Emerald Waterways, Scenic Group’s river cruise company, is heading into the biggest growth spurt in its history, with three new river vessels set to debut in 2017.
The new ships are Emerald Destiny, which will begin sailing the Rhine and Danube in April; Emerald Liberté, which will begin sailing the Rhone and Saône rivers in France in April; and Emerald Radiance, which will sail Portugal’s Douro river starting in May.
And in addition to new ships, this year will bring new features. Emerald Radiance will sail with a completely new cabin category, 330-square feet Riverview Suites, located on the Horizon deck. Each will feature panoramic views from drop-down windows and a separate bedroom and living area.
Emerald Destiny will have indoor balconies, like its four sister ships. Staterooms will open to the outside by way of a glass partition that runs the entire length of the cabin, giving the entire stateroom a feeling of being outside.
A rendering of Emerald Radiance in Porto.
“You can be sitting, enjoying your cappuccino in your bed, watching the river and the community float by,” Rein said. “You can step right out there and you’re actually sitting in your balcony.”
And Emerald Liberté, the company’s first ship to sail the Saône and Rhône rivers, will sail an itinerary with Emerald’s active programs and an onboard meal prepared by French chef Fabein Morreale.
“The growth is a testament to our travel partners,” Joni Rein, vice president of U.S. sales, told TMR. For travel agents, Rein noted that Emerald is a “truly all-inclusive river cruise company,” including even top-shelf liquor. And the Emerald Guarantee, launched six months ago, helps assuage customers’ fears of water-level issues by reimbursing them for any delays or cancellations that occur due to weather, natural disasters, mechanical breakdowns or strikes.
Rein, who has been with Emerald for just 90 days, was previously vice president of worldwide sales for Carnival Corp. Over the next year, she said, Emerald will roll out many new offerings to help agents, including webinars, sales tools and a new online travel agent portal. “The value we place on our partnership is immeasurable,” she said.