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10 Avalon Waterways Avalon Visionary Senior Cruise Reviews

Bucket list trip to see Budapest & Prague for my wife & I, we have taken 4 ocean liner cruises but this was our first river cruise. We arrived in Budapest the day before the cruise started & we arranged for Avalon to transfer ... Read More
Bucket list trip to see Budapest & Prague for my wife & I, we have taken 4 ocean liner cruises but this was our first river cruise. We arrived in Budapest the day before the cruise started & we arranged for Avalon to transfer us from the airport to the hotel. The morning of our trip departure Avalon had a bus shuttle us & many other passengers from the hotel to the Visionary ship. Check in went smooth and we were very pleased with the cleanliness of the ship & our cabin. The daily Happy Hour (HR) was great with drinks 1/2 off, & the service during HR was excellent & since there's only (1) bar we were able to meet new people & make friends. Overall the dining was pretty good & the service was outstanding, the entire staff went out of their way to accommodate you. I loved the sauerkraut soup but that was the only soup I liked, if I had to give a bad grade out it would be for the soups, they all tasted like potato water, & the couple of nights we had seafood it was nothing special & the desserts could have been better. We tried different wines every night and most of them were very good. Shore Excursions were very good, of course some of the guides were better than others. It was a very busy day doing the included shore excursions in the morning & then going out on (3) of the optional afternoon excursions. It was so nice that Avalon had a "gentle walkers" excursion group for those that moved slower. It seemed like we stayed very busy getting up early for the morning excursions, attending the nightly next day info meetings during HR, then dinner was 7-9, so every day we felt like we were on a schedule. I would have liked more down time cruising on the river taking in the sites and I didn't like it that we couldn't sleep with the patio door open at night due to the bright lights from going thru the river locks & waking up docked to another ship right outside our window blocking any potential view. Unfortunately several people (12 that I know of) caught the chest respiratory bug that was going around, including myself and several people we met including my wife had to seek medical treatment & were bed ridden for a few days. Maybe adding another hand sanitizer station after you walked into the dining would have helped, but this is always a concern when you have 120 people plus staff contained on a boat. We stayed in Prague an extra day & also arranged for Avalon to transfer us from our hotel to the airport & again the driver was friendly & prompt. In summary it was a nice vacation and I would do another river cruise with Avalon now that I know what they’re about, they are very accommodating & much more personable than the ocean liner cruises. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We have been thinking about a river cruise since retirement 5 years ago. Long time friends called and asked if we wanted to join them on Avalon Visionary for the Rhine and Moselle. So glad we did. It was our first cruise. The cruise ... Read More
We have been thinking about a river cruise since retirement 5 years ago. Long time friends called and asked if we wanted to join them on Avalon Visionary for the Rhine and Moselle. So glad we did. It was our first cruise. The cruise was a total delight. Great scenery, comfortable, wonderful food. The entertainment was well chosen, including the on-board piano player. Service both in the cabin and in the restaurant was always efficient and friendly. The ship was kept spotless. Ports were well chosen and docking convenient to interesting sights. Day tours on shore were interesting with English speaking local guides. Joust, the cruise director, was always informative and herded the "cats" well in a friendly manner. Our friends have an extensive wine collection and brought wine for dinners each night. The staff didn't mind a bit and were very accommodating with extra glasses. Avalon was an excellent value and provided us with all the information we needed to book, arrive, sail, and enjoy the experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise because being from Canada we wanted a cruise over a week long and introduce us to Europe and river cruising. We have been on ocean cruises 4 times and wanted to try something different. We had a direct flight from ... Read More
