transfer to ship-- We spent 3 days in Vienna before we took a cab from our hotel to the to the hotel where we were to meet and then transfer to ship. Avalon staff greeted us at the ship and showed us to our cabins. Our luggage arrived soon after we had boarded. The passengers were mainly from Australia and England , a few Canadians and a few Americans. Everyone was very friendly even tho many of the Aussies came in a large group who knew each other. Probably most of the passengers were traveling with other people they knew.
Cabin-- Our cabin was very efficient. It was clean with nice bedding and a robe and bottled water for our use. Our luggage fit under the bed. ( 2 larger pieces and 2 carry ons. The bathroom was very modern with plenty of storage. The closet held all of our clothes without a problem. The television worked and there were a large selection of movies to choose from with no additional fee. We enjoyed the patio doors which opened up to a railing as there was no balcony. They allowed us to have a spacious area to view the passing scenery.
Food---Breakfast and lunch were both buffets which were excellent as there were many choices. For breakfast a chef was making omelets and for lunch the head chef made pasta dishes. Dinner was not as impressive. We think this was because the kitchen is quite small. Service at dinner was very slow at times. We ate with various passengers and we would comment on the slow service. Another time we were at a table for 4 and I ordered the fish and the other 3 a beef selection that they were not able to cut up nor eat. There was fresh fruit cut up and sliced for breakfast and slices for lunch. There was always whole fruit at the buffets and fruit in the back coffee area. Wine was freely served at dinner while coffee when asked for did not arrive so gave up ordering. We usually left with out coffee in evening and went up to the lounge area to the coffee machine. I am not a wine drinker and enjoy coffee with dinner or with dessert. I know I am in the minority as most everyone including my husband enjoyed his wine.
In the lounge they would have 2 for 1 drinks and we would have drinks before dinner and listen to the cruise directors presentation on the next days activities and port. The bar tenders were very efficient. It was interesting to sit and talk with people from other countries.
The 957 mile cruise went through 66 locks which very interesting but caused a few restless nights because of the bumping and positioning in the locks during the night.
Our cruise experienced 2 days of low water levels leaving Passau on the way to Regensburg and Nurnberg. We were bussed around the two days, lunches included with beer and wine and returned late in the evening to the ship. The ship moved with no passengers (weight) in the low level water during this time.
We were kept informed by the cruise director who was in constant contact with the ship's captain. Our tours were handled seamlessly during the low water period and the cruise line refunded one tour we missed and gave the passengers a free tour for our patience.
We found out at the end of the cruise that Globus, the parent company, was busy arranging hotels if the ship was unable to continue. I was aware this could happen from the message boards but fortunately the worst did not come about.
Overall Impression: Saw a lot of history, sights and great people. Tour guides were outstanding and the individual hearing pieces allowed for all the details on tour. Tour buses were excellent, new and comfortable, with great drivers. Avalon was my choice because of the Globus association should the river cruise turn into a land excursion.