Promotional feature: Contemporary river cruising on Europe’s waterways

An Emerald Waterways river cruise introduces the highlights of ocean cruising to the intimacy of Europe’s rivers. Comfort and innovation combine on board the cruise line’s state-of-the-art Star-Ships, while a collection of awe-inspiring included excursions unveil each exciting destination with authenticity.

Emerald Waterways river cruise on the Douro
Emerald Radiance sails through Porto

Emerald Waterways’ award-winning promise of Exceptional EmeraldVALUE ensures peace-of-mind, with everything you need included in the price of your trip, from return flights, all transfers and on-board tips, to thoughtful, chef-prepared meals, complimentary drinks served with lunch and dinner, and the perfect balance of time spent on board and onshore.

The cruise line’s commitment to this has earned them many awards, most recently, a Gold Award for Exceptional Value River Cruising at the 2018 Magellan Awards and Highly Commended at the 2018 British Cruise Awards.

Journey planners at Emerald Waterways use their expertise to create a collection of itineraries designed to best introduce you to some of the most iconic waterways in the world, as well as the spectacular locations that reside along their banks. Every insightful day ashore is brought to life by knowledgeable tour guides who will accompany you on excursions, designed to showcase the highlights of every region from the view point of someone who calls it home.

guests try out e-bikes on Emerald Waterways river cruise
Guests try out the e-bikes on an Emerald Waterways river cruise

UNESCO World Heritage Sites, fairy tale castles and grandiose cathedrals are mixed with visits to cosmopolitan cities and ancient riverbank towns, as the cruise line strives to provide much opportunity for EmeraldDISCOVERY. The exclusive EmeraldPLUS programme offers the chance to get right to the heart of local life on authentic adventures. This could be an invitation to the home of a Slovakian family for coffee and cake, an enchanting guided tour of Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands, a visit to the Abu Simbel temples in Egypt, or a Tuk Tuk ride through Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, by night.

As well as this, the EmeraldACTIVE programme provides a range of activities directed at guests who seek a more active experience and, on selected itineraries, ships carry a number of bikes, which you can use free of charge on guided bike tours, as well as independently. In-suite trekking poles to aid walkers on guided hikes beyond the city limits are also provided, and guests are invited on a canoeing excursion on the Douro River, too.

This year, you might have spotted Emerald Waterways on television as the cruise line welcomed singer, presenter and avid cruiser Jane McDonald on board the stunning Emerald Radiance Star-Ship, sailing Portugal’s sun-kissed Douro. Part of her Channel 5 Cruising with Jane McDonald series, she sailed from Porto to Lisbon, enjoying the luxurious surrounds and amenities of the floating boutique hotel, and took part in a selection of included EmeraldPLUS excursions and EmeraldACTIVE experiences.

Fabien Morreale on an Emerald Waterways river cruise
Fabien Morreale creating a culinary feast

And Jane McDonald is not the only star Emerald Waterways has invited on board. Guests sailing on the Emerald Liberté Star-Ship in France will be able to experience the company of Fabien Morreale, finalist of the French culinary competition, Top Chef, as he joins the cruise line for an evening of decadent authentic French dining on board in Avignon.

Emerald Waterways believes food plays an important role in the understanding of a culture, which is why its Reflections Restaurant serves a wonderfully diverse selection of regional favourites and British classics at breakfast and lunch. The evenings are a celebration of all things gastronomical, with the choice of an extensive buffet or à la carte menu, paired with the perfect complimentary beverage.

Your time spent on board is enhanced by the wealth of amenities offered across the cruise line’s fleet. The indoor heated pool, available on all itineraries sailing the Rhine, Main, Danube, Moselle and Rhône, is an indulgent place to unwind during the day before, on selected evenings, it transforms into a cinema showing classics and blockbusters with complimentary popcorn on hand. Enjoy the fresh air on the Sun Deck, which features a heated Serenity Pool on their ship in Portugal, or indulge in one of the treatments, ranging from massages to manicures and facials, in the wellness centre.

The pool on board an Emerald Waterways river cruise
Emerald Waterways’s inviting pool with Lyon in the background

The suites and staterooms are chic, modern sanctuaries, much like something you’d expect from a world-class hotel. With five room grades to choose from, you could be staying in the Emerald Panorama Balcony Suite, the Owner’s One-Bedroom Suite, the Riverview Suite (exclusive to Emerald Radiance), the Grand Balcony Suite or the Emerald Stateroom.

Each one boasts an en-suite bathroom complete with luxurious toiletries, as well as a queen or twin-size hotel-style bed, draped in high quality linens, a flat screen HDTV and entertainment system and free Wi-Fi for when you’d like to relax in your suite and connect with loved ones during your trip.

So far this year, Emerald Waterways has been shortlisted in six categories for the British Cruise Awards 2019, and continues to provide the most spectacular itineraries in Europe. The cruise line also now has their very own luxury Star-Ship, Emerald Harmony, sailing the Mekong in Southeast Asia as well as journeys to Egypt, Jordan and Israel. Highlights include a three-night cruise along the Nile, a fascinating voyage along Russia’s Volga and an exploration of Croatia’s Dalmatian coast.

Emerald Harmony on an Emerald Waterways river cruise
Emerald Harmony sails into Ho Chi Minh City on the Mekong

For more information or to book, visit emeraldwaterways.co.uk.