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Sail Date: July 2019
This is the way to travel. Everything taken care of, great friendly and hard working staff. Amazing crew guiding the ship, excellent tour director and unbelievable chef. Food so good it could have been a foody cruise. Very good ... Read More
This is the way to travel. Everything taken care of, great friendly and hard working staff. Amazing crew guiding the ship, excellent tour director and unbelievable chef. Food so good it could have been a foody cruise. Very good selection of stops and gorgeous scenery. The Vista is a beautiful and clean ship that was a pleasure to be aboard. We are sold on this as as a way to discover a region, and look forward to our next opportunity to do so. Highly recommend Avalon for river cruising. Embarking and disembarking was flawless and removed any stress from the whole experience. Cabins were comfortable and very well maintained. Tour guides arranged by tour direct or were knowledge able and informative. The cruise is so much more than cruising, as you get the scenery, history, culture and a true experience like no other. Only wish it had been longer. Truly a life changing experience. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
The ship it was built in 2012 and it still looked brand new, our cabin was spacious and well equipped. We arrived on 12 July 2019 and checked into the Movenpick Hotel, Amsterdam City Center, the next morning to Breakfast and finally ... Read More
The ship it was built in 2012 and it still looked brand new, our cabin was spacious and well equipped. We arrived on 12 July 2019 and checked into the Movenpick Hotel, Amsterdam City Center, the next morning to Breakfast and finally closed up all our bags ready to board the Avalon Vista to get settled. We had breakfast and prep for our Amsterdam Canal Cruse plus a walking tour, every day there was tours to a lot of the sights. The meals that were provided were very delicious, for those that didn't want a large meal there was a small were served in the Panorama Lounge, it was also the location for all the briefings for the next day’s activities and music/dancing. Each day was filled with tours provided by the cruise lines or optional fee. There were never wants for service because what you might want it was provided. The ports and shore excursions were very well arranged and informative. We know that it takes a lot of planning but the only disappointment was the day of disembarkment from the ship would we would like a mini tour of Basel. This was our first trip on a long ship but it won't be our last because we truly enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our first river cruise and we had the most fantastic cruise on the Rhine! The crew and all of the people who work for Avalon were amazing! We cannot think of a single thing that would have made the cruise any better. The cabin ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and we had the most fantastic cruise on the Rhine! The crew and all of the people who work for Avalon were amazing! We cannot think of a single thing that would have made the cruise any better. The cabin was always kept immaculate by the staff. The food was above and beyond expectations. You always had a great variety of wine to choose from. The Cruise Director was incredible! She was always working very hard to make the experience first class. The entertainment was excellent and enjoyed the variety that was scheduled. We especially enjoyed the Classical that was scheduled for us. The extracurricular activities were spot on and gave us a good feel for the countryside and the people. The Captain was a man of few words but that is okay because he was a phenomenal pilot! Thank you to all of you for a dream vacation! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We thoroughly enjoyed all of the excursions. The tour guides were extremely well-versed, kind and courteous. We saw and experienced sites that we probably never would have if we had gone on our own. The time spent simply cruising down the ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed all of the excursions. The tour guides were extremely well-versed, kind and courteous. We saw and experienced sites that we probably never would have if we had gone on our own. The time spent simply cruising down the Mosel and Rhine rivers, just watching the world float by, was also incredibly relaxing and breathtaking. It was nice talking to, and getting to know others on the cruise. We met some wonderful people! We really enjoyed the breakfasts, but the lunches were outstanding. Lots of fun foods to try. We loved the buffet style of the breakfasts and lunch. We felt the dinners were lacking in interest and variety. Would rate them a 5 out of 10. Just expected more from Avalon. Have had much better dinners on the ocean cruises we’ve taken! Lastly, we had a terrible experience with our luggage being taken to the airport before our transfer left. It was mistakenly taken with another group prior to our leaving for the airport. The cruise director didn’t think it was anything to worry about, and seemed to take it rather lightly. He said the luggage would be waiting for us, we would just have to pick it up. We, however, were very frustrated, worried and upset. And rightfully so! When we finally got to the airport it took us an hour and a half to finally locate the luggage. It was quite a struggle, and definitely not easy, even with the young man from Avalon who was helping us. We barely made it to our flight, with only 30 minutes to spare! We understand that mistakes can happen, but we felt there was no excuse for this mistake especially since there were only about 105 people on our ship. Just seemed like carelessness. It definitely left us with negative feelings about our Avalon experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We are avid ocean cruisers and this was our second River Cruise, both on Avalon. The overall experience was fantastic again, with the condition of the ship, the service and the food meeting our expectations. As it turned out, we had the ... Read More
