Avalon Felicity Cruise Review by Got2Cruise: Romantic Rhine in Seven Days Basel to Amsterdam
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Romantic Rhine in Seven Days Basel to Amsterdam
The Avalon Felicity Basel to Amsterdam affords the cruiser a taste of the many delightful small towns and cities that line the Rhine River from Zurich Switzerland through Amsterdam Netherlands.
We are a couple in our mid-fifties who enjoy traveling to enjoy new experiences and learn interesting things. We live in a very large metropolitan city but we enjoy engaging with folks from all walks of life. We appreciate good and caring service, but we don't need any extra frills. After two Avalon cruises I find that this fits the profile of the Avalon guest exactly. We traveled both times during the month of July and found that the age demographic was skewered lower than average during this month. Also, we found almost one half of the passengers to be non-Americans, which we enjoyed very much also. Besides USA, the passengers were from Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand. There were some groups that were traveling together, but on the most part most folks were traveling as More couples or groups of four and mixed and mingled with each other.
The ship is very well run by the Hotel Director and Cruise Director. Everything is very well organized and structured. The staterooms were always cleaned first thing in the morning and turn down service was every evening while at dinner.
Dining - Breakfast and Lunch was a buffet each day, as well as a special item that could be ordered off the menu. If you like a little "change up" be sure to check the menu. The selection of offerings was more than adequate but each day the buffet for breakfast was the same. For lunch it changed slightly with the soup and entree offered in the buffet. Again check the menu. There was also a light breakfast and lunch offered in the lounge each day. We always ate in the regular dining room. Each day at four p.m. coffee and cake is offered in the lounge. At 10:00 pm there was always late night snacks offered in the lounge.
Dinner - Dinner was usually served at 7:00 p.m. preceded by a next day port talk by the cruise director each evening. Tables are in configurations of four or six people. There are no reservations, so if you want to eat with your group, one person needs to make a beeline to a table. We never had an issue, except for the last night when we discovered that one waiter was "reserving" a table for a family. (Our party just let it go but management needs to keep an eye out for such because it really is not fair to the other passengers if one is allowed to throw money around get what they want.) The farewell dinner was my favorite, risotto and a whole lobster tail was the appetizer. The wines were more than adequate, always a choice between 2 whites, 2 reds and a rose. Unless you are a true connoisseur, then you will be more than happy with the wine selection during dinner. Your glass is never empty. Desserts were a weak point on the Felicity, ice cream was the go-to. There did not seem to be any pastry baking on board ship. The breads were all bought in port, can't go wrong there. The cake during the social hour was awesome looked straight from a bakery which is probably was.
Shore Excursions - All of the guides were professional and excellent. We paid for some additional ones and they were all very worth while. As mentioned previously, the shore excursions every morning and afternoon ran like clockwork. Never any hiccups of any kind. The section with the castles is the highlight of the cruise, but each and every port offered something enjoyable and interesting. We were parked very close to the center of town at every port.
Cabin- We roll Aquarium Class, we have no use for the balcony or French balcony. We go the top deck or observation lounges if not in our cabin. The Felicity cabins are well appointed. The beds are very comfortable, the bath room not crowded and the shower has a real shower door. We never used the TV but friends told us you can watch movies associated with the cruise. Example you can watch the diary of Anne Frank. We never had time to watch TV. Note that all cabin square feet are the same on the Felicity no matter which floor you are located on. Also if you choose a line with an outside balcony then that will take away the square footage of your inside cabin space. The French balcony you open the doors but don't lose space. Also know that double parking is common on the rivers now especially with the growing popularity of river cruising. If you are double parked in a port you will be inches away from another ship.
Entertainment/lectures - Here is where I saw a difference between our previous Avalon cruise on the Creativity and this one on the Felicity. Sadly, the entertainment on the Felicity was lacking. I should say that Avalon needs to look at the demographic, helloooo, there were young professionals on board, not 80 year old retirees. The Classical Trio was excellent. Avalon needs to step up its game. I went to the optional German Restaurant excursion, and ALL ages were having the time of their lives singing, dancing, having fun. There was no "fun" offered by the entertainer. I'm not blaming him, I believe he was hired to provide elevator background music while people order cocktails.
One thing that the ship could have done was offered some snacks in the lounge while the guests from several countries were together wanting to view the World Cup games. The bar service to the third floor tv lounge was nonexistent. This is no biggie, just another thing the Avalon management might take note of. In other words, the staff needs to be a little more pro-active and less rigid. Also, there could have been some sort of historical lecture, or lecture about the food and wine of the region as was on the Creativity.
Disembarkation was a breeze. We needed a cab to bring us to our hotel in Amsterdam, and all you need to do is sign up and the ship with arrange it for you. The ship's staff even carries your luggage all the way from the ship to the cab which is not very close.
Bottom Line, If you don't need alcoholic drinks at lunch, but want good service, at a good value, Avalon is the line for you. It should be noted that Avalon is owned by the huge travel agency Globus which has world wide connections. Also your fellow passengers for the most part are friendly and easy to engage with. If this is your first River Cruise, give it a try, you will love the intimate experience with the crew, the other passengers and the ports. But please note that if the river is too high or too low that might affect your itinerary. Read up on Cruise Critic before making your final choices. Less
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Cabin review: 105
In our opinion Aquarium Class on a River Cruise is the way to go. We saved almost $1000 a couple and we don't stay in the room except for sleeping. The window is large, you can see everything.
Avalon Felicity on the Rhine
First River Cruise a Success!