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Sail Date: September 2018
We had a great time with Avalon in China in 2017. We wanted to see the Danube and thought Avalon would be good again. They did not disappoint. The service was magnificent, the food very good, the tours were great. We enjoyed every ... Read More
We had a great time with Avalon in China in 2017. We wanted to see the Danube and thought Avalon would be good again. They did not disappoint. The service was magnificent, the food very good, the tours were great. We enjoyed every minute of it. We had plenty of time to explore Budapest and were able to store our luggage on board on embarkation day. The staff was so accommodating. One evening, we didn't not realize that Vienna closed so completely and early. We made our way back to the ship knowing we had missed dinner. We did not even ask, the crew said "you have missed dinner, can we get you something?" We will be taking other Avalon cruises because they have not disappointed at all. We needed to make alternative arrangements at the end of the cruise and the staff was very accommodating and helped us get to the train station in Regensburg to catch the train to Munich. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
My husband wanted to book a cruise that would be as easy or as difficult physically as I could handle with knee surgery looming. A friend and I found everything was perfect, especially for a first time river cruise. Everything about this ... Read More
My husband wanted to book a cruise that would be as easy or as difficult physically as I could handle with knee surgery looming. A friend and I found everything was perfect, especially for a first time river cruise. Everything about this cruise went smoothly from the moment we joined up. No worries and every question was answered promptly and fully. Our disembarkation was remarkably easy as well. The ship shines, the crew from captain down to the behind the scenes people were welcoming,cheerful and pleasant. The cabin was more than adequate, beds extremely comfortable for one with a bad back and the food and bar outstanding. I could not have wished for better service. The planned shore excursions and ports of call have a lovely overview of several countries and some of their highlights, loads of information from a local guide, with shortened or modified tours (gentle walks) for those needing them. Personally, I found most of the tour very doable with a walking stick which the ship provided. As we were told at the beginning of the cruise, very little of the entertainment took place aboard ship--most was only e o the planned excursions. My husband did not accompany me on this trip, so I am going to try and get him to go next year. I certainly hope to go again several times, preferably with Avalon Waterways. I simply can't say enough good about them. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Recommended by friends who have been on prior AVALON cruises, including this summer on the same one we took but at an earlier time. We also chose it for size of boat, lack of children, number of stops and excursions. The ports were ... Read More
Recommended by friends who have been on prior AVALON cruises, including this summer on the same one we took but at an earlier time. We also chose it for size of boat, lack of children, number of stops and excursions. The ports were excellent, with variation of guides in ports from super to ok. Enough free time and also enough information provided. In fact, everything was timed perfectly - no mixups. The ship was lovely, well designed to encourage socialization and choices for meals. The staterooms were roomy for a cruise, with plenty of storage and it was great that all had outside windows (we never opened ours but there were Juliette balconies). Food was excellent and abundant. Our on-board director, NANCY, was fantastic. She made everything work with great spirit and enthusiasm and problem solving. And she gave precise and well-articulated "briefings" every day. Terrific. A real pro. 99% of our "problems" were of our own making in that we had a small fold-up wheel chair which does not work easily on the old town streets and hills - FYI for anyone traveling with a wheel chair or limited walking ability. Luckily we are used to me parking the chair for my husband somewhere interesting and galloping off on my own to see things beyond his range. As to Nancy and the crew, they made the wheel chair part no problem as much as humanly possible. I would recommend for entertainment that there be more organized after dinner things like scavenger hunts or bingo of some variety or other group games - we did a few but mainly it was passive entertainment and then people went to the bar or their rooms. The days were filled very well; no too long stretches of sailing. We did run out of Danube at the Budapest stop - hardly the fault of Avalon. We were impressed with everything. Met lovely people, all similar enough in age/life stage to fit together well. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We really enjoyed our first river cruise. The main reason we picked this cruise was the Normandy destination and history lectures. They were excellent. We are experienced Ocean Cruise people and frankly the river cruise is little too laid ... Read More
We really enjoyed our first river cruise. The main reason we picked this cruise was the Normandy destination and history lectures. They were excellent. We are experienced Ocean Cruise people and frankly the river cruise is little too laid back for me. However, if we do another we would choose Avalon. Great service, excellent food and really nice people. We loved our Royal Suite but have no way to compare to other lines. Except for the lectures we found the little bit of entertainment that was provided just average. Also since there is no gambling there is not much to do when you return from excursions. The people at the reception desk were very helpful and although I need A wheelchair to go off the ship, they made that experience seamless. Our Cruise Director was very helpful and did a nice job keeping people informed of activities. We were a little disappointed that many activities started late but that was not an issue with most people. Overall we had a really great time. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
The cruise staff all around was amazing. From the crew to the waiters, to everybody we saw on board. We loved all the activities we could choose from. Being able to pick between included excursions made our experience wonderful. The ... Read More