We are avid ocean cruisers and this was our second River Cruise, both on Avalon. The overall experience was fantastic again, with the condition of the ship, the service and the food meeting our expectations. As it turned out, we had the same cruise director (Yeah Valintin!!) as our first cruise and he was, again wonderful in delivering a great week going down the Rhine River. It was so easy getting on and off the boat whenever we wanted to. The wait staff were great, both good service and friendly interaction throughout our week with them. The ports were interesting and Avalon had the excursions extremely well organized with both buses and boats revved and waiting to take us to interesting places. The day we sailed through the Rhine Gorge, our cruise director narrated the experience pointing out the castles and providing context and historic background. Our cabin was on the top deck (category "P") and was extremely comfortable, with a well sized and well appointed bathroom with glass enclosed shower. It is hard to find fault with any aspect of the experience, with maybe a wish for a bit more diversity on food selections at dinner. However, their standard every night steak, chicken or fish options were well prepared if the regular nightly menu didn't meet our tastes. I'm not sure how much difference there is between some of the River Cruise lines (AMA, Uniworld etc) but I am more than pleased with our experiences on Avalon and will book with them again for our next River cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
The main purpose of this trip was to see the tulips at the Keukenhof. We wanted to try a river cruise since big cruises are not as appealing to us. Usually, river cruises are marketed for older people. We are in our 30s, but wanted to try ... Read More
The main purpose of this trip was to see the tulips at the Keukenhof. We wanted to try a river cruise since big cruises are not as appealing to us. Usually, river cruises are marketed for older people. We are in our 30s, but wanted to try it anyway. It doesn't disappoint! We arrived a day before to explore the city (Amsterdam) and the hotel provided was great. Transfers were included and were smooth, without complications. The ship is built like a hotel, very comfortable and everything is accessible. Food was excellent, even during the breakfast and lunch buffets. The flexibility on the activities for the trip was what I liked the most. You can go on the included excursions, add additional excursions, go on your own or stay and chill on the ship. The service was 5-stars and we were treated with courtesy and respect by everyone from the crew. I would recommend this trip to anyone. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We wanted to visit Amsterdam and try a river cruise. The room on the ship were spacious,' comfortable and clean. The crew and staff were very helpful and friendly. The highlights were Keuknhof Gardens and spending a day in Bruges. The ... Read More
We wanted to visit Amsterdam and try a river cruise. The room on the ship were spacious,' comfortable and clean. The crew and staff were very helpful and friendly. The highlights were Keuknhof Gardens and spending a day in Bruges. The entertainment on the ship was good and the local guides for the excursions off the ship were excellent. The only negative was the food, sometimes it was cold and 2 hours for dinner every night is just takes up too much time. I would also recommend arriving into Amsterdam 1 or 2 days earlier to explore the city more. As this cruise does not give you enough time to visit the city's museums and other points of interest like the Anne Frank Museum and their fine restaurants. I would recommend this particular cruise to someone who wanted to visit the Netherlands and Belgium and also recommend Avalon for a cruise company. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise as it visited many of the major cities we were interested in going to. By taking this cruise it gave us the opportunity to consider which cities we would like to return to and spend more time. We have traveled with ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it visited many of the major cities we were interested in going to. By taking this cruise it gave us the opportunity to consider which cities we would like to return to and spend more time. We have traveled with Avalon in the past and are impressed with the high level of organization and attention to details. From booking the cruise through our disembarkation in Budapest everything was taken care of first class. Our state room was on the second level with a balcony. It was very comfortable and provided adequate room for the 2 weeks. The entire staff was very helpful, pleasant and accommodating. They would go out of their way to make you comfortable. We took advantage of all the shore excursions which were broke down into smaller groups which allowed us a far better experience than some other tour operators we saw in the cities. The knowledge and quality of local guides was very helpful. We will continue to use Avalon as our primary cruise line. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this ship for its itinerary as we wanted to visit the Netherlands to see the tulips, in particular Keukenhof Gardens. This was our first river cruise so we splurged on an upper cabin, Cabin 314. Great room with a very comfortable ... Read More
