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23 Avalon Waterways Arles Cruise Reviews

Wanted to do a river cruise in Europe and found this one specializing in wine tasting. We had never gone on an Avalon or river cruise before. We absolutely loved it. Everything was taken care of. We felt pampered from start to finish. ... Read More
Wanted to do a river cruise in Europe and found this one specializing in wine tasting. We had never gone on an Avalon or river cruise before. We absolutely loved it. Everything was taken care of. We felt pampered from start to finish. The staff on the ship were superb. The cabin was small but adequate since we spent so little time there. The food and wine were excellent. The activities both on and off the ship were incredible. The guides and entertainers were exceptional. We learned a lot of history, wine and food knowledge, and just had a great time. We had issues with the river being too high so the cruise director had to make a lot of last minute changes. These changes did not have an impact on our experience. We still got to participate in all the excursions that we had signed up for and in fact got access to an excursion that was new (and it was incredible). Communication was exceptional and we knew exactly what was happening and when. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Our expectations for our cruise on the Rhone were high, but to our surprise Avalon exceeded these expectations consistently. The Poetry II provided superb accommodations in the Room 308 Royal Suite. Housekeeping and the wait staff were ... Read More
Our expectations for our cruise on the Rhone were high, but to our surprise Avalon exceeded these expectations consistently. The Poetry II provided superb accommodations in the Room 308 Royal Suite. Housekeeping and the wait staff were professional, thorough, and met any request quickly and completely. I would like to single out Jean-Loup Domart, our cruise director. He was professional, entertaining and totally focused on each guest and their comfort and satisfaction with all aspects of the cruise. Specifically, we were astounded by his follow-up on a personal problem that arose. We lost a souvenir hat on the ship and did not realize it until we were in Paris. Jean-Loup took our contact information and said that he would look into it. A month later, I received an email from him saying that the hat was found and he was shipping it to my home. Truly service above and beyond expectations. Jean-Loup represents the guest focus of Avalon and their goal to provide a superb cruise experience from food service, to meaningful and entertaining shore excursions. The typical guestroom is occupied by a couple whose age range is from 40 to 80. Most guests are in their late 60's to early 70's. Most guest are active and energetic and engage in offered activities. It was a diverse crowd form the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Finding a friendly and sometimes entertaining conversation was never an issue and dining companions were diverse and interesting. My wife and I would recommend and Avalon cruise and look forward to future trips on different rivers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Firstly a disclaimer this is our first river cruise although we have done a number of cruises on small ships Azamara, Oceana. We embarked in Arle and then went downstream 1 hour to the Camarge. The active excursion by bike was great. ... Read More
Firstly a disclaimer this is our first river cruise although we have done a number of cruises on small ships Azamara, Oceana. We embarked in Arle and then went downstream 1 hour to the Camarge. The active excursion by bike was great. Day 2 back to Arle ( where we had independently spent a day) the excursion was great hiking up a limestone mountain and seeing a Van Gogh audiovisual presentation inside a building with images projected onto limestone. Day 3 meandered upstream to Avignon and went to an amazing chocolate factory. So overall the excursions were good to great.. The food was not impressive compared to the other small cruise ships we had been on. One meal the menu offering was a rack of lamb but this turned out to be 2 lamb chops. Several passengers asked the waiter for the rest of their rack of lamb. The cabin we chose the highest level stateroom was nice. Entertainment on board was very limited. One night they had a great group of performers with spanish guitar, and 2 dancers. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Heard Avalon provided a very good river cruise. Had an excellent cruise director (Gayle Walter) and a very attentive crew. The trip was very organized and comfortable. Delicious food. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and friendly. A ... Read More
Heard Avalon provided a very good river cruise. Had an excellent cruise director (Gayle Walter) and a very attentive crew. The trip was very organized and comfortable. Delicious food. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and friendly. A very relaxing way to see France. Disembarkation & embarkation went very smoothly. The crew had very good communication skills and were also just a lot of fun. My only criticism was the front lounge was far too cold all the time. Someone needed to turn down the air conditioning. We really enjoyed the included walking tours. Although the optional shore excursions are advertised far more effectively. While the hotels were beautiful, it wasn’t too encouraging to have a room at the Carlton in Cannes with a view of pipes and dirty standing water. At the same time the Carlton’s restaurant was terrific. I did not care for the old food caked onto the folding knife provided at the in-room bar. Gross! Seems to be a housekeeping issue. Loved everything about the Paris hotel. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