The cruise staff all around was amazing. From the crew to the waiters, to everybody we saw on board. We loved all the activities we could choose from. Being able to pick between included excursions made our experience wonderful. The hardest decision was deciding between red and white wine or how many desserts to have! I had allergies, and the maître d’ was able to walk me through the menu each day in order for me to be successful. In our 40s, we were one of the youngest people on the trip, however everybody was welcoming and we enjoyed hanging out with people on the ship. Being able to sit wherever we want it allowed us to have dinner with different people each evening. Sometimes we wanted a more casual dinner and we would sit in the bistro, this was nice because you could pick smaller portions of several different entrées. We would definitely choose an Avalon vacation again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
Wanted a river cruise along the Danube from Vienna to Passau to enjoy the scenery----especially in the wine-growing region of the Wachau--- and Benedictine monastery MELK (featured in the film "In the Name of the Rose") on my way ... Read More
Wanted a river cruise along the Danube from Vienna to Passau to enjoy the scenery----especially in the wine-growing region of the Wachau--- and Benedictine monastery MELK (featured in the film "In the Name of the Rose") on my way to my old hometown in Munich. The cabin and ship were in excellent shape, clean, wonderful stateroom amenities (L'Occident products). Food was fabulous, with an incredible selection of local food, delicacies and wine. And for those who don't want international food, filet mignons and steak were available every night if one preferred. Service aboard was impeccable. Cruise director very knowledgeable, interesting, funny and personable. Staff couldn't have been more caring. Excursions excellent and interesting. My only complaint is that the cruise wasn't long enough. Having grown up in Europe never would have thought years ago that I would do such a cruise. But now hooked on river cruising. Didn't miss the throngs of people found on ocean cruises. Enjoyed the sights and sounds of the beautiful countryside calmly and quietly floating by. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
Friends who have had very positive experiences with Avalon Waterways, highly recommended it to us. It was our first and all our experiences exceeded our expectations. The crew, each one, was extremely efficient, courteous, and especially ... Read More
Friends who have had very positive experiences with Avalon Waterways, highly recommended it to us. It was our first and all our experiences exceeded our expectations. The crew, each one, was extremely efficient, courteous, and especially friendly to the guests which, I must say, were a delight to meet and great to become friends and socialize with. A plus was the knowledgeable cruise director and his meticulous attention to detail, schedules, and in simply directing everyone to where they should be at any given time and in a timely way. What a guy he is! Also, the tour guides were knowledgeable about the various venues we visited. The food served in the lounge and in the dining room was excellent, as well as the friendly ship's company who cooked and served the guests. No complaint or mistake, if any, went uncorrected as far as we know. I might add that the musical entertainment that was presented on the vessel was a pleasant and unexpected plus. The berthing was perfecto. Comfortable, very accommodating, and with marvelous riverside scenery. We are looking forward our booking another river cruise with Avalon Waterways. Our big and heart-felt thanks for making our vacation one of the best ever. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Just heard Viking is restricting all cruises to NO KIDS. Wow! That really saddens me, because our 2017 multi-generational family vacation aboard the Avalon Vista from Budapest to Nuremburg was amazing. Our Group included 10 family ... Read More
Just heard Viking is restricting all cruises to NO KIDS. Wow! That really saddens me, because our 2017 multi-generational family vacation aboard the Avalon Vista from Budapest to Nuremburg was amazing. Our Group included 10 family members- ages 12 to 85 years. We travelled with two (2) children who would not be welcomed aboard Viking Cruise lines. The senior members of our group and junior members also loved the chess board on the deck! At any rate - Avalon was simply amazing!!! Rooms were fantastic and the itinerary literally had something for everyone. On one particular day my son and his cousin (12 and 13) road bikes with their aunt through Regensburg, while Grandpa and Great Aunt Barbara enjoyed an afternoon of folk music and a beer at the Monk's Abbey. Grandpa loved the opportunity to take his 13 year-old grandson to a classical concert in Vienna. Every single person in our group loved this vacation and would do it again in a heartbeat. If you are thinking about booking a multi-generational family vacation, don't hesitate! Grandpa says it was his best birthday gift of his life! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I initially was approached by my 89-year-old mother, who wanted to take one last trip before she would be unable. I offered to be her traveling companion, not realizing where she intended to travel. I had only been on one cruise prior, a ... Read More
I initially was approached by my 89-year-old mother, who wanted to take one last trip before she would be unable. I offered to be her traveling companion, not realizing where she intended to travel. I had only been on one cruise prior, a Caribbean Cruise, on one of the larger vessels. So when she mentioned she wanted to take a river cruise, I really had nothing to base it on. My first overall impression, exhausting! Too much planned time, not enough free time. Having to set my alarm to 6:30 every morning of my vacation did not sound like my idea of a vacation. We were constantly being rushed from one event to another, catching buses, trying to keep track of tour guides in crowds. It rained our entire trip, and blue umbrellas were everywhere. We were constantly told to keep track of the 'blue umbrella's, that was difficult at best. Not being able to speak the language, not knowing where we were heading and keeping track of my mother, dressed in black, in a sea of black, was not good, when you