Welcome to Budapest! You will be met and transferred from the airport to your Emerald Cruises contemporary Star-Ship. After boarding, enjoy some time at your leisure to explore Budapest.
In the evening, enjoy a traditional Hungarian dinner, then a Hungarian folk dancing and music performance on board.
Traditional Hungarian Folklore Show
Budapest is Eastern Europe’s liveliest and most cosmopolitan city. Enjoy a guided tour of the city sights including the Hungarian Parliament Building, the Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge linking Buda and Pest or an exciting hike on the Buda Hill. During your free time, stroll the Christmas market on Budapest’s main square near Váci Utca Street, which showcases Hungarian craft products such as glass blowing, knitting, wood carving, candle making, pottery, leather trade, traditional Hungarian embroidery and lace work, etc. This afternoon you will depart for your next capital on the Danube, Bratislava.
Guided coach tour of Budapest
Excursion to Szentendre (extra expense)
Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is situated in a wonderful location between the Carpathians and the Alps, just a few kilometres from Vienna. Pre-Christmas time in Bratislava is intrinsically connected with glowing streets, warm holiday spirit, traditional dishes and drinks. Enjoy a sightseeing tour including the enchanting Old City with its Town Hall, Mirbach Palace and the Gothic Cathedral of St Martin. Alternatively, join an active guided hike to Bratislava Castle. Bratislava also charming Christmas markets throughout the city, which you can enjoy. The main Christmas Market is located at the Main Square and Hviezdoslav Square but there are smaller ones in the city center as well, such as the square in front of the Eurovea shopping center. Whatever market you decide to venture into, irresistible smell and a unique atmosphere will get you for sure.
Walking tour of Bratislava
During the holiday season, Vienna's most charming squares transform into magical Christmas markets. The smells of Christmas baking, hot punch and toasted chestnuts allure many visitors in this time of the year. The Old City and shopping streets are decorated with festive lights that create a Christmas atmosphere in Vienna.
Today, explore Austria’s capital beginning with a drive along the Ringstrasse, where we will see some of Vienna’s world–famous sights such as the Opera House, Burgtheater, Town Hall, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Hofburg Imperial Palace. Then, you will have free time to sample the wonderful tastes of the Christmas markets of Vienna, such Käsekrainer sausage, donuts, pretzels or Kartoffelpuffer.
As we stay overnight in Vienna, you will have plenty of time to discover Viennese markets during the late afternoon hours while the magic Christmas illumination settles in. This evening, join us on our optional tour to an exclusive Viennese concert.
Guided tour of Vienna
Visit to Schönbrunn Palace (extra expense)
Viennese evening concert (extra expense)
After breakfast, it is time to say farewell to your fellow guests and disembark the ship for your transfer to the airport for your onward or homebound flight, taking memories of the delightful Danube with you.
This itinerary is a guide only and may be amended for operational reasons such as high and low water. As such, the cruise may operate altered from that stated above. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information.
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.