On the Rhone and the Saone in France. No big noisy cities, just quaint towns and villages, interesting experiences, and pastoral views. Avalon's ships have the most spacious staterooms with plenty of storage and deluxe bathrooms. ... Read More
On the Rhone and the Saone in France. No big noisy cities, just quaint towns and villages, interesting experiences, and pastoral views. Avalon's ships have the most spacious staterooms with plenty of storage and deluxe bathrooms. The crew and cruise director were all outstanding - so friendly and helpful. A very relaxing atmosphere. Love the excursions where you actually DO something - visit to an olive farm to see how olive oil is made, then sampling a variety of different olive oils; visit to vineyards and a chateau winery with a wine tasting; onboard cheese and mustard tasting. Onboard entertainment of modern flamenco group was so much fun. I would recommend this cruise to anyone who is tired of seeing big cities with lots of monuments and statues and wants to see the real places where people live and work. I especially love that there are so many choices of excursions - something for everyone. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I chose this cruise because of the interactive events, Bike Riding, hiking, wine tasting in a cave, wine tasting and hiking, wine tasting and bike riding, helicopter ride over the South of France visiting the enchanting port cities along ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the interactive events, Bike Riding, hiking, wine tasting in a cave, wine tasting and hiking, wine tasting and bike riding, helicopter ride over the South of France visiting the enchanting port cities along the Rhone River. Also because of the ship size there was an intimate # of guests on the cruise. I met some really incredible people I know call friends. The off ship excursions were wonderful. Experiencing activities that I would not have access to with out being on this marvelous cruise. Bike Riding to the Salt Marshes and viewing the Birds in the Sanctuary there. Bike riding to Pont du Gard then wine tasting, Kayaking and canoeing was so refreshing! Visiting the Chateau Montmfia, taking a tour of their facilities and seeing the surrounding countryside was magical. Hiking up Le Hermitage and more wine tasting, Chateau Pont de nuef and more wine tasting, Hiking into an underground cave and more wine tasting!! Having the opportunity to paint in the Van Gogh style in a studio in Arles was as if i was channeling my inner child. Traveling through the locks on the Rhone with our Captain was a remarkable feat! The food on the ship was delicious and there was always a varied selection. The service was outstanding, the staff would not let you lift a finger. They say to our every need. They were all very friendly and genuine. Our cabin was very comfortable and had full sliding windows so we could enjoy the view while sailing. Our room was always put in order and the beds turned down when we wished to retire. For these reasons and many more I would go again and highly recommend Avalon Cruises. Thank you for such a memorable visit!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We were very pleased with Avalon when we cruised with Avalon 2 years ago. We knew we would want to travel with Avalon again. Everyone from hotel personnel to all ship personnel were so helpful, pleasant and made the experience special. The ... Read More
We were very pleased with Avalon when we cruised with Avalon 2 years ago. We knew we would want to travel with Avalon again. Everyone from hotel personnel to all ship personnel were so helpful, pleasant and made the experience special. The cruise director, Tony was available and very personable. We enjoyed the excursions, the guides were exceptional. A real bonus was meeting new friends. We liked the mustard and cheese tasting. Seemed like on other cruise there was more entertainment and programs about the area. We would recommend that people consider , be encouraged to allow a day or two before embarking. We had a very long day of flying, 4 legs, so our first day we were so tired we missed some of the information shared. We would recommend Avalon and this cruise. It all began with our excellent travel agent, Nancy Warner. She was always helpful, assisting with our questions. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We travel to Europe twice a year and have taken a number of river boat cruises. This particular cruise seemed interesting so we booked it. The side trip to Monaco for several days was very pleasant and we took 2 of the recommended bus ... Read More
