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Sail Date: July 2019
I am so happy that my Travel Agent selected the Avalon Waterways. This was my first trip to Europe and I can honestly say I was treated like Royalty. Not only were the accommodations excellent, also were the staff. Never have I seen staff ... Read More
I am so happy that my Travel Agent selected the Avalon Waterways. This was my first trip to Europe and I can honestly say I was treated like Royalty. Not only were the accommodations excellent, also were the staff. Never have I seen staff so committed to their job. The atmosphere was like family and we had so much fun with everyone from the Captain Ronald to Director Tony. There was never a dull moment with so many options for excursions offered. The best part is that many of the excursions offered were included with additional excursions offered at a very reasonable price. Let me also mention the food...delicious! All meals offered fresh food options as well as many non-meat options for those vegetarians. Included was a lounge that offered non-alcohol drinks, cookies and pastries at all times! The rooms were always attended to and the finishes were lovely. I can't wait to return!! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
The duration and locations, especially starting on the Black Sea. Very happy we went from east to west as it consistently got better all the way to Prague. Budapest and Prague were great large cities and the smaller towns like Durnstein ... Read More
The duration and locations, especially starting on the Black Sea. Very happy we went from east to west as it consistently got better all the way to Prague. Budapest and Prague were great large cities and the smaller towns like Durnstein and Pecs were great surprises. The Passion was very nice with a small spa, but the exercise room was way too small. I couldn't lift the weights up as they hit the ceiling and the max weight was 10k. Matre'd was very accommodating to my wife's pepper allergies and there were some vegetables at the breakfast buffet for me. The tours of the towns and cities were well done, although most of the guides have their speech idocincracies. The presence of the Habsburg family made it a special themed cruise and more personal (only the portion from Budapest to Regensburg). By the end, we had heard the stories repeated so many times about Sissy, that we didn't want to hear anymore. Would have liked to have been involved with more sustainable activities and performances, like our Avalon cruise on the Mekong. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
About the Avalon river cruise we first learned from the internet. We booked the river cruise from Nuremberg to Luxemburg on the Main river and the Rhine river. The deal included two nights in a five stars hotel in Prague. We left ... Read More
About the Avalon river cruise we first learned from the internet. We booked the river cruise from Nuremberg to Luxemburg on the Main river and the Rhine river. The deal included two nights in a five stars hotel in Prague. We left home with high expectations and immediately in Prague we realized it was really going to be great. We met the cruise manager Tamas who was extremely friendly and helpful. From Prague we were taken by bus to Nuremberg in Germany to board the ship. And here too everything was perfect and the cabin was indeed what we saw in the advertisement. The dinner turned out to be really very good with plenty of good wines to choose from and the food was very decorative and nicely served and we had plenty of food choices. We have nothing but compliments to the organization, the cabin, the maintenance, the excellent food and the way it was served, the friendly staff, the included tours, and the whole cruising area. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We began our 15 day, Amsterdam to Budapest-cruise on 8/18/18 on the Avalon Visionary. Due to low water, we had to get off the boat and go to a hotel in Frankfurt fir two night. We then biarded the Avalon Visionary. We were told that in ... Read More
We began our 15 day, Amsterdam to Budapest-cruise on 8/18/18 on the Avalon Visionary. Due to low water, we had to get off the boat and go to a hotel in Frankfurt fir two night. We then biarded the Avalon Visionary. We were told that in order to “catch a wave “we had to skip Nuremberg. We were okay with all this and Avalon did offer compensation in the way if extra excursions and some reimbursement. We were given the impression that all would be well from then on. However, three days before the end of our trip we were told that the last two days would be in a hotel in Budapest because the boat was scheduled for another trip. Half of us were in one hotel and half in another so we never got to say good-bye to friends we had made, had mediocre hotel buffet/cafeteria food and lost two days of the riverboat experience because of Avalon’s unnecessary decusion. At first they lied to us and said in writing thst it was the water situation. When we saw our ship in Budapest, we demanded answers and we were then told in writing “The shipwas due to begin new cruise today in Budapest on an already scheduled deoarture. In order to not disrupt another cruise.......we scheduled your last nights in Budapest in a hotel.” Shame on them! In all fairness, we lived our time on the biat. Staterooms and oanoramic windows were beautiful, Food was excellent and the entire staff was friendly and helpful. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We only had 7 nights of our 15 day cruise due to low water levels which was disappointing, however Avalon did everything possible to still make this a fantastic trip. Our cruise director was exceptional in every way. We did lose some free ... Read More
