Caroline has just returned from a whistle stop tour to explore the MV Esmeralda in Europe. Find out a little bit more about River Cruising on the continent.
Arriving in Zandam from the moment I stepped on board the Esmeralda I could see why people returned year after year, before I stepped aboard I was welcomed by a steward and my bags were taken to my cabin as I checked in.
The reception was welcoming and airy with seating area, a little gift shop, toilets and the lift. There was also access to the sundeck.
After being directed to cabin on the promenade deck I opened my door I was pleasantly surprised to see a spacious cabin already made up for me. The cabin itself consisted of twin beds, (which were put away each morning), wardrobe with safety deposit box, dressing table, a TV, a couple of chairs and table which had an array of information about the cruise ship and the places you would visit. The ensuite suite facilities consisted of a shower, toilet and sink. Each cabin is given a bottle of water on arrival.
After the full exploration of my cabin was complete it was time to investigate more of the ship. I made my way down towards the main bar. In this area, you could spend the afternoon enjoying a cup of coffee or glass of wine whilst playing some board games. The large windows which surrounded the whole lounge meant you could see where you were going, wherever you sat whilst travelling along the river. If you prefer to sit outside there is a stunning sundeck with chairs, sun lounges and even a gazebo if you get to hot and want to seat in the shade. Please be aware there is no lift to this deck.
I had arrived in time for the welcome reception were we were given a lovely welcome cocktail. During the reception we were given a safety briefing and the chance to meet every single person who worked on the ship from the Captain to the Housekeepers. This is the only time you would see them altogether and it was nice to see would be looking after me.
Dinner was then announced and my travelling companions and I made our way down the restaurant. The dining room can accommodate all 120 guests quite comfortably. As you walk through there are tables of all sizes. I was shown to my seat by my waiter and asked my name, for my entire stay he remembered this, it was a great extra touch. Dinner is four courses with a starter, soup, main and dessert followed by tea and coffee. On your first evening this is a set menu, but from then on you could choose your main course for the following night while you sat your table. All dietary requirements are catered for whatever they are.
After your dinner guests are invited back up to the lounge where there is some form of entertainment, either singer, a quiz or even a pirate night. On the final evening it’s the Captains Farewell Dinner Party. On this particular evening we had a singer and everyone was jovial and singing along, then approx. 10.30 midnights snacks come out, spring rolls, cheese sticks and chicken nuggets with dips. The bar is officially open until midnight but if you wish to stay later this is not a problem.
The next morning after a good night’s sleep, I made my way down to breakfast. There is everything from a continental to a full English to enjoy. Again the waiters were on hand to serve the tea, coffee and toast.
As this was only a whistle-stop tour for me I had to depart after this and wave goodbye to my fellow voyagers as they were departing to travel down to their next port of call of Amsterdam.
In all I had a wonderful time on my first river cruise and can genuinely say that for guests who enjoy ocean cruising, it is the perfect partner for those wishing to sample river cruising.