I chose this cruise because I have osteoarthritis in my knees and they advertised "gentle walking". I've been on over 20 cruises, but this was our first river cruise. We stayed at the Corinthia in Budapest for two nights before leaving on the cruise. The hotel is affiliated with Uniworld and we booked through them. We really loved the hotel; it was lovely, comfortable, and centrally located. Our transfer to the ship was smooth.
The River Dutchess was built in 2003, and needed an update. We had one of four suites, which was considerably smaller than I expected. One of the amenities advertised for suite guests was a spa service. When I asked about that on board, the spa manager told me that this amenity was discontinued.
On our first evening underway, the cruise manager told the passengers that the gentle walking option was also discontinued. Some of the passengers were using canes. Many of us were upset by this. The cruise manager then agreed to see if some gentle walker guides were available for the excursions. As it turned out, about half of the walking excursions offered this. Although these groups were supposed to be for slower walkers, if you stopped to take a picture or look in a shop window, the group moved on. Almost all of the excursions involved 2 to 4 miles of walking over cobblestones. 16 to 24 mile bike excursions were also offered.
The excursions were centered around wine or beer tastings, and alcohol was the prime entertainment activity on the ship. Alcohol was included in the price, and some people drank from early morning to midnight.
The food was plentiful and tasty but tended to be heavy German dishes. Wine was sometimes added to soups and poured over ice cream. If you prefer not to imbibe, you are out of luck.
The service was very good, and we enjoyed the ports, but unless you are a brisk walker and heavy drinker, find another vacation alternative.
Full of mirrors, uncomfortably hard chairs, OK bed.