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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We had a wonderful experience on Poetry II. The intercontinental hotel in Nice was fabulous. We were right on the The Mediterranean and had a lovely time befor we got on the ship. We also stayed in the Intercontinental in Paris and ... Read More
We had a wonderful experience on Poetry II. The intercontinental hotel in Nice was fabulous. We were right on the The Mediterranean and had a lovely time befor we got on the ship. We also stayed in the Intercontinental in Paris and that was equally as nice and in a wonderful location. Once on the ship the room food was excellent, the staff outstanding and the excursions were informative and enjoyable. We went with great friends and made some new friends that we really enjoyed and hope to see again. The cocktail hour was very popular for us as we got together with friends and discussed the day. We enjoyed the entertainment that was provided and took part in all that was offered to us. The staff was extremely helpful and always available for questions. We appreciated the meeting helps almost every nigh keeping us on target for what was expected of us. This was our second Avalon Cruise and we would do it again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
The ship looked appealing. The trip was where we wanted to travel. We tied this in to a bus trip in France also. We spent almost a month in France and thought this would be a good choice to finish our stay. the stateroom was very nice. ... Read More
The ship looked appealing. The trip was where we wanted to travel. We tied this in to a bus trip in France also. We spent almost a month in France and thought this would be a good choice to finish our stay. the stateroom was very nice. i liked that you could see the river from your bed. Unless of course you were docked side by side with another ship. That at times was disappointing. the ship excursions were for the most part very good. A dinner the last night near Nice was not worth the time or money. The service at the restuarant was terrible. the thing that most stands out was the crew. They were excellent. Everyone of them were friendly and very accomadating. You could not have put together a better crew. I have already recommended Avalon to our travel representative. I am sure if we choose another river cruise in the future it would be with you. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Avalon Waterways River Cruise Line lived up to its reputation as an excellent tour company with their client's best interests at heart. Our trip was called Grand France Northbound and we experienced two different Avalon ships: Poetry 11 ... Read More
Avalon Waterways River Cruise Line lived up to its reputation as an excellent tour company with their client's best interests at heart. Our trip was called Grand France Northbound and we experienced two different Avalon ships: Poetry 11 and Tapestry 11. We flew from Toronto and landed in Nice, France. Avalon picked us up at the airport and from this point all our needs were taken care of. Our excursion started in Monaco, Monte Carlo. Since jet lag is always an issue with us, we booked an extra day at the Fairmont Hotel in Monte Carlo. I recommend more days if you can, just to explore the area. I wrote a complimentary review on Trip Advisor for you to read about this hotel. From there, we had a rather long bus ride to Arles where we picked up our Avalon ship, the Poetry 11. The highlight for us was the suite rooms which introduced a new innovative concept with the larger balcony. Having experienced a lot of rain on this excursion, the sliding door balcony was an added touch because we still had a beautiful visual of our river travel. The staff were outstanding, very accommodating and friendly. Boris the Maitre de was amazing. Thomas, Mariska, Bogdan, Gabriel and Iyu, our waiters, went out of their way to make our stay perfect. Working those long hours I don't know how they maintained their upbeat personality and attentiveness to our every need. Our Cruise Director, Yvette, was always on the go making sure all our excursions went smoothly. Our cabin boy, Jerry, kept the cabin immaculate and greeted us with a smile and a hello every day. We booked the Grand France Northbound so this was the first half of our trip. The second half would be with the Tapestry 11. Personally, I found this portion of the trip the most interesting. Even though we had some rain, I thought the attractions were more noteworthy on this route. Also, we had some unforeseeable events happen during the Tapestry 11 sailing which I will discuss separately in another review. For us, it is important that the staff are friendly and helpful. The Poetry 11 crew were excellent at their job and made our voyage very memorable. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014

This is the first time we ventured on a river cruise with a total of 18 friends in our group. Our group has travelled extensively both on land and ocean and live in 3 different continents: North America, Australia and Asia.

The ... Read More

This is the first time we ventured on a river cruise with a total of 18 friends in our group. Our group has travelled extensively both on land and ocean and live in 3 different continents: North America, Australia and Asia.

The food quality was by far the biggest disappointment. There was very limited selection during breakfast and dinner. Breakfast options were the exact same 7 days straight. You could tell they recycled the leftover food from the morning and serve it at night. Also, they misrepresented the size of prawns and type of fish on their menu.

The wine selection for the dining room was mediocre at best. At the bistro dinner, there was no wine pairing as was indicated and food portions were rather small and as a result we were still hungry afterwards.

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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014

My husband and I have cruised on upscale larger ships and also took a Viking river cruise in China. We looked forward to a new travel experience in Europe.

We started in Prague and stayed at the Intercontinental offered by ... Read More

My husband and I have cruised on upscale larger ships and also took a Viking river cruise in China. We looked forward to a new travel experience in Europe.

We started in Prague and stayed at the Intercontinental offered by Avalon. On the first day, and Avalon rep gathered us in a meeting room, provided a glass of champagne and then reviewed to trip. We were quite disappointed that there was no opportunity to meet other passengers, maybe by providing hors d'oeuvres and a social atmosphere. No clue as to where to spend our time or suggested restaurants in the area. Breakfast was good and the provided castle tour was nice plus the tour of the town square. The Avalon desk was not attended for most of our time there.

