River Cruise Emerald Waterways adding two new ships in 2017 By Michelle Baran / January 20, 2016 Share 1 Staterooms on the Emerald Liberte will have a drop-down window that converts the seating area into an open-air balcony area. -- Two-year-old, four-star river cruise line Emerald Waterways in 2017 will add two new vessels to its growing fleet.Launched in 2014 by Australian parent company Scenic, Emerald offers a lower-cost alternative to existing river cruise lines on the market, but without sacrificing sleek interior design and inclusiveness. The line will launch its fifth vessel this year, the 182-passenger Emerald Belle, set to launch on Europe’s Rhine and Danube rivers this spring. In 2017, the two new Star-Ships, as Emerald refers to its river cruise vessels, are slated to be the Emerald Liberte on France’s Rhone and Saone rivers, and the Emerald Radiance on Portugal’s Douro River.The ships will be smaller versions of the previous Star-Ships in order to better navigate the rivers they will be sailing, the company said. The Emerald Liberte will carry 138 passengers in 70 suites and staterooms, and the Emerald Radiance will sail with 112 guests in 56 suites and staterooms — both with a 3-to-1 guest-to-crew ratio. The Emerald Radiance will have a pool on the top deck, but unlike on existing Emerald ships that pool will not have the ability to transform into a cinema. The Emerald Liberte will feature the signature, heated swimming pool with a retractable glass roof that transforms into a cinema in the evening. Additionally, a new category of stateroom will be added on the Radiance, a 330-square-foot cabin with panoramic floor-to ceiling windows on two sides of the stateroom.A rendering of the Emerald Liberte, which will have Emerald's hallmark swimming pool that transforms into a cinema. Both ships will feature two restaurants: Reflections, the main dining room, and The Terrace for light breakfast and lunch. There will also be an onboard hairdresser, massage therapy room and fitness area, as well as bicycles for complimentary use by all guests.The Portugal itinerary will include stops in Porto, Regua and Vega de Terron and Salamanca in Spain. Highlights include visiting the Roman ruins in Lamego, Portugal; seeing the pre-historic carvings in the Coa Valley Museum; and dinner at a local wine estate. Four-day extensions are offered to Lisbon and Madrid.The south of France sailing will travel from Lyon to Arles with stops in Chalon-Sur-Saone, Tournon and Avignon. Guests will visit the Hospices de Beaune; the Roman amphitheater in Arles; and will have the opportunity to experience the region’s wine and culinary offerings. A three-night extension is available to Nice, which includes a tour of Monte Carlo and Monaco.Rates for the seven-night Douro sailings will start at $2,195 per person, based on double occupancy, and the seven-night Rhone and Saone sailings will start at $2,695 per person, based on double occupancy. Both cruises will have 30 departure dates in 2017. A 15-day offering combines both cruises with fares from $5,385 per person, based on double occupancy.The cruise fare includes all transfers to and from the ship; all onboard (and some on-shore) meals; unlimited tea and coffee; wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner; bottled water in the cabins replenished daily; continental breakfast; complimentary Wi-Fi onboard the ship; a daily shore excursion; and all gratuities on and off the ship.