Our 15 day Amsterdam to Budapest river cruise was as tranquil as the boat we rode on. I am a frequent big ship cruiser but this was my first riverboat adventure and I can understand why it is becoming so popular. Seeing both riverbanks as you sail on a non-rocking boat has its advantages. The autumn scenery through Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary was impressive...unfortunately Amsterdam and Holland were masked by very heavy rains the first day. Going through the 68 locks was fascinating and having a guest lecturer talk about their construction provided us with a better understanding of how they work and their amazing engineering. The occasional entertainment or lecturer in the lounge suited the small ship setting. We enjoyed them all.
The staff on the Avalon Tranquility was extremely professional. Our cruise director Nynke kept us prepared and informed at each stop. She truly was top notch and knowledgeable about the entire area we travelled through. The wait staff in the dining room was friendly and efficient. It made me tired to watch them as they rushed about waiting on us. They deserved good tips at the end of the cruise. The food was good and I read a prior review that mocked the cream soups but they were a hit with our 140 passengers. I thought the menu was varied and reflected the local fare as we moved down the Rhine and Danube. I enjoyed the light lunches in the lounge as an alternative to lunch in the dining room. Occasionally it is nice to be able to eat without all the small talk required at the larger tables in the dining room. Although, dining with a variety of passengers each morning and evening has its advantages. We met great people from Australia and Canada who for the first time in my ship travelling experience outnumbered the Americans!
We were fortunate to have a suite so our cabin was very comfortable and the bathroom spacious. I particularly enjoyed the French balcony, opening the sliding door with its protective bar to enjoy the fresh air and gorgeous scenery as we glided by. Or even better to get a close up look at the lock walls as we rose or descended through the lock.
The free internet was a plus and was available in most of the areas in which we travelled...but often slow perhaps because so many on the ship had a smart phone or tablet!
The walking tours in the towns and cities we visited were well done and I enjoyed each stop but if there is one complaint it is that there was not enough free time to go out on one's own. And even though each cathedral and castle was unique and interesting, by the end of 15 days it became that ABC mode...another bloody cathedral (or castle). A shorter cruise may have prevented my feeling that way.
Loved the opportunity to take the bus tours to places like Salzburg.