We have only experienced ocean cruises previously so river cruising was all new to us. We decided to combine this with a cruise to places we had not seen previously as well and we were not disappointed (although there are vast differences between river and ocean cruising).
The organisation was perfect - we were collected at the airport, driven to the ship and made welcome, even though we were early. We had the option of staying in the lounge until we could officially board or explore the city (map and brief explanation provided). At cruise end, we were transported back to the airport.
The time taken to embark and disembark was minimal and well conducted, even to the stage of personally being introduced to our cabin attendant.
River ships seem to be consistent in size, due to the width of the locks, the available height under bridges and the legislated length.
All meals were served in the dining area with a speciality restaurant (Chef's table) and small snacks always as an alternative in the lounge. The quality of the meals was excellent although there is always one person who thinks the meals on some other ship were better (and this was on day 1) so I put this down to a case of someone trying to prove they have been on other ships/cruises. With the meals, there is always some consistency of items but the main courses change daily as do the soups and starters. There is also a consistent standard always available main course for both lunch and dinner. One could not go hungry as there was heaps to eat.
River cruising does not offer the opportunity of stage shows nor does it allow for large groups of artists. Because of this, the nightly entertainment is usually one to four people performing for a single show - the quality improved as the cruise went on, the final performers being of very good quality. The resident pianist was average but certainly tried to include everyone.
Service was personable and always of an excellent level - could not fault anyone of the staff. Met the captain in the wheelhouse and he explained the workings to us all - a very personable man who took the time to be pleasant whenever he met with anyone.
Cruise director did a very good job as did most guides on the excursions. The shore excursions were mostly good, the concert at the palace in Vienna being exceptional.
Laundry was prompt and efficient.
My only criticism is that on occasions the excursion guides and the cruise director do not have English as a first language and, as a result, some of their presentations tend to be monotonous. Some of the guides also tried to provide too much information.
Cabin was adequate size with a double balcony, although this was rarely used as it was too cold to be outdoors.
The shower had instant hot water - great! - but was a little small.
Bed and pillows provided a good sleep and it was easy to get a good rest when required. The attendant was pleasant and certainly ensured our room was well kept at all times - she did an excellent job.
All cabins had on-board free wi-fi which worked well.
There was certainly enough room for clothes with ample hanging space and coat hangers. A safe was provided for valuables to be stored.