We chose this ship for its itinerary as we wanted to visit the Netherlands to see the tulips, in particular Keukenhof Gardens. This was our first river cruise so we splurged on an upper cabin, Cabin 314. Great room with a very comfortable bed that faced huge windows overlooking the passing scenery. Plenty of storage but could have had a few more drawers. Ports were good but traffic traveling to and from the Keukenhof, Brussels and Bruges became an issue. They may have been better served to find closer ports, if possible. Ship has a large lounge where they hold light lunches and dinner, entertainment in the evening, yoga and other exercise classes during the day and a very nice bar. There is a smaller lounge at the rear of the ship that had games, books, drinks and cookies & muffins. They could have changed their snacks more frequently as they served the same type daily. Evening entertainment was usually a piano player and select nights they invited a trio who played 50s and 60s and another who played classical music. Evening entertainment was not a draw for us or in general the type of passengers on the ship. They did have a happy hour usually from 5:45 to 6:45 where drinks are half price and then the cruise director gave a brief overview of the next day’s port of call. The ship was immaculate at all times. The main dining room served all three meals as it was too chilly for the upper deck to be open. Breakfast was a buffet with an egg station where you can order omelets or eggs any way. They usually had items that could be ordered directly from the kitchen, such as waffles, pancakes, etc. Lunch was a buffet and was very tasty with a nice selection every day and usually a carving station. Dinner was not as consistent. Portions were unusually small. I ordered a shrimp cocktail which had one shrimp and a few teeny tiny ones. I had a puff pastry ragout but got no puff pastry. The cream soups were very good. Entrees were a total mixed bag. I ordered fish and it was over cooked, another time is was undercooked, the rack of lamb was over seasoned and some days the pasta dish was delicious and another it was watery. Such a shame. Wine and beer were free flowing during dinner which is a nice change from regular cruises. Service was inconsistent as well. It is open seating and dinner is served from 7 to 9. If you sat closer to the kitchen, service was generally quicker and more attentive than sitting towards the entrance. They could use a few more service staff. Dining was very casual and you could wear the same clothes you wore during the day. No one dressed for dinner. I wish I knew in advance and I would have not packed some of my clothes. Staff was great. The captain was very visible and frequently was at the gangway when we were leaving or coming back from excursions. The cruise director, Bram, was all over and did a wonderful job keeping us informed and dealing with questions and resolving issue. The wait staff, housekeeping, front desk could not have been nicer. The fitness center is extremely small - one treadmill, one bike and one weight table. They did have exercise classes early in the morning and throughout the day but we were mostly out on excursions. The weather was chilly so you need to dress in layers and good walking shoes. we frequently did over 10 miles per day but we like to wander. At embarkation, they greeted you and you stayed comfortably in the lounge with piano music, light lunch and an available bar until the rooms were ready. At disembarkation, we were staying an extra day. You requested the day before for a taxi and while you had to be out of your room by 9 AM, you waited comfortably in the lounge until it arrived. All very civilized and you did not have to leave your luggage out the day before, just 1/2 hour before you had to leave or by 9AM. I would recommend this tulip cruise but be aware of dining issues. I would definitely go on another Avalon cruise if they were going to areas of interest. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
I have always wanted to see the tulip fields of Holland in bloom so for our 40th anniversary we chose this cruise. It was even better that we had hoped. We loved the cabin and waking up each morning watching the sites go by even before ... Read More
I have always wanted to see the tulip fields of Holland in bloom so for our 40th anniversary we chose this cruise. It was even better that we had hoped. We loved the cabin and waking up each morning watching the sites go by even before we got out of bed! It was also nice having a choice if included excursions at each port. Everything was so well organized and the port talks during cocktail hour each evening were very helpful to get us prepared for our adventures the next day. We were amazed at how quickly and efficiently the meals were served to so many in the dining room. The service in every area of the ship was phenomenal as well because it was clear that each member of the staff really enjoyed their job and bent over backwards to make our journey exceptional. We will be back for more Avalon cruises in the future I am sure. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
First I should say that I did not want to go on this trip and was dragged to the trip. Now let me say it was the best vacation ever and I can’t wait to go back. Everything was perfect, weather not perfect but it was fine as we dressed ... Read More
First I should say that I did not want to go on this trip and was dragged to the trip. Now let me say it was the best vacation ever and I can’t wait to go back. Everything was perfect, weather not perfect but it was fine as we dressed for it and had planned for it. We went early spring to insure the water levels as the last thing we wanted on our cruise was to be bussed. Liked - food was very good, and my wine glass was never empty even at the two hour dinners. Cruise director was excellent, this person is likely the most important part of a cruise. Ours was clear, direct, and made no excuses...”walking will be hard today”, “food at xx is excellent”, he was really good. Our room was made up twice a day and I don’t think we ever went back after breakfast when it wasn’t done. The excursions were very good as were the guides. No kids and that’s a great thing. It’s so hard to have an adult trip these days, it was very appreciated that they were not here, truth be told imho kids would hate river cruising. No goofy, no slides to the pool, no .........before jumping on my case, I raised two so I know what I speak of. I know your kids act perfectly, mine did ,but honestly they would not like river cruising. Aside from the excursions around the towns, two and three hour 5 course dinners are the evenings entertainment. Dislike- internet is slow, not much on tv. Funny we watched Casablanca every night falling asleep, picking back up where we left the prior evening. we were so tired every night we never did finish the show! My wife did not care for the exercise room, said too small, why bother? We’re walking miles every day. This is not like ocean cruising, no entertainment, except locals came on board a few nights and they were good. But honestly after walking all day, drinking wine and enjoying everyone’s company at dinner, who cares..time for bed! It was a great trip, everything was fine including the first class air tickets, nice way to travel. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We wanted a quick short get away and cruise on a river that we've never been on. The Avalon Vista has a capacity of 164 passengers & is 7 years young. It appeared well kept, was very clean & comfortable. The buffet ... Read More
We wanted a quick short get away and cruise on a river that we've never been on. The Avalon Vista has a capacity of 164 passengers & is 7 years young. It appeared well kept, was very clean & comfortable. The buffet breakfast & lunch, along with the sit down dinner was varied & very good. As this was Avalons first sailing of the season, we were able to check into our rooms upon embarkation. The disembarkation was timely & orderly. The pick up & transportation to/from airport/ship went smoothly. Although it did take us a few minutes to find the Avalon meeting location upon arrival at the airport. The staff & crew on board were friendly & helpful. The wait staff in the restaurant were 2nd to none. Entertainment was a little lacking & not to our liking, but may have been suffice for others. One night was classical music & the other was a couple of local singers which we did not attend, and of course the nightly piano player. We also had an afternoon of cheese tasting. We always enjoyed exploring Amsterdam, especially the canals, but this time we wanted to visit the Keukenhof Gardens (tulip garden), the worlds' largest flower garden, also known as the Garden of Europe. Keukenhof Gardens is in Lisse, South Holland near Rotterdam, where our ship docked & offered an excursion to. Although it was early in the season, it was still an amazing sight to see. While in Rotterdam, we also visited the town of Gouda with its well kept interesting architectual buildings from yesteryears. We then went onto Antwerp, Belgium where the weather was quite windy, but we still manage to enjoy the area. The Belgium city hall & train station are a few places to visit if you like to take pictures of the well kept buildings. Unfortunately the city hall was under renovation with a "picture" meshed cover of what the city hall would have looked like. We also stopped along the way to visit the beautiful architecture & canals in Ghent & Middleburg, along with the historic town of Willemstad, before sailing back to Amsterdam. In summary, we had an enjoyable trip. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
The cabins are clean and spacious for a river boat. We had a problem with dinner and the service of one crew member in particular, but the Cruise Director and dining manager went way above and beyond to make it right. The breakfast ... Read More
The cabins are clean and spacious for a river boat. We had a problem with dinner and the service of one crew member in particular, but the Cruise Director and dining manager went way above and beyond to make it right. The breakfast and lunch were great, but we’re not much into the hour and a half dinner every night, though the food was mostly good. We were happy with the value of the excursions, both paid and included. There was an informative port talk the evening before we docked in each port, which was very helpful. There was a cheese tasting on board in the Netherlands, which was interesting. Embarkation and disembarkation was easy and stress free. We got back to the airport at a good time- not too early to have to wait around for hours Overall it was an excellent trip and I’ll definitely travel with Avalon again and recommend to others. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Globus Friends & Family opportunity. Spring was a perfect time for our 1st river cruise. The Avalon Vista was very, very nice. The itinerary was wonderful starting & ending in Amsterdam so we stayed a few extra days both before ... Read More
Globus Friends & Family opportunity. Spring was a perfect time for our 1st river cruise. The Avalon Vista was very, very nice. The itinerary was wonderful starting & ending in Amsterdam so we stayed a few extra days both before & after the cruise. The private organ recital in Willemstad was exceptional. Being behind the Delta Pan Barrage with a local quide was so educational. Every guide was excellent & truly loved their city & history. A wonderful time, great staff, too much (not complaining) really good food. Comfortable accommodations both our cabin & all the public spaces. The staff were very well trained, very helpful, knowledgeable, courteous. The cruise directory, Tibor, made all the varied arrangements look so easy, ie; added guides, added slow walker group. The coach drivers were amazing drivers on the narrow roads, small parking spaces. Always felt very safe. Again the guides answered varied questions, knew the history, had perfect English & loved what they did. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Despite the challenges of low water on the Rhine, the Avalon team did a wonderful job in making sure we had a great time. We still went to all cities on the itinerary. We had a couple of long bus rides which were tolerable and the Avalon ... Read More
