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13 Avalon Waterways France Cruise Reviews

Heard Avalon provided a very good river cruise. Had an excellent cruise director (Gayle Walter) and a very attentive crew. The trip was very organized and comfortable. Delicious food. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and friendly. A ... Read More
Heard Avalon provided a very good river cruise. Had an excellent cruise director (Gayle Walter) and a very attentive crew. The trip was very organized and comfortable. Delicious food. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and friendly. A very relaxing way to see France. Disembarkation & embarkation went very smoothly. The crew had very good communication skills and were also just a lot of fun. My only criticism was the front lounge was far too cold all the time. Someone needed to turn down the air conditioning. We really enjoyed the included walking tours. Although the optional shore excursions are advertised far more effectively. While the hotels were beautiful, it wasn’t too encouraging to have a room at the Carlton in Cannes with a view of pipes and dirty standing water. At the same time the Carlton’s restaurant was terrific. I did not care for the old food caked onto the folding knife provided at the in-room bar. Gross! Seems to be a housekeeping issue. Loved everything about the Paris hotel. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Our friends that are wine connoisseurs wanted to tour region. We wanted to see Monaco but this trip did not end up there as the brochure stated when we booked. We enjoyed all the stops and seeing so many wonderful places., especially ... Read More
Our friends that are wine connoisseurs wanted to tour region. We wanted to see Monaco but this trip did not end up there as the brochure stated when we booked. We enjoyed all the stops and seeing so many wonderful places., especially the small, quaint little towns and unusual things like "Garden of Eden," organ concert in cathedral, wine tasting in a chateau, etc..... We also liked the French Balcony with views of the towns and countryside, however, it seemed that half the time we were double and triple docked with NO view. Did not like that part 'Wish river portion was longer. The ship was nice, we had talks every evening, outlining activities, etc, - those could have been shorter. It would be nice if tips were just part of the price. It is such an hassle/ordeal to worry about that at end of trip. Some companies include tips in price - much better. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First night hotel in Monte Carlo then a four hour coach ride the following day to pick up our ship in Arles, in fact it took over 5 hours because of a crash on the motorway! Ships crew were there to welcome us on board and as we were ... Read More
First night hotel in Monte Carlo then a four hour coach ride the following day to pick up our ship in Arles, in fact it took over 5 hours because of a crash on the motorway! Ships crew were there to welcome us on board and as we were late dinner was delayed but we had no time to shower and change! Cabin excellent and liked the position of the bed facing the window, nice to lie in bed and watch the world go by. Cabin furniture a bit dark and dated compared to more contemporary designs on other river cruises we have travelled. Spotlessly clean and the cabin steward was very helpful when I complained that the pillow was too soft, she managed to find me a firm one. Food and wine excellent, service attentive. Relaxed dining experience and not rushed in any way. On board entertainment good, enjoyed the local foods sample bought on board at Viviers. Daily pre dinner talk of the next day activities and port of call always informative. Service excellent, everyone very friendly and professional and eager to make the trip a memorable experience for us. Shore excursions guides were all knowledgeable and made the excursions very interesting and fun. Shore excursions about the right length of time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Chose itinerary. Loved Provence countryside. Guided tours were always well paced, informative, and the guides were pleasant and very entertaining. The ship was contemporary simple; beautiful really with all the orchids scattered about. ... Read More
Chose itinerary. Loved Provence countryside. Guided tours were always well paced, informative, and the guides were pleasant and very entertaining. The ship was contemporary simple; beautiful really with all the orchids scattered about. Can't say enough about the responsiveness of all staff on the ship. Cruise director, Tony, was outstanding, very involved, always a presence, and attentive to any questions or issues. Our bags were handled every step of the way; from our arrival to our departure. We enjoyed onboard tastings....cheese, wine, and confections. As a frequent large ship cruiser I found the river cruise by comparison to be more relaxing, the ship more friendly, the service more personal. No problems with motion sickness as the ride was smooth and motionless. The many locks along the way were a surprise and added to our adventure. A few hours at an outdoor market offered up fresh bread, cheese, dried meats, honey, nugat, and fresh picked strawberries and other produce. Thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and will consider this type of adventure again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was our first river trip and we picked the Seine trip so we could travel along the river and spend a little time in Paris. We made a small mistake with our flights. Boarding doesn't take place until around 4pm but we arrived in ... Read More
