We did the 8 day cruise from Amsterdam to Nuremberg. The inclusion of gratuities, tours, wine etc included in the very reasonable price, the positive reviews and the newness of the ship was our deciding point to take this cruise. We had free transportation from the airport to the ship and a personal welcome aboard from the cruise director. We explored Amsterdam on our own the day of arrival (9am) until our room was available (2pm). Our cabin was small but efficient. It was near the stern so we did hear some engine noise and occasional vibration going upstream although it didn't disturb our sleep too much. We were able to hang all our clothes and there were 2 large drawers for other items. Luggage was stowed under the bed. We had friendly efficient service from our cabin attendant. We had some laundry service with very quick turnaround. The bathroom was small but efficient. My only complaint was the extremely small bar of soap fell through the soap dish in the shower. Luckily I brought a larger bar from home in my luggage. I didn't care for the small bottles of shampoo/body soap, no sudsing, brought my own.
The dining room was spacious, attractive and well laid out, lots of glass and shiny chrome. It was buffet dining for breakfast and lunch and sit-down open seating for dinner. Food was well prepared & tasty with good variety available although some of the same items were served at every meal. Dinner was 4 courses, appetizer, soup or salad, main entree and dessert, although you could certainly have less. Portions were plentiful for us although we tend to like smaller portions. I would have liked to have more salad selections for dinner and although we had some fish options, I would have liked some shellfish dishes. Different white and red wines were served each day at lunch and dinner and all were very good. Service at meals was excellent, the staff was professional & well trained and worked very hard to please the passengers. The main complaint we had was the very noisy dining room during lunch & particularly dinner. It really prevented having a decent conversation with our dining companions, even those sitting next to us! The noise level was quite irritating and they really need to do something about it. The lounge upstairs was much quieter and a light lunch was served there everyday and it was much more pleasant. Dinner always lasted about 2 hrs (7-9pm). We didn't participate in most of the entertainment/activities as we were generally tired after a day of tours. We did attend a violin concert (very loud) after dinner one night and a cooking demo one morning. We liked the cruise director's daily talk on the next days tour/activities. She was excellent and worked hard to make sure everyone had a good time and didn't get lost on the tours. I'm sure shepherding around 182 passengers is not an easy task.
We docked at a different port everyday and had a tour at each port. We were bused from the ship to where the tour started with our tour guides. They were local, excellent guides, who were informative & well trained. Generally the enjoyable tours were about 90 min with free time afterwards. Although time was short in some ports, we felt we got a good overview of the town. Most ports were popular tourist spots so for us the limited time was fine. also the temps were quite warm and humid in Aug so we were happy to return to the air-conditioned ship. We found that Europe does not seem to have a lot of air conditioned buildings. The Rhine gorge was indeed the highlight of our trip, Castles & picturesque villages around every corner. Make sure to be on the sun deck if the weather is good for your best pics. Emerald gives an accurate description of the towns we visited.