First River Cruise but Won't Be the Last

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Review Details

Overall Rating:
Cruise Line:
Emerald Waterways
Cruise Ship:
Emerald Waterways

Review Profile

Times cruised before:
May 2018

Cruise Elements:

Quality of Food:
The food was first class comprising a great selection from traditional English dishes to local cuisine. As with any cruise, we never went hungry, but the addition of the included selected wines helped whatever we ordered go down perfectly.
You have to put this into perspective. The ship is small and cannot possibly host the big productions found on the large sea cruise liners. That said, the on-board keyboard player is very competent and by nothing more than coincidence, our cruise was scheduled during the World Cup football tournament so several of the matches were screened in the lounge.
Shore Excursions:
We took the trip on offer to visit Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia which was formerly under communist rule. It was a very enlightening trip and we both learnt a lot about how it was to live in that era. It might sound strange but neither of us enjoyed Vienna that much. It's a very busy, bustling city and although I concede the architecture is impressive, it's not my thing and neither are highly populated cites.
It's difficult to single out one member of staff, they are all very good, but the cruise director works astonishingly hard and should be commended for his dedication to his job. I cannot remember how to spell his name but we came to know him as "Bollage". He's a little star!
Onboard Activities:
My wife and I have been going on cruises since the 1990's but this year we tried our first ever river cruise and it now resides right up there as one of our most enjoyable holidays ever. The ship set sail from Passau in Germany for a 7 night cruise down the Danube. From the outset it was obvious that Emerald Waterways intended to make our experience one we won't easily forget. The ship's decor is absolutely first class and was kept spotless. The cabins are very comfortable and although we opted for the cheaper cabin without a balcony we didn't feel we would have used it. I've always been a light sleeper so I was a little concerned that being a smaller ship any engine noise might be intrusive but my worries were unfounded. The ship is whisper quiet and all that one can hear in the cabins is a gentle lap of water as you glide through the water. It's actually quite soothing. The food was most impressive and at lunch and evening meal there was always an option for local dish. I've never tasted so many delicious German and Austrian sausages before and came to look forward to the local delicacy meal. On a small ship like the Emerald Destiny, which accommodates around 200 passengers, you can hardly expect them to feature West End - style shows but our cruise was a special one. My wife is a big Strictly Come Dancing fan and especially enjoys the talents of former member of the professional dance team, Brendan Cole. Mid way through this week long cruise, Brendan and dance partner, Nadia boarded the ship and us passengers were given a unique performance by Brendan and Nadia in a stunning venue in Vienna. The following day, while we were cruising down the river, he did a Q&A session for 90 minutes that everyone enjoyed. In contrast I thoroughly enjoyed watching how the very long ship navigates the numerous locks along the Danube. If I had one minor grumble it would be that the entertainment team could have made more of these marvels of engineering and a talk through during the navigation of the biggest lock in which the ship descends some 100 feet would have been welcomed by me, but, as my wife pointed out, probably only me. In summary, we both thoroughly enjoyed our first ever river cruise and cannot recommend Emerald Waterways highly enough. From the ship to the staff, the food to the ports of call, it was all top rate. It all ended too soon.
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