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24 Amsterdam to Europe - River Cruise Avalon Affinity Cruise Reviews

My husband and I took the Rhine River Cruise although we didn’t cruise much. The Rhine water levels were low. We weren’t sure if we should even go. We decided to make the best of it and go! We had the best time!! The people we met ... Read More
My husband and I took the Rhine River Cruise although we didn’t cruise much. The Rhine water levels were low. We weren’t sure if we should even go. We decided to make the best of it and go! We had the best time!! The people we met were wonderful, the food was good, the tours were awesome. The day was planned perfectly. Our cruise director, Maria was so sweet, she did an wonderful job getting us from place to place! She got me a cake from a local bakery because it was a day that we were not on the ship. It was so nice! Even though I’m sure cruising down the Rhine would have been even nicer, it was perfect for me. The hotel choices were great. The ship is not like an ocean liner but elegant ( we were only able to enjoy it a few days). I can’t wait to take another—hopefully the water levels will be better! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise for a more relaxed pace and scenic panorama view of the surroundings. The were some major changes made to accommodate an unforeseen natural impact. There was not enough rain in Europe to fill the river systems. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a more relaxed pace and scenic panorama view of the surroundings. The were some major changes made to accommodate an unforeseen natural impact. There was not enough rain in Europe to fill the river systems. The Rhine River was almost dry. As disappointing as this was the most important and reinforcing part of this company's customer service was the changes and adaptations they made to continue our trip using motor-coaches for part of the trip. Not only did they provide excellent tours but the hotels were all above the norm. Everything was fantastic. True professionalism shows through how you recover from adversity. Avalon made us lifelong friends and customers with the way they handled this unavoidable situation. The boat was comfortable and well appointed. The food was superb. The service was excellent and the staff was as good as any Michelin Star Hotel. We are looking forward to our next trip with Avalon. Frankly, I can't wait for our next trip! The boat: Just big enough for comfort but not a floating city. The appointments were perfect in the common areas. Modern but not garish. Entertainment was adequate for a small venue. Dining was very good. There was a great variety of choices and portions were perfect. Our cabin was wonderfully large with a fantastic view. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this particular cruise because the cities (ports of call) on the Rhine appealed to us. We read positive reviews about Avalon and took a chance. I can't say enough good things about our experience. We had a spectacular week. ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because the cities (ports of call) on the Rhine appealed to us. We read positive reviews about Avalon and took a chance. I can't say enough good things about our experience. We had a spectacular week. The staff is awesome; from the cruise director to the wait staff and the housekeeping and the deck/nautical crew and the on-board entertainer. Everyone is VERY customer focused. The food is great....and if you don't like the menu, you can always have a steak and baked potato or a grilled chicken breast. The outings and excursions were great; lots of choices. It was a busy week but we kind of wanted busy. There is some flexibility. There are lots of excursions included and lots of "optional" excursions that cost extra. I didn't think we were being nickel-dimed. The included excursions were great with some choices in some cities. The food was great. The wine and beer choices were pretty good. I'm not a wine expert but I'm not a novice....I enjoyed the wines. There wasn't an aspect of the cruise with which I was disappointed. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and approachable and engaging. Some (not many) of the other guests were rude. We avoided them. It happens. Most guests were friendly and there to have a fun vacation. We'll do another river cruise with Avalon. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
It was our first time trying a river cruise and we were concerned before we went as my wife and I typically travel on our own. The idea of being a part of a group made us a little apprehensive. After experiencing the ease of ... Read More
It was our first time trying a river cruise and we were concerned before we went as my wife and I typically travel on our own. The idea of being a part of a group made us a little apprehensive. After experiencing the ease of Avalon's trip we no longer would hesitate to do it again The dining room was a evening highlight where we ate with many nice people over the course of the journey. The food was excellent and the wine good and flowing regularly. The entertainment in the evenings was varied some quite good, other parts could probably be improved a bit. The room was clean and the ship very quiet. Our tour guides and cruise director were experienced in their roles. The tours were informative and the destinations quite nice. We also signed up for a couple of optional cruises in the afternoon. While they were very enjoyable, we felt that we probably should have passed on one of the morning tours that day, as we felt a bit rushed getting back for lunch, then out for the afternoon excursion, and then back for the evening port talk and dinner. When we sadly left the boat at the end, we were a bit tired out, but in a very good way. We relaxed a bit at our next destination on our own. We also quickly missed being taken care of and shown the sights. Doing it on our own seemed so less efficient!! I don't see how you can go wrong with Avalon!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We arrived a day early and had time to explore Amsterdam on our own which was enhanced by the guided walking tour as part of the itinerary. On arrival at the ship we were greeted by friendly staff and directed to our cabin (206) which we ... Read More
