Small and sociable, Grand Circle's River Allegro (formerly Diehlmann's Dresden), is an older ship made new. It was completely gutted and reconfigured before its re-launch in April 2011, reducing the number of berths from 108 to 90 and providing expanded public areas. The small size of the ship and the shallow draft are ideal for the shallower waters of the River Elbe, where it sails, allowing the ship to dock within walking distance of the town center in most river ports.
Most activities take place on the main Serenade Deck, where a lounge and bar, an adjacent small library, a reception area and a single-seating dining room are located. Both the lounge and dining room provide fine river views through wall-to-wall picture windows. A sauna, massage room and a small shop are on the lower Sonata Deck. A spacious top sun deck is the only area where smoking is permitted.
Though the ship is small, Grand Circle has made the most of tight space with ample seating in public areas and handsome decor throughout the ship. Having just one lounge turns out to be a good thing since everyone gathers during the day and before and after dinner to socialize, making for a very congenial group. An attentive crew adds to the friendly ambience.
While they do not specify age, Grand Circle attracts an older, well-traveled group, mostly retirees, who are more interested in the itineraries and enrichment than in lavish amenities or entertainment. Many are loyal fans who cruise with Grand Circle regularly. Passengers are almost all Americans or Canadians.
There is no dress code, and attire is informal for all meals. Many people do choose to change for dinner, but jeans are acceptable. Men do not need jackets.