For a first timer in Europe, this was a great tour to pick. Traditional in the sense of road traveled, it ticked off lots of locations that I wanted to experience, and a few ones that I wouldn't have considered! The pace is still quite busy, despite the two nights in some locations - and you will not see nearly as much as you'd probably want to in some cities (eg. Budapest, Vienna, Rome), but as long as you have that clearly in your mind, you won't be super disappointed.
Hotels are decent - and locations are fantastic perhaps with the exception of Pullman Montparnasse in Paris (relatively far out from the central area). The Florence hotel is not one that I'm eager to go back to (they tried to be modern, but it just was weirdly tacky) and the Grand Corinthia in Budapest was truly delightful.
The included food was a bit hit and miss - some meals were lovely, others were left on the plate! (Wurzburg I'm looking at you! Yikes). A tip - if you are doing optionals that include meals - do not each much during the day. You are usually in for a 3 course meal with drinks with large portions. I found eating a decent breakfast was enough to get me through.
A word on the optionals - yes, they are expensive - but some optionals truly made the trip for me - such as the Luzern Carriage & Farmhouse visit, the Viennese dinner & Orchestra, the Tuscan dinner, the Budapest river cruise & dinner. Some people I went on the tour with did not know about the optionals and had not known to budget for them - which did create some tension and grumbling. Request the Optional price list from your agent here so you can budget the cost. Insight originally did not send the list to me in the pack and I had to request them from my travel agent here (Thanks Hannah!)
Also, the notion of tipping - we Australians aren't that great at it - but in Europe...it's all about the tips! You generally are expected to tip local tour guides and your Insight guide and driver. Another cost to factor in your budget.
Would I do Insight again? Probably. You are herded a bit like you would on any tour, but the group is smaller than some of the really big groups like Trafalgar, Globus etc. And there is something really nice about having everything organised for you, right down to luggage delivered to your room. Thanks for the smooth booking Global Journeys - I would most definitely book through you again!