Enjoyed a lovely river cruise down the Danube recently. This was my first cruise of any sort. The rooms were amazing ( we, along with another couple, booked a category 3 room, #301 & #305.) These rooms were among the category 2 rooms which were in the middle of the ship. Ours were on the end. We could not tell why the rooms were in a different category and they were quiet and very lovely, and a bit cheaper then the rooms in the middle. The rooms were small but had everything you could want. The bed linens, mattresses, towels, were all top quality and luxurious.
The food and service were beyond amazing and the staff can not do enough for you. We are gluten free, and the chef made a point to come out each evening and point out what we could eat or modified what was on the menu to fit our needs. Truly impressed with the quality and variety of food.
The ports we stopped in were lovely and at times we could walk right off the boat into the little towns. I was not prepared for the larger cities and that we would be bussed around so much. We took the all day trip to Salzburg and visited a small town on the lake. Only stayed about 45 minutes and then back on the bus. Would have loved to stay on the lake a bit. That part I didn't like, as I felt like I was constantly watching my time. If I had to do it again, I would have skipped Salzburg and walked around the town of Linz instead just to avoid being on the bus so much. I know everyone loves Salzburg but 4 hours on the bus was too much for me.
I have a few things that I didn't care for. Most of the dining tables are for 8 people. There are only 4 tables for 4, and 2 tables for 6. While we did meet 2 lovely couples that we hit it off with, my husband commented that every dinner he never got to talk with me as he was talking with the others at the table. Kind of a forced socialization whether you felt like it or not. We were on this trip with another couple, and it would have been nice to have a choice whether we sat together with them or with a larger group. If you wanted a table for 4 you had to be the first one at the door to grab it. I heard others complain about that as well. If you were a couple and wanted some quiet dinners alone you would be out of luck. I think this is something they should work on and perhaps on the intake questionnaire they could ask if you prefer to dine with your group or be at a large table.
Another thing I didn't like was the lack of anything to nibble on after the afternoon tea served from 4 - 5 PM and until the 7 PM dinner. We were never around for the afternoon tea, and some crudités and cheese and crackers during cocktail hour would have been a nice touch over the bowls of chips and nuts. Just a suggestion. It's a high end, expensive cruise and I would rather not have BBQ chips with my drink.
Lastly, we had a wonderful cruise director and captain. But every night in the lounge where everyone was gathered during cocktail hour, and before dinner, we had to sit and listen to the next day itinerary along with slides and power point presentation. It was informative, but I sort of felt as if I was held hostage. Couldn't talk, hard to get up and get a drink, impossible to socialize. My suggestion would be for them to tape it and you could watch it on your in room TV at your leisure. I enjoy that cocktail hour time of the day and sometimes it was a struggle to sit and listen to these talks.
Some of the shows they had during this time were fantastic, but some were not so good ( the marriage play of Franz and Cissy was a little hokey.) Again if it was not your cup of tea, you sort of had to sit and watch anyway. Weather permitting I suppose you could go to the top deck, but we had some rainy, damp weather. So there was no where to go. The captains lounge is available, but no bar there.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience and a trip of a lifetime. We stayed a few days in Munich at the beginning, and Budapest at the end. We did this on our own as I had read that sometimes if you book the post cruise expeditions with Uniworld they tend to put you in hotels closer to the airport. Don't know if that's true, but we were right in the heart of Munich and Budapest and location and proximity to things were important to us.