Why Europe river cruising has become so popular in New Zealand

Why Europe river cruising has become so popular in New Zealand

With river cruising such a popular way to explore Europe, it’s easy to understand why so many New Zealanders are opting to cruise Europe rather than coach. Not only do you have the luxury of only unpacking once, but you can also sail into smaller ports, allowing you to start exploring the quaint towns and villages as soon as you arrive.
It’s not only the incredible destinations that draw visitors to Europe, the ships themselves are one of the main reasons to embark on a river cruise. The award-winning Emerald Waterways Star-Ships represent contemporary design and comfort inspired by innovation. Choose from five types of suites and staterooms, where you can relax in absolute comfort and enjoy sumptuous features and inclusions, from luxurious toiletries and a revitalising shower in the spacious bathroom, to a queen size bed, draped with luxurious linens. Each suite also boasts an ingenious all-weather system, transforming your balcony into the perfect place for you to enjoy the beautiful river views.

Impressive from the moment you step on board, with an openness and sense of light, there is more space per person than most other river cruise ships in Europe, with plenty of places to sit, relax and enjoy your holiday to the full. 

From cruising the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers and exploring Europe’s most enchanting towns and villages, to a picturesque cruise through France’s food and wine regions along the Rhône and Saône rivers. Plan a journey through the spectacular Douro Valley in Portugal, we have a river cruise that’s right for you. 

To help you decide on your European river cruise escape, here are our top six reasons why you should take a river cruise with Emerald Waterways.

Only unpack once

Only unpack once and enjoy your spacious suite
One of the major drawcards of river cruising is the fact you only need to unpack once. Get settled in your spacious cabin and spend more time exploring the sights, making new friends and enjoying the delicious cuisine on board.

Make new friends

Make new friends during your European river cruise
With a maximum of 180 passengers on board our Rhine, Main and Danube river cruises and only 112 passengers in Portugal, the boutique nature of our river cruises provides a more intimate experience and makes it easy to make friends on board. From meeting your fellow guests during an EmeraldACTIVE excursion, to enjoying drinks together in the bar or bonding over a game of mini golf on the Sun Deck, there’s plenty of opportunities to get to know your fellow guests and crew and form new friendships for life.

Big cities and quaint towns

Budapest, Hungary
Discover the major cities of Amsterdam and Budapest, and the smaller, quaint towns of Melk, Dürnstein and Bamberg over the duration of your cruise. Every day is different, with a different port visited every day. Admire the picturesque countryside as you sail by and look out for medieval castles perched way up high on hilltops. Your Local Guides will bring you closer to the local culture, people and history, and if you prefer to explore independently, feel free to use our on board bikes to cycle through picturesque villages and local towns.

A relaxing way to travel

Enjoy a morning swim in the heated pool
A river cruise is one of the most relaxing ways to travel. Choose from one of the many shore excursions, or simply enjoy some free time just the way you want. Start the day with a morning swim in the heated 24m² swimming pool, read a book or newspaper in the Horizon Bar & Lounge or enjoy a slice of cake and a drink whilst you admire the ever-changing scenery from the Sun Deck. 

Five star dining

Experience 5-star dining on board
Savour the finest flavours of Europe prepared by our expert culinary team with all meals included during your voyage. Enjoy a delightful range of buffet choices such as a full English or continental breakfast, cereals, cheeses, fresh bread, cold meats, and eggs cooked to your personal preference at our egg station. At lunch, be greeted by an extensive buffet featuring salads, pastas, stir fries, cold meats, cheeses and pastries, as well as a delectable dessert table with different choices daily. You can also enjoy the local region’s favourite dishes such as Wiener Schnitzel in Austria and Hungarian goulash in Hungary. Dinner though is the highlight of the day with a full five course à la carte dinner served. During lunch and dinner, guests can enjoy complimentary European red and white wines, local beers and soft drinks.

EmeraldPLUS program

Sample the Black Forest Cake in Germany's Black Forest region
Get a taste of local life as part of Emerald Waterways’ exclusive EmeraldPLUS program.

Experience the hospitable atmosphere of a Slovakian home in the village of Senkvice, Bratislava, as you are welcomed for afternoon tea with a local family. In Germany’s Black Forest region, taste the delicious Black Forest gateau and watch how it’s made, whilst in Budapest, enjoy an evening of folk dancing and music followed by a traditional Hungarian farewell dinner.

A Europe river cruise can be enjoyed time and time again

If you’ve already done one European cruise, then plan your next adventure. Cruise the Lower Danube into Romania and Bulgaria, discover France’s charming countryside along the Rhône and Saône rivers or savour the delicious Port wine in the heart of Portugal’s Douro Valley.
You can even sail the same stretch of water again, but at a different time of year. Europe is blessed with four very distinct seasons ensuring there is always something new to see at different times of the year. 

Head to Europe in spring to admire the beautiful blooming flowers and stunning tulip displays, particularly in the Keukenhof Gardens in Amsterdam. Summer brings about warmer weather, with a vibrant café culture and all types of festivals such as the Salzburg Festival, a festival of music and drama occurring between July and August. 

Visit in autumn and you’ll be rewarded with the changing colours of the leaves, cooler temperatures and less people, whilst winter is one of the most magical times of the year to visit Europe. Visit from late November to December to experience the festive Christmas markets, the promise of a mug of warming glühwein, hot roasted chestnuts and gingerbread, log fires and if you’re lucky, the chance of snow.
Spend a magical Christmas in Europe
ERC 2022 Brochure