Our transfer to the ship was add. While there was commentary by a guide, they stopped at a gas station like a 7-11 where we could purchase our own snacks. This was a 5 hour trip! Surprising to us that no food was provided like a box lunch. None of us spoke the local language and we did not have local money, Avalon didn't care.

When we got to the ship, we were pleased with our cabin. We chose the cabin across from the two Royal Suites and were very happy we did. Perfect location, quiet and convenient.

Our first meal was a disappointment and there was hardly any improvement during the entire trip in the quality of the food. There is only one seating for dinner but at least it is not fixed tables. There is typically a meat choice, a fish choice and a vegetarian main course for dinner. There are a few appetizer selections, plus soup. Surprisingly, you are asked to choose your dessert when you order the main course. There are also daily fixed choices: steak, chicken, fish. I chose Steak for my first meal. Tough and inedible. With less than 120 passengers at a sitting, one would think the meals could have been better and more creatively prepared. At almost every meal we were served string beans or asparagus wrapped in uncooked bacon. The baked potato was wrapped in tin foil, a sure giveaway that it was precooked.

I left many meals uneaten and only one waiter ever asked if there was something wrong with the meal. Our first waiter, Vyrus, was so surly that we couldn't wait to get away from his table and never sat in his section again.

Big surprise at lunch and dinner was complimentary soft drinks plus wine and beer.

The chef, a really nice guy name Attila, did come around and ask how we liked the food and our entire table fessed up to the disappointment. He then tried to improve and a few subsequent meals were a little better and then slipped back again to barely tolerable.

We blamed the quality of the produce and meats, but also the preparation.

A few other topics of interest:

Our cruise director was Nicco (SP?). I think his paperwork was much more important to him than people. With 119 passengers, mostly couples so we are at 60 or so unique names, you would think he could make an effort to recognize us preferable by name but we felt like we were in his way.

After a day, my traveling companions and I asked if he could help us find bridge partners. There was no attempt for him to organize any kind of on-board games. We finally were able to find a few people and had a good time while going thru the endless locks.

Except for one day towards the end, we got no commentary during our trip down the river. We had no idea where we were or what towns we were passing.

For tours, we were give a 2 - 3 hour tour and then we were back on the boat. One day there was an optional afternoon trip to Rothenberg. At what we paid for this trip, would it be out of reason to expect this to be included?

No option to visit local eateries except a coffee drink one day.

It was probably our itinerary but the first few days on the boat we were very disappointed and felt we had made a terrible mistake with this venue. One option would have been to get off the boat and go into a local town and then rejoin the boat via bus and bypass a few locks. They were tedious.

We do hope to take other river cruises, but I am afraid Avalon would not be our first choice or even second.

 

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014

My wife and I recently completed a Danube River cruise aboard the Avalon PoetryII. This was our second river cruise with Avalon. Like the first we were completely satisfied with the ship. Our cabin was nicely decorated and was the size ... Read More

My wife and I recently completed a Danube River cruise aboard the Avalon PoetryII. This was our second river cruise with Avalon. Like the first we were completely satisfied with the ship. Our cabin was nicely decorated and was the size expected. Meals were outstanding as were the wines that were offered. The ships crew were always courteous and helpful. Housekeeping was top notch. We chose to take most of the optional tours and were able to see a lot of the visited countries. Primary onboard entertainment was a lounge singer who was good.

The hotels in Prague and Budapest used for pre- and post cruise stays were much better than expected. They were both InterContinental. We had to travel by bus from Prague to Nuremburg to board the PoetryII and I enjoyed the opportunity to see the countryside of the Czech Republic and Germany.

We would highly recommend Avalon Waterways.

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014

Our trip started in Prague. It is a beautiful city, with lots to see and do, especially if you want to attend music concerts. The Inter Continental Prague Hotel is a perfect place to stay and within walking distance of many stores, ... Read More

Our trip started in Prague. It is a beautiful city, with lots to see and do, especially if you want to attend music concerts. The Inter Continental Prague Hotel is a perfect place to stay and within walking distance of many stores, restaurant, churches, and the town square.

We were very pleased with our ship, the crew, our room, the cleanliness, and the many wonderful side trips that were all included. Our room had plenty of storage space and was kept very clean. It was also very quiet. Everything ran very smoothly and on time. The meals were very good, and presented beautifully. We were entertained one afternoon by a professional zither player who was excellent. The cruse director did his job exceptionally well.

We especially liked the decor of the ship as it was light and airy looking with nice color schemes.

Our trip to Paris on the fast train was enjoyable. Our hotel was nice but with a much darker decor. It is in a good location. The guides and drivers for all our excursions all spoke fluent English, plus other languages. It was nice to have an Avalon representative at both hotels for the whole duration. They were very knowledgeable about the areas.