We chose this cruise because being from Canada we wanted a cruise over a week long and introduce us to Europe and river cruising. We have been on ocean cruises 4 times and wanted to try something different. We had a direct flight from Toronto to Zurich which was great not having to deal with connecting flights. We liked everything about Avalon and its all inclusiveness with meals, drinks and excursions. All stops had included excursions and/or optional extra ones that you had to pay for- there were also bicycles and walking sticks available. The guides all spoke English and were very informative of the history of the area. The atmosphere on board is very relaxed and friendly. Jost our cruise director was amazing, very helpful and made you feel at home. The average age of guests was in their 60s and 70s- we are in our early 60s. We even had an extraordinary 99 year old from Australia on our ship. The breakfast and lunch are buffet and supper is sit down with server and four courses but you could also have supper buffet style in the upstairs lounge. We enjoyed all of our meals and the selection was more than adequate. I found that everything I tried was very tasteful and always lots of choices. We enjoyed the open sitting style as you could meet and talk to everyone through the 2 weeks. Staff is very friendly and helpful and if you have a problem they do their best to help. Several nights there were entertainers that came on board from the local area and they were all great. Our cabin was on the second level with French balcony which was nice to have as you could sit or lie in bed with the doors open and watch the world go by- if you fell asleep you didn't have to worry about falling out of a chair. Room was a good size and had adequate storage areas for clothes. What is great is that nothing is far from any room and your not walking miles to get to the restaurant or lounge areas like on the larger cruise ships. There is a hot tub on top level but no pool. There are canopies over the lounge chairs which is nice for shade on the really hot days. We loved our introduction to Europe and went on as many tours as we could. The stops are all interesting and we learned so much. The excursions appeal to people interested in culture and history. We would definitely go on another Avalon cruise, even the same one in the future because then we could do different excursions and learn more of the areas we visited. We also enjoyed the more friendly atmosphere among the guests and staff as compared to the larger cruise ships. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The Avalon Visionary is much nicer than other ships to which we had access due to the double and sometimes triple docking at ports along the way. The clean, Scandinavian aesthetics most evident in the salon were reminiscent of a large ... Read More
The Avalon Visionary is much nicer than other ships to which we had access due to the double and sometimes triple docking at ports along the way. The clean, Scandinavian aesthetics most evident in the salon were reminiscent of a large living room compared to the overly decorated, glam interiors of the other ships. The crew was delightful, the cruise director capable and the excursions and tour guides engaged were excellent. If I had it to do over again, I’d probably chose a different itinerary, though. This particular route's German ports were disappointing - it seemed as though the restaurants and shops (the small percentage that were open) were merely going through the paces and rather indifferent as compared to Budapest and Austrian ports. I wondered if those cities weren't regretting becoming ports? The locks system throughout the river are really interesting and somehow made our 'passage' more adventurous. The rooftop deck was nicely furnished with tents to shade the sun and open-air seating, and the interior gathering spots were perfect for the small-ish number of passengers. The ship had a nice selection of novels, but could benefit from Mahjong & Cribbage sets! There was a coffee station accessible 24/7 where juice and iced tea were also available (and cookies!) Unfortunately they closed the sky deck from Regensburg on through Nuremberg, which was awful. Not being able to be outside (especially in great weather) felt like a punishment! We couldn't figure out why they wouldn't put the chunky heavy outdoor seating up on the sky deck since it wouldn’t have to be removed for bridges & locks (since it wouldn’t blow away and isn’t higher than the wheelhouse) so that passengers could be outdoors ALL of the days of their cruise?! We chose our itinerary based on destinations: Budapest and PRAGUE being the two main attractions. Had we known that the cruise essentially ended in terms of amenities in Regensburg (what with no sky deck access and only the aft deck which could be dubbed “exhaust central” or a very crowded, small and ill-furnished outdoor seating area at the bow) it’s likely we would have chosen a different cruise or itinerary. Well appointed rooms and efficient bathrooms, both with plenty of storage space, feature the “panoramic” sliding glass doors with fence balcony. Though lovely, the “Panoramic” feature is only as good as the breeze outside which is all too often none, so exhaust fumes come in the room (removing the benefit of the panoramic sliding glass doors). Paying for a ship with a step out balcony (which we contemplated) would be a waste of money given the likely absence of sufficient air movement to prevent exhaust fumes from invading. Oh, and bugs. Seemed like the ship and many of its staff stopped trying on the next to last day of our cruise ... the hallways were sweaty, the food - which wasn’t much to crow about in the first place, but wasn’t bad, either - fell into the "re-tread" category. The 3 1/2 hour tour from Nuremberg to Prague recommends a vehicle with a bathroom rather than a bus used for city touring. The comfort of reclining seats, curtains to shade sun, seat-back tables and A/C vents is lost if you’re unable to relax awaiting the “comfort stop” at 1 1/2 hours. Those few criticisms aside, we had a wonderful time, Budapest being the highlight with Austrian ports equally enchanting. I would definitely cruise with Avalon again … and hope to do so in future! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We love Avalon Waterways, have had great experiences with their ships! Embarking and disembarking smooth as can be, love the way you can place your suitcase at end of cruise for early morning pickup and not midnight like big ships! 2 ... Read More
