5 Avalon Waterways Avalon Vista First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

This was our first river cruise. Surprisingly my husband & I were the only British people on the Xmas market river cruise tour - 80% USA, 20% Australia + some Canadians & NZ and occasional others. Avalon marketing in the UK must be ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. Surprisingly my husband & I were the only British people on the Xmas market river cruise tour - 80% USA, 20% Australia + some Canadians & NZ and occasional others. Avalon marketing in the UK must be lacking, because it was a very good trip, and very well organised. We started with 2 nights in the Intercontinental, Prague. This is a good hotel, well located, though the grapefruit "juice" at the included breakfast tasted like unidentifiable sugar water, and the ship breakfast was much better. We did not eat any other meals there. The first day we walked round the surprisingly small Prague Xmas market in the Old Town Square, and had dinner there at restaurant Mincovna on the square - quite good food, very whitewashed décor. The second day we enjoyed the included Avalon guided tour of the castle (only outside of all buildings) - the guide was good. 3 out of 5 of our daily local guides were funny and excellent, only the 2 in Nuremberg and Bamberg were rushed and a bit dull. We then chose to leave the guide and go round the Jewish synagogues, cemetery by ourselves - very interesting. That evening's meal (booked by us) was the best of the holiday, to La Veranda near the hotel - totally gourmet food in a lovely decorated room. Prague was very inexpensive all round. On the 3rd day we all were bussed to Nuremberg to catch the river ship. We left around 12.45 pm and reached the ship around 5.00 pm. It was extremely well decorated and smart, and the staff were unfailingly smiling and welcoming. We were lucky to meet some lovely friendly Americans to have dinner with each day - there are no tables for 2, so you have to talk to people when you share a table for each meal. We were also lucky with the weather which was mostly sunny and not horribly cold. We had all day in Nuremberg, only the morning in Bamburg, all day in Wurzburg (though 90% of the ship only had the morning and paid 44 euros to be bussed to Rothenburg for a guided walk in the afternoon) and the afternoon in Miltenburg, a very sweet village - though their Xmas market was shut as midweek. We were impressed by the efficiency of the private car to and from the airport at home. Only the transfer to the hotel from the airport in Prague (1.5 hours literally standing waiting for 4 other flights for us all to go on a coach) and to the airport from the ship at Frankfurt (coaches only every 2 hours for again around 4 - 5 flights, so we had 3 very dull hours sitting at Frankfurt airport - not a fun place) let the whole experience down - would have much preferred a series of taxis for us all both ways so did not eat into our holiday. We believe Avalon is much cheaper for a very similar product than some other river cruise lines, and I would recommend it - but you do need to be happy to talk to people all day, as it is very much a group experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Because of low water levels on the Danube, our trip was not up to our expectations. Avalon handled the situation very poorly. We called them before we left for the cruise and we were told that sailings were going as scheduled. They ... Read More
Because of low water levels on the Danube, our trip was not up to our expectations. Avalon handled the situation very poorly. We called them before we left for the cruise and we were told that sailings were going as scheduled. They actually knew at that time that other trips had been interrupted. Not only did we have to switch our boat once, but we had to pack up and move twice. From other reviews we were told that the Avalon crew was exceptional. We did not find that was the case. As a matter of fact, our cruise director had no personality at all. The crew was lacking smiles and I feel it may be because of the additional work that they had to do that week. We embarked in Budapest and attempted to sail to Vienna. After an hour and a half we were told by the river authorities that we had to turn around. We spent an additional 2 days on the boat in Budapest sailing nowhere. Avalon made another poor decision to sail the vessel into Hungry when they could've bussed us an hour and a half West. They did offer $500 refund and a free concert p/p. We feel that was totally inadequate. We were also unable to do some of the other extra excursions that we had paid for in advance and were hoping to do. Also, we never made it to Nuremberg. That was partially our choice because we did not want to spend a day bussing around for approximately nine hours! I would definitely think twice about doing another river cruise and certainly not with Avalon! I do have to mention that the boat was beautiful and the design of the rooms was lovely. Sorry we couldn't have spent more time sailing on the boat. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Our 11 day Avalon cruise started with three days on land in Prague. Very nice accomodations, great city tour. We met on first night with cruise director, at that time concerned travellers questioned the river levels, as we heard they were ... Read More
Our 11 day Avalon cruise started with three days on land in Prague. Very nice accomodations, great city tour. We met on first night with cruise director, at that time concerned travellers questioned the river levels, as we heard they were low. We were told that by the day we were to sail, that the water levels were probably going to be okay. We were lead to believe that somehow the water levels could be manipulated by man power, dam? Departure date came and we were given a choice to see Nuremberg by bus, as we couldn't sail, due to low water, or take a bus to A small village up river where boat was docked. To see Revensburg, we also had to bus, ship couldn't get there either. Did not dock in Passau, had to be bussed there from village. Avalon advertises their cabins with the great view. Anytime we were docked, there would be another ship parked directly beside us, never even got to open curtains. Our sailing was done in early evening or night, so never got to see the wonderful sights advertised. We did dock in Linz and Budapest, so we were able to go ashore to explore on our own. Daily tours were really early. Biggest disappointment was that we never got to enjoy the views from our cabin, which was explained to our group the last night: reason being that River cruising is so popular that there is not enough port space for the ships. The staff on the Avalon Vista was great, cruise director not so much. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Our first cruise of any type was on the Avalon Vista's Amsterdam - Budapest June 23 - July 7 sailing. In a word - wow! Far exceeded our expectations. We were in one of their suites, mid-level near the stern of the ship. Our first ... Read More
