Emerald Waterways cruise review:
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ABOVE: You needn't be a fan of Vegemite or peanut
butter to enjoy an Emerald Waterways cruise--but if you are, Emerald is ready to
Is Emerald Waterways right for you?
river cruising serves two audiences:
Experienced cruisers who have seen plenty of ocean ports and
want to visit Europe's inland cities.
Traditional travelers who have considered buying a tour but
dislike buses, constant packing and repacking, and checking into a different
hotel each night.
many ways, a river cruise is a hybrid of cruising and touring: You spend part of
your time cruising on rivers--as opposed to busing on motorways--with the rest
of your time devoted to guided city tours (primarily walking tours) and free
time in cities and towns.
Assuming that river cruising appeals to you, will Emerald
Waterways be a good match for your needs? We think it probably will, if:
attracted by modern, unfussy ships with contemporary styling and spacious
You want comfort, but you don't want to pay for pampering,
alternative dining venues, and other extras. (If you want butler service,
free laundry, a choice of restaurants, and fully all-inclusive pricing,
Emerald's sister line, Scenic Cruises,
may be your cup of Earl Grey.)
energetic and active enough to enjoy walking tours and other activities on
You like the idea of cruising with a line that attracts an
eclectic mixture of guests from Australia, New Zealand, the United States,
Canada, Great Britain, and other English-speaking countries. (Emerald also
may attract a slightly younger crowd than some of its competitors do, to
judge from the age mixture on our cruise.)
Pricing and value:
Waterway's prices are in line with other mainstream river-cruise lines, and they
include just about everything except for drinks outside meal hours and a handful
of special (and optional) tours.
worth noting that Emerald will provide airport transfers even if you make
your own flight arrangements. (Some cruise lines include transfers only for
guests who book pre- or post-cruise land tours.)
Also, as we mentioned on our
Officers and Crew page, all
tips are included--even for shore excursions.
Emerald Waterways tells us that about 25 percent of its bookings
are by previous guests, so the line seems to be pleasing its customers.