Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is included when I book a cruise?

We include airport transfers to and from your ship, on-board meals, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, on-board Wi-Fi, most shore excursions, port charges, airport taxes and on-board tips. For full details of inclusions please see our brochure.

Q. What clothing do I need to pack?

We recommend casual and comfortable clothing - for sightseeing and walking tours you’ll need comfortable shoes. For the winter months, you’ll need a warm coat, gloves and water-resistant footwear. Dinner is an informal affair; relaxed evening wear is perfect. On certain evenings such as the Welcome and Farewell Dinners, you might like to dress up a little.

Q. Can Emerald Waterways organise my travel insurance?

No, this is the responsibility of the guest, however, your travel agent can do this on your behalf. We strongly advise you to take out travel insurance to cover any unforeseen circumstances, which may arise as defined in the respective proposal forms. It is a good idea to take your travel insurance documents with you.

Q. Can Emerald Waterways arrange my passport and visas?

Emerald Waterways is not responsible for passport, visa requirements, entry, health or other requirements of the countries visited, or for any loss sustained by you for failing to comply with laws, regulations, orders or requirements of the countries we visit.

Q. Will I require health checks and vaccinations?

If you have a serious medical condition, we would recommend consulting your GP before booking with Emerald Waterways. If you have any mobility difficulties, you should inform us at the time of booking.

Your doctor will provide information regarding any and all vaccinations required to visit any of the destinations on an Emerald Waterways itinerary.

Q. Can I take a virtual tour of the ship?

For a taste of what to expect before booking with Emerald Waterways, it is possible to take a virtual tour of all the ships – viewing the interiors and exteriors of the award-winning vessels.

Take a virtual tour of Emerald Sky and Emerald Radiance here.

Q. How do I book an Emerald Waterways river cruise?

Please call our dedicated sales team. Our experienced team will help you tailor the river cruise to your specific needs and requirements. You can find our contact details here.

Q. Can I bring my own alcohol on-board?

We have no problem with guests purchasing alcohol for consumption in their rooms. However, we do ask that personal drinks are not consumed in the communal areas of the ships.

Prior to travel
Q. Should I attach the Emerald Waterways luggage label provided prior to departure?

No, please wait until you have claimed your luggage at your destination airport. This will ensure airline companies will not remove this tag, as it is required to easily identify your luggage for transfer services and hotels.

Q. What validity do I need on my passport?

All passengers are required to possess a passport valid for 6 months beyond the conclusion of their trip. Please note: If your nationality (passport) differs from the country in which you reside, please take the time to check carefully with your local consulates concerning visa and passport requirements for your travels. Holidays can be disrupted or may need to be altered altogether if the correct documents cannot be supplied at airports or borders, so check carefully that you have the required papers.

Q. Do the excursions require a high level of mobility?

A number of the shore excursions are conducted from coaches, so it is important that guests are capable of walking up and down the coach stairs. Furthermore, some of the shore excursions include walks through towns and cities – which may not be suitable for guests with limited mobility.

Guests with limited mobility will require the services of a responsible companion, due to the, sometimes, limited availability of crew members during shore excursions.

Q. When will we receive our final documents?

You can expect your travel documents to arrive between 2 – 4 weeks prior to your departure date. When booking within two weeks of departure date, your travel documents will be emailed to you to print at home.

Q. How do I know which ship I am travelling on?

If requested, we can confirm the name of the ship at the time of booking. Your booking confirmation will also show the name of the ship on which you are travelling.

Q. Can you provide docking location and/or port address?

Yes, we provide the docking location and port address in your final documents. Please note: These details are subject to last minute changes by the relevant port.

Q. Could changing water levels affect my cruise?

Cruise itineraries may be varied due to high or low water levels, flooding, lock closures, unscheduled vessel maintenance or for any other circumstances beyond our control. In the rare event of low or high water levels, certain itineraries may be affected by these conditions out of our control. However, we will do everything within our power to minimise the impact these conditions have on your holiday, making alternative arrangements for the duration of the itinerary. If we’re unable to continue sailing certain rivers due to water level problems. This could mean arranging coach transfers, organising ship swaps, providing hotel accommodation or finding alternative attractions to visit - all of which are weather dependent.

