One of the newer lines on the river cruise
scene, Emerald Waterways is hoping to generate some attention in a crowded
marketplace with four-star pricing and aggressive deals.
Launched in 2014 by Australian parent company
Scenic, Emerald is offering free round-trip airfare from major U.S. and
Canadian gateways on bookings made between Jan. 2 and Feb. 29 for any balcony
suite (including a panorama balcony suite, grand balcony suite or owner’s suite)
on 2016 Europe river cruise itineraries departing through Aug. 31, 2016.
“Being a newer player in the European river
cruise market, we want to ensure that we’re competitive,” said Lisa Norton,
vice president of brand management for Emerald Waterways, North America. “We
know that one of the biggest hurdles to European travel is the airfare involved
— we’re looking to finish 2016 strong while we get ready to roll out 2017.”
Guests booking a stateroom cabin category on
a Europe itinerary will be eligible for a reduced airfare rate of $995.
When Emerald first launched, the idea was to
create a sleek, four-star, mostly-inclusive river cruise company that would
serve as a more affordable alternative to the upscale river cruise lines plying
Emerald will launch its fifth vessel in
Europe this year, the 182-passenger Emerald Belle, which follows the Emerald
Dawn and Emerald Sun, which both debuted in 2015. Emerald offers river
cruises on the Rhine, Main, Danube, Moselle and Rhone rivers in Europe, and charters
two vessels on the Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers, with itineraries ranging from
eight to 24 days.
The company is also offering free airfare to guests
booking any cabin category on all its 2016 Irrawaddy and Mekong River
itineraries for bookings made by Feb. 29, 2016.