Extra-special excursions and events designed for you to see the destinations we visit in a different light.

Immerse yourself further with EmeraldPLUS

EmeraldPLUS are extra-special excursions and events designed to help you see the destinations we visit in a different light, giving you memorable experiences that go beyond that of the ordinary traveller.

Seeking out rare sights and hidden gems, these special excursions and events help you experience places and sites you may not have discovered without the guidance of a local expert. We believe it’s these special touches that make a holiday with Emerald Cruises truly unforgettable, offering moments of joy, wonder and discovery that you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

To help inspire a little wanderlust, we’ve handpicked our favourite EmeraldPLUS experiences on each of the waterways we navigate.

Signature excursions on the Danube

Home-hosted coffee and cake with a local Slovakian family

In Bratislava, we invite you to the home of a local family, where you’ll enjoy home-hosted coffee and cake whilst listening to wonderful stories about the traditions and folklore of the region. This intimate encounter is your chance to immerse yourself further and discover more about life in the Slovakian capital, hearing first-hand how the Danube has helped shape the unique culture and way of life on the fringes of Eastern Europe.

Bratislava itself is a wonderful destination for such an encounter, a place where Slovakian traditions meet forward-thinking culture, and local people are keen to highlight exactly what their capital city has to offer.

Experience this memorable cultural event on our Splendours of Europe, Danube Delights and Classic Prague & Danube Delights itineraries.

 A Bavarian band performance

Bringing the culture to you, we invite a traditional Bavarian band on-board to entertain you with their classic oompah sounds. A unique, wonderful experience, the band will perform traditional Bavarian music in authentic dress – something that will live on with you long after the river cruise has ended. Bavarian music is as fun and raucous as it is steeped in tradition, so you can expect a thoroughly Germanic evening of entertainment.

This unique cultural event will take place in the Horizon Bar & Lounge, whose dancefloor and entertainment area is purpose-built for this type of event. So, sit back, relax and get in the spirit of things.

Enjoy the sounds of a traditional Bavarian band on the Splendours of Europe, Danube Delights and Classic Prague & Danube Delights river cruises.

Inspiring shore excursions on the Rhine

Visit Keukenhof Gardens

During springtime, the world’s largest floral showcase is yours to discover during an unforgettable experience in the celebrated Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands. Home to a staggering collection of seasonal tulips, beautifully curated over a 32-hectare site, Keukenhof is paradise found for gardening enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Your visit includes a guided introduction to the gardens as well as free time to explore at your leisure. Grab a site map and make your way through the lovingly-landscaped grounds, each providing a kaleidoscope of seasonal blooms. It’s a day which promises to be the most colourful and enchanting of your journey.

Experience a tapestry of colour at Keukenhof Gardens on the Tulips & the Rhine and Holland & Belgium in Bloom itineraries.

A canal boat tour in Strasbourg

Marvel at the ancient wonders of Strasbourg, capital of France’s age-old Alsace region, during a tour of its traditional canal network, whose waterways criss-cross from Petitè France to the Tanners’ Quarter. On-board a purpose-built ‘Batorama’, marvel at highlights including Vauban Dam and the Covered Bridges, as well as the illustrious sights of the Neustadt Imperial Quarter.

Beautifully-preserved timber-framed buildings line the banks of the canals, hinting at the city’s rich medieval heritage, while the lavish civic buildings of the European Parliament are a triumph in French Empire-style architecture. A wonderful introduction to one of northern France’s most beautiful cities.

Enjoy this wonderful excursion on the Majestic Rhine river cruise.

Memorable experience on the Rhône

A regional cheese and wine tasting on-board

Whilst in Tournus, a regional wine tasting will introduce you to a number of local specialities certain to get your taste-buds tingling. In the heart of Provence, the historic town of Tournus is the perfect backdrop for a culinary sojourn, its surrounding fields and vineyards responsible for some of southern France’s most highly-prized produce and gastronomic exports.

Cheese, wine and other tasty morsels are yours to savour as part of this memorable experience, which promises to be the perfect introduction to the legendary fare of Provence and the Côtes du Rhône. And, if you’re not a great lover of cheese, the collection of red, white and rosé wines on offer guarantees your culinary fulfilment.

Taste your way through France’s favourite cheeses on our Flavours of Burgundy & Provence river cruise.

