VACAYA LUXE EUROPE CHRISTMAS CRUISE ON EMERALD SUN
DECEMBER 2, 2023
Our journey across Europe begins in:
We’re often asked, “What should we expect from a VACAYA Luxe experience?” Our Luxe vacations are an unapologetically exclusive celebration of the wonders of our planet – welcoming to all, of course, but built for discerning travelers seeking intimate experiences, splendid accommodations, and unparalleled service. They’ll reach the far corners of the globe – giving VACAYA guests an opportunity to expand their horizons in completely new ways.
The VACAYA Luxe rhythm is… Bold. Refined. Intimate. Exotic. Treasured. Calm. Cool. Grand. A chance to live life to the absolute fullest.
As a VACAYA guest, discounts are available to you with various air carriers when booking your flights using our Group Codes/Links. Those codes/links, as well as the instructions for booking, can be found HERE.
Amsterdam’s Airport is Schiphol (AMS).
Nuremberg’s Airport is Albrecht Dürer (NUE).
We recommend flights home/onward after 12pm on December 16.
BOARDING EMERALD SUN ON DEC 2
Boarding will begin at 2pm on Dec 2. If you’re staying in Basel, we invite you to be among the first to board. The Vacayans who are staying in Zürich and are being transferred by bus to the ship should arrive around 3:30pm. To avoid long check-in queues when the busses arrive from Zürich, we ask all those not on the group transfer to please check in by 3:30pm.
You’ll need your passport and a credit card (for incidentals) to check in.
The hope is that all staterooms will be ready by 2pm, and we appreciate your patience in advance if not. If your stateroom isn’t ready at 2pm, please feel free to wait in the Horizon Bar & Lounge on Deck 3 Forward, where a light lunch will be served.
Emerald Sun will be docked at Dreiländereck in Basel (that’s in the industrial port area).
The currencies on this trip include the Swiss Franc (CHF) and the Euro:
1 USD = 0.86 CHF
1 CHF = 1.14 USD
1 USD = .90 Euro
1 Euro = 1.10 USD
American Express, MasterCard, and Visa are widely accepted. You’ll find that ATMs are readily available at the airport and in the city centers.
DECEMBER 2 DOCKING LOCATION
Emerald Sun will be docked at Dreiländereck in Basel (that’s in the industrial port area).
All emails to our Booked Guests are available here:
We’ll preview your entertainment here approximately 30 days before our cruise.
DECEMBER 9 DOCKING LOCATION
Emerald Sun will be docked here (circled in red), close to Amsterdam’s Centraal Train Station (orange):
Basic city tours are included in each port of call. Each tour – whether on foot or by bus – will feature 4 tour groups, each led by a local guide and a V Team member. We have designated Group 4 as our “Gentle Walkers” group for those guests who may need a little more time moving through each city.
One optional DiscoverMORE excursion will be sold onboard Emerald Sun. This Moselle Valley & Cochem Castle tour will be available on Dec 6 in Koblenz. The tour is 5 hours and costs 64 Euro per person.
TOUR DETAILS: Perched on a spectacular hill 300 feet above the Moselle Valley, where the river curves between two hiking paradises, Eifel and Hunsrück, lays the old town of Cochem. Take a walking tour of the town including a guided visit of the magnificent Cochem Castle, boasting impressive views of the Moselle Valley. A long history precedes what we see of the Castle today. The original 12th-century Romanesque style and condition was replaced by King Louis XIV, who ordered his troops to destroy it in 1689. Rebuilt in 1868, he chose the neo-Gothic architecture that we know today, as his family’s summer residence.
Emerald Sun’s small Fitness Center can be found on Deck 1. It’s open 24 hours a day and contains several cardio machines for your use. We recommend packing lightweight stretch bands that are great for resistance training.
You have pre-paid basic gratuities. However, if someone goes above and beyond for you, you are more than welcome to offer them a few dollars (or more if appropriate) as an extended note of appreciation and grace. Collectively, those small thank yous add up and can make all the difference in the lives of these hard-working crew members.
Standard drinks are included for all guests. That’s house spirits, beer, select wines by the glass, sodas, juices, bottled waters, and specialty coffee drinks/teas.
Wines by the bottle are available for purchase from any of the bars or from your sommelier in the main restaurant.
Laundry services are available aboard Emerald Sun.
You’ll find laundry pricing, bags, and slips inside your stateroom. During your cruise, your room attendant can help you with laundry and ironing services, which are typically completed in 36-48 hours.
LOST & FOUND
Lost & Found is located at Reception on Vista Deck 2. If you’re missing anything, be sure to check there first. And of course if you find anything, be sure to turn it into Reception so they can get it back to its owner with haste.
