Emerald Waterways River Cruises
At Emerald Waterways everything is all inclusive. Pack your bags with ease knowing that whatever your need is... covered. From your meals, to your travel transfers, to your incredible onshore experiences, everything is included in the price of your vacation.
Revealed: Top 4 Emerald Waterways Excursions
Emerald Waterways excursions are for those looking for more immersive experiences. Here are 4 Emerald Waterways excursions in Europe that can’t be missed.
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Learn More About Emerald Waterways River Cruises
Emerald Waterways began operations in August 2013; its first river tour was offered in Europe in 2014. It began to take river tours on the Mekong River in 2018. It currently operates eight river cruise ships; the Emerald Sky, Emerald Star, Emerald Sun, Emerald Dawn, and Emerald Destiny are the largest, each with the capacity to hold 180 guests. The river fleet is rounded out by the Emerald Liberte (136 guests), Emerald Radiance (112 guests), and the Emerald Harmony (84 guests). The latter ship, the company's newest, can sail on the Mekong through the center of Ho Chi Minh City; many other river cruise ships cannot make this journey. Founded primarily as a river cruise company, Emerald Waterways launched its first yacht cruises in April 2019 on Croatia's Dalmatian Coast. Today, there are a total of three cruise ships expanding the yacht cruise operations. Ocean cruises on the Mediterranean, Red, and Adriatic seas are set to begin in 2021. Both guided tours and independent excursions are available. Through the company's EmeraldPLUS program, travelers take handpicked journeys that allow for unique interactions with locals and experiences not typically seen on usual itineraries. These enhanced excursions might, for example, include a home-hosted dinner with a local family, a wine-tasting event, attendance at a local musical event, or an exclusive tour of a specific building. These opportunities allow travelers to gain authentic insight into the local customs and traditions of the people and land they are visiting. Personal headsets are given to each person in the tour so they don't miss any of the inspiring and valuable information relayed by knowledgeable guides. Though relatively new compared to some cruise companies, Emerald Waterways stands poised as a major player in the field. Catering to both individuals and groups, the company offers the best in on-board amenities as well as stays at top-rated hotels and dining experiences at the finest restaurants so travelers are sure to enjoy the best local cuisines available. With words like "contemporary," "deluxe," and "luxurious" used to describe Emerald Waterways' ships, excursions, and overall cruise experience, you can be assured that your next trip on a European or Southeast Asian waterway through Emerald Waterways will be one that will stay with you for a long time. Whether you want to visit common European destinations or wish to visit other exciting but perhaps sites off the usual beaten path, such as those in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Jordan, Emerald Waterways strives to make your river cruise experience enlightening, unique, and memorable.
- Launched as a division of Scenic, an Australian-based cruise company with business centers in the U.S., United Kingdom, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Canada.
- Opened in August 2013.
- Offers river, ocean, and yacht cruises.
- River cruises are conducted on nine major rivers around the world, including the Nile, Danube, Mekong, and Rhine.
- Provides special excursion programs that allow for more in-depth experiences focusing on the customs, traditions, and cultural practices of locals in various destinations.
- Excursions into such European cities as Budapest, Hungary; Lyon, France; Porto, Portugal; Ho Chi Minh City; and Cairo, Egypt.
- All river tours offer at least one active excursion, so clients can choose anything from canoeing to yoga sessions.
- They have special events packages that provide more innovative and in-depth experiences that go beyond what some other cruise companies offer.
- Exclusive benefits such as discounts on future cruises and advanced information about new itineraries are extended to those who complete their first river cruise with Emerald Waterways.
- They handle everything from travel to excursion planning, dining, local guides, and more.
- Chosen as a Best River Cruise Line for Value by Cruise Critic, a leading review site, from 2016 – 2019.
- Winner of various Gold and Silver Awards from Travel Weekly Magellan Awards 2017 – 2019.
Top Reasons To Choose Emerald Waterways River Cruises
- Top-notch service has been recognized and awarded by many in the travel industry.
- Noted for on-board innovations and providing high value for the price of a river cruise.
- They have tours and excursions that provide for more intimate experiences in European and Southeast Asian cities.
- Innovative river cruise ship designs for the most in comfort, entertainment, and maneuverability; for example, suites have hotel-style beds and en-suite bathrooms; onboard heated pool; larger-than-industry-standard rooms.
- They have knowledgeable, local tour guides that take you where you want to go and see what you want to see and provide informative stories and interesting facts throughout the tour.
- For no additional charge, you get river cruising travel insurance that covers for delays or cancellations resulting from such issues as weather, mechanical malfunctions, or natural disasters.
- Cruises spanning 8 to 15 days and itineraries that explore more than just the usual attractions.
- They offer EmeraldEXPLORER, a loyalty club open after first-time river cruise guests that allows for the earning of points, future savings, and other benefits such as complimentary luggage and advanced notice of new itineraries and savings opportunities.