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014

While very experienced ocean cruisers this was my wife’s, mine and our traveling companion’s first river cruise. We chose the Avalon Poetry II because of the itinerary, it being a suite ship and the overall good reviews of ... Read More

While very experienced ocean cruisers this was my wife’s, mine and our traveling companion’s first river cruise. We chose the Avalon Poetry II because of the itinerary, it being a suite ship and the overall good reviews of Avalon. Avalon did not disappoint and provided a most wonderful river cruise/tour experience.

This cruise tour originated in Paris, sailed the Moselle, Rhine and Main, and finished in Prague. We chose to add 4 pre-nights in Paris to the 2 nights included in the cruise tour and 2 additional post nights in Prague to the 2 included in the cruise tour.

After an uneventful flight from the U.S. to Paris we were greeted by a driver prearranged by Avalon for transfer to our hotel in a modern minivan. Arriving at the Hotel du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe Paris around 10:00 am we checked in and surprisingly given our rooms. After a quick trip to our room to freshen up we embarked on our 6 night stay in Paris. On day 4 our cruise director Jerome appeared as scheduled and provided the information required for the remaining part of our cruise tour. The Hotel du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe is an outstanding 4-5 star hotel with very nice accommodations and located close to 2 metro stations as well as the Arc de Triomphe. The hotel staffs were great, polite and helpful in every respect. A very good buffet breakfast was provided each morning included in the Avalon cost. On day 3 a large number of passengers for both this cruise and others appeared so the ambiance of a nice quite beautiful hotel changed slightly but the service remained outstanding.

On the morning of day seven we left our luggage outside our hotel room, ate breakfast, boarded the buses to the train station, given train tickets and boarded a high speed train to Luxemburg to join our river boat the Poetry II. Embarkation was painless, the 100+ passengers were magically quickly checked in. We found our luggage in our stateroom, opened the panoramic sliding glass windows to the river outside and unpacked finding the storage space more than ample. That evening we had our first of many fine meals aboard the boat.

During this cruise Avalon did not disappoint. The ship is new and immaculate. The stateroom is as good as or better than any I have had on any ocean going vessel and the bathroom is one that most would love to have in their own homes. The ship’s architect is a genius as I believe the stateroom layout with the panoramic sliding glass windows cannot be improved upon. The ships modern interior design was pleasing on the eye at every turn. The ship’s crew was professional, friendly, helpful, engaging and just plain pleasant to be sailing with. It was clear that everyone from the captain on down was committed to providing the best river cruise experience possible. The breakfast and lunch buffets were marvelous and the evening meal was nothing less that the best fine dining with a small but reasonable selection to choose from. I was more than pleased with every meal served and I must note our wine glasses never went dry.

I was clearly wowed by this ship and crew but some constructive criticism is also warranted. First and foremost is the provided entertainment. I was not expecting ocean cruise type entertainment but I was underwhelmed. While the onboard musician was clearly talented and catered to the musical preference of the majority of the passengers his nightly entertainment quickly became repetitive. Avalon easily could have brought a variety local talent onboard for several nights of this cruise even if just for a short performance. Also as this cruise spent many waking hours on the river more daytime activities such as port lectures, local talent etc. could and should have been provided. Although watching the scenic landscape of the river pass by was soothing to the soul some other activity of any other sort would have been appreciated by this passenger. Second was the length of shore time provided at the various ports of call. With one exception we had at most 4 hours in each port, after the average 2 hour provided tour little time was left for exploring. I would have loved to have been able to sample local cuisine at numerous ports but if you took the provided tour there simply was not time to do so. Somehow Avalon should increase the shore time on this itinerary by 1 to 2 hours per port.

Finally a few comments regarding our tour director Jerome. He clearly knew his job, worked hard and provided the required information each day regarding getting on and off the ship. He was clearly busy doing whatever it was he was suppose to be doing but the result was that he appeared to be all business. More like a manager than an engaging cruise director. My suggestions for him would be to try to learn the names of as many passengers as possible, engage them in conversation, chit-chat. Possibly have a cruise directors table at dinner and dine with the passengers. I would have preferred him to be more engaging although others on the cruise clearly liked him more than I. Finally on one occasion he was clearly less than honest with me, our printed itinerary from Avalon stated a stop in Koblenz. We didn’t and instead berthed in Boppard that evening, when I questioned him as for the reason he told me Koblenz was never on the itinerary. I should have showed him the travel document provided by Avalon but let it go. I am sure there was good rationale for the change and Boppard was nice to walk around after dinner but I do not understand why he was not more forthright with me.

Disembarkation in Nuremberg and transfer to Prague went smoothly. The accommodations in Prague, The Prague Intercontinental, was a nice 3 star hotel centrally located among everything you would want to see in Prague. The included city tour from Avalon provided a nice overview of the city orienting us well for the remainder of the stay there. Our transfers to the airport at the end of our stay went smoothly and as promised by Avalon to begin an uneventful trip home.

My wife and I where more than pleased with every aspect of this cruise tour provided by Avalon. Will I sail with Avalon again, absolutely and preferably on one of their suite ships. Would I recommend them to a friend, again absolutely. Thank to Avalon for providing a great experience for a first time river cruiser.

 

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Avalon Poetry II Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.7
Dining 4.0 4.3
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.8
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.4
Family N/A 3.4

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