First Rivercruise: Avalon Creativity Cruise Review by thewildscot
Overall Member Rating
The meals were delicious and there was quite a variety on offer. The coffee was devine; we loved it from the first sip.
I was puzzled that at the Captain's Dinner the captain wasn't present although the numerous dishes were very delicious and plentiful.
This was our first river cruise. While the cruise itself was good and we had wonderful weather we were certainly disappointed in the following:
1. Flights. Avalon changed our direct flight at the last minute to a milk-run flight. The Air Canada flight from Montreal was crowded. Dinner was ok but the crew woke us at 5:30 am and gave us banana bread for breakfast. While we were sitting on the tarmac at Pearson in Toronto I saw an Air France plane and wished we'd been put More on a direct flight. Avalon really messed up on this and took the cheap way out. Shame on you!
2. Pick up from CDG airport to Pullman hotel: the girl took us outside to a parking lot and informed us the shuttle had just departed without us so we had to wait 45 minutes for the next bus. Not impressed. It was cold outside.
3. Pullman hotel: Avalon's tour director informs us on the ride to the hotel that beverages would be provided but as far as food is concerned, we are on our own; they are not responsible. Not acceptable to those of us who've never been to Paris and have no idea where to go or how to compare the best food for value. We were stuck in a lounge all day long. Many passengers had been on numerous milk-run connecting flights and had not eaten in more than 12 hours so to be provided with beverages until boarding the boat at 4pm was just beyond reasoning. To add insult to injury, she then invites us to go on an Eiffel Tower tour. Not too many folks took up the offer since we hadn't had the opportunity to clean up and brush our teeth. Most of us just wanted a decent meal. Avalon needs to do better when they're forcing their paying customers to fly for needless countless hours on end. Ironically there was a group of travel agents onboard so I'm sure they'll have something to say about milk-run flights and not being provided a meal at the end of those flights.
3. Connecting flight home to Canada. Avalon really messed up on this. We got stuck at the Montreal airport for 5 hours because they had only allowed 15 minutes from one flight, collecting our bags, going through customs and finding the gate for our connecting flight. The conveyor belt didn't begin running until just a few minutes before we should have been boarding our flight home. Needless to say we were put on standby but couldn't actually board a flight until 9pm.
4. Rushed itinerary. They really pushed passengers to sign up for tours that cost a fortune. We were really disappointed in the Claude Monet tour. We were told by the tour director that it was a private tour but there were 10 other tour buses so it was overcrowded and one couldn't get a good picture if they tried. The gardens are not kept up and there was a German woman working inside the house who was quite nasty. She was rude.
Every town we stopped in the shops were shuttered so we had no opportunity to shop for gifts. When the boat did dock in Paris we were told by the tour director to walk down Convention Street but everything was closed. When we returned to the boat only then did we learn we should have walked the 20 minutes to the Eiffel Tower where there is a mall.
After reading the other reviews I will not be so quick to use Avalon in the future for river cruising. We did experience being docked next to other river boats and having to cross their decks to disembark.
Being on the lower floor was fine, although I did experience the terrible disgusting smell of feces every morning when we went for breakfast. The hallway wreaked of feces.
Our evening entertainment was provided by Gino who played the piano and horn. He was quite good and several of us danced. They also had a trio come on board called La Strada. They were absolutely wonderful. The music was outstanding. Less