Q – You have not mentioned Emerald Waterways
in your reviews and some friends have asked us to join them next summer on a river cruise. They did volunteer that Emerald was a “great deal”. Any thought on the line would be appreciated as we don’t believe a word on the so-called “critic” sites.
A – You haven;t heard much about Emerald for two reasons. They are a new brand and just started operating on Europe’s waterways in 2014. They are also the “budget” arm of Australia-based Scenic, one of our top-rated lines.
Emerald is not very well known and your travel agent may have a little trouble booking them. But the value your friend mentions is essentially true. Emerald comes in with some very attractive pricing. The down side, we suppose, is that your fellow travelers may be budget travelers from Australia and other parts of the English-speaking world. So Emerald will likely (we certainly want to give them more time before passing any judgements) attract a lower socio-economic demographic.
The ships are actually extremely attractive. They have a sliding glass roof, light filled-terraces,and some lovely panoramic balcony suites.The design is contemporary. Guests get free Wi-Fi and tipping is included in the fare. Wine of dubious lineage, beer, and soft drinks are included. Bar drinks, however, are not and many of the better shore excursions are sold at a premium. This is not an inclusive product. Our bottom line is that you consider Emerald if you are on a tight budget and would enjoy traveling on a boat where Americans are a distinct minority. Donnie Trump, we suspect, would not book Emerald.