The trip was great. We were on the Budapest to Amsterdam 2 week cruise in a category A cabin. Avalon Waterways looked after us very well and the accommodations were very good. We had 140 tourists on board and there were 47 staff to serve us and operate the boat.
Our suite was roomy. There were hanging lockers and drawers to hold all of our stuff. We emptied out our suitcases and they fit under the bed, out of the way. Unlike a bus tour, we didn't have to pack again until the last day. The room had its own bathroom with a sink, toilet and shower. The outer wall was floor to ceiling windows, one third of which slid open.
The boat was very long (443 ft) and had a large dining room, lounges in the front and back, and a deck with canopies for the whole length of the top. I got lots of exercise because we were only allowed to smoke in the stern. The canopies, railings and deck furniture were collapsible for going under low bridges (high water). The captain's command bridge would go down using hydraulics when we were approaching low bridges. This happened quite frequently.
There were continental breakfasts for early and late risers and a buffet breakfast in between. The chef would make you eggs of your choice or an omelette if you wanted. There were lots of fruits and cheeses as well as scrambled eggs, bacon and Nuremburg sausages.
All of the food was tasty and well-prepared. Lunches were buffet style with lots of choices of hot or cold dishes. Suppers were served by the waiters and again had two or three choices. Wines were included and my glass was continuously refilled. One of the meal choices tended to be local such as goulash, sauerbraten, etc. A vegetarian dish was also available. Appetizers were interesting and the soups and desserts were delicious
Each day had an included trip ashore. Buses would take us to a spot where local guides would take us on an easy walking tour. We were provided with earphones so we could hear every word from the guides, even a little distance away. The guides were all knowledgeable and informative. We generally had time to shop or look around or we could return to our boat. There were also optional tours you could pay for. We only did one, a wonderful concert in Vienna.
Although a lot of sailing was done at night, there was still much done during daylight hours. The Danube and the Rhine Gorge were beautiful and it wasn't until late in the trip that we started sailing by industrial sites.
Every evening our tour manager would outline the plans and timing for the next day and a printed itinerary would appear in our room that night.
After supper we generally returned to our room for the night. There was some entertainment after supper and we attended a few of these: the crew put on some skits, talks were given on the EU and the building of the Main-Danube Canal, and some local musicians were brought in to provide nice music.
All in all it was a great way to travel. Both of us had rotten colds for part of the time and it was very nice to have our own room to go to to rest.