Organising group travel can be complicated and stressful, especially if you’re planning on visiting multiple destinations. A European river cruise is a great choice for such a trip, and at Emerald Cruises, we’ve made it our mission to make travelling in a group as simple and affordable as possible.
Book a European river cruise with us and your group will benefit from exclusive special offers, from free travel for every 10th guest to an additional saving of £100 per person. Add to that, the promise of Exceptional EmeraldVALUE, a long list of inclusions, and wonderful on-board amenities – including an indoor heated pool that transforms into a cinema by night – and you’re guaranteed an enriching, stress-free adventure with your friends and family.
To further explain the benefits of making a group booking with Emerald Cruises, we spoke to marketing executive, Darren Birch, about what makes our river cruise offering stand out from the crowd when it comes to its appeal for groups. Read the interview with Darren below.
Are there any special features on-board for groups?
With so many destinations packed into each of our itineraries, there is something for everyone. It’s like having your own floating boutique hotel, whilst enjoying several city breaks and having to unpack just once. Private events for your group can be easily hosted on-board in our cinema area, which boasts its own bar.
What special deals do you offer for groups?
We offer great deals for groups of over 10 people – every tenth guest goes free and we offer an additional £100 per person discount. Plus, we can arrange private events on-board and additional excursions and activities.
Have you any advice for groups booking a river cruise for the first time?
It seems obvious but book early, our river cruises do get booked up quickly when they go on sale. Not all river ships are the same, so research carefully to make sure you book the best ship for you. Pay particular attention to the age of the ship, size, facilities and what is included compared to anything additional you will have to pay once you get on-board, i.e. tips (Emerald Cruises includes tips in the cost of the cruise).
In terms of actual experiences, I’d recommend hiring the on-board bicycles for a day of on-shore exploration. Pedalling around one of Europe’s beautiful cities in the company of friends really does make for a memorable outing.
What’s the benefit of taking a river cruise instead of an ocean cruise?
A river cruise experience is much more intimate, with a maximum of 180 guests on-board our Star-Ships. Not having any days at sea means we enjoy many more destinations and experiences. With a river cruise, you also sail straight into the heart of towns and cities, so you can start immersing yourself into local culture as soon as you step off the ship.
How does Emerald Cruises set itself apart from its competitors?
Our custom-built Star-Ships boast innovative features such as an indoor pool with a retractable roof which turns into an evening cinema or a serenity pool on the Sun Deck, to make the most of the warm European weather. All our balcony suites feature an ingenious all-weather balcony system, too.
Who is a typical guest on-board one of your cruises?
River cruising has historically attracted guests over 60 years of age, however, with our modern ships, our EmeraldACTIVE programme of cycling and walking tours and our on-board gym and pool, we are seeing guests as young as 40 on our ships. More and more 40-plus adventurers are seeing the benefits of a river cruise.
What can guests expect on a typical day?
Days start with a hearty breakfast before you head out to explore on an included excursion. Enjoy free time during the afternoon and as evening rolls around delight in a five-course dinner in Reflections Restaurant. Then perhaps enjoy a drink in the Horizon Bar or a film in the cinema.
Are all your river cruise ships the same?
Our Star-Ships sailing the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers are the same and carry 182 guests on-board. Our ships sailing the Rhône and Douro are custom-built for these rivers and are smaller ships, carrying just 138 and 112 guests respectively.
What is included in the price?
Our promise of Exceptional EmeraldVALUE includes return flights from a choice of five UK airports, transfers to and from your ship, all on-board meals with complimentary wine and beer served with lunch and dinner and unlimited on-board tea and coffee. Also included are insightful excursions and experiences along with free on-board Wi-Fi, port charges and airport taxes. We even include all tips, which can save up to £440 per couple on a 15-day cruise.
Which rivers do you sail along?
We have a collection of 12 European river cruise itineraries, with durations of between eight and 15 days. We sail the mighty Danube, Rhine and Main Rivers, the Saône and Rhône in Southern France and the picturesque Douro River in Portugal. I would have to say the Danube River is my preferred choice, with my favourite itinerary being Danube Delights. It is packed full of historical landmarks to visit such as the 900-year-old Melk Abbey and fascinating destinations to explore such as Vienna and Budapest.
Can you share any future plans?
We will be launching our 2019 brochure in February; at this time we will be announcing our new itineraries. But call us today and we can start to discuss holding cabins for your groups. Further afield we are planning to launch on new rivers across the world.
If you’re planning a group trip to Europe in 2018, click here to view our dedicated page. For more information, or to book, call us today on 0808 252 0940.