When Emerald’s first Star-Ship, Emerald Sky, was launched in April 2014 and given British supermodel Twiggy as a godmother, brand new Australian-owned Emerald Waterways hoped Sky would do exactly what Twiggy did; blaze a trail as an iconic original who inspired many more in her wake! And that’s exactly what happened as Emerald Sky already has three little sisters with a new one expected in 2016. Just like Twiggy, Sky is innovative and stylish with her ground-breaking design and contemporary interiors.
Emerald Sky’s modern design and décor attracts younger passengers than the typical river cruise clientele, but older passengers are equally impressed with her features, which include floor-to-ceiling windows wherever possible throughout the ship and cabins. The majority of Australian passengers are joined by British, American and Canadian guests who are also attracted by Sky’s all-inclusive policy that includes gratuities. With a capacity of 182 passengers and 47 crew onboard, the atmosphere is convivial and service is friendly yet attentive.
Reflections, the main restaurant, boasts spectacular views of the passing scenery - and the open-seating policy means you can eat when and where you like in its stylish surroundings. Breakfast is a delicious buffet, enhanced by an egg station. Lunch is also a buffet with a tempting dessert table, and dinner involves four tempting courses. Wine, beer and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner, and you can get tea and coffee all day.
The Terrace, at the bow of the ship, boasts fantastic views and is a superb place to enjoy al-fresco light meals including Italian and British classics like pasta, pizza and fish and chips. There is also a Sky Barbeque on the Sun Deck for sunny days.
Many passengers enjoy the unique experience of enjoying a movie night on the Sun Deck where the swimming pool’s floor is raised in the evening to create a cinema. Alternatively, the Horizon Bar and Lounge is a great place to socialise as you enjoy a drink and the view. Itinerary-relevant entertainers and the crew talent show and disco are regular fixtures. The Captain’s welcome and farewell dinners are social highlights, although there is no need to dress up for these unless you want to.
Emerald Sky offers passengers the chance to enhance their experience with a lecture on the EU and headphones that give a commentary on the passing scenery. There is also a nightly newsletter briefing guests on details of the next day’s shore excursions.
Guided tours are well-organised and itineraries include a great mix of city and rural and ancient and modern. Passengers can explore further with Emerald Active opportunities like a walking tour of Amsterdam or EmeraldPLUS activities like an authentic Hungarian dinner (in Hungary!) with entertainment.
The Sun Deck has a putting green and giant chess set, as well as lots of deckchairs to relax in with a good book. However the Sun Deck’s main attraction is the unique swimming pool with retractable roof that converts into a cinema.
Catering to her clients who want spacious accommodation and light, contemporary interiors, Emerald Sky is decorated in a neutral palette and is predominantly a suite ship, with 72 suites and 20 staterooms. All staterooms have climate control, hairdryer, mini bar, safe and flat screen TV with a selection of English-speaking channels and movies as standard. All guests also get daily supplies of bottled water.
The Horizon Deck is home to four magnificent Owner’s One-Bedroom Suites and eight luxurious Grand Balcony Suites. The star attraction of these are the personal verandas, designed to be sealed off from the rest of the suite. The Horizon Deck also houses 23 Emerald Panorama Balcony Suites which feature the Star-Ships’ trademark decked balconies with ‘open air system’ which allows the suite’s floor-to-ceiling window to drop down half-way at the touch of a button, letting in fresh air and enhancing the view.
The Vista Deck has 37 more Panorama Balcony Suites priced according to their location. The Riviera Deck has 18 Emerald Staterooms and two Single Emerald Staterooms. Staterooms have a picture window instead of the open air balcony.
Emerald Sky has a hairdresser, Wellness Centre and Fitness Centre to take care of passengers’ pampering and workout needs. There’s also a walking track for gentler exercise. The ship also has an elevator.
Emerald Star sails a variety of itineraries including the 15 day Splendours of Europe and Christmas Markets of Europe cruises. Ten day itineraries include Enchantment of Eastern Europe and eight day options include Danube Delights (with the option of an extended stay in Prague), Rhine-Main Discovery & Christmas Markets and Danube Explorer itineraries.