We booked the 'Magnificent Europe' Cruise as part of a 6 week holiday. Amaverde is used by APT Cruises, in conjunction with AMA Waterways, for the Australian market. Most of our sailing companions were Aussies, with a sprinkling of Kiwis.
The best things about the cruise were the wonderful staff who we all came to know on a first name basis, and our fellow cruisers. Because there were only 180 people on board, by the end of the cruise we were good friends with a core group of people, and had talked with most of the other cruisers. There is enough space to avoid people if required, but we didn't need to!
We booked 2 nights independently in Budapest prior to the cruise, allowing us to unwind and enjoy the many delights of that city. We chose the Bohem Art Hotel on Molnar Street, that was 5 mins walk from where the ship docked. Embarkation was quick and easy, and the cabin was ready on time.
Our cabin was 210 sq feet, on the middle, or Cello deck. It was situated toward the rear of the boat. There was no noise from above us, or from cabins next to us. Engine vibration was limited to a low 'thrum" that did not interfere with sleep. We had a balcony with 2 chairs and a table, which was very pleasant to relax on. Storage space was sufficient. The bathroom was well organised, and the shower amazing!! You have both waterfall and a standard shower - wonderful. The cabins were attended to twice a day. Often the cabin steward would make origami out of the towels, which caused great delight. The staff were always cheerful and very polite.
We saw a couple of friends' cabins. One was a twin balcony like ours, but slightly bigger. These made up the majority of cabins on the ship. The other cabin had no outdoor balcony, just sliding doors, and their bathroom was a bit pokey.
Our first night's dining was not a success, with the food looking and tasting stodgy, and service was a bit rushed. I felt very apprehensive about the meals to come. However, that was a fluke, and every other meal was fine. Don't expect fancy molecular gastronomy, or Michelin star quality food. Dishes often had a regional influence, and there were always choices. Food was always fresh and well presented. All food on the ship is made from scratch, including the bread. Lunch and Dinner were at set times, and we were expected to arrive within 15 minutes of mealtime being announced. This also made sure you got your favourite table and waiter, and sat with friends. Breakfast time was flexible to cater for early, usual and late risers. Breakfast was mixed buffet style, and a la carte for items such as eggs Benedict and omelettes. Portions at dinner were not huge, but given there were 4-5 food courses, this was plenty. Complimentary Wine, Beer and soft drinks flowed freely at dinner, while lunchtime saw most people limit their intake to one or two glasses. Our wait staff were attentive, and tailored their sense of humour and manner to suit each person. I think they enjoyed looking after Australians with our relaxed sense of humour!
Everyone had the opportunity to dine at the 24 seat fine dining 'Erlebis' restaurant twice. We enjoyed the experience with friends we'd made, and both nights were very enjoyable.
All the tours are included in the cost of the cruise. Standouts for me were the Audi Factory, Bamberg Bike ride, Vienna, and Wertheim. I spent a couple of afternoons relaxing on the ship instead of touring, and enjoyed the magnificent scenery. The small pool on the ship was warm, and a great spot from which to watch the world go by. The Sun deck was closed for 4 days while passing through the Danube - Main canal. Everyone was warned about this, so there were no grumbles.
Our Cruise Director, Nick, was always helpful, and gave some informative talks. All the staff worked incredibly hard. Tipping is included in the price, but we chose to tip several staff who we felt were outstanding.
Evening entertainment was variable, and a bit sedate for the younger members of the cruise. Ages seemed to range from 45 - 80, with most people being young at heart 65 year olds. The oldies partied hardest!! The classical trio 'La Strada', were excellent. We had a 60s themed night, where everyone danced. Most people were in bed by 11pm, as the days were usually busy.
There was a small gym and sauna, and massage and hairdresser services. Laundry is done by the crew, and is very cheap in comparison to hotels. Most items were between 1 and 4 euros to have cleaned. Small items could be washed and dried in the bathroom on the line provided.
Dress code was casual by day, and smart casual at night. My husband wore a jacket and tie to the Captains dinner, and Erlebnis restaurant, but most men were more casual. Ladies were a bit smarter, but again, no long dresses or cocktail dresses were worn.
Disembarking was also stress free. Suitcases didn't have to go out until the morning of departure.
Reading other reviews, I think it depends on which crew you have, rather than which ship. Also, people need to do there research carefully. The people on the ship that grumbled (and it was only a couple) were the ones that didn't pay attention to announcements, or who hadn't read their travel brochure properly. I would definitely recommend a river cruise with APT - we had a wonderful experience.