We decided to try a river cruise and selected AMA due to its reputation and well as its offering of bike tours on the Danube. We have extensively traveled by ocean liner and wanted this new experience.
We were very pleased with everything! It is, with the exception of very few optional tours, totally inclusive. All tours are included in each city/village visit, the length of each stay more than enough (with the exception of needing more time in Vienna), wine and beer are included for dinner (in fact, unless you bring onboard your own wine, there aren't even any other offerings). The cruise director, John, was wonderful, catering to each person's needs and wants as well as informative regarding regional history. At most ports where we spent the night, a local talented group was brought on-board for entertainment and were very good. At every port, we were docked in the center of town. Many times, after dinner, my husband and I just walked off the ship to walk around a bit before heading off to our cabin.
The positives of the food was that it was regional. Each day there was a highlighted menu suggesting local regional specialties (something that I find really lacking on our ocean cruise lines that don't take where we are cruising into consideration with menu planning). The first night's menu was a wow, but the selection and variety kind of went downhill after that. Presentation was always good, but variety was lacking, although the fish every night was excellent.
The boat itself has lots of room with both an indoor area for sitting & relaxing as well as lots of tables and sofas topside. A small pool that was unused due to the unusually cool weather we experienced. Although we upgraded to a room with a veranda, whether it was the cool weather or the busy schedule, we never sat out there and probably wouldn't go with a veranda for a 7-day trip again.
The two biking tours we participated in were wonderful. A front and back guide, many of the 20 participants were only occasional riders. It was good exercise (around 15 miles each time) but flat, on paved paths and beautiful scenery. Although they indicated that there are usually few people interested in biking, all bikes were taken during both tours. On the other extreme, for those who can't or don't want to walk much, each tour also offered a "gentle walker" tour that was either shorter, slower and/or motorized.
All of the other guided tours were good, although the tour guides, while funny and entertaining while we waited for the group to get organized, went on route with dates/times/architecture/etc once the tour started. The ship offers "quiet talkers" so you can tune in electronically to your guide and not have to be too close. AMA hires many guides so groups are never more than 10 or so persons. Likewise, they use probably more buses then they need to keep the groups small.
The highlight of the trip was the last evening when, although already docked, the Captain took us all on an evening river trip so we could enjoy the amazing spender of Budapest at night. It was magical!
John and the AMA line really try and offer a great experience to all.