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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise because of the two primary locations of Paris and Prague, two cities we had not visited previously. As our first river cruise, we were extremely impressed with the organization of the timeline. Everything exceeded ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the two primary locations of Paris and Prague, two cities we had not visited previously. As our first river cruise, we were extremely impressed with the organization of the timeline. Everything exceeded our expectations from the service, the size of our cabin and the overall views from the ship. The crew was exceptional! They all made an effort to learn our names quickly and made us feel like we were VIP's. As two of the younger passengers we did feel that the excursions were a bit too slow, but we understood why. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The ship was modern and very well maintained. Our cabin was much larger than we anticipated having been on several ocean cruises, it was exceptionally comfortable. The overall dinning experience was good. The food was tasty and we felt full, but not uncomfortably stuffed. The dinning service improved each day. We thought that the breakfast buffet was a bit crowded due to the set-up area, there just wasn't much room to maneuver around people. The evening entertainers were entertaining, but we enjoyed the crew show more than anything. They really went out of their way to have a good time. We truly enjoyed the happy hour option every evening. Although prices were within a reasonable range, the happy hour prices rocked! It would be nice if happy hour actually lasted more than an hour. TIPS - this is the only thing that annoyed us. Considering what we paid for the cruise we truly feel that the gratuity should have been included. If a crew member went above and beyond, we should have the options of paying extra. No children join us on the cruise and their were no children on board...thank goodness! We definitely plan on river cruising again and with Avalon if the company offers the locations we're wanting to visit. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
I retired about a year ago. My wife and I decided to try a river cruise. Since this was our first such trip, we treated it somewhat as a learning experience. It could not have turned out any better. We met the tour director, Hendrik ... Read More
I retired about a year ago. My wife and I decided to try a river cruise. Since this was our first such trip, we treated it somewhat as a learning experience. It could not have turned out any better. We met the tour director, Hendrik Dadema, in Paris where we assembled and he briefed us on what would happen. After 1-plus days in Paris we zipped to Luxembourg on a TGV and boarded. The welcome was warm and heartfelt - just what we needed. We hadn't planned it this way but we cruised the Moselle and Rhine during harvest time so we were on the fringe of wine festivals along most of the river. Hendrik even used his contacts to have a vintner come aboard for a lecture on wine-making with tastes of his estate wines. All in all, the cruise was an excellent and relating introduction to river journeys - good food and wine, terrific staff, comfortable accommodations, and interesting side trips at stops along the way. For those with a little less mobility, Hendrik even arranged tours for "gentle walkers". We will be back to sample other Avalon offerings. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We choose this cruise because it was only 9 nights, it stayed in Western Europe (Paris to Amsterdam), and it is a smaller ship. Our tour guide, Hendrik Dadema, was great, He paid special attention to each individual and their wants and ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was only 9 nights, it stayed in Western Europe (Paris to Amsterdam), and it is a smaller ship. Our tour guide, Hendrik Dadema, was great, He paid special attention to each individual and their wants and needs. He arranged separate site seeing tours for slower guests. The ship staff was great. The food was exceptional. We were glad that portions were small so we could enjoy many different items each meal. The Mosel River and surrounding hills and villages are beautiful. The wine is from this area very good also. We were sorry that we were not able to take the Panoramic Moselle Drive because there was a wine festival in Bernkastel and they close the roads and the river for the weekend. We signed up for Amsterdam at Night which was an interesting tour. Entertainment by the crew the last night was fantastic. Before the river cruise, we spent 6 days in Amsterdam. After the river cruise, we spent 3 days in Bruge, Belgium (did the De Halve Maan Brewery tour - this was great). Look forward to seeing more of Europe in the future. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
This being my first river cruise, I dont have anything to compare it with. This is a truly lovely boat, only being added to the fleet in 2013. It was immaculately clean and beautifully decorated. The staff were extremely cheerful and ... Read More
This being my first river cruise, I dont have anything to compare it with. This is a truly lovely boat, only being added to the fleet in 2013. It was immaculately clean and beautifully decorated. The staff were extremely cheerful and helpful....nothing was too much trouble. Food was superb, and at each "town"/ "country" they visited they used the local produce. The Cruise director was extremely knowledgeable in the local histories and layout of the towns if you wanted to do your own thing. The only 2 things I can say that I think they could improve on is : the land tours of the towns is a little too commercialized - We would have liked to go a little further into the villages to get more of the local less commercialized crafts. But I guess these tours are all like that. They also need an expresso coffee machine on the 2nd deck for early morning coffees while you are preparing for breakfast. ( There is one on every other deck except that one ) - but only a small downer. As a tip..... you can put your suitcase under the bed... we had a couple of cases between us and we were trying to put the cases out of the way....finding out by another guest that your bags fit under your bed .hahaha.. This River boat company with the floor to ceiling & wall to wall open out doors in your stateroom are just so lovely - a big plus !!!! During our trip we had to park next to a couple of other companies boats.... and Avalons were far roomier.... Would definatley recommend this company - ESPECIALLY this boat.... you will not be disappointed !!!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014