Q. Are cruises LGBT friendly?

Yes, all our cruises are LGBT friendly. A selection of our destinations are famed for an LGBT friendly atmosphere, including Amsterdam, Vienna, Cologne and Budapest

Q. Is River Cruising suitable for solo travellers?

Absolutely! Our warm and welcoming atmosphere is perfect for first-time and seasoned solo travellers alike, with included guided group excursions at each destination and evening dinners inviting conversation with like-minded guests. Most of our Emerald Waterways Star-Ships have single occupancy staterooms.

Q. I'm pregnant- can I still cruise?

Most river cruise companies do not allow mothers-to-be on-board past their 28th week of pregnancy. Pregnant women that do decide to travel may be asked to provide a doctors certificate stating their fitness for travel.

Q. My question isn't answered elsewhere, how can I contact you?

Please find our contact details here.

Q. What safety requirements should I be aware of?

Once you have boarded your Star-Ship, the on-board crew will conduct a safety briefing for all guests. This will run-through the relevant safety procedures, and what you should do in the event of an emergency. All our ships are equipped with safety equipment to ensure the safety of our guests, including sprinkler systems and life-saving equipment.

Q. Do the ships provide mobility/wheelchair access?

We welcome all guests with mobility issues but please be aware that limitations could exist on-board and during shore excursions. Our lifts service three out of the four decks, with access to the Sun Deck only possible using stairs. Under appropriate circumstances, guests are allowed to use a collapsible wheelchair on-board. You must be able to climb up and down the stairs on coaches and some shore excursions may require movement over cobblestones or up and down stairs. Guests with limited mobility will require the services of a reasonable companion, since the crew is limited. On occasions, we may be required to dock alongside other ships, which means accessing the shore via the Sun Deck. For further information, please contact one of our travel advisors.

Q. Is there an emergency contact for the ship?

We provide full email and telephone contact details for the ship in your final documents.

If your question has not been fully answered, please get in touch via our Contact Us page.

Q. Are additional tours available throughout the river cruise?

In addition to your included excursions, EmeraldPLUS and EmeraldACTIVE experiences and activities, we offer a selection of DiscoverMORE optional excursions which are bookable on-board or through our reservations team.

Q. Is Wi-Fi provided on-board the ship?

Complimentary Wi-Fi is available on-board all the Emerald Waterways ships throughout the public spaces, cabins and suites. Speed will vary depending on where the ship is positioned and the number of users. Wi-Fi can be slow to use and there may be occasions when no signal is available. Guests staying in an Owner’s One-bedroom Suite will have complimentary use of an iPad throughout the cruise.

Q. Will the ship’s dining venues cater for special dietary requirements?

Emerald Waterways endeavour to cater for all dietary requirements and requests. We ask that you inform us of any requirements or requests at the time of booking. This will give us chance to meet your requirements.

Q. Will there be a Cruise Director on my cruise?

Yes, an experienced Cruise Director accompanies every journey. The Cruise Director is responsible for ensuring the entire river cruise runs smoothly.

Q. What is the language on the Star-Ships?

The language on-board is English. All staff, crew and tour guides speak English and all announcements and lectures will be made in English.

Q. Is smoking permitted on-board the ship?

Smoking is not permitted in the cabins or any indoor parts of any of the ships in the Emerald Waterways fleet.

There are areas on the ships’ external decks where smoking is permitted.

Q. Are laundry facilities provided on the ships?

Guests staying in the Owner’s One-bedroom Suite and Riverview Suite can have four pieces of clothing laundered, free of charge, per day. Guests staying in the Grand Balcony Suites are permitted two complimentary laundry items per day.

For guests in all other suites and staterooms, laundry services are available on river cruise ships at an additional charge. There is no dry cleaning services on river cruise ships.