We love Avalon Waterways, have had great experiences with their ships! Embarking and disembarking smooth as can be, love the way you can place your suitcase at end of cruise for early morning pickup and not midnight like big ships! 2 nights in Prague before boarding the ship was a good start. Cabins have plenty of room, love the full glass sliding doors with bed facing the doors. Dining room beautiful with terrific service, flowing wine, and many food choices at all meals! Great room with coffee/snacks available at back of ship all day. The staff and cruise director Tony on our cruise were exceptional! All ports and shore excursions were so well planned, afternoons at leisure to go off on your own, easy access on and off boat. If thinking about river cruising, don't wait any longer!! We really loved our trip and will definitely sail again with Avalon! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Objective was to see Germany and picturesque river castes up close. Guides were very knowledgeable and understandable! We want to take another river cruise, maybe in England and Scotland, and to finish our German river cruise on other ... Read More
Objective was to see Germany and picturesque river castes up close. Guides were very knowledgeable and understandable! We want to take another river cruise, maybe in England and Scotland, and to finish our German river cruise on other rivers. Very restful and relaxing. Would like to be able to see ahead in addition to seeing alongside. Would like a "captain's chair" or two in the room. Food and service was excellent with a great variety (but the food labels were too small). Port villages were small clean neat picturesque friendly and easy to walk around with no danger of getting lost or left behind, because the boat and river were so near. A simple map was provided each morning of the town we would be exploring that day. We took a picture of it each day to help us identify the locations of the pictures we took when we got home. Smaller passenger numbers made embarkation and debarkation easy simple and quick. It was also easy to recognize fellow passengers on shore for making acquaintances, sharing stories, and making sure you were among friends and in the right place. This was our 50th wedding anniversary, and the crew and captain made a special presentation of cake, champagne, music, and song at the front of the main window in the dining room! Very special surprise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Always wanted to cruise the Rhine. We explored Paris on our own to get into the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and the Seine River Cruise as it was school holidays and didn't want to waste time doing the morning bus tour. These three events ... Read More
Always wanted to cruise the Rhine. We explored Paris on our own to get into the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and the Seine River Cruise as it was school holidays and didn't want to waste time doing the morning bus tour. These three events took most of the day waiting in line to get into the event, even with a pre-purchased ticket. After the rustle and bustle of Paris, we were glad to get on the boat and unpack for the next 11 days. We were able to choose extra trips so paid for the Luxemberg trip as an extra. Well worth it. Great service, good room -we had a sapphire deck room with glass sliding doors so well lit and relaxing to just watch the countryside go by in the afternoon. Morning excursions were great with gentle to faster walks provided. Although no irons in room to use. Had to send to laundry. So non crumple clothes a bonus. The dining was excellent with two to three choices each night on a four course dinner. The food for lunch was more like a meal. I would rather have something simple like being able to toast a sandwich or make an egg sandwich. So didn't lose weight on the trip. We are already planning which river trip to take with Avalon for our next trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We took the cruise-only portion of the Paris to Prague cruise. We spent several days on our own in Paris, then took the TGV to Luxembourg City and then the public bus to Remich that dropped us off within 100 ft of the ship (the bus fare ... Read More