We arrived a day early and had time to explore Amsterdam on our own which was enhanced by the guided walking tour as part of the itinerary. On arrival at the ship we were greeted by friendly staff and directed to our cabin (206) which we found to be small but quite comfortable and with an exceptional view just a few feet above the water. There was plenty of room for all our stuff and storage areas we never even used. We explored the ship from one end to the other and every crew person we met greeted us with a smile and "Hello". The food was excellent and plentiful and again, all the staff were attentive, polite and helpful when there was a question. The on-board musician was a hoot and the extra entertainment the ship brought on-board was a fun change of pace, especially the wood carving demonstration. The shore excursions were very good with only one being so-so (due to the guide, not the city). Tony our Cruise Director was really good at evening briefings for the next days activities and he was very receptive to any and all concerns and praise we had regarding the guides. Service was superlative, the food was Delicious, and the staff attentive at mealtimes. The intimacy of a river cruise is the deciding factor for us. We have done an ocean cruise and after our experience with Avalon, will only do River Cruises in the future. Instead of 3000 people, there is 135, you actually get to know your shipmates, and have amiable companions on your excursions. Being able to be up on the top deck and be a part of going through the locks was also an important event. The crew and the sailors were always ready to answer questions and point out interesting items. Our cabin was great, from the time we sailed from Amsterdam, we had the sliding glass door open whenever possible to not miss a minute of the countryside! The only down fall was the low water level of the Rhine River which necessitated us changing ships mid-cruise, but the crew and staff made it seamless, they incorporated the change with our excursions for the day and we arrived at the other ship our luggage was in our room and all we had to do was unpack. We are deeply appreciative of the priority placed on safety, and not taking the risk of running the ship aground. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Wanted to cruise on a river for the first time. Small number of passengers. Day tours. Got to see a Paris before and Zürich afterwards. Loved the peacefulness. Wanted a cabin with a bed that faced the river. Crew was great. Cruise ... Read More
Wanted to cruise on a river for the first time. Small number of passengers. Day tours. Got to see a Paris before and Zürich afterwards. Loved the peacefulness. Wanted a cabin with a bed that faced the river. Crew was great. Cruise director was great. Would like to see something done about the noise in the dining room. So loud at evening meal that we could barely hear the other people at our table. Appreciated the credit for having to bus us from one ship to another because of low water. We enjoyed the day trips off the ship in Germany. The city walking tours were just the right length. We enjoyed the trip to the Black Forest and the castles on th Rhine Gorge. We were able to relax and only do the things we wanted to do. We liked the Avalon ships. Had to get transferred from one to another because of low water levels.We have already booked another Avalon cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We choose Avalon for our Rhine River Cruise so that we could get a very European feel to our experience. We did not want to be around only Americans and knew that Avalon passengers come from many Enlgish speaking countries from around the ... Read More
We choose Avalon for our Rhine River Cruise so that we could get a very European feel to our experience. We did not want to be around only Americans and knew that Avalon passengers come from many Enlgish speaking countries from around the world. We got to know guests from Australia, the UK, and Canada to name a few. The food was wonderful thtoughout the cruise. They offered regional speciaties as we traveled, focusing on specialties for the locations we were visiting. We picked this cruise line in part to exerience European cuisine. The excursions each day took us to wonderful city centers, Cathedrals, and specialty museums. Thought was put into both the included and optional excursions. Port talks each evening prepared us for the next day’s adventure. Throughout our cruise, the on board staff were attentive, personable and truly lovely to get to know. They made an effort to get to know us and make us feel like a part of the family. We are looking forward to traveling again with Avalon Waterways in the next few years. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I chose the Rhine River cruise because I was able to have the single supplement waived and I was interested in seeing the river I read about in school. The food was tasty and tied to the locale which was nice as well. The staff was ... Read More
I chose the Rhine River cruise because I was able to have the single supplement waived and I was interested in seeing the river I read about in school. The food was tasty and tied to the locale which was nice as well. The staff was attentive to needs. It was easy to leave my belongings and explore Amsterdam on my own. This was good because I had a pre-booked visit to the Ann Frank House. A suggestion I have is to check the cabin and particularly the bedding. The only drawback was the pillows which were much softer than I am accustomed to. Would I go with Avalon again? Yes, but I will not hesitate to bring my own pillow. I enjoyed the the fact that most of the excursions were included. I received help from the cruise director and I was quite impressed with Colmar, France, only I wish I had more time there. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I knew nothing about river cruises and had really only heard about the most popular one that is advertised on TV. I did some reading, decided on Avalon and am very glad I did. From the very beginning the agents were helpful and answered ... Read More
