We have been a lot of places, and on several cruises, but this was our first river cruise. AMA does it right! We were on the AMASerena for Melodies of the Danube. It was a wonderful experience, and all 3 of us hated for it to end. The food was out of this world - the best we have ever had, and the service was great. The rooms are a little small, of course, which we knew, and the wifi was terrible for some reason, but the overall experience was fantastic. We took a few excursions, which were all well organized, but often went off on our own. When we wanted to go on our own, the cruise director Szaba could not have been more helpful in telling us how to do what we planned, such as taking the train to Salzburg for the day from Linz. One of the best experiences was the Illuminations cruise around Budapest. We can't wait to do another AMA cruise! Even though we had been there for 2 days before the cruise and had been on an illuminations drive with our guide, this was special. I know Viking has the market on these cruises, but AMA was definitely a step above them from what e observed in seeing the other ships. They take such good care of their guests - can't do enough for you. We had a balcony, because I thought we wanted it, but we would probably opt for the French balcony next time to have a little more room in the cabin. Getting out of bed requires standing sideways because there is just no room. The small cabin wasn't bad except when we were packing, when we were just in each other's way. It may be worth getting the slightly larger cabin too. There is a happy hour every night, which was a nice touch. We enjoyed piano player Peter, who tolerated us wanting to sign karaoke at night with our new friends from Panama. While most of the passengers went to bed fairly early, we closed the lounge every night with Peter, singing and dancing. We had a blast!
We took the train to Salzburg as we wanted to do the Sound of Music tour, which was disappointing (see y review on TripAdvisor). People who took the excursions here really enjoyed them. We liked the train - only an hour each way, and enjoyed Salzburg a lot. We went to Cesky Krumlov after the cruise by ourselves, but if I had to choose, I would take Cesky Krumlov over Salzburg. Although both are great, CK is just amazing.
We walked around on our own and really enjoyed this cute town.
We loved Budapest! We went on our own around town, and had a private guide for 2 days (Emily Tour Guide Hungary - see my review on TripAdvisor) before the cruise. The Illuminations cruise was phenomenal!