This was our first river trip and we picked the Seine trip so we could travel along the river and spend a little time in Paris. We made a small mistake with our flights. Boarding doesn't take place until around 4pm but we arrived in Paris much earlier. Avalon have a lounge in a hotel where passengers can wait until the ship is ready. Drinks were available and the area is pleasant to walk around but next time, I would organise a flight that arrived closer to the boarding time and also to the departure time on the last day. This ship was launched in March 2015 and so is quite new. The ship was in beautiful condition and it was a revelation to go on board and see our cabin and the rest of the ship. Our cabin was very comfortable and very well maintained by the cleaning staff. The food on the ship was excellent and we ate far too much but managed to walk it off during the daily excursions. It is possible that the choice of excursions might change but the ones we went on were all most enjoyable, fascinating and sometimes very moving. All the tour guides we had were knowledgeable, helpful, funny and a pleasure to listen to. The staff on board were without exception professional, organised, friendly, helpful and happy to go the extra mile for the passengers. For instance, some passengers asked for adjustments to some of their meals - items removed or added, meats cooked rarer, absolutely no seafood and so on - and the staff didn't hesitate in doing all they could to accommodate everyone. We had a wonderful time on the ship and I can't compliment all the staff enough for making our stay so comfortable. I would definitely go on another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
The Avalon Poetry 2 is a very pretty smaller ship. The staterooms are very nice and the bathroom is the nicest of any cruise vessel I have been on. Everything is immaculately clean. The angling of the bed to look out the window is ... Read More
The Avalon Poetry 2 is a very pretty smaller ship. The staterooms are very nice and the bathroom is the nicest of any cruise vessel I have been on. Everything is immaculately clean. The angling of the bed to look out the window is wonderful. The window opening to make the stateroom into a balcony is also very nice. The downside, is not being able to keep window or curtains open while docked next to another boat. This is a well known problem with river cruising. Lots of ships and only limited places to dock. You may be stacked up several deep and have to walk through a few to get off. One very annoying thing, is the extremely loud intercom messages you receive in your stateroom. Often as early as 7 am. and thru out the day. It is intrusive and gives you the vibe of being herded and every minute planned. Since this is my first River cruise, I don't know if that is standard practice. On ocean cruises, this only seems to happen in public areas. There is good closet space and the bed is comfortable. The food has varied from horrible to very good. If food is your big thing, I would look into another line. For the price of the cruise, it seems nit picky and cheap that they do not include wine or beer at lunch. However, your glass is never empty at dinner. Cocktails etc are reasonable at the bar and there is a happy hour, daily. It seemed like the included tours would justify a higher price point. In reality they are a slow walk around the local area with a guide and listening devices. You could easily do this yourself and not have to keep up with the glacially slow pace. We thought we could start with them and then go off on our own if we wanted. 90% of the time on this southern France itinerary the ship moves to the next port as soon as you leave for the tour and you are bused to the next location, so not possible to do your own thing without risking missing the bus. Very disappointing. The 3 wine tasting/ countryside optional (paid) tours were very nice and reasonably priced. Still, for the price, it seems they could have been included. I believe they are on some River cruise lines. Next time I would research a bit more thoroughly. Fellow passengers are, as expected, older. My dyed red hair, stuck out like a sore thumb in a sea of white locks. There are many groups of friends and families traveling together. While everyone is friendly, Australians, Canadians, etc seem to stick together. It becomes tiring listening to boring or laughable opinions while eating. There are no tables for two. We found we could sit in one table for 4 in the corner and generally no one else would sit there. Our cruise was not full. So one might have to deal with endless conversation. Some will love it, just wasn't something I wanted to do all the time. Part of river cruising, like it or not. No one dresses up. Don't worry about your clothing. Many of the older men, dressed like they were going out golfing, rain or shine. Once or twice they said no shorts at dinner. That was about it for any dress code. We have done about 20 ocean cruises, most of them on the smaller sized ships of Oceania, or Azamara, also tried Windstar. In the end I personally prefer the ambience. However, it's hard to beat the experience of floating down a river, watching swans and birds, seeing charming villages and castles. The area of Southern France is really beautiful and I highly recommend the itinerary. The down side is the several changes of plans and this is when the weather is beautiful. Don't fall in love with one certain place as you may not end up going there. There is way toomuch bus time, in my opinion. I know from reading other reviews that many cruises turn into a bus trip. It's easy to see once you are on a river. Not just the river boat companies we see advertised in the US, but many,many others. Lots of traffic. Our very nice cruise director, a Jean Loup, said they need more rivers, not more ships. True words. Would I do it again? I would have to give it some thought. The idea of it is fabulous, but the changeability of weather, river level, flooding etc. and constant changes of port stays, make it a harder decision. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Not my first cruise (39), nor my first river cruise (4th)...I have not cruised with Avalon before, but hope to again. The boat, crew, rooms and food were very good. The tours were wonderful and well organized. Danielle was the tour ... Read More
Not my first cruise (39), nor my first river cruise (4th)...I have not cruised with Avalon before, but hope to again. The boat, crew, rooms and food were very good. The tours were wonderful and well organized. Danielle was the tour director and she did an excellent job. We were super lucky with weather as we had sunshine all week which is unusual for Normandy area. I had a cabin (single supplement) mid floor with full size panoramic doors that completely opened. This was very nice. The rooms are bright and cheery, love the bed placement facing the window. The bath had granite counter and marble floors and shower. Nice in size and well appointed. The dining room food and service was very good. The chef was very picky and wanted to make sure people were happy. The wine flowed at dinner - this was included. They also had a choice of non alcoholic wine. At lunch you could eat in the lounge or bar area with a similar menu that was self service. The upper deck was super nice but since we were so busy during the day we did not use it. I suspect on sailing days in very nice weather it is used for bar and food. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Let me start out in the order of events during my families amazing time in Paris and northern France. I chose this vacation in celebration of my Mothers 80th birthday and to also show my appreciation to my Stepfather as well. I have been ... Read More
Let me start out in the order of events during my families amazing time in Paris and northern France. I chose this vacation in celebration of my Mothers 80th birthday and to also show my appreciation to my Stepfather as well. I have been on many Ocean cruises in the past and was always interested in what it would be like to take a river cruise. Let me tell you, i don't think i would ever go back, Avalon River cruises are amazing and top notch . We arrived in Paris four days before the cruise to get over our jet lag and take some time to explore the beautiful city. I chose a apartment in the Latin Quarter which was very nice and close to everything. On the day of the cruise we arrived at the Pullman hotel which was the pre-criuse meeting location around 10:30am. We checked our luggage with the porter there and didnt see our thing until we arrived in our staterooms later on that afternoon. Avalon offers a optional excursion to the Effel Tower which leaves from the hotel at 1pm, so we decided to go on that since i have never been up the tower and it would give us something to do since you can not board the ship until 4-5pm . The tour was a lot of fun and we got to meet some new fellow passengers. After the tour, the bus takes you directly to the ship. Arrival to the ship was so nice, you just walk on , no security scanners , or long lines , it was simple. Everyone including the cruise director(Tony Willamson), who was amazing , greated you and offered you a drink and then eventually escorted you to your state room. The entire ship was so clean and beautiful , like it was brand new and The Creativity is one of Avalons older ships , you would never know its kept up so well. The staterooms were very nice and lots of places to store your things. The bathrooms were so clean and modern, i have never seen anything like that on other cruises. The dinning room was elegant and the wait staff were friendly and very accommodating . The food was different every day for dinner and was fresh and bought in the local markets in the region. The Wine at dinner was wonderful, and your glass was never empty . Every night we would sit with different people which was fun, you actually get to know almost everyone on the ship since there is only around 130 people tops. The portions of the food were small but plenty , i was always satisfied every night . Breakfast and Lunch were great as well, more of a buffet style . Excursions: Vernon, was our first stop. you have a choice of two included guided tours , one was the Bizy Castle or Giverny, we chose Monet's gardens since i love his works and my Mother is into gardening. It was one of the high points of our trip, it was truly amazing. Rouen, was our next port. We took the morning guided tour , the cathedral was breathtaking as well as the town. We had lunch back at the ship and then took a optional tour of the town of Honfleur, it was a beautiful town located on a harbor , great place to sit at a cafe and take in the surroundings , loved it. Normandy beach Landings , was a all day tour on our second day in Rouen. It was around a hour drive to the war museum and beach area. It was so such a moving experience , i have always wanted to see this area of France. I felt so overwhelmed with emotion and proud of all those young service men and women who sacraficed there lives to protect our freedoms. Les Andelys was next. We decided to take it easy that morning and opt out of going on the guided tour of the town, instead we decided to go into town by oursellves on our own time. It was a charming little town, some really nice shops , bought a few things there. After strolling around the town i decided to run up the hill to see the castle built by Richard the lion heart , it had some wonderful views from up there. Conflans was our last stop before going into Paris, we went on the Auvers-Sur-oise , the tour was very informative about the final years of Vincent Van Gogh, the tour took us to his apartment where he lived and through the town and then to his final resting place . After we got back to the boat we were off to Paris. It was a lazy afternoon , which was nice after all the excursions we were on all week, i even relaxed in the whirl pool , very nice. That night was the Captains Farewell dinner, it was a festive night with a crew performance and five coarse dinner and baked alaskan," dellish" ;-) later we took the optional evening tour of Paris at night, it was so beautiful to see at night , especially the Eiffel tower when it strobes at 11pm. On the final day we took the optional tour of the Louvre, it was a lot to take in but we were thrilled to see most of the popular works , such as the Venus De Milo, Winged victory , and of coarse the Rock star, Mona Lisa. All in all, Avalons Creativity and staff and crew made this a vacation we will never forget. They went far and beyond to make us and everyone feel special and cared for. I rarely write reviews, but i felt i needed to for this particular event. i want people to know that this cruise was well worth the money , it was very well organized , i never had to worry about anything. We are definitely choosing Avalon again on our next adventure . Bon Voyage!!!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
After forty-something ocean cruises, and a continuing disappointment of the direction our favorite lines were taking, we decided to try a river cruise with Avalon Waterways. In a word, the trip was perfection, a term not used lightly but ... Read More
After forty-something ocean cruises, and a continuing disappointment of the direction our favorite lines were taking, we decided to try a river cruise with Avalon Waterways. In a word, the trip was perfection, a term not used lightly but quite appropriate in this case. We chose the Paris to Normandy itinerary as it gave us the chance to visit Paris for a few days prior to the start of the cruise. We did our own arrangements and stayed at the Hotel 7 Eiffel for three nights (separate review on Trip Advisor). On our departure day, we taxied to the meeting place and were whisked away to the ship. Not really knowing what to expect, we were immediately enchanted with the Creativity. Gone were the hoards of people shoving to get to the first buffet, the hawking of drink packages and yards of gold chains. Instead we gathered in the comfortable main lounge, given a drink, and politely shown to our cabin. Cabins on these ships are quiet nice with plenty of storage space, a comfy bed, great bathroom, etc. No balcony of course, but the windows open allowing fresh air to circulate. Our cruise director, Tony Williamson, gathered the group to give a briefing on how things would work. Throw away your past experience with ocean cruise directors who you may see once or twice and only hear on the public address system. On a river cruise the cruise director is an integral part of the trip who guides you through your experience. Tony was not only extremely knowledgeable, his cordial personality and ability to relate to everyone was such a huge bonus. Our first dinner onboard spoiled us for life. We were a bit concerned about the open seating concept but it works like a charm. You may sit where ever you like and there is no "saving seats." Folks did gravitate towards certain waiters (as did we) but there really is no bad option. One of our major disappointments with ocean cruises is the push towards specialty restaurants with extra charges. If you go to the main dining room, we found the quality of food way down even on higher end lines (Holland America). On Avalon be prepared for 5-star food with something for everyone. It is served with a smile, it is hot (or cold if it should be), and delicious. Good wine was poured generously with each dinner. Every meal was a standout including the afternoon cake and coffee hour! The ports we visited were charming and, in each, shore excursions were included with optional extra excursions available. Or, you were able to do your own thing and Tony was more than happy to provide maps and suggestions (unlike our last European cruise on HAL). Highlights for us were Vernon (Giverny), Les Andelys, and Auvers-Sur-Oise. The only visit we did not enjoy was the Palace of Versailles due to the huge crowds pushing and shoving you through the experience. We were warned by Tony beforehand, and he was absolutely correct. We also enjoyed a few hours of just cruising the river, and sat in the hot tub on deck watching the scenery go by. Passengers were mostly American but a good showing of Brits and Aussies whose company we loved. Disembarkation was painless but getting on a plane out of CDG left us already missing the Parisian lifestyle and perfection of Avalon Waterways. We will still take ocean cruises as we do love lazy days at sea, but this trip opened our eyes to a whole new way of travel. If you're thinking about it, go before the word gets too far out. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We just got back from our Paris to Normandy cruise with Avalon and have nothing but positive to say. Embarkation: We arrived a few days early on our own and were able to get directions from the cruise director to give to our taxi driver. ... Read More
