As travelers weigh vacation options and start planning getaways for 2021 and beyond, small ship cruising continues to garner broad appeal. In fact, over the past 10 years, the small ship cruising sector on both oceans and rivers has seen steady growth among travelers looking for smaller, more intimate settings, personalized service and experiential tours.
As experts in designing, building and operating small ships, Emerald Waterways embraces this industry growth as they continue innovating to show their guests why small ship cruising is the future of cruise travel.
Emerald Waterways’ fleet of nine deluxe Star-Ships all carry fewer than 200 guests, fitting them comfortably into the small ship category. The largest of their river ships carries a max of 180 guests on the Danube, Rhine and Main rivers in Europe, while the smallest can accommodate just 84 along the Mekong river in Asia. The small ship designation also applies to their soon-to-debut ocean yacht. When she launches next year, Emerald Azzurra will carry just 100 guests in 50 deluxe suites on sailings in the Mediterranean, Adriatic and Red Seas, showcasing unique ports that are not over touristed. Azzurra’s innovative design will feature nearly double the dining space per guest as the competition in this category, and 88% of suites and staterooms will have balconies or terraces.
“We’re big fans of small ship cruising, so it’s exciting to see more travelers embracing it as a secure, comfortable and relaxing way to see the world,” said David Winterton, Global Brand Ambassador for Emerald Waterways. “As we continue to grow the brand and introduce new products like our ocean yacht Emerald Azzurra, we’re focused on creating the experiences our guests are asking for and that we believe will
One example of Emerald Waterways responding to guest feedback was the launch of EmeraldACTIVE, a shore excursion program aimed at creating more active tour options across all their European river cruise itineraries. “Our customers tend to be a fairly active group, and we heard their call for more options to pursue their fitness goals while traveling,” said Winterton. “In 2016 we launched the EmeraldACTIVE program with a selection of guided cycle tours, urban and rural hikes and canoeing trips. In 2019, we expanded the program by adding a dedicated Activity Manager on each our of European Star-Ships to support the active excursions and expand the onboard offerings with Pilates, yoga, and water aerobics classes.”
As other cruise lines announce cancellations of new builds, Emerald Waterways continues to grow their fleet. In addition to introducing the Emerald Azzurra yacht next year, the brand will also launch a new river ship, Emerald Luna. She will carry 180 passengers on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers in Europe when she debuts in April of next year.
Emerald Cruises is the parent brand of Emerald Waterways and the newly formed Emerald Yacht Cruises. The Emerald Azzurra, the first yacht to launch under the Emerald Yacht Cruises brand, is a 100-guest super yacht that will ply the warm waters of the Mediterranean, Adriatic and Red seas. Emerald Waterways features nine branded Star-Ships offering river sailings in Europe and on the Mekong, as well as the chartered river ship along the Volga River in Russia (MS Nizhny Novgorod). The brand offers contemporary deluxe ships, outstanding service and an incredibly inclusive pricing plan that has won them the honor of being named Best River Cruise Line for Value by the Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards for five years running.