Cruised the River Queen on the Main River December 8-16, 2012, from Frankfurt to Nurnberg stopping along the way at other Christmas markets in Wertheim, Wurzburg, Rothenberg and Bamberg. On arrival from the Frankfurt Airport we were taken to the lounge where a light buffet lunch was available and where we waited until mid-afternoon when cabins were ready. At check-in (by category of cabin) our photo was taken (for passenger security we were told) and we got our cabin door card with our name on it. For every excursion we left this card at Reception and picked up our tour group number and audio receiver.
Each stop had an included orientation walking tour through the old town center plus additional-charge optional excursions (all well-worth the prices): to an abbey, a brewery, Aschfeld a fortified town and, to Room 600 memorial in Nurnberg's Palace of Justice where WWII war crimes trials were held and to the Nazi party Rally Grounds and Documentation Center (museum). More
However in four of the six cities visited -- Wurtzburg, Rothenberg, Bamberg, and Nurnberg -- the dock was so far from the old town Christmas Markets that we were shuttled to and fro by bus from the ship. Rothenberg was an included day trip from Kitzingen but, again, a great experience. The Quietvox portable audio headset system was used on all shore excursions so guides did not have to shout and we could all hear what was being said. Orientation walking tours included a "gentle walking" group for those who dislike steep hills, stairs and icy footing. There were guest speakers in the bar/lounge who talked about German Christmas traditions, glass blowing and, special holiday breads/cookies (the latter with samples!).
Breakfasts and lunches were buffet with served dinners accompanied by wine/beer. Dinner selections offered both meat and vegetarian choices and my only complaint was there were so few German dishes offered. Oh yes, and that one evening with the chewy braised leg of lamb, which tasted more like athletic aged mutton, was the only culinary mis-step on the trip. The public areas color scheme is primarily blue and white (Delft-like since the ship registry is Dutch with German officers and Eastern European crew). All of whom, BTW, were excellent. Even at the end of the river cruising season, the interior decor still looked fresh and clean.
There was an onboard reading/library area, computer/WiFi access, gift shop, exercise machines, two free do-it-yourself front-load washer/dryers (soap pods free at reception), plus irons/ironing boards in the laundry room. The flat screen TV in each cabin had access to the bow cam on the front of the ship so you can see where you are going (or are docked) while sitting up in bed. This beats standing out on the cold deck and is very interesting especially when going thru locks. The cabins also have a safe, umbrella, slippers, bathrobes, L'Occitane en Province lotion/soaps, water bottles, small seating area plus white bed linens and big towels all with the initials "UW" embroidered on them in gray. Guess this cuts down on pilfering (unless your initials are UW).
Small gifts were given to everyone on board -- stainless steel water bottles, an agenda and a little packet containing your birthday stone (info from your passport). The River Queen is a smaller boutique ship but it does have an elevator which some of the bigger ships lack. I have taken five previous river cruises with various companies and, all told, I enjoyed this ship and the itinerary. Would I take it again? You betcha! Less