We only had 7 nights of our 15 day cruise due to low water levels which was disappointing, however Avalon did everything possible to still make this a fantastic trip. Our cruise director was exceptional in every way. We did lose some free time as we had to bus between towns. Hotel accommodation was always very good. We also met some wonderful people in our early 60’s age group. Cleanliness and service whilst on board was fantastic as was on-board entertainment. Cabins are beautifully quiet, well appointed and spacious. Some of the walking tours whilst very interesting were a little long-winded and didn’t leave enough time for a good look around. However these are not compulsory. We feel Avalon handled a very difficult situation in the best possible way. We were given lunch money where appropriate on the bus section of the trip. As I mentioned while disappointed you can’t argue with nature and sometimes in life you just have to roll with it. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Avalon was more upscale than the last river cruise we went on 10 yrs ago. Our cruise director Andre was incredible! His evening briefings for the next day were very informative. We really enjoyed our extension in Lucerne. The staff was ... Read More
Avalon was more upscale than the last river cruise we went on 10 yrs ago. Our cruise director Andre was incredible! His evening briefings for the next day were very informative. We really enjoyed our extension in Lucerne. The staff was very accommodating! We would definitely choose Avalon again & would recommend it to others. We were hoping for a little bit more scenery along the Rhine. Several days were industrialized & not as scenic as the Rhône. It was quite windy when we tried viewing from the rooftop. The dining experience was very enjoyable. The trio that performed one evening was very entertaining. We would have maybe preferred dinner to be a tad bit earlier - maybe 6:30 rather than 7:00. It was nice to not have to bring any real dressy clothes for a formal night. Loved having only 120 passengers aboard! All in all it was a very pleasant experience. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Honestly, checked Viking first because I was familiar with it through mailings and commercials. When dates and accommodations didn't work out, Googled further and found Avalon. It was our first river cruise and we wanted a great one. ... Read More
Honestly, checked Viking first because I was familiar with it through mailings and commercials. When dates and accommodations didn't work out, Googled further and found Avalon. It was our first river cruise and we wanted a great one. I'm not comfortable with ocean cruises: too much water, too many people. The ship looked beautiful and modern, and the cabins were spacious. My traveling companion and I found a great cruise that encompassed both cultural, entertaining, and historical destinations as well as the option to visit Paris and London. Perfect! After checking the prices, which were quite reasonable, and dates etc., we booked. We called a 'human' because we preferred to connect more personally and get answers to questions. Our first days in Paris were fabulous, including the hotel which was a stone's throw from the Eiffel Tower! Service was phenomenal. We ended up with a view of the Tower from our balcony. The room was fabulous, which made up for an awful dinner. We went out after that. After three days, we boarded the ship. Everything went smoothly. Staff is extremely well-organized and attentive, not to mention friendly and personable. All meals served on-board were delicious and presented beautifully. The chef catered to our special needs (roomie is gluten-free and lactose intolerant.) Yep, they took great care. Wines flowed generously at every dinner and were excellent. We met so many fabulous people on the ship and made easy friends. (We're staying in touch with a couple even now.) The excursions were varied and interesting and fun. Leaving the ship, we were offered bottled water and a map and historical tidbits about our destination; upon return, we were greeted by the captain and security detail and offered a cool drink and hot face towels to refresh. Wow. We even had some entertainment on the ship in the form of a history lecturer on Normandy, a three-piece group playing classical music, and nighttime musicians. There were Captain's dinners, both at the beginning and at the end and even a world cafe night with unusual and 'rich' food. There were some intro meetings, including safety information at the beginning and when we were leaving to our various points of travel after the cruise. I know we have no control over weather, but amazingly enough, we had the best ever, even in Normandy, which apparently has rain and clouds almost exclusively. Talk about lucky! Our final stop was London. Our hotel was in the middle of everything...Westminster Bridge...and beautiful. Staff was wonderfully helpful and friendly. One disappointment was the room. Though modern and lovely, the lighting was terrible; the outlets were oddly placed; and our water temperature and pressure were terrible. But the convenience of location made up for it all. My biggest complaint, and it's a serious one, comes with the personal arrangements with the company. Because I was traveling with a friend, sharing a room, but not a spouse or romantic partner, everything in paper and emails went to my friend. I was virtually ignored as the second name on the reservations. I even called to ask that they send me my own correspondence. She had to send me emails. I was told that it was impossible to alter as this is how the company operates. ***IT NEEDS TO CHANGE***. Even our final packets of information with flight information, seat assignments, and hotel and room confirmations went to my friend's house! I have no access to her mail or house. What if something happened to her and I couldn't even access my own personal paperwork? This is disgraceful. I could almost understand if they are dealing with a couple who reside together, but never for two separate individuals who are paying their own way. I will tell others all the great stuff, but I must also share this problem. I have numerous single friends who travel together. I must say that this much-needed vacation on Avalon's river cruise was a great experience. I definitely will do a river cruise again. Thank you! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2016