- Backed by the 30+ years of experience of Scenic Tours Group, a leader in river cruise operations.
Frequently Asked Questions About Emerald Waterways River Cruises
- What kind of trips can I take with you?
You can travel the following major rivers: Danube, Douro, Rhine, Rhone, Nile, Mekong, Moselle, Main, and Volga in such countries as France, Germany, Vietnam, Portugal, Russia, and Egypt. Both large cities and smaller towns are visited; guided tours are available at all destinations.
- How much would a tour cost?
The tours can range in price depending on where you are going, how long the trip is going to take, and any specifics you want to add to your trip. Trip durations can be eight days and up to 21 days. Costs can range from $2,995 to $4,795 per person, which includes flights, for a European river cruise, to as much as $8,000 - $9,000 for a France river cruise. South Asian river tours can cost between $2,295 and $5,595 per person. An Israel & Ancient Egypt river cruise would be just under $8,000 for a 16-day trip, while you can expect to pay between $3,595 and $5,595 for a river trip through Vietnam and Cambodia. The 11-day Volga River cruise could be taken for nearly $4,700. All travel, stays, and airfare are typically included in the price of each river tour.
- Can I take my family with the guide and not be stuck with other people?
Tours are not typically private or semi-private; however, you might take a more intimate tour of a destination to learn more about traditions and customs through the EmeraldPLUS experience that allows for private tours. Unguided excursions are also allowed and encouraged.
- Can I tell the agent what I want out of the trip?
Yes, explain your expectations and what you most wish to get out of your trip and your agent will work with you to sign up for the right itineraries and customize your trip as best as possible. The DiscoverMORE offering allows you to arrange optional excursions for a more customized trip.
- Do they have support that can help me regardless of what time?
Yes. You can call Emerald Waterways Monday – Friday from 10 am – 7 pm at their Vancouver, Canada, or Boston, MA, offices. They are closed Saturday and Sunday; however, a 24/7 digital agency, Versa, is utilized to answer questions online.
- What do the guides do for you?
English-speaking guides provide commentaries on each location during an off-ship excursion. Guides are knowledgeable about the history of each attraction; they will relate educational information as well as anecdotes and interesting stories connected to each visited site. Guides are there to answer any questions.
- Do they have specialists that are working in each place?
Through DiscoverMore, guides can set up private wine tastings, at-home meetings with local families, and specialized trips and things to do that you would not be able to do through other cruise lines.
- What type of way can you travel when you are traveling through Emerald Waterways?
You can travel in a few different ways. Flights can be arranged to any embarkation point. After cruising on the ship, destination stops offer walking tours and bike tours through cities and specific locations, such as wineries or gardens. Some tours are given on coaches or buses. You might also take smaller cruise boats through bays and islets in some locations.
- Who customizes the itinerary or things you are going to do ahead of time?
Your Emerald Waterways agent will listen to your plans while visiting each destination. They will explain all details of each itinerary and then work with you to arrange optional excursions and events to meet your particular needs. Optional excursions can also be arranged on board.
- Where do you stay while you are at the destinations?
Emerald Waterways ensures that you are put up in a luxury hotel at any destination you stay. Extended stays are also available and the same accommodations are included in the price.
- Why is Emerald Waterways known as an ‘insider’ travel experience?
They offer the opportunity to arrange personal cultural excursions that go beyond the ordinary travel itinerary. For instance, you might arrange to have tea with a local family or visit inside of a particular structure, such as a church, abbey, or palace, that does not open its doors for group tours.
- Is there a single supplement that can be used for travelers who are solo?
Yes, they do provide a single supplement for those who are traveling alone. These travelers would pay for double occupancy but have the stateroom or suite to him/herself.
- On average, what is the group size like?
Emerald Waterways does not place a limit on the group size of a tour; however, large groups might be broken up into smaller groups on an excursion to make it easier for a tour guide to be heard and for him/her to better manage the group.
Health and Safety Protocols on Emerald Waterways River Cruises
The world may have changed, however, our commitment to our guests and crew, the guest experience and their health, safety and wellbeing remains our key priority. We are working closely with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), local and international Government Health agencies, to ensure our protocols exceed the latest regulatory requirements. Our Health & Safety Steering Committee oversees all health and safety policies and training with Emerald Cruises, ensuring you can travel with complete confidence that your wellbeing and safety are taken care of to the highest standard. In addition, we are implementing the most recent insights and technologies, with our Emerald Cruises team dedicated to exceeding the levels of cleanliness required in today’s travel climate.
We are continuously updating our protocols to safeguard both the health, safety and the experience of our valued guests. You will be informed about these important procedures, well in advance of your journey departure, which may include the following information and guidelines:
Medical Evaluation & Test
To ensure all of our guests are safe and well before your journey with us begins, we will require you to complete a pre-departure medical health evaluation. During the phased embarkation process you, and your fellow passengers, will be tested for COVID-19 by a medical specialist. This will allow you to relax with complete peace-of-mind when you board our Star-Ships, in the company of other like-minded travelers.
