Meaning I've only taken one river cruise in my life so I have absolutely nothing to compare it to and no point if reference...so I feel very comfortable giving you my absolute, authoritative opinion.
My wife and I loved Amawaterways, loved the Amalegro, loved the river, loved the Rhine, and loved the Holiday cruise which had us on the Rhine for Christmas (went to my first Midnight Mass with members of the crew and other passengers who invited me along), and a fantastic New Years in Amsterdam (who knew they fired off fireworks at midnight?).
We were particularly lucky that the Gods of the river and the Gods of the weather smiled down upon us.
2010 (we were told) had one of the most severe winters in recent history.
2011 was one of the mildest in recent memory with an occasional light rain (that's it, my trip is totally ruined), but no snow, no ice, no sleet, no wind, and temperatures in the 40s.
And the river, which we had been reading up until our cruise was too low causing cancellations, missed cities, and bus rides over river cruising was absolutely perfect.
I could go on, but allow me to show you the letter I send to Ama after our cruise,
"My wife and I were on the Amalegro for the holiday Nuremberg to Amsterdam cruise after spending two fantastic days in Prague.
Never having been on a river cruise before, and almost scared off by all the horror stories of water level issues on the Rhine, we didn't know what to expect, but we had an amazing time, a true trip of a lifetime.
Artur and Kate were two of the best travel professionals we have ever traveled with. So much so that they have become the
models of excellence we will forever measure hotel and cruise managers against.
(My luggage did not make it from Paris to Prague. I casually mentioned this to Kate who immediately made my problem her own. She contacted Air France who told her they'd deliver the bag in a couple of days. Kate made it clear that was unacceptable and continually followed through until the bag arrived at 10pm the evening before our departure to Nuremberg.
Without Kate's intercession I still would not have that bag).
Every aspect of the cruise was perfect; the room, ports, staff, service, food, crew, tours, logistics,and entertainment.
Led by Kate and Artur (and the rest of the crew and staff) AMA created a warm, relaxed, upscale environment that made every passenger feel appreciated and special. And we will never forget New Years in Amsterdam.
We look forward to our next cruise with you (my wife already has her heart set on the Tulip Cruise) and sincerely appreciate all that you did on our behalf."
We were going to book the 2012 Tulip Cruise back on Ama, but our work schedules did not allow it. We had hoped to book another Christmas cruise on Ama, but many of the routes and cities were ones we had just visited (I know, my life is a living hell).
Frankly, we were skeptical about Viking, often reading on this site that it did not (favorably) compare with Ama and Uniworld, but our TA told us that was not the case, that we'd love Viking as much as Ama, and Viking had the itinerary we were looking for.
Of course, I can't speak to such things as the weather and water levels you'll find, nor how your personal tastes might compare to ours, but, like you, we are from Florida and enjoyed the cool, crisp weather, the wonder of the Christmas markets, and a spectacular cruise on the River.