Q. What are the seating arrangements in Reflections Restaurant?

Reflections Restaurant features unreserved seating for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Simply arrive at the designated dining times and you will be seated at the available table of your choosing.

Q. When can I use the pool?

The on-board pool is open from 06:00 until 18:00 every day. On selected evenings, the pool area is transformed into our evening cinema. Please note: the Emerald Radiance, sailing on the Douro River, has a Serenity Pool on the Sun Deck, and therefore does not have a cinema.

Q. Do I need to reserve my seat to watch a film in the cinema?

No, but the cinema can fill up quickly and operates on a first come, first serve basis — so it is best to head down early.

Q. How do I request the use of one of the complimentary bicycles?

Bikes should be reserved at reception. The reception team will then organise for the bikes to be brought out of storage when the ship docks.

Q. Where can I help myself to complimentary hot drinks?

You will find tea and coffee machines located in the Horizon Bar and Lounge. A selection of speciality teas and coffees are available throughout the day and night.

Q. What are the Sun Deck opening times?

The Sun Deck is open from 08:00 through to late evening.

Please note: Sun Deck operation hours may be limited when travelling under low bridges, for safety purposes, or due to other local authority restrictions.

Q. What are the on-board dining times?

Typical timings:

  • Breakfast: 07:00 - 09:00
  • Lunch: 12:00 - 14:00
  • Dinner: 19:00 - 21:00
  • Full timings are provided in the daily programme.
Q. Is there an on-board fitness room?

Each of the Emerald Waterways ships boasts an on-board fitness room, with high-quality equipment and gym apparatus.

Q. Are any on-board salon and spa services available?

Each of the Emerald Waterways Star-Ships features a hairdresser and well-appointed wellness area – helping you pamper yourself whilst cruising the beautiful waterways of Europe.

Q. Are elevators present on the ship?

Elevators are present on each of the Emerald Waterways Star-Ships – servicing three of the four decks. Only the top deck, the Sun Deck, is not serviced by an elevator. Access to the Sun Deck is restricted to stairs.

Q. Is there an on-board shop?

Our Star-Ships do not include on-board shops, however small emergency toiletry items such as toothpaste and deodorant may be purchased from the ship’s reception

Furthermore, each ship also stocks a small selection of gifts and souvenirs.

Q. Is it possible to visit the wheelhouse on my ship?

The wheelhouse is open for all guests to visit during a cruise itinerary. If you have a particular interest in river navigation, the wheelhouse can provide a wonderful insight into the role of the captain and the intricacies of working through locks.

Q. Can I order a gift to be placed in the cabin?

Yes, please contact our Reservations team and they will be able to assist you.

Q. Can I order refreshments to the cabin?

For guests in our Owner’s One Bedroom Suite and our Grand Balcony Suite, continental breakfast, pre-dinner canapes and after-dinner sweet treats are served in your suite.

Q. Can I use my mobile phone on the cruise?

Yes, but please be aware that signal may be limited as your cruise passes through the more rural areas. It’s also worth checking with your network provider for additional charges, dependent on the destination you’re visiting.

Q. Can I bring my own alcohol on-board?

We have no problem with guests purchasing alcohol for consumption in their rooms. However, we do ask that personal drinks are not consumed in the communal areas of the ships.

If your question has not been fully answered, please get in touch via our Contact Us page.

Q. Are there different cabin categories and prices?

Yes, there are various suites and stateroom options dependent on the ship you'll be travelling on. Information on this is available at the time booking, on the Our Ships page.

Q. Is there a safe in my room?

Yes. All cabins come with a secure safe for your valuables.

Q. Are bathrobes and slippers provided in all cabins?

Yes, complimentary bathrobes and slippers are available in your cabin for use during your cruise.

Q. Are irons and ironing boards provided in the cabin?

No, but all our ships offer a comprehensive laundry service. Full details will be provided in your cabin.

Q. Are the cabins air conditioned?

Individual climate control systems are available in all cabins, suites and staterooms, helping you adjust the temperature to your preferred level. If you have any trouble operating the climate control systems, our dedicated crew are on hand to offer assistance.

