As a specialist river cruising travel agency, our reason for being is to make sure that our clients get the right information and recommendations when it comes to choosing a river cruise. Let’s face it, luxury river cruises, like Emerald Waterways, are not at the cheap end of the holiday spectrum and knowing that they are getting the right holiday for their money is as important to us as it is to our clients.
There is not a one size fits all river cruise company so that is what we are here to help with. Just because one company spends millions on advertising, means simply only that. We work currently around 15 river cruise companies – bet you didn’t even know there were that many!
Who are Emerald Waterways?
Emerald Waterways are a relatively new company within the english speaking river cruise market. With an Australian parent company, Scenic Touring, they have pitched themselves at the “Viking” section of the market. They are also hoping to attract a broader aged clientele, including the under 50’s to the benefits of a touring holiday, without having to pack and unpack or days of coach travel and including time to relax.
So, have Emerald Waterways achieved their aim?
A clean and clear style of brochure appeals to all ages and shows the itineraries that they are able to offer within their currently Europe only programme. A checklist allows you to see what they term as the highlights and what’s included.
1. Brand new ships are a winner
Launching a new cruise line doesn’t always mean new ships, but in Emerald’s case, to set their brand apart, they have invested in purpose built ships. Emerald for 2017 are now able to offer their own ships on itineraries that cover the Rhine, Main, Danube, Rhone in Southern France and the Douro. This has allowed them to install plenty of what I have to describe as cabins with “sort of sit out balconies”. A really clever feature which although on first look, does seem to be a french balcony. Emerald call it an indoor balcony. I like that term. Rather than being space that is taken off the cabin and only usable when you go fully outside, it embraces the cabin and feels like you are outside all the time. You may need to look at the picture to see what I mean. At 180 sq ft (Emerald Radiance sizes tbc) on middle and upper deck, it all makes the cabin seem bigger and the space more useable. The price for this space and cabin amenities is exceptionally competitive. NB: the Douro ship, Emerald Radiance will be slightly different with some details yet to be finalised but along the same lines.
2. Modern Amenities
All the things that you would look for in a modern hotel can be found onboard. How about an indoor swimming pool with a retractable roof for the better weather? Relax by it with a cappuccino in hand and the river scenary rushing past. Or an al fresco terrace to take lunch on, again with lovely 360 degree views? Or the river view lounge with its comfy chairs for relaxing or watching a film on a big screen after dinner? There is definitely a nod to relaxation, which is important on holiday. Whilst some customers want to tour the sights as much as possible, others need to do a bit of both. This is where Emerald have got it spot on.
3. Free flowing drinks including wine with lunch and dinner
When you are paying for a luxury river cruise, you need to know that the food will be excellent quality and full of variety. But it is more than just having a 5 course meal every night onboard the ship. Check out the individual itineraries for Emerald’s off ship dining experiences. They also have guest local chefs creating regional specials such as a provencial meal on the Southern France 8 day trip.
And no need to worry about a bar bill. Drinks with meals are covered. And if you time it right, there is usually an offer on a drinks package or on board credit that we can find for you, so that a pre-dinner aperitif or after dinner digestive will already be covered.
4. More active excursion alternatives
So, we’ve eaten our way through vast quantities of food as we always do on holiday. But fear not, there are more than city walking tours to stretch the legs. Try a bicycle or hiking tour. They call these EmeraldActive. And it is something that their main rival doesn’t have.
5. Fantastic prices and genuine offers
This time of year is great for us here at Global River Cruising as there are still staterooms in the most popular months for Brits (June and September) available on Emerald’s Space Ships. Emerald only have 7 ships, so what they have sells fast. But by booking early you do get the best price. So as well as all the things that I have picked out that I particularly like, add that gratuities are included, specified tours, transfers overseas and UK regional flights. Oh, and the deposit tends to be very reasonable.
Like the sound of Emerald Waterways but have additional requirements?
We here at Global River Cruising can add home taxi pick-ups, luggage drop offs, hotel stays as well as organise special assistance. You name it, we can do it. And with our ongoing relationship with the tour operators, we make sure that what you need gets done. We sit on the phone and make sure your requests are heard and carried out. We also make sure you get the best offer in the market at the time of booking. That’s what we do.
Finally, how do Emerald compare to other operators?
If you’d like to know, then call us on 0800 471 4754.
Alex, Sept 2016