I knew nothing about river cruises and had really only heard about the most popular one that is advertised on TV. I did some reading, decided on Avalon and am very glad I did. From the very beginning the agents were helpful and answered all of my questions. Intermediate updates kept me apprised of things. We stayed in Amsterdam a few prior to the cruise so we did our own airfare and hotel stay there. On the assigned day we went to the ship to check in...which went flawlessly. From the start the crew was friendly. The stateroom cabins...there were 4 of us..were roomy and very comfortable with loads of storage space. There was dining in the main dining room as well as in one of lounges for those who only wanted something light for breakfast or lunch. Lots of choices for breakfast...including an omelet chef..and for lunch. The dinner menu had 3 choices for entrees but also had staples (chicken, salmon) if none of the choices appealed to you. Wine and beer..as well as soft drinks..were complimentary with lunch and dinner. For evening entertainment there was a piano player in the lounge and for 2 nights there was entertainment from local talent when we stayed in port late. Both the included and optional tours were loads of fun and informative. What really got to me more than anything was the friendliness of the crew. Also..the WiFi was great...and is included! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We previously had cruised with Avalon on the Danube and wanted to cruise the Rhine. Avalon employees go out of their way to make their guests feel at home, welcome and wanted. Aside from great service, as last time, the food was great. ... Read More
We previously had cruised with Avalon on the Danube and wanted to cruise the Rhine. Avalon employees go out of their way to make their guests feel at home, welcome and wanted. Aside from great service, as last time, the food was great. Avalon worked hard to accomidate the needs of the individual guest. Dietary requests made were met and remembered by individual servers in the dinning room. The time tables for programs, excursions, and information gatherings were alway on time and organized. Our cruise director, Thomas, was great. There seem to be a lot of river cruise lines on the rivers now and we passed a number of other ships and just from looking at the ships, for the most part, my reaction was always, " I'm glad we are travelling with Avalon." Every cruise is different with different employees but I can't think of any reason why we would go on another cruise and not consider Avalon our top choice. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Just retired and had never done a river cruise, Our 55th wedding anniversary occurred while on the cruise. Our travel advisor pointed us in the proper direction! We met many fine people on board. Had to be careful of what we ate - lots ... Read More
Just retired and had never done a river cruise, Our 55th wedding anniversary occurred while on the cruise. Our travel advisor pointed us in the proper direction! We met many fine people on board. Had to be careful of what we ate - lots of fine vitals at all meals. Had to hide wine glass from staff - didn't know when to stop filling! The off-board excursions were educational, enjoyable and nicely paced - ear phones were great - didn't have to crowd up to the local guide to hear info - once I was almost a block behind taking pictures of the multitude of opportunities and the guide asked if I was able to keep up! Not only were the guides highly informative, but watchful of their sheep! We matched our river adventure with a tour of Switzerland - The transition from one to the other was seamless and well handled. We are already starting to plan our next river adventure with Avalon. Plus thank you Globus for your part in the two weeks abroad that we thoroughly enjoyed Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Arrived in Amsterdam a couple of days early so we were able to go to Keukenhof to see the fabulous tulips. Weather was great and the tulips were in full bloom. Enjoyed everything about the cruise - the ship was really lovely, cabin on ... Read More
Arrived in Amsterdam a couple of days early so we were able to go to Keukenhof to see the fabulous tulips. Weather was great and the tulips were in full bloom. Enjoyed everything about the cruise - the ship was really lovely, cabin on lowest deck was well set out with plenty of storage (and a lovely orchid),food was great, crew could not have been better. The included excusions in all ports were great - very well organised with knowledgeable guides. Hilmer in Koblenz was especially good. Certainly learnt a lot of history about the Rhine area. We also had great weather for most of the time. The only rain happened on trip to Heidelberg. Really loved Strasbourg and the Black Forest. The black forest cake was pretty good too!! Could not fault anything at all on the trip. Can't wait to travel with Avalon again on a different river. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We arrived very early and were met at the airport by the cruise ship company and they took us to the ship so we could leave our luggage. Spent the day in Amsterdam on our own before boarding the ship. Very beautiful city! The ship was ... Read More
