The Avalon Poetry 2 is a very pretty smaller ship. The staterooms are very nice and the bathroom is the nicest of any cruise vessel I have been on. Everything is immaculately clean. The angling of the bed to look out the window is ... Read More
The Avalon Poetry 2 is a very pretty smaller ship. The staterooms are very nice and the bathroom is the nicest of any cruise vessel I have been on. Everything is immaculately clean. The angling of the bed to look out the window is wonderful. The window opening to make the stateroom into a balcony is also very nice. The downside, is not being able to keep window or curtains open while docked next to another boat. This is a well known problem with river cruising. Lots of ships and only limited places to dock. You may be stacked up several deep and have to walk through a few to get off. One very annoying thing, is the extremely loud intercom messages you receive in your stateroom. Often as early as 7 am. and thru out the day. It is intrusive and gives you the vibe of being herded and every minute planned. Since this is my first River cruise, I don't know if that is standard practice. On ocean cruises, this only seems to happen in public areas. There is good closet space and the bed is comfortable.
The food has varied from horrible to very good. If food is your big thing, I would look into another line. For the price of the cruise, it seems nit picky and cheap that they do not include wine or beer at lunch. However, your glass is never empty at dinner. Cocktails etc are reasonable at the bar and there is a happy hour, daily.
It seemed like the included tours would justify a higher price point. In reality they are a slow walk around the local area with a guide and listening devices.
You could easily do this yourself and not have to keep up with the glacially slow pace. We thought we could start with them and then go off on our own if we wanted. 90% of the time on this southern France itinerary the ship moves to the next port as soon as you leave for the tour and you are bused to the next location, so not possible to do your own thing without risking missing the bus. Very disappointing.
The 3 wine tasting/ countryside optional (paid) tours were very nice and reasonably priced. Still, for the price, it seems they could have been included.
I believe they are on some River cruise lines. Next time I would research a bit more thoroughly.
Fellow passengers are, as expected, older. My dyed red hair, stuck out like a sore thumb in a sea of white locks. There are many groups of friends and families traveling together. While everyone is friendly, Australians, Canadians, etc seem to stick together. It becomes tiring listening to boring or laughable opinions while eating. There are no tables for two. We found we could sit in one table for 4 in the corner and generally no one else would sit there. Our cruise was not full. So one might have to deal with endless conversation. Some will love it, just wasn't something I wanted to do all the time. Part of river cruising, like it or not. No one dresses up. Don't worry about your clothing. Many of the older men, dressed like they were going out golfing, rain or shine. Once or twice they said no shorts at dinner.
That was about it for any dress code.
We have done about 20 ocean cruises, most of them on the smaller sized ships of Oceania, or Azamara, also tried Windstar. In the end I personally prefer the ambience. However, it's hard to beat the experience of floating down a river, watching swans and birds, seeing charming villages and castles.
The area of Southern France is really beautiful and I highly recommend the itinerary. The down side is the several changes of plans and this is when the weather is beautiful. Don't fall in love with one certain place as you may not end up going there. There is way toomuch bus time, in my opinion. I know from reading other reviews that many cruises turn into a bus trip. It's easy to see once you are on a river. Not just the river boat companies we see advertised in the US, but many,many others. Lots of traffic. Our very nice cruise director, a Jean Loup, said they need more rivers, not more ships. True words.
Would I do it again? I would have to give it some thought. The idea of it is fabulous, but the changeability of weather, river level, flooding etc. and constant changes of port stays, make it a harder decision. Read Less