Our Dedicated Team
Our Captains, Hotel Managers and Cruise Directors, alongside their exceptional teams, will deliver a first-class level of service during your time traveling with us. You can enjoy the same exciting program of on board and on shore experiences, tailored to smaller groups to allow for safe social distancing. The team are readily available to ensure every detail of your journey with us is memorable, for all the right reasons. They will ensure health and safety protocols are followed on a daily basis.
Having the best crew to look after you is at the heart of our core values at Emerald Cruises, and we will go the extra mile to ensure our crew is healthy in doing so. All crew will be regularly tested for COVID-19 and will have daily temperature and health checks. They will also be trained and regularly briefed on all aspects in preventing COVID-19 amongst themselves as well as our guests. They will go beyond the ordinary to make your cruise a truly exceptional experience.
Contact-Free Check In & Check Out
We have adjusted the various touchpoints of your journey, allowing you to check in and check out in a completely contact-free way. Through a phased embarkation you will be able to arrive and depart from your Star-Ship smoothly and with safe social proximity in mind. And, of course, every time you return to your Star-Ship, our crew will be there to greet you with a warm smile.
Briefings & Screenings
Our medical expert will host mandatory briefings and screenings. These events are designed to ensure every member of our guests and crew are healthy, and also offer an opportunity to allay any concerns or ask any questions you may have about our safety protocols.
Enhanced Cleaning Commitment
Our on board crew will be increasing and enhancing our already frequent and high standard cleaning protocols in public areas and suites, leaving surfaces and spaces spotless. Additional care and attention will be paid to high contact zones, such as communal restrooms and dining facilities.
Socially Aware Dining
You can expect the same delightful dining experiences when you travel with us, savoring a choice of dishes inspired by regional cuisine and local produce. We are adapting and redesigning our on board food and beverage service to ensure extra care is taken in order to minimize social contact. We will serve our delicious food a la carte or via served buffets.
The spacious surrounds of our ships in combination with the guest numbers provide ample room for you to relax, allowing for an abundance of personal space. We are introducing contact-free movement across our Star-Ships to further reduce risks. Contact-free hand sanitizer dispensers will be readily available in all public spaces and guest corridors on board, whilst automated doors and contact-free guest servicing will minimize the number of touchpoints.
Our Star-Ships are equipped with air circulation systems. These systems ensure there is no re-circulation of inside air on board the ship. When you are relaxing in your suite you will be breathing air from outside the ship that is channeled directly to your suite. The air will also be released from your suite directly to the outside.
Smaller Groups & Social Proximity
Discovering the local culture of your destination is the highlight of every river cruise. Create memories to cherish during our choice of on shore excursions. You will travel in smaller groups, allowing for a more intimate travel experience, whilst respecting social proximity and destination specific regulations. To enhance your sightseeing, you can utilize our digital headsets, which will act as your personal tour guide and travel map.
Carefully Selected Local Partners
As well as enhancing our health and safety protocols on board and with our crew, we’re working closely with our local partners. We have forged long-standing relationships with our local partners, all of whom have been carefully selected for their expertise and high levels of service, and are committed to ensuring your safety. They will receive extensive training to adhere with our enhanced protocols. We will also introduce strict control and screening procedures for anyone boarding our Star-Ships.
Wellness Throughout Your Journey
Your wellbeing is our number one priority, both during your time on board and on shore. Journey to and from your destination with complete peace-of-mind. All transport vehicles will be equipped with hand sanitizer and will undergo deep cleaning after every journey, surpassing the high industry standards required. You can also rest assured that we will monitor social proximity, allowing you to travel safely, with plenty of personal space.
We are committed to continually reviewing and updating our protocols and guidelines as new information becomes available, to ensure that our guests can travel safely in the many destinations we operate in.
Emerald was awesome. It offered us cultural experience that was unusual and authentic. We felt like we got to know the countries we visited. We are looking to book with Emerald again in Europe. Local and tour Director was the best
first emerald waterway tour was excellent ! excellent and unique excursions included plus good optional tours offered loved the Vespa ride, ox cart and rickshaw ride Hoi Ann and Halong bay are highlights emerald staff very welcoming to us
The staff and crew of the ship was fantastic. Christmas Markets are not to be missed.
Although this is my first river cruise, so I cannot compare with other companies, I was very happy with Emerald with a few exceptions. They advertise that it is all inclusive and do offer several free tour options at each port, but that also sell Discovery options that are more money. We did 4 of those which increased the cost for 2 by $600. If you like to workout, forget the gym, which had one rowing machine, an exercise bike and some dumbbells with enough room for 3 people at most. The staff were all great, the food was very good and the itinerary was excellent. They have a small swimming pool and late night activities. Good diversity with most people from US, Canada, Australia and new Zealand.
Was great, food was good, cabin small but nice, excursions were good.