The following day we berth early in Wertheim for passengers to hike to Wertheim Castle dating back to the early 8th century. Those feeling the hike beyond their capabilities await their return before boarding coaches for a scenic tour through the beautiful German countryside to Miltenberg where guides are waiting to escort the various groups on tours of this beautiful old village dating back to the 1200’s nestling on the banks of the River Main. The one main street is a delight, strolling in the warm sunshine past wood framed houses painted in greens, yellows, browns and white. Passing shops that have been with one family but passed from generation to generation, the Giants Inn, a hostelry frequented by Elvis Presley whilst stationed nearby with the US Army between 1958-60. The market square, cafes selling a delectable array of drinks and ice creams for the weary walker to enjoy at tables protected from the hot sun by trees in full leaf. Too soon it’s the short walk to the quayside as Emerald Star berths and takes us back on board to set sail for Koblenz. During that night we pass Wiesbaden where we leave the Main and join the River Rhine. Passing Castles, Churches, villages and vineyards we make our way to the city of Koblenz, the meeting place of the Rivers Rhine and Moselle.
Koblenz, situated in the heart of the Rhineland, the water front is home to 4 river cruise ships today, a ‘flea market’ is being invaded by locals and tourists alike. Although a modern city compared with previous ports Koblenz still has an interesting history with old buildings, squares, statues and sculptures depicting people and events from the city’s past. The former Jesuit College built in 1698, now the city’s Town Hall, the Basilica of St. Castor completed in 1208 with its famed vaulted roof. Take the cable car across the Rhine up to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress built in 1817 affording spectacular views across the city. On the downward journey take in the enormity of the equestrian statue of Kaiser Wilhelm 1 placed on ‘German Corner’ where the Rhine meets the Moselle.
Sailing that evening Emerald Star begins the last leg of her journey along the Moselle River to Bernkastel. Early next morning 16 of the more adventurous passengers leave the ship at Traben-Trarbach and proceed the next 25 kilometers to Bernkastel by bicycle whilst those remaining take in the beautiful scenery, passing between high hills their slopes covered in vineyards, camp sites, villages and river craft transporting goods across Germany and countries the mighty rivers connect with.
Bernkastel is home to some of Germanys best wines belonging to the Riesling family. This is a village basking on the shores of the Rhine, to a backdrop of vineyard clad hills where grapes grow and ripen in the sun. The village is a picture postcard scene from a bygone era and features each December a traditional ‘Christmas Market’. Beautifully restored wood framed houses, courtyards housing discreet boutique restaurants, cobbled streets thronged with visitors of many nationalities. We stay here overnight enabling passengers to have dinner and, at their leisure, leave the ship to explore the beautiful area as it takes on its night time cloak.
Next day Emerald Star sails to her final destination of the cruise, Trier, the oldest city in Germany founded by the Romans in 16BC. Start at the Porta Nigra (Black Gate) and wander the traffic free streets of the centre. View the original Jewish Quarter, the large but equally beautiful Trier Cathedral adjoined to the Church of Our Lady started in 1230 and consecrated in 1260, now listed as part of the Roman Monuments. Admire the high support columns with their painted murals, the altar that is so different I won’t describe it as I don’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone visiting, then back to the ship for the last dinner which like all the others does not disappoint.
So, what can someone booking a cruise on one of the Emerald ‘Star’ ships expect. Certainly the cabins are spacious, bright, airy, air conditioned with many niceties including dressing gown, slippers, bottled water, 448-page guide book covering Emeralds ports from Amsterdam to the Black Sea, receivers and ear pieces to take on tour, and much more. At the stern, an indoor swimming pool with retractable roof, comfortable seating and its own bar. At 8pm the pool covers over and transforms to a cinema under the stars. Sun deck, with mini golf, sun bathing area with comfortable loungers, canopies, tables, chairs and a BBQ area. Wi-Fi covers all parts of the ship, hairdresser to keep you looking good, gym to keep you trim and massage room for those tired muscles. Horizon Lounge, 6.45pm, enter the Cruise Director giving a brief talk on the following days port followed by the Executive Chef describing and displaying his signature dish of the evening. The atmosphere is relaxed, dress code smart casual, happy, smiling, polite and efficient staff, as for the food, it’s up there with the best.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Emerald Waterways.