We travel to Europe twice a year and have taken a number of river boat cruises. This particular cruise seemed interesting so we booked it. The side trip to Monaco for several days was very pleasant and we took 2 of the recommended bus tours both of which were excellent. The staff on the Poetry II were friendly and attentive. The dining room serving staff were particularly pleasant, very attentive to all needs and never let our wine glasses get empty. Our cruise director kept us informed daily with port information, tours and accessory places to see. he was exceptionally good. The bar staff, particularly at happy hour, were quite good, worked fast and always had a smile for the patrons. The duration of the offered tours was excellent; none of them were too long and care was always taken to be sure we arrived back at the boat for lunch or dinner. Very pleasant cruise all around. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We met two other couples in Monaco and traveled together after meeting on a previous sail throughout Tahiti. We selected Avalon because of the stops, the amenities and the reviews of other cruisers. We were not disappointed. We were ... Read More
We met two other couples in Monaco and traveled together after meeting on a previous sail throughout Tahiti. We selected Avalon because of the stops, the amenities and the reviews of other cruisers. We were not disappointed. We were thrilled with the itinerary, the excursions and the surprise entertainment. We felt Tony, our cruise director, really made an effort to get to know us and extended us great hospitality. We especially enjoyed the walking tours included in the cruise. We found the local guided to be knowledgeable, friendly and spoke English well. They always had a fun nugget to share that stayed with us after our departure. The one excursion we thought was lacking was the trip to Chateneau de Pape. Perhaps we expected too much but would have preferred more time to taste in the village. We thought the winery we were taken to was subpar and while the hostess was sweet, she really didn’t take the time to explain the wine, how is ages and what to look for in the young wines we were tasting. It would have been nice to actually taste a bottle ready to drink to compare the differences. A lite snack would have been nice too, even if the excursion cost more. We would have liked a guided yoga or mediation session on deck to begin each day. We especially enjoyed the barbecue lunch on deck, lots of fun and tasty. All the food was prepared to our specifications and was great quality. It was especially nice to have wine available at lunch and dinner as well. Overall the crew was very helpful, friendly and we felt like they really made us feel like home. Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
The region is of great interest to me. The culinary and wine experience was an important reason for my selecting this cruise. I have been on the Danube cruise and am aware of the excellent service provided by Avalon. The food was well ... Read More
The region is of great interest to me. The culinary and wine experience was an important reason for my selecting this cruise. I have been on the Danube cruise and am aware of the excellent service provided by Avalon. The food was well planned and executed with a lot of choices. The fruits and veggies were fresh. The main courses were inspired by local cuisine. The desserts were also delicious . The wine selections were very well done concentrating on local wines. The Rhone region is well known for their wines . A nice feature of the cruise was that we had an on board sommelier for a few days. He gave us an excellent review of wines from the region and provided very useful general information on various wines. The wine tours were great as well especially the Beaujolais tour. The cruise director did an outstanding job considering the fact that she had to coordinate several activities and schedules for various people. Lastly the tours of the small towns as well as Lyon was very well done Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. It is our 4th with Avalon and they did not disappoint. The ship was well appointed and our cabin was roomy enough for the two of us. Food choices were many and we took advantage of ordering many items ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. It is our 4th with Avalon and they did not disappoint. The ship was well appointed and our cabin was roomy enough for the two of us. Food choices were many and we took advantage of ordering many items we had never eaten before, such as escargots! The crew did a good job and at times appeared to be a new crew with regard to time working together, but no hitches. Our only feedback is we really wanted more port time and at times felt hurried to get back to the bus instead of spending time soaking up more of the lovely towns, especially Beaunne. The transfer in Dijon to the TGV to Paris was very disorganized especially for those never traveling in Europe by train. However, we all made it to Paris! The temperatures during this cruise were well above normal with days reaching in the high 90's. Avalon provided lots of bottled water to keep everyone hydrated while out and about on excursions. We would definitely take another Avalon river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I've seen very little of France and this cruise offered important historical sites such as Arles and Avignon. I'd also never been on a riverboat cruise and I wanted to "test" it out.... and it passed, as I am likely to ... Read More