MEDICAL SERVICES ONBOARD
There is no medical facility onboard. However, in the case of an emergency, the ship can pull over to the side of the river and arrange ambulance services to the nearest hospital.
OFFICIAL FACEBOOK GROUP
For each of our adventures together, VACAYA hosts an Official Facebook Group. This group is your chance to connect with other cruisers before we meet each other in-person. You can join the group HERE.
The parties on our Luxe cruises are certainly more of the cocktail variety, but if you’d like to throw on a costume and dance, by all means… you do you.
THIS IS ME
Our signature Night 1 cocktail party brings all our guests together for the very first time. This is your chance to meet, mix, and mingle with fellow travelers. Wear a little somethin’ somethin’ to let us know where you’re from.
In one of our favorite VACAYA Luxe traditions, you’ll throw on your bathrobe (the one from your room) at 6pm and wear it all night long – to pre-dinner drinks, to dinner, to the show, and to our after-party! Bring accessories for your robe… people have been taking this night to the next level!
UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER
We all have ONE. Some of us have THREE or FOUR. This evening, don your gayest apparel for our Ugly Christmas Sweater Cocktail Party.
COMFORT & JOY
Yes, we love Christmas, but our favorite season is really gray sweatpants season. So let those sexy joggers be the star tonight as we gather round the pool to celebrate this most wonderful time of the year. Wanna get in? Go ahead… lose the sweats and jump on in!
HO HO HO!
Today, we’ll spend the whole day and night in our festive onesies! So, find a fun pair, throw them on, and let the fun begin as you explore the day’s Christmas Markets and then enjoy our evening activities back onboard!
Our recommended post-cruise hotels in Amsterdam are the Pulitzer (luxury), W Amsterdam (mid-level), and the Movenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Center (economy).
You can book your Amsterdam hotel using THIS SPECIAL LINK.
Your onboard magnetic card (we point out it’s magnetic to warn against placing it too close to your mobile phone, which could erase the information), which will be handed to you upon boarding is your room key. It’s also your onboard charge card and you’ll be asked for it to make onboard purchases. Whenever you leave the ship or re-board it in our ports of call, you’ll show your card to Security when leaving/returning.
When you board, you’ll want to register a credit card with Reception to cover any onboard purchases. You’ll receive a final invoice in your room on the last evening of your cruise. Assuming all of the charges are correct (and if not, be sure to speak with Reception), your card on file with Emerald will be automatically charged the morning of disembarkation. If you’d prefer to pay cash to close out your account, you will need to do that on our last night before they charge your card the following morning.
ALL GUESTS ARE NOW WELCOME, REGARDLESS OF THEIR COVID-19 VACCINATION STATUS. NO PRE-CRUISE TESTING IS REQUIRED.
There will be a designated smoking area onboard.
Our recommendations in ZURICH are the Storchen Zurich (luxury), Sorel Hotel St. Peter (mid-level), and Marktgasse Hotel (economy).
Our recommendations in BASEL are the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois (luxury), Sorel Hotel Merian (mid-level), and Hotel D Basel (economy).
You can book our recommended hotels in either Basel or Zurich using THIS SPECIAL LINK.
Emerald ships have a state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant onboard, which helps preserve the pristine waters through which we sail. To assure it can properly do its job, we need your full cooperation.
- Only use the biodegradable toilet tissue provided.
- Do not flush facial tissues, sanitary wipes, feminine hygiene products, condoms, cigarettes (you shouldn’t be smoking in your bathroom anyway), or any other materials, as they can affect the entire system and may cause embarrassing backups in your room AND in your neighbors’ rooms.
- Keep the toilet lid closed when not in use, and be careful not to drop towels, wash cloths, or personal grooming articles (including floss and Q-tips) into the toilet while flushing.
TRANSFERS FROM CENTRAL ZURICH TO EMERALD SUN IN BASEL ON DEC 2
Group transfers from Zürich to Basel on Dec 2 are included in your fare. The bus ride is 53 miles/85 kilometers and takes between 75-90 minutes depending on traffic.
Our busses will depart from near our recommended hotel, Sorell Hotel St. Peter (located at In Gassen 10, 8001 Zürich) at 2:30pm on Dec 2. We ask that you be at the hotel by 2pm at the very latest to ensure you make the transfer. The busses will be parked approximately 7 minute away from Sorell on foot. Of course, if you’re staying at a hotel that’s closer to the Zürich Bus Parking, feel free to meet the Emerald Representatives there by 2:15pm. Please note that the busses will leave at 2:30pm sharp.
