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In early October, Emerald Waterways inaugurated Emerald Liberte, the third new Star-Ship of 2017. Emerald now has grown to seven ships since it launched in 2014 as a younger, more value-oriented brand under the Scenic banner.
Australian cruise and tour director Maxine Collins, a travel industry veteran, served as godmother for the newbuild, which followed the May launch of Emerald Destiny in Vienna and the June debut of Emerald Radiance in Porto, Portugal.
Emerald Liberte is the first dedicated Emerald Waterways Star-Ship in France and was designed to sail the Rhone and Saone rivers. Eighty-two feet shorter than the other Star-Ships, it carries 138 passengers rather than 182. Signature Emerald features remain, such as the resistance pool, a golf-putting green, a walking track, a fitness area, a salon, a cinema, a massage room and suites featuring floor-to-ceiling balcony windows in which the top section drops down to open. A crew-to-guest ratio of 1:3 keeps service standards high.
Liberte sails through Provence and Burgundy on eight-night itineraries out of Lyon or Arles from April to October. Port calls include Chalon-Sur-Saone, Beaune, Macon, Tournon and Avignon, where guests will be treated to an onboard, Provencal-style dinner by Fabien Morreale, an acclaimed local chef and Top Chef France finalist.
Emerald now offers cruises in Europe on the Danube, Rhine, Main, Rhone, Douro, Saone and Volga rivers, along with an exclusive charter of the Mekong Navigator for cruises on the Mekong.