I've seen very little of France and this cruise offered important historical sites such as Arles and Avignon. I'd also never been on a riverboat cruise and I wanted to "test" it out.... and it passed, as I am likely to try another Avalon cruise in France and/or The Netherlands-Belgium cruise. I had spent several days in Paris on my own prior to going the group at the Carlton in Cannes, and I met a couple at my hotel in Paris who'd just been on an Avalon cruise and raved about it. The cabin was comfortable and, since I'm interested in "small-space" design, very efficiently and thoughtfully designed, with excellent storage. The excursions into the historical sites really made the trip for me, as I love history and art/architecture (I just wish the church of St Trophime in Arles had been accessible for viewing when I was there, but as a Sunday service was ongoing, it was not appropriate to go in and take pictures.) All the great Roman remains were just fantastic to view.... I recall studying some of them in college, especially Pont du Gard. I loved the small medieval towns we walked through, and the tour guides were very thorough in their commentary and answered questions as they came up The food on the cruise was always great, with varied selections. As a non-drinker, there was only one time when I felt pressured for not ordering a drink in the lounge. The crew were always friendly and helpful. Some of the "sidebar" visits by regional locals were very informative, such as the cheese tasting (and the opportunity to get some great local mustards). The cruise director also made sure everyone knew what was going on and what to expect, and patiently answered all of our questions. She even made sure we made it onto our respective buses once we arrived at the train station in Paris, in order to get us to the hotel for our final stay in Paris. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was our second cruise on the Rhone/Seine with Avalon. A great experience, great food and all on board were very accommodating. This was a Jazz themed cruise so we had plenty of different musicians on board. Including the Gypsy Kings ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Rhone/Seine with Avalon. A great experience, great food and all on board were very accommodating. This was a Jazz themed cruise so we had plenty of different musicians on board. Including the Gypsy Kings one night. Every day we were in a different port and given a well planned tour at each stop. In addition there were optional tours to some very interesting places. The dinning room tables are set up to encourage meeting new people. In fact we met some wonderful people that we connected with and will be sure to stay in contact with. Our Cruise Director was very personable, informative and totally on top of things. The entire crew was ultra polite and could not be more accommodating, including the Captain. This was our third River cruise and would highly recommend Avalon and France for a great vacation experience. Love Southern France Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
The price was great and we had never been on a river cruise. The food was great and the wine was plentiful. The shore excursions were informative and just long enough. The jazz groups each stop were great. The staff was wonderful. ... Read More
The price was great and we had never been on a river cruise. The food was great and the wine was plentiful. The shore excursions were informative and just long enough. The jazz groups each stop were great. The staff was wonderful. Very attentive and personable. Our cruise director did a great job of keeping us informed and, when the train to Paris was on strike, arranged bus transportation. We were also impressed with Pretrip information packet we received that covered everything we needed to know before the trip. We also scheduled transfers from Nice to Monaco and from Paris to CDG Airport and they were on time. We also enjoyed having time in Monte Carlo at the beginning and Paris at the end of the cruise. We should add that we really like that so much is included in the price (excursions in each stop and drinks with each meal, etc). This is not the case on ocean cruises. We definitely plan to take another river cruise probably on the Danube. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Everything about this cruise surpassed my expectations. Once we arrived in Cannes at the Carlton our worries were over. We were informed and escorted through every phase of our itinerary. When we arrived on our ship we were made to feel ... Read More
Everything about this cruise surpassed my expectations. Once we arrived in Cannes at the Carlton our worries were over. We were informed and escorted through every phase of our itinerary. When we arrived on our ship we were made to feel at home by everyone on the ship. From our guest room to the professionalism of our crew it was a pleasurable and relaxed atmosphere everyday. They always went out of their way to accommodate our needs. It was our first cruise and we will treasure the experience the rest of our lives. The food and drink were always above par and we did not want to leave the ship at the end of our stay! Ha!. We especially enjoyed the walking tours and the guides were knowledgeable and helpful. All the little extra thoughtful planning that went into every excursion was so appreciated. We felt well cared for all the way. Cannot thank you all enough for the trip of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Great staff and knowledgeable... - Very well thought out ship of space and still be "simple elegant" style - Cruise director "Tony" was awesome - Food was well matched to the region along with wines - ... Read More