We arrived very early and were met at the airport by the cruise ship company and they took us to the ship so we could leave our luggage. Spent the day in Amsterdam on our own before boarding the ship. Very beautiful city! The ship was just the right size as was our stateroom. We loved the wall to ceiling sliding glass doors. The breakfast and lunch buffets had delicious choices of food and the evening sit down meals were beautifully presented and delicious. We participated in many of the excursions and felt like we learned a lot along the way. Lots of history and beauty. We really enjoyed the Local food walk excursion in Amsterdam; the day of just sailing so we could just sit and relax and enjoy the view of all the castles; and the visit to the Black Forest and the cuckoo clock shop! We enjoyed Happy hour on the ship every evening and found it was a great way to visit with others and share our days adventur! The size of the ship was very nice, never felt like there were too many people. The entire staff was friendly and very helpful with anything we needed. It was our first river cruise and we were very pleased. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise because we knew that we wanted to have an experience with a cruise line where they take excellent care of you with fewer passengers to contend with. Avalon fit that bill with great reviews and the cruise proved them ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we knew that we wanted to have an experience with a cruise line where they take excellent care of you with fewer passengers to contend with. Avalon fit that bill with great reviews and the cruise proved them correct. All aspects of embarkation & disembarkation went so very smoothly. The meals in the dining room & elsewhere were delicious and varied, and the service in the dining room and the Panorama Lounge was first-rate. Thanks to Emilia, Yannis and all our servers - you are the best! Entertainment is not the main attraction of this cruise but the music provided each evening was enjoyable and appropriate. We did enjoy the demonstration of Black Forest woodcarving and the evening music of "La Strada". The shore excursions were great and handled professionally. We loved our visit to the Keukenhof Gardens, the canal tour of Amsterdam, and the walk back to the ship through town with our guide, Rita. Our tour of Strasbourg with Raphaela was informative, especially the tour of the cathedral and the free time we had later. Our view of the the castles and towns along the Rhine Gorge was unbelievable - that's what comes from being so close & personal from the ship's deck. Don't hesitate to go on this Romantic Rhine cruise - it's the trip of a lifetime. We can't wait to go on the Danube - with Avalon! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We looked at both Viking and Affinity cruises, and settled on Affinity as it was a much better deal for the money. We also got good reviews of Affinity cruises from our travel agent and from a personal friend who had taken 3-4 cruises ... Read More
We looked at both Viking and Affinity cruises, and settled on Affinity as it was a much better deal for the money. We also got good reviews of Affinity cruises from our travel agent and from a personal friend who had taken 3-4 cruises with Affinity. Accomodations were very nice, food was fabulous, and the tours offered were excellent. Onshore excursions were very educational and hosted by local guides that were in-the-know. Our cruise director was an amazing source of information about the cities we stopped at, and offered good advice for walking tours, shopping, and restaurants/food in each city. Food onboard ship was outstanding, particularly the dinners which were a little more formal than lunch and breakfast. Service was also amazing, staff were never far when you needed another drink or coffee, etc. I would definitely consider going on another Affinity cruise in the future. Thanks for the opportunity to comment. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the embarkation port of Amsterdam. The staff was incredible and we had everything we could have ever needed. We were well taken care of and we wanted for nothing. The excursions were great ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the embarkation port of Amsterdam. The staff was incredible and we had everything we could have ever needed. We were well taken care of and we wanted for nothing. The excursions were great and the food was even better. We had a wonderful time and explored so many cities in a short period of time. If you want to explore the cities in more depth, this cruise would not be for you. We were in some ports for just a few hours. The only disappointing excursion was the one to Heidelberg Castle. We were there for less than an hour. Many of us were extremely disappointed and some were even angry to spend so little time at such a great place. We had some electrical issues the last day of the cruise and could not sail to Basel which was where we were disembarking. We had to have alternate arrangements to our final destination, but it ran smoothly and the crew took care of everything. Avalon was a great choice for our first river cruise! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We wanted to visit Europe and could never quite decide where to start. The Avalon Rhine River Cruise turned out to be the perfect answer. My husband and I arrived in Amsterdam 4 days early allowing for plenty of jet lag adjustment time. ... Read More
We wanted to visit Europe and could never quite decide where to start. The Avalon Rhine River Cruise turned out to be the perfect answer. My husband and I arrived in Amsterdam 4 days early allowing for plenty of jet lag adjustment time. Exploring this city and nearby Delft from our Airbnb home was a fantastic way to start our river adventure. Our cruise was the first of the season and that allowed an early check in. We were able to leave our bags onboard before our early afternoon excursion to the tulip fields. I was surprised at the size of our cabin. It was way bigger than I had anticipated. Very nicely furnished. Our crew was very knowledgeable. We were new to cruising and this was their first trip of the season so we all got to practice. Tony, the cruise director was the star of the show. Loved his insight and gentle information. There was a small problem with the ship the last day but the solution was easy and this by no means effected the conclusion of our trip. Once we got to Basel we did continue our travels for a couple more weeks getting proficient in the use of trains. Our whirlwind trip up the Rhine was a really good introduction to this part of the world. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This was our first river cruise. We've been all over the Caribbean & have sailed transatlantic, but this was on our bucket list & we were fortunate to find a deal! We flew in 5 days early to enjoy Amsterdam. We stayed at the ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. We've been all over the Caribbean & have sailed transatlantic, but this was on our bucket list & we were fortunate to find a deal! We flew in 5 days early to enjoy Amsterdam. We stayed at the IBIS next to the central train station, and it was a great location. The hotel wasn't fancy, but it was comfortable, affordable & safe. We were within a few blocks of everything. Amsterdam was incredible & I will definitely go back. We checked in with Avalon on the 22nd, the day before departure, and everything ran smoothly. I can't remember the name of the hotel meeting point, but it was by the Movenpik hotel. They took our bags and then transported us to the Affinity. We had a balcony cabin on the 3rd level, and it was terrific. There was plenty of storage space in the room and the restroom. I loved the shower stall and bath/body products offered. We had 2 twin beds and each had a nightstand. The floor to ceiling window opened up so that our room was basically the balcony. The only down-side was there was nowhere to sit & enjoy the view. My bed ran along the windows, so I could sit on my bed and look out. It would be better to be on 1 of the new refurbished boats, where it's all suites, and the beds face the windows for a terrific view, or if there was a sitting area in front of the windows. But it was still lovely, and there are plenty of sitting areas around the boat to enjoy the stunning views. The staff greeted us and made us feel welcome. They assigned us a steward to take us to our room, and our luggage showed up pretty much immediately. Each day we had an all-inclusive excursion. That day, even though we were spending the night on the boat in Amsterdam, there was an excursion, which was a canal boat tour. That was fun. Dinner was nightly at 7pm, and it's open seating. There's a happy hour with 1/2 priced cocktails each evening before dinner, and then wine is included with dinner. The food was delicious. Entertainment in the evenings was relaxed with a musician onboard in the bar/lounge area. With such a small group onboard, it was easy to meet our fellow passengers and start up conversations and friendships, or you could relax, read and keep to yourself if you like. It was very casual and stress-free. The cruise was being enjoyed by mostly Americans and Canadians & we met a lot of friendly people. We took off the next day for Dusseldorf. The scenery was absolutely incredible. It was a little too chilly to sit outside most days, but the lounges offered beautiful views. Once we arrived in Dusseldorf, We had an early buffet and menu-ordered breakfast & then walked off the boat into town. Since it was Sunday, the only things open there were cafes and churches, so I just took in the sights. Then we were taken on beautiful, new Mercedes buses to tour a castle/mansion. Our guide spoke perfect English & was very friendly and helpful. In Ruddesheim, our excursion was to a musical instrument museum, we opted out & spent time walking around the historic town. Then we met up with the excursion at a very authentic German style restaurant, where they gave us a traditional flaming coffee liqueur drink. By the time we arrived in Koblenz, it was night time & everything was closed. I wished we had stayed longer in Ruddesheim, but I guess we had to backtrack to head down the Moselle river the next day. Cochem was 1 of my favorite places. We toured Reichsburg castle, which was gorgeous. The excursions were very easy to do, even if you have a tough time walking and climbing. You could join the "gentle walkers", and at this site, the bus took us all the way up the hill to the castle, or the other groups could walk up the hill if they desired. I bought some peach liqueur that they're known for - yummy. Bernkastel was my favorite town. It was just what you want it to be with cobblestone streets and structures from the 1300s. Our excursion was a guided walking tour, which went on a little too long, so we ducked out after a while so we'd have time to shop. Later in the evening, they provided us with a complimentary wine tasting, which was so much fun. For 2 hours, they turned us loose in the wine cellar & we were able to try everything we wanted to. We loved it. But remember, you have to walk back to the boat! ;) Trier was very interesting. Our excursion was a bus tour of the city, and then guided walking tour in town. We saw the excavated Roman baths & Amphitheater & then were dropped off at the Porta Nigra Roman city wall from 180AD. We could either stick with the tour guide or take off to do some shopping on our own. The next day we arrived in Remich. We were sad to leave our boat, but we still had 2 days ahead of us in Paris. We truly felt appreciated on the Avalon Affinity and loved everything about our river cruise. I would return to Avalon in a second! It was so wonderful to be on such a small cruise. It was so relaxed, and the staff really gave everyone special attention. It was first class all the way. We were taken to the train station by a wonderful guide who stayed with us to ensure we knew exactly where to go. The ride took approximately 2 hours. Once we arrived in Paris, we were met and taken to the Hotel du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe, which was about 4-5 blocks from the Arc de Triomphe. There was a table in the lobby for Avalon passengers. We were lucky that our room was available the minute we arrived. Others had to wait a few hours. Our bags were delivered. For a 789Euro/night hotel, it seemed just OK. I guess it's the location. It was close to the train & there were hotels and grocery stores nearby, so that was good. It's not far from the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel tower, etc. The hotel only provided breakfast, and that's really the only complaint I had. They treated us cruise passengers kind of like 2nd class citizens. We didn't get to enjoy the hot, fresh breakfast in the main dining room. We were in a banquet room with a limited, luke warm offering. But, oh well. That's on the hotel, not Avalon. The cruise director, Peter, had warned us that the hotel keeps changing thing on them, so he wasn't sure what we'd be offered. Overall, this was the trip of a lifetime! Avalon was incredible, and I highly recommend them in every way! I can't wait to do another river cruise ASAP. It was so incredibly gorgeous and relaxing, interesting, and we were so pampered and well taken care of! (I put 5 stars for "Value for Money", because we got a discounted deal. I would not pay full-price for any cruise, especially not the kind of prices some of these river cruises charge) This was the most expensive cruise I've ever taken though, but considering everything that was included, I felt like they were paying ME to take the cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We just got back from our fabulous cruise on the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Basel. We sailed on the Avalon Affinity with 6 friends and everyone had a wonderful time. The crew was friendly and helpful and our cruise director Karolien was ... Read More