Q. Are mini bars provided in the cabins?

A complimentary mini bar is provided in the Owner’s One-Bedroom Suites and Riverview Suites on-board all the ships of the Emerald Waterways fleet. These mini bars are restocked daily with wine, beer and soft drinks.

The Grand Balcony Suites also benefit from in-suite mini bars, but these are available at the expense of the guests.

The Balcony Suites and Staterooms all boast a mini fridge, but these are not stocked by Emerald Waterways.

Q. Are twin rooms available?

Twin rooms are available in all Suite and Stateroom classes, with the exception of the Single Stateroom.

Q. Are phones available in the room?

Yes, phones are available in the rooms. Additional charges apply to external calls; these rates are displayed in your cabin.

Q. Are toiletries included in my cabin?

We stock a wide range of complimentary toiletries in your cabin including shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, shower gel, soap, body lotion, ear plugs, cotton wool, a shower cap and even a mini sewing kit.

Q. Does my cabin include a hairdryer?

Yes, all our cabins include a hairdryer.

Q. Will there be coat hangers in my cabin?

Yes, coat hangers are included in wardrobes.

Q. What voltage and plug sockets are present in the cabins?

European plug sockets providing a voltage of 220V are provided throughout all Emerald Waterways cabins. A European power plug adaptor will be required to use small appliances such as electric shavers, clocks, mobile phone chargers etc. We do not provide the required adaptors, so any electrical equipment brought on-board the ships will need the requisite adaptor.

If your question has not been fully answered, please get in touch via our Contact Us page.

Currency & Travel
Q. Which currency do I need to take?

The on-board currency on all European Emerald Waterways Star-Ships is the Euro. Any accounts can be paid in cash in Euros or by credit card (there is a 1% charge for Visa and Mastercard credit card payments and a 3% charge for American Express). Whilst many locations will accept payment via major credit cards and ATM machines are located in some port locations, it is advantageous to carry local currency for small purchases. Here is the list of the currencies used in the countries visited by Emerald Waterways:

  • Austria: Euro
  • Belgium: Euro
  • France: Euro
  • Germany: Euro
  • Hungary: Hungarian Forint
  • Netherlands: Euro
  • Portugal: Euro
  • Slovakia: Euro
Q. Is porterage included?

Handling and porterage of your luggage (as per the luggage allowance) is included in your cruise.

Q. Can I exchange currency on-board?

The ship’s reception stocks a small amount of exchangeable local currency for each country your cruise visits. However, it is widely accepted that most European destinations Emerald Waterways visit will accept euros (€), even if the local currency differs.

Q. What time is embarkation?

Embarkation times differ with every itinerary, but you will be informed of the time you’re expected to arrive at the ship in your pre-departure documents. Furthermore, any flights and transfers will be arranged by Emerald Waterways to ensure you get to the ship on time for embarkation.

Q. How do I find my transfer information?

Transfer information will be provided in your pre-departure documents, which are usually dispatched 2-3 weeks prior to your cruise.

If your question has not been fully answered, please get in touch via our Contact Us page.

Coronavirus 2019-nCoV
Q. What are Coronaviruses?
A. Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that usually cause mild respiratory illness. A new (novel) CoV was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 and is called COVID-19.
Q. What is the current situation?

Currently all our itineraries up to December, have been cancelled under force majeure. Additionally, some governments have implemented wider restrictions that limit the arrival of travellers who have travelled from/visited or transited through countries beyond China, Hong Kong, Macau, Republic of Korea, Iran and Italy.  We recommend that you check the current travel policy of your final destination

WHO is working closely with global experts, governments and partners to rapidly expand scientific knowledge on this new virus, to track the spread and virulence of the virus, and to provide advice to countries and individuals on measures to protect health and prevent the spread.

Q. What are the symptoms of 2019-nCoV?
A. Signs of infection may include respiratory symptoms, such as fever or feverishness, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties.
Q. How is the virus transmitted?
A. Health authorities are not yet certain exactly how the new coronavirus is spread, however when someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus.
Q. If I traveled to a highly affected area in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing what should I do?
  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms
  • Avoid contact with others
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  •  Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
Q. How can I minimize risk of transmission and protect myself?