We took the cruise-only portion of the Paris to Prague cruise. We spent several days on our own in Paris, then took the TGV to Luxembourg City and then the public bus to Remich that dropped us off within 100 ft of the ship (the bus fare was $2 - a bargin!). The hotel manager met us at the bottom of the gangway and took care of our bags. We were in Room 208 on the Sapphire Deck. The design and maintenance of the cabin was great! The slight angling of the wall between the bed and the bathroom made both rooms seem larger than in cabins with perpendicular walls. Thanks to whoever came up with the idea. The lunches and dinners were very good, especially the soups and salads. The breakfasts were pretty much the same each day - not bad but not outstanding. The ship has a nice lounge area on the Deck 3 aft where coffee and tea are available 24/7 as well as pastries and juice. The one disappointment was the tasting menu that they serve in the evening in the bistro. It was an effort to add some variety to the food choices, but it is a set menu and some of the items didn't go together with each other and with the wines very well. All of the tours were good. We especially enjoyed the wine tasting in Bernkastel, the stop in Miltonburg (less touristy than a lot of the other city we visited), and the Residence in Wurzburg. The crew was very helpful and conscience throughout the cruise. The key disappoint was the limited pre-cruise support. We did not book a pre-cruise transfer so we needed to get information on where the ship would be docked in Remich. We were told that we would be sent that information a couple of days before we embarked, but nothing ever came. Fortunately, Remich is a very small town and the bus driver knew where the ship was docked so it was a none issue, but providing an address ahead of time would have been appreciated. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Wanted to cruise the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers. Switzerland, France, Germany, Czech Republic and Austria. Gorgeous. The ship was very nice. Water levels were high so we didn't board until second day. Our cabin was nice, food ... Read More
Wanted to cruise the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers. Switzerland, France, Germany, Czech Republic and Austria. Gorgeous. The ship was very nice. Water levels were high so we didn't board until second day. Our cabin was nice, food pretty good. Service is excellent. However for the price it was very expensive compared to ocean cruises. Of course river cruises include all the tours guided. Dining room was very warm, it was hard to eat when you are very warm. Scenery was gorgeous and cruise director was excellent. Think for the price all alcohol any time of day should be included. Daily schedule was just the right pace. Lived all the stops but particularly Czech Republic and Wacau Valley. Loved Regensburg a lot. Felt like a Christmas town. I think the best way to describe this river cruise is castles, cathedrals, storks, swans, vineyards and apricot orchards. So breathtaking and unusual. Life onboard was very good. Ship is immaculate. Service was very good. Activities were not too numerous which is good because several days had two excursions and didn't need a lot of entertainment onboard. The food was very good. Absolutely loved the special tasting dinners at the start of each region. The lounges and patios were perfect onboard. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Has Avalon lost the plot or are they about to sink into murky water? One would think so by our experience. Picked up at 4.30am in the morning, in Amsterdam by 10.25am we were taken to a hotel where a meeting room has been hired and told ... Read More
Has Avalon lost the plot or are they about to sink into murky water? One would think so by our experience. Picked up at 4.30am in the morning, in Amsterdam by 10.25am we were taken to a hotel where a meeting room has been hired and told we have a choice, sit there until 4.00pm before we go to the ship with provided refreshments of lukewarm coffee in jugs, or go and walk around Amsterdam centre which was twenty minutes walk away. Okay, fair enough, we were early, although not our fault Avalon had booked the aircraft, so we wandered off, carrying all our belongings being no secure storage. Now to the boat (which we've decided it to be rather than a ship) and to a 'State Room' sold in the brochure to us as spacious with panoramic floor to ceiling window and comfortable seating, while we cruised along through the tulip fields of Holland. In our case the 'State Room' should be more aptly named 'Cabin in the Bilges' as a better description. I kid you not, the panoramic window turned out to be two narrow slits looking out at the concrete side of the jetty and a warning from the man who took us to the cabin to keep the curtains closed if we were changing. Although to be fair, when the boat was cruising you could look out, if you stood on your bed and held onto the ledge that is! Then the brochure claimed the cabins were the largest for this type of boat. We tend to disagree, the end of the bed was eleven inches from the dressing table, either side of the bed twelve inches from walls. The single chair (not two, one for each of us) to sit on, was more like a one you'd find in a kitchen, jammed under the dressing table with not enough room to be pulled out and use. Then the lighting of the room (we needed that having little or no