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Flowers & Frolics: Emerald Dawn In Bloom

Flowers & Frolics: Emerald Dawn In Bloom

River cruising experts, Emerald Cruises, are renowned for their stylish array of ships that sail down some of the most idyllic rivers across the world. 

One of Emerald Cruises’ most popular Star Ships, Emerald Dawn, takes discerning travellers to captivating locations along the Rhine, Main, Danube and Moselle rivers in the utmost style and comfort. 

Cruise.co.uk consultant Toni Mears has experienced the joy of voyaging with Emerald Dawn herself, during a recent week-long spring trip to Belgium and Amsterdam. In this blog, Toni shares her thoughts and views on river cruising with Emerald Dawn… 

Prior to this trip, I never would have considered a river cruise as I thought it wouldn’t have been for me – but I was definitely wrong! I can say, now, there is so much to do on a river cruise, the service and food were amazing and the ship was beautiful.

After arriving in Amsterdam, we were transferred to the ship and allowed straight onboard. We were then greeted with cold towels plus a welcome drink and quickly checked in. A porter then showed me to my cabin where my suitcase had already arrived and showed me how everything worked within the cabin. 

The cabin was beautiful, very clean, modern and had sufficient space. After checking in and catching up with the people I was travelling with, we collectively decided to explore the ship. 

The pool area was absolutely amazing and much larger than expected for a river cruise. It was lovely and warm in there so you had a real holiday vibe straight away, they also had plastic glasses so you could enjoy a drink by the pool should you wish. 

Overall, the whole ship is amazing and has recently had a refit so it felt so clean and new. Also, the service throughout the whole trip was incredible, the staff all had wonderful personalities and a sense of humour so it felt more personal but professional. 

The cruise director even ensured that every member of staff was introduced, so passengers could show their appreciation for their hard work. On the last night at dinner, they had every single member of the team come out and line up, and they finished with a wonderful song for the guests – it was such a lovely and fun gesture. 

Evenings onboard were good fun with an excellent entertainment manager performing shows (Abba themed evening and a captain’s disco evening), as well as a live singer one evening. The onboard lounge was large enough for people to chill out in after dinner.

The food onboard was beautiful and there was plenty of choice. Breakfast was buffet style and there were various options available, including an egg station (the omelettes were lovely). Lunch was also buffet style with a fresh pasta station, soup and salad section as well as a small menu you could order off. 

Dinner was a minimum of three courses, served as a la carte meal. All the food was gorgeous and staff onboard would adapt meals if there was something served you didn’t like. Afternoon tea of sandwiches, light bites and cakes was served around 4:30 pm, and then there was always an evening hot canape-type snack brought around in the lounge around 11 pm.

The excursions were incredible too, with a trip included every day as well as various bike excursions. However, the ship has limited spaces for excursions, so you do need to sign up for these the night before, as they are first come first serve. 

There were a couple of excursions that you could pay to do, but for our seven nights onboard, there were only two of these. Our included excursions included a trip to Keukenhof to see the Tulips, a guided walking tour of Antwerp (what a gorgeous city!), a trip to the Airborne museum and cemetery, a visit to the windmills, a clog-making workshop and a trip to Mauritshuis gallery.

When we got back from the excursions (mainly in the morning and back by lunchtime), there were various activities you could join in with.  For example, we took part in some clog painting, listened to a Netherlands talk with a tasting of local food and drink, dance classes and had a talk on Tulips. There was no pressure to join any of these, there’s always the option to just relax or play a board game (plenty supplied).

Overall, it was just an incredible experience, lovely to have an excursion every day (which didn’t take your whole day up), as well as some daytime sailing to take in the beautiful scenery. Cruising with Emerald Cruises is an experience I would thoroughly recommend.

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