Emerald Star took to the rivers of Europe in 2014 alongside her sister Emerald Sky, making her the second in this rapidly expanding young fleet of Star-Ships that now numbers four with a fifth launching in 2016.
The secret to Emerald’s success is its focus on innovative design and technology, and an emphasis on floor-to-ceiling windows, open-air cabins and bright, spacious interiors throughout Emerald Star and the other Star-Ships. The main attraction onboard is the swimming pool with retractable roof that converts into a cinema by night.
Youth attracts youth, so some of Emerald Star’s passengers are younger than the typical river cruise client. With its Australian roots, Star is very popular with travellers from Australia and New Zealand, but you’ll also hear plenty of British, American and Canadian accents onboard.
Passengers are also attracted by the no-hassle all-inclusive service, including gratuities. With 182 passengers at maximum capacity and 47 crew, service is friendly and unhurried and the atmosphere is intimate yet relaxed.
Onboard dining is laid back and casual with an open-seating policy, meaning you can eat when and where you like. There is no dress code, although some passengers like to dress up a little for the Captain’s welcome and farewell dinners.
The main restaurant, Reflections, has a stylishly laidback feel and serves up fantastic views alongside delicious breakfast and lunch buffets, and nightly four-course dinners with wine, beer and soft drinks included.
The Terrace, at the bow of Emerald Star, is a lovely Al-fresco setting to enjoy drinks, snacks and light meals. Tea and coffee are always available and there is a Sky Barbeque on the Sun Deck.
Evenings onboard the Emerald Star are often low key and include a pre or post dinner drink in the ship’s social hub, the Horizon Lounge, with its stunning views and resident pianist.
Local entertainers are regularly invited onboard and the ship hosts quizzes and a light hearted staff talent show and disco on one evening of every cruise. By night, the floor of the swimming pool is raised to create a cinema so passengers can enjoy a starlit movie with some popcorn or a drink.
Most passengers are happy to relax in the Horizons Lounge or try their hand on the putting green or in the games area on the Sun Deck before sitting back down in a deckchair to catch some rays.
You can enrich your experience of the itinerary by attending an onboard EU lecture or plugging in the headphones that provide a commentary of the fascinating scenery you’re passing through. The nightly newsletter is also a good source of information about the next day’s excursions, and you can catch up with home with the free Wi-Fi.
Shore excursions include a wide variety of sightseeing opportunities and you can add on extra EmeraldPLUS activities such as afternoon tea with a Slovakian family and Emerald Active options like a walking tour of Amsterdam.
The 72 suites and 20 staterooms on the Emerald Star are generously sized and decorated in a tastefully luxurious neutral palette.
The Horizon Deck houses four large Owner’s One-Bedroom Suites and eight Grand Balcony Suites. These boast personal verandas that can be sealed off from the rest of the suite. 23 Emerald Panorama Balcony Suites complete the accommodation on this deck and also have the Star-Ships’ signature decked balconies with ‘open air system’, which, at the touch of a button, lets your suite’s floor-to-ceiling window drop down to let in the air and the view. The Vista Deck is home to 37 more Panorama Balcony Suites, which are priced according to their position on the deck.
The Riviera Deck is where the ship’s Emerald Staterooms are housed, including two Single Staterooms. These are slightly smaller than the Panorama Balcony Suites and they have picture windows rather than balconies, but the same standards of décor apply and hairdryers, safes, minibars, flat screen TVs with English-speaking channels and climate control are included. Bottled water is replenished daily.
Passengers can stretch their legs on the walking track or work out in Fitness Centre. The Wellness Centre offers massages and more and there is also a hairdresser onboard. The Star has an elevator to aid movement around the ship and a dip in the pool is a must-do on any itinerary.
Like her Star-Ship sisters, Emerald Star sails a variety of European itineraries including the eight day Jewels of the Rhine and Danube Explorer cruises. She also regularly embarks on the 15 day Splendours of Europe voyage from Budapest to Amsterdam, passing through the historical heartland of Slovakia, Austria and Germany on her way.