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Emerald Waterways Cruises

Emerald Waterways, sister to Scenic Tours (but with a lower price point), is new in 2014, the first new company to sail Europe's rivers in six years.

The line's twin ships, the Emerald Sky and Emerald Star, each carrying 182 passengers, with accommodations ranging from solo cabins and staterooms to balcony suites and owners' suites. The Emerald Panorama Balcony suite features floor-to-ceiling windows which, at the touch of a button, drop down, to create an actual open-air deck area. Cabins have picture windows, spacious closets, high-end coffee machines, complimentary mini-bars, iPad/iPod docking stations with speakers. Passengers have use of a complimentary iPad during the cruise.

The signature onboard innovation is the heated indoor swimming pool with a retractable roof which, in the evening becomes a movie theater. In addition to the main restaurant, Reflections, the Terrace offers alfresco dining at breakfast and lunch. There are two bars, the Horizon Bar and Lounge, which has floor-to-ceiling windows and the Sky Bar on the top deck. In addition to a massage room and a gym, both ships have a beauty salon.

The ships travel 8- to 15-day itineraries along Europe's Rhine, Main, Danube and Mosel rivers. Positioned to compete with Viking, Emerald expects that the shorter itineraries will appeal to a younger demographic than the usual 55+ river cruise client.

Ticket price includes all meals, shore excursions transfers, tipping and some EmeraldPLUS experiences related to the itinerary destinations. Typical experiences might include entertainment by a Bavarian oompah band or an evening at a local tavern. As the line will be marketed heavily in the U.K. ticket price might include flights from London and other U.K. airports.

Emerald Waterways is best for:

Both the 50+ crowd and younger well-traveled adults (for short itineraries). The typical clientele for European river cruises. Those who are looking for a brand new ship, up close and personal experiences at a great value.

To get quotes: Click on a ship then select a sail date.

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