A rendering of one of Emerald Waterways’ new ships // © 2013 Scenic Cruises
Scenic Cruises recently opened the books for a new river cruise brand called Emerald Waterways, offering strong value to appeal to a broader demographic than very affluent Baby Boomers. Two new ships launching on the Rhine, Main, Danube and Moselle rivers will offer eight- to 15-day itineraries at fares from $2,230.
The 443-foot Emerald Star will be introduced in April, with sister Emerald Sky following in June; both carry 182 passengers. Design features will include an onboard heated swimming pool with a retractable roof that transforms into a movie theater in the evening. Scenic’s indoor balcony concept, featuring a large window that opens with the touch of a button, is available in the higher accommodation categories.
Each vessel has 20 staterooms and 72 suites. The average size ranges from 130-square-foot single staterooms to one-bedroom Owner’s Suites at 315 square feet each. There are four Owner’s Suites on each ship. Each suite features a separate bedroom and living space; a walk-in wardrobe; a complimentary minibar restocked daily with wine, beer and soft drinks; a Nespresso machine; and an iPad to use throughout the cruise. Grand Balcony and Owner Suite guests can order continental breakfast, pre-dinner canapes and after-dinner desserts in their suite, all of which is included in the ticket price.
Also included in the pricing are all transfers to and from the ships; all onboard and most on-shore meals; unlimited tea and coffee; wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner; Wi-Fi access onboard the ship; all gratuities; and at least one shore excursion on nearly every cruise day. All itineraries include EmeraldPlus excursions — special experiences that go beyond the usual tourist attractions.
Agents have cited the high cost of river cruising as a challenge in selling to middle-income clients, and this new brand effectively adds another option, with fewer included shore excursion choices than Scenic and smaller accommodations but significantly lower pricing. This is the first time a river cruise company has launched a second brand, and other companies are surely watching the results.