We just got back from our Paris to Normandy cruise with Avalon and have nothing but positive to say. Embarkation: We arrived a few days early on our own and were able to get directions from the cruise director to give to our taxi driver. We were told to be there between 4 and 5, but due to being a little neurotic arrived at 3:30. As we walked up to the ship to just hang out until 4, the crew saw us and allowed us to board. They grabbed our bags and took us to the reception desk. Within minutes we had our key and were settled in our room. The Room: We were in suite 306. This was on the Royal Deck. The room had a floor to ceiling sliding door that went just about the whole way across the wall. We had a beautiful view of La Seine. The bed was roomy and comfortable (queen size with a thick foam top). There was a fluffy, white comforter on top. The room was subtly decorated with a burgundy geometric carpeting, a large mirror over the desk across from the bed and simple picture over the bed. There was ample storage under the desk and in the entrance way for all of our clothing. On either side of the bed were nightstands with reading lights and plugs for charging your phone, ipad, kindle, etc. In addition to the storage under the desk was a stocked mini fridge. The pricing were actually quite reasonable. Under the bed was ample room for storing our suitcases out of the way. Finally, a small flat screen TV was over the corner of the desk. Our only complaint on the cruise would be the lack of US channels. We understand we were cruising, but just one or two channels of something other than news or finance would have been great. They did offer on demand shows and movies, which did provide a nice alternative. Considering we were on a tour that covered WWII history, there was a nice selection of movies related to that topic. The bathroom had tons of storage along the sink and was stocked with amenities from L'Occitane. A hairdryer was included in the cabinet. The shower was roomy with excellent water pressure. The hot water was very hot. There was ample lighting and towels were replaced daily. The food The main breakfast was a buffet with many selections. There were always fruits, breads, cereals and cheeses. The chef had a specialty each day. The bagettes were delicious and addictive! The staff kept your coffee or tea filled and removed used plates quickly. There were several juice choices including champagne for mimosas. Along with the buffet items were some standing items you could get from the kitchen. You just needed to ask the waitstaff. In addition to the main breakfast (usually from 7-9), there were early riser and late riser options that were mainly breads and cereals. Lunch was also a buffet with new chef selections each day at the carving station, using including a pasta. As always, lots of breads and cheeses. There was always a salad bar and two soup choices. Beer and soda were included with the meal, if requested. There were standing items that could be ordered off the menu. If you were in the mood for something a little lighter, a smaller lunch was offered in the lounge. It was a nice alternative as it wasn't as crowded and the pianist would play. Dinner was at a standing time each evening. It usually consisted of 4 courses - salad, soup, entree and dessert. On a few nights, we had an amuse bouche to start us off and on the second to last evening was a gala - more on that in a bit. The table had bread and a choice of butter or oil/spices for you to get started. there was usually a different salad each evening in addition to the standing Caesar (which was delicious). The soups followed, which were amazing. You always had a choice of two. For the entree, the chef would prepare a choice of two or three dishes and if you weren't inclinded to those, there were standing items - Caesar salad, steak, chicken or salmon. Finally, there were several dessert choices. For the gala, we had a 7 course meal with wine pairing. The baked alaska dessert was brought out by the kitchen with the lights out and sparklers lit - a nice touch. The seating was always open so you could sit with the same folks or move around and meet new ones. We chose the latter and met so many wonderful people from all over. The nice thing about the smaller ships is you really do get to know people. You'll see them again when you're out in town or walking around the ship. It's an intimate experience. A selection of local wines and beers were included with dinner, in additon to soda. You can see how hard the waitstaff work. They're trying to keep the meals coming while refilling the glasses and clearing the plates. A big kudos to these folks. On several days, there was cake and coffee/tea served in the lounge in the afternoon. And, at any time you could get coffee/capuccino/water/juice and a snack from the aft