Emerald Waterways was launched in 2014 as a sister brand to the popular Scenic. The formula of chic, contemporary ships and a near all-inclusive product has proven a great success and the company now has four, soon to be five identical ships sailing the Rhine, Main and Danube.
Two new ships have been announced for 2017, one for the Rhône, Emerald Radiance and one for the Douro, Emerald Liberte.
Emerald's mission was to attract a slightly younger passenger with boutique-style ships, hip decor and unusual features like an indoor pool that converts to a cinema in the evenings, although the line's appeal is wider than that.
Passengers like the fact that everything from shore excursions to gratuities, speciality coffee and wine with meals is included – but the prices are kept competitive by offering some of the tours as optional extras and the bar drinks on an à la carte basis.
Another standout point of this young cruise line is the superb food, reflecting the cuisines of the countries in which the ships are sailing but often with a contemporary twist. On the Emerald fleet, there's a choice between the more formal setting of the dining room and on fine days, The Terrace, at the bow of each ship, for al fresco dining with wonderful views of the river stretching ahead.
In addition to its own fleet, Emerald Waterways has chartered the bright, contemporary ArosaStella in France, for Rhône cruises in 2016, and the colonial-style Mekong Navigator in Cambodia and Vietnam for exploration of the Mekong. In Indochina, Mekong cruises are packaged with hotel stays to create comprehensive touring holidays.