Emerald Waterways may be the “new kid on the block,” but that hasn’t stopped the fledgling river cruise line owned by Scenic Tours operator Glen Moroney from growing its fleet. Hot on the launch of Emerald Sky and Emerald Star that inaugurated the company last year, Emerald Waterways is constructing two new ships for debut this year – and has just announced a fifth vessel, slated to set sail in 2016.
Emerald Belle will follow the launch of Emerald Dawn and Emerald Sun this year. Part of the growing “Star Ship” class of vessel that began with the Emerald Sky and Emerald Star, Emerald Belle will carry 182 guests in 72 suites and 20 staterooms, two of which have been designed exclusively for guests travelling solo.
Like their predecessors, they will feature Emerald Waterways’ stylish and contemporary interior décor, coupled with a product that offers many, but not all, of the inclusions that their luxe counterpart Scenic offers. Beer, wine and soft drinks are provided complimentary with lunch and dinner, and most – but not all – excursions are included ashore. Priced much more aggressively, Emerald Waterways has designed its itineraries to compete with lines like Viking River Cruises.
Emerald Belle will also boast the much-photographed aft-facing swimming pool that was featured aboard Emerald Sky and Emerald Star. A pool covered by a retractable glass roof and bordered by deck chairs and a full-service bar, this area converts into a cinema by night thanks to a telescoping floor that turns the pool into a giant seating area, perfect for viewing movies accompanied by popcorn.
Emerald Belle will also continue the Emerald Waterways tradition of having staterooms that feature a decked partition designed to resemble a real balcony, bordered by a bank of floor-to-ceiling windows that feature an upper portion that slides down with the push of a button, creating an open-air balcony.
Each Star Ship features two dining venues (a main dining room and an alternate al fresco option), along with a spacious main lounge. Bicycles are also available for guests to use while ashore, and Emerald Waterways has a policy of including all gratuities in the fare – a decidedly luxe feature.
More information on Emerald Waterways can be found here on River Cruise Advisor. For an in-depth look at what an Emerald Waterways cruise is like, read our Emerald Star Live Voyage Report as we sailed with the line between Budapest and Nuremberg.