window) was so bad we were forced to use the lights on our mobiles to look into the wardrobe, or the tiny safe seated at the back. Then, if you wanted a wet shave, forget it, far too dark in an en-suite that could only be described as bijou, or in practical terms so small that if the boat hit the jetty at least you couldn't fall over. Naturally, as one does, faced with this, you complain, after all the boat was only two thirds full, so they must have something better for two people in their late sixties? They did, we were proudly shown around a cabin with lounge chairs, panoramic window and actually room to walk around and could move, if we paid £1600 hundred pounds more that is, otherwise we stayed where we were and put up with it. That works out at £228 a night extra for the two of us, to be added to the £431 a night we'd already paid. Why was it, talking to people in these so called luxury rooms, that they paid the same as us? Very strange, or was it an attempt at extortion by the cruise manager once you are captured? However, being British we are are resourceful. We had the bed turned around sideways, got rid of the side tables, leaving the telephone on the floor and had two chairs brought from the lounge. Clever, eh? At least we could sit down, although one of us had to climb over the other to get into bed, then we had to stack the chairs on top of each other at the entrance door at night, to have room to get out of bed and go to the loo. That was because we were banned from leaving the chairs in the corridor at night, even after we said blocking our door was a fire hazard for us. They claimed that to have us leave chairs in the corridor would look bad for a boat offering four star accommodation, besides a hazard to other passengers. Right we were off, uncomfortable, yes, but the tulips awaited. No they didn't, there wasn't any. Why didn't someone tell us this little fact, that in late May the tulip cruise which we were on isn't? No one mentioned that even though the question was asked and verified, till we were aboard that is and holding an itinerary sent in advance included a day at the world renowned tulip gardens of Keukenhof, which was closed. At this point we wanted to go home, after all, we're only an hour or so flight away. But they convinced us that the alternative itinerary would make up. Well, yes and no, if you like to wander around towns at eight thirty in the morning, full of delivery lorries, smelly bags of rubbish besides rubbish carts and completely void of life. We found that out more than once, when ignoring the optional coach trips at an average cost of £55 each, we went back to the towns later in the day to find a vibrant cafe culture, open shops and people, yes people and no rubbish carts. I must mention the food, after all food is important on such holidays. It was okay, we've had better. Then most of the menu of the next day seemed to be recycled using a variation of the previous day's offerings they had over. As for breakfast, avoid the jams and honey in packets. They are so old the jam had gone a funny colour and the honey granulated. Also forget bacon unless you like it crispy, well burnt really and toast that one day gave you anemic toast, the next so charred you had to scrape it. Best meal advice. Avoid the fancy stuff, most are pretty ordinary, but they will make you steak and chips as an alternative, we lived on that. Overall impressions? I'm months off seventy, my partner is disabled, with a heart valve and pacemaker, besides associated problems. So maybe the hardened cruisers among you will laugh at our naivety. Maybe we shouldn't have believed the brochure that all cabins had panoramic windows and we really couldn't expect a two chairs in our cabin for £3500 on an eight day cruise. Maybe we should have realised the tulips were finished, even though we'd still few in our garden. Even so, we were entitled to some consideration rather than complacency, after the cruise director could only laugh that we'd had the bed turned around, bedside cabinets removed and another chair brought just to sit down. Besides required to climb over a bed to get in and stack chairs up blocking the exit. We’re going back to a cruise line that tells the truth and looks after you. Besides giving you a cabin for two and not a converted single cabin, where the bed won't fit the room and an en-suite that you can actually turn round in. As for Avalon, half empty boats, out and out lies to get you aboard, followed by indifference when something can be done about an obvious problem, for us indicates a cruise line that has no concern for its passengers. Be warned, make sure you are very clear what they are offering you, preferably in writing, or just don't go with them and find a cruise company that cares. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Avalon Visionary Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.7
Dining 4.0 4.5
Entertainment 3.5 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.7
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.7
Family N/A 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.6
Enrichment 4.0 4.5
Service 4.0 4.9
Value For Money 4.0 4.3
Rates 3.0 3.6

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