We have just completed the Amsterdam to Budapest Christmas Markets river cruise. It was very good trip and I would highly recommend it to anyone. We were somewhat worried about the river levels as Europe had a terrible summer and many cruises were impacted with people having to change boats or take long legs on coaches.
Thankfully this never happened to us. Whilst, Evergreen have their river guarantee we didn't need to rely on it. About a week before the cruise we were called by Evergreen to tell us the situation and give us a couple of options. We decided to proceed as planned.
The ship was excellent and we were in a grand balcony suite, it provided a a little extra room and a few extra comforts.
Now for some specifics:
Food: The food was a generally pretty good - in terms of quality and quantity it couldn't be faulted. Where there is room for improvement is variety. As someone who doesn't eat fish/seafood I was often left with one choice. They have a couple of standing choices in terms of steaks and chicken but these were not well prepared in my opinion.
Alcohol - they offer free beer and wine with meals. If you want anything else outside of meal times you will need to pay for it or arrange for a drinks package. This is what we did.
Laundry - depending on your canine choice you may get some pieces of laundry included - a couple of pieces a day. Regardless its not enough and the laundry charges are stupendously high.
Tours - You basically stop in a town each day. Usually in the morning, you have breakfast and at about 9am you muster to go exploring. There are local guides and audio devices for each person so you can listen to the guides explanation. This was very good and all of the guides we experienced were professional and most often had a great sense of humour. They are usually residents in the towns you visit. You then get a couple of hours of free time to go shopping or exploring in your own time.
Discover More Tours - These tours are offered as additional extras. They go to slightly out of the way places - usually by coach. You pay more for these and they happen while the rest of the passengers are doing the standard tour. We did a couple - to the Dracenfels castle and to Saltzburg. Each of these was about $120 per person. The Salzburg tour was excellent (think town from Sound of Music) the Dracenfels castles was a complete waste of time and money. This was one of the first tours and as such it didn't help us get off to the best start. The castle is basically a large house that has been designed to look like a castle. It was opened up especially for our tour - but that said there were covers over stall/shops that had been set up inside to keep them out the snow. The guide tried hard but could do too much.
There were a number of onboard entertainment events - including local performers from Austria and Hungary - excellent events. There were a couple of other entertainment activities such as trivia and dance nights.
The cruise director we had on board - Darren, was excellent. He worked tirelessly to make everything happen. A great personality and helped make the trip fun. Cannot recommend him highly enough.
I've seen a few other comments about the age of the passengers. My wife and I are both 46 and while we amongst the youngest on the ship (there were a few in there 20s) we didn't feel out of place. There were plenty of fit and able people and most groups walked a good pace. There was typically one group for 'slow' walkers.
As I indicated earlier we really enjoyed the trip. We paid for the upgrades to business class flights and the upgraded cabin. The business class flights were a good option when coming from Australia especially if you are over 6ft tall.
We arrived a little early - 3 days in Amsterdam and stayed a little later in Budapest (another 3 days). If I had my time again I would reduce the post cruise Budapest stay to an extra day. We will probably take another cruise like this in a couple of years to go and we happily choose Evergreen again.
Good cabin, good bathroom facilities. Close to the action entry/exit dining room and bar area without suffering from any noise issues.