Scenic Tours Launches Emerald Waterways

Scenic Tours announced the launch of a new premium river cruise line called Emerald Waterways, which will debut two new ships in early 2014 and is aimed at attracting a younger audience. The 182-passenger, 443-foot long sister ships Emerald Sky and Emerald Star, will debut in spring of 2014 and will cruise 7 to 14 night itineraries on the Rhine, Danube, Main and Mosel rivers.


Managing Director for Scenic Tours and Emerald Waterways, Chris Townson said “We believe we can attract a younger demographic, too, with value for money as the emphasis”, although he stressed the line would not be actively marketing to families.


Townson also said Emerald Waterways is positioning itself as a competitor to brands such as Viking Cruises and Avalon Waterways. He said the line would be competitive within the four-star range of cruise products while also boasting a handful of innovative design touches and nearly all-inclusive pricing. The most innovative new bit of design planned for the twin ships is a dual-purpose area at the aft of the ship that transforms from an indoor, heated pool with retractable roof during the day to a cinema at night. The rest of the ships’ new features have become standard, these include: good-sized suites, balconies in a majority of cabins and an open-air alternative dining space.


Emerald Waterways will include beer, wine and soft drinks at meals, shore excursions, transfers and tips within the cost of the overall fare, as does Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. Additionally, the line will offer free return flights to U.K. passengers traveling from London’s Heathrow airport and other regional airports. For passengers traveling from cities and countries outside the U.K., a spokesperson for the line said: “We can arrange flights for guests on a case by-case basis — however if the cost of the flight from a country other than the U.K. goes over an allocated budget, we would charge the guest extra. Or they can take the cruise as a ‘cruise only’ and book their own flights.”


River views right from your bed

It’s amazing to see how the river cruise companies come up with such innovative ways to design their staterooms. You’ll see in the video below how Avalon Waterways changed the configuration of the cabin and now have the bed facing the window – genius idea !

(I joked that maybe it was designed by a woman because the old way used to face the TV and now it faces the spectacular scenery going by)

Do all river cruise companies have bikes onboard ?

This is popular question that I get asked when clients are inquiring about European river cruising so thought I would post the answer here for others to benefit from.


No, all of the river cruise companies do not have bikes onboard in Europe so if this is important to you, then you’ll want to look at:


1) AMA Waterways
2) A-Rosa
3) Scenic Tours
4) Tauck Tours
5) Uniworld


Avalon Waterways and Viking River Cruises are the two that do not have bikes onboard.


Happy sailing and cycling !



Bicycles on river cruises

Bicycles on river cruises

Saint Lawrence River Cruise

This cruise in 2012 was actually a combo ocean and river cruise in that it started in the bustling city of Boston and cruised on the open water before reaching the St. Lawrence River and finishing up in Montreal, Canada.

More details and picture captions coming soon

Oasis of the Seas

In 2010 I was lucky enought to be invited to the inaugural sailing of the Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world.

It was an incredible experience, I couldn’t believe what they built into this floating megaship.   It has a rock climbing wall, an indoor ice rink, a wave runner to practice your surfboarding, an outdoor water show, a replica of Central Park New York complete with real grass, a full broadway play production in the theatre and too much more to list.  We went from dawn to dusk trying to do everything and felt amazed to be a part of what would change the cruise industry forever.




Multigeneration Cruise

In 2006 our family did a Pacific Coastal cruise to celebrate a 50th Anniversary.  We had a variety of ages from 75 down to a 1 year old and a great time was had by all. It is always interesting to play tourist in your own backyard and we had fun visiting cities that we would normally not get to.  When we visited Prince Rupert, we were trying to look up the birthplace of a family member who was no longer with us and we were shocked when we went into the public library there to find a women who not only knew what we were looking for, gave us directions to the exact location !  (the beauty of friendly small towns)


Northern Europe Baltic Cruise

In 1990, I sailed aboard the Sun Viking (part of the  Royal Caribbean Cruise Line) from England to Norway, Sweden, Finland and into Russia winding back via Poland and Germany to end up in London again.

This was probably the most memorable cruise in that my son just happened to be born exactly 9 months after taking it !

The midnight sun in was amazing, you could be out on deck at midnight and still light out. St Petersburg (called Leningrad when we visited) was such a contrast between old and new.   You can see the street pictures are so gray, yet the Hermitage and Catherines Palace were shimmering with gold.  We went into a grocery store to look around and saw the meat in the freezers, except they had no power to them so not actually sure how they kept the stuff cold.

One of the most interesting things about this cruise (and obviously way before privacy laws) they published a “Passenger List” which was circulated to every cabin and listed each passenger and the city they came from.  It was a really nice keepsake and too bad they had to do away with it.

Loved the beautiful Baltic cities of Helsinki, Olso and Stockholm – it was hard to pick a favourite.

Pictures coming soon


The Love Boat

Who doesn’t remember the theme song for the television show The Love Boat ?  I’m sure I could still recite every word today so I was very excited to be travelling on the Sun Princess in 1988.  Even though most people associate the Pacific Princess as the true Love Boat, the 1977 pilot show was filmed aboard the Sun Princess in Mexico.

I loved watching the cliff divers in Acapulco and visiting Cabo San Lucas when it was just a sleepy little Mexican town.  I didn’t realize at the time that I was on one of the last voyages for the Sun Princess as it was sold to Premier Cruises right after we finished our sailing.  Look at the people gathered around the decks as they are set to release the balloons for our sailing send off.

Greece Turkey Cruise with Epirotiki

My Greece/Turkey cruise in 1987 was aboard the Oceanos which was was built in 1952. Little did I know that it would become famous a mere 4 years after I sailed on it.  Highlights for this itinerary were the Greek Islands of course and spending the day zipping around Rhodes on a scooter.  Plus the day visiting Ephesus in Turkey was amazing, the ruins that they have uncovered were jaw dropping.  

How the ship became famous was that it sank off the coast of South Africa on Aug 4th, 1991   All 571 onboard were saved but Captain Yiannis Avranas was accused by the passengers of leaving them behind with no one other than the ship’s onboard entertainers to help them evacuate. Avranas claimed that he left the ship first to arrange for a rescue effort, and then supervised the rescue from a helicopter. A Greek board of inquiry found Avranas and four officers negligent in their handling of the disaster.