We chose Emerald at the suggestion of friends who had sailed a different itinerary in Europe. We were suppose to sail out of Amsterdam on the Emerald Dawn on Aug 18. We were informed a week early that we would now be on the Star. A few days before sailing and a day before we were flying to Amsterdam, we were informed that Emerald had NO boats on the Rhine. We were told we'd be put up in a hotel, but we had to e-mail everyone to find out which hotel. We got that information from our travel agent eventually, but NOT anything from Emerald. They had failed to ensure having boats on the Rhine even when it was apparent the river levels were dropping. Really negligent after knowing for weeks of potential problems. Friends who were sailing with Viking only had a small inconvenient bus portage, but we were put up in an airport hotel in Amsterdam for two nights followed by a flight to Vienna and then bused up to Melk missing the entire Dutch countryside and the entire Rhine River valley, etc and basically wasting three days with the exception of a evening canal cruise in Amsterdam. In fairness, Emerald did offer full refund or credit for our cruise, but at a much too late date and we had pre-booked hotel, transportations and events in Amsterdam, Budapest and London as had many others who did sail. The boat was exactly half full at 91 passengers. I cannot imagine how full the public areas would have been if half had not cancelled.
The staff and crew were amazing as were all the free tours we took. It did seem odd that the Captain did not attend his farewell dinner though. We had the 'premium drink package' which was quite overpriced, but convenient.
Now for the food. In a word, it was lousy. Everything was oversalted and tough. The breakfast was ok. I've had better omelets at any restaurant. Lunch was boringly the same most days and items off the menu again, salty. Unlike every cruise and all inclusive we're ever been on, dinner menu was dreadful. Small, overcooked, over salted items. I've never seen more food returned anywhere. (Note- we started from Melk on the Star, but even then had to pack and ended up on the Sun and both kitchens produced the worst food.) When boarding the Sun and being introduced to the chef, we thought things may improve. It did not.
Common areas including bar, pool, fitness were great, albeit we were half full.
Lastly, when what seemed like half the passengers were coughing after the second day aboard the Sun, we found the A/C vents were covered in mold. Only after reporting, taking photos and insisting on action the next day did anyone deal with this issue. Interestingly, they then dealt with all the cabins.
To sum things up, the boat and crew were amazing, but communications by Emerald management AND the food was dreadful.
Other than the a/c being full of mold, cabin was excellent