Welcome to Amsterdam, a postcard-worthy destination of picturesque canals, cafés and art galleries.
Here, you 'll be met at the airport and transferred to your luxurious Emerald Cruises Star-Ship. After boarding, you can enjoy some time to explore the cobbled streets and gabled houses at leisure.
This evening, join your fellow guests for dinner on board.
This morning, explore the Dutch Golden Age as you board a glass top canal boat cruise to explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed canal system, or enjoy a guided bike tour to Waterland.
Both excellent ways to experience the city in all its authenticity, take to its charming waterways, passing iconic buildings and elegant merchant’s residences that reflect a time when Amsterdam was one of the most lucrative ports in the world. If you are feeling more active, then explore on two wheels, cycling alongside a backdrop of historical villages and traditional windmills.
Upon returning to your ship, your first day of sailing will take you through the Dutch countryside to the Rhine River.
Guided bike tour to Waterland
Founded by the Romans in 50 AD, the cathedral city of Cologne is one of the oldest cities in Germany and the largest on the Rhine. The historic capital of the Rhineland, this illustrious city has been generously peppered with ancient architecture, from Roman ruins to medieval structures, despite much of the inner city being completely destroyed during WWII.
Join your local guide and explore the city, including the Old Town with its beautiful squares, historic monuments and contemporary architecture. Your tour will conclude at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cologne Cathedral, whose filigree twin towers form an iconic part of the skyline. During your free time, shop for trinkets or explore further before returning to your ship.
Guided tour of Cologne’s Old Town
Today’s cruising will be a highlight of your trip, as we meander through the fairytale-like surrounds of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rhine Gorge. Hilltop castles and fortresses will be yours to admire as we sail.
We will pass the infamous Lorelai Rock, where sailors are said to have been lured onto treacherous rocks by an enchanting siren, and the impressive Pfalzgrafenstein Castle, a former stronghold.
This afternoon, arrive in Rüdesheim, a town with a vibrant wine-growing heritage. You will have the choice of either riding on the Winzerexpress and visiting Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum or, if you're feeling active, taking an active hike to Niederwalddenkmal.
Hike to Niederwalddenkmal
Visit to Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum
Welcome to Miltenberg, a picturesque village on the Main River, boasting an inimitable feeling of medieval Bavaria with its 15th century half-timbered buildings.
On your included walking tour, stroll down the cobblestone streets, lined with these colourful houses and view the Gothic Merchant Hall, an impressive symbol of past affluence. Alternatively, enjoy an active walk through the forest to Mildenburg Castle. This iconic landmark now houses a wonderful collection of contemporary art and old masters.
Later, we will venture to the charming town of Wertheim where, as part of your EmeraldPLUS programme, you will have an exclusive glassblowing presentation at the Glass Art Museum.
Exclusive visit to the Glass Art Museum in Wertheim with presentation
Active walk to Mildenburg Castle
Guided tour of Miltenberg
Vineyard visit & Franconian wine (extra expense)
Known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road”, Würzburg, is the centre for grape-growing, the product of the sloping vineyard-laden hills which surround the former capital of Franconia.
The architects behind the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Würzburg Residence drew inspiration from a spectrum of different styles, including Viennese Baroque and secular features from Italy, but it was heavily damaged during WWII. Enjoy learning about how this impressive building was restored to its former glory on a guided tour.
Walking tour of Würzburg and a visit to the Bishops Residence
Excursion to Rothenburg (extra expense)
This morning, relax on the Sun Deck with a drink in hand or witness the beauty of Europe’s waterways from the plush surrounds of your cabin as we cruise to Bamberg. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed town boasts one of the largest medieval centres in Europe, with around 2,400 listed buildings gracing its streets.
Feel the magic of the past as you explore the city with your local guide, marvelling at the opulence of the New Residence, once resided in by the prince bishops and now home to a plethora of old German and Baroque paintings from the Bavarian State collection. Enjoy a tranquil stroll around the Rose Garden.