A Provençal dinner hosted by renowned local chef, Fabien Morreale

As well as a rich winemaking heritage, Provence is also home to some of the world’s favourite dishes and most respected chefs. Fabien Morreale, Top Chef finalist, will be joining us on-board to host a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience celebrating authentic Provençal cuisine.

Of course, the meal is the true highlight, so bring your appetite and look forward to indulging in fine French fare. Morreale has pieced together a menu of delectable classics to showcase the very best food of the region.

Enjoy this extra-special evening on our Sensations of Lyon & Provence river cruise.

Wonderful experiences on the Douro

Savour a rural Portuguese dinner at Quinta da Pacheta

After a day spent amid the spectacular Coa Valley of northern Portugal, it’s time for a special rural dinner at Quinta da Pacheca, one of the most celebrated ‘wine houses’ of the Douro Valley. The lands of the Douro are dotted with these charming homesteads, where port wine has been traditionally produced by generations of Portuguese farmers and producers.

Your evening begins with a tasting of the Douro’s iconic wines and ports, before a feast of freshly-prepared Portuguese fare offers a colourful and authentic taste of the region and its proud culinary traditions. With the beautiful Douro landscape as your backdrop, feel at peace amid the rural landscape as you savour some of the finest fare of the Iberian Peninsula.

Savour this wonderful culinary and cultural experience on our Secrets of the Douro river cruise.

Exceptional discovery on the Moselle

A wine-tasting in Bernkastel

In Germany’s winegrowing heartland, the pretty village of Bernkastel offers half-timber houses and a rich history. It’s here you can sample the famed Moselle Valley wines amidst the beautiful vine-covered slopes as part of a special wine-tasting experience. The region produces a range of different wines, most famously the Riesling whites, though Pinot Noir blends are becoming more and more popular in this corner of southern Germany.

Look forward to unearthing the fascinating legacy of winemaking on the Moselle, as you taste your way through some of the region’s best-loved vintages. With an expert wine enthusiast on hand to provide tasting notes and flavour highlights, you’ll feel like a German wine buff at the end of this memorable occasion.

Sample the wine heritage of Bernkastel on our Legendary Rhine & Moselle river cruise.

Immersive excursions on the Mekong

Cyclo ride through Dai Noi, boat tour to Thien Mu Pagoda and a royal dinner

Immerse yourself in Southeast Asian culture by taking a cyclo ride (bicycle-style rickshaw) from Dai Noi “Old City” to Tinh Tam Lake, considered to be among the most beautiful parts of the region and the inspiration for ancient emperors. 
Later, journey down the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda, the iconic seven-storey historic temple and symbol of the city of Hue, Vietnam. Your evening is crowned with an unforgettable traditional royal dinner where you’ll sample local flavours fit for an emperor.
Enjoy this fascinating Vietnamese excursion on the 23-Day Grand Tour of Vietnam & Cambodia itinerary.

Traditional Buddhist Monk blessing and ox cart ride

Your day begins with a visit to the Oudong Temples north of Phnom Penh. Once forming part of the old capital of Cambodia, the area is a place of pilgrimage for Cambodians, and you’ll receive the rare privilege of a traditional Buddhist Blessing from the resident Monks.

Buddhism is entrenched in the local culture and traditions of Cambodia, and as you travel across the country’s colourful and exotic landscapes, you’ll see evidence of its ancient ties to the Buddhist faith, with temples, pagodas and shrines contributing to a truly enchanting backdrop.

Take part in this unforgettable excursion on all three of our insightful Southeast Asia itineraries.

Special shore excursions on the Volga River, Russia

A visit to the State Armoury

Visit the State Armoury, a treasury house inside the Kremlin that is known around the world for its historical and cultural value. Precious artefacts are yours to discover, including the Golden Gospel, one of Ivan the Terrible’s personal favourites. The Armoury houses precious artefacts from every century beginning with the 4th, providing a remarkable timeline of Russia’s imposing history.

The State Armoury is also one of several architectural wonders hidden inside the Kremlin, giving you a glimpse of Russia’s imperial might. Constructed in 1851 by renowned architect Konstantin Ton, it’s one of several buildings within the enigmatic Kremlin which continues to impress.

Moscow’s history is yours to uncover on the 12-Day Imperial Charms of Russia itinerary.