River Cruise Preview: Emerald Waterways’ 2017 Season

emerald waterwaysEmerald Waterways has released its 2017 brochure, outlining a season that will see the launch of three new ships and new France and Portugal itineraries. 

The fifth Star-Ship to sail the Rhine, Main and Danube is the newly announced Emerald Destiny, set to launch in April 2017. Also joining the fleet in 2017 will be the purpose-built Emerald Radiance and the Emerald Liberté, bringing the total number of ships for the line to seven. The Emerald Liberté will host 138 guests and, while smaller in size than the other Star-Ships, will the same amenities, including the swimming pool and cinema. The April launch of the Liberté will mark the first time Emerald Waterways will sail its own ship on the Saône and Rhône rivers, plying between Arles and Lyon, with optional extensions in Paris and Nice. The itinerary has been enhanced to include Emerald Active programs and an onboard cooking demonstration by an award-winning chef.

The Emerald Radiance, which carries 112 passengers, will traverse Portugal’s Douro River. Riverview Suites, a new cabin category, are located on the Horizon Deck and clock in at 330 square feet. These suites have panoramic vistas from drop-down windows and a separate bedroom and living area. With a deluxe walk-in wardrobe, larger bathroom and complimentary mini-bar, these suites offer all the amenities of the Owner’s Suites.

Emerald Waterways is also offering new, combinable itineraries of 14 nights. These combination itineraries include the Jewels of the Rhine with the Sensations of Southern France sailings as well as Sensations of Southern France with the Secrets of the Douro. Transportation between the two itineraries is included in the fare. Guests can also incorporate a pre- or post-trip extension to Amsterdam, Madrid, Lisbon, Paris and Nice.

River cruising is increasingly drawing more active travelers, and the new Emerald Active program gives guests the option to engage in more physical pursuits like guided bike tours and hikes on six of Emerald Waterways’ most popular European itineraries. Examples include treks in Germany’s Black Forest and to Wertheim Castle near Miltenberg and a guided bike tour of the Austrian city of Melk or a more urban biking experience around the Serbian capital of Belgrade. All Emerald Active excursions are offered to guests at no additional charge.

Emerald is offering reduced airfares on all cruises when booked by September 2, 2016. Travelers booking cruises of 15 days or more can fly to Europe from $495, and receive a €200 ($225 US) per person onboard credit to be used on drink packages, Discover More optional tours, spa services or laundry. Passengers booking seven-14 day cruises fly from $995 plus a €100 ($112 US) per person onboard credit. Prices start at $2,245 per person for a seven-night cruise.

The cruise fare includes all transfers; port charges; all onboard (and some on-shore) meals; 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; Wi-Fi onboard the ship, most shore excursions; bicycles to use for independent touring; and more – as well as all gratuities.