We just got back from our fabulous cruise on the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Basel. We sailed on the Avalon Affinity with 6 friends and everyone had a wonderful time. The crew was friendly and helpful and our cruise director Karolien was personable and always cheerful. She (and the crew) had to deal with a barge accident up river so they made last second arrangements for docking and bus transfers in the Rudesheim area and I thought it was all handled very well. The food was excellent with a variety of choices at every meal. They even brought in a local chef for one evening's meal. There were 2 tables for 8 people in the dining area and we managed to get one of those tables every evening but one, so we enjoyed eating with our group. We got to tour the galley area and they perform magic in that small area getting the food out to all 138 of us. Most evening's entertainment was Vesco at the piano but we mostly sat on the top deck and visited, enjoying the scenery. The included shore excursions with the local guides were great. They gave you a quick flavor of the town and then let you have an hour or so to explore. Karolien provided pretty good town maps each morning so you could navigate on your own. I had downloaded the iphone app "Planet Earth" so I had a more detailed map that I could access off line. All the port stops were interesting and we particularly enjoyed the castle ruins of Heidelberg and the canals in Strasbourg. Unfortunately there was never enough time in each port, but that's the nature of this type of trip. You just have to come back on your own. The highlight of the trip had to be sitting on the top deck watching the castles, cathedrals and small towns on the Middle Rhine. Karolien did an excellent job narrating along this stretch of the Rhine river and I had downloaded Rick Steves' podcast about the castles so we could follow along. We had great weather that day and most of the trip. It sprinkled a little bit one day but I didn't need the umbrella I brought. Our cabin was small but very functional with lots of storage and room under the bed for our luggage. The bathroom was very clean and nice. We were in Cabin 110 on the bottom level so we didn't have the big floor to ceiling windows that our friends did but since we booked this trip at the last minute, we were lucky to get a cabin at all. Somebody canceled the day I called. We didn't spend much time in our room except to sleep, preferring to be on the top deck. I didn't do any of the optional shore excursions and didn't feel like I missed out on anything. Some of the group did a couple optional excursions and they said they were enjoyable. Both getting on the Affinity and leaving were super easy. When leaving, we just marked our luggage with a colored ribbon and set it in the hallway 45 min before we got on our bus that took us from Basel to the Zurich airport. Our travel agent had us purchase Avalon's transfer to Zurich, which was a good idea, since the taxi was very expensive. We did not purchase the transfer in Amsterdam, the beginning of our trip and that worked well since it was easy and cheaper to ride the Train from that airport to the middle of Amsterdam, where the ship was docked. Tips: 1.We found that exchanging money with a Debit card at an ATM in the Amsterdam airport was easy and cheaper than buying Euros from my bank at home. 2.We used a credit card that didn't charge any foreign transaction fees when we bought our goodies and gifts to bring home. 3.We didn't need a "chip" in our credit card. 4. If you are buying something BIG, like an expensive clock or jewelry, you might consider starting in Zurich and ending in Amsterdam, if you want your VAT refund. You must exit through an EU country and Switzerland doesn't belong. 5. Don't over pack, it's a very casual cruise, although they did request the men wear long pants to dinner at night. 6. Upgrade your seats on the airplane, if you can... it's a l-o-n-g flight to/from the States. 7. We bought wine and beer on shore and brought it on board with no problems. We usually drank it with our friends on the top deck for "Happy Hour". Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We chose to do a Rhine River Cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. It could not have been more perfect. Our cruise was "The Rhine and Moselle" which is several days longer than the basic "Romantic Rhine" ... Read More