Our first cruise of any type was on the Avalon Vista's Amsterdam - Budapest June 23 - July 7 sailing. In a word - wow! Far exceeded our expectations. We were in one of their suites, mid-level near the stern of the ship. Our first night because we were in port with no engines running and we were so tired after being up for 30 hours we slept like a log. First time we've experienced sleeping in a bed with no sheets, just the two twins pushed together with about a 2 inch foam mattress pad over the top to make a queen and two duvet covers, one for each person. Wife said it was great having her own cover and me not taking it all night. lol Early up next morning for an 8:30 am canal cruise in the rain. The only thing we weren't happy with was having to get up so early every morning, 6:30 - 7:00, to have breakfast and then get ready to go on their morning excursions. Obviously we're late risers. The cruise, cruise director Andrzej (Andre) Sanakiewicz, and all the waiters especially Ilie, Michael and Ginda and our maid Cinthia were fantastic and calling us by our first names within 2 days. Captain Hank you could talk to anytime he was out of his pilot house and you could also visit him in there. Our first night of cruising we became very used to the engine noise and would only wake up when they shut them down for a lock or sped up. Then of course we'd have to look out the HUGE door/windows to see where we were and what we were doing. The way the bed is layed out so you could lay there watching the world go by is fantastic. Food was awesome and menus for lunch and dinner were posted on the tv daily. Breakfast buffet was always the same, lots to choose from and to vary your choices daily. Lunch buffet was different every day or you could order something from your waiter. Dinners ranged from 4 - 7 courses and we found them to be excellent. I had a seared butter fish one night that has to have been the best fish dish I've ever eaten. Most of our included excursions were well run by local tour guides, 2 not so great, and we only did 2 of the "pay for" one to Zaanse Schans in Amsterdam and the Vienna Concert both of which we're glad we took in. The one day when most of the passengers were off on 10 hour excursions from Passau we stayed on board and sailed down the Danube, best decision we made sitting on top deck seeing all the villages, etc. as we past by. Free wine and beer with dinner, wish they also included it for lunch, and sparkling wine with breakfast. Drinks in the lounge weren't cheap but they have a 2 for 1 happy hour before dinner and a special cocktail every day. Unfortunately our first night at dinner we heard someone do the big cough and we both said oh bleep and by the end of the cruise most passengers were experiencing some symtoms of a nasty cold. Wife missed the Farewell dinner and excursions in Bratislave and Budapest. There were hand sanitizers at the entrance to the restaurant and as well as you came on board and were well used. Met lots of people, tables ofr 2, 4, 6 and 8. Most were from Australia and New Zealand, 4 from Canada, 16 from USA and a few from UK. Would we do it again? Maybe. River cruises are expensive and flights from Western Canada to Europe also very expensive. We feel we got good value for our buck and saw history that we never thought we ever would. Visiting about 13 or so churches and cathedrals became a bit much by the end of the trip but the cathedrals are really awesome to visit. And most allowed you to take pictures, even with flash. If we were to do it again we'd definitley go over a couple days early and stay an extra day or two at the end. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We cruised from Amsterdam to Budapest on Avalon's Vista in July 2012 . We are new to cruising and were a bit underwhelmed by this cruise . The boat was very nice and our room was great The crew generally wonderful , especially our ... Read More
We cruised from Amsterdam to Budapest on Avalon's Vista in July 2012 . We are new to cruising and were a bit underwhelmed by this cruise . The boat was very nice and our room was great The crew generally wonderful , especially our waiters Thomas and Constantine . The cruise director , Dragan , was very obnoxious ,though many seemed to like him . The food was pretty good though , inevitably seemed repetitive . There were far too many "surprise" expenses for a cruise that implied that it was "all inclusive " . The included tours were uneven and the extra ones were overpriced and should not have been "extra" . The entertainment that was provided was very good with the exception of one talentless electric violinist . Although it may be conventional , I found the gratuities policy ( giving us envelopes and telling us exacly how much to tip everone including the cruise director ) offensive and we ignored it . We tipped those that provided us good service ( NOT the cruise director ) . We spent the same amount of money ( a bit more actually ) but giving it ,in cash , directly to those who deserved it . Our fellow passengers were suprising old . We expected that to some degree but at age 65 I didn't expect to be one of the youngest onboard . River cruising is nice but it is not a good way to see a place . You spend too little time on shore and you seem cutoff from local people and experiences . Avalon seemed too interested in getting extra money out of us at every opportunity given we were sold this cruise as "all inclusive " . We will probably do it again but I doubt if we will use Avalon Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Avalon Vista Ratings
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