This was our first river cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, though the dock area was a bit funky and dirty. The excursions were very well done with local guides. That said, there were a couple of excursions that had too ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, though the dock area was a bit funky and dirty. The excursions were very well done with local guides. That said, there were a couple of excursions that had too many people. The boat and accommodations were nice, and the room was quiet. The pricing for drinks at the bar was a bit high. There is a happy hour, though we bought drinks one evening about three minutes before happy hour and were charged full price. With regards to dining, the service was good, though the food was just average. It seemed a bit silly to have a big celebration for the kitchen staff at the end of the cruise. I would be willing to pay more for better food and all inclusive drinks. We enjoyed the lectures and would recommend more of these educational opportunities. We went with friends and had a lot of fun. I don't think we would have enjoyed it as much without our companions. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We are experienced ocean cruisers (17 cruises, including Disney (2), Princess (2) and mostly Royal Caribbean (13) but we had never tried a River Cruise. We chose a 7 day "Legendary Danube" cruise which included 3 nights ... Read More
We are experienced ocean cruisers (17 cruises, including Disney (2), Princess (2) and mostly Royal Caribbean (13) but we had never tried a River Cruise. We chose a 7 day "Legendary Danube" cruise which included 3 nights pre-cruise in Prague. We added two additional nights at the end in Budapest, also through the cruise line. We could not have been happier with our experience!! We chose Avalon after doing research on a number of lines. Their ships tend to be newer (ours was 2 years old), they tend to get predominantly American, English, Canadian and Australian cruisers so language is not an issue. Their price was extremely competitive with the top river cruise lines and the reviews I read were mostly very good. They placed us at the Intercontinental Hotel in both Prague and Budapest (two outstanding European cities that did not disappoint!), which were both extremely well located, had great breakfasts (included) and were well appointed. Our Cruise Director (Valatin) was OUTSTANDING!!! He met us at the hotel in Prague and was with us until we checked into our hotel post cruise. He was very experienced, made everyone feel special and that he was there to make our cruise vacation an unqualified success. As an example, one of our friends caught a cold/flu and missed one of our excursions and he called her room to see how she was doing, offered to get her medicine, food etc. He was always available, answered any question that was posed to him and narrated a couple of our sailings (the Wachau Valley and a morning sail into Budapest) with interesting facts which enhanced our cruise experience. The entire staff were friendly, helpful and always seemed to have smiles on their faces. The ship itself was wonderful. Our room was great (see below) and we had a small lounge area at the back of the ship with a nice big screen TV, coffee, tea, juice, cookies etc. We watched portions of some of the Euro Cup semi's and finals and had a great time. The dining room was well appointed and the food was very good. Breakfast was a buffet with an egg station, lunch and dinner were served tableside. Just like on ocean cruises, there were always certain dinners (steak ,chicken, a fish dish and a vegetarian dish) available if you didn't like the choices on the daily menus. Beer, wine and soft drinks were available at dinner with iced tea available at both lunch and dinner. The large lounge where we had our "port talks" was very nicely done with a big bar, a piano and lots of seating. The included excursions were very good as were the 3 additional excursions we purchased to enhance our vacation. The buses used for transportation were very comfortable and the ship accommodated those cruisers who needed a less strenuous pace on their excursions with a separate guide. The audio devices used by the guides to communicate with the cruisers during our tours worked extremely well and were color coordinated so that if you wanted to tour with friends, all you had to do was get the same color device. If you want exercise this is the type of cruise you want! We ended up walking approximately 60 miles during the 12 days we were in Prague, all the ports along the Danube and our extra days in Budapest. Never felt guilty for having the ice cream deserts every night! We will continue to sail our ocean cruises (love those sea days!) but we have now found another way to spend our children's inheritance! We will definitely do other river cruises and Avalon will be our first choice. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
I chose this ship originally for the itinerary -- mainly Normandy and Giverney. The Seine River caused a few problems from all the rain it was quite high. We needed to be transported to Rouen to board the ship. From start to finish ... Read More
I chose this ship originally for the itinerary -- mainly Normandy and Giverney. The Seine River caused a few problems from all the rain it was quite high. We needed to be transported to Rouen to board the ship. From start to finish the tour director Jean Lund did an absolutely fabulous job during the entire cruise. Faced with adversity he managed to reroute the cruise and still keep everyone more than satisfied. The staterooms were wonderful. This is my 3rd Avalon River cruise and I love them. The dining, entertainment and shore excursions were great. Also, to note what a 'class act' Avalon is --- They gave passengers an opportunity to not sail and for those that chose to stay on the ship gave all 1/2 off their fare!! They also included all shore excursions (while most are included) they included ones that had charges. When we couldn't return to Paris by ship they put us on the motor coaches back to the hotel. They gave us money for lunch both days and included a fabulous dinner both evenings with free flowing wine. Wonderful cruise and exceptional cruise line!!! Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Has Avalon lost the plot or are they about to sink into murky water? One would think so by our experience. Picked up at 4.30am in the morning, in Amsterdam by 10.25am we were taken to a hotel where a meeting room has been hired and told ... Read More