Great staff and knowledgeable... - Very well thought out ship of space and still be "simple elegant" style - Cruise director "Tony" was awesome - Food was well matched to the region along with wines - each of the offered activities where well planned and informative Very enjoyable trip, great opportunists to see the region with out lots of travel time moving from hotel to hotel - Avalon is a "first class" run business at a great price value. These River Boats are great for adult family getaways with activities provided along with time to reconnect with family members. If traveling alone or with couples the staff does a great job of having everyone feel welcome. Anyone looking at these trips need to remember to book in advance as trips sell out quickly. Traveling on river ships, allows a great way to see the the true European Cities and experience the culture. Be sure to arrange these trips with a travel agent who truly understands River Ships - they are a wealth of additional information. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose Avalon based on experiences from other friends and relatives. They all rave about how good Avalon cruises are- and we agree! The port stops were excellent. We even had a special organ recital at a beautiful cathedral in France. ... Read More
We chose Avalon based on experiences from other friends and relatives. They all rave about how good Avalon cruises are- and we agree! The port stops were excellent. We even had a special organ recital at a beautiful cathedral in France. The tour guides are so good. They use the portable audio sets and ear buds which work perfectly. Guides were excellent from the local area and really know the history of their towns. The tour group sizes are reasonable and transportation was comfortable and always organized. The cruise director was so good. He was informative and always on top of every detail. The pre and post hotels were excellent. The hotel in Paris had a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower from our balcony. The service and food was the best. I can’t imagine any river cruise better than Avalon. I would do this same cruise all over again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
First night hotel in Monte Carlo then a four hour coach ride the following day to pick up our ship in Arles, in fact it took over 5 hours because of a crash on the motorway! Ships crew were there to welcome us on board and as we were ... Read More
First night hotel in Monte Carlo then a four hour coach ride the following day to pick up our ship in Arles, in fact it took over 5 hours because of a crash on the motorway! Ships crew were there to welcome us on board and as we were late dinner was delayed but we had no time to shower and change! Cabin excellent and liked the position of the bed facing the window, nice to lie in bed and watch the world go by. Cabin furniture a bit dark and dated compared to more contemporary designs on other river cruises we have travelled. Spotlessly clean and the cabin steward was very helpful when I complained that the pillow was too soft, she managed to find me a firm one. Food and wine excellent, service attentive. Relaxed dining experience and not rushed in any way. On board entertainment good, enjoyed the local foods sample bought on board at Viviers. Daily pre dinner talk of the next day activities and port of call always informative. Service excellent, everyone very friendly and professional and eager to make the trip a memorable experience for us. Shore excursions guides were all knowledgeable and made the excursions very interesting and fun. Shore excursions about the right length of time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Chose itinerary. Loved Provence countryside. Guided tours were always well paced, informative, and the guides were pleasant and very entertaining. The ship was contemporary simple; beautiful really with all the orchids scattered about. ... Read More
Chose itinerary. Loved Provence countryside. Guided tours were always well paced, informative, and the guides were pleasant and very entertaining. The ship was contemporary simple; beautiful really with all the orchids scattered about. Can't say enough about the responsiveness of all staff on the ship. Cruise director, Tony, was outstanding, very involved, always a presence, and attentive to any questions or issues. Our bags were handled every step of the way; from our arrival to our departure. We enjoyed onboard tastings....cheese, wine, and confections. As a frequent large ship cruiser I found the river cruise by comparison to be more relaxing, the ship more friendly, the service more personal. No problems with motion sickness as the ride was smooth and motionless. The many locks along the way were a surprise and added to our adventure. A few hours at an outdoor market offered up fresh bread, cheese, dried meats, honey, nugat, and fresh picked strawberries and other produce. Thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and will consider this type of adventure again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Our cruise upstream on the Rhone was perfect. It is a part of France that is less known but the off ship excursions were consistently interesting and the local guides very knowledgeable and also added many personal anecdotes to add to the ... Read More
