Our worst River cruise to date - with Emerald Star
Our worst River cruise to date - with Emerald Waterways!!! (Emerald Star) (This was our 8th river cruise - so we know standards can be great) NEGATIVES: Bad cabin layout and lack of facilities (top deck level – in a so-called Grand Balcony Suite) Shortcomings included NO mirror at all in the bedroom, tiny bathroom with NO counter top, just a small hand basin; we had to walk sideways, crablike, between one side of the bed to get to the bathroom, despite acres of room between the window and balcony. Scarcely any long hanging space in the (very tiny) wardrobe, due to being occupied by an over-large bar fridge AND the safe. APPALLING DOCKING LOCATIONS - well outside of towns and the LAST WAS ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING, amid recycling centres with stagnant pools and consequent swarms of flies on board - on us and the food! Emerald is part of the Scenic Group ... but scenic it most certainly was NOT. Heaven knows what the next arrival group starting their cruise here will think! We have been to this town (TRIER) within a previous cruise company’s itinerary and we were then berthed at a most pleasant location within 10-15 minutes walking distance from the centre. The final insult was having to climb a very long gangplank, at about 30 degrees uphill, to reach our coach transport to the airport. Not only awful for us with hand luggage, but for the crew having to drag up our main cases. MENUS - very ‘average’ – apparently dictated by the parent company, leaving the head chef very little room for initiative, or to show personal flair. Also applies to the ‘entertainment’ such as it was, including a dreadful keyboard guy (who had no idea of what music would encourage those who wanted onto the dancefloor). Food compares badly with our other cruises - Avalon, Uniworld and AMA. Whilst most local guides were good there was one notable exception, who literally never stopped for a breath, just rattled on with a non-stop verbal barrage – I am sure that some of his information might have been of value, but was lost in the interminable lecture and anecdotes of his own experiences including his own family members. Many just lost all interest and several either drifted away from our group or switched off. Also he was supposed to be leading a gentle walking group, but started off on about 15 minutes continuous uphill route-march with no break or rest for those who needed it. POSITIVES: All the STAFF on the ship were excellent - THEY WERE GREAT - attentive and most helpful at all times ... just a shame that they were working for Emerald. Our cabin lady was superb! As was the head reception guy. Also the room keys (a new button-type) worked very well – best we have had so far. Several good LOCAL GUIDES. Good quality COACH transfers. Some charming little towns - only spoilt by distance from ship's berthing location aon allmost alll occasions!
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