Despite the challenges of low water on the Rhine, the Avalon team did a wonderful job in making sure we had a great time. We still went to all cities on the itinerary. We had a couple of long bus rides which were tolerable and the Avalon folks were great about making sure there were rest stop breaks. The 2 hotel nights were fine though of course we would have rather been on the ship! There were a couple of minor issues with the off-ship logistics mostly around room assignment and luggage procurement, but handled very well by the Avalon staff. I must say that because we had the opportunity to "ship swap" to the Tranquility, we found the food on the Imagery to be lacking in comparison. It was fine; the lunches and breakfasts were ample and fresh, but the food on the Tranquility was definitely a cut above the Imagery. However, the Imagery food was just fine. The shore excursions were very good, though I think one or 2 with long bus rides (e.g. Black Forest) were a bit too much bus (probably because we had been on buses for such a long time already). Guides were all very knowledgeable and mostly engaging. We enjoyed the coffee machine at all hours and all in all thought the experience was both luxurious AND home-y. We are already planning our next trip! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
In October, we travelled as a group of six, for an 18 day cruise along the Danube river from Prague to Bucharest. What a wonderful time we had on Avalon's Illumination. The food was wonderful, the ship immaculately clean and the ... Read More
In October, we travelled as a group of six, for an 18 day cruise along the Danube river from Prague to Bucharest. What a wonderful time we had on Avalon's Illumination. The food was wonderful, the ship immaculately clean and the staff very personable. However, we knew that there had been a drought in Europe all summer and there was a possibility that it would affect our sailings. It did indeed. We were unable to sail a good portion of the river itself. About half way into our cruise we were told we could no longer navigate by ship to many of our destinations due to the extremely low riverbed. We would have to be bussed to various locations and back again. It was very disappointing, but, Avalon went above and beyond what I understand is normal in these situations! We were not simply offered a monetary credit on a future cruise. We were given the choice between staying on board (and taking in some different sights cruising back along the way we came) or terminating our cruise and flying home. Either way we were being reimbursed for those days!! We naturally chose to stay on board and ride out the adventure! Even though we were being compensated for those 7 days, we were given extra excursions, flown by charted planes to one destination, saw absolutely wonderful little towns that were new to our cruise, and did not lack for interesting and new adventures; all fully paid for. It is true that we had to be bussed to several locations and missed a good part of the actual onboard cruising part of the trip, but, Avalon can not control the river levels, and they managed to make lemonade out of what could have been a very sour turn of events. We cannot say enough about the wonderful staff and cruise director who did everything in their power to make sure that we enjoyed everything to very best of their abilities. Countless hours on the internet and telephone were spent by our dedicated and very professional cruise director making alternate plans and arranging for special busses and local mini cruises (especially in Budapest) so that we could experience some of the beauty of sailing in approximation of our cancelled cruise along sections of the Danube. (Thank you, Gusta, you were amazing!) All in all, we had a wonderful experience and quite soon after we got home we found refunds deposited into our accounts. We will DEFINITELY choose Avalon again, next time we want to cruise. Thank you Avalon! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
I had never cruised on the Rhine before, and I sell a lot of Avalon river cruises, so I thought it was time to experience one of the most popular river cruises for myself. I did the Danube last year with Avalon, and the more I experience ... Read More
I had never cruised on the Rhine before, and I sell a lot of Avalon river cruises, so I thought it was time to experience one of the most popular river cruises for myself. I did the Danube last year with Avalon, and the more I experience Avalon river cruising, the easier it is for me to sell it to customers who contact me. Just wanted to let you know that my friend and I had an INCREDIBLE and AMAZING experience our our Rhine cruise September 29 - October 6. I love selling Avalon, and after two fabulous cruise experiences for myself (one on Danube in 2017 and now this one on the Rhine), it makes it easier for me to relate to my customers better and give them first hand knowledge about what they can expect when they book an Avalon river cruise with me. The crew on the Avalon Tranquility II this year (and the Avalon Panorama last year), as always, was amazing! I even had the same cruise director, Stefano, on both of my cruises. He is exceptionally good at what he does. I need to pass along this story about what happened to me on this cruise: October 1, 2018, my postings on Facebook: I have had major dental work all year. Two months ago 3 Crowns put on the lower right. All was fine until a couple days ago, the tooth in front of the 3 new molar Crowns started to hurt a bit. By yesterday it was painful and sore jaw. No dentists open in AMS on Sat or Sun. Sailed for Cologne yesterday afternoon. Tylenol helped the pain last night. Woke up with swollen glands on the right and now my thyroid is swollen. So this morning- Our wonderful cruise director, Stefano, who is fluent in German, called a dentist in Cologne this morning. I have an appointment in an hour. I just want some antibiotics until I can get back home to Venice. *************** Dental update - Stefano walked with me to the dental office; translated