Guided tour of Bamberg
Embark on a sightseeing tour of the historic city of Nuremberg, including the architectural wonders that have inspired famous artists for centuries and exploring the effects that the war years had.
After your tour, enjoy time to explore Nuremberg at leisure, passing half-timbered houses that were beautifully reconstructed following the war.
Guided tour of Nuremberg
World War II tour (extra expense)
This morning, you’ll sail the final stretch of the fascinating Main-Danube Canal to Regensburg. As you continue sailing down the Danube, one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval cities welcomes you with two millennia of history.
For almost 150 years, the Old Town Hall was the seat of parliament and, dating back to the 13th century, it consists of the Town Hall Tower, the Imperial Chamber building and the Town Hall. Wander the streets with your guide as the romantic narrow alleys of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town enable you to live through the city’s history, in the present.
The main highlight of your tour will be the 12th-century Stone Bridge, a medieval structure crossing the Danube. Enjoy time to explore Regensburg at leisure after your guided tour or return to your Star-Ship.
Tonight, enjoy a traditional Bavarian band performance on
Bavarian band performance on board
Guided tour of Regensburg
Visit to a local brewery (extra expense)
Passau is a picturesque city that has been shaped by the surrounding rivers over the years, sitting right on the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz. This memorable destination is dominated by large squares, magical promenades and romantic lanes.
Cobblestone streets and graceful arcades welcome you in the beautiful city of Passau. On this morning’s walking tour, stroll through streets lined by Baroque buildings dating back to the 17th century and look at the Gothic Town Hall, Bishop’s Residence and St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a wonderful example of Baroque architecture and home to the largest church organ in Europe.
Return for lunch on board and an afternoon peacefully cruising along the Danube.
Guided tour of Passau
Excursion to Salzburg (extra expense)
Excursion to Ceský Krumlov (extra expense)
Situated within Austria’s wine-growing region, Melk is home to a 900-year-old Benedictine abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, which is yours to explore today during an included tour. Your guide will take you through a series of opulent rooms, each adorned with the finest Italian Baroque architecture and ornate gold leaf walls, including the ancient monastic library, renowned for its extensive collection of medieval manuscripts.
Later, the Star-Ship sails through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Wachau Valley and on to Dürnstein, one of the most enchanting villages in the Wachau wine region, where you can choose to hike to Dürnstein Castle, the site where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned after returning from the Crusades.
Alternatively, enjoy an EmeraldACTIVE guided bike ride along the Danube from Melk to Dürnstein, passing famous vineyards and quaint towns before settling down for a picnic lunch on the riverbanks.
Guided bike tour along the Danube
Guided hike to Dürnstein Castle
Tour of Melk Abbey
Austria’s breathtaking capital is recognised for its cultural legacy. As the former residence of Mozart and Beethoven, a multitude of imperial palaces represent a rich history, and the museum district boasts contemporary buildings, housing the work of some of the world’s most prolific artists.
Explore the famous sights of the Ringstrasse and Vienna’s city centre by coach and on foot, or join a guided bike tour. Marvel at the Renaissance-style arches that adorn the façades of the Opera House, the Baroque Burgtheater and the Flemish Gothic Parliament before enjoying time to explore Vienna at leisure.
Guided bike tour
Guided tour of Vienna
Viennese evening concert (extra expense)
Visit to Schönbrunn Palace (extra expense)
Set at the crossroads of ancient trade routes in the heart of Europe, Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is a place where Baroque palaces, boutiques and cafés adorn cobblestone streets. In the morning, enjoy a sightseeing tour, including the enchanting Old City or hike to Bratislava Castle.
Your local guide will take you through the heart of the city. Pass by the botanical gardens of the Episcopal Summer Palace, the Old Town Hall and its delightful Renaissance courtyard and the Slovak National Theatre, where busts of famous composers adorn the façade. After your tour, enjoy free time to explore at leisure.
