The Latest From Europe's Waterways (SLIDESHOW)

emerald starIt's been a busy few weeks for Europe's oceans and rivers, with new cruises announced and some memorable trans-Atlantic trips visiting some major ports. Here's what you need to know...

Emerald Waterways launched its second ship of the 2014 season. May 24 marked the inaugural sailing of the ‘Star Ship’ Emerald Star, a sister ship to Emerald Sky, which was launched in April with the assistance of British style icon Twiggy, who served as godmother.

This ‘Star Ships’ offer a new cabin design that replaces the French balcony, common to most ships: all suites have floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows, and at the touch of a button the top section lowers to form an open-air balcony, complete with decked area. The top of the range Owner’s One Bedroom Suites and Grand Balcony Suites include full outside balconies and perks like in-suite service with pre-dinner canapés.

CroisiEurope inaugurated the new "Raymonde" barge on May 22 at the Quai de Grenelle in Paris, France. The Raymonde barge will navigate on the Saint-Martin canal in Paris and the Marne canal from Paris to Châlons-en-Champagne and back, offering stops in Paris, Nogent-sur-Marne, Meaux, La Ferté-sous-Jouarre, Chateau-Thierry, Dormans, Epernay and Châlons-en-Champagne.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection announced three new itineraries on the Danube for 2015. Delightful Danube & Prague will sail past Bavarian villages, though the Wachau Valley and into Hungary. Travelers will have the chance to learn the waltz in a Viennese palace and explore local sites in Budapest. Eastern Europe Explorer visits five Eastern European nations--Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria--from April 2015 - September 2015 on the River Princess. Grand European Explorer, meanwhile, visits Prague, Vienna, Budapest, as well as off-the-beaten-path destinations in Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria. 

Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 sailed out of New York harbor two weeks ago en route to Southampton with a grand party in honor of the 10th anniversary of the ship's launch. Our own Susan Young was on location to discuss the popularity of the ship and the brand, and to share photos of the event.

Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria, meanwhile, arrived in Liverpool to mark the departure exactly 100 years earlier, on May 30, 1914, of Aquitania, one of the most famous ships in Cunard history. Queen Victoria remained in port overnight, thus making the first overnight call in Cunard’s “spiritual” home of Liverpool by a Cunard passenger ship since Franconia in January 1968 – almost 50 years ago.

The historic overnight Liverpool port of call took place during Queen Victoria’s 13-night Around the British Isles cruise which departed Southampton on May 23. The cruise also included calls at Edinburgh (from New Haven – a maiden call), Invergordon, Kirkwall (maiden call), Glasgow (from Greenock), Dublin, Cobh (Ireland) and St. Peter Port (Guernsey) before returning to Southampton on June 5.

And late last week, we reported that Journese had partnered with with Belmond Afloat in France to offer excursions on luxury barges for up to twelve guests on the waterways in France. The river cruises will visit cities like Dijon, Lyon and Avignon. As a bonus, cruisers will receive a future travel credit up to $500 for bookings made through June 30 for select travel through the end of December.