We chose Avalon Waterways for this cruise as it was one of the very few that did not begin or end in Amsterdam. We had a great itinerary, embarking at Passau, Germany and disembarking at Basel, Switzerland. The ship is only about three ... Read More

We chose Avalon Waterways for this cruise as it was one of the very few that did not begin or end in Amsterdam. We had a great itinerary, embarking at Passau, Germany and disembarking at Basel, Switzerland. The ship is only about three years old. The ship was well designed, well constructed and well maintained. The crew treated us very well. The cruise director, Nico, was constantly busy, but always well organized and patient with the many questions and tiny complaints that the guests presented to him. With the understanding that river cruising is very different from ocean cruising, the variety and quality of food was first class. In order to pass through the locks and under bridges, the ships are less than a tenth the size of ocean going ships. This is one of the beauties of river cruising. We had a panorama cabin on the Royal Deck that presented us with an outstanding view of all the scenery as we passed by. While traveling through Europe in mid to late October, we were blessed with very good weather. We had only two cold, rainy days. Some forums discuss the possibility of too high or too low river levels, which would cause the itinerary being modified to delete portions of the cruise. Fortunately we had no problems in this regard. Here is a link to on-line river level reports: https://www.pegelonline.wsv.de/gast/karte/standard

We had only one complaint, shared by many of the passengers, and that was that we nearly always docked at industrial ports far away from the city centers. This complaint was brought up through several channels, and hopefully Avalon will resolve this quickly in the future. Other than this, I highly recommend Avalon Waterways.

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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014

Was ABSOLUTELY impressed!! Avalon Artistry II was the best! This was our first river cruise and I can't really imagine how it could have gone any better.

Getting on the boat, into our room was beyond fast. No issues, no waiting, ... Read More

Was ABSOLUTELY impressed!! Avalon Artistry II was the best! This was our first river cruise and I can't really imagine how it could have gone any better.

Getting on the boat, into our room was beyond fast. No issues, no waiting, just like that we were ready to go.

Meals always served on time, servers were beyond attentive, friendly and accommodating. Always had great meal choices.

Entertainment (Jerry) always had great music to listen/dance to, he was perfect.

The cruise director (Jean Loup D.)went above and beyond making sure we were always on time, he was personable, helpful, great sense of humor. The ships crew treated us like gold, everything was always spic and span, and they made us feel like part of the family. Food was great, although maybe a little bland at times, but I suspect that is because of the average age of the crowd (tend to have more delicate stomachs). Our room was a perfect size and LOVED how the windows slid open to basically make our room into the balcony. Beds and pillows were perfect for us, no issues there. Bathroom great size considering the space they have in order to accommodate all your needs.

Other passengers were always friendly and you almost get to know each and every one.

The towns and excursions we saw and experienced - I am speechless. The history, the people, the culture, the food, the wine(!), the beer(!); we were like kids in a candy store.

