and up to 180 square feet for the all-weather balcony suites which open to allow in some fresh air.  If you are still in need of more space, the Grand Balcony suites are 210 square feet and the One bedroom Owner’s suite are 315 square feet full equipped with walk in closet.  There are a total of 72 staterooms/suites with even 2 staterooms which are single occupancy (162 square feet).  The bathrooms are compact but the best part was that you could get ready almost anywhere in the cabin because it was equipped with plugs and mirrors on almost every wall.

The meals on board were incredible, abundant with gorgeous plating and more than enough to select from.  Breakfast and lunch were buffet style and dinner, a la carte in the dining room and there was a continental and light lunch option in the lounge.   Breakfast had you both European fare as well as our western dishes of bacon and eggs complete with omelet station.   Lunch again had meat, cheese and breads as well as what I would consider as dinner options (pasta, meat, fish complete with rice, potatoes and many kinds of vegetables) but my personal favourite… a different delightful soup every day.  Dinner was excellent, every day with a selection of two starters, two appetizers, three entrees and two deserts.  The entrees were always a meat, fish and vegetarian choice but if none of the choices appealed to you there was always a backup of steak and salmon.

I cannot say enough about the onboard staff.  They all had smiles on their face every time I saw them and because of the small number of passengers, they seemed to get to know your likes and dislikes quickly as well as carry on conversations like a new friend yet keep the professionalism in tack.

I travelled from Amsterdam to Basel with an overnight in Amsterdam, ports in Cologne, Koblenz, Rudesheim, Manheim/Heidelburg and Breisach.  Most itineraries are not unique to Emerald Waterways but since I had never been,   I loved the shore excursions.  I enjoyed the walking tours most which took us into the heart of the port city, explained the history and then enabled us to venture out on our own to shop, indulge in the culture and make it back to the ship on our own time.  My favourite guides were the history students who made the tours fun, interesting and without question, informative.  I have never heard so many church bells through Germany and seen so many castles, it was truly beautiful.  We cruised the canals in Amsterdam, visited castles, went on a gondola ride, to a brewery, to a music museum and had Black Forest Cake in the Black Forest while all the way learning and seeing some of the most beautiful scenery that I have ever seen. Emerald River Cruises offer a variety of touring options!

 I loved river cruising a great way to see the heart of Europe without the crowds, noise, long bus rides and the unpacking every day or so for a different hotel.   The travel times were minimal, with a couple exceptions for excursions and the free time was the perfect amount giving balance to the vacation.

If you have been thinking of River cruising and would like more information on Emerald Waterways or another river cruise line, feel free to contact me at 519-472-3232.

 

I want to go to Amsterdam

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