The Avalon trip from Amsterdam to Basil which departed on September 10 started out with the welcome cocktail party of cheap sparkling wine ( one glass per person) and this set the tone for the cruise. Anytime Avalon could cut corners they did from the old canal boats they used for the Amsterdam canal cruise with windows that were so cloudy you could not see out of half of them to the worst free wine with the worst dinners. The facilities on Affinity were OK but the large cupboards in the top deck rooms were half taken up with the air heating/air conditioning system, the mini bar, the safe and the extra blankets.
The crew work hard trying to make the passengers as comfortable as possible and trying to meet their needs with what they have to work with, specially the bar staff. The dinningroom service is about average for a medium priced restaurant but not for a top cruise line. The waiters/waitresses were looking after to many tables which caused some long delays.
Now to the "Five Star" dining: breakfast was buffet and not bad, good selection but selection of fruit lacked, lunch was also buffet with a reasonable selection to choose from for the most part, dinners lacked any sign of quality with the standing dinners being the same chicken and fish from the daily menu with a different sauce and the daily menu was completely devoid of real meat with the only beef being "rump roast" one evening. Lobster night was a piece of lobster the size of your thumb cut in half lenght wise so it served two people and the sauce had been on it so long there was a skin on it.
For what people pay for this cruise they should have the best of steaks, which we never say, and the best local wine available not the worst. To say the least I was disappointed in Avalon as I have gone on other European cruise with another cruise line(Viking)and they have much superior food and wine. Even the chief commented "I did not think that you people would want so much meat"
The evenings in the bar were great with the same 10 to 20 people there every night enjoying them selves and the company of people from Australia, USA and Canada.
The Captain needs to take ship handling 101 again as he hit both sides of every lock at least 10 time and bent one of the props when he hit the rock near a lock entry. This caused noise and vibration through out the ship. The Engineer even had divers go down to check the damage but said"Everything is OK" ?
I wrote to Avalon expressing my dissatisfaction and they did not even give me the courtesy of a reply. I tell everyone that asks about the trip "Don't go with Avalon" the dinner will turn you off to the whole experience.