The cruise I was booked on was a Budapest-Luxembourg with land portions in Budapest and Paris included. Due to low water, numerous changes had to be made in the itinerary. The first was that we had to travel by coach from Budapest to Vienna to board the Artistry II, as the ship we were supposed to take could not sail upstream from Budapest.
Other changes included different docking locations, some dicey low-water cruising in Upper Austria, and an overnight hotel stay in Nuremberg while the ship worked to catch up to the schedule through the canal.
All the changes were communicated promptly and thoroughly by Sabine, our outstanding cruise director, and all of us in the full length tour got an automatic refund for the night in the Nuremberg hotel instead of on the ship. As well, we were given free additional excursions in Vienna and in Rothenburg, as compensation for the issues. Avalon won my future business hands-down just by the way they handled all these technical problems.
The 200 sq ft suite cabin was spacious enough to move, and had just about the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in my entire life. It was also possible to get the firmness of the bed adjusted by request to the housekeeper. I loved the angled bathroom wall which allowed for a bigger-than-average shower stall, a nice touch for this bigger-than-average person. Also a delight was the huge double sliding glass door which turned 2/3 of the outside wall into a balcony.
The Residenz in Wurzburg is one of the most incredible palaces I've ever visited -- and I've been to many. The staircase fresco vault, the stucco room, the Imperial Cabinet, and the Mirror room are all astounding. So is the museum display which shows just how much of this palace had to be rebuilt after it was bombed in World War 2. This tour allowed us an option to continue on a walking tour of town after seeing the Residenz or just taking a bus back to the ship -- a nice touch.
Siegfried's mechanical instrument museum is outstanding. Also well worth while is the ride up the mountain behind town in a cable car.
The add-on tour of the Moselle here was good, until we hit the beer tasting in a former monastery. The staff were short-handed, and "the woman who speaks English" had taken a day off. We had to be squeezed into several small tables, and it was both noisy and uncomfortable. This stop was immediately followed by an included wine tasting in town, and that's what I should have done.
One of the most entertaining of the walking tours. We got a good look all around the old town, and up to the bishop's gardens on the hill. Plenty of time included for shopping, and for tasting the town's world famous "rauchbier" -- smoked beer which tastes like bacon.
Two free tours were offered here. The tour of Roman Trier took us through a number of remains and reminders of the imperial Roman presence. The guide was very thorough at some points, but gave no guidance at others.
For those not taking one of the two optional full-day, full-price tours, the walking tour of Linz was the least interesting of the trip and the one where we spent the most time standing still while the guide rambled on and on and on. Not much of interest remains of the old town, due to wartime damage and much modern construcrtion.