You can protect yourself from respiratory illnesses by taking every day preventative actions, such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
Avoid personal contact, such as sharing cups or eating utensils, with ill people.
Q. Is there a vaccine?

Currently, there is no vaccine available.

Q. What are the treatments?

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for the new coronavirus infection. Individuals with respiratory infections should seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.

Q. Is the new Coronavirus the same as SARS or MERS viruses?

It is a similar type but not the same virus that caused SARS or MERS. Most recent reports indicate it is not as severe.

Q. What is the preventive action we have taken?
  • In accordance with CLIA (Cruise Line International Association) and IATO (International Association of Tour Operators) guidelines we do NOT allow any passengers to board our ships who have travelled, or transited through mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Republic of Korea, Iran and Italy (or any other affected areas deemed by Government travel boards).
  • All our guest’s arrival flights are pre-screened in advance by our International offices to ensure the above is complied Passengers failing to comply will be denied boarding to maintain the safety of our guests and crew – even if guests are asymptomatic  
  • Upon arrival and prior to the cruises guests are checked for symptoms and asked to fill out the questionnaires to ensure no one has any symptoms or had any last minute flight changes we unaware previously unaware of.
  • Strict operational procedures are in place for anyone displaying symptoms both prior to and during any cruise and they are immediately quarantined.
  • We have intensified all procedures around general cleaning, housekeeping, back of house and Nautical and technical compliance on the ship.
  • Any touring locations deemed to be at a heighted risk have been suspended until further notice.
  • We have hospital grade automatic and manual hand sanitisation machines throughout the ship. Their presence has been increased throughout all public and back of house spaces.
  • We have provided in depth training to all our crew on background of COVID-19 and common practices to minimise associated risk. This is done in line with WHO recommendations
  • Non-contact thermometers have been provided to all ships and ground offices and our own internal daily checks are performed as needed.
  • Our water and air filtration systems are all pre treated to International standards.
Q. What health screening methods has the put in place?

We are following the US CDC recommendations for healthcare providers which includes:

  • Prior to boarding specific guests, crew and contractors will be required to fill out questionnaire that will screen for:
  1. Fever AND symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)
    – and in the last 14 days before symptom onset,
    1. History of travel from affected areas
    2. Close contact with a person who is under investigation for COVID-19 while that person was ill.
Q. What measures are taken if a guest or crew present during sailing with a fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness and who have no travel history to affected areas?

Patients who present with a fever and symptoms of a cough or shortness of breath will be evaluated by ship staff and subsequently a medical team. The guest or crew will be asked to wear a surgical mask as soon as they are identified and quarantined in their cabin while it is ascertained if further tests are required by medical professionals.


The Sun Deck operational hours may be limited due to the passage through low bridges or other restrictions by local authorities.


Emerald Waterways guests from New Zealand are responsible for arranging their own flights to Europe.


Emerald Waterways welcomes disabled guests but wishes all guests to understand that limitations could exist on-board and during shore excursions. The lifts on our ships service three out of four decks, with access to the Sun Deck only possible using stairs. Under appropriate circumstances guests are welcome to use collapsible wheelchairs on-board. Many tours are conducted from coaches, so guests need to be able to climb up and down the stairs to board. Some shore excursions may require movement over cobblestones or up and down stairs; accordingly, guests with limited mobility will require the services of a responsible companion to be travelling with them, since crew availability is limited. If you have any medical, physical or other special needs, please contact our travel advisors for further information and have a look at our deck plan to gain an understanding of the layout of any particular ship. On occasion we’ll be required to dock next to other ships, which may mean accessing the shore via the Sun Deck, requiring you to ascend and descend stairs.


To experience the full range of regional attractions during our itineraries, there will be a certain amount of coach travel required.


Availability of bicycles and EmeraldACTIVE tours on bicycles is limited to the number of bicycles available on each Star-Ship.