Europe’s newest river cruise line is offering guests a wonderful opportunity to explore one of Europe’s most magical regions – the mighty Rhine and the stunningly scenic Moselle River. Launching officially in April with two new ships, Emerald Waterways promises to add a new layer of value to the four-star river cruise market, with onboard pools, movie theaters, including items not often part of its competitors’ packages, and offering levels of service that are usually only found on higher end cruises.
The April 15 12-day sailing from Basel to Amsterdam takes in Germany’s heavily-wooded Black Forest region, the Rhine Gorge with its many castles and vineyards, and port towns such as Cochem, Mainz, Cologne and Bernkastel. Near daily tours of the cities and towns and many UNESO World Heritage Sites are included as are all meals and drinks during those meals. Fares range from $3,533 to $5,498 per person, double and include all port charges, gratuities and airport transfers; booking early is suggested as space is limited.
Emerald Waterways is the first new European river cruise company to set sail in more than six years and its new ships, custom-built to exceed guest’s expectations, will offer such amenities as a heated swimming pool with adjoining bar and gelati station, a movie theater, two restaurants, and a new type of cabin design that replaces the run-of-the-mill French Balcony, common to most ships, with an indoor balcony complete with decked area and an ingenious open-air system. As well as an onboard hairdresser, massage therapy room and fitness area. Emerald Star and Emerald Sky will each carry 182 guests in 72 suites and 20 staterooms, including two built for solo occupancy.
During the 12-day sailing, guests will be able to partake in four EmeraldPlus activities. These included activities show off the company’s commitment to offering guests the best vacation possible – a cooking demonstration at a family-run Gasthof (with lunch), entertainment of local German folk music, a guided visit to the millennium-old Reichsburg Castle, and a classic Amsterdam canal cruise in a glass-top boat. For those wishing to relax on board, the sun-deck is set up for lounging. reading, watching the gorgeous scenery go by, playing giant chess, practice golf putting, or just soak up the sun with a drink in hand and friends nearby. A separate fitness area, massage therapy room and hairdresser are also available.
Offering exceptional value is one of Emerald Waterways priorities – so all fares include: all transfers to and from the ships; all onboard (and most on shore) meals; a choice of two dining venues; unlimited tea and coffee; wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner; bottled water in the cabins; continental breakfast, pre-dinner canapés and after-dinner sweet treats served in the top suites; WiFi onboard the ship, at least one included shore excursion almost every cruise day and visits to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and more. And while other operators charge as much as $600 per couple for tipping on a 15-day cruise, all gratuities is just another one of the things included on all sailings, as are port charges that normally range from $200 to $400 per person.
Emerald Waterways is part of Scenic Tours Group. www.emeraldwaterways.com.