Emerald Star in Budapest
Emerald Star in Budapest / Emerald Waterways
1 of 5
The Terrace
The Terrace / Emerald Waterways
2 of 5
Horizon Bar and Lounge
Horizon Bar and Lounge / Emerald Waterways
3 of 5
Pool / Emerald Waterways
4 of 5
Horizon Bar and Lounge
Horizon Bar and Lounge / Emerald Waterways
5 of 5

Emerald Star

Our Ship Review
Emerald Waterways
Cruise Line
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

Emerald Waterways is a newcomer to the river cruise industry and has already made a splash with its fleet of sleek ships showcasing a classy yet casual vibe. The 92-cabin Emerald Star — one of five vessels in the line's Star-Ship class — plies Europe’s Danube and Rhine rivers. Similar to many cruise lines, it has an all-inclusive pricing model that bundles in airport-to-ship transfers; beer, wine, and soft drinks at lunch and dinner; staff gratuities; and guided land excursions — making a trip aboard the Emerald Star a no-fuss, no finger-lifting vacation that covers a lot of ground, including gorgeous scenery and historical and cultural sights.

What We Love

Infinity-Style Swimming Pool and Lounge: This glass-enclosed lounge has a retractable roof that slides open on sunny days. In the evening — with the flip of a staff switch — a wooden floor covers the pool, converting the space into a 25-seat cinema, showing both classic films and new releases. Yep, popcorn is served.

Plenty of Active Options: Guests can check out one of the ship's bicycles free of charge for use on shore; a compact gym with a stationary bike, rowing machine, weight bench, and yoga mats is located near the pool; the Sun Deck’s cushioned running track attracts morning joggers; and a putting green pleases golfers.

Alfresco Barbecues: Weather permitting, Emerald Star hosts weekly barbecues on the Sun Deck — a highlight of the ship's culinary offerings.

Best Known For

Rooms With a View: In many cabins, the top half of the floor-to-ceiling windows slides down via a push-button to create a balcony area with two chairs — a private place to sit, relish fresh breezes, and serenely watch the world drift by. 

Who It's Best For

English-Speaking Europhiles: The ship caters to young professionals and baby boomers from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and North America who all have a leaning toward deepening their knowledge of European history. 

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Sociability Is Par for the Course: If you’d rather not dine with people you don’t know, ride a coach bus with a gaggle of passengers, or hike up castles and down cobblestone villages en masse, this is not your getaway of choice.