Representatives from Emerald Waterways will be at the hotel to assist you with bags. At this time, your V Team will already be onboard Emerald Sun in Basel preparing for your arrival.
Of course, if you’d rather make your way from Zürich to Basel on your own (or you miss our group transfer), you have several options:
- Depending on demand, UberX runs approximately 225 Swiss Francs (approximately $250 USD)
- Uber Black, 450 Swiss francs (approximately $500 USD)
- Switzerland’s trains are beautiful and efficient. A one-way ticket from Zürich to Basel starts around 17 Swiss francs ($19 USD per person). Train tickets can be booked HERE.
TRANSFERS FROM EMERALD SUN TO AMSTERDAM SCHIPHOL AIRPORT ON DEC 9
We imagine most of you will be staying in Amsterdam after our cruise wraps up. For those who are flying home or onward on Dec 9, a group transfer from Emerald Sun to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is included in your fare. If you’d like to take advantage of this offering, please email email@example.com with a confirmation you’d like an airport transfer and please provide all of your flight details (airline, flight number, time of departure from AMS, and number of guests in your party). The deadline to request this airport transfer is TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31.
For those staying in Amsterdam, taxis and Uber are readily available to get you to your hotel. And we’ll be docked within easy walking distance of Amsterdam’s Centraal Train Station.
For guests joining our second Christmas Markets Cruise, sailing from Amsterdam to Nuremberg Dec 9-16, we’re working through how everyone will transfer over to Advance by Transcend. Stay tuned for more details.
THIS IS ME COMMUNITY BOARD
VACAYA is all about connections. To help strengthen the bonds between our guests, we’re creating a “This Is Me” Community Board where pictures and fun facts of each of our guests will be featured. We’re hoping this new board will be a welcome addition to your VACAYA Luxe experience.
While participation is certainly not compulsory, we hope each of you will choose to join us. If you’d like to be included, please send the following to us prior to Friday, November 17:
- A Photo of you as an Individual or as a Couple (the orientation of the pics will be portrait, so think about that as you choose the best pic). Be sure the photo you choose is a clear face pic and no larger than 5MB.
- Your Name (or Names if a couple. Please indicate who’s who in the pic.)
- Your Hometown
- Your Relationship Status
- Family Info (children, pets, etc.)
- Social Media Handle
You can send your photo and the above information to V Team Member Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Simply click on that pink link to connect with Jen. And also, be sure to let her know which trip this is for (since we create a board for each of our Luxe trips).
Please note that we won’t be able to add anyone to the board after the deadline. Shortly after November 17, the information we’ve received will be laid out by a graphic designer and the boards completed. Also, each This Is Me board is independent from past boards. So even if you’ve sent in your information for a past cruise, it won’t carry forward to this one. So, you’ll need to send it in again.
This Community Board will be posted near the ship’s Lobby.
In today’s ever-shifting world, it’s imperative to protect your hard-earned vacation dollars. You can do that by insuring your investment. VACAYA partners with Travel Guard.
If you ever need to make an adjustment to your Travel Guard policy (for example, if your travel dates have shifted or you’ve added to your travel plans beyond our cruise), you can submit a policy modification request via Travel Guard’s online modification form. Modification requests must be submitted prior to your travel dates. Through this form, you can also change or add any pre- or post-cruise travel days or add additional trip costs (flights, hotel, etc.). Adding coverage for other items beyond your cruise (if that’s all that was covered in your original policy) may incur additional premium costs.
If you have questions, we encourage you to visit Travel Guard’s Resource Center, where you’ll find answers to many frequently asked questions. You can also speak with a licensed Travel Guard insurance agent by calling 800.826.5248.
A NOTE ABOUT TRIP INTERRUPTION INSURANCE
If you’ve not purchased trip interruption insurance (that helps defray costs of hotel accommodations in case of a positive test result at the end of the trip), there’s still time to add it to your existing policy or originate a policy with most travel insurance carriers. Although we can’t consult on insurance, we are pointing out that these policies offer peace of mind for a reasonable price.
Weather in this region is typically cold at this time of the year, with highs in the 40s. You’ll definitely want to have both a lightweight and heavy coat with you, as well as a hat, gloves/mittens, a scarf, and shoes/boots with good tread.
WHAT TO WEAR
Although Emerald Sun is quite elegant, we maintain a relaxed comfy vibe onboard.
Long pants, collared shirts, and sundresses are the norm for dinner and the evening’s activities.
Complimentary WiFi is included. Please keep in mind, however, that the speed is more akin to old-school dial-up. If you have a global plan with your mobile service provider, you’re likely to remain connected on your mobile through most of our journey.