lounge. This was quite a popular area for people to gather. There were also daily news postings and games for people to use. The ship We found the size to be perfect. Not too big, not too small. There was always seating to be found no matter where you were on board. The dining room was on the second deck and had walls of windows on either side. It was roomy and you never felt like you were right on top of anyone else. The lounge was on the 3rd deck front area of the boat and was surrounded by windows. There were comfy seating groups including couches and club chairs, with table to put your drinks and snacks. The bar was also in here and the piano player. You could reach a small outside seating area from the lounge. The snack area was on the 3rd deck in the aft area. Plenty of seating and windows with doors leading to another outside seating area and steps to the upper deck. The upper deck was immense! Tons of lounge chairs, table with chairs, covers from the sun and a hot tub. My husband and I made good use of the hot tub. Given that we were among the youngest on the ship (we're 44/50), we usually had it to ourselves for as long as we wanted. The only issue we had was that it closed at 8. After a long day of walking, it would have been nice to hop in it to relax the muscles, but dinner didn't end until around 9 each night. The itinerary After the standard safety drill, we set sail from Paris in the evening the first day. While dining, we swung by a great view of the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty. Great way to take off! We sailed all evening and awoke to the small town of Vernon. We chose to go on the tour of Monet's home. We were fortunate to have wonderful weather the entire time and spring had sprung early in France so the flowers were in bloom. It was a lovely location. We did not do the afternoon bus tour but chose to walk around Vernon on our own and did some hot tub time. We arrived in Rouen the next day. We awoke to being right in the city. There was a train that woke us up and we worried about spending two nights there, but it was only an issue when we first arrived. We did our own walking tour of the city in the morning - a really great place. Along the river it looks modern, but a few blocks in and your in the old world, with a beautiful town square containing a memorial to Joan of Arc making where she was burned at the stake. There were also many, many churches to explore. Rouen is know as the spire capitol and you can see why. The afternoon trip was to Honfleur, an artsy little port town with really cool buildings and loads of side streets filled with shops and galleries. It was one of my favorite places on the trip. Our next day had us up bright and early to head to Omaha Beach. It took about an hour and a half to get to the first stop - the WWII museum where the artificial harbor was built - fascinating. Next stop was at the cliff overlooking Omaha beach. This was an amazing spot with lots of German bunkers still remaining and a gorgeous view - well worth the stop. We hit Omaha Beach next and just spent a few minutes there. I'm sure there was alot to see, but we were cramming alot into the day. Our final stop was the cemetery and there just aren't words that express what it was like there. I will say that I'm proud of how they've taken such care to give our boys such a beautiful resting place. A little after we arrived, they had a short ceremony which included the playing of the national anthem. I don't think there was a dry eye to be found. Just a beautiful, meaningful experience that I will never forget. Our itinerary had us waking up in a new location in a tiny town with one small street and Richard the Lionhearted's castle on top of a hill. When we first started out, it was foggy and you couldn't even tell there was a castle up there. But, we did the hike up the hill (about 20-25 min) and after waiting about half an hour were rewarded with the fog lifting and the most amazing view ever. We explored the castle, made our way into town and walked around a bit, then headed back to the ship. This was the only tour that day as we headed out at lunchtime onto our next stop. It was fantastic because we were exhausted from the first few days of going non stop. The weather was gorgeous so we headed to the hot tub - of course!! With the sun shining and the boat crusing along, we spent a glorious afternoon recouperating. It was perfect timing. We pulled into Conflans that late that evening and docked for the night. The next morning, we chose to do a self walking tour of the town. There was a great market going on that we went to then just explored. A really interesting place to check out. We chose not to go to Van Gogh's or Napoleon's summer home. We just preferred to take it easy. The next day we sailed back to Paris. It was another great day of sailing with beautiful weather. In the afternoon a group headed off to Versailles that we would pick up along the river closer into the city. That night was our gala followed by a bus tour of the city at night. It was a great evening and nice to get out and see Paris lit up. Our last full day was in Paris with loads of options for excursions. We chose to take the metro to Montmartre. After all that walking, guess where we spent our afternoon? Yes! The hot tub. I know we spent more time in there than anyone else, but hey, it was our vacation and with returning to work the day after we got back home, we needed some relaxation in addition to the exploration. Just sitting up on that top deck in the hot tub with the Eiffel Tower in the back ground was a surreal experience. I highly recommend it if you go on the cruise. Disembarkation The night before a poster was put up telling everyone what time they would be leaving. In addition, they gave colored ribbons to be attached to your suitcases. We were told when to have our suitcases outside our stateroom and when we would be getting on the bus. Jean Loup was checking all the flights and making sure if there were delays, he worked with the folks impacted. The morning of departure we had time to get breakfast and relax a few minutes before heading into Paris traffic and the nightmare that is CDG airport. A few things of note Our cruise director, Jean Loup, was simply fantastic. He answered every question, kept people informed and managed to get everyone where they needed to be. He would leave a sheet on our bed each evening while we were at dinner with the next day's itinerary, a map of the area and a weather report. He was a large part of this cruise being so good. My husband and I are low key so we didn't spend a lot of time in the lounge, be we did go to the staff show that was really entertaining and Jean Loup arranged for a string trio to play one evening while we were sailing. It was so lovely to listen to them and watch the scenery go by. The boat was smooth. You could hardly tell you were moving unless you looked out the window. The captain was very good, squeezing us into several locks and was always smiling. When we would set sail, he would play the music from 'Columbus' - very cool. One final note - I should disclose that we won this cruise through an Avalon Facebook contest. I do feel that if we had paid for this we would have gotten our money's worth. Avalon did not require/ask that we give this review. We are not receiving any compensation for writing this review.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
The cruise itself was awesome. I was the second-youngest onboard at 52 but I fit right in. Loved the staff, the food. The itinerary was jam-packed. The downside of this trip is as follows: Avalon seemed to book all 120 passengers from ... Read More
The cruise itself was awesome. I was the second-youngest onboard at 52 but I fit right in. Loved the staff, the food. The itinerary was jam-packed. The downside of this trip is as follows: Avalon seemed to book all 120 passengers from all over the globe on milk-run flights with stopovers and connecting flights to Paris taking as long as 10 hours. They changed our flight in Canada at the last minute from direct to a connecting flight in Montreal. As we sat on the tarmac at Pearson Int'l, I saw an Air France plane and wondered why we hadn't been booked on a direct flight. While on the flight from Montreal to CDG airport we were given dinner and then awoken at 5:30 am and given a slice of banana bread. That was the last meal for more than 10 hours. Quite disappointing and extremely unacceptable. Once at CDG in Paris, we found the Avalon rep easily enough but there was confusion over the shuttle. It had already departed without waiting for us. We were kept waiting more than 45 minutes for the next shuttle. We arrived at Pullman hotel roughly around 10:30 am, exhausted wanting only to rest, freshen up, brush our teeth but they put us into a lounge that the company rents. We were supplied only beverages while waiting to be taken by shuttle bus to the boat at 4:00 pm so in essence most of the passengers stuck at Pullman hotel had gone without a meal for more than 10 hours. This is completely unacceptable. We were informed by the numerous reps coming in and out of the lounge that we were on our own to find a meal. Most of us had never been in Paris so it's not so convenient to pop out for a meal. And where to go and how to choose a good place to eat? It took us by surprise that they offered an excursion to the Eiffel Tower. Not likely. I hadn't been able to freshen up or brush my teeth. I was not fit for being in public. I would have preferred that they provided us with a meal while we waited more than 7 hours to board the boat. Avalon, or Globus if you prefer, totally screwed up our return flight to Pearson Int'l. They did not allow sufficient time for us to reach Montreal, collect our baggage, go through customs and find the gate for the flight. In fact the baggage belt didn't start filling up until 15 minutes prior to our scheduled departure. Air Canada then put us on standby for possible flights every hour however those flights were already crowded so we waited for the last flight out at 9pm and wouldn't you know, only 30 passengers where on the flight. Very poorly organized. I would have expected better from a company that is supposed to be superior. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Avalon Creativity is a wonderful boat to be on. The room was comfortable and use of space is great. We managed to unpack all four pieces of luggage and store them under the bed. The staff were wonderful, professional and hardworking. The ... Read More
Avalon Creativity is a wonderful boat to be on. The room was comfortable and use of space is great. We managed to unpack all four pieces of luggage and store them under the bed. The staff were wonderful, professional and hardworking. The meals were delicious and there was quite a variety on offer. The coffee was devine; we loved it from the first sip. I was puzzled that at the Captain's Dinner the captain wasn't present although the numerous dishes were very delicious and plentiful. This was our first river cruise. While the cruise itself was good and we had wonderful weather we were certainly disappointed in the following: 1. Flights. Avalon changed our direct flight at the last minute to a milk-run flight. The Air Canada flight from Montreal was crowded. Dinner was ok but the crew woke us at 5:30 am and gave us banana bread for breakfast. While we were sitting on the tarmac at Pearson in Toronto I saw an Air France plane and wished we'd been put on a direct flight. Avalon really messed up on this and took the cheap way out. Shame on you! 2. Pick up from CDG airport to Pullman hotel: the girl took us outside to a parking lot and informed us the shuttle had just departed without us so we had to wait 45 minutes for the next bus. Not impressed. It was cold outside. 3. Pullman hotel: Avalon's tour director informs us on the ride to the hotel that beverages would be provided but as far as food is concerned, we are on our own; they are not responsible. Not acceptable to those of us who've never been to Paris and have no idea where to go or how to compare the best food for value. We were stuck in a lounge all day long. Many passengers had been on numerous milk-run connecting flights and had not eaten in more than 12 hours so to be provided with beverages until boarding the boat at 4pm was just beyond reasoning. To add insult to injury, she then invites us to go on an Eiffel Tower tour. Not too many folks took up the offer since we hadn't had the opportunity to clean up and brush our teeth. Most of us just wanted a decent meal. Avalon needs to do better when they're forcing their paying customers to fly for needless countless hours on end. Ironically there was a group of travel agents onboard so I'm sure they'll have something to say about milk-run flights and not being provided a meal at the end of those flights. 3. Connecting flight home to Canada. Avalon really messed up on this. We got stuck at the Montreal airport for 5 hours because they had only allowed 15 minutes from one flight, collecting our bags, going through customs and finding the gate for our connecting flight. The conveyor belt didn't begin running until just a few minutes before we should have been boarding our flight home. Needless to say we were put on standby but couldn't actually board a flight until 9pm. 4. Rushed itinerary. They really pushed passengers to sign up for tours that cost a fortune. We were really disappointed in the Claude Monet tour. We were told by the tour director that it was a private tour but there were 10 other tour buses so it was overcrowded and one couldn't get a good picture if they tried. The gardens are not kept up and there was a German woman working inside the house who was quite nasty. She was rude.Every town we stopped in the shops were shuttered so we had no opportunity to shop for gifts. When the boat did dock in Paris we were told by the tour director to walk down Convention Street but everything was closed. When we returned to the boat only then did we learn we should have walked the 20 minutes to the Eiffel Tower where there is a mall.After reading the other reviews I will not be so quick to use Avalon in the future for river cruising. We did experience being docked next to other river boats and having to cross their decks to disembark.Being on the lower floor was fine, although I did experience the terrible disgusting smell of feces every morning when we went for breakfast. The hallway wreaked of feces.Our evening entertainment was provided by Gino who played the piano and horn. He was quite good and several of us danced. They also had a trio come on board called La Strada. They were absolutely wonderful. The music was outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Given the fact that this was on the lower price end of the other cruise ships for a similar itinerary, it was TOP NOTCH. 5 star * * * * * The onboard experience reminds me of how "it used to be" in the USA. And for a reasonable ... Read More
Given the fact that this was on the lower price end of the other cruise ships for a similar itinerary, it was TOP NOTCH. 5 star * * * * * The onboard experience reminds me of how "it used to be" in the USA. And for a reasonable price. The boat was amazingly well maintained and CLEAN. The crew was always at work cleaning, painting, or fixing something. We were in steerage due to late booking but liked it because of less foot traffic outside our cabin and being close to the dining room. There was one sitting for all meals (lite breakfast and lunch in the lounge). Nice selection and excellent quality of foods. Very well prepared and tasty. Staff was superb---efficient, kind, and funny. Guests with special dietary needs were looked after as well as anyone with limited mobility. Yvette our cruise director was awesome----she had a down-to-earth sophistication, was on top of everything, had infinite patience with the "difficult" passengers, and had a good sense of humor. The included tours were excellent---the guides knew their stuff and were SO funny and clever. My husband and I are fit 61 year olds and were on the young side of the 130 passengers. There was one 52 year old who was the "baby." We figure the age range was from late 60's to mid 80's. Mostly American and a lively, fun group. Fly in at least a day early to get acclimated-----we are SO glad we did. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
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