Our cruise upstream on the Rhone was perfect. It is a part of France that is less known but the off ship excursions were consistently interesting and the local guides very knowledgeable and also added many personal anecdotes to add to the official history. In particular we enjoyed the tours of Perouges and Beanne, but all were worthwhile. On the ship we were spoiled by consistently high quality food and the room was well maintained by Anna our housekeeper. The focal point of the cruise was our cruise director John Lupe who managed all of the off ship excursions and also provided information on each locality before we arrived. Jean Lupe set a high standard from the moment we met him in Monaco until our final farewell in Dijon. The entire crew of the Avalon Poetry II are a credit to Avalon and I would not hesitate to do the whole cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We took the river cruise as part of our European holiday to celebrate our 50th. The cabin offered everything we required but the best part was our chamber maid Christina, who greeted us everyday with a smile and determination to see ... Read More
We took the river cruise as part of our European holiday to celebrate our 50th. The cabin offered everything we required but the best part was our chamber maid Christina, who greeted us everyday with a smile and determination to see that our every need was looked after! I still miss her upbeat personality! When I left Christina the laundry, it was back that night folded and on hangers...and not expensive at all! The quality of the food and wine were superb and even though we had a rookie waiter, other staff were always there to help him out! The service was excellent, the only negative was the limited number of tours available for disabled guests. The tour to Chateau neuf du pape was the best for us as we were able to handle the walking! The people we met on board both staff and other guests were the highlight of our cruise! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
For those who are interested, dailies from the cruise are posted at: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0nz16ahW1fiaE9FVGtxbEpoWjA Air Travel: We were booked on Air France, but 3 of our four flights were on Delta. This led to some ... Read More
For those who are interested, dailies from the cruise are posted at: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0nz16ahW1fiaE9FVGtxbEpoWjA Air Travel: We were booked on Air France, but 3 of our four flights were on Delta. This led to some confusion with seating, but we were able to go online to upgrade to Economy Comfort. The one Air France flight was from Paris Orly to New York. If you have TSA Pre, beware of foreign carriers since they generally don’t do TSA Pre, and you may have to endure long security lines on return to the US. Also, we found Orly to be a bad airport and will avoid it in the future. Arrivals: We were greeted immediately at the Nice airport when we exited passport control. After a short wait for two other couples arriving on the same flight, we boarded a van and were transported to our hotel in Cannes. Demographics: There were only 73 passengers on a ship that can accommodate 128 people. The group was fairly evenly split between Americans, Brits, Canadians, and Australians. Ages generally ranged from 50s to 70s. Cabin service: The cabins were serviced daily. On arrival we requested that our minibar be cleared out so that we could store our own beverages there, and the request was quickly carried out. L’Occitane products were replenished as needed. Turndown service was provided each evening during dinner with the next day’s activity sheet placed on the bed. Lounge: With only 73 passengers, the lounge was never crowded. Seating was comfortable, and décor was pleasant—somewhere between the rather stark décor on Viking longships and Uniworld’s often over-the-top style. The keyboard player was good and never“overpowered” the room. Bar service was generally quick and courteous. While Avalon is not fully inclusive, they do feature a happy hour every evening beginning about an hour before dinner time with all drinks half price. There was also an afternoon tea with coffee tea and sweets served around 4:00 p.m. every day. The Club Lounge at the rear of the ship had a coffee machine, along with cookies and pastries all day. It could seat as many as 30 people, but it was never crowded. It also housed the ship’s library with books and board games. It was a nice place to relax with a book and a coffee and perhaps to enjoy an afternoon nap. Sun deck: The Avalon ships have one very nice feature—a split level sun deck. The area of the sun deck in front of the wheel house was a couple of feet lower than the main sun deck. The lower sun deck would seat as many as 30 people. This meant that even when the main sun deck was closed due to low bridges—we cleared one bridge with only 2 inches to spare—one could sit on the front deck and enjoy the scenery. It’s worth noting that there were two additional outdoor seating areas. There was a very comfortable area at the front of the ship with glass barriers to shield passengers from the wind. There was also a smoker’s area the stern with seating for a few people, but even when there were no smokers, diesel fumes could be bad. Restaurant: The restaurant was typical for a river ship, located close to the water level on the front of the ship. With the small number of passengers, seating was never a problem. Arrangements varied from tables for 2 to 6 people (although tables for two were