The Avalon Visionary is a lovely ship boat. Our 200-level portside cabin was excellent. The "French Balcony" is fantastic.
Staff and crew are extremely friendly and accommodating.
When there was too much sun at dinner, I started to pull down the blinds.
A waitress came running up to pull them down.
She said, "We're supposed to do everything for our guests."
Don't worry," I said, smiling, "I took a course in blind pulling."
It's neat. They have mini-newspapers for Canadians.
The buffets are never crowded and there's always plenty of table space available. (That's quite unlike our experiences on over a dozen ocean cruises.)
Anyone complaining about the quality of food needs cerebral assessment.
The breakfast and lunch buffets are elaborate and the dinners are excellent.
(A brochure explains that, because of the limited space, the buffets can have no more than 80 or 90 items!)
At dinner, the red and white wines flow freely ... with multiple refills (all for no extra charge).
When they say dinner begins at 7 pm, you gotta be there at 7 pm. You select everything at the start, from a multiple-choice menu.
Then the meal is served like clockwork; starters/appetizers/salads, soup, main course, dessert, coffee, tea.
Every guest gets the same component at the same time. That's efficiency, eh?
You come a half hour later, you miss your goose liver pate or caesar salad and begin your dinner with the cream of white bean soup.
A neat thing? As we move from Germany thru Bavaria to Vienna to Hungary, the food changes to reflect the locale.
Bavarian sausages, Wienerschnitzel, Hungarian goulash ... very nice!
The maid came by twice a day to fix our room, leaving bottled water in the mornings and chocolate on our pillow at night.
(Unlike ocean cruises, the bottles of water are free.)
WiFi is free (unlike 75 cents / minute on ocean cruises) ... and we even got CNN on TV.
There are free tours / excursions at many stops ... with guides and earphones.
Although there is no elaborate evening entertainment (as there is on ocean cruises), we had musical entertainers, chocolate and beer testing sessions, talks and videos on local history and other things of interest.
In addition to lots of information and a daily schedule (delivered each day to your cabin), the cruise director explains everything over the PA system.
Because there are only about one hundred guests, you often bump into the same people. After a few days, it's like a "family gathering".
Although there are elevators, the ship is cleverly designed so that the restaurant is between the 1st and 2nd floor and the lounge is between the 2nd and 3rd floors
... so there are just a few steps to negotiate.
What is so neat is to see the villages, farms, vineyards, castles going by ... and the locks are fun.
Our daily diary with comments, pictures and videos is here: