: Danube Disappointment at Emerald Waterways
The following is a list of disappointments experienced by myself and my husband when we went on a cruise with Emerald Waterways. 1)Payment process. I was most surprised to receive an email demanding a late overdue payment, when I had not yet received an invoice of any form. When I paid the deposit, at booking, I had to phone several times to receive a receipt and when it eventually arrived it made no reference to final payment date. The young lady I spoke to at payment time admitted that some previous emails had been sent to an incorrect address. 2)Travel to Budapest and transfer of information. I wish you to realise how shocked I was to be told- I do not know why you are taking a wheelchair, you will not be able to have it on-board. I ignored this, as it is discrimination. The staff on board had no problem with my chair and even offered to push me. The fact that information I supplied when requested was not passed through to the airline, nor the boat, is also most upsetting and caused us great inconvenience. 3)Actual cruising. Until we were actually aboard the boat, we were not aware that almost all cruising was to take place at night. Perhaps we are naive, but we were also not informed of this at booking. We realised, and accepted, that it would be difficult for me to visit many of the places we stopped at, but we at least thought we would see some of the countryside. 4)Reflections Restaurant. We were also not informed that most meals would be buffet style. Have you ever tried to help yourself at a buffet when you are on two crutches? There were other clients on one crutch, or stick, who also had difficulties. The difficulty was compounded by the fact that there was little space around the buffet, and because of the number of clients at the buffet at one time, it was impossible for me to see what was available, let alone serve myself, without the real possibility of being knocked over. Having spoken to the staff, the deputy restuarant manager, offered to serve me at each buffet, but this did mean I had to rely upon a brief menu rather than seeing what was on show. H suggested that we always sit at the same table near the entrance, so a) he would know where to see if we were ready and b) so I would not have to walk far. However, we were told that no way was it possible for us to reserve a table. The company has an open seating policy, personally I would call it a massive stampede! Eventually, the staff came up with the idea of placing the napkins at that table over the back of the chairs and pouring out some wine before the time of service, to pretend the table was already in use. I admit that this worked on most occasions, but not always. Because I sat at this table at most lunches and dinners, and I used my crutch to hold back the curtain allowing us to see out, I was able to constantly see that the broken hair comb and pile of crumbs under the curtain were not cleaned up from day 2, and were still present at the last days breakfast. Hardly efficient cleaning taking place. I wish I had taken photographs. 5)Quality of food. For the amount of money we paid, I was really expecting good quality food. How disappointed can one be? The so called Welcome lunch served in the Horizons lounge gave a choice of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, pork casserole, bread and desserts. Excuse me. It was hardly a good combination. I eat mainly fish, but the fish that was served on each occasions was severely overcooked so as to be dry and difficult to swallow. Apart from a very poor quality smoked trout no cold fish or any shellfish was ever served. (I was also under the impression that trout has a pink flesh, not a yellow grey as was served.) The meat was frequently very tough and on one occasions the pork knuckle - it basically consisted of no more than fat and gristle. The majority of food was also served only warm. The soups were tasteless and thin, even when they purported to be a cream. Gala dinners were a normal dinner, with the addition of a pre-made, previously frozen, vegetable spring roll and a sorbet that was so melted it was juice. A caesar salad consisted of two pieces of lettuce, with a drizzle of a mayonnaise dressing and an anchovy and a piece of hard bread on the side. Someone needs to either read a recipe book or return to catering classes. The only meal that was really enjoyed was the trio of lamb, it was well cooked, still pink, and actually hot. The quality of wine served with the meals was excellent and most enjoyable. 6)The Cabins. We were quite content with our cabin and the steward who looked after it. However, it was not pleasant to find a group of a previous occupants hair stuck to the headboard. Yuck! 7)Good points. We cannot fault the crew and I must mention the bar waiter Predriag, Dilip the restaurant under manager and Attila, the second in command as being especially helpful and caring. We enjoyed all the entertainment provided, even if it was sometimes drowned out by other guests. 8)Noise. Not necessarily the fault of Emerald Waterways, but the staff could have requested some guests to lower the shouting and screaming during the evenings
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