Has Avalon lost the plot or are they about to sink into murky water? One would think so by our experience. Picked up at 4.30am in the morning, in Amsterdam by 10.25am we were taken to a hotel where a meeting room has been hired and told we have a choice, sit there until 4.00pm before we go to the ship with provided refreshments of lukewarm coffee in jugs, or go and walk around Amsterdam centre which was twenty minutes walk away. Okay, fair enough, we were early, although not our fault Avalon had booked the aircraft, so we wandered off, carrying all our belongings being no secure storage. Now to the boat (which we've decided it to be rather than a ship) and to a 'State Room' sold in the brochure to us as spacious with panoramic floor to ceiling window and comfortable seating, while we cruised along through the tulip fields of Holland. In our case the 'State Room' should be more aptly named 'Cabin in the Bilges' as a better description. I kid you not, the panoramic window turned out to be two narrow slits looking out at the concrete side of the jetty and a warning from the man who took us to the cabin to keep the curtains closed if we were changing. Although to be fair, when the boat was cruising you could look out, if you stood on your bed and held onto the ledge that is! Then the brochure claimed the cabins were the largest for this type of boat. We tend to disagree, the end of the bed was eleven inches from the dressing table, either side of the bed twelve inches from walls. The single chair (not two, one for each of us) to sit on, was more like a one you'd find in a kitchen, jammed under the dressing table with not enough room to be pulled out and use. Then the lighting of the room (we needed that having little or no window) was so bad we were forced to use the lights on our mobiles to look into the wardrobe, or the tiny safe seated at the back. Then, if you wanted a wet shave, forget it, far too dark in an en-suite that could only be described as bijou, or in practical terms so small that if the boat hit the jetty at least you couldn't fall over. Naturally, as one does, faced with this, you complain, after all the boat was only two thirds full, so they must have something better for two people in their late sixties? They did, we were proudly shown around a cabin with lounge chairs, panoramic window and actually room to walk around and could move, if we paid £1600 hundred pounds more that is, otherwise we stayed where we were and put up with it. That works out at £228 a night extra for the two of us, to be added to the £431 a night we'd already paid. Why was it, talking to people in these so called luxury rooms, that they paid the same as us? Very strange, or was it an attempt at extortion by the cruise manager once you are captured? However, being British we are are resourceful. We had the bed turned around sideways, got rid of the side tables, leaving the telephone on the floor and had two chairs brought from the lounge. Clever, eh? At least we could sit down, although one of us had to climb over the other to get into bed, then we had to stack the chairs on top of each other at the entrance door at night, to have room to get out of bed and go to the loo. That was because we were banned from leaving the chairs in the corridor at night, even after we said blocking our door was a fire hazard for us. They claimed that to have us leave chairs in the corridor would look bad for a boat offering four star accommodation, besides a hazard to other passengers. Right we were off, uncomfortable, yes, but the tulips awaited. No they didn't, there wasn't any. Why didn't someone tell us this little fact, that in late May the tulip cruise which we were on isn't? No one mentioned that even though the question was asked and verified, till we were aboard that is and holding an itinerary sent in advance included a day at the world renowned tulip gardens of Keukenhof, which was closed. At this point we wanted to go home, after all, we're only an hour or so flight away. But they convinced us that the alternative itinerary would make up. Well, yes and no, if you like to wander around towns at eight thirty in the morning, full of delivery lorries, smelly bags of rubbish besides rubbish carts and completely void of life. We found that out more than once, when ignoring the optional coach trips at an average cost of £55 each, we went back to the towns later in the day to find a vibrant cafe culture, open shops and people, yes people and no rubbish carts. I must mention the food, after all food is important on such holidays. It was okay, we've had better. Then most of the menu of the next day seemed to be recycled using a variation of the previous day's offerings they had over. As for breakfast, avoid the jams and honey in packets. They are so old the jam had gone a funny colour and the honey granulated. Also forget bacon unless you like it crispy, well burnt really and toast that one day gave you anemic toast, the next so charred you had to scrape it. Best meal advice. Avoid the fancy stuff, most are pretty ordinary, but they will make you steak and chips as an alternative, we lived on that. Overall impressions? I'm months off seventy, my partner is disabled, with a heart valve and pacemaker, besides associated problems. So maybe the hardened cruisers among you will laugh at our naivety. Maybe we shouldn't have believed the brochure that all cabins had panoramic windows and we really couldn't expect a two chairs in