The only thing I would suggest is a "late late-risers" breakfast, lol. However, that is one's own fault for not being able to get ready by the end time. I guess we just got too comfortable and felt like we were at home.

Disembarkation was also easy and fast.

I really have absolutely nothing negative to say. This was our first river cruise so we weren't even sure what to expect. What we received out of it though was above and beyond. I cannot say enough about this ship's crew. We will be cruising again, and we are hoping to just follow the Artistry II wherever she goes!

 

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Sail Date: July 2014

We did a cruise that isn't too popular.....we did a land tour beginning in Munich, boarded the ship in Passau, sailing through Germany to Basel, Switzerland. In a word.....WOW!!!

We could not have asked for a better ship, a ... Read More

We did a cruise that isn't too popular.....we did a land tour beginning in Munich, boarded the ship in Passau, sailing through Germany to Basel, Switzerland. In a word.....WOW!!!

We could not have asked for a better ship, a better crew, better tour guides or better co-passengers. Everything Avalon did was top notch! Everyone worked well together and was seamless. The crew were some of the friendliest we've had the pleasure to sail with. They quickly learned our names and preferences and after one day, we never had to ask for anything.....they just brought us whatever we wanted -almost before we knew we wanted it!

Our room was spectacular. We had opted for a "balcony" room and were not disappointed.....but may not do it again. We didn't spend much time in the room, so "aquarium" class would have been fine, but since we had it, we opened the doors and watched the world go by. The bathroom was a nice size and we didn't have to squeeze ourselves into the shower! We did spend a good amount if time topside, but were limited in the beginning by low bridges. The BEST time we had was cruising the Rhine. Our cruise director, Nancy, told the most interesting stories about each castle!

The food was excellent.....we aren't foodies per se, but do enjoy eating.....and eating we did! There was a nice buffet breakfast and lunch (with a cooked to order egg station at breakfast and a warm entree at lunch). There was wine and beer available in an endless cup at dinner and a very nice selection of dishes to choose from. We did a grilled lunch one day top-side and a small plate sampler for dinner one day. Both of those were good.

Excursions were very nice (a tad on the expensive side, but I spent a lot for the vacation and wasn't going to chincy out once there). The local guides were knowledgeable and fun. The individual headsets were a blessing to us....1) DH doesn't hear too well and 2) it allowed me to wander a but or lag behind for a picture and not miss any commentary. They had a "gentle walkers" group for those with mobility issues, which I thought was nice.

I'd heard about docking aside other ships, but we never did that. There was always a dock available and watching the crew put out the ramp was truly amazing! They could put down or pick up the ramp in about 7 minutes.....they were a well oiled team it saw the least!

I would do another Avalon cruise anytime and would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone!!

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014

We have done several river cruises - this the second with Avalon Waterways. It was the best. The weather wasn't so good on the first part and the scenery not as good from Amsterdam to Koblenz but after that it was really beautiful. So ... Read More

We have done several river cruises - this the second with Avalon Waterways. It was the best. The weather wasn't so good on the first part and the scenery not as good from Amsterdam to Koblenz but after that it was really beautiful. So glad we did it with the best part last rather than ending in Amsterdam and having the less interesting stretch of river on the last few days. We did have 3 days in Amsterdam before the cruise and that was also very worth doing. The Mosel River is spectacular - the towns and villages so quaint, those we passed and those we have visited. The Artistry 2 and Avalon staff have been wonderful. The cabins are spacious with full size showers and having the panorama window that opens is fantastic. Food and excellent wines with dinner couldn't be better and tours and talks excellent. The high banks covered in grapevines, many growing on terraces built in Roman times adds something so special. It would be beautiful to travel in their Autumn and see the colours, maybe next time. We had an excellent Cruise Director and that always helps to ensure things go smoothly, and the staff on the whole couldn't have been more helpful and friendly.

The organised tours were very interesting and there was a "slow walkers" group for people with mobility problems which meant the rest of us were not held up. We did purchase a couple of extra optional tours - the only one that was not considered good value was the bicycle ride along the Mosel. Not as well organised as the others. Otherwise we were very happy to add Luxembourg ( why travel so close and not visit? ) we had an excellent guide.