lost contact with the blue umbrella guide! As for the knowledge of the guides, they were EXCELLENT. I would have preferred more time to explore rather than feel like we were in a race to get to one place to the next. Our mealtimes were pretty much set in gold, so if you wanted to eat a lite-fare early and then later, this would not be the case. The restaurant area was small, and the buffet line was always crowded due to the time constraints. If you arrived late, a lot of the items were already picked over or gone. My mother, who uses a wheeled walker, had difficulty getting items onto a plate and then move thru the line. So after the first few days, I would quickly eat first, then she would arrive and I would gather her breakfast or lunch items. Dinner at least was sit-down, and we were served. But I must say, overall, I was not impressed with the menu items. Fish was always overcooked and dry. Portion sizes were OK, but I am not a big eater. Sometimes nothing really excited me at dinner, because we ate at 6-7 pm, and I am usually a late afternoon dinner person. Lunch had a lighter fare served on the deck. We started using that for our lunch, to avoid the crowds in the restaurant area. I was quieter, more relaxing, and the views good. The staff that worked this area were always attentive and polite. Our cabin was in the 'cheap seats' as I referred to them. We booked late and very few options left. It was small, as expected, and since we really didn't spend a lot of time in it, it was adequate. The biggest problem we had was the diesel fumes that came in at night while going thru the locks. That was horrible. I finally complained about it after the 3rd night, and I was told the entire ship had that problem when in the locks, yet everyone I asked whose room was above the water line, said they never smelled any fumes. Either way, that was the worst. The beds were small, but OK, given the size of the room. I was surprised to find one night, that my sheets had been just flipped over when my mother had spilled something on the top of mine. It was tucked into the wall side, but the next morning when I noticed they had not changed them but hide the spill, I was surprised, to say the least. I get that this is not a big ship with many options, but clean sheets are expected for the price we paid. The onboard entertainment was OK - I understand and was not expecting the big cruise events. We did not spend a lot of time listening to the shows. I did enjoy the Port of Call information for our next day's excursions. The seating was not very comfortable. Barrel chairs are not meant for long sitting. Not for relaxing and reading a book. Couches along the sides were not that great either. The tables were so close, it was hard to move around if you were stuck in the middle. The Danube River was a surprise to me. I have never traveled to Europe and I guess I expected a lot more on the river. Many times looking out, I felt like I was traveling down the Wisconsin River in November. Cold, damp drizzle was a constant. The upper deck was pretty much closed. Yes, you could walk around the upper deck, but you had to bundle up. My mother never made it to the top. She was not able to climb the steps. Which is another issue I had; Our travel agency said Avalon would be able to accommodate my mother given her handicap. While they did have an elevator, on several occasions it was not working. She had virtually no assistance getting on or off the boat. She is proud lady, who does not see herself as being handicapped, Several of the tour guides you could see were not happy having someone using a wheeled walker on cobblestone streets, with lots of stairs to climb. Many of them made comments that this tour would be difficult at best. I believe both Avalon and the travel agency should have informed my mother this trip would not be good for her. Or maybe they did, and my mother did not pay attention. Either way, it impacted my enjoyment of the trip. The ports and shore excursions were OK - we did a few of the extras. They were OK too. Would I do another river cruise? Probably not. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe having to watch for my mother impacted my enjoyment. I did find Europe to be an incredible place and would love to go back. It opened my eyes to something I had never experienced prior. The food, the smells, the COFFEE, were my favorite parts. I wished the weather had been warmer, less damp, more sunshine - all of which obviously affected my enjoyment. For me, it was an expensive trip - I don't really know if I got my monies worth. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Wow, greeted with champagne, h, ow good is that. My advice to travelers is get to Paris a day early so you are not stressed by the travel. They pick you up at the Airport, they take your luggage, bring you to a staging place ( Hotel ... Read More
Wow, greeted with champagne, h, ow good is that. My advice to travelers is get to Paris a day early so you are not stressed by the travel. They pick you up at the Airport, they take your luggage, bring you to a staging place ( Hotel Pullman) and you wait several hours to take the bus to the meals were( for a cruise ship) bathroom. Real live orchids, a window wall that opens to a French Balcony. A very comfortable bed. We went to the lounge to here Caty our cruise director, tell us about the ship, the one time emergency drill and other features. Everybody loved Caty, everyday and evening she was there for our concerns and questions, thank you. We found out that we had 95 people cruising on the Tapestry II, not a lot when we have been on cruise ships with thousands. Our dining experience was fantastic, Gabriel our server made sure our wine glasses were full, take a drink and he would top it off. Thank you Gabriel for taking such good care of us. Just to mention, when we came on board the Matrei d asked if anyone had allergies, my wife is allergic to shell fish, informed him and at every meal he stopped by to see what she ordered. Caring and considering the welfare of the guests made us feel we made the right choice. Hard to be on a very personal cruise and not make new friends, we were grateful to the many new ones we made. The tours are many and fun, from the American cemetery at Normandy, Van Gogh, Monet, Paris and the many others we took, very interesting and knowledgeable guides. Would do it again. Thanks to the Captain for his singing New York, New York in French. Read Less
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