in German to the receptionist, and translated their patient form so I could fill it out. I love him for that! I love German dentists not only that I love how little they charge as the same procedure in the states would probably cost me $1000 they only charge me €164 but a very complete treatment- Dr. did an exam he took an x-ray, drilled a hole in the tooth, did a root canal to clean out the infection and said that it was draining pus had to leave a hole in the tooth gave me an antibiotic prescription and told me how to get to the pharmacy to fill the prescription, and gave me a liquid anti-septic that I can use to spray in the tooth three times a day with the syringes he gave me With the doctor and his staff‘s limited English google translate and a translate program he had on his dental office computer we got along just fine. He was very competent and pain-free and I certainly hope that when the numbness wears off that it doesn’t hurt any longer he said the swelling will go down in two days, Clean it three times a day take my antibiotics two times a day and go see my dentist when I get back Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
These tours are wonderful way to see lovely ports and hear of the history of europe without having to re-pack suitcase each day. I am a solo traveler, but a girlfriend was also on the cruise. I felt we still had a good time even though ... Read More
These tours are wonderful way to see lovely ports and hear of the history of europe without having to re-pack suitcase each day. I am a solo traveler, but a girlfriend was also on the cruise. I felt we still had a good time even though there were almost no actual solo travelers or girlfriend groups onboard. The panoramic staterooms are just wonderful. Being able to lie on bed and see the lovely scenery was breathtaking. I enjoyed sitting by the window and seeing the countryside as well as the towns drift by. Our tour did have low water conditions which caused us to miss a day on the boat - two nights at the beginning and one at the end. Avalon compensates you for this inconvenience and missing some of the river. They do put you up at a 5 star hotel. The bus rides were not so far, and the tours proceeded as they normally would if we had docked in town. So I never had to repack a suitcase. If the lower water was in the center, it might have had a more dramatic impact. I paid for the optional excursion to Cesky Krumlov in Czech Republic, and it was a highlight for me. Beautiful bus ride through the countryside too. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Our travel agent recommended Avalon Cruise Lines, as we had no previous cruise experience. our on board cruise director, Mauro, was the best and completely engaged. All the various shore excursions were well organized and came off without ... Read More
Our travel agent recommended Avalon Cruise Lines, as we had no previous cruise experience. our on board cruise director, Mauro, was the best and completely engaged. All the various shore excursions were well organized and came off without a hitch. All the service crew, including housekeeping and wait staff were superb. Our cabin was spacious and having the wall to wall- floor to ceiling French balcony windows was a real plus. The on board musical entertainment was delightful. The quantity and variety of the food was a plus and the quality never declined. Having open dining seating lead to many happy conversations with different groups of friendly travelers. Everyone involved with Avalon was accommodating to our wishes. It was a memorable cruise. We had many photo opportunities taken from the ship as it passed by the castles on the Rhine River.. We liked the experience of passing through the many locks and remarking on the engineering wonders. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
This was our first river cruise. It was great! We had been to European cities several times in the past, always on our own (driving or taking trains, etc.) with few pre-planned tours, so we were a little anxious about a totally ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. It was great! We had been to European cities several times in the past, always on our own (driving or taking trains, etc.) with few pre-planned tours, so we were a little anxious about a totally pre-planned, boat-based itinerary. We arrived 2 full days early to enjoy Amsterdam before cruise departure, and we recommend this to everyone, if just to adjust to the time zone. A single day in such a city is not enough. But even though before we boarded in Amsterdam we had to swap boats from the Tranquility II to the virtually identical Imagery II (due to low water on the river preventing our assigned craft to meet us in Amsterdam), this all turned out great. We pre-chose their smallest cabin, which though cozy was adequate in size and amenities for us with excellent storage and bathroom space. Since we were rarely in the room except at night to sleep, we did not need the luxury of the panorama windows of the upper decks at perhaps double the price. I'm sure they are a bonus for elbow room and amenities, but if we wanted a daytime or evening view of our passage, especially when going through one of the many locks, we just went up to the top deck or one of the two lounges with great views, which were always open. Our boat (the Imagery II) was like new (2 years old, I believe), pristine and beautifully maintained. Every crew member—apparently all from Eastern Europe with excellent English speaking skills—was clearly proud of their work and delightfully friendly, regardless of position and duties (and I mean from the Captain to the waitstaff and our room attendant—all really quite impressive). Dining on board was not a religious experience for us, but we must say every meal was an overall excellent experience with very, very good food and superb, personable service. Our only negative dining critique was for the fish courses, which regardless of declared type of fish, seemed