very close to each other). Service was always good with complimentary wine, beer, and soft drinks included with lunch and dinner. Breakfast: Again, breakfast was typical for a river cruise, with a large buffet set. Breads were purchased fresh each day in towns we visited along the river. In addition to the buffet items, there was a cook preparing omelets and eggs to order. One new item for us was a large section of honeycomb mounted so that its honey drained into a bowl. Guests could take the honey or cut of a section of the comb loaded with honey if they wanted. Early- (6:30-7:00) and late- (9:00-10:00)risers breakfasts were served in the lounge. Lunch: Again, lunch was the typical river cruise buffet. In addition to lunch in the restaurant, a reduced-menu lunch was served in the lounge. For a couple of days, the chef grilled (burgers, chicken, salmon) on the sun deck. Dinner: Dinners were very good and the service excellent. We did not take advantage of Avalon’s special tasting menu that was served in the lounge. We did try a couple of the new Avalon Fresh vegetarian items from the Wrenkh brothers and found them very tasty. Excursions: We took part in all of the included tours, although we did do a little free lance touring. In Lyon, I left the tour after visiting the Basilica at the top of Fourviere hill in order to visit the Roman museum just down the street (if you do this, remember that the museum doesn’t open until 11:00 a.m.). After about an hour in the museum, I walked back to the ship (2 miles) and got there in plenty of time for lunch. Also in Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage I totally skipped the tour and did a quick walk (about 1¼ miles one way) to the Valrhona chocolate factory and shop. If you’re a quick walker and chocolate fan, I highly recommend the shop (the factory tour gets mixed reviews). They have tons of free samples and when I checked out, the clerk stuck several extra items in my sack! The only included excursions that involved bus trip were in Lyon and Paris, but most of the optionals involved a bus trip toand from the attraction. Optional Excursions: Due to the fact that DW was recovering from a broken ankle and had only been walking unassisted for a week, we skipped all of the optional excursions except for the Pont du Gard. Friends who took more of the excursions spoke highly of some of the wine tastings and Le Baux and Perouges. The Nice tour didn’t get very good reviews. Cruising Day: It’s worth mentioning that unlike most lines that end the northbound Rhone cruise in Chalon, Avalon continues up the Saone to the little village of St. Jean de Losne (population 1,200). We enjoyed this peaceful day of cruising (there were optional excursions as well) with a very nice cheese tasting on board in the afternoon. Alcohol: We’re not wine experts,and we found the complimentary wine served at lunch and dinner fine. We usually took advantage of the nightly happy hour (bar drinks half price) to enjoy a drink before dinner. Pre-Cruise: We flew into Nice, arriving around 10:30, and were promptly driven to Cannes where our room in the Carleton Intercontinental was ready. So we had a full afternoon and morning to explore the city (with limitations due to DW’s ankle). A bus left a t1:20 for Arles with a rest stop along the way, arriving at Arles around 4:30. Post Cruise: After touring Beaune we were bused to the Lyon train station where we boarded the TGV for ashort trip to Paris. We were then bused to the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand—across the street from the opera. Since we’d done Paris bus tours, we did Paris on our own with trips to the Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, l’Orangerie, and other sites.Walking was challenging due to lots of streets being blocked off for filming of the new Mission Impossible movie, but we did get to see Tom Cruise whiz by on a motorbike! Overall: This was another great Avalon cruise for us. Cruise director Tony and the entire crew made it fun, relaxing, and enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
My mother, at the age of 89, said she always wanted to see France. After several days in Paris, we travelled south with our tour group by fast rail to Dijon, then by motor coach to board our river boat, Poetry II. We were greeted with ... Read More
My mother, at the age of 89, said she always wanted to see France. After several days in Paris, we travelled south with our tour group by fast rail to Dijon, then by motor coach to board our river boat, Poetry II. We were greeted with drinks and discussion by our cruise director and staff. At our room we found our luggage already waiting for us, as well as fruit, wine and other delightful edibles. Our stateroom had floor to ceiling, wall-to-wall view of the countryside and cities along the river. All meals offerd a variety of food, all very fresh, and included wine and other beverages. The waitstaff was unfailingly attentive. In the evening we enjoyed live musical entertainment of different kinds from local performers. Other activites included discussions regarding French history and culture, all illuminating and fun. The port and shore excurions were well run, with very charming and informative guides. (No children were on this cruise). I would definitely travel this way again and recommend it to others. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
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