I booked Avalon Waterway's cruise on the Tapestry, from Prague to Budapest for the end of April 2012. They had a "no single supplement" promotion, so I had a cabin (and hotel room in Prague) to myself. The 10/11 day tour cost roughly $420/day plus airfare. This was cruise #36 for me; all but a couple prior trips were on large Caribbean or ocean-going ships, or actual ocean liners. On a per-day basis this was one of the most expensive trips I've done. It was a good trip, and the itinerary was terrific, but it did not represent a good value overall.
overall - comfortable, well-sized, great storage, great bathroom. Large sliding door so you had great views and lots of fresh air. Be aware that you're usually docked overnight at a port, in a town, so you will want to always have your blinds closed, and I wasn't comfortable leaving windows open when someone could literally have stepped over from the ship next door.
One of the most comfy beds ever - I think it's a tempurpedic topper on the mattress.
Small safe - won't hold laptop, but I never felt like I needed the security
Big Problem - no room darkening blinds. So, when daylight started (before 5am), I knew it.
That also means inadequate temperature control - in the heat of the day, with sun coming in (which is always does on one side or the other), it will get hot and the AC can't keep up
Simply not restaurant quality; there was nothing I couldn't cook (better) for myself at home, and I'm a by-the-book cook.
The best meal was breakfast, with a plentiful buffet and made-to-order eggs.
Lunch made two options available: the full lunch in the dining room, and a reduced menu buffet - sandwiches, salad and pasta - in the lounge, which was always pleasant and quiet. I really wish they'd had this second option for dinner.
Very accommodating service.
Included wines were also good (i.e., not VG or Excellent), but were poured generously. Any opened bottles were left out when the meal ended, so folks could top off their glasses "to go."
The only room service option was a light continental, which had a delivery charge.
terrific bartender; very friendly, engaging.
Pours are measured quite carefully - I rarely saw an unmeasured drink leave the bar.
I tried the 24.50 Euros package which included a few cocktails each day, coffees, sodas and more. They publish some confusing rules, but it was very convenient.
Cruise Director -
Dragan did a superb job. He kept us informed (as long as you never missed a daily briefing), and handled any issues professionally.
not especially well organized
color coded "Whisper" units so you can hear the guides, but the colors didn't line usually match up to buses or guides
buses weren't numbered so there was sometimes confusion about "which bus is mine"
guides were very good to excellent however
the basic included tours were very good, but if you only did the included tours, you'd miss most of what there was to see in the area.
Those optional tours got mixed reviews; mine were all very good to excellent; others had bad reports.
I thought tips were charged automatically, but that doesn't happen.
You have to sign for it.... but don't dare do anything like circle the amount.... they'll reject the form. I had to visit the desk three separate times, and got a different explanation each time for what was done wrong. The cruise director tip is separate from the staff, so the 12 Euros per day that's quoted won't be quite enough.
This is the first cruise I've been on where they made me think about who works for what company - excursion tickets were charged one way, staff tips one way, the cruise directo paid another way. were charged separately from cabin charges and ship services. Annoying, and less convenient than it should be.
Other Guests -
There was a large group from Kansas on board - probably 1/3 of the ship. And they weren't a great fit with the rest of the ship.
That became my main reservation about Avalon - a big minority of the clientele didn't seem to be experienced travelers, and we had a few "ugly American" moments as a result.
Average age was probably 65, with many in their late 60's, 70's and some in the 80's.
The guests were about 65% women. No children were on board.
I'm 51 and I believe I was one of the youngest on-board.