We chose to do a Rhine River Cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. It could not have been more perfect. Our cruise was "The Rhine and Moselle" which is several days longer than the basic "Romantic Rhine" cruise. The entire experience from booking the cruise to airport shuttle at the end of the cruise was was wonderful. We flew into Amsterdam on the first day of the cruise. We found the local reps at the airport who walked us over to our bus whereupon we were delivered to a hotel within a short walking distance of the center of Amsterdam. We had a large meeting room in which to relax while waiting for boarding time. This was a good time to start meeting others in the group. My wife and I chose to walk into the town center which is maybe 3/4 mile away. An easy walk. We returned to the hotel and were shuttled to the ship, which was docked right behind the hotel. We did not sail that night because a canal boat tour of Amsterdam was included the next morning. We sailed about lunch time that day. I'm not going to review all the stops along the way other than to say that every 'port of call' was lovely, with INCLUDED local tours every day. It was much like taking a tour by motorcoach except that you bring your hotel along with you. It made for a very pleasant,, no worries, experience. We were very fortunate with the weather. It was a bit cold for the first three days but it then started warming up. Cool mornings and mild, sunny afternoons. Several days were forecast with 70%-80% chances of rain but they never materialized, other than maybe a very light, brief sprinkle. Our Cruise Director, Karolein, was a treasure. Extremely knowledgeable, hard working, funny. She took care of every detail for us. The captain was a soft spoken, easy going guy that could do stand up comedy on the side. The two beautiful ladies at the reception desk, Bea and Oana, were a joy to work with. All of the restaurant and bar staff were friendly, charming, and very helpful. We especially liked working with Shady, Constantine and Michael in the lounge. They also acted as bartenders in the dining room at dinner time. We always sat at Ovi's table at dinner. He was a very attentive and graceful server. We always had breakfast in the dining room, a light lunch in the lounge, and dinner in the dining room. The food was amazing in all respects. Seven or eight choices of entrees each night as well as a selection of starters, soups and desserts. We had a top notched Chef on board. Unlimited wine and beer is included with dinner. There were four selections of included wines each night including at least one from the local region. I am very much into wines and I found them all to be excellent. They were not stingy with the pouring, either. There is a Happy Hour in the lounge each day with half price drinks. Apparently, they have recently changed their policy because you no longer have to order two of the same drink to get their "2 for 1" special at Happy Hour. All drinks are simply half priced. The cabins were smallish but no smaller than the average cabin on ocean going cruise ships. We opted up to the second floor, mid ship. All cabins on decks two and three have "French balconies." Not a balcony that you can go out on but you have large sliding glass doors that give you the open air feel of a balcony. We enjoyed this very much. The bathrooms were larger than most cruise ships and there is a real glass door instead of a thin plastic curtain that tends to stick to you. The beds had memory foam mattresses and were extremely comfortable. There are four suites on the ship but a quick inspection showed that, other than a very small sitting area, the suites didn't seem to be much bigger than the other cabins. Entertainment on board was limited to a quite talented,resident pianist/guitarist who played in the lounge during lunch, happy hour and after dinner. There were a few outside entertainers who came on board some nights. One standout was a wonderful singer. She did ten songs representing ten nations of Europe- in the original languages. It was a great show, as was a duet of two singers one night. Lots of dancing to their singing. Overall, though, people tended to retire shortly after dinner ended at 0900. We only signed up for two optional excursions: One was a German feast complete with beer, schnapps, an "oompah" band and dancing. It was a lot of fun though our "group meal" food was not really representative of the region. The other option we did was a drive through the wine region of Alsace which included a visit and free time in a beautiful, walled village and wine tasting at a local vineyard. We very much enjoyed this. Disembarkation was painless, other than having to get up at 4:30 for our 0600 shuttle. But they had a full breakfast buffet open early for us that morning. We loaded up and departed at 0600. We arrived at Zurich airport about 0715. Plenty of time for our 1010 departure. At that time in the morning we zipped right through check-in, security, etc. Zurich airport is huge and spread out so you will be glad to have the extra time Avalon allows for you. We met lots of very nice people on the ship and became great friends with two couples: Kevin and Carmel from Australia, and Gary and Lisa from Canada. (We are from Texas, ourselves.) We all did pretty much our own thing but ate dinner together every night. Great fun. All the travelers on the ship were quite nice. Well.... there always has to be "THAT GUY!" Right? By day two he was telling everyone he talked to that he was an American Express Travel Agent (from Georgia)who was "inspecting the ship" and he was very vocal about how terrible he thought the food was. He bragged about going to the kitchen "just like Gordon Ramsay" and demanding that Chef cook him something he could eat. He then criticized for that, too. He quickly became "personae non grata." No one wanted anything to do with him and even his lovely wife kept her distance from him most of the time. He rarely was seen eating meals in the dining room. It seems that he was buying bread, cheese, and lunch meet in town when we were ashore, and eating his food in his room or in the rear library lounge. He never participated in any activity. He wasn't missed. Overall, it was a delightful experience and we look forward to taking another cruise with Avalon in the near future. I highly recommend it!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We had never experienced a river cruise before, so we read everything we could in preparation for our April trip aboard the Avalon Affinity. We selected the Amsterdam to Basel route on the Rhine for a variety of reasons. Amsterdam was ... Read More
