Cruise & Travel Lifestyles

Emerald Waterways – Contemporary River Cruising

Emerald Waterways – Contemporary River Cruising

Introducing the Emerald Sky sailing a seven-night ‘Highlights of the Netherlands & the Beauty of Belgium’ itinerary.

By Vanessa Lee

Spring was in full evidence in The Netherlands as our Emerald Waterways cruise on their river ship the Emerald Sky was well under way beneath sunny and warm skies. The trees were budding, the tulips stunning and baby lambs and goats gamboled in the meadows. We have eaten a fair amount of tasty Dutch cheese, learned how they make Gouda (pronounced HOW-DAH) and enjoyed special Dutch pancakes and waffles as well as a clog-making demonstration.

The village of Zaanse Schans is one of Emerald's included shore excursions.

Our river ship was cruising around Holland and Belgium round-trip from Amsterdam with stops in Rotterdam, Antwerp and Bruges in Belgium and a side-trip to delightful Delft, home of the famous blue pottery.

The Emerald Sky had almost a full complement of guests mainly Americans and Brits as well as some Canadians; the capacity of the river ship is 180 with 92 staterooms and suites. I was in room 334 on the same deck as the main Horizon Lounge and it was compact and comfortable. It was not spacious (180 sq.ft.) but had good storage and what is described as a balcony but which is really an “in-room space with casual chairs” in front of a full length window which can be opened halfway by a button. I find this works well on the rivers as quite often your ship is docked against a wall or by a promenade with lots of activity or it is docked next to another ship. So there is not much chance to sit out and enjoy privacy. That is what the top deck is for on these ships anyway.

There is a lovely indoor heated pool area on Deck 3 at the aft which can be turned into a cinema a few nights a week. This is an interesting concept but it is a really delightful space and the pool feels like it flows off the back as an infinity pool does.

Emerald includes “local” wine and beer with lunch and dinner and a host of activities for the guests with the recent introduction of Activity Managers on their cruises this year – enjoy yoga, pilates, aqua aerobics, bike rides, active excursions and more.

The medieval marvel of Bruges in Belgium on a sunny and busy Easter Sunday.