to be prepared in the same way and thus had similar taste and were of average/good restaurant quality. All other dining options we chose, which varied delightfully every day including the wine selections, were really very fine to excellent quality. Our talented resident keyboard artist in the main lounge provided a soothing and professional variety of tunes, clearly targeted to our mostly "senior" age group, but that was really nice for easy listening. We had a couple evenings with added in-port guest artists that were wonderful, too. The "La Strada" trio was particularly delightful. This itinerary is packed with daily excursion options (some included, some for extra fees), and we took advantage of nearly all of them. Perhaps that was too many for us, as we never seemed to have day or afternoon to just chill out and read a book. Nevertheless, as we are easily mobile, no excursions were stressful and the logistics were smoothly arranged by the Tour Director. The local tour guides were always excellent and made the descriptions personal and entertaining. (Those passengers who were less mobile always had an option for shorter excursions, too.) We did realize that you can only get a "taste" of the place on a quick guided tour, and a couple times we abandoned the guide after a while to run off on our own for a bit and meet them later to get back to the boat. This was alway an option on the walking tours. But now we have some more cities for which we know a return visit at length is needed, and a couple not. After the cruise ended, we also added a couple days on our own in Switzerland. That was fun, too. Overall: Loved Avalon; their planning, the personnel, service, value and the boat. It was easy to meet other passengers daily and generate some new friends. When we disembarked, one could not help but notice that along with all the other staff and crew members helping unload the luggage to the waiting buses, the Captain was pitching in and carrying some luggage too! That's the kind of dedication to service that reflects so well on Avalon and perhaps the Imagery II boat crew in particular. We think we'll do another Avalon voyage soon, but a longer one to ensure we have some more time to just relax. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Imagine our disappointment when we learned that our much anticipated cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest could not be offered as promised due to record low, drought- induced river water levels. However, the amazing staff at Avalon, ... Read More
Imagine our disappointment when we learned that our much anticipated cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest could not be offered as promised due to record low, drought- induced river water levels. However, the amazing staff at Avalon, especially our cruise director Jerome, managed to provide us with an lovely trip despite Mother Nature's non-cooperation. Our ship was stuck in Passau, and the Avalon team sprang into action, arranging accommodation at excellent hotels, transportation on very comfortable motor coaches, delicious meals, knowledgeable guides, and even a mini-cruise through the Rhine Gorge as we made our way south to the Danube. Their professionalism and experience made the very best experience out of what could easily have been a traveler's nightmare. Meeting up with the ship was a joyous occasion, and we were greeted by the crew like long-lost family. The 10 days we spent on board the Expression left nothing to be desired: comfortable cabin, excellent meals, helpful staff, well-organized excursions, friendly fellow passengers, and even an evening of fireworks. (OK, the fireworks were not arranged by Avalon, but were a nice touch anyway.) Excellent service in the face of adversity says more about a company than an uneventful trip would. We would travel with Avalon again knowing that our comfort and enjoyment were paramount, even under trying circumstances. Bravo Expression staff and crew, and bravo Jerome! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Because of the low water situation on the Danube, our intended 14-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest became four nights in hotels, three days on buses, and 10 nights on the beautiful Avalon Expression. But I'm pleased to report ... Read More
Because of the low water situation on the Danube, our intended 14-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest became four nights in hotels, three days on buses, and 10 nights on the beautiful Avalon Expression. But I'm pleased to report that Avalon took very good care of us. The price adjustment that they gave because of the changes was more than fair, the hotels that they substituted in for the first four nights (Jakarta in Amsterdam, Hilton in Bonn, and Marriott in Frankfurt) were very comfortable (although the Jakarta was inconveniently located), and we were well fed on the bus portion. Cruise Director Jerome did a marvelous job of keeping things moving with a minimum of inconvenience; he really was excellent all along the way. The Rhine Gorge cruise was every bit as enjoyably on a local day cruiser as it would have been on the Expression. To make up for the cruising days missed along the Main River, once we reached the Expression at Vilshofen on the Danube, several days were added to the itinerary, enabling us to see places such as Mauthausen and Linz that weren't on the original schedule. The experience on the Expression was excellent. Our french-balcony room was spacious and very comfortable (see below). I have to say that the food on board, while usually quite good, was not spectacular (although the treats that were served in the lounge at tea time most afternoons were excellent). The dining room servers were always personable and accommodating, the onboard entertainers were enjoyable, and our party appreciated the daily pre-dinner happy hour, when drinks were half price. We also found the included wines that were offered with dinner to be very good. The daily shore excursions were also generally excellent, as were the local guides. My wife is "looking forward" to a knee replacement in a few months, so she appreciated the "slow walkers" group that was offered with each excursion, which seemed to take shorter routes, with fewer stairs, while hitting most everything that the "normal" groups saw. We've done a lot of ocean cruising, but this was our first river cruise. Based on our experience, I doubt it will be our last. And if we are able to do another, it will definitely be with Avalon. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Our third river cruise on Avalon. First two went so well, we didn't want to risk another line. Again, we were not disappointed. Avalon is very consistent with their ships, policies, activities, excursions, meal service, etc. We knew ... Read More
