Though I have traveled all over the world with friends and family, this was my first river boat cruise. Before you decide to go on an Amawaterways river cruise, I think you should close the glossy brochure and read actual reviews from travelers. It's all about expectations. The majestic views from the brochure are not the norm. The Rhine is a busy working river with cargo ships passing by often. You only have one day of looking at lush countryside and magnificient castles. You will not magically walk off the ship at night to grab a drink in a quaint town. Most of your stops are not near town, but rather in an industrial port on the outskirts of town. If you expect to wake up and enjoy a cup of coffee on your personal balcony that will not happen either. I never expected to be tied up to other river boats and staring into someone else's room. Who knew you would be climbing across other boats to get off your river boat. Save your money and choose the cheapest room on the boat.
Did you ever expect if you got hurt while traveling on a river boat you would be considered a nusance rather than a special traveler. It's all about expectations!!!
Our group did take the pre-cruise trip and I would highly recommend that if your time and budget allows. We met some great people which was extra fun once we left shore.
Don’t upgrade your room because you can’t use your balcony very often. Frequently you were tied up to another river boat. You know those majestic views you see in the marketing material? Yeah you won’t wake up to that very often. Don’t open the curtains until you are fully dressed for the day because you are a foot away from another ship most mornings.