our cabin for £3500 on an eight day cruise. Maybe we should have realised the tulips were finished, even though we'd still few in our garden. Even so, we were entitled to some consideration rather than complacency, after the cruise director could only laugh that we'd had the bed turned around, bedside cabinets removed and another chair brought just to sit down. Besides required to climb over a bed to get in and stack chairs up blocking the exit. We’re going back to a cruise line that tells the truth and looks after you. Besides giving you a cabin for two and not a converted single cabin, where the bed won't fit the room and an en-suite that you can actually turn round in. As for Avalon, half empty boats, out and out lies to get you aboard, followed by indifference when something can be done about an obvious problem, for us indicates a cruise line that has no concern for its passengers. Be warned, make sure you are very clear what they are offering you, preferably in writing, or just don't go with them and find a cruise company that cares. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This is a new ship, launched in 2016, and the design for river cruising is perfect. Our group of six shared ideas one evening on how we would have designed the ship to make it better, and we had zero ideas; the ship was perfect. Our cabin ... Read More
This is a new ship, launched in 2016, and the design for river cruising is perfect. Our group of six shared ideas one evening on how we would have designed the ship to make it better, and we had zero ideas; the ship was perfect. Our cabin was very well designed, very clean, with high quality bath products a bonus. The crew was extremely well trained and executed perfectly. Very friendly, professional staff without exception. Our group had no bad experiences of any type on the boat. Food was better than expected, rivaling the best we have ever had on any cruise we have taken (river or ocean). The excursions were all good, some better than others, but all good. The cost is slightly more than you might find, but well worth the cost especially when you consider that wine and beer is included at dinner. Avalon has my highest recommendation. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Went on 15 day cruise Amsterdam to Budapest. Ship, crew, food, cabin all excellent. You tend to travel overnight, mooring up during the day, often for just a few hours for quick tour either on foot or by coach. We would have preferred ... Read More
Went on 15 day cruise Amsterdam to Budapest. Ship, crew, food, cabin all excellent. You tend to travel overnight, mooring up during the day, often for just a few hours for quick tour either on foot or by coach. We would have preferred longer time to wander but of course it would mean less stops.When you moor up you are often stacked up against other boats and if you are unlucky there is no view from your room at all. Also since you often travel overnight you often miss the view. Having said that Avalon do try to pass through the best scenery during the day. Entertainment was excellent with speciality acts joining at a lock and leaving at a later lock. We liked mostly wandering on shore but sometimes had to coach to a city. Budapest tours were a disaster as we were often caught up in long traffic jams, so go touring on your own using the trams. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Avalon was recommended by our travel agent. The overall cruise was wonderful. The places we saw were fascinating and the time spent on board very relaxing. But it's the service of the staff that I will remember the most. Within ... Read More
Avalon was recommended by our travel agent. The overall cruise was wonderful. The places we saw were fascinating and the time spent on board very relaxing. But it's the service of the staff that I will remember the most. Within days of boarding the waitstaff knew what beverage I preferred for breakfast and had noticed that I used honey in my tea so brought that too. The bar staff remembered the drinks we ordered and could bring your order if you gave them a wave. The evening waitstaff were always attending to drinks and we're happy to bring extra if requested. Then there were the staff that cleaned the suites and liked to leave animals made from towels to make the guests smile. All the staff from the captain to the kitchen hands were friendly, helpful and made all their guests feel very special. I would not hesitate to recommend Avalon to all my friends and family. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We chose this Cruise after a presentation and booked immediately without shopping or comparisons and Wow did we pick a great one. WAB 503 Amsterdam to Budapest. the only complaint I can think of is the parts of the river I missed ... Read More
We chose this Cruise after a presentation and booked immediately without shopping or comparisons and Wow did we pick a great one. WAB 503 Amsterdam to Budapest. the only complaint I can think of is the parts of the river I missed during the overnight sailing. My fellow passengers, the cruise director Gusta and all the guides were on time, every time. No waiting about, clear directions and very organized. Most the local guides were very knowledgeable and fun to walk with. The Crew were happy, a pleasure to deal with and took the very best care of me. The food was outstanding. The choices, the freshness and the presentation. Really I have no complaints, ok just one other, I like being treated like a Queen and the cruise was far too short. Yes I would go again, I will go again and I will without a doubt travel with Avalon. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We sailed from the black sea (Romania) to Bratislava (Slovakia) and travelled from there by bus to Vienna and had the most superb experience.The ship is brand new, in beautiful shape and is very nicely appointed. There is plenty of ... Read More
