All my friends do Viking so I liked being different and felt that Avalon was a step up. The ship was new and very pretty. Unfortunately we rafted to Tauck and Uniworld and saw a big difference in décor. For example when the US was playing Germany in soccer one of these ships had big TVs set up in the lounge just for that night (I asked) and many were watching. We went aboard our ship and not a creature was stirring.
The food was OK, the cleanliness was fine. A special food and wine pairing one had to sign up for was run by the staff who as it turned out just served and couldn't tell us any information on what was being served and also couldn't get the plates away from us fast enough. My table of six found it laughable but sad. This was unlike the professional beer tasting they did earlier. Also, in my many years of cruising I have always done room service for breakfast. This was available with a very austere menu of almost no choices plus the notation that a service would be added- something I have never come across before on my many cruises from Azamara on down. They never left a breakfast menu after that!
We had one tour guide for 140 some people- not enough of Tony to go around but he worked hard. We did a Grand Circle a year ago with 100 people and three full time guides on board. Also, in the restaurant they were understaffed. I noticed that just one waiter, one night when we ate by ourselves and I had time to observe, took orders and delivered all the entrees on my side of the boat. The second waiter poured the wine.
Worst of all was when we arrived and were told to go into the bar to order a drink- which I did. When I was asked my room number I incredulously asked if I was going to be charged. When told yes I glared and walked away. We had just come from at least a three hour bus ride passing Nuremberg because the river was closed to traffic and we needed to board at Passau. This was only nature's fault but I expected more than the raspberry juice I was told was complimentary! Not the normal welcoming on any ship.
The entertainer on board most nights was very non engaging.
The optional tours we took were good.
I was disappointed from the expectations I had for this cruise to mark our 40th wedding anniversary.