Our third river cruise on Avalon. First two went so well, we didn't want to risk another line. Again, we were not disappointed. Avalon is very consistent with their ships, policies, activities, excursions, meal service, etc. We knew what to expect. With a few exceptions, everything was well organized, including the ship repositioning and busing resulting from low water levels on the Rhine. We arrived three days early in Amsterdam (embarkation port), which I highly recommend. Museums are very good and canals can't be missed. Our visit to Geithoorn was the highlight of the entire trip, although we booked through Viator. Be aware that most non-hotel apartments or Airbnb's in the canal district are not going to have elevators and will have stairs akin to ladders. Good way to get a feel for life in Amsterdam, however. Embarkation was a breeze - we just dropped our bags and boarded an excursion to Zaanse Schans, which is also very good. Don't plan on renting or using bikes in Amsterdam as you will likely get killed. All the ports/stops along the Rhine and Mosel are worth seeing, with the exception of maybe Metz. Little towns along the beautiful Mosel river are very pretty. We are very glad we included the Mosel on this cruise. The Avalon excursions to Metz and the Chateau de la Grange should be eliminated. They were that bad. The ships crew and cruise director were top notch. Vlad, the cruise director had his hands full due to the ship repositioning. He handled it very well. Meals were above average and service was always excellent. Wine glass was never empty. Entertainment was weak, but we didn't care. It was about the ports and excursions for us. Wifi service was very, very slow. Don't count on it. Due to low water levels on the Rhine, the trip had to be changed and cut short a day. The ship could not get past Strasbourg, and then had to retreat back down stream as not get stranded if the river fell further. This meant we were bused around the last two days and we spent the last night in a nice hotel in Zurich for some reason. The ship was never going to Zurich to begin with. Just meant an additional bus trip to the Basel airport. May be the only city Avalon could find 60 hotel rooms. In any event, Avalon handled the whole ordeal pretty well, and compensated the passengers fairly for the change in plan. A couple of confused bus drivers and apathetic French tour guides did delay things a bit here and there. I think without exception the passengers on board were very pleased with the cruise despite the low water issue, which only effected the last two days. We would definitely cruise with Avalon again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because it was 12 nights and visited the Rhine and Mosel Rivers. The ports were interesting and fun to explore. The included tours were well planned and allowed time for individual exploration. We never felt rushed ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was 12 nights and visited the Rhine and Mosel Rivers. The ports were interesting and fun to explore. The included tours were well planned and allowed time for individual exploration. We never felt rushed to get back to the ship. The crew was friendly and helpful and excellent service at all meals. The buffets at breakfast and lunch offered a wide variety of delicious dishes. The dinners never disappointed to offer a wide variety of choices and the servings were perfect. Our cruise director Vlad was very informative with his nightly cruise talks about the schedule and itinerary for the next day. Our cruise was cut short because of low water level and we had to be bused to our last day's tours and spend the last night at a Zurich hotel. Vlad handled the problem perfectly and kept us informed of the repositioning. And Avalon is compensating us for the inconvenience. We were flying home from Zurich so it was no problem for us, a much shorter transfer to the airport. We will definitely recommend Avalon to our friends and consider them for any future river cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Had a very good time. Loved all the places we stopped and everything I saw. The tours were well planned and really liked the use of the receivers. You could walk at your own pace and still hear everything the guide was saying. Our tour ... Read More
Had a very good time. Loved all the places we stopped and everything I saw. The tours were well planned and really liked the use of the receivers. You could walk at your own pace and still hear everything the guide was saying. Our tour director Vlad was great. His talks the night before the ports were very helpful and having a map of each stop was valuable. The food was fantastic and never had a bad meal. There was always something great to eat. The staff was friendly and helpful. And easy to joke around with. You could tell they liked their jobs. As for the beds they were to nice, I never wanted to get up. Vlad went out of he way to help all of us when we had to depart the ship early. He found a Hotel for all of us our last night and even hosted our last meal together before going our separate ways. Read Less
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