We sailed from the black sea (Romania) to Bratislava (Slovakia) and travelled from there by bus to Vienna and had the most superb experience.The ship is brand new, in beautiful shape and is very nicely appointed. There is plenty of opportunities for relaxation and/or conversation in the boat's many public areas. The ship's intimate atmosphere, with only 150 passengers, is one of its best selling points. The crew was knowledgable, well trained and very helpful. They clearly enjoyed their jobs as they were always friendly and professional. As for the onboard programs/activities, there was a variety to inform and amuse anyone. The food was delicious, the state room was very clean and well equiped.The shore excursions were well planned and timed, local guides were well informed and very friendly. The whole trip was so wonderful and so easy to travel through so many countries in a few days, I would highly recommend it to everyone! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Great trip. Avalon was first class. Staff were wonderful, helpful and friendly. Stops were so interesting and the guide was very informative. Moy was a great help. Mark was a very good Cruise director . The ship overall is new and ... Read More
Great trip. Avalon was first class. Staff were wonderful, helpful and friendly. Stops were so interesting and the guide was very informative. Moy was a great help. Mark was a very good Cruise director . The ship overall is new and beautifully appointed. Rooms are very comfortable and give such a great view of the scenery. There was a surprise at most stops. Rickshaw rides, gondola rides at sunset. Ox cart rides and sand bar entertainment complete with fireworks. There was local entertainment nightly or movies with Myanmar history. Couldn't have asked for more. Food was delicious varied. Especially enjoyed the iced ginger tea. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We have just completed a downstream journey on the Avalon Myanmar from Bhamo to Bagan. This is a beautiful new ship with a wonderful crew and it, for the first half, covers a part of the river largely not travelled by other companies. ... Read More
We have just completed a downstream journey on the Avalon Myanmar from Bhamo to Bagan. This is a beautiful new ship with a wonderful crew and it, for the first half, covers a part of the river largely not travelled by other companies. On our cruise there were 24 passengers and a film/video team of 3 ( max of 36) from Canada, Australia, the US and Switzerland. People mixed very well with lively conversation at dinner but by some unspoken agreement, almost complete quiet on the top outside lounge during the day. Ages 55+ (with 2 stellar 90 year olds who were amazing!) The excursions were all included. Many were walking tours through riverside villages while others involved buses, horse-drawn carts, sampans, truck or motor bike taxis. Everything was faultlessly organised. Our excursion guide, Dorothy, came from Bhamo, studied in Mandalay and Yangon, so knew the areas very well and chatted easily to the local people as they shared their lives with us. There was no option to do a dawn balloon flight over Bagan but 2 people on our cruise had booked it independently. Towards the end most of us felt we had seen enough Buddhas and, at Bagan, would have liked a bit more time just to explore the (3000) deserted stupas. Entertainment was suitably low key. A couple of evening movies about Myanmar, a puppet show, traditional dance performance, cooking, photography, Burmese language and traditional medicine. There were a couple of wonderful unexpected surprises but it would be a shame to let on about these! The food was varied and good. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style with cooking stations for freshly made offerings and always a mix of western, Asian and Burmese food. Dinner was a sit down meal, four courses with the same mix of cuisines. There was also coffee and croissants at 6am for the sunrise set and cocktail hour at 6 pm, with the cocktails (plus beer and local spirits) included. A number of us would have preferred a glass of wine and this was available but had to be paid for. The crew were sensational, genuinely friendly and so focused on their guests, even those with little direct contact who were there to help us safely go up and down sometimes steep riverbanks. Mark, the tour manager and Joe, the purser lead a great team. Pre and post cruise was in Yangon at the Sule Shangri-la, which was also excellent. Yangon traffic is something else! Tip: take one pair of comfortable, preferably washable walking shoes and use these for all shore excursions. These are left permanently in a basket on the lower deck and washed for you when you return to the ship after shore excursions. Slippers are provided for wearing around the ship. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
My husband and I recently experienced our first cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. We loved it, our room was spacious and I was able to unpack everything and store our suitcases under the bed. I think having a room away from the back of ... Read More
My husband and I recently experienced our first cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. We loved it, our room was spacious and I was able to unpack everything and store our suitcases under the bed. I think having a room away from the back of the boat was a bonus, we had room 201 and we were able to have our door open at all times when we were in the room. Our tour leader Katy was fantastic we worked tirelessly to ensure every detail went smoothly. The captain and staff were all first class both friendly and efficient. There were times when the river level was so low that it was thought we would have to bus to the next stop; but no our new Avalon boat managed to get through when some other cruise lines were not able to. Starting from Amsterdam the cruise is quite relaxed but as you reach the Danube there is much to see and sometimes we were doing two tours per day but that is optional. I felt the food was lovely, fresh fruit in the morning and we could request an omelet freshly cooked if you didn't want to eat the buffet breakfast. Lunchtime there was a light lunch option in the lounge upstairs and dinner I always enjoyed. We loved meeting and making new friends and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and will most certainly book another cruise with Avalon. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