We had never experienced a river cruise before, so we read everything we could in preparation for our April trip aboard the Avalon Affinity. We selected the Amsterdam to Basel route on the Rhine for a variety of reasons. Amsterdam was one place we really wanted to see during tulip time and it certainly did not disappoint! We flew into Amsterdam, arriving on a Thursday morning and stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast on the Prisengracht canal, The Posthoorn. Built in 1600, it has 3 rooms each with private bath and breakfast delivered to your room in the morning. It was wonderful and the host was outstanding. The first day we toured Anne Frank's house (only 2 blocks down the street) and took a canal boat tour. Purchasing tickets online was really smart as the line was very long. Friday was our "flower day" as we went to the FloraHolland auction in Aalsmeer and Kuekenhof. The auction was amazing, we rode the local bus from Centraal Station, but you have to go early as they shut down by 11:00 a.m. We then took another bus to the airport to catch the Keukenhof express bus. Keukenhof was beyond amazing. The weather was perfect and the flowers were unbelievable. I tend to take way too many pictures, and I took 500 just at Keukenhof! Saturday was our day to wander around Amsterdam. We visited the Amsterdam museum and the Bloemenmarket. Sunday, we left our luggage in a locker at Centraal Station and visited Zaanse Schaanse before retrieving the luggage and heading to the ship. Our first impression of the Affinity was as expected, beautiful. The crew were very friendly and check in took all of 2 minutes. We opted for a lower level cabin to save the $$$ for the next cruise and it was fine. We had two windows at what my husband termed "duck level", but worked for us. It gave us light and we could still see out, just without the french balcony. The cruise was just wonderful, we enjoyed each port very much. We visited Cologne, Koblenz, Rudescheim, Mainz, Heidelburg, Breisach, Strausbourg and Colmar. Walking tours of the ports usually took about an hour and a half and the guides were very good. We took the optional excursion to Colmar and highly recommend it. Like most cruises, you don't have enough time at each stop, but it gives you a little taste and helps you decide where you want to return to visit. We thought the food was excellent and the crew was friendly and seemed like a close team. We were especially impressed with the captain, who seemed to pitch in anywhere help was needed. He was even carrying bags out on disembarkation day! The river cruises are much more relaxed and casual than ocean cruises and it is easier to get to know your fellow passengers and the crew. The highlight was cruising thru the Rhine Gorge. It was freezing cold and windy and we were the only ones brave enough to be on deck the whole afternoon, but it was worth it! We thoroughly enjoyed our first river cruise and highly recommend Avalon. We had absolutely nothing to complain about and look forward to our next one! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Since I am a well traveled person and research my trips before I go this was certainly a big disappointment. My travel agent touted this as a good cruise. However, the food was mediocre and the specials at breakfast were not ... Read More
Since I am a well traveled person and research my trips before I go this was certainly a big disappointment. My travel agent touted this as a good cruise. However, the food was mediocre and the specials at breakfast were not "special". The service at meals was awful. I had to ask for a Sprite 4 times before I got it. At one meal I and two other ladies were the last to be served even though we ordered with everyone else. During the first night and subsequent nights where there were cocktail parties. I, as a non-drinker, was not able to get an alternative such as a soft drink or juice to toast with everyone else. I feel I paid for this. I also thought I should be able to get cappuccino in the dining room. When I appeared in the dining room for lunch and dinner there was no one to greet me or help me find a seat. As a SINGLE TRAVELR I had to go from table to table to see if there was a vacancy. I found this to be very humiliating. They advertised free Internet. This I count on to conduct business while I am gone. I even brought my own computer. There was no service during more than half the trip. One of the passengers said they thought there was no service contract in Belgium. When disembarking they called a taxi for me. It cost $25 for a shorter trip than my arrival which was $8.00. The trip was to be special with a tour of Keukenhof. These are the gardens and fields that one sees in photo brochures with stripes of many colors of tulips EXCEPT we arrived a little too late and portions of the fields were cleared away and just dirt was left. My main objective for the cruise was not achieved. Another tour stop, "Floriade" was an exhibition that occurred once a every ten years. The guide dumped us at the gate and disappeared without much of a clue as to what the highlights were. This was also disappointing as it was mainly commercial displays most of which were not very interesting. Personnel who cleaned the room did a good job. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
This is the second small ship we have cruised, with the first one being on the Yangtze River in China. That was wonderful, and I believe it was the same cruise line, but different ship. Let me begin with the positive...the room/bath was ... Read More
This is the second small ship we have cruised, with the first one being on the Yangtze River in China. That was wonderful, and I believe it was the same cruise line, but different ship. Let me begin with the positive...the room/bath was the best we've had on a ship...mostly because of the roomy, full-sized bath. The ship was modern and nice, although a bit sterile feeling. Having said that, the food was lousy and repetitive (had risotto at least four times at different meals during the first two days!), and the staff were rude and unfriendly, with few exceptions. The only friendly staff on board was the cabin stewardess, two bar servers, the chef, and the piano player. Everyone else, including the cruise director, were unfriendly to different degrees. You could tell that most crew members were tired of working and wanted to go home. I won't said that cruise line again, although perhaps other ships would be OK. This was certainly not! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Avalon Affinity Ratings
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