This afternoon, a local family will be happy to welcome you into their home for some great conversation over traditional sweet treats and coffee.
Home-hosted coffee and cake with a Slovakian family
Guided hike to Bratislava Castle
Walking tour of Bratislava
Skoda tour of post-Communist Bratislava (extra expense)
Budapest is Eastern Europe’s liveliest and most cosmopolitan city. Divided by the iconic Danube River, Buda and Pest on either side can be reached via the Chain Bridge, one of the city’s most symbolic structures.
Enjoy a guided tour of the city with your local guide this morning. Alternatively, embark on a hike to Buda Hill, traversing winding cobblestone streets underneath the massive Baroque masterpiece that is Buda Castle.
This evening, you will enjoy a Hungarian folklore show before your farewell dinner.
Traditional Hungarian folklore show on board
Guided hike to Buda Hill
Guided coach tour of Budapest
Excursion to Szentendre (exta expense)
Jewish heritage tour (extra expense, available on selected dates)
After breakfast, disembark your Star-Ship to be transferred to Prague, home to some of the world’s most pristine collections of architecture from across the ages. Included is a comfortable three-night stay in the city.
The centre of Prague is a true delight, where some of Europe’s most pristine collections of architecture from across the ages can be found. After passing through three castle courtyards, you will visit St. Vitus Cathedral, then we walk down the Castle steps with a wonderful view over the city of Prague and we continue to Charles Bridge which we cross to reach the Old Town of Prague. We finish the city sightseeing tour in front of the famous Astronomical Clock at Old Town Square.
A guided tour of Prague
Coffee & Cake at Lobkowicz Palace
Prague is yours to explore independently today, perhaps enjoying some delicious Czech treats or immersing yourself in the culture that surrounds you. Your tour director will be available to help plan your day’s exploring and to answer any questions that you may have.
Tastes of Czechia (extra expense)
After breakfast, it is time to bid farewell to your fellow guests and leave Prague’s idyllic centre for your transfer to the airport, taking memories of ancient wonders and idyllic panoramic views of UNESCO World Heritage-listed areas with you.
Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Slovakia
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.
This trip was wonderful, with only 160 passengers we were treated royally. Everyone on board the ship worked with only one thing in mind to please the customers.
Derek was very thorough and easy to work with. Our trip was what we expected.
We were fortunate the trip went as planned. A lock was damaged and the ship we were scheduled for was unavailable. Emerald provided a different ship and we completed our full itinerary. Great job Emerald. The trip wonderful. Great staff, tours and food. Our Affordable agent Allyson fulfilled all our needs efficiently providing excellent customer care.
Great river cruise, the operator Emerald Waterways did not disappoint. On board service was exceptional and the tours were very good. Only thought would be that having a little more free time during site visits would have made the excursions good to great.
Our third river cruise but found the baths on this particular ship to be very small. The crew, though, was excellent, especially the director!
This trip was all we expected and more. The booking and planning by Affordable Tours weas very helpful. The Emerald Radiance was a joy. The ship and crew were unbelievable. The Douro Valley is so very beautiful and Portugal an amazing destination-just need to explore it further.
Emerald provided a very memorable experience. Everything went according to plan. There were many activity options to pick from. The food and drink and staff were excellent. I liked the pool and bikes which gave us additional activities to enjoy, which Viking Cruises did not offer when I went on a previous river boat cruise with them 3 years ago.
I absolutely loved the cities and towns we visited. I met mant new friends on this trip. The staff were very friendly, professional and attentive to my needs.
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We had an outstanding trip down the Danube on Emerald Waterways. The food was amazing, the service was absolutely top-notch, the places we stopped (Passau, Linz and Cesky Krumlov, Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest) were all wonderful in their own way. The options provided by Emerald (active vs. included, and the add-on activities) were just right. Our Cruise Director and the Activity Manager were very knowledgeable and attentive throughout our trip. As alway, Affordable Tours helped us book, and provided great follow-up care when we needed it.