We chose Emerald because of the ship design, traveling schedule, all tips being covered (very convenient) and overall price. We loved the ship and crew, enjoyed very good meals which featured menu options from the area we were traveling through and were very impressed with the fine job of our captain and cruise director to see that we were able to complete this trip on the Emerald Sky and see great cities every day in spite of the extremely high water. We have cruised often however this was our first river cruise and we were quite impressed. We will book with Emerald again.
Our only challenge was the booking process. When we booked this about a year ago we learned that few travel agencies (AAA and Vacations to Go included) were familiar with Emerald Waterways so they kept pushing Viking, Uniworld and other options. We wanted Emerald based on what we had read about them so insisted on this booking. As a result we did not get so,e of the other deals which our fellow cruisers told us about during our trip. Trying to book directly with Emerald US office did not work either.
Food was better than most cruises and dining attire was definitely relaxed. Leave the sports coat at home. Tours were first class with excellent guides who spoke English fluently. All tours departed on time. We enjoyed many extras as well, visiting folk artists, traveling to a home in Slovakia, special food and drink sampling, etc.
We had a balcony room on the second floor near the rear of the ship. On this boat the full wall window can be lowered half way which was very nice. Room was not large but there was plenty of storage space and drawers. Only downside was that the bathroom opened directly to the bed. Nice sized shower and room for one bathroom