We initially chose Avalon primarily because it was one of the few highly rated river cruise lines that allowed children. We traveled with a family of 10, which included one person with mobility issues (uses wheelchair but can walk short distances) and one teen. Our trip was the "Romantic Rhine" (northbound).
Rooms: We booked 4 of the basic staterooms & one of the panorama suites. The open-air balcony in the upgraded rooms is worth considering, if you're someone that might spend time in your room reading or just like fresh air. You really only spend about one day cruising during daytime hours, so there's not much opportunity to view scenery from your room as we had thought. We were often docked in industrial areas or tied up next to another ship which blocked the view. The beds were AMAZING....maybe the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in. Rooms are a little tight, but every attempt to maximize space was done. Storage space was good. The shower is the basic room is very small - but water pressure was good. The person who attended to our room, Chan, was beyond excellent. Our room was spotless. He would typically have our room cleaned, bed made, mini-fridge restocked, etc. in the short amount of time we were at breakfast. He even folded the clothes we had left out! He would come down again while we were at dinner to get it ready for bed (close curtains, put relaxing music on TV, etc.). Very impressive.
Food: Overall, I would say the food was very good. It was fun trying foods that were specialties in the various regions we traveled. Presentation & variety were excellent.There were buffets at breakfast and lunch (with opportunity to order some basic substitutions, such as a hamburger, if desired). Dinner was 3 courses (appetizer, entree, dessert) with about 3 choices for each. Wine flowed freely at meals, and we enjoyed trying many new varieties, also specific to the region we were visiting. Our server, Jane, was perfect. She was efficient, professional, friendly, & enjoyable - and certainly made our mealtimes a very pleasant experience.
Try to get a room close to the front of the ship (near lobby/lounge). The hallways are quite long, so if you want to run back & forth to your room for something (which we did often), it can make a big difference in convenience/time.