This was a very enjoyable cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. We booked through a TA, bought business class tickets through Tauck but chose our own hotels, not the Tauck hotels because the perks were better. However, Tauck still picked us up from the airport in Budapest and picked us up at our Amsterdam hotel and delivered us to the airport all in fine style. The fact that Tauck does not own their cruise ships did not seem to pose any issues at all. Everything was seamless and service was outstanding at every turn. All the ship personnel and most of the Tauck personnel were so pleasant to deal with and every detail was flawlessly executed with the unfortunate exception of the cuisine.
Breakfasts were fine although the menu never varied. Lunches were also very similar with a rotation of salads and different entrees however, some were really awful such as the infamous pork neck. It was so tough and sinewy as to be too difficult to chew! Most fish and chicken seemed to be over-cooked at lunch and dinner. Dinner was disappointing on multiple nights with the entrees being odd or poorly prepared. The presentation was very basic. The farewell dinner was somewhat better but was more like I would expect EVERY night for a premium cruiseline. I actually lost weight on this cruise! On a positive note, many local, regional specialties were offered along with local wines almost daily. However, some of the wines were not very good so we asked for other options. The dining room staff was outstanding as was the bar staff, especially the charming head bartender. There was also a small cafe aft which was great for light breakfasts, lunches and coffee/tea all day. There were also themed dinners available to reserve there and the food was actually quite good.
Our standard cabin was minuscule but had plenty of storage and the bathroom was ingeniously designed to feel bigger than it actually was. Housekeeping was impeccable.