After announcing the addition of three new river ships, and a new Deposit Protection Plan and River Cruising Guarantee earlier this year, Emerald Waterways has rolled out three new cruise itineraries on the Rhine River in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium and expanded its active vacation product.
The Classic Rhine itinerary will sail from Amsterdam to Frankfurt (with a detour down the picturesque Moselle River) to explore new ports – including the German towns of Xanten, known for its Roman Archaeological Park; Cochem, for a visit to the Imperial Reichsburg Castle; and Bernkastel, where guests will enjoy a wine tasting at a local winery.
The Majestic Rhine program sails from Frankfurt to Basel, stopping in the picturesque spa town of Baden-Baden in the Black Forest, and includes two excursions to the Alsace region of France – a canal boat tour of Strasbourg and a visit to Colmar’s well-preserved Medieval and Renaissance districts.
The Charms of Holland & Belgium cruise sails roundtrip out of Amsterdam before setting off for Dordrecht and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kinderdijk Windmills. In Belgium, participants can explore Antwerp, while back in the Netherlands, guests will discover Maastrict, the country’s oldest fortified city, and the famed towns of Edam or Volendam.
The Australian river cruise line also is expanding its EmeraldACTIVE program, which offers more athletic excursions and tour choices aimed at active travelers.
According to Lisa Norton, VP of brand management for Emerald Waterways North America, river cruising is attracting both a younger clientele and one that feels youthful enough to request more active vacations along the rivers they glide on. “People are increasingly aware of the benefits of staying active both mentally and physically, and being on vacation doesn’t mean this stops,” she said.
In line with Emerald Waterways’ nearly all-inclusive pricing structure, all EmeraldACTIVE excursions will be offered at no additional charge.
Some of the latest enhancements include bike tours and hikes on daily shore excursions. In 2018, Emerald also will offer a canoeing trip in Pocinho, Portugal; biking tours through some of Europe’s most beloved cities like Vienna, Bernkastle and Hoorn; and hiking trips including a tour of some of the picturesque vineyards and orchards around Tournon, France, and a trek to Castle Hill in Budapest.
There are also onboard activities like yoga classes on Portugal and France sailings. “New for 2017 on the brand new Emerald Radiance in Portugal we will be offering daily yoga sessions on the sun deck,” Norton said. “What better way to practice your poses than with the stunning backdrop of the Douro River?”
To take the sting out of plans gone awry, Emerald Waterways also offers a River Cruising Guarantee to all travelers at no charge, and a Deposit Protection Plan that allows guests to reallocate their non-refundable deposits if they need to cancel or change their sailing for any reason.
Right now, agents may want to take note, Emerald Waterways is offering free, round trip airfare to Europe for guests booking a cruise of 15 days or more, and reduced round trip airfare of just $495 for those booking an 8-14-day sailing, when booked by September 1, 2017. In addition, guests who pay in full by October 31, 2017, will receive up to $800 off the cost of the sailing. Sailings start at just $2,795 per person, based on double occupancy.