The second part of the Rhine to Basel was really spectacular - very lucky with sunny days - when we sailed through the Rhine Gorge our tour director gave an excellent commentary about each of the castles and towns that we passed. Evenings were enjoyed in the lounge with half-price drinks during happy hour before dinner and excellent wines served during dinner. After dinner, anyone who still had any energy after the very full days were entertained by the on board musician who seemed able to please most dancers with a variety of music. Guest performers gave further variety on a couple of nights. We found the Wi-Fi perfectly satisfactory for emails and looking up details - TV in the cabins allowed us to check up on World News including some of the World Cup Soccer matches - or there were movies for those who could stay awake. Lovely touches like the front office noting any guests celebrating birthdays and providing a cake at dinner and balloons attached to the cabin door. Altogether a wonderful experience that we can certainly recommend. We picked Avalon because the dates suited us but also because the price didn't include alcohol at lunch - with tours in the afternoon we preferred not to drink and get sleepy - but probably would have done " if we were paying for it!". We also enjoyed the "Club" room at the other end of the ship where one could always make a coffee on the coffee machine or tea from a wide selection or enjoy a muffin ( if not already full of food!). Where you could play a game of scrabble or just read any time of the day.

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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2014

Returned from a river cruise on Avalon Waterways Artistry II. This ship is a little over a year old and is very well maintained.

Entertainment on this ship was sparse but it did not bother me. After a full day sightseeing we ... Read More

Returned from a river cruise on Avalon Waterways Artistry II. This ship is a little over a year old and is very well maintained.

Entertainment on this ship was sparse but it did not bother me. After a full day sightseeing we were pretty tired after dinner. One night there was a string trio with a classical guitarist that was delightful. The other passengers were lovely and conversation in the lounge and meeting new people was nice.

The food was plentiful, okay, not great except the cream soups which were fantastic. I have never eaten so many different types of cream soup in a one week period. To be fair, my husband and I are picky eaters and do not eat many things. Wine and beer are included with dinner and the crew kept the glasses full. The breakfast buffet was good as was the lunch buffet.

The most amazing thing about the ship is the crew. When we disembarked, I left a very expensive ring in the cabin and did not realize it until I was at the airport. Everyone was extremely helpful,including the bus driver and the bus dispatcher, The ring was found in the room and it was returned to me. The cruise director, Gusta (sorry about the spelling) was fantastic in organizing the return, the room steward, who I assume found it and turned it in was amazing. I will be forever grateful to these wonderful people and Avalon should be extremely proud of their employees.

While everything on board the ship was great, the touring part of the trip was not very good. In Antwerp, Ghent and Maastricht, were started touring at 8:30AM when nothing is open and finished in about an hour and a half, then given about 45 minutes on our own. I believe we should have been allowed more time in these ports. Part of this hurried touring I am sure was because the cruise line wanted to sell optional tours. In Ghent we could stay downtown, but at other locations we had to get back on board because they were moving the ship. I was a long way to travel to see nothing, especially in a city like Antwerp where there is alot to see. We spent half a day in Veere to see a dyke which I felt would be better suited to a middle school trip. It is a very impressive dyke but really not that interesting unless you are an engineer.

While most of the local guides were fine, we had a bad experience visiting the Ryksmuseum in Amsterdam. The guide took us to the wrong gate, left the vouchers on the bus and basically wasted an hour of a three hour trip. She also was the guide in the museum and I believe she was making up the commentary as she went along. She pointed out a candlestick in one of the old master paintings and told us that the artist painted it as a phallus "to be used for the same purpose that President Clinton used the cigar in the oval office." It just went on and on. If they didnt have a qualified guide available, they should have told us and let us look at the paintings at our own pace.

Would I take another Avalon cruise? Maybe. I would investigate the time in each port very thoroughly before booking.

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Avalon Artistry II Ratings
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