I have been on two ocean cruises and did not really enjoy it. Food was just ok, never enough time at dock, hassle to get on and off the boat charges and tips everytime you turn around. So when three friends and I decided to take a river cruise and visit the Holiday Christmas Markets from Prague to Budapest, I was skeptical. First of all, you have to be into Christmas if you are going to do this tour because everyone else on the boat is and it will drive you crazy if you don't care about the holiday. That being said, if you want to do the cruise to see the cities visited, you can, but know why everyone else is on the boat.
The boat is decorated in very festive motif and looks great. The crew was in a great mood and it seemed like they were having a lot of fun as were we. The food is excellent and I say this having been on a couple of Ocean cruises where they bragged about the quality of the food. They were not even close to the quality of this chef. The food was fresh every meal and it tasted like it. The lunch and dinners are paired with local wines. They were interesting. I live next to Napa Valley so I expected a little higher quality on this part but I may be unfair to the reality that this is a cruise line.
The rooms are very well laid out and you have good usable space. The bathroom is wonderful with a marble shower and a real shower head with plenty of hot water. The ship is really easy to navigate and you can't get lost - seriously, you can't. There are only three decks and the organization of the ship makes sense. The crew was excellent from the top down. On the top deck was a pool and apparently not many people use it in the winter but we tried several times because it is heated and it was a great place in the evening to sit in hot water and watch the lights go by. The only problem was that every time we had to go under a low bridge, they made us get out so they could lower some wind screens. Would be nice if they could figure out a way to use the pool all the time. They said we could use it when we were in port but who is going to do that? We came to see the cities, not sit in the pool.
Great use of space. Comfortable beds, small desk, Mac's for internet and TV, cabins for storing clothes. Marble Bathroom with real shower head and plenty of hot water. Nice window ledge for storing things and drying wet clothes. Mini fridge and some bar ware.
Great town. Don't miss the Christmas market or tour of Thurn and Taxis. Beautiful!