A wonderful experience, despite low water levels making completion by boat a little uncertain - but we got through when other, older boats didn't. The boat had Avalon's wonderful new cabins with whole room being integrated with ... Read More
A wonderful experience, despite low water levels making completion by boat a little uncertain - but we got through when other, older boats didn't. The boat had Avalon's wonderful new cabins with whole room being integrated with the balcony - bliss to lie in bed and see the world drift by!. Excursions were excellent - relatively early (8.30-ish) starts for some of them meant that we got in to popular places well before the crowd, which made the experience more enjoyable and then left the afternoon free, very often, for exploring on our own (one of the advantages of river cruise boats berthing near town centres). Average age of those on board 50s to early 70s - we had a sense from comments by local guides that we might have been more mobile as a group than those from other boats, and the cruise director did arrange for those with hip and knee problems to go in a slower group which could travel difficult parts in a small 'train' contraptions, so they didn't feel they were slowing others down on hills and cobblestoned streets. Had a fantastic cruise director (Katy) who managed everyone with good humoured efficiency. The rest of the staff were also great cannot fault service and food. Only criticism (and not everyone would see it as a negative) was that evening meals were full service 4 course affairs lasting up to 2 hours which, as noise levels got up became very difficult for the hard of hearing - a buffet option similar to the lunches would have enabled a shorter meal (and more time to enjoy the beautiful evenings in contemplative mode!) We did this trip at the end of 3 weeks travelling alone and it was a relaxing way to finish a trip. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This was our first cruise, and our first trip to Europe. We were very cautious about this trip. Would the cruise be worth the money, would the cabin be good enough, what about the staff, language, other costs etc. etc. Typical ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and our first trip to Europe. We were very cautious about this trip. Would the cruise be worth the money, would the cabin be good enough, what about the staff, language, other costs etc. etc. Typical newcomers. This trip was absolutely magnificent. The cabins are roomy, modern, well set out, full view sliding window (dont book lower deck - our friends thought they would go for the cheap cabins and really regretted it after they saw our cabin!!), the food and dining was divine and the staff wonderful, friendly and very helpful. Only additional cost onboard was alcohol (other than mealtimes where it was included) and 3 optional tours. All other daily tours and guides were included in the cost, and were first class. There was a port and tour every morning to a different town with plenty of time for shopping and wandering or you could stay on board for the day (all meals included onboard), or come back for lunch, guides all had headset and we wore earphone on guided trips (so you miss nothing, and cant loose track of your guide), everyday was different, site seeing on cruise was always informative and entertaining (thanks Stefan, our wonderful cruise director), and interesting fun entertainment on several of the evenings onboard. There was nothing that disappointed us, and great value for money. We will be looking to Avalon for our next trip to south of France. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
The Avalon cruise along the Seine to Normandy on the near-new Tapestry II was our first cruise of any kind. At just seven days duration, it was a "taste" to discover whether this type of holiday was to our liking, as previously ... Read More
The Avalon cruise along the Seine to Normandy on the near-new Tapestry II was our first cruise of any kind. At just seven days duration, it was a "taste" to discover whether this type of holiday was to our liking, as previously we had been more independent travellers. And it most definitely was! We were at the younger end of the passenger age spectrum, and, as Australians, we were vastly outnumbered by folks from the USA. Neither mattered, as it turned out. The cabin (called a stateroom) was beautifully appointed and serviced, and the location of the bed facing the wall of windows to the river outlook was excellent. The meals were a highlight, thanks to Chef Olivier and his team. Options such as a BBQ lunch and Bistro dinner were created, which gave extra variety. The wines were of very good quality. The open seating arrangements allowed us to meet many delightful fellow passengers. The shore excursions were characterised by knowledgeable, charming guides. In particular, having Laura escort us through Monet's garden in Giverny was a treat, with her background in Art History. A pre-excursion lecture by historian Nigel vividly set the scene for the journeys to the D-Day Landing Beaches. Overall, the organisation was excellent, with a small glitch in disembarkation and allocation of taxis, not the fault of Avalon. The portable audio equipment worked well on tours. The vessel was about 60% capacity, so I am aware that our experience might not be replicated with a full passenger load. My sole negative comment relates to the quality of the coffee. The main coffee machine was out of order for more than half the journey, and the coffee served at meals was not up to the standard we expect in Australia. Next time I might take my Nespresso machine! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
