Emerald Waterways cruise review:
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ABOVE: A panoramic view of Emerald Star's
Reflections Restaurant. (Click
here and maximize your browser window for a larger image.)
Dining and lounges
lunch, and dinner are served in the
Reflections Restaurant, located forward on the Vista
(middle) deck. The restaurant has an "open seating" policy, although many
passengers gravitate to their favorite tables or areas after a day or two of
Emerald's ships have an unusually large number of tables for two
(located next to the windows), with tables for four alongside. Larger tables are
available for groups and compulsive socializers.
in the restaurant is a buffet, with an omelette station for people who like
their eggs cooked to order. Pretty much anything you'd want is available, from
breads, pastries, cereals, and fruit to smoked salmon, mackerel, two kinds of bacon, and even a
choice of peanut butter or Vegemite.
Coffee and tea are served by waiters. Hot chocolate is available
only in the lounge (unless a waiter takes pity on a crestfallen guest and
fetches a cup from upstairs, as a waiter did when Cheryl asked for it on the
second morning of our cruise).
is also a buffet, with a daily soup, an array of salads, cold cuts, cheeses, hot
dishes, and desserts. The meal sometimes has a special theme, such as a
"Bavarian Lunch" with assorted Teutonic specialties.
is a sit-down affair, with four courses. At a typical dinner, the menu offers
two appetizers, a soup of the day, three main courses (including a vegetarian
option), and four desserts, with coffee or tea afterwards.
On days when you prefer comfort food, you can choose from an
"Emerald's Classics" alternative menu (usually chicken bouillon, Caesar salad,
rump steak, poached salmon, or grilled chicken breast).
Overall, we'd rate Emerald Star's food good to
excellent, and we appreciated local touches such as German rye breads and seeded
rolls at the buffet and Bitburger beer ("Bitte, ein Bit!") on tap. If we had one
suggestion, it would be to provide more chocolate desserts and fewer puddings
and cream cakes (the latter possibly a reflection of Emerald's Australian
and mazimize your browser window for a larger panoramic image of the Horizon
one deck up from the restaurant, is the social center of Emerald Star. It's a
large, glass-walled room with plenty of contemporary-styled sofas, chairs, and
hassocks for chatting, reading, port talks, captain's receptions, entertainment,
and special events (such as glassblowing and Strudel-making demonstrations during our
A hardworking team of bar servers dispense beer, wine, and
other alcoholic drinks at shoreside prices, although there's no pressure to
lounge also has a self-service beverage station with a machine that dispenses
espresso, capuccino, mochaccino, hot chocolate, and hot water for a selection of
(We sampled the marble shortbread cookies in the beverage
station's cookie jar, which were
made by the ship's own pastry chef.)
A light breakfast and buffet lunch are available in the
Horizon Lounge. The lounge also serves afternoon tea and late-night snacks.
During some cruises, Emerald Waterways serves a barbecue
on the Sun Deck at least once during the voyage. This didn't happen on our
cruise, probably because the Sun Deck was often closed due to low bridges.
Click here and maximize your browser window for a larger panoramic image of
open-air bow seating and eating area is directly in front of the Horizon Lounge. Electric
doors make it easy to carry a drink or meal onto the Terrace, as we often did during our cruise. We especially liked sitting on the Terrace
after dinner when Emerald Star was
cruising on the river and passing through locks.
We expected The Terrace to be more crowded--it
was our favorite spot on the ship, other than our cabin--but we always had a choice of tables or lounge chairs.
here and maximize your browser window for a larger panoramic image of the
Pool Bar area.
Pool Bar is located aft
on the Horizon Deck, next to to the swimming pool.
some evenings, the pool is covered and used as a cinema. At other times, you can
grab a comfortable chair for reading or sightseeing and (if you wish) order a
drink from the bar. Even when the bar isn't open, you can get hot drinks from a
self-service coffee and tea machine.