Emerald Cruises entered the river cruise market in April of 2014. There wasn’t a grand entrance necessarily. As a matter of fact, the company only had two cruise ships and four itineraries for its launch. For 2015, however, Emerald Cruises has some plans for expansion.
You could say the company has already made its mark in the industry. At least it has according to Cruise Critic’s 2014 Editors’ Picks Awards. Both cruise ships – the Emerald Star and the Emerald Sky – were chosen as the “Best New River Ships” in 2014. That’s quite an honor considering there were 34 other river cruise ships that also entered the market in 2014 from highly-regarded companies, such as Tauck, AmaWaterways, Viking River Cruises, Uniworld and Scenic Tours to name a few.
In 2015 Emerald Cruises will be launching two additional ships – the Emerald Dawn and the Emerald Sun. All four ships in its fleet follow the same basic design, which is unique to Emerald Cruises. The ships are 443 feet long and carry up to 182 passengers. There are five different stateroom categories measuring in size from 130 square feet up to 315 square feet. One of the truly unique and innovative designs found on all Emerald Cruises’ ships is a heated pool with a retractable roof that transforms into a cinema at night.
During 2014 Emerald Cruises offered the following four river cruise packages:
- 8-day “Danube Delights” cruise between Nuremberg and Budapest
- 11-day “Classic Prague & Danube Delights” cruise between Nuremberg and Budapest
- 12-day “Magical Rhine & Moselle” cruise between Amsterdam and Basel
- 15-day “Splendors of Europe” cruise between Amsterdam and Budapest
Beginning in 2015 five additional itineraries will be added by Emerald Cruises:
- 8-day “Highlights of the Netherlands & the Beauty of Belgium” between Netherlands and Belgium
- 8-day “Jewels of the Rhine” cruise between Amsterdam and Basel
- 10-day “Enchantment of Eastern Europe” between Budapest and Bucharest
- 11-day “Delights of France” between Lyon and Arles
- 17-day “Treasures of the Danube” between Bucharest and Nuremberg
While these new changes are good, there are other things about Emerald Cruises that will not change in 2014. The same “all-inclusive” package the company introduced in 2014 will still provide travelers with the same benefits in 2015. You won’t have to worry about paying additional fees for airport transfers, port charges or gratuities, which are valued at up to $675 per person. They’re all included in the fare.
Also, in line with other river cruise companies, all onboard meals, shore excursions, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, tea and coffee available on the ship at all times and complimentary Wi-Fi onboard are just part of the package.
Emerald Cruises includes a few additional items that you’ll sometimes find on other river cruises, such as onboard bicycles that can be reserved for shore excursions and bottled water restocked in your cabin every day.
If you haven’t already experienced river cruise with Emerald Cruises, this is definitely a company worth considering. Although, the itineraries are somewhat limited with regard to different waterways, you’ll travel on one of the newest ships in the industry and with one of the most “all-inclusive” river cruise companies.
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