My wife and I are in our mid '60's. This was our first river cruise. The Panorama is a newer ship in great shape, with sliding glass doors on all of the rooms that are above the waterline. We found this to be an exceptional ... Read More
My wife and I are in our mid '60's. This was our first river cruise. The Panorama is a newer ship in great shape, with sliding glass doors on all of the rooms that are above the waterline. We found this to be an exceptional feature that added a lot to our travel experience. Because there is no "Balcony" the size of the cabin is larger than a ship with balconies. (Remember, there is a width limitation imposed on the river ships because of the width of the locks on the river.) Another feature that is really worth mentioning is the draft of the boat. I don't know how you find out the draft of a river cruise boat. Perhaps, you can find it on-line or the cruise line will tell you prior to booking. Why is this important? The Rhine and Danube rivers are experiencing low water levels this year. The Danube seems to be the more problematic of the two rivers. The Panorama drafts 3 to 4 feet less water than a lot of other cruise ships. We never had a problem and we were able to maintain our schedule. During our on shore excursions we met several different people in various ports, who were traveling on different cruise lines. (Primarily, Viking). They told us that the Viking cruise ships on the Danube were all docked in port and not sailing because the water level wasn't deep enough. They had to pack all of their belongings and be taken to the next port by bus, where they would board another cruise ship for the night. This process was repeated from port to port. One of the news bulletins I read on Cruise Critic at the time, mentioned that Viking had a real advantage over other cruise lines because it had so many ships on the river, it could dock them and use them like hotels in this manner. I know many of the cruise ships can accommodate about 195 people. The Panorama accommodated about 166 people. This is probably one of the reasons that we could keep sailing when other ships were docked. This is a MAJOR benefit, because one of the primary benefits of a river cruise is avoiding the inconvenience of packing and unpacking every time you move to a new city. There are only three things worth mentioning that we would like to see improved. 1. The quality of the on shore guides for excursions was inconsistent. Some were good and some were bad. It was the luck of the draw, because you never knew anything about the guides before hand. 2. We would like to see better entertainment on ship. 3. We would like to have had more on board lectures from experts about the areas we were visiting. (They could probably solve this issue by creating videos and posting them on-line or broadcast them on one of the cable tv channels.) Our cabin was on the first deck in mid ship. The internet access was excellent. Finally, I need to mention that the service was OUTSTANDING. We had only one minor issue with the crew. The crew was well trained and service oriented! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Our 11 day Avalon cruise started with three days on land in Prague. Very nice accomodations, great city tour. We met on first night with cruise director, at that time concerned travellers questioned the river levels, as we heard they were ... Read More
Our 11 day Avalon cruise started with three days on land in Prague. Very nice accomodations, great city tour. We met on first night with cruise director, at that time concerned travellers questioned the river levels, as we heard they were low. We were told that by the day we were to sail, that the water levels were probably going to be okay. We were lead to believe that somehow the water levels could be manipulated by man power, dam? Departure date came and we were given a choice to see Nuremberg by bus, as we couldn't sail, due to low water, or take a bus to A small village up river where boat was docked. To see Revensburg, we also had to bus, ship couldn't get there either. Did not dock in Passau, had to be bussed there from village. Avalon advertises their cabins with the great view. Anytime we were docked, there would be another ship parked directly beside us, never even got to open curtains. Our sailing was done in early evening or night, so never got to see the wonderful sights advertised. We did dock in Linz and Budapest, so we were able to go ashore to explore on our own. Daily tours were really early. Biggest disappointment was that we never got to enjoy the views from our cabin, which was explained to our group the last night: reason being that River cruising is so popular that there is not enough port space for the ships. The staff on the Avalon Vista was great, cruise director not so much. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
A fantastic cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. Avalon Expression was a magnificent, modern and spacious ship. Our cabin on the Royal Deck was cleverly designed and spacious. The queen sized bed was so comfortable and faced the river ... Read More
A fantastic cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. Avalon Expression was a magnificent, modern and spacious ship. Our cabin on the Royal Deck was cleverly designed and spacious. The queen sized bed was so comfortable and faced the river which was a bonus. A smart double opening floor to ceiling glass door provided an indoor outdoor experience without losing precious floor space that many other river ships do lose with their dedicated balconies. A flat bottomed ship together with masterful captaincy provided by Alex Strien and his crew, ensured that we could navigate through a very low Danube which most other ships could not achieve. The servicing of our cabins was spotless and faultless. Food was delicious and plentiful. Lounges areas were great for relaxation and tours were informative and well planned. Evening entertaining was also very good. I would highly recommend Avalon for anyone wanting a cruising experience. Read Less
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