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Emerald Waterways expands with 2 new ships, Douro route in 2017

Emerald Waterways expands with 2 new ships, Douro route in 2017
Emerald Waterways continues its steady expansion in Europe, with two more new vessels and a new itinerary on the Douro River in 2017. This follows the new Emerald Belle in 2016, sailing the Rhine and Danube rivers.

New for 2017, Emerald Liberté will cruise on France’s Rhône and Saône rivers and Emerald Radiance will introduce the Douro route in Portugal.

Fares for the seven-night sailings start at US$2,195/CAN$2,945 per person, double occupancy, for the Douro and US$2,695/CAN$3,245 for the Rhône and Saône. Each itinerary has 30 departure dates. A 15-day offering combines both cruises into a single adventure. Early-booking pricing is available through February.

The new Star-Ships bring Emerald’s fleet to seven. They'll be smaller versions of the original design to operate on their respective rivers. Emerald Liberté will carry 138 passengers in 70 suites and staterooms, while Emerald Radiance will sail with 112 passengers in 56 suites and staterooms.

On Emerald Radiance, the pool will be on the top deck and will not hold a cinema. Also, a new stateroom category will give 330 square feet of living space and floor-to ceiling windows on two sides. Emerald Liberté will have the Emerald signature heated swimming pool with a retractable glass roof, which transforms into a cinema in the evening.

The Douro route includes Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Roman settlement of Regua, historic Lamego, Portuguese cooking and cocktail demonstrations, the pre-historic carvings showcased in Coa Valley Museum, tapas tastings and dinner at a traditional local wine estate. A day trip goes to Spain’s Salamanca. Four-day extensions are offered to Lisbon and Madrid.

Emerald’s France sailings began in 2015 on a deluxe charter but will be offered in 2017 on the newly built Emerald Liberté. The voyage travels from Lyon to Arles, passing through Chalon-Sur-Saône, Tournon and Avignon. Travelers visit villages, castles, palaces and ruins including ancient Lyon; the Hospices de Beaune, one of Europe’s finest examples of 15th-century French architecture; and Arles’s 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheatre, still in use. There will be tastings of regional wines, cheeses and olives on board and ashore. A three-night extension to Nice includes a tour of Monte Carlo and Monaco.