Emerald Waterways, a luxury river cruise line, will debut two new ships next year, the Emerald Liberte in France and the Emerald Radiance in Portugal. In France the ship sails the Rhône and Saône rivers and in Portugal it’s the picturesque Douro River. Fares for the seven-night sailings will start at $2,195 per person, double occupancy, for the Douro and $2,695 for the Rhône and Saône.
This line offers plenty of services and amenities covered by the cruise fare, including all transfers to and from the ship; all onboard (and some on-shore) meals; unlimited tea and coffee; wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner; bottled water in the cabins replenished daily; continental breakfast, pre-dinner canapés and after-dinner sweet treats served in the top suites; complimentary WiFi onboard the ship, a shore excursion daily; and more – as well as all gratuities on and off the ship.
Guests on the Douro will enjoy stops in Portugal ranging from the World Heritage city of Porto to the Roman settlement of Regua and in Spain – Vega de Terron and Salamanca. Highlights include many of the region’s best sites and activities: the Roman ruins in Lamego; Portuguese cooking and cocktail demonstrations; pre-historic carvings showcased in Coa Valley Museum; tapas tastings; and dinner at a traditional local wine estate.
The eight-day voyage In France the Emerald Liberte travels from Lyon to Arles along the picturesque Rhône and Saône Rivers, passing through Chalon-Sur-Saône, Tournon and Avignon. Guests will visit several of the quaint country villages that are synonymous with this region and be introduced to its rich history with tours of the area’s castles, palaces and ruins including ancient Lyon; the Hospices de Beaune, one of Europe’s finest examples of 15th-century French architecture; and Arles’s 2,000-year-old Roman Amphitheatre, still in use today. Guests may choose to extend their journey with a three-night extension in Nice, which includes a tour of Monte Carlo and Monaco, breakfast daily and one dinner.
The Emerald Liberté will carry 138 guests in 70 suites and staterooms, while the Emerald Radiance will sail with 112 guests in 56 suites and staterooms, both with a 3-to-1 guest-crew ratio. The only difference in the ships is on the Emerald Radiance, where the pool will be on the top deck and will not hold a cinema. A new category of stateroom will also appear on the Radiance with 330 sq. feet of living space and panoramic floor-to ceiling windows on two sides. The Emerald Liberté ship will have the Emerald signature onboard heated swimming pool with a retractable glass roof, which transforms into a cinema in the evening.
Guests on the ships will have a choice of two restaurants: Reflections, the main dining room, and The Terrace for light breakfast and lunch; and will enjoy accommodations in the new type of cabin design that replaces the French balcony, common to most ships, with an indoor balcony complete with decked area and an ingenious open-air system. The ships also feature an onboard hairdresser, massage therapy room and fitness area, as well as bicycles free for use by all guests.
These new vessels will bring the fleet to seven ships.