This coming Saturday, I’ll step aboard Emerald Waterways’ Emerald Starfor the very first time in the gorgeous city of Budapest, Hungary. I’ve been to the Hungarian capital many times, and I always look forward to returning to stroll along the beautiful Chain Bridge and admire the imposing Hungarian Parliament Buildings situated along the Danube.
This visit, though, is truly exciting, because it will give me the opportunity to sail with Emerald Waterways – a company that only just commenced operations this past spring. An offshoot of Australian tour and river cruise company Scenic Tours, Emerald Waterways was designed to bring the best of ocean cruising to the waterways of Europe, and to that end, both Emerald Starand her sister Emerald Sky offer some very unique innovations and amenities that aren’t typically offered aboard all river cruise ships.
While I’m looking forward to sipping coffee in Vienna and exploring beautiful cities like Bratislava and Regensburg, I think I’m most excited about Emerald Star. Here are five things I’m looking forward to on my upcoming Emerald Waterways river cruise:
The Pool – and Cinema
I’m not really a ‘pool person’, but my bathing suit is packed and ready for me to experience one of Emerald Star’s most unique features: a swimming pool located at the stern of the ship, attractively placed in a solarium-style setting that features floor-to-ceiling glass walls and a retractable glass roof. The pool is heated, and a nearby gelato station gives guests plenty of incentive to linger on hot summer days.
Indoor pools on river cruise ships are rare. This one, however, isn’t just an ordinary pool: it also turns into a Cinema by night, thanks to a retractable panel built into the pool that allows its surface to be covered. Padded chaise loungers are brought forth, and by night, classic films and new releases are shown. As the line states on their website, “if you’re not in the mood to take advantage of the bar, or ready to retreat to your room quite yet, the cinema is a great place to spend your evening.” You can bet I’ll make it part of mine.
EmeraldPlus Shore Excursions
In each port of call, Emerald Waterways offers inclusive excursions that are designed to acquaint you with a particular place. For those who want to have an even more in-depth experience, the line has created EmeraldPlus – a series of optional excursions available in addition to the included excursions in select ports of call.
In Bratislava, Slovakia, for example, an EmeraldPlus excursion offers guests the chance to have home-hosted tea with a real Slovakian family, in addition